January 31, 2011

Greek Pork Moussaka


I catered a Greek themed dinner last year and had to include Moussaka, a traditional Greek casserole, similar to lasagna. I did not want it to be the main entree, so I made it into an appetizer using mini muffin pans from Demarle At Home.  The individual sized Moussaka came out beautifully.  Literally, they came out of the pan beautifully.  This is a traditional, labor intensive recipe that I am working on to make easier.   

  • 3  yellow potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  •  salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Meat Sauce:
  • 1 onion, finely  chopped
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk, heated to very warm in microwave
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan, divided by 4thsoil

For the vegetables: 
  1. In a large skillet, drizzle olive oil and heat on medium.  Add potatoes, 1/2 cup of water and cover.  Steam them for 5 minutes. Set aside
  2. Meanwhile, slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices, brush with the olive oil and sprinkle with  salt and the pepper on both sides. Saute in skillet for 2 minutes on each side.  Set aside
  3. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven, 6 to 7 minutes per side. Set aside.

For the meat sauce:
  1. In a large saucepan, heat some olive oil and add onions.  saute about 5 minutes until golden brown.  
  2. Add the ground pork and cook through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and garlic, and cook until fragrant. 
  4. Turn the heat up to high, add the wine.  
  5. Bring to boil then reduce to low, reducing the mixture 1-2 minutes. 
  6. Add tomatoes sauce and heat through.  Set aside.
For the bechamel: 
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking to make a paste. 
  2. Whisk  for 2 minutes, allowing the mixture to bubble. 
  3. Add the warm milk slowly, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. 
  4. Once the sauce starts to come to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, whisking  frequently. Add some salt, pepper and nutmeg, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
  1. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Press potatoes on to the bottom of the pan.   
  2. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. 
  3. Place the eggplant on top of the potatoes. 
  4. Sprinkle with more 
  5. Parmesan. Add 1/2 of the bechamel sauce
  6. Spoon the meat sauce on top, followed by more  Parmesan. 
  7. Finish with pouring the remaining bechamel and top with the last  of Parmesan and a sprinkle of nutmeg..
  8. Bake for 30 minutes covered with foil, then 10 minutes uncovered or until golden brown and bubbly on top. 
Individual moussaka cooked in a Demarle Flexipan Muffin Tray

Galatoboureko (Custard Baklava)

For the citrus syrup:
1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 slice orange (optional)

For the custard:
1 quarts milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup farina or Cream of Wheat cereal
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
6 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the phyllo:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 pound phyllo dough, thawed

1. To make the syrup: Add sugar, water, lemon juice and orange slice (if desired) to a heavy saucepan and simmer 10 minutes, skimming away any froth at the surface. Remove and discard the orange slice. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the custard: Heat the milk and sugar in a deep saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the milk steams and is about to boil, shake in the farina. Add the butter and salt. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is thick and smooth, then remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
3. Beat the eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl until light, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cooled farina mixture, blending thoroughly.
4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
5. To assemble the dish, brush a 11 x 9-inch baking pan with a thin coating of the melted butter. Unwrap the phyllo dough, laying it out flat on a clean surface, and covering it with a slightly damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out.
6. Lay 1 half-sheet of phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan and brush it with a thin coating of melted butter. Continue layering and buttering the dough in the same manner for 8 half-sheets.
6. Pour in all the custard and spread it evenly. Cover the custard with 8 more half-sheet layers of buttered phyllo dough. Puncture the top sheets with a sharp knife in several places to allow the custard to breathe during baking.
7. Bake until the custard is set and the pastry shakes loose from the pan, about 30-45 minutes.
8. Let cool 30 minutes, then pour the sugar syrup over the pastry. Cool completely before cutting into triangles or rectangles. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small bunch mint, leaves picked and chiffonade (about 1 cup)
  1. Grate the cucumber over a wire mesh strainer placed over a bowl. 
  2. Add the garlic and salt. Set aside to drain for 15 minutes.
  3. To another bowl, combine 2 cups Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, freshly ground black pepper, pinch salt, and mint. Set aside.
  4. Squeeze out the excess moisture of the cucumbers and add to the Greek yogurt mixture. Stir to combine.

DOLMADES (stuffed grape leaves) By Emeril Lagasse

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon minced mint
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 (8-ounce) jar grape leaves, or 36 medium-sized fresh leaves 

Tzatziki sauce Directions
  1. In a large saute pan over medium high heat, heat 1/4-cup olive oil. 
  2. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and pine nuts and saute for 2 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the rice, salt, raisins, mint and juice of 1 lemon to the bowl with the onion mixture and mix well. Set aside.
  3. Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Remove the grape leaves from the jar and drop them in batches of 4 or 5 into the hot water. 
  4. Quickly remove them from the water and spread flat on a towel-lined work surface. 
  5. Cut the stem from each grape leaf, as needed. (NOTE: Fresh grape leaves also need to be blanched for 1/2 minute.)
  6. To assemble the dolmades, place 1 grape leaf on the work surface, dull side (or underside) of the leaf up. 

  1. Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of rice filling near the stem end of the leaf. Fold the stem (bottom) end up over the filling, fold the sides toward the filling in the center, then roll up the leaf into a small cylindrical package, being careful not to fold too tightly, as the rice will expand during cooking.
  1. Place the dolmades in a large Dutch oven or wide saute pan, seam side down. Combine the remaining cup of olive oil and juice of 1 lemon, and pour over the dolmades. Cover with a heavy plate or baking dish and add water to cover to the level of the plate. 
  1. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 1 hour, or until rice is tender.
  1. Serve at room temperature, with  Tzatziki as a dipping sauce

January 28, 2011

Michael Symon's Pork Souvlaki With Honey Apricots


For the Souvlaki:

  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1 1/2 -2 inch chunks

For the Apricots:

  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 3/4 cup dry rose or white wine
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 12 plump dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  • Greek yogurt, for serving


  1. Prepare the souvlaki: Combine the shallots, garlic, oregano, jalapeno, lemon juice and olive oil in a large resealable plastic bag. 
  2. Add the pork, turn to coat, and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  3. Soak 12 to 16 wooden skewers in water, at least 20 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, make the honeyed apricots: Bring the lime juice, wine, honey and shallot to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the apricots and cook until the mixture is syrupy, about 12 minutes.
  5. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Remove the pork from the marinade and thread 2 pieces onto each skewer. Grill until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
  6. Fold the mint and pine nuts into the apricot mixture. Serve the souvlaki with a dollop of yogurt and the apricot mixture.

Greek Style Pork Tenderloin


  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/4 pound feta cheese


  1. Combine the garlic, zest, juice, oregano and oil in blender and blend until smooth. Put the pork in a baking dish, add the marinade and turn to coat. 
  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  3. Heat a grill to high. Remove the pork from marinade and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill until golden brown on all sides and cooked to medium doneness.
  4. Transfer to a platter and top with feta. Garnish with fresh oregano and serve. 
Serve with Greek salad 

January 27, 2011

Saganaki ( Greek Cheese on Fire)

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-pound piece of Kasseri cheese, 1/2-inch to 1-inch-thick wedge
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 ounces Ouzo or Grappa
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  1. Crack egg into a shallow dish and thoroughly whisk. Dust cheese in the flour, shake off the excess and place the flour-coated cheese in the egg mixture. 
  2. Flip to coat completely. Place the cheese back into the flour, coating it thoroughly.
  3. Preheat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with 3 tablespoons of oil.3. 
  4. Once you see the first waft of smoke rising from the pan, add the butter and swirl in the pan to melt. 
  5. Once melted, carefully add the coated cheese wedge, browning it on each side, 2 minutes per side. 
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Ouzo or Grappa, then replace the pan to the heat. 
  7. Stand back and be careful: the pan will flame up. Once the flame extinguishes, squeeze the juice of the last lemon over the cheese and sprinkle with the parsley. Platter up the fired-up cheese with some pita bread alongside.

January 26, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins- Gluten Free

I developed this for my friends that are wheat or gluten intolerant.  My kids LOVED them.



  • 2 cups BROWN RICE flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar ( I used raw sugar)
  • 2 TBSP. cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups safflower or canola oil
  • 3 cups mashed banana


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin cups or spray and flour 2  loaf pans

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add eggs and oil. Using a  mixer, blend until combined.
Add banana and combine until smooth. 

Pour into pans. Bake loaves for approximately 40 minutes. Mini- muffins for about 15 minutes and larger muffins for about 25.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

NOTE:  you can substitute carrots for the banana, but take out the cocoa and add 1 tsp. cinnamon.
May also be used to make blueberry or cherry muffins.

January 11, 2011

Pumpkin Soup from Mesa Grill

My husband and I took a work trip to Las Vegas a few years agoMY goal for the trip was to try as many Food Network chefs  as possible.  On day 2, after shopping most of the morning and looking forward to a relaxing meal and drink, our first stop was lunch at  Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, located right at Caesar's Palace. We wanted to experience as much of  the menu as we could, so we ordered one item at a time and shared.   It was one of the best dining experiences  I ever had. Bobby Flay is able to to take a recipe and give you so many layers of flavor, each distinguishable in every bite. His soups are a perfect example of how he cooks. 

BTW...the evening was spent at Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse at the Venetian Hotel/Casino

From Bobby Flay / Mesa Grill


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 stocks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 7 cups vegetable stock, or water
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not flavored pie filling)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Mexican cinnamon, plus 1 teaspoon (canella)
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle puree
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. Heat the butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. 
  2. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery and cook until soft. 
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  4. Strain the stock into a clean medium saucepan and whisk in the pumpkin puree until smooth. 
  5. Bring to a simmer and add the 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, spices, honey and chipotle.
  6. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  7. Add water, if the soup is too thick. 
  8. Remove from the heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of the creme fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  9. Mix together the remaining creme fraiche and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon until combined. 
  10. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish with the cinnamon creme fraiche and a handful of pumpkin seeds.

Carribbean Salad With Passion Fruit Vinaigrette

One of my favorite summer-time salads.  Fixed just about every week, we serve it with grilled chicken & steak.  the vinaigrette is used as a marinade or on top of any favorite salad.
  • 4 cups packed Spring Mix greens (4 ounces)
  • 1 sliced Mango 
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • Optional: Caribbean Chicken
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh passion fruit pulp or passion fruit puree
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Thai red chile, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  1. In a small saucepan, boil the orange juice over high heat until it reduces to 2 tablespoons, about 12 minutes.
  2. Pour the reduced orange juice into a small bowl and let cool. Stir in the lime juice, passion fruit pulp, shallot, chile, ginger and honey.
  3. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified and season with salt and pepper. Mix in the chives and basil.
  4. Toss vinaigrette with greens and mango.

White Wine & Garlic Cream Sauce

This is a recipe for a simple cream sauce that is so versatile.  Use it for pasta, rice, chicken and seafood. I even serve it with my Island Pork Tenderloin.  I double and triple the recipe for later uses and because I like a lot of sauce!

  • 2 TBSP. butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Tarragon or other herbs of choice
  1. Melt butter in a saute pan. 
  2. Add garlic. Saute 1 minute. 
  3. Add wine and reduce to about half. 
  4. Add cream, salt and pepper, HERBS.

Jerk Pork Tenderloins with Mango Salsa


  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • 1orange zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 scotch bonnet peppers, minced (wear gloves please!)
  • 1 serrano pepper, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin (usually 2 small tenderloins)
  • Mango Salsa, recipe follows
  • Cooked rice or cous-cous , your choice


Place all ingredients except the pork and salsa into a blenderand blend until smooth.
Place the pork tenderloins into a resealable plastic bag, add the marinade and seal, making sure that the tenderloins are evenly coated with the marinade.
Refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours; the longer the meat marinates the better.
Preheat a grill to high. Remove the pork from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Grill the pork for 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or until slightly charred on the outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F.
Remove the meat from the grill and set aside to rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve, slice the pork against the grain into thin slices and serve immediately with the Mango Salsa and desired rice.

Mango Salsa:

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves or cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.

I also like to serve this with a basic wine and cream sauce.
2 TBSP. butter
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
1 1/2 cup white wine
1 cup of heavy cream
Salt and fresh ground pepper.
Melt butter in a saute pan. Add garlic. Saute 1 minute. Add wine and reduce to about half. Add cream, salt and pepper.

Scotch bonnet, also known as Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons[1] or Bonney peppers,[1] (Latin: Capsicum chinense) is a variety of chili pepper that belongs to the same species as the habanero. A cultivar of the habanero, it is one of the hottest peppers in the world. Found mainly in the Caribbean islands and also in Guyana and the Maldives Islands, it is named for its resemblance to a Tam o'shanter hat.[2] Most Scotch Bonnets have a heat rating of 100,000–350,000 Scoville Units.[3] For comparison, most jalapeño peppers have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale.
These peppers are used to flavour many different dishes and cuisines worldwide. The Scotch bonnet has a flavour distinct from its habanero cousin giving jerk dishes (pork/chicken) and other Caribbean dishes their unique flavour. Scotch bonnets are mostly used in Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian and Caymanian cuisine and pepper sauces, though they often show up in other Caribbean recipes.

I am beginning to plan a couples dinner at church and the
first thing of course is the MENU! Last year we prepared a
French menu and this year I am settling in on a Caribbean
themed menu.

January 3, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  True balsamic vinegar is made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The resulting thick syrup, called mosto cotto in Italian, is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of seven barrels of successively smaller sizes. The casks are made of different woods like chestnut, acacia, cherry, oak, mulberry, ash, and, in the past, juniper. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color and has a complex flavor that balances the natural sweet and sour elements of the cooked grape juice with hints of wood from the casks.

  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup Agave nectar  
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
Whisk ingredients until combined. 

Vinaigrette II
  • 1 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3cup balsamic vinegar2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salad greens
  • Assortment of salad ingredients (see below)

  1. Sliced seedless cucumbers, red onion with asiago cheese and grape tomatoes
  2. Walnuts with blue cheese
  3. Frisee and bacon with poached egg on top
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