Showing posts from January, 2014

A Mandarin Orange Pecan Wild Rice and Farro Salad that taste and looks fantastic!

Who says healthy can't taste and look fantastic!  I knew that I had a winner with my Mandarin, Orange Pecan Wild Rice and Farro Salad the first time I served this for a birthday dinner for my son.  Everyone just raved about the salad and asked for the recipe.  This salad is easy and great to do ahead.  Love the sweetness of the mandarin oranges and crunch of the pecans.

4 sprigs thyme, divided
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
Kosher salt
1 cup wild rice, or wild rice blend like Whole Foods
1 cup farro
1 can(15 oz.) Mandarin Oranges in Light Syrup, drained, reserve syrup, I used Dole
¼ cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped pecans

Bring 2 thyme sprigs, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt, then rice; reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 40–45 minutes. Remove thyme and let cool. Drain, if neede…

Red Velvet Heart cookies just in time for Valentine's Day!

Red Velvet all over lately, even Dunkin Donuts had  Red Velvet lattes and  Red Velvet Drizzle Donuts during the holidays.  I'm  still not tired of this delicious flavor.  What could be more appropriate for Valentine's Day than Red Velvet Heart cookies. These little gems are fun and easy to make just screaming Be Mine!

Red Velvet Heart Cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter 1 tablespoon red food coloring 3 ounces white baking chocolate with cocoa butter, coarsely chopped 1 1/2 teaspoon shortening

1. Preheat oven to 325F.  In medium bowl sift flour, cocoa and salt.  Set aside
2. Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture until combined.  Add red food coloring gently hand mixing until dough is red without any chocolate streaks.
3. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth.  On lightly floured surface,  roll dough until 1/2 inch thick.  Using a 1inch scall…

French Macarons a special Valentine's Day treat for your Sweetheart!

I've never met a holiday that I didn't love to celebrate.  Valentine's day happens to be one of my favorites.  I love decorating; pulling out all my dishes, plates, teacups pots and more.  China, silver,  and crystal which I collect and use all the time but especially lend a nice touch to Valentine's Day.

Today I baked up some treats to share with my family.  I made French Macaron cookies and Red Velvet Heart cookies.  Perfect to say Be My Valentine!

These delectable little treats are worth the all the work.  I also like to fill with other flavored filling to change it up!

French Macarons with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Makes 24-30 shells or 12-15 macarons

3 large egg whites, at room temperature for three hours
1 cup silvered almonds, toasted
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red food coloring

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a pencil draw 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch circl…

Brined Cornish Hens

Cornish hens like any whole poultry benefit if you brine before cooking.  The overnight brining makes them tender and juicy.  Just look at these golden, browned succulent little birds!

 Roasted Lemon Game Hens

1/4 cup kosher salt 1/4 cup sugar 1 lemon, thinly sliced 1/2 tsp. freshly ground peppercorns 1 bay leaf 2 teaspoon rosemary 2 teaspoon thyme 2 teaspoon fennel 1 qt. ice water 4 (1 1/2-ib) Cornish hens 2 Tbs. olive oil 2 teaspoon rubbed sage 2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns

Bring 1 cup of water and next eight ingredients to a boil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir in 1 qt. ice water.  Rinse hens; pat dry and add to brine.  Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425F.  Remove hens from brine; pat dry.  Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together with string.  Brush hens with olive oil.  Mix sage and peppercorns together and rub on all sides of the hens.  Arrange hens on rack in roasting pan.  Bake for 50 m…

French Bistro Chicken Pot Pie

I love bistro French cooking.  I'm reminded of aged french farmhouses with the wind gently ruffling fields of lavender on a warm summer day.  The draw of french cooking to me has always been the style of Provence or elegantly simple bistro cooking.  That's the taste that I wanted to capture with my French Bistro chicken Pot Pie.  Elegant but with simple ingredients that speak to my love of casual french cooking.  Serve with a salad of interesting fresh greens dressed, petite tomatoes and blue cheese dressed with a french vinaigrette and a glass of crisp Chablis, simply delicious!  A meal that transports me to the french country side.

French Bistro Chicken Pot Pie pour deux
2 whole boneless chicken breast 1 tablespoon olive oil sea salt freshly ground pepper 1/4 cup butter 1 cup chopped leeks, white only 1/2 cup chopped shallots 1/4 cup flour 1 1/2 cup chicken stock 1/2 cup white wine 2 tablespoon heavy cream
2 teaspoon herbs de provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly g…

Spicy Mexican Turkey Meatloaf on a Cold Winter day!

I don't know about you but when the temperature gets cold and the nights are long, I become famished.  Give me hearty, filling fare to make me nice and toasty!  No cold salad, or undressed veggies, I need substance!  I'm a throw back to my neanderthal ancestors, give me that extra layer of fat my body is telling me, eat up.  Unfortunately I work very hard to eat healthy and stay thin.  So I like to plan great hearty meals that satisfy my needs but are slimmed down in the calorie count.  A win win!

I find that spices especially a little spiciness goes a long way in tricking your palate into feeling very satisfied without adding needless fat or salt.  I created my spicy Mexican Turkey Meatloaf to be filling, tasting, and most importantly healthy.  It's like a Taco with out all the fat. 

1 lb ground lean turkey
1 egg
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, chopped, white only
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 cup Franks Red …

Minus 15 degrees this morning sends me dreaming of long days spent in my garden!

I am a transplant to Boston and New England, living here for over twenty five years, born and raised in Pennsylvania.  For some inexplicable reason I felt at home, as if I returned to where I belong, to my roots the very first time I visited Boston so long ago.  Funny I just found out recently, when my husband was doing genealogy research on my grandparents, that my paternal grandmother, who we were always told was born in Pennsylvania, turns out to be born in Rhoda Island.  That's another blog!  Getting back to my love for my adopted area, this morning was challenging my resolve to stay a Bostonian.  When I woke up and look my weather app the temperature was -15, yes -15!  It's colder in Boston than my lake house deep in the white mountains of New Hampshire!

Immediately as I looked at the temperature my mind started dreaming of warm weather with the long days that I love to spend working in my garden.  My fingers started clinking on all my favorite gardening site with vision…

A Trio of Heart Warming Soups for a Snowy Day!

One of my favorite things about living in New England is snow days!  Mother Nature visits our part of the earth all winter long with the gift of beautiful fresh snow which means for most of us an impromptu snow day.  Ah, safe in my warm home looking out on the majestic brilliant white snow falling in my back yard starts me thinking that it's time to restock my freezer with home made soups to warm us all on the snowy winter days ahead!

I've spotlight a trio of my family favorites heart warming soups for a snowy day or any day in fact!

Garlicky Baby Bela Mushroom Soup with Brown Rice

Making soup is so much fun on a cold wintry day especially when I use mushrooms. I make many different soups but I like this soup so much that I make it over and over changing a little here and a little there. Today I wanted the soup very flavorful add four cloves of garlic!  Garlic sauteing filled my kitchen, so delightful.

Baby Bela Garlic Mushroom Soup with Brown Rice

2 tablespoon olive …