Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blood Orange Juice

Blood Oranges are something of mystery to me. I have always loved anything with such a ruby color and the sweet taste is wonderful. Fresh squeezed juice is highly underrated and absolutely extraordinary when enjoyed right away. There is nothing to write regarding a recipe of sorts, but it is marvelous and citrus in the winter is one of the few miracles.  

What you need: 
a juicer
20 or so oranges, tangerines, blood oranges, or pink oranges
if your little one is helping you will need a chair or stool 

What you do: 
1. Halve the oranges
2. Hand them to your little one, and help the push them on the squeezer
3. Drink right away, and clean up the mess later. 

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy juicing. 

Shrimp Salami and Spinach Pasta

This is a working mother's meal. It is fast, easy, and has a lot of flavor. The most difficult aspect of it is chopping three peppers, which is to say not very difficult at all. The whole dish comes together in 10 minutes or so. 

What you need: 

3 colored peppers, red, orange, and yellow
16 oz of shrimp (cleaned and de-veined)
8 oz of calabrese salami
16 oz of fresh spinach linguine 
salt and pepper

What you do: 

1. Boil a large pot of water with salt for the pasta. 
2. Chop the peppers and cook in a very large non-stick skillet until tender crisp about 5 minutes. 
3. Add the salami and stir and cook for a minute or two. 
4. Add the shrimp and cook until just done 1 minute or so. 
5. Boil the pasta according to the package instruction, 3 minutes. 
6. Once al dente, add to the peppers, salami, and shrimp. Serve with hot peppers and grated Parmesan. 

Enjoy, with a nice dry white wine, and put your feet up, you deserve it. 

Molasses Chocolate Chip Cookies

 I have for many years now only used one recipe for chocolate chip cookies. But recently I have been trying to make a healthier cookie... alas it is true, with a little one, I too and trying to find a form of healthy treats. I have always been in Julia Child's camp of I like butter... and a little gin too.    Nonetheless, I have made a new recipe that is very tasty and a little bit better for.

What you need:

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 teaspoon of molasses
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
1 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the molasses, the flours, 1 egg, salt. Mix until combined.
3. Add the chips. Scoop 1 tablespoon sized dollops of dough on to a parchment lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 18 minutes.

Enjoy with milk and loved little ones and cartoons.

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Risotto in 20 minutes

I love Butternut Squash, and so does my little one. Which is a bonus, when you can get away with only making one dish for the family. But did you know you can make it in 20 minutes... no really... from scratch.

Here is what you need:

1 large butternut squash peeled and cubed into about 1 inch long
4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup of arborio rice
1 shallot diced finely
1 Tablespoon of butter
1/2 cup of white wine (and more for you)
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
shaved Parmesan to taste

Here is what you do:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Cut and cube your squash and lay on sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
2. Set two pots next to each other on the stove. 1 will be to keep the stock warm the other to make your risotto.
3. Warm your stock on low heat.
4. In the other pan add your diced shallot, rice, butter, thyme, salt and pepper and toast the rice on until they are slightly golden.
5. Add your wine and stir until absorbed. I love this part, 18 minutes of quiet, stirring a pot.
6. As the liquid becomes absorbed in the rice, continue to stir while adding another ladle-full of hot stock. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked, about 18 minutes or so.
7. Once cooked. Turn off the heat, add the hot butternut squash from the oven. They will be tender and easy to mix into your risotto. According to your like, mix in the squash or mash it in. I prefer chunks maintained, but I tend to squish with my fork when it is in my bowl. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and serve with Pinot Grigio. Enjoy

As always, much love, many blessings, and Happy Cooking!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sunburst Lemon Bars

Our dear friends had us over the weekend and shared with us a lovely recipe for sunburst lemon bars. Here it is, to share with you my internet friends. 

What you need:

For the crust
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Lemon layer
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 3 lemons
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

What you do:

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and a parchment lined 9 by 9 baking dish.
  2. Make the crust first. Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric standing mixer. Add the flour and salt until the mixture forms. Press into the bottom of the baking dish to form the crust. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, juice and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Let cool at room temperature on a wire rack. You can even let chill in the fridge to make the bars easier to cut.
  5. Use a sifter to sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on the lemon bars. Cut into small squares.

Pepperoni Bread

This was my first attempt at making a Pepperoni bread from scratch. It was surprisingly easy and delicious. The pepperoni has a enough delicious juices to flavor the bread and create layers like a croissant.

Here was my go... I also made a quick and easy 10 minute marinara, which recipe also follows.

What you need:
2 cups of all purpose flour (bread flour if you have it, I did not)
1/2 cup of warm water
1 Tablespoon of yeast
1 Tablespoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
8 oz of sliced pepperoni
8 oz of grated mozzarella cheese
1 egg
10 minute marinara sauce to dip

What you do:
1. Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a glass and let stand for 5 minutes or so.
2. Add the flour to your mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. Add the water and let the dough hook incorporate the ingredients.
3. After a minute or so add the olive oil, salt, and Italian seasoning.
4. Allow the dough to form and knead for at least 5 minutes.
5. Take the dough out of the bowl. Wash the bowl, and add a small amount of oil. Place a plastic cling film over the top and allow the dough to raise for an hour or so.
6. Once ready to make your pepperoni roll, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
7. Spread out the dough in a rough rectangular shape. Spread out the mozzarella and pepperoni.
8. Roll the dough up and place seem side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
9. Mix up one egg and a little bit of water and brush over the loaf.
10. Bake for 30 minutes or so, until the bread is completely done, use a skewer to ensure the dough is completely cooked through.
11. Serve with marinara, Chianti, and green salad.    

As always, much love, many blessings, and happy baking!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Surprise Birthday Cannolis!

For my husband's 35th Birthday, we actually pulled off a Surprise Birthday Party. I know ridiculous, with a 1 year old in our house. But, alas, Dave took a nap while everyone got here and he came down to his favorites, family, friends, martini's and cannolis! 

I did not actually make the cannoli shells, I bought them in the Bronx on Arthur Avenue at an awesome place called  Egidio Pastry Shop! However, after three failed attempts at making recipe cannolis filling here is mine. 

What you need: 
Cannoli shells
1 160z tub of ricotta full fat
1 16 oz box of powdered sugar about 2 and 1/4 cups
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
chocolate curls 

What you do: 
1. Mix the ricotta, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. 
2. Spoon into pastry bags fitted with a star tip
3. Fill the your shells, by inserting half way in and filling until one edge then repeat on the other side. 
4. Dip each side in chocolate curls
5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Enjoy! With an espresso and loved ones. 

As always, much love, many blessings, and Happy Birthday! 

Days of treats to be continued... conciliatory Nachos

Unfortunately, I must admit defeat... I was not able to blog all 25 days of Christmas Treats. Seeing that it is January 15th, I believe it is time to give it up. I will attempt another 25 days of treats next year. But do not fear... I have new goal. As I am doing research for my Sweets Delivery Company, I will be posting all of my successes in the recipe development for the business. I will also be posting yummy, easy suppers so I can remember exactly what I am making. And in that line of logic, I offer, conciliatory Nachos.

My conciliatory nachos are very simple but muy saborosa... They work best with leftover chili but any meat or no meat will do.

Here is what you need:

A large oven proof bowl, and enough tortilla chips to fill them
Left over chili or meat or veggies as desired
Red Peppers
Shredded Cheese
Salas (fresh or jarred) recipe follows in step 1
Queso (fresh or jarred) recipe follows in step 2
Sour Cream
Hot Sauce (to taste)
Pickled Jalapenos (to taste)
Chives or chopped green onions

Here is what you do:

1. Make the salsa: 1 16 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, 1 bunch of cilantro, 6 cloves of garlic, juice of one lime, salt and pepper. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, leave at room temperature for 2 hours or up to 3 days in the fridge.
2. Make the queso: 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of flour, 1 cup of milk, 8 oz. of grated pepper jack cheese, salt and pepper. Make a roux by melting the butter in a heavy bottomed skillet under high heat. Add flour and mix for 1 minute until the mixture is golden in color and smells nutty. Add the milk and whisk until thick about 3 minutes. Gradually add the cheese mixing. Take off the heat add salt and pepper to taste. Keep in a crockpot or pour over nachos, it will congeal if not kept warm.
3. Layer your nacho makings in the order presented above, think culinary geology. You want layers in circles, and each concentric circle getting smaller.
4. Blaze under the high broiler for 3-5 minutes until your have a melty warm gooey delicious dinner. This dinner is also excellent when your team has lost, getting dumped, or dealing with a mean boss.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

25 Days of Treats: 16 Gingerbread snowflakes

What you need:

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup molasses
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons powdered egg whites (meringue powder)
1 Tablespoon of water

What we you do:

1.      In your standing mixer add all of the ingredients save the confectioners’ sugar, egg white powder and water. Put the mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks and wrap in plastic cling wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
2.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare ungreased cookie sheets with parchment paper.
3.      Take one disk out of the fridge and roll out until 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Use flour on your board and rolling pin to prevent sticking.
4.      Place on your prepared baking sheets and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
5.      Bake 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Decorate as desired.
6.      To make royal icing whip together the powdered sugar, meringue powder and water. Place in a piping bag and decorate until your heart’s content. Feel free to adorn with sprinkles as is completely acceptable and expected.

As always, much love, many blessings, Happy Baking!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

25 Days of Cookies: Day 15 Penguin Cupcakes

For my son's school Christmas Party I made kid friendly easy vanilla cupcakes with Christmas Penguin decorations. Penguins were the theme this year... 

To make the cupcake I use a food prep, but a mixer, a bowl and wooden spoon, nearly anything with a mixing capacity will do.



1/2 cup or 1 stick of melted butter
3/4 cup of self rising flour
1/4 cup of sugar
2 eggs
slosh of vanilla extract (a teaspoon) please use excellent quality all natural real vanilla extract
big slosh of milk (two tablespoons)


1. Set the oven to 400 degrees, and line a cup cake tin with liners
2. Melt the butter in the microwave
3. Place all of the ingredients save the butter into a mixing vessel
4. Mix, blitz, or whirl
5. Add the butter and mix-in
6. Spoon into lined tins and bake for 20 minutes or until brown and toothpick comes out clean

Vanilla Frosting

1/2 cup of butter softened (very important)
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla 


1. In a standing mixer bowl add the sugar, butter, and vanilla
2. Whip silly, until you have a white puffy creamy frosting

Spoon on your frosting into a pastry bag and crown your cupcakes. I then added penguin cupcake toppers that were printed from the computer and attached to a toothpick. I also added some festive sprinkles. 

As always, much love, many blessings, and Merry Christmas! 

25 Days of Cookies: 14 Homemade Marshmallows

Every year for our holiday party we always put out our chocolate fountain. It only comes out once a year so it ought to be good. This year I made homemade marshmallows, and I have to say, it might be one of my favorite things to make. It does require a mixer and a candy thermometer but it is totally worth it. 

Here is what you need:
·         1 cup powdered sugar
·         4 envelopes unflavored gelatin (1 box)
·         1 cup cold water, divided
·         2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
·         1/2 cup light corn syrup
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1 tablespoon vanilla
·         Powdered sugared for dusting the marshmallows

Here is what you do:
1.    Add parchment paper to a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Spray non-stick spray too the paper and dust bottom and sides with powdered sugar.
2.    In your standing mixer bowl add the gelatin and ½ cup of cold water. Let sit for about 5 minutes while you make sugar syrup.
3.    Fit your candy thermometer to a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the sugar, corn syrup, ½ cup of water, and salt. Cook over low heat and until 236 degrees F.
4.    Gently and carefully add the hot syrup down the side of your standing mixer bowl and allow mixing with your softened gelatin. Whip in your mixer for 10 minutes or so until the mixture is 5 times the volume and airy white marshmallow.
5.    Add the vanilla or other flavoring and continue to whip.
6.    Pour your mixture into your prepared baking dish and allow to set for atleast 8 hours or up to a day.
7.    Plop out on to a cutting board and with a very sharp knife cut your marshmallows.
8.    Roll all of the marshmallows in powdered sugar store in an air tight container for 2 weeks and enjoy with chocolate fountain, smores, or hot cocoa…

Merry Christmas!

25 Days of Cookies: 13 Candy Cane Ice Cream

I love making my own ice cream, I know it sounds intimidating, but I have found a few tricks to naturally get the creamy texture rather than the mini icicles that usually form with homemade ice cream.
1. Always store is small quantities, that way the ice cream is sealed fresh
2. Use small amounts of toppings to protect the top of the ice cream from freezer burn
3. Whip the cream separately and add just before freezing for the creamy texture

Here is an easy recipe to make great candy cane ice cream

What you need:

  • 2 cups of half and half
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • 12 crushed mini candy canes 
What you do: 
  1. In heavy bottomed saucepan gently heat the sugar and half and half until the sugar is fully dissolved. 
  2. Separate the eggs, reserve the whites for an omelette or pavlova. Whisk together the egg yolks, and add a little warm half and half to temper the egg yolks. You don't want scrambled eggs. 
  3. Once the egg yolks are warm to the touch add them to the warm half and half and cook until it thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. 
  4. Let cool the mixture cool. 
  5. Whip the cream until you form stiff peaks. 
  6. Set up your ice cream machine and add the cooled custard and the whipped cream into the freezer bowl. 
  7. Follow your machine instructions to turn it on and make ice cream. It takes mine about 10 minutes. Once your ice cream has the consistency of soft serve scoop it into your containers of choice. I use single serve disposable freezer containers. I like to decorate mine, but anything will do. Tupperware certainly works. 
  8. Crush the candy cane pieces and sprinkle on top before sealing your ice cream. 
  9. Freeze until solid, usually 2 hours or so. 
As always, much love, many blessings, and happy ice cream making. 

Happy Christmas!!!

25 Days of Cookies: 12 Chocolate Covered Oreo's

My son loves Oreo's or "coookeys" as he calls them, while pointing to the cabinet we keep them in. What to do when something is great... make it even better with chocolate. I've been wanting to make chocolate covered Oreo's for quite a while. I thought they would make a lovely teacher's present. What could be better than snowman ones?

What you need:
8 oz of melting white chocolate
24 or so Oreo's
24 candy corns for the noses
48 Chocolate Chips for eyes
Food dye markers

What you do:
1. Set up your assembly line. You will need a place for the melted chocolate, the decorations, and a wax or parchment lined sheet pan to deposit the Oreo's once dipped.
2. In a double boiler or the microwave melt the white chocolate, stirring vigorously. It is usually more melted then it looks.
3. Dip the Oreo's using two forks lift out of the chocolate and try gently to knock off any excess chocolate.
4. While the chocolate is still melted, decorate with eyes and nose.
5. Once completely cool, draw on the smiles
6. Serve with love and thank you to your children's teachers. For they are saints...

As always, much love, many blessings, and Happy Christmas!!!!

25 Days of Cookies: Day 11 Peanut Butter Reindeer

Again I have fallen prey to the cute-ems... you know. They are just so cute you gotta make em. These are easy, require no talent and actually turn out adorable.

What you need:
24 mini pretzels
12 red M&Ms
24 brown M&Ms
1 cup of peanut butter (not the natural or organic stuff, we need full on Americana in all its processed glory)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg

What you do:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Mix the peanut butter, egg, and sugar in a bowl.
3. Dollop out teaspoon sized semi circles into your hand. Make little ovals rolling them in your palm and place on to a parchment lined baking sheet. Once on the sheet, flatten them a little with the palm of your hand.
4. Bake for 10 minutes they will be soft
5. While still warm, press two mini pretzels into the top of the cookies as ears. Add the eyes and the little red nose. You have to work quickly so it helps if you do it with a friend.
6. Allow to cool... and enjoy with a nice glass of milk

So... adorable!

Happy Christmas! As always, much love, many blessings and happy baking.

25 Days of Cookies: Day 10 Santa Sugar Cookies

Aren't these adorable. I made them for my son's preschool class, but truth be told, I made these because I loved them so much. You only need a simple circle biscuit cutter. I have included my simple sugar cookie recipe below. But please feel free to use anyone you like.

What you need:

circle cookies
royal icing in white (2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 egg white, whipped fluffly)
royal icing in red
food dye markers, blue, black and red

What you do:

1. Take your cookie and white icing and line about half of the outside ring of the cookie. Then starting in the center make two half moon shapes to connect the outside ring of icing on the bottom half of the cookie. You made the beard. Now fill in using a toothpick to spread the icing. Make the hat rim layer with white icing and a small circle for the end of the hat. Fill with icing and let dry, at least 4 hours.
2. Using your red icing outline the edge of the circle and design the hat. Fill in with red and let dry at least 24 hours.
3. Using your food dye markers make your mouth, eyes in black and your little red nose in red. You can color the tip of your finger and make the little rosy cheeks if you are so inclined.

Voila... super cute simple Santa cookies.

Happy Christmas! Much love, many blessings, and happy baking!

This is my basic recipe for sugar cookies.


5 cups of flour
5 cups of sugar
2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon of baking soda
2 Tablespoons of cream cheese


1. Mix all of the ingredients in your standing mixer, it is a lot to do by hand.
2. Once mixed together separate into two discs, and wrap in cling plastic wrap and let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day, or in the freezer up to a month.
3. When ready, roll out the dough, use flour on a board and rolling pin to get the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
5. Cut with your favorite cookie cutters and place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just slightly golden. Let cool and ice as desired.

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