Thursday, December 30, 2010


I've spent the past few months perfecting my guacamole recipe and I've done it! Here it all its delicious perfection.

2 ripe avocados
1 large red tomato, diced
2 jalapenos, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 8-oz whole kernel corn
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lime
2 tsp cilantro (I use the kind in the tube)
Tabasco milder jalapeno (green)
Tabasco chipotle smoked

Mush the avocados (I have a mortar and pestle so I use that, but a fork works almost as well). Add diced tomato, diced jalapeno (I remove the seeds, but you can keep them, depending on how hot you like your guacamole), diced onion, corn, and minced garlic. Mix together. Roll the lime on the countertop to loosen the juices. Slice in half and squeeze one half of the lime's juice into your mixture. Squeeze out cilantro and add to mixture. Add seven drops of green Tabasco and 14 drops of smoked Tabasco. Salt and pepper to taste.

We really like the tortilla chips that Whole Foods makes fresh each day, but you can serve with any chip. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

French Toast Casserole

My cousin and her husband are in town and I wanted to make something for breakfast that wouldn't require my having to go to the grocery store because, well, it's cold outside. So was born this French toast casserole.

5 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
Brioche loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 pan with Pam. Mix together the eggs, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slice brioche and cover bottom of pan. If you have enough bread, add a second layer. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Let soak for 15 minutes.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Corn Chowder

(Picture to come)

There is nothing better than crisp, cool mornings and a pot of soup simmering on the stove. If you like corn and you like cream-based soups, this is an easy and delicious one for you!

2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 sprigs of thyme (just the leaves, not the stems)
1/4 tsp rosemary (finally chopped)
1/4 C flour
8 cups vegetable stock
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
6 ears of corn
1/4 C Cream
1/4 C chopped parsley
Cheddar cheese, shredded

Fire up the grill - about 500 degrees - and place the corn directly on the grate. If corn is in season, you can grill directly in the husk. Otherwise I buy frozen corn on the cob and grill it in tin foil. Don't cook all the way through - just about six minutes on two sides.

Over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil in a stock pan. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Cook until the onion is translucent (about 10 minutes). Add flour and stir to mix well so there are no lumps. Add the vegetable stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. After the corn is finished (let it cool a bit), cut it off the cob. Add to the soup and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add cream and let it warm through. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, and cheese. Serve.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Roasted Tomato Tart

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but my mom emailed me over the weekend and said she was making roasted tomato tart for dinner. Come again?! I want some! So I made it, too. With a few variations...because, well, I can't leave well enough alone.

I always cheat when I make pastries and throw the ingredients in the food processor. I know it's probably a teeny bit better if you knead the dough yourself, but it doesn't make such a difference that you can't cheat.

1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
Mix together.

Add 1/4 C chilled and cut up unsalted butter.

Mix until the dough creates small balls.

Add one egg and up to 2 T cold water. The dough will come away from the sides and make a ball.

Remove from the food processor and let sit for 10 minutes. Roll out to a 14 inch circle and put in a oiled pie pan. Cut away the excess dough and use your thumb to imprint the dough around the edge.

On the bottom of the dough, slather Dijon mustard. I think I used about 4 T.

Slice tomatoes and mozzarella.

Layer tomatoes, then mozzarella, then olive oil, then salt and pepper, then oregano. Layer again and again until the dough is full.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Indoor S'Mores

This is not my own recipe and I don't typically use store bought mixes, but these were so tasty, I thought I'd share.

1 package sugar cookie mix
1 C graham crackers, crushed
3/4 C butter, melted (the recipe called for a cup, but it was too much)
1 1/2 C chocolate chips
1 1/2 C marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together sugar cookie mix, graham crackers, and butter. Press into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and pour chocolate chips on top. Let melt. Set oven to broil. Spread chocolate evenly over crust. Top with marshmallows and place under broiler for three to five minutes, or until brown.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Frisee Salad with Poached Egg and Sherry Vinaigrette

I made this last Sunday for myself because Kelly wanted roast chicken and I needed something to eat. I love the poached egg on there for the protein with my veggies!

Two slices Brioche, toasted
1 T shallots, minced
2 T chives, minced
1 T parsley
Salt and pepper

Poached egg
1/2 T white wine vinegar
2 large eggs

Sherry Vinaigrette
2 T sherry vinegar
1 T stoneground mustard
2 T Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

I always construct my salads backwards.

For the vinegar, combine the vinegar and mustards and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour between 1/4 C and 1/2 C in the bottom of your salad bowl.

For the salad, toast slices of brioche (you can make it, but Whole Foods has a nice loaf in their bakery) and cut into cubes. Then cut off the white ends of the frisee and add to your salad bowl (on top of the dressing). Mix to combine. Add more dressing, if needed.

Divide into servings (this recipe would make two) and place on salad plates.

For the poached egg, bring at least 4 inches of water to a boil in a large, deep saucepan. Prepare an ice bath. Add the vinegar to the boiling water and reduce the heat to a simmer. Break an egg into a bowl or small cup. Using a wooden spoon, stir the water around the edges of the pan twice and add the egg to the center. Do the same with the second egg. Simmer gently for about two minutes, or until the whites are set (you want the yolks to be runny). With a slotted spoon, add the eggs to the ice bath. You can warm up the eggs after the bath by simmering water and reheat for about a minute.

Add the egg to the top of each salad and sprinkle with your brioche croutons.

You can leave out the egg, if you don't want it, and you can also add bacon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Penne a la Vodka

I love a good tomato cream sauce, but I can't find one I love in the U.S. as much as I loved the sauce at Piazza Nuvona in Rome. We were there two years ago, and I came home dreaming about that sauce. The following recipe is as close as it gets.

1 quart Big Mama's Sugo Sauce
1 C vodka
1/2 C cream
1/2 C Parmesan cheese (I like the kind that comes in little squares vs. the grated kind)

Remove Big Mama's Sugo Sauce from the freezer and either let defrost in the refrigerator overnight or defrost in the microwave. I don't own a microwave so I always just place it in a pot, turn the heat on low, and let it defrost that way.

Over medium heat, let sauce and vodka simmer for about 30 minutes. It will begin to reduce a bit, but you want it to simmer long enough to cook out the alcohol. You will be able to taste whether or not it's all cooked out, but 30 minutes is enough time.

Add cream and Parmesan cheese and let simmer until heated through.

In a large stock pan, fill with water, some olive oil, and a small handful of salt. Bring to boil. Add penne (or rigatoni) and cook until al dente.

Drain pasta, add to a big bowl, and pour vodka sauce on top. Delicioso!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Big Mama's Sugo

When I got married, Kelly said to me, "Can you make my grandmother's pasta sauce?" So I called my mother-in-law and asked for the recipe. She sent me an email and this is what it said: Tomato sauce, water, wine, sugar, garlic.

It took a few years (and some changes of my own) before I perfected it. Now we keep pasta sauce in the freezer, at all times, for any occasion.

3 28-oz cans of tomato sauce
3 28-oz cans of water
1 C red wine (I usually use whatever I have in the house, but Yellow Tail is always dependable)
1 C light brown sugar
1/4 C crushed garlic (I use the garlic that comes in a jar - easier than trying to crush that many cloves)
3 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Let boil for 1 hour. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It should reduce by half. Let cool. Remove and discard bay leaves. Divide into freezer-proof containers that are big enough for one meal. Freeze. Remove one at a time, as needed, for spaghetti, lasagna, rigatoni...whatever you want!

It's actually better if you let it freeze before you eat it. This allows the acid in the tomatoes to really combine with the rest of the flavors.

* Cooking note: Because it cooks for so long, the alcohol cooks out of the wine. It's in there for flavor, so it's safe for children and non-drinkers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vegetarian Chili

When I was not a vegetarian, I loved chili. So, when I stopped eating meat, almost TEN years ago (!!), I had to find a recipe that made me feel like I was still eating one of my favorite meals. Unfortunately, no one really makes a good, hearty chili so I had to figure it out on my own. After three years of trying different things, including the addition of the baked beans (a suggestion from my friend Misty), I have perfected a near-meat chili recipe.

1 16-oz can chili beans
1 16-oz can Rotel tomatoes
1 16-oz can Bush’s vegetarian baked beans
1 12-oz can corn
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
1 t garlic powder
½ t pepper
Cheddar cheese

In a pot, over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients and stir until combined. Let simmer until a skin forms on top, between 20 and 30 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Serve.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Potato Soup

I created this almost accidentally so I figured I should write it down before it leaves my brain.

Homemade potato soup...yum! It's PERFECT for the frozen tundra our country seems to be under right now. Make this, pour a glass of wine, start a fire, and watch it snow!

One of Kelly's business partners had a bowl of this and said it was really good, so if you don't like it, we'll blame him!

4 T butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 T flour
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 C milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 C vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth, too)
1 can corn
1/2 C cream
Shredded cheddar cheese

In a stock pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about five minutes. Whisk in flour and let thicken, about one minute. Add the potatoes, milk, and vegetable broth and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Mash slightly with a hand masher or fork - just slightly - don't try to make mashed potatoes out of it. Add the corn and the cream and let it simmer for a couple of minutes, just to warm both. Then taste it. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Stir in a handful of cheese and let it melt. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese. You can also add some crumbled bacon to the top.