Friday, December 18, 2009

Figs and Honey

figs in honey © David Loftus

figs in honey

dessert recipes
You should have no problem getting nice figs at this time of year and they’re wonderful to make in so many ways so when you see them, buy them up! Here’s one really gorgeous way to have them. I promise you won’t get bored of these; there are so many lovely ways of using them up.

Preheat your oven to 110ºC/ 225ºF/ gas ¼. Lay your figs, cut-side up, in a baking tray. Using a fine grater, zest your clementines over the figs then dust the figs with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar.

Pop the figs in the oven to bake for 4 hours, checking on them every hour or so. When they come out of the oven you’ll have semi-dehydrated figs, which will be a bit like wine gums.

A really nice way of using them at Christmas is to turn them into a bit of a gift by popping a stack of them in a sterilised jar, covering them completely with honey then sealing the jar with an airtight lid. They’ll be beautiful as part of a cheese platter, baked in a tart, a sticky toffee pud, or even thrown into a roasting tray with some pork or other meat for a bit of added sweetness. Give them to your mates when you go round to theirs for dinner. They’ll love getting something unique, especially when you explain all the different things they can do with them.


• 24 figs, halved
• 2 clementines
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar
• 1 large jar runny honey

Veggie Crudite and Yogurt Dip

Cool crudite veggies with a minted pea and yoghurt dip © David Loftus

cool crudite veggies with a minted pea and yoghurt dip

This dish is only as good as the vegetables you buy, so use that as your starting point and you'll be on to an absolute winner! Here are some tips on buying and preparing a selection of veg...
In most supermarkets these days you can get fresh baby carrots with their green tops. Leave about an inch of the tops on and just give the carrots a scrub.
Do the same with some lovely radishes. You can get some marbled pink and white oval ones now, which are crunchy and peppery. Again, leave the tops on as these make good handles when it comes to dipping.
Use nice crunchy lettuces. Sweeter lettuces like cos and Romaine are good for dipping – I try to use the inner part, keeping the outer leaves for another salad. I leave the stalk on and then cut the lettuce into quarters, and that way they stay in one piece, but you don't have to do this. The important thing is to get good chunks of vegetables. I like to contrast the sweet lettuces with slightly more bitter ones like radicchio or endive.
If you've got some young asparagus that's just come into season, it's really nice eaten raw. Feel free to use your imagination on the veggie side. Little fingers of celery or celeriac are also good. However, you often come across people who use raw cauliflower with dips – I personally would prefer colonic irrigation! I think cauliflower and broccoli are just awful eaten raw, so I wouldn't suggest using them here.

Whizz the yoghurt and mint up in a food processor for half a minute or so. Add the peas and the Parmesan and whizz again – the peas will break down and the yoghurt will become green. Put into a bowl, correcting the seasoning with extra salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice. When you add the lemon juice and peas to the yoghurt, quite often it splits and turns into a kind of cheese, but this is absolutely fine. It depends on the type of yoghurt you use and how acidic your lemon is. Just pour away any excess water. Usually, though, it doesn't split and is more like a purée, but both ways are good.

The best way to serve this is to put the dip into a bowl and have a big board next to it with your veggies on. And have some salt and pepper to hand in case you need it. It's a good sociable way to start a meal.


for the dip
• 1 x 200ml tub of yoghurt
• 1–2 handfuls of fresh mint, leaves picked
• 2 handfuls of fresh podded peas
• a handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• juice of ½ a lemon

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Have yourself a Modern Christmas

Who says you have to go the route of tradition and put up a typical Christmas tree? For those looking for a more minimal and modern contemporary spin on the old yuletide decoration, why not take a cue from this IKEA catalog setup where they've taken a trimmed tree branch and decorated it with a striking monochromatic selection of ornaments.

Hot Winter Drinks

While red wine and apple cider are the most traditional of the spiced winter warmers, you can also use cranberry juice, white wine, hard cider, or ale. All of these beverages take very nicely to mulling.

* The primary spice combinations for mulled wine or cider almost always include cinnamon sticks and whole cloves.
* Nutmeg, mace, star anise, allspice berries, cardamom pods, slices of fresh ginger, orange slices and lemon zest are also good additions.
* To infuse without making the drink cloudy and gritty, use whole spices rather than ground.

Mix it Up

Bring the mixture to a very gentle simmer over low heat.

* Don't let it boil: this can cause spices to turn bitter.
* To really allow the flavors of the spices to infuse into the beverage, you should allow the mixture to simmer on the stovetop for at least half an hour.

It's fine to keep the pot warm for several hours, allowing everyone to sip holiday cheer throughout the night: a slow cooker on low heat is ideal. Ladle into mugs and serve, garnished with an orange slice or cinnamon stick.


So it seems everywhere I look, people are throwing "cookie parties". Sounds like a great reason to drink wine, hang out with friends, and eat cookies..
Here is a recipe I found that looks great, and I love the packaging idea. Great for work gifts


Makes 36
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until a dough forms.
  3. Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.
  4. Arrange balls on baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges of cookies are just firm, 10 to 15 minutes (cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly). Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days.
From Everyday Food, December 2005 | Send Me a Free Preview Issue Now!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fig and Berry Trifle

Holy crap, this sounds good!

Serves 6

* 1 pint (about 18) green or black figs, stemmed and quartered
* 1 pint mixed berries, such as red raspberries, golden raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, large ones hulled and quartered
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liqueur
* Yellow Genoise Cake
* Lemon Curd Filling
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. Combine figs and berries in a small bowl. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and liqueur. Let sit, tossing gently once or twice, until juicy, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice cake into twelve 3-inch squares (you will have a few extra squares), and toast in the oven until golden brown in color, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Arrange half the toasted cake squares on 6 serving plates. Spoon the lemon curd and the fruit over the cakes. Cover each with another slice of cake, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve.

From Martha Stewart Living, September 1997 | Send Me a Free Preview Issue Now!

Adoreable Cupcakes

I have no idea how to even start icing these, but these are awesome!


Makes 24


  1. Tint buttercream green with gel-paste food color. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a small multi-opening tip (#233). Starting at the center and moving outward, pipe rows of grass on top of cupcakes: With tip on surface of cupcake, squeeze bag, then release while quickly pulling up to form 1/4-inch-long blades, making some slightly longer than others.
  2. Form ladybugs: Divide marzipan in half. Working on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch, tint one portion red and the other black with gel-paste food colors. Form a 1/2-inch ball of red marzipan for each ladybug body, and a 1/4-inch ball of black marzipan for each head. Flatten the red ball slightly into an oval shape, and press the head onto the body. Pinch off black marzipan to make tiny balls for the spots, and press onto the body. Repeat to make additional ladybugs with remaining marzipan. Place one or two ladybugs on top of each frosted cupcake, gently pressing them into the buttercream grass. Refrigerate 30 minutes to allow frosting to set. Cupcakes are best served the same day they are decorated; keep at room temperature.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Brine Your Turkey

I don't know about you, but, I love to brine my turkey for Thanksgiving. here is a great recipe I found.


  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried savory
  • 1 gallon ice water


  1. In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
  2. When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.
  3. Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.
  5. Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Learn How to Carve a Turkey

this is a video I found, that shows you how to carve a turkey. You will impress everyone

More Thanksgiving Table Ideas

I love modern ideas for the holidays! This is from a great site called

Thanksgiving 2008 } Global Lounge Style


Sustainability is about using what you already have, so this Thanksgiving, my color theme was inspired by a swanky bolt of blue and brown satin ribbon I had lounging about...I also wanted to give our dinner a hip hotel lounge vibe which would definitely have everyone talking about it afterwards. Global accents like origami, rattan, Chinese knots and classic patterns, like woven cane and circle medallions provided the global modern touches I adore. We also used our DJ uplights to jazz up the ambiance...everyone loved the mood lighting!
I've always wanted to use paper cranes for decor and thought the subtle resemblance to a turkey would be a nice touch. They were made with gift wrap paper, strung with crimped silver wire and hung from kiwi vines. The vines were held up by floral foam in a drinking glass and wrapped with turquoise tissue paper. The magical blue glow is created by super cool LED tea lights placed at the base of the vines, hidden by the tissue.

I sewed simple square napkins using a great cane patterned fabric that I found at the fabric store...the colors matched my theme perfectly!!! I only needed 2 yards.

Instead of Thanksgiving cards, I thought I would save paper and ink by making bookmarks with inspiring quotes on both sides and a nice satin ribbon at the end.

For the cocktail vibe, my hubby created a signature blue mocktail (blue raspberry lemonade blended with ice and sprite) and instead of the usual placecards, I created custom monogram drink tags using scrapbook supplies.
I found these rattan placemats with blue trim at a discount retailer for a buck a piece! I call this "intuitive sourcing" also known as, I was so lucky to find these!

And lastly, for the favors, I wrapped up some delicious iced gingerbread cookies in a kraft pillow box with the swanky satin ombre ribbon, a custom gift tag and a lovely Chinese knot. I'd have to say that this is my favorite dinner party so far! I really loved the lighting and magical LEDs!

Pan Roasted Root Vegetables with Apples and Chestnuts

From Food and Wine mag, this is a recipe I like, although, I think there are many great, easy ways to make roasted veg. Play around with this recipe, See what works with your taste buds!


  1. 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  2. 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  4. 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  5. 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  6. 2 medium red onions, each cut into 8 wedges through the core
  7. 1 cup vacuum-packed whole chestnuts (6 ounces)
  8. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  10. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  11. 2 medium beets, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  12. 2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smith, cored and cut into eighths


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, combine the cider vinegar, chicken stock, butter and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large shallow roasting pan, toss the sweet potatoes, onions and chestnuts with the olive oil and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Tuck the beets among the other vegetables and roast for 20 minutes. Gently turn the vegetables, add the apples and roast for 20 minutes longer, or until all of the vegetables and the apples are tender and lightly browned. Add the sauce and toss gently. Transfer to a platter and serve.

How much do you love your dog????

I love mine lots, but I never cook for him. This recipe may change my mind though... HOMEMADE DOG TREATS! if you make these, please leave a comment, so I know how they turn out.


  • 2 1/2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
  • 1 cube beef bouillon, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooked ground pork
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 6 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil two cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, milk powder, beef bouillon, and salt. Add the ground pork, carrot, shortening and egg; mix in to the flour mixture while gradually adding water to form a stiff ball of dough.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters, and reroll scraps until no dough is left. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms of the cookies are browned. Allow cookies to set for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Love Devils on Horseback?

You know I do!  So how about trying Bacon Wrapped Apricots with Sage. I mean, WHA??
 It sounds so good!


  • 24 small fresh sage leaves
  • 24 large dried apricots
  • 8 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • toothpicks, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 375º F. Place a sage leaf on each apricot, wrap with a piece of bacon, and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Bake until the bacon is beginning to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes per side.
  3. Remove from oven and brush with the maple syrup. Serve with toothpicks.
By Kate Merker and Sara Quessenberry,  December 2009

Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Soup!

this is a recipe that I found in Real Simple magazine a few years ago, and made it just a few weeks ago. It can be made veggie, or non- veggie...and here's how, Sub chicken stock instead of water. I found I liked the flavor of adding some Organic Chicken Stock. And remember to roast the veg really well, I like them to carmalize, it adds beautiful flavor. Also, I prefer Red Onion, I like how sweet it turns, when roasted.


  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 baguette, cut into 16 thin slices


  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, combine the carrots, parsnips, onion, 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the vegetables in an even layer and roast, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush with the remaining oil. During the last 10 minutes of roasting time, toast the slices until crisp.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a blender and purée with 3 cups water, adding more water if necessary, ¼ cup at a time, until smooth. Rewarm in a pot over medium-low heat, if necessary. Divide among individual bowls and serve with the olive oil toast.
By Sara Quessenberry,  October 2007

Some Paula Deen Stuffing!!

I lovezz me some Paula Deen, any woman who likes butter like she does, is ok in my book! Try some Southern Stuffing!

Southern Cornbread Stuffing

Southern Cornbread Stuffing


Cornbread, recipe follows
7 slices oven-dried white bread
1 sleeve crackers (recommended: Saltine)
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped celery
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sage, optional
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, optional
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 min
Difficulty: Easy
Show: Paula's Party/Celebrates Cookbook/Nov/Dec 2006 issue

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pork Belly Roast

I love anything that Jamie Oliver cooks, Try this beautiful Pork Belly, on a cold fall night, or give it a whirl for thanksgiving! xo-ERIN
pork belly roast © David Loftus


pork belly roast

main courses | serves 4-6
Turn oven to the highest temperature you can get it to. Using a Stanley knife score the skin down to the meat (try not to cut the meat), make the cuts very close together (go across the skin)
Put the fennel seeds and the malden sea salt in a pestle and mortar and grind till the seeds are smashed and mixed well with the salt.

Pour half the oil over the top of the skin of the pork belly sprinkle over ½ of the fennel and salt mixture and rub in, pour over the remaining oil and then the seed and salt mixture, now really rub this into the skin so that everything gets inbetween the skin and down onto the meat. Wash the carrots and celery well, cut them into large 2 inch pieces and throw these into the base of your roasting dish. Throw in the whole garlic bulbs, peel and cut the onions into large wedges. Toss in the whole thyme leaves.

Put the seasoned pork belly on top of the vegetables and then put into your very hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the skin of the belly starts to bubble and is golden brown. Turn the oven temperature down to 170 °C then roast for 1.5 hours. Carefully open the oven door and add into the tray ¾ of the white wine, continue cooking for 1 hour. Remove the meat carefully from the oven and test to see if it pulls apart easily. If not put back in the oven until the meat is ready then remove from the oven. Take the meat from the tray and place onto a wooden board and allow to rest while you make the gravy. Put the tray of roasted vegetables directly onto your stove top and on a medium heat add in the flour and stir till thick cook for 1 minute then add in the remaining wine. If you sauce is too thick add a little more white wine. Using a potato masher, mash up the vegetable until you have a delicious thick looking sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. Taste, strain through a sieve keeping all the lovely sauce for pouring over the roasted belly.
Remove the crackling from the top of the belly and break up into pieces, set aside then pull the pork belly apart and enjoy with more vegetables and your home made gravy.

Pork Belly
• 1.3 kg piece
• 15 gms Fennel whole seeds
• 10 gms Malden sea salt
• 100 mls olive oil

• Carrots
• Celery
• Onions
• Garlic cloves skin on
• Thyme whole and fresh
• 1 bottle white wine
• 75 gms plain flour

Brussels Sprouts

3 containers (10 ounces size) Brussels sprouts
3 slices bacon
1 medium onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Turn this recipe into a puzzle! [click]

In covered nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat 1 inch water to boiling over high heat. Meanwhile, trim tough ends and any yellow leaves from Brussels sprouts. Add Brussels sprouts to skillet; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are just tender-crisp.

Meanwhile, cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice onion in half, then thinly slice crosswise.

Drain Brussels sprouts, then plunge into large bowl of ice water to stop cooking; drain thoroughly.

In same skillet, cook bacon, onion, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup over medium-high heat 7 to 8 minutes or until onion and bacon are browned, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, cut Brussels sprouts lengthwise into thin slices. Add Brussels sprouts to onion mixture in skillet; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until all liquid evaporates and Brussels sprouts are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon syrup; cook 1 minute to heat through.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Bacon-Maple Brussels Sprouts serves/makes 12


Want a new creative idea for thanksgiving? Forget about a indian corn, and turkey salt and pepper shakers...try this!


It's been way too long. I lost a lot of interest in writing, when I started planning my wedding...Some of you ladies took over my life. Well now it's over, and the holiday season is upon us, so I am FORCED to think about food and entertaining again. I plan on it being an exciting year of food and parties! Please join me!


Sunday, April 12, 2009


In my quest for great pie recipes, I stumbled upon this. It sounds great. I'm going to give it a whirl this week...Your welcome Veggie Friends!

Farmland Vegetable Pie

Gourmet | August 2008
by Ian Knauer

yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
With all the amazing fresh produce available at this time of year, we always find ourselves facing the same dilemma: Which delicious, sun-warmed... more
subscribe to Gourmet


For filling:
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped, keeping greens separate
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound okra, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 pound yellow tomatoes, seeded and
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (from 1 ear)
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Havarti or Muenster cheese (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal (not stone-ground)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped

For crust:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 cup whole milk plus additional for brushing


Make filling:
Place a heavy baking sheet on middle rack of oven, then preheat oven to 400°F.
Toss squash with 1 teaspoon salt, then drain in a colander 30 minutes. Pat squash dry.
Cook scallions (except greens) and garlic in oil with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add squash and okra and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes.
Transfer to a large bowl, then toss with corn, cheese, basil, cornmeal, and scallion greens. Season with salt and pepper.
Make crust and bake pie:
Pulse dry ingredients with butter in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Transfer to a bowl and stir in milk until mixture just forms a dough.
Gather dough into a ball and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, 5 minutes.
Halve dough and roll out 1 piece on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch glass pie plate, leaving overhang.
Spread eggs evenly in crust and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add vegetable filling, mounding slightly in middle.
Roll out remaining dough in same manner and place over filling. Trim, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press edges of crust together. Fold overhang under and crimp edge all around.
Brush crust with additional milk, then cut 3 steam vents.
Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or at room temperature.


I have been eating lamb a lot lately...don't ask me why. I found this recipe i'm dying to try, from Paula Deen. Soon I will do a video blog on how to make an easy rack of lamb, but for now try this!

Easy Lamb Meatballs with Cucumber Dill Dipping Sauce

Easy Lamb Meatballs with Cucumber Dill Dipping Sauce

A hearty and tasty appetizer with a creamy dipping sauce.


2 lb Lamb, ground
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted and finely chopped
2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup Bulgur Wheat (soaked in 2 cups water)
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped and divided
1 large egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup greek yogurt, strained
1/2 cup Paula Deen Creamy Cucumber Dill Dressing
Fresh Dill for Garnish


In a medium saute pan saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Meanwhile in a large bowl thoroughly combine lamb, pine nuts, cumin, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, bulgur wheat, 1 tablespoon dill and egg. Line a baking sheet with foil and roll out 1 1/2” balls placing them on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. While meatballs are baking, prepare yogurt sauce. In a small bowl, combine Paula Deen Cucumber Dill Dressing, yogurt, remaining lemon juice and remaining dill. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve as a starter with dipping sauce on the side or over a nutty basmati rice with sauce over the top. Garnish with fresh dill.

4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Difficulty: Easy

Toasts by Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a huge inspiration for me. I find his food very simple, rustic, and great flavors. I met him once while I was working at The Spotted Pig, he is also a very nice guy! I found this on his site, and I love making toasts as snacks or lunch. Enjoy!

broad bean & goat’s cheese crostini

broad bean & goat’s cheese crostini

makes about 12
1 Tear the meat into pieces and, in a large dry pan, fry over a medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Add your beans and peas, and toss.
2 Put the cheese and half the lemon juice and zest in a bowl, season, and combine until it is smearable.
3 In a bowl, make a dressing. Mix the leftover lemon juice with three times as much olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.
4 Toast both sides of the ciabatta slices in a griddle pan. Rub one side of each with the cut side of a garlic clove. Smear with the cheese mix.
5 Once your beans are starting to brown, toss the mixture in the bowl containing the dressing until well coated, and spoon onto each crostini. Finally, sprinkle over some chilli and the tarragon.

Recipe by Jamie Oliver, Photography by David Loftus
• from Jamie Magazine issue 1


• 12 slices of pancetta or Parma ham
• 2 handfuls of shelled broad beans and peas
• 100g goat’s cheese
• 1 lemon, juice and zest
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 ciabatta loaf, cut into 3cm-thick slices
• 2 cloves of garlic, halved
• 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
• A few sprigs of tarragon, leaves only

The Brass Sisters

I'm a huge fan of their Heirloom Baking Book! Check out one of their dinner recipes below!

Barbara’s Rice Salad with Cumin and Walnuts

Posted on September 27, 2008 by Marilynn and Sheila
Other posts about Recipes

Y I E L D : 6 C U P S

We first tasted this salad when Marilynn was living at the YWCA in Cambridge. The Y did not serve a supper on Sunday nights, so the girls would get together and do a communal meal. Marilynn’s friend, Barbara, had lived on a kibbutz in Israel, and she put this salad together using a hot plate in the resident kitchen to make the rice. We added the wild rice, and this salad is as good today as it was when we first tasted it.

For Salad
21⁄2 cups cooked wild rice, cooled (cook according to package directions)
3 cups cooked long grain white rice, cooled (cook according to package directions)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

For Vinaigrette
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt (omit if rice is salty)
1⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1⁄4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. To make the salad: Combine wild rice, white rice, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon.

2. To make the vinaigrette: Whisk together olive oil, vegetable oil, salt, if using, pepper, honey, lemon juice, cumin, and cinnamon in small bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss with two serving spoons. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to mellow flavors. Serve at room temperature. Store leftover salad in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Reprinted from Heirloom Cooking With the Brass Sisters by permission of Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 Marilynn Brass and Sheila Brass


I have done nothing for this holiday, no eggs, candy, or anything. So I decided to put some cupcakes up on the site! Our friends Charles and Candice Nelson own SPRINKLES cupcakes. They are wonderful little treats. We do not have a SPRINKLES yet in NYC, so run to your nearest Williams-Sonoma, and buy their cupcake mix, they have many different recipes.
You'll thank me!! I go for the Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Iced Tea 4 Ways

In my new search for great drinks for my upcoming wedding. I found these great recipes for iced tea. Give one of these a try for your next party or brunch.

Pour 8 cups of boiling water in a heat resistant pitcher. Add 8 tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool to room temp before refrigerating.

add 2 tsp freshly grated ginger and 1/3rd cup honey. Strain if desired

add 2 cups pom juice, 3 limes sliced thinly, and sugar water until desired sweetness

add 1/8 of a medium sized watermelon, cut into triangles. 1 small bunch fresh basil sprigs. Sweeten with sugar if desired

add 4 ripe peaches, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, and 1 small bunch of fresh mint sprigs. sweeten with sugar if desired

Spring Fever!!

It's going to be BBQ season soon! Last night our neighbors had a cookout. It was a beautiful night in NYC. I made a quick and easy dip for the appetizer. It's a big portion, so make sure you buy enough crackers!

Cheezy Spinach Dip
You'll Need :
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and rung dry
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 can black olives, sliced
1 8oz package mont. jack cheese shredded
1 15oz jar mild salsa
1 Tbls red wine vinegar
assorted crackers...whatever your favs are...mine is water crackers
In a big bowl, mix together.
transfer to baking dish, and bake at 400F, until bubbly, about 25-30 min
serve HOT. And put your crackers on the side!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I know I'm not alone in thinking hummus may be one of he best snacks ever. Here is a simple recipe. And once again, here I go with my chickpea addiction.!

You'll need:
1 can chickpeas, juice and all
1 fresh jalapeno pepper(sliced)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbls lemon juice
3 cloves garlic,minced
Blend everything in blender until smooth

Serve with toasted pita or fresh veggies. It's cheaper to make than to buy the pre-made brands.

The Cheapest Dinner Ever Made!!

This is the cheapest dinner. It is a simple, trailer park chic, chicken and dumplings.

You'll Need:
I whole chicken
2 cans of pillsbury country biscuits .
salt & pepper

In a big pot of water, boil chicken. Until done. Carefully remove hot chicken to cutting board, and pick apart or shread chicken. Put chicken pieces back into pot, and discard of bones. Bring pot back to boil. Open biscuits. Take a pair of scissors and cut each biscuit into 4 pieces and throw into pot. add salt and pepper to taste. I prefer "Crazy Mixed up Salt" Keep cooking soup until the dumplings are no longer floating on top.

This soup got me through many broke nights in my early 20's. An old roommate of mine became obsessed with this soup. And by the way, it always has lots of leftovers, and tastes better the next day, after being in the fridge overnight. I don't know why that is, but i've been known to make this, and immediately put it in the fridge, to eat it the next day!
My mom would make this all the time when was a kid.

The Famous Broccoli Salad!

This raw salad has been a staple in my house growing up. Every holiday, dinner party, ect...
I love this salad because it's unexpected. You look at the recipe, and think, that sounds gross together, or strange. This I assure you it is not. People will love it.

You'll Need:
4 cups Broccoli-chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup red grapes(halved or quartered)
1/2 cup red onion
In a separate bowl mix together
1 cup Mayo
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbls Tarragon Vinegar

Pour dressing over broccoli mix, and mix thoroughly. Put in fridge overnight or for several hours covered.

I'm Horrible!!!

So, It seems I let the Holidays get to me. I've been very lazy, and a little "cooked out". But that is no excuse for not blogging. And then there is that whole wedding planning thing. Which I'm happy to announce, it moving along. But that's all I will say about that, I promised this will not become a wedding blog!

So with that said, there will be a few changes to the blog. I have been giving away most of my personal favorite recipes. I feel the need to slow that down...we all need our secret recipes. So, I am going to hi-light more of my favorite recipes from books and or favorite chefs. Keeping my personal cookbook to a minimum. Still great food!!

So lets keep entertaining!!