Oct 132010

I recently went to a cocktail party where the hostess had served roasted figs in balsamic vinegar and honey. They were delicious.  The presentation looked so warm and welcoming. She paired it with roasted almonds and blue cheese with slices of bread. The flavors were amazing. This was something that was a simple to prepare and wonderful to serve to a large or small group as the weather is starting to turn colder.

Figs 1

Figs 2

1o Figs – cut in half and take the stems off

6 Tablespoons of Balsamic  Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Honey

2 Tablespoons of Sugar

1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

Pre Heat Oven at 350

On a jelly role sheet (a cookie sheet with sides) or baking dish place cut figs. In a saucepan heat 3 tablespoons of Vinegar, Honey, Sugar Cinnamon, and Olive Oil and cook until simmering. Evenly cover the figs with the sauce and place in oven for 30 minutes then take out every 10 minutes and brush with vinegar. Take out when figs are nice and tender! Ready to serve.

Things that are paired well with Figs: Almonds, Anise, Blue Cheese, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Goat’s Cheese, Hard Cheese, Hazelnut, Mint, Orange, Prosciutto, Raspberry, Soft Cheese, Vanilla, and Walnut.

 Posted by at 9:02 pm
Sep 202010

I am back!! Over the past months, I have thought a lot about my blog but, to be honest, lacked the inspiration/hope,  felt that there were just so many blogs out there, and that cooking was some fad. But, I realize I have always been happiest in the kitchen, whether cooking for myself or for people I love.  My personality has always been an open book, so I will continue to share my thoughts and what I find interesting with anyone who is interested in reading.

What have I been up too? Outside of my cooking, I have been working on mastering knitting, becoming more comfortable with my sewing machine, and trying to finish the needlepoint I started making for my sister’s wedding three years ago. (I thought I should finish it before her baby comes in January!!)Chicken Payard

Along with many hours spent in the friendly skies.  In the kitchen, I have been interested in flavor pairings and pasta. I love pasta and restaurants make it look so easy, so I thought it would be fun to start making my own pastas and working on sauces. And I was correct — I have had a lot of fun working on my pasta! What fun it would be to do a course on Pastas and Gelatos in Italy….Oh, how a girl can dream!

As some know, I have a tendency to be a little over the top. When I entertain, I make three sauces instead of one. I just get so excited to cook for others that I get carried away. But then there are times when I keep it simple, and am so delighted by the result. Chicken Paillard is one of my favorite dishes to order. It is clean and simple, with so many simple variations. Recently, I made it and served it with: Slow roasted Tomatoes, (or speed the roasting and just increase the temperature) Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Mixed Greens with a Lemon Vinaigrette, and a Lemon Wedge. Everything, except searing the chicken, could be done in advance and served at room temperature.

To make the Chicken Paillard

Take a boneless skinless chicken breast and pound it out until it is about 1/3 inch thick, salt and pepper both sides. This can be done  earlier covered and place in fridge. Heat frying pan with a little bit of vegetable oil and cook chicken both sides about 1-2 minutes on each side. Now it is ready to be served. Perfectly simple and something that everyone will enjoy! This dinner was finished with chocolate sundaes. To make them a little more exciting,  I went to a local ice cream store where they make fresh waffle cones and bought four waffle cups!

Feb 122010

Sugar Cookies

Here is a great classic recipe for a simple rolled cookie. Yes, any cut out cookie does take a little bit more work than a drop cookie. One way I cut a corner with these cookies is that instead of frosting them, I just dipped them half in chocolate. I found this fabulous sparkle plate at TARGET. I was so excited I bought 8.

Preheat Oven to 375

1/3 Cup of Butter

1/3 Cup of Shortening/Crisco

¾ Cup of Sugar

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

1 Egg

4 Teaspoons of Milk

2 Cups of Flour

2 Teaspoons of Baking Powered

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, Crisco, sugar, and vanilla. Flowed by adding the egg and whipping until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk and then stir in the flour and baking powder.  Divide batter into three equal parts and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

On a floured Surface roll out one of the parts of dough to about 1/8th inch. With a cookie cutter cut the dough with the cutter and place on baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes.

You can eat them as is, sprinkle with sprinkles before baking, ice after being cooled or dip them in melted chocolate as I did.

Feb 032010


I can remember the first time I had a Croque Monsieur vividly. I was 8 years old, had just moved to Tokyo with my family, and come back from school orientation and while waiting for my mother in lobby seating area my father ordered one for us. He was so excited to see it on the menu. I think to this day it is still the best croque monsieur; I have ever had. Recently, in the past year I have been on the quest to find one that compares. I have found one that competes but thought I would indulge and try it on my own.  I have seen them cut up small and served as hors d’ oeuvres. Which I think is an awesome idea.

What makes this different from just a ham and cheese sandwich? The Bechamel Sauce.  I never would have thought to put a sauce in a sandwich, but oh how it makes it delicious!

Pre Heat 350 degrees

Croque Monsieur

4 slices of Sandwich Bread

4 ounces of Slice Ham

1 1/4 Cup of Grated Gruyere Cheese

1/4 Cup of Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Tablespoons of Butter

1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard (optional)

5 to 6 Tablespoons of Bechamel Sauce (See Below)

Lightly and evenly butter on both sides of bread and toast both sides in saute pan over low heat until just golden brown. If you decide to use Dijon Mustard spread one side of each toasted slice with mustard. Evenly place the ham slices and about ½ cup Gruyere cheese on two of the bread slices. Top each with one of remaining bread slices, mustard-side down. Spread bechamel sauce to cover the top of each sandwich including the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Gruyere cheese and Parmesan Cheese. Place on a pan and bake for  5 minutes, then place under broiler until cheese is bubbling and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Bechamel Sauce

1 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoons flour

½ cups warmed milk a plus 1 Tablespoon

Salt and ground pepper to taste

1/4 Cup of Grated Gruyere Cheese

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, about 2 minutes, do not let it turn brown. Add the hot milk, continue to stir, the sauce will thicken and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the Gruyere Cheese.

Jan 212010

Beef B

Julia Child’s Beef/Boeuf  Bourguignon

I saw Julie and Julia the first day it came out. I don’t think, I was the only person that was then intrigued to make Beef Bourguignon and see what all the fuss is about. I made this recently, on a cold snowy night. This is the perfect dish for this kind of evening. While making it I did not understand why there was all this fear in making the Beef Bourguignon. I think the fear comes from the fact that there are multiple steps and it takes a long time to cook. Also you do need a Dutch Oven to make this dish. Since it was the holiday season, I saw it as an excuse for me to finally buy one. This is something that could be made the day before and I think,  actually tastes better the next day. Also a perfect dish to entertain with in the winter since it can be made ahead. It is very hardy.

6 oz Bacon (cut into pieces ¼ inch thick and 1½ inches long)

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

3 lbs of Lean Stewing Beef (cut into 2 inch cubes and pat dry)

Slice Carrot  I used 4 carrots and would suggest maybe 6

1 sliced Onion

1 Teaspoon of Salt

¼ Teaspoon of Pepper

2 Tablespoons of Flour- I used 3 to 4 tablespoons

3 Cups of Full-bodied Red Wine

2 to 3 Cups of Beef Stock

1 Tablespoon of Tomato Paste

2 gloves of Mashed Garlic

½ Teaspoon of Thyme

A Crumbled Bay Leaf


24 Small White onions

1 lb of Fresh Mushrooms


Preheat Oven 450 Degrees


Simmer bacon for 10 minutes, and then drain water and pat try. In Dutch Oven/Casserole Fireproof Dish saute the bacon and olive oil for 3 minutes. Remove bacon and set aside. Heat oil and saute beef until browned, do this a few pieces at a time and when browned on all sides with bacon. In the same fat brown all of the vegetables (except small white onions and mushrooms). Once vegetables are lightly browned, pour out the sauteing fat. Return the beef and bacon to Dutch oven and toss with salt, pepper, and flour and place in oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and toss again and return to oven for 4 minutes. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust).

Reduce Oven heat to 325

Stir in the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove. Then cover the dish and place in oven for 2.5 to 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Boil the Small White Onions and then remove skins after cooked from onions. Cut Mushrooms into quarters and saute.

When ready to serve distribute the onions and mushrooms over the meat.

Aug 192009

Steak Salad 3

Definitely as the heat wave continues salad or cold soups are what I have been craving. Every so often I make something that I am truly excited about how it turned out. This  is how I felt about this recent Steak Salad. I think I told just a few people, about 10 just how excited Iwas about it!  I know it might seem like a lot of work, but I was able to accomplish everything in under an hour- I had a lot of things cooking at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t per say have real measurements I just used what I had and tried to have equal portions. Also since I don’t have a grill I broiled my NY Strip steak for about 4 ½ minutes on each side. It did not have that beautiful grilled look but still tasted delicious!

Steak Salad

1 Head of Red Lettuce

1 Red Bell Pepper Roasted

1 Bunch of Asparagus Roasted (cooked in broiler)

1 Sauted Yellow Onion

Fingerling Potatoes Roasted with Rosemary

Steamed French String Beans

1 Pound of Steak

1 Tomato chopped

Extra- I roasted a garlic bulb to either be added to the salad or used on the bread.


Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil

Dijon Mustard

Before mixing all the ingredients together I cooled them all except the steak was served warm.

Steak Salad 2      Steak Salad 1

Aug 042009


Recently, I was given some fresh garden picked string beans. Growing up string beans were a staple in our house, although we really only ever had them served one way, steamed. I thought I would make this more into a summer salad instead.

1 Lb. of String Beans (cleaned with ends cut)

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Shallot

¼ Cup of Olive Oil

Juice from 1-2 Lemons

3 Teaspoons of Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper

Steam the string bean (about 2-3 minutes) and then quickly place in cold water to make sure they stop cooking. I chopped the Pepper finely but afterwards thought it would look nice if they were cut julienne style (thinly sliced lengthwise) and then chop the Shallot. In a small bowl mix together Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. (Start with one Lemon and then see if you need more and how much lemon you like- I am not a good gauge since I love LEMONS!) Now toss together dressing, string beans, shallots, and peppers. It also might be nice to add fresh tomatoes as tomato season is here. This is perfect for a summer BBQ!



Jun 232009




This is a different take on Pound Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries. This was a perfectly portable dessert that I made to bring to a picnic.

1 Stick of Butter

½ Cup of Vegetable Shortening

1 ½ Cup of Sugar

3 Eggs

1 ½ Cup of Flour

½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1 Cup of Milk

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Preheat Oven 350

In a mixing bowl mix together Butter, Vegetable Shortening, and Sugar for about 2 minutes. Mix one egg in at a time and vanilla.  Add the Flour, Baking Soda, and Milk alternating between the dry and wet ingredients. Fill cupcake cups about ¾ of the way to the top and bake for 18-22 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely before topping them with whipped cream. Makes about 15 Cupcakes.

Strawberry Whipped Cream

1 Pint of Heavy Cream

1 Cup of Marshmallow Fluff

7 Medium Sized Strawberries

2 Teaspoons of Sugar

Dice up the strawberries and in a bowl toss them with the sugar- let stand for just a minute or so. In a separate bowl add the Heavy Cream, Fluff and Strawberry Mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Note: the cream did splatter a lot with the Fluff. Top each cupcake with whipped cream; I finished them off by topping them with a chocolate cover strawberry.

Jun 112009




I was in South Carolina last week and when I was on the highway, I saw baskets of peaches on a truck. I was tickled pink about this sighting because I had totally forgotten I was in peach territory. Of course now I was on the lookout for where I could buy my own basket of peaches. Alas right before heading back to the airport I found a farmers markets and literally got a basket of peaches and took them back with me to NYC.

Now what to do with my peaches! I didn’t want to make a cobbler had done that last week with some strawberries and rhubarb. Salsa is what came to mind. I was also told that grilled peaches were great…but I didn’t have access to a grill.

2 Peaches (diced into small cubes)

½ Green Bell Pepper (diced into small cubes)

½ Red Onion (diced into small cubes)

2-3 Tablespoons of  Chopped Cilantro

Juice from two Limes

Jalapeño Pepper (that depends on the level of spice you would like…I got a little too aggressive when I made this Salsa!)

Mix all of the ingredients together and ready to serve. What I loved were all the colors together, I thought it looked so fresh and absolutely beautiful.

Jun 012009



My apologies, the last entry had a some kind of computer glitch with only part of the entry. Here is the complete entry.


I love Chinese Chicken Salads, if on a menu I am always tempted to order it and look no further. The other thing that I love about them is that there are some underlying similarities but so many different kinds of variation that can be done. I think this is the perfect meal to have on a hot summer evening.

Ingredients to Cook Chicken

1 Tablespoon of Chopped Cilantro

5 Slices of Ginger

3 Scallions Sliced

2 Tablespoons of Rice Wine Vinegar

4 Cups of Water

1 to 11/2 Pounds of Chicken

Put all of the ingredients together in a pot and let cook on medium heat for about 15-20 minutes covered. Once chicken has cooked all the way through remove from heat and tear chicken into small pieces. Chill chicken before putting in salad.


1/3 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon of Dry Ground Mustard
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil
6 Tablespoons of Rice-wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1 Teaspoon of minced ginger (optional)
Mix all ingredients together. I find easiest to just put them all into a bottle and shape it up.



I Head of Lettuce (tore or chopped) (I use usually Romaine or Iceberg)

1 Yellow Bell Pepper Chopped into small Cubes

½ English Cucumber Chopped into small Cubes

2  Carrots Peeled and Chopped into small Cubes

6 Scallions (6 diced)

1/3 Cup Chopped Cilantro

½ Cup of Sliced Almonds

2 Cups of Shredded Chicken

1 – 2 Tablespoons Cup of Sesame Seeds (optional)

Fried Maifun Noodles or Fried Wontons can also be added.

In a large salad bowl add all ingredients except fried Noodles. Toss the salad with dressing and right before serving at the noodles.