American Classics

Victoria’s Cherry Pie

June 10, 2011

Victoria’s Cherry Pie

Cherry pie is one of my favorite things to eat!  Homemade cherry pie is one of life’s treats!


2 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour (Plus More For Dusting)

3 Tablespoons Plus 1 Cup Sugar (Divided)

¾ Teaspoons Salt (Divided)

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Cup (2 Sticks) Butter (Cut Into Small Cubes – Chilled)

7 Tablespoons Ice Water

2 Pounds Fresh & Pitted Cherries

3 Tablespoon Cornstarch

1 Tablespoon Milk

In a large bowl combine flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon salt and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter until butter is the size of small peas.  To ensure the butter is cold enough, chill in the freezer for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  I you do not have a pastry cutter you can use two knives to cut in the butter.  Stir in the ice water with a fork just until combined and the dough holds together.  Form the dough into two 5 inch discs.  Cover and chill for 1 hour or until cold, but not completely firm. 

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to a 9 inch pie pan.  In a large bowl, toss together cherries, cornstarch, 1 cup of sugar and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Spoon the cherry mixture into the dough lined pan and set aside.  On the same lightly floured surface, roll out the remaining disc of dough into a 10 inch circle and cut into ½ inch wide strips.  Top the cherry mixture in the pan with the dough strips, weaving them in and out to make a lattice crust and then crimp the outside edge of the crust.  If you don’t want a lattice crust you can just make a normal top crust like I have done in the photo above.  Brush the crust all over with milk and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Arrange on a baking sheet to catch any drips.  Yes, you will have drips so be sure to set the pie pan on the baking sheet.  I like to use a pie bird to let out the steam.  If you don’t have a pie bird  or pie vent then cut slits in the top crust (if you are not using a lattice crust).  Bake for 1 ¼ hours or until bubbly and golden brown.  Set aside to let cool before serving.  Serves 12

Beef Stew With Beer

June 7, 2011

Beef Stew With Beer

Everything tastes better cooked in beer! 


3 Pounds Beef For Stew

¼ Cup Olive Oil

3 Cups Sliced Onions

3 Cloves Crushed Garlic

2 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2 ¼ Cups Light Beer

2 ¼ Cups Dark Beer

2 Allspice Berries

1 Bay Leaf

¼ Teaspoon Thyme

3 Peppercorns

Place the olive oil in a heavy pot and heat until hot.  Make sure that the oil is not smoking.  Add the beef and brown all sides.  Remove the beef to a platter and set aside.  Add the onions and garlic to the pot and brown.  Stir occasionally.  Sprinkle the onions and garlic with the flour and cook for another 3 minutes.  Gradually add the beer and reduce the heat.  Cook slowly uncovered for 25 minutes.  Make an herb bundle by combining the allspice, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth.  Secure with kitchen twine. 

Add the beef back to the pot of cooking liquid.  Add the herb bundle and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.  Next uncover the pot and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes. When done remove the herb bundle.  Serve with a side of mashed potatoes.  Serves 6

Cornish Game Hens With Herbs & Butter

June 6, 2011

Cornish Game Hens With Herbs & Butter


2 Organic/Free Range Cornish Game Hens

1 Tablespoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Pepper

¼ Pound Unsalted Butter

5 Minced Shallots

1 Teaspoon Rosemary

1 Teaspoon Thyme

2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Cut each hen in half and sprinkle all over with salt & pepper.  Set the hens aside to bring to room temperature.  Melt the butter in a small pan, over medium heat, and add the shallots, rosemary and thyme.  Stir well and let bubble for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and place hens in a flat baking pan skin side up.  Baste with the butter sauce.  Bake for 50 minutes.  Baste every 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with parsley.  Serves 4


June 4, 2011


Often described as a liquid salad, gazpacho descends from ancient Roman concoction based on a combination of stale bread, garlic, olive oil, salt and vinegar.  As Romans labored to build roads and aqueducts across Spain in the scorching heat, this creamy soup replenished them with the necessary salt and vitamins lost through physical exertion.  Later, shepherds and farmers added vegetables to make it more hearty and satisfying.  Because tomatoes and bell peppers were not indigenous to Spain, these ingredients were not added to the soup until after Spain’s discovery of the New World.  Since that time, gazpacho has remained relatively unchanged.  We are grateful for such an unpretentious soup designed to quench the thirst evoked by the unrelenting Spanish sun. 


1 Large Cucumber

2 Red Bell Peppers

1 Yellow Bell Pepper

4 Medium Tomatoes

1 Red Onion

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

3 Cups Tomato Juice

¼ Cup White Wine Vinegar

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Halve and seed the cucumber, but do not peel it.  Core and seed the three bell peppers.  Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and red onion into 1 inch cubes.  Reserve a small bit of each vegetable to put in at the end so that the soup has some crunch.  Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped.  Do not over process.  After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well and chill before serving.  The longer the gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.  Serve anytime, but especially on a hot summer day.  Serves 4

Chocolate Muffins

June 3, 2011

Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins are great for a sinful breakfast or mid-day snack. 


1 ¾ Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

¾ Cup Sugar

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Buttermilk or Sour Milk

1/3 Cup Plus 2 Teaspoons Vegetable Oil

1 Large Egg

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  You will need a muffin tin and paper muffin cases. 

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar and chocolate chips.  In a medium sized bowl combine the buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla extract.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix, but don’t over mix.  A lumpy batter makes the best muffins.  Spoon into the prepared muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Serve with butter, cream cheese or plain.  Makes 12 muffins

Rhubarb Jam

June 2, 2011

Rhubarb Jam

This recipe is so easy.  You will wonder why you didn’t make it before!


4 ½ Pounds Rhubarb

Juice of 3 Lemons

3 Pounds Sugar

1 ½ Tablespoons Minced Fresh Ginger

Wipe and trim the rhubarb.  Trim the stalks, halve them lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces (this will end up being about 15 cups).  In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon juice and ginger.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, put the contents of the bowl into a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Cooking time will vary depending on how much juice the rhubarb releases.   Boil rapidly for 30 minutes.  Once the rhubarb breaks down turn the heat down to a simmer for 40 more minutes. Keep a close eye on the mixture as it simmers. Remove from the heat and skim any foam off the surface.  Cool completely and refrigerate up to 2 weeks or can the jam for longer storage. 

To can the jam:  Divide it among sterilized pint or half-pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.  Wipe the rims clean and attach the lids to the jars with the screw bands, turning them fingertip-tight.  Put the jars in a large pot fitted with a rack and add enough water to cover by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and then boil briskly for 10 minutes.  Transfer the jars to a rack and let cool for 12 to 24 hours.  Test the seal by removing the bands and lifting the jars by their lids.  If the lid holds, the jar is sealed.  Store in a dark place for up to 1 year.  If a seal fails, refrigerate the jar and use the jam within 2 weeks.  Makes about 7 cups

Cherries Jubilee

June 1, 2011

Cherries Jubilee

Cherries Jubilee is one of my favorite desserts that was created for one of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations (Golden Jubilee 1887 or Diamond Jubilee 1897).  Made with cherries and liqueur, typically Kirschwasser, which is subsequently flambéed and served over vanilla ice cream. 


½ Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

¼ Cup Water

¼ Cup Orange Juice

1 Pound Pitted Bing Cherries

½ Teaspoon Finely Grated Orange Zest

¼ Teaspoon Cherry Extract

¼ Cup Brandy

3 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream

Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.  Stir in the water and orange juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Whisk until thickened.  Stir in the cherries and orange zest, return to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  While the cherries are cooking spoon the ice cream into serving bowls.  Remove the cherries from the heat and stir in the cherry extract.  Pour in the brandy and ignite with a long lighter.  Gently shake the pan until the blue flame has extinguished itself.  Spoon the cherries over the bowls of ice cream.  Serves 6

Italian Meatballs Sandwiches

May 30, 2011

Italian Meatball Sandwiches


1 Pound Ground Sirloin

¾ Cup Bread Crumbs

2 Teaspoons Dried Italian Herbs

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley

2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Beaten Egg

4 Italian Rolls

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

½ Teaspoon Salt

14 Ounces Red Sauce (See Victoria’s Sunday Gravy)

8 Slices Provolone Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  In a medium bowl, gently mix by hand the ground sirloin, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic, parsley, Parmesan cheese and egg.  Shape into 12 meatballs and place in a medium sized baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, cut the Italian rolls in half lengthwise and remove some of the bread from the inside to make a well for the meatballs.  Brush with olive oil and season with the garlic powder and salt.  Put the Italian rolls into the oven during the last 5 minutes of the meatballs time to toast.  While the bread toasts, warm the red sauce in a saucepan over medium heat.  When the meatballs are done, use a spoon to transfer them to sauce.  Spoon sauce and meatballs onto the Italian rolls and top with the slices of Provolone cheese.  Return to the oven for 3 minutes to melt the cheese.  Cool slightly and cut in half.  Serves 4

Santa Fe Burgers

May 29, 2011

Santa Fe Burgers


2 Pounds Ground Sirloin

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Santa Fe Salsa

Combine the ground sirloin, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl.  Using your hands mix well.  Form into six patties and refrigerate until ready to grill.  Prepare a charcoal or gas grill and lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray.  The coals should be hot.  Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes.  Flip the burgers and grill for another 4 or 5 minutes.  Serve with Santa Fe Salsa.  Serves 6

Santa Fe Salsa


1 Pound Chopped Tomatoes

2 Seeded & Chopped Yellow or Red Bell Peppers

1 Cup Cooked Corn Kernels (Fresh or Frozen)

3 Finely Chopped Green Onions

2 Seeded & Chopped Jalapeno or Serrano Chilies

1 Minced Garlic Clove

4 Tablespoons Finley Chopped Cilantro

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice

2 Teaspoons Malt Vinegar

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Combine the tomatoes, peppers, corn, green onions, chilies, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar and salt in a glass or ceramic bowl and gently stir to combine.  Let the salsa stand for about an hour to let the flavors blend.  Serve or cover to refrigerate for several hours.  Let the salsa reach room temperature before serving.  Makes 2 cups

Victoria’s Naughty Naughty Mashed Potatoes

November 26, 2010

Naughty Naughty Mashed Potatoes!

Serves 6


5 Pounds Peeled & Cubed Russet Potatoes

2 Sticks Butter

¾ Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Cook potatoes in boiling water until very tender for approximately 20 minutes.  Drain well.  Mash potatoes with butter.  Add cream, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Mix well.  Super yummy and super naughty.

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