Apr 292009



Yes, it has been a while since I have writtenI have been thinking and cooking but just not writing. Well, with these two entries (Maple Blueberry Muffins/ Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes) I am back. Although, the season is a little early for tomatoes this past weekend’s heat and my burn definitely made me think it was summer time. It is always nice to find things that can be made in advance and be able to bring a full meal together. Recently, I was cooking dinner and I wanted to try my hand at slow roasting tomatoes knowing that they could cook all day while I was cleaning my apartment and reading the paper. This was something that was easy to prepare in the morning and by the afternoon my apartment was smelling like I had been slaving away in the kitchen all day.

Oven temperature 225

Garlic (finely Chopped)
Basil (Chopped)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Cut tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet. (I lined it with foil for easy cleaning.) Evenly distributed the thyme, basil, and garlic over the tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and top off with salt and pepper.
Now you can run out the door for the day and return to a fragrant home with a delicious side!

Apr 292009


Blueberry Maple Muffins/Cupcakes
I was making a dessert for a friend’s birthday and I told her I would come up with something original. She told me don’t go crazy’ I guess people who know me, know I have a tendency to be slightly over the top. Anyway while I was trying to come up with something new I started looking at the ingredients that I had available that might be fun. I had two jars of Maple syrup. This lead me to think about pancakes and blueberry pancakes well then why can’t I do the same with a blueberry muffin. So I tried it. I used my Blueberry muffin recipe and added ½ cup of Maple syrup. I was so pleased with them I quickly called home as I always think of my mom when making Blueberry Muffins.
Well, that was not enough. Since the cupcake has taken over the country/world I had to make a frosting. I decided to go with a Maple Buttercream. It would be too much and for me to say that, it must be too much if the icing was globed on like a traditional cupcake. I just piped a little out on top of the muffin and topped it off with a blueberry. Now I had blueberry pancake cupcakes!

Maple Frosting
1/2 Cup of Maple Syrup (Can add more if desire more maple flavor)
1 Stick of Butter Softened
1 Box of Powdered Sugar (1 pound)
3 Tablespoons of Milk

Whip all ingredient together until light. fluffy, and smooth.
Place a dolop on each now cupcake.

Feb 252009

In making these meatballs I was re-taught the lesson of watching things will they are cooking. It is very easy to get distracted sometimes while cooking and this time I surely did. I let my first batch of meatballs cook for way too long and the sauce had gotten too thick , badly burnt my pot and now my pot has been soaking for two days! Anyways the next batch turned out great.

1 Pound of Ground Pork
1 Pound of Ground Beef
1 Pound of Ground Chicken
1 Large Yellow Onion (Chopped Finely)
½ Green Pepper (Seeded and Diced)
3 Eggs
2 Cups of Bread Crumbs
1 Cup of Milk
8 Gloves of Garlic (Chopped Finely)
¾ Cup Toasted Pine Nuts (Slightly Chopped after Roasting)
1/3 Cup of Chopped Parsley
1/3 Cup of Chopped Oregano
1/3 Cup of Basil
Zest of one Lemon
2 -3 Teaspoons of Pepper
4 Teaspoons of Salt
¼ Cup of Olive Oil

In a large skillet heat the olive oil and cook the onions for 5 minutes and then add the green peppers and garlic and cook down for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer Onions, Peppers, and Garlic into another bowl and let cool a little. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs together and add the herbs, lemon zest, and pine nuts. In another bowl add the bread crumbs to the milk together and let stand for a few minutes. Then remove bread crumbs from milk and squeeze milk from them (discard milk) and add to egg mixture. Finally mix everything together the Meats, Onions, Eggs, Salt and Pepper. Make sure well combined, I think best to just use your hands to combine.
Shaping the meat balls depending on the size I think easiest to just use a large ice cream scoop and scoop meat into balls and place on a baking sheet to prepare for cooking. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and cook meatballs for about five minutes making sure to cook all sides. Remove meatballs from pan. (At this point a froze most of the meatballs to have at a later date) To finish cooking cook meatballs in your desired tomatoes sauce for about 20 minutes. And make sure to watch it!

Feb 112009


Tomatoes and Mozzarella

A friend of mine taught me this when I was visiting her. I thought it was a great little bit size appetizer perfect for a cocktail party. Thank you Becca.

Option A
Cherry Tomatoes
Mini Mozzarella Balls

Option B
Cherry Tomatoes
Olive Oil

Option A
Take each tomato and cut a sliver off of the bottom, so that is can stand up straight. Cut the top off of each tomato and hollow out the seeds. Sprinkle hollowed tomatoes with a little salt and let stand for 15 minutes, and then drain tomatoes. Drip a little pesto into the bottom of each tomato and then stuff with a piece of Mozzarella and top with another drizzle of pesto.

Option B
Instead of pesto wrap each piece of mozzarella with a piece of basil and stuff mozzarella into the tomato and drizzle with a little olive oil.

Feb 032009


In search of a comfort food, one that I believe remains at the top of my list would a tomato sauce. I thought this would also be a good way for me to economize and bring lunch to work, One thing to remember with some sauces is I think they taste better the next day when all the flavors have had a chance to meld together. So I went out and decided to make and Tomato Eggplant Sauce with a base of white wine instead of vegetable broth. Funny how as I child I would cringe at the sight of an eggplant and cant say how many times I can remember my mother saying to meOh, would you just try it, you can hardly taste the eggplant. Now, I love eggplant.

¼ Cup of Olive Oil

3 Garlic Cloves (Finley Chopped)

½ Pound of Eggplant (Finley chopped)

1 Bell Pepper (Seeded and Diced)

3 Small Tomatoes Chopped (about 1 ½ Cups)

1 -2 Tablespoons of Capers *

1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped Basil

½ Teaspoon of Oregano

6 oz. of Tomato Paste

1 Cup of White Wine ( If need more liquid can add more wine or use a vegetable broth)

Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a large skillet heat olive oil and garlic once oil has heated add the tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and capers. Cook over look heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook with lid for stirring occasionally for 40 to 50 minutes. If the sauce becomes to think add more liquid.

*I really like capers and get excited when I think they will work in a recipe but I definitely put about 3 tablespoons in my sauce and can say the capers became over powering.

Jan 212009


President Obama and U2


Okay so for the past week it has been really cold. I know it is bad when I wear a wind proof fleece, a down coat, a hat and ear muffs! This past weekend I went to DC for inauguration and in the event needed some something warm to drink. Inspired by my Hot Chocolate from Atlanta. Here is a version for Coffee. So this is perfect for a cold winter night inside or if you are standing outside for many hours and need to warm up!

1 Cup of Coffee
1 oz. of Khaluha
1 oz. of Brandy
1 oz of Cream
Whipped Cream Options

Mix all ingredients together in a mug except whipped cream.
Then add a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Jan 212009

I was visiting a friend in Atlanta and was so completely taken by this Mexican Hot Chocolate that I had. It reminded me of a spicy brownie that I like to make. Now the recipe called for Pepper Vodka. So I went in search of Pepper Vodka. But I was annoyed to find out that I was going to have to buy an entire bottle and the cost. I mean I am trying to budget here in this economy and I don’t have space and I was not sure I was going to even like this Pepper Vodka.
So the solution let’s try infusing our own vodka. Which made me think there are a lot of fun things
that one could infuse. I was even told you could infuse candy like skittles and starbursts into vodka. Ingenious I thought. We didn’t have a lot of time so this is what we did to
make our Pepper Vodka. One Liter of Vodka and 1 Tea Ball Filled with Chili Peppers and let sit for at least 36 hours. You could also chop chili Peppers and throw them into a jar of Vodka and then strain before using.

1 Cup of Milk
¾ oz of Khaluha
1 oz. of Pepper Vodka
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
A pinch of Cinnamon
Whipped Cream to Top

In a saucepan add milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sugar. Stir and heat milk to a comfortable hot temperature and pour into a mug. Stir in Vodka and Khaluha and top with Whipped Cream. Enjoy!

Dec 102008


The Holidays are quickly approaching a time in my family where there is always an overload of baking. These are a little different to the traditional Madaleine and perfect for this Holiday Season.

Hazelnut Madeleines

2 sticks of Butter
6 Egg Whites
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of ground Hazelnuts (about 5 ounces)
½ Cup of Flour
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla

Preheat 350

In a sauce pan melt the butter and melt until turning slightly brown then strain the butter and let cool. In a mixing bowl add: sugar, flour, nuts, vanilla, salt and on medium speed slowly add the egg whites followed by the melted butter. With PAM spray the Madeleine tray ( tried using butter and serious nightmare to get them out the PAM was incredible) Spoon batter into madeleine tray and bake for 8-10 minutes and remove from tray immediately to cool

Now these could also be served dipped in chocolate. I say this cause Hazelnut and Chocolate is one of my favorite things in the world!

Dec 022008


I first saw Pear Sauce served with a cheese souffle. I thought this was genius. I had never really thought about making Pear Sauce. This weekend I decided to try and was enormously please with the result. This is a perfect substitute for Apple Sauce.

2 Pears  Peeled, Cored, and cut into 1/8 Pear Cubes
1 Tablespoon of Super Fine Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Boil the pears for about 10-15 minutes (test with a fork that they soft.) Remove from water and place pear cubes in a blender. Add sugar and cinnamon and blend together until smooth. Let cool before serving. Makes about 1 1/2 Cups of Sauces

Nov 202008

I grew up having potatoes at practically every single dinner, although always in some new form. There really are infinite possibilities. As I have recently broken out my down coat, hat, and gloves I feel it is time for some soup.

4 Leeks (about 2 pounds sliced and cleaned VERY WELL)
1/2 Cup of sliced Shallots
3 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
3 Celery Stalks, chopped
5 Garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds of potatoes (Russet or Yukon gold peeled and cut into cubes)
5 Cups of Vegetable broth
1 Cup of Dry White Wine
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Chopped Sage
3 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled

In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and butter followed by leeks and shallots and cook until slightly tender 5- 10 minutes. Once tender add celery, garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. (Be careful not to brown the onions too much or your soup will have muddy color. I only speak from experience!) Finally add the potatoes, wine, broth, salt, and pepper and let simmer for about 25 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Let the soup cool before placing in blender and blend soup. Heat creamed soup before serving and add chopped sage. Optional- the soup can be topped off with bacon crumbs.