December 15, 2010

Cranberry Bread

4 oz. orange juice
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP. grated orange peel
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Sugar in the Raw (optional)

Combine all ingredients except berries and nuts. Fold in berries and nuts.
Pour into 2 buttered or sprayed loaf pans or muffin tins. bread pan. Sprinkle with coarse sugar (like sugar in the Raw)

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

November 30, 2010

Alton Brown's Turkey Brine

I followed these great instructions for BRINING a Turkey. It came out fabulous- the best turkey I have made or tasted. I didn't put this up for Thanksgiving beforehand because I wanted to try it first. So, in preparation for a holiday dinner, here it is. Amazinging easy. No fuss during cooking time. I couldn't believe how simple it was.


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


Click here to see how it's done.
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

rainesworld: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple

rainesworld: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple

November 18, 2010

Pizza Rustica (Olive Garden Recipe)

7 ½ cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
1 pk dry active yeast
2 1/2 cups water, warm (90-115ºF)
1/2 Tbsp +1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
All-purpose flour as needed
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into very thin slices
16 fresh garlic cloves
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
20 thin slices prosciutto ham
4 rounds fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
4 tbsp of pesto (jarred)
Procedures Pre-heat oven to 350ºF—increase to 550ºF.

  1. POUR warm water into a bowl. Add yeast. Using a wire whip, whisk to completely dissolve yeast. Set aside for about 5 minutes, or until yeast activates. Add 1 cup flour, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough is soft and springy. Dough should turn into a ball. If dough is too dry, add a very small amount of water. If it becomes too wet, add a small amount of flour.
  2. PLACE ball of dough on a floured board and cover with a dry towel. Allow to sit until ball doubles in size.
  3. CUT risen dough into 4 equal pieces. Again, roll into balls and allow to rise*.

  1. PLACE garlic cloves in a small pan. Add 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and evenly coat each clove..
  2. BAKE at 350ºF for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

  1. PLACE dough ball on floured board. Using hands, flatten and spread out to form a circle.
  2. SLIDE pizza dough onto a pizza pan or parchment paper.
  3. PLACE fresh mozzarella slices on pizza. Add sliced eggplant and roasted garlic cloves.
  4. BAKE at 550ºF for 5-6 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and add prosciutto slices. Top with spoonfuls of pesto.

*If not using dough immediately, wrap each ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready for use. Once ready to use, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

November 15, 2010

Chicken Corn Chowder




2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups chicken stock
4 potatoes, peeled and diced small
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 casn sweet corn, drained
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Chopped cilantro, to garnish (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.  Add cumin and vegetables and saute until tender. 
  2. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minute, or until there is no longer any visible raw flour. 
  3. Stir in sugar.
  4. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir, incorporating the flour and vegetables.  
  5. Add the potatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. 
  6. Add chicken, corn and cream.  
  7. Continue to simmer.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.  

Garnish with any of the following: fresh cilantro, sour cream, bacon, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese

November 5, 2010

Cuban Black Bean Soup


  Photo pending



  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 jalapeno, split, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 3/4 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    • Chopped tomatoes, red onion and cilantro
    • Crushed tortilla chips
    • Sour cream +2 teaspoons lime zest
    • Grated Cheddar cheese


    1. Pick through the beans and discard any debris - wash under cold running water.
    2.  In a food processor add garlic, onion, pepper, and cilantro.
    3. Set a large pot over medium heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add the oregano and cumin. 
    4. Add vegetable puree and saute until just fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. 
    5. Add beans, ham hock, jalapeno, bay leaves and stock. 
    6. Slightly cover and simmer for 2 hours until beans are tender.
    7. When cooked, remove bay leaves and take out ham hock. 
    8. Cut ham meat off the bone, cut into pieces and set aside.
    9. Using a blender, puree just enough of the beans and stock (about a third of the total pot) to thicken up the soup and bring everything together. 
    10. Season with salt and pepper and if desired, fold ham meat back into the soup.
    11. Garnish

    October 6, 2010

    Asian Sesame & Ginger Salad

    When I make my salads, I make sure that the ingredients match the flavor profile.  Like, I would never add cucumbers to a  Latin style dressing.  Nor would  I add peppers to a Caesar salad, or tomatoes to an Asian inspired salad. I just wouldn't.  I also have a hard time not putting something in if I know it belongs.  Like today...I didn't have any RED bell peppers or PURPLE cabbage.  I almost didn't want to make the salad... but I had a bunch of Asian inspired ingredients already out from prepping a Chicken Satay for dinner, and I needed lunch.  That is how I have been rolling lately.  The ingredients are all out, so I say "What can I make with these ingredients set before me, that will serve a double duty purpose?"  So, I made the salad anyway, and it was delicious! I have one extra salad in the fridge for my husbands lunch tomorrow, dinner marinating and a jar full of dressing and lunch eaten. 
    • 1 head of Romain lettuce, cut up
    • 1/2 head of small green/red cabbage, chopped small
    • 2-4 green onions, slivered
    • 2-4 peeled shaved carrots, sliced
    • 2- stalks of celery, sliced thin
    • Handful of chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 large red pepper better, chopped
    • 1 handful of snap peas or snow pea pods, sliced
    • Grilled chicken
    • Fried ginger flavored wonton strips
    • Toasted almonds and/ or sesame seeds
    • Asian dressing (see below)
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger root
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (white is fine too)
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 3 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
    1. In a  pint  jar or larger, combine ingredients.  
    2. Cover the jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake well.  
    3. Store covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
    Toss with salad
    Great as a marinade

    September 28, 2010

    Baked Brie w/ Fresh Fruit


    • 1 11x17" sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted
    • 1 13.2 ounce wheel of Brie cheese, about 5 inches
    • 1/4 cup fig, raspberry or apricot jam
    • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted*
    • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water for glaze
    • 1 box water crackers
    • Blueberries
    • Red pears 
    • Apple
    1.  Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 12-inch square.Remove the top rind from the Brie. This is easiest if you put the cheese in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes first. 
    2. When the cheese has firmed up, shave off the rind with a sharp paring knife. Discard the rind. 
    3. Spread apricot, fig or raspberry jam on top of the brie.  
    4. Sprinkle with almonds if desired.  
    5. Place the cheese top side down onto the rolled out pastry dough.
    6. Fold pastry on 2 opposite sides over cheese. 
    7. Brush all sides of pastry with glaze. Fold over remaining sides; press seams to seal. Place on cookie sheet SEAM SIDE DOWN.  Brush pastry on all sides with glaze.
    8. Hint to keep the cheese from spilling out:  If the cheese came in a wooden box, simply return it to the box. Otherwise, shape a few layers of aluminum foil into a shallow makeshift pan around the cheese. Crimp the foil at the edges, leaving the top of the Brie exposed.
    9. Cut designs from the dough scraps and decorate the top of the dough, then brush with the egg wash. 
    10. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. 

      *Toast nuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes, stirring or tossing often, just until lightly golden. Remove the toasted nuts from the skillet immediately, as the heat of the skillet will continue to toast the nuts. Cool completely. 
      Alternatively, you can spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast them in a 350°F oven or toaster oven, stirring once or twice.

      September 27, 2010

      Rib-Eye and Anaheim Chili Quesadillas


      • Anaheim Chile Vinaigrette
      • 3 large Anaheim chiles, grilled, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
      • 2 poblanos, roasted and roughly chopped
      • 4 cloves roasted garlic, peeled
      • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
      • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
      • 3 tablespoons water
      • 1 tablespoon honey, or more if needed
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 3/4 cup canola oil
      • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves


      • 12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
      • 1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
      • 1 cup cabrales
      • Marinated rib-eye slices, leftover from Rib-Eye Marinated in Garlic, Anaheim Chiles and
      • Fresh Oregano recipe
      • 8 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
      • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and sliced
      • 1 Anaheim pepper, roasted and julienned
      • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
      • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
      • Canola oil
      • Cilantro leaves, for garnish


      For the vinaigrette:

      Combine the Anaheim chiles, poblanos, garlic, vinegar, lime juice, a few tablespoons of water, honey and salt and pepper, to taste, in a blender and blend until smooth.

      With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Add the parsley and blend 5 seconds longer. (There should be flecks of the parsley in the vinaigrette.)

      For the quesadilla:

      Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place 8 tortillas on a flat surface and evenly divide the Monterey Jack, cabrales, beef, goat cheese, bell pepper, Anaheim pepper and green onion among the tortillas (in that order). Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

      Stack the tortillas to make 4 (2-layer) tortillas and top each with the remaining tortillas. Combine ancho chili powder and canola oil, and brush the tops of the tortillas. Carefully place on the grill, ancho side down and grill until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the quesadillas over, close the lid of the grill and grill until the bottom of the tortillas are lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted. Remove from the grill to a cutting board. Cut into quarters, top each quarter with some of the vinaigrette and garnish with cilantro leaves. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

      Rib-Eye Marinated in Garlic & Anaheim Chilis


      • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      • 3 Anaheim chiles, stems removed, sliced with seed and coarsely chopped
      • 3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano leaves
      • 1/2 cup canola oil
      • 3 (1-inch) thick bone-in rib-eye
      • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper


      Stir together the garlic, chiles, oregano and oil in a large baking dish. Add the steaks and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 8 hours.

      Heat grill to high. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling to take the chill off. Remove from the marinade and season liberally on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill the steaks on both sides until golden brown and slightly charred and cooked to medium-rare and an instant-read thermometer registers 130 degrees F. Remove from the grill to a cutting board and let rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve.

      September 16, 2010

      September 10, 2010

      Lemon Pasta with Arugula

      My recipe for Lemon Pasta with Arugula is based on Ina Garten's.  I have put my twist on it.  I like tiny pieces of broccoli so it doesn't overpower the dish.  You can add  any fresh vegetable to make it your own.   It pairs well with steak and chicken-added in or on the side.  Add more olive oil and less cream to cut the heaviness of the dish.  You can also replace the arugula with fresh basil leaves.  I see another recipe coming! Enjoy.


      • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
      • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
      • 2 cups heavy cream
      • 3 lemons
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 1 pound pasta (linguine, penne, fusilli or bow tie)
      • 1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
      • 1/2 cup broccoli, tiny florets
      • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
      • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved


      1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds.
      2. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
      3. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.
      4. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli in florets and discard the stem.
      5. Cook the florets in a pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute until tender but still firm. Drain the broccoli and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
      6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
      7. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta.
      8. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli.
      9. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste.
      Cooks note: You may also add sliced carrots, snow pea pods, slivered onions, ect. with the broccoli.
      Also, if you want your dish more creamy then double the sauce ingredients OR add 1/2 the sauce before the final step.

      August 27, 2010

      Savory Palmiers (italian pastries)


      • 1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted
      • 1/4 cup prepared pesto, store bought or homemade (recipe follows)
      • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
      • 1/4 cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
      • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
      • Kosher salt


      Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry.

      Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it's 9 1/2 by 11 1/2-inches.

      Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sundried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts.

      Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

      Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again towards the center until the folded edges almost touch.

      Fold one side over the other and press lightly.

      Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the entire instructions for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients.

      Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes.

      Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

      Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry in 1/4 inch thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.

      Homemade Pesto:

      • 1/4 cup walnuts
      • 1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
      • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
      • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
      • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
      • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
      • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

      Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds.

      Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper.

      With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed.

      Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.

      Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

      Yield: 4 cups

      August 19, 2010

      Homemade Refrigerated Dill Pickles

      • 6 cups sliced cucumbers (slice how you like them)
      Pickling Mixture:
      • 1/2-cup (packed) fresh dill (from your garden or the grocery store's fresh vegetable dept)
      • 2 cups thinly sliced onions
      • 1-1/2 cups sugar, honey, agave nector or Splenda
      • 1-1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt (canning or kosher is best, but not vital)
      • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
      • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
      • **optional grape leaves

      Bring the pickling mixture and 2 cups of vinegar to a near-boil - just simmering!
      Be sure to use a NON-metal pot - or a coated metal (teflon, silverstone, enamel, etc.) without breaks in the coating. The metal reacts with the vinegar and makes the pickle solution turn cloudy.
      Pack the cucumbers, whole or slices in and pour the simmering pickle mix liquid over them. Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, set the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them.
      ***To make your dill pickles crispy, put a fresh clean grape leaf in the bottom of each jar. Continue with the process as usual!
      Cool at room temperature. About 2 hours. Put into the fridge and wait at least 24 hours!
      It takes some time for the seasonings to be absorbed into the pickles. That's at least 24 hours, but for best flavor wait 1 week.
      Be sure to keep them refrigerated!!! Lasts about 2 months.

      August 17, 2010

      Fight These 4 causes of Aging
      You can slow down your aging process and help stave off heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. U.S. News & World Report offers some tips on how to do it:

      1. Free radicals. Free radicals are chemically unstable molecules that attack your cells and damage your DNA. You can limit your exposure to them by avoiding cigarettes, trans fats, charred meats, and other sources.
        Organic fruits and vegetables will also limit your exposure to pesticides and herbicides, which contain the harmful molecules.
      2. Inflammation. Inflammation is a major player in many diseases of aging, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer's. One way to avoid it is to follow a Mediterranean-style diet.
        Other great anti-inflammatory foods include turmeric, dark chocolate, and the anti-aging chemical resveratrol. Exercise is another great way to lower inflammation.
      3. Glycation. Glycation is what happens when sugar mixes with proteins and fats to form molecules that promote aging. Advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, are thought to accelerate your aging process by churning out free radicals and promoting inflammation. One way to avoid ingesting AGEs is to turn down the heat when you cook. The browning effect of high-heat cooking causes these molecules to form. Limiting your intake of sugar-filled foods in general will also help.
      4. Stress. Stress initiates the release of a variety of hormones that make your pulse race and cause your blood pressure to rise. The hormone cortisol, released to lessen these effects, also creates problems when it remains chronically elevated. Try practicing relaxation techniques to help manage stress, and get enough sleep every night.

      July 19, 2010

      Organic Choices

      In a perfect world, we would buy all of our groceries organic. Unfortunately, organic food is still more expensive (although the price is continually dropping) or even unavailable. To make wiser consumer choices here is a list of produce with the highest level of pesticide contamination. The following list is based on information and studies by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Reports, and the Environmental Working Group.
      1. Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
      Here is a list of fruits and vegetables found to contain the least amount of pesticides. Notice that many of these have thick, inedible skins which protect the fruit.
      • Asparagus
      • Avocados
      • Bananas
      • Broccoli
      • Cauliflower
      • Corn (However, almost all corn is genetically modified)
      • Kiwi
      • Mangoes
      • Onions
      • Papaya
      • Pineapples
      • Sweet Peas

      Organic Produce

      June 24, 2010

      Fresh Basil Pesto

      Every year we plant basil and every year the plants do so well that we can't use it up fast enough. What to do? Basil pesto, of course! Here is a simple recipe. Note that pesto is always made to taste, based on the ingredients at hand. So adjust the ingredients to your taste. Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, we often use Romano which has a stronger flavor. Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts but you can easily substitute walnuts.
      If you want to freeze the pesto you make, omit the cheese (it doesn't freeze well). Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan or Romano.
      Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
      • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
      • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
      • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
      • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
      • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
      • 1 squeeze of a fresh lemon
        Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

      • Special equipment needed: A food processor

      1. Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) 
      2. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. 
      3. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. 
      4. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. 
      5. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. 
      6. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 
      7. Squeeze the lemon, pulse to finish
      Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

      June 9, 2010

      Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce with Pulled Pork & Slaw

      Our country has so many distinct barbeque flavors reaching from us from coast to coast.  Kansas City, Texas, The Carolinas, Memphis, Chicago.   They all boast of great regional Barbeque. Smoky, sweet, spicy and sour.  Serious Eats has a great article on regional barbecue if you want to know the differences. They even have a list of some fabulous sauces with great recipes to try.  Check it out and see what your favorites are.
      My recipe would be classified more like Kansans City style because of its thick, sweet, tomato-and-molasses based flavors.   It has quite a few ingredients, but it is worth it! The recipe is a great lesson is using rubs and making your own sauces, along with roasting meat and being patient as  you spend time developing flavors.  Play with the ingredients to find what you like the best. 
      • 1 boneless pork butt, about 4 pounds
      • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
      • 2 tablespoons spice rub recipe follows or use Emeril's "ESSENCE"
      • 1 tablespoon salt
      • 1 tablespoon cumin
      • 1 tablespoon paprika
      • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
      • 1 tablespoon cayenne
      • Wet Mop Basting Sauce, recipe follows
      • Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows
      • 8 buns/rolls (use firm rolls like french style, ciabatta or baguette)
      • Cole Slaw, recipe follows 
      • Optional: Dill pickles and sliced raw onion


      1. Place the pork in a baking dish. 
      2. In a bowl, combine the sugar, Essence, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, and cayenne. 
      3. Rub the seasoning evenly over the pork to coat. 
      4. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
      5. Preheat an oven or smoker to 225 degrees F.
      6. Bring the pork to room temperature and place in a roasting pan, fat side up. 
      7. Slow cook in the oven, basting with the wet mop basting sauce every 45 minutes, until tender and the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. (The cooking should take about 6 to 7 hours.) 
      8. Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
      9. With a knife and fork or two forks, pull the meat apart into small slices or chunks. 
      10. Toss with the barbecue sauce, to taste, and divide among the  buns. 
      11. Top with the coleslaw, pickles and sliced raw onion

      Spice Rub

      • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
      • 2 tablespoons salt
      • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
      • 1 tablespoon black pepper
      • 1 tablespoon onion powder
      • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
      • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
      • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
      Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

      Wet Mop Basting Sauce:

      • 1 cup white vinegar
      • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
      • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
      • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
      • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
      • 1 tablespoon salt
      1. The night before you cook the pork, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well. 
      2. Refrigerate and let the flavors blend overnight.

      Barbecue Sauce:

      • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
      • 1 cup ketchup
      • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
      • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
      • 1 tablespoon molasses
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
      1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and whisk well to dissolve the sugar. 
      2. Place in a squeeze bottle and dress the pulled pork sandwiches to taste.

      Cole Slaw:

      • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
      • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
      • 1/4 cup agave nectar or sugar
      • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
      • salt & pepper to taste
      • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
      • 3 cups shredded green cabbage (about 1/2 head cabbage)
      • 3 cups shredded red cabbage (about 1/2 head cabbage)
      • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
      • 1/2 cup onion, minced
      • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
      1. In a bowl, combine wet and dry ingredients to make a dressing, and whisk well to dissolve the sugar.
      2. Toss vegetables with the dressing until evenly coated. 
      3. Adjust seasoning, to taste.  Add Cilantro.
      4. Place in the refrigerator, covered, to chill slightly before serving.

      March 15, 2010

      Blanching Vegetables

      1. Step 1

        Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add enough salt so the water tastes faintly salty.

      2. Step 2

        While the water heats, fill a large bowl about three-quarters full with ice, then add enough cold water to come just to the top of the ice.

      3. Step 3

        When the water is boiling and the ice bath is ready, trim the vegetables to the size you need. It's best to trim them just prior to cooking so they won't oxidize or dehydrate.

      4. Step 4

        Add the vegetables to the boiling water in batches small enough to ensure that the water doesn't lose its boil.

      5. Step 5

        Boil the vegetables only until they're barely cooked through but still tender. To test, remove one piece with a slotted spoon, dip it into the ice bath to cool, and eat it.

      6. Step 6

        As soon as the vegetables are done, remove them as fast as you can and submerge them in the ice bath.

      7. Step 7

        Remove them from the ice bath as soon as they are no longer warm.

      8. Step 8

        To reheat the vegetables, you can use any cooking method you wish, like sauteing, grilling, or boiling; just make sure to barely heat them up and not to cook them again.

      March 8, 2010

      Couscous Salad

      We are finally getting ready for SPRING here in South West Michigan.  Or at  least thinking about getting ready.  Wanting to get ready.  Completely ready for winter to BE OVER. This salad is one of my warm weather staples.  I love it as a side dish to a nice grilled steak  or as a salad with grilled chicken.  You can add avocado for extra protein and creaminess.   


      • 1 box cous-cous, cooked according to package instructions
      • juice of 1 lime
      • 1/4 cup good olive oil
      • 1 scallion, minced
      • 1 seedless cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, quartered and chopped
      • 1/2 lb. grape tomatoes, quartered
      • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
      • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
      • fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
      3/4 pound feta cheese 


      1. Cook the cous-cous according to directions. Cool.
      2. Add the lime juice, olive oil and remaining ingredients.  
      3. Toss well and refrigerate for about 1 hour. 
      Also excellent with grilled chicken or pork.
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