Monday, February 20, 2017
I love to create easy weekday meals that just burst with flavor. Being of Italian heritage I learned at an early age from my mother that you should only consume food that taste delicious. Meticulous preparation was so important to my mother who enjoyed the art of cooking instilling in me that food is love that your share with family and friends. I have continued her tradition preparing meals with the focus on flavor and taste. All you need to add as my mother is fond of saying is a pinch or this, a dash of that, just doctor it up! Still at ninety five she knows how to make food sing with flavor.
Roasted Cauliflower with Italian Tuna over Pasta
1 head cauliflower, chopped
six skin-on garlic cloves
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 black pepper
1/4 red pepper flakes
1 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoon butter
two tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup breadcrumbs, toasted
Italian yellow fin tuna in olive oil
1 tablespoon capers
1 pound pasta or spaghetti
On a sheet pan, drizzle a head of chopped cauliflower and six skin-on garlic cloves with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Roast at 425°, tossing occasionally, until the cauliflower is caramelized and crisp, about 30 minutes. Once cool, peel the roasted garlic cloves and chop.
In a large bowl, combine a cup of grated Parmesan, three tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt, two tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, and a quarter-cup of toasted breadcrumbs. (Toast stale bread until lightly golden, then use a food processor to pulse into crumbs.)
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook a pound of short pasta (like cavatelli) or thin spaghetti. Drain the pasta, reserving about a cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the hot pasta with the cauliflower, garlic cloves, Parmesan butter mixture, and enough pasta water to mix it all together. Add flaked tuna and mix. Garnish with capers.
Saturday, February 4, 2017
Christmas morning I find myself returning to memories of my Christmas mornings as a child where we would wake before the moon was tucked away for the day. So excited to see what Santa had left under the tree we would rush into our living room eyes filled with delight holding my breath as we got our first peek at our tree and gifts. Christmas still holds that child wonderment for me even now all these years later. After exchanging gifts our tradition includes a large Christmas morning breakfast before we ready for our company to arrive for Christmas dinner. I love to make these easy breakfast casseroles which conveniently can be readied the night before just baking in the morning for an easy, delicious Christmas morning.
Sausage, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound chicken sausage links
6 slices soft hearty white bread
One 8-ounce package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
8 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, until browned, about 10 minutes; drain well on paper towels. Slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
Cut and discard the crusts from the bread. Cut the slices in half, and arrange in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, cutting pieces to fit as necessary to cover the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with the sausage and cheese.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, seasoned salt and pepper; carefully pour the mixture over the cheese.
Bake casserole until set and golden, about 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Cheese Grits and Sausage Casserole
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups uncooked grits
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 pound chicken sausage links
- 12 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking dish.
- Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan, and stir in grits. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 5 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed. Mix in 1/2 the butter and 2 cups cheese until melted.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage until evenly browned. Drain and slice into 1 inch slices. Mix into the grits. Beat together the eggs and milk in a bowl, then mix into the grits.
- Pour the grits mixture into the prepared baking dish. Dot with remaining butter, and top with remaining cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned.
Christmas Morning French Toast
1 loaf Italian bread ( 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
Maple Syrup ( if desired, I don't think it is needed as the topping takes the place of maple syrup)
Slice Italian bread into 20 1-inch slices. Arrange slices on a 9 x13 baking dish( spray with cooking spray) in two rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl combine eggs, half and half, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and beat with a mixer or whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over the bread, slowly, making sure to evenly cover all the bread. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
1/4 cup of butter( 1 sick)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
The next day preheat oven 350 F. Spread topping over bread. (It will not cover all the bread) Top with cranberries. Bake covered for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup if desired.
Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Chocolate, caramel and sea salt, a perfect combination for a Christmas cookie. Each year I make copious quantities of Christmas cookies to give to friends and family. Sharing my creations with those I love is my personal way to celebrate the season. This cookie has become one of my family's favorite since they all love chocolate and caramel dusted with sea salt then drizzled with chocolate glaze!
1 cup flour
Generous 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup fine granulated sugar
1/2 package caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus about 1/2 tsp. for sprinkling
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate bar
1 teaspoon shortening
1. Make cookies: Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add egg yolk, cream, and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
2. Scoop dough into rounded 1-tsp. portions and roll into balls, then roll balls in sparkling or powdered sugar to coat. Place 2 in. apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. With end of a thick-handled wooden spoon, gently press an indentation into center of each cookie. Bake until cookies are just set, about 10 minutes. (The depressions tend to fill in a bit as they bake, so as soon as they're out of the oven, give them another press with the spoon if necessary.) Slide parchment with cookies onto cooling racks and let cool.
3. Make caramel: Place caramels in small heavy sauce pan with cream. Heat to boiling lower heat stirring until caramels are melted.
4. Assemble cookies: Spoon about 1/4 tsp. caramel into each cookie, then sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt.
5. Microwave chocolate and shortening on high for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is smooth. Drizzle over cookies.
My mother passed this recipe to me many years ago. It is the richest cheesecake that you can make. I save it for special occasions when I want to share a show stopping dessert that tops off a dinner or a party. I have included a recipe for a pineapple glaze, or you can thickly spread sour cream on top. Or if you want to make this for Christmas as I did this year I put candied cranberries on top. Ether way this cheesecake is the star of the show!
1 cup sifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup butter, softened
5 pkg(8-oz) cream cheese softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoon flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 1/2 grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cans(8 1/4-oz) crushed pineapple in heavy syrup, undrained
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water
Preheat over to 400F. Grease the inside of 9-inch springform pan(3 inches high). Remove side. Make crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, lemon, peel, vanilla. Make well in center; with fork, blend in yolk and butter. Mix with fingertips until smooth. Form half of dough into a ball and place on bottom of springform pan. Place wax paper on top; roll pastry to edge of pan. Remove paper. Bake 6 to ;8 minutes or until golden. Cool. Meanwhile divide rest of dough into three parts. Between waxed paper roll each part 2 1/4 inch wide and 9 inch long. Assemble springform pan with the crust on the bottom. Line sides fo the pan with pastry strips, over lapping ends. Remove waxed paper. Preheat oven 450F.
Filling: In large mixer bowl, blend cheese, sugar, flour, peels and vanilla at high speed. Beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time: beat until smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with spatula. Beat in cream. Pour into pan. Bake 10 minutes. Lower oven to 250F. Bake 1 hour longer. Remove pan to rack to cool, 2 hours. Make glaze.
Glaze: In small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in remaining ingredients. Over medium heat, bring to boiling, stirring; boil 1 minute, or until thickened and translucent. Cool.
Spread surface of cheese cake with glaze; refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Sugared Cranberries: Bring 1 cup sugar and water to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour simple syrup into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Add cranberries and stir to coat. Refrigerate cranberries in syrup overnight, stirred a couple times to coat with syrup.
Remove cranberries from syrup and roll in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. You'll need to roll them a few times to get a couple layers of sugar on them.
Set cranberries aside to dry for a hour or so.
To serve: Loosen pastry fro side of pan with spatula. Remove sides of springform pan. Top with either Pineapple glaze or sugared cranberries. Serves 16
Who doesn't love caramel and chocolate. These bars have both and are very easy to make. Cookies generally require time although worth all the effort to make homemade cookies. If you love cookies but thought you didn't have the patients or time to make try a bar cookie. So easy to make without having to roll out or decorate. And so delicious, need I say more. Once you master the bar cookie you will always find time to whip up a batch.
- 1 cup butter, soften
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 14-oz package vanilla caramels, unwrapped
- 1 14 ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk or low-fat sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats.
- For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the reserved 2 tablespoons butter, caramels and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
- Press two-thirds (about 3-1/3 cups) of the rolled oats mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15X10X1-inch baking pan. Spread caramel filling evenly over the oats mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips.Dot remaining rolled oats mixture on filling.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Cool pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 60 bars.