Make Ahead

Cream Biscuits

March 25, 2012

Cream Biscuits


3 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

¾ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 ¼ Cups Heavy Cream

Move your oven rack to the upper middle position and preheat your oven to 450° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the cream for 30 seconds until combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gather into a ball. Knead briefly for 30 seconds until smooth. Shape the dough into a ¾ inch circle. Dip a 2 ½ biscuit cutter in flour and cut the biscuits into rounds. Recombine the scraps as needed to make 12 biscuits. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes – rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking. You want the biscuits to be golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Makes 12 biscuits.

Sausage Soup

March 24, 2012

Sausage Soup

This soup is a simple recipe with great flavor and is the quintessential Italian comfort food. I like to double the recipe and have leftovers during the week. It’s easy to make in a big batch for a potluck.


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Pound Italian Sausage (Casings Removed)

2 Chopped Onions

4 Chopped Celery Stalks

2 Cans (14.5 Ounces Each) Diced Tomatoes

3 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Basil

4 Cups Chicken Broth

3 ½ Cups Water

1 Cup Macaroni

2 Cans (15 Ounces Each) Cannellini Beans

¼ Cup Minced Fresh Parsley

¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Grated Parmesan Cheese For Serving

In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil over a medium high heat. Cook the sausage for 5 minutes. Break up the large pieces with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat left in the Dutch oven. Drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Add the onions, garlic, celery, tomatoes, basil and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Stir in the browned sausage, reserved tomato juice, broth and water and bring to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and rinse the beans. Stir in the beans and cook for 5 minutes until heated through. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 8

Strawberry Jam

March 21, 2012

Strawberry Jam

By adding the grated apple, which is a pectin packed fruit, it naturally jells the jam and gives it a pleasant tartness.


1 Pound Strawberries

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 Peeled Granny Smith Apple

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

Hull and quarter the strawberries. You may use fresh or frozen (thaw before using). In a heavy skillet combine the strawberries and sugar. Grate the peeled apple and stir into the strawberry mixture. Cook over a medium low heat. Stir and break up the strawberries until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes until the jam has thickened. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl or jar and let cool. Cover and chill for 2 ½ hours until set. Keep chilled and serve within 2 weeks. Makes 1 ½ cups.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Compote

March 20, 2012

Strawberry & Rhubarb Compote

Strawberries & rhubarb were meant to be together. The sweet, juicy berries mellow the tart, slightly astringent rhubarb. While there is nothing wrong with the traditional pie, I decided to make a sweet, jam-like, easy compote that is perfect for serving over pound cake or any cake for that matter. You can also serve it topped with ice cream or stirred into yogurt or oatmeal. The compote will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week.


1 Pound Hulled & Chopped Strawberries (3 Cups)

1 Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Pound Sliced ¼ Inch Thick Rhubarb

¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoons Water

In a medium size bowl, toss the strawberries with ½ cup sugar and lemon juice. Next, transfer the strawberry mixture to a small nonreactive pan. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes and stir often. Remove the strawberries and place them into a small bowl. Set aside. Meanwhile, in another small pan over a medium low heat, combine the rhubarb and remaining sugar, salt and the water. Simmer for 6 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the rhubarb is almost tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the bowl with the strawberries and combine. Finally, transfer the strawberry & rhubarb mixture to a medium size pan and cook for 10 minutes over a medium low heat. Remove from the heat and transfer compote to a bowl and let cool for 45 minutes until the compote comes to room temperature. Serve over cake, ice cream, yogurt or oatmeal. Makes 4 cups.

Saint Patrick’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage

March 17, 2012

Saint Patrick’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage

In the U.S. and Canada, consumption of corned beef is usually associated with Saint Patrick’s Day. Corned beef is not considered an Irish national dish and the connection with Saint Patrick’s Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture. In Ireland, the closest traditional dish is bacon and cabbage. The bacon is more like Canadian style bacon or ham. Corned beef and cabbage became popular in the U.S. after Irish immigrants in the northeast used corned beef instead of pork in the dish. This substitution was most likely due to the low cost of corned beef in the U.S. Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon in the late 19th century. A similar dish is the New England boiled dinner which consisted of corned beef, cabbage and root vegetables such as carrots, turnip and potatoes which is popular in New England and parts of Atlantic Canada. Whoever you are and wherever you came from it is fun to make Corned Beef & Cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day!


1 ¾ Pounds Onions – Divided

2 ½ Pounds Carrots – Divided

6 Pounds Corned Beef Brisket

1 Cup Malt Vinegar

8 Ounces Stout Beer

1 Tablespoon Mustard Seed

1 Tablespoon Coriander Seed

½ Tablespoon Black Peppercorns

½ Tablespoon Dill Seed

½ Tablespoon Whole Allspice

2 Bay Leaves

3 Pounds Cabbage

2 ½ Pounds Small Red Potatoes

½ Cup Coarse Grain Mustard

½ Cup Dijon Mustard

Divide onions and carrots and chop enough to fill 1 cup of each, reserving the rest. In a heavy duty 4 gallon pot, place the corned beef, chopped onions, carrots, malt vinegar, stout beer, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, dill seeds, whole allspice and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the corned beef and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 3 hours or until meat if fork tender. While the corned beef is cooking, cut the reserved onions into eight wedges and the carrots into 2 inch chunks. Slice each head of cabbage into 8 wedges. Add onions, carrots and red potatoes to the cooked corned beef, with the cabbage on top. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until potatoes and cabbage are fork tender.

To serve, cut corned beef against the grain into thin slices and accompany with the cooked vegetables. Dijon mustard and coarse grained mustard complement the corned beef as optional condiments. Serves 12

Irish Soda Bread

March 16, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread is super easy to make in no time at all. You don’t have to wait for dough to rise which makes this recipe a nice little quick bread.


3 ¾ Cups Unbleached Flour

½ Cup Sugar

4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

¼ Pound Cold Unsalted Butter Cut Into Small Cubes

1 2/3 Cups Raisins

2 Teaspoons Caraway Seeds

3 Large Room Temperature Eggs

1 Cup Buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 400° F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. In a large size bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is the texture of fine meal. Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds. In a medium size bowl whisk two of the eggs to combine. Whisk in the buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Put the dough on a floured work surface and pat into a loaf. Now pat into the prepared pan. Beat the last egg to a mix and brush the top of the loaf with it. Using a sharp knife cut a ¼ inch deep lengthwise slash down the middle of the loaf leaving 1 inch margin at either end. Bake the soda bread in the middle of the oven for 1 hour until well browned. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf out onto a rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes one 9 inch soda bread.

Irish Cream Truffles

March 15, 2012

Irish Cream Truffles

These Irish Cream Truffles are easy to make and worth every bite. They make a nice homemade gift or keep them for yourself.


1 Cup Whipping Cream

1 Pound High Quality Real Bittersweet Chocolate Broken Into 1 Inch Pieces

4 Ounces High Quality Real Milk Chocolate Broken Into 1 Inch Pieces

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

¼ Cups Butter

3 Tablespoons Irish Cream Liqueur

2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa

In a 2 quart saucepan place the whipping cream, bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate. Cook over a low heat for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Irish Cream Liqueur. When the butter has melted pour the truffle mixture into a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. You want the mixture to be firm. Remove from the fridge and set on the counter for a few minutes. In a medium size shallow bowl sift the cocoa. With a tablespoon scoop out rounded tablespoonfuls of the chocolate mixture. Drop each one into the cocoa and roll to coat. Shape into balls and roll in the cocoa again. Gently place onto a tray and refrigerate them for 45 minutes until firm. Store refrigerated. Makes 36 truffles.

Irish Stew

March 14, 2012

Irish Stew

I have been making Irish Stew for years. The worst stew that I have ever had was when I went to Stonehenge a few years ago. There was this food cart outside of Stonehenge and I was super hungry. It was cold outside and I needed something to warm my tummy. I plunked down my money and got a paper bowl full of I don’t know what. I honestly didn’t know that someone could make stew that bad. At any rate, here is my recipe for Irish Stew that I am sure that you will love.


2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Pound Cubed Lamb

1 ½ Teaspoons Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Cups Peeled & Cubed Potatoes

1 Chopped Onion

1 Cup Diced Carrot

1 Diced Leek

4 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1 Cup Beer

1 Cup Tomato Juice

15 Ounces Beef Broth

1 Bay Leaf

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon Thyme

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the lamb and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook and stir for 7 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate and set aside. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan. Add the potatoes, onion, leeks, carrots and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes. Return the lamb to the pan and add the remaining salt, pepper and the other remaining ingredients. Continue to cook for 10 minutes until the stew comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Put the lid on and cook for 2 hours. Ladle into bowls and serve hot. Serves 6

My Mother’s Goulash

March 12, 2012

My Mother’s Goulash

A couple of weeks ago I had this primal craving for my mother’s goulash. I hadn’t had it for over 30 years, but was able to recreate it in no time. It really hit the spot! This goulash is more like what people think of as American Chop Suey that we all had in the grade school cafeteria. My mother made her goulash with elbow macaroni but I prefer mine with penne noodles.


3 Cups Elbow Macaroni or Penne Pasta

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Pounds Ground Sirloin

1 Large Chopped Onion

1 Seeded & Chopped Green Bell Pepper (Optional)

2 Chopped Celery Stalks

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

5 Minced Garlic Cloves

1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

29 Ounces Tomato Sauce

14 ½ Ounces Diced Tomatoes

1 Cup Water

1 Ounce Grated Parmesan Cheese

The trick to avoiding mushy macaroni is to undercook the pasta and then shock it in cold water. Then finish cooking in the sauce. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt. Cook for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water. Yes, I do know that this is considered blasphemy by Italian cooks, but it works here. Drain again and then set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the now empty Dutch oven over a medium high heat just until smoking. Add the beef, 1 Teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper and cook. Break up the pieces with your spoon until all of the liquid has evaporated and cook for 12 minutes. The meat should begin to sizzle. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of the olive oil in the once again empty Dutch oven over a medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. The vegetables should be soft. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, water and cooked ground beef. Bring to a simmer and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the pasta. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan. Transfer to a serving dish. Serves 6

Pasta E Ceci Soup

March 11, 2012

Pasta E Ceci Soup

You have to love this soup! If you want a vegetarian version of this soup then use water instead of chicken stock. Serve with warm garlic bread and a salad.


3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Diced Carrots

1 Large Diced Onion

3 Cloves Minces Garlic

1/3 Cup Diced Tomato

1 ½ Cups Soaked Overnight Garbanzo Beans

6 Cups Chicken Stock or Water

3 Tablespoons Thyme

½ Cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Rosemary

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Pound Cooked & Drained Tubetti Pasta

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

Grated Pamigiano Cheese for Serving

Soak the dried garbanzo beans overnight. Add the olive oil to a large Dutch oven over a medium heat. Heat the olive oil for 1 minute. Add the carrots and onions. Cook for 7 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add the garlic and tomato and cook for 1 minute. Keep stirring. Add the garbanzo beans, chicken stock, thyme and rosemary. Turn up the heat to a medium high and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a medium low and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. You want the garbanzo beans to be soft, but not mushy. Strain the garbanzo bean mixture through a colander. Reserve the liquid. Place 2 cups of the garbanzo bean mixture in a shallow bowl that is wide. Mash until almost smooth. Transfer to a large skillet. Add the remaining garbanzo bean mixture and 1 cup of the cooked liquid. Bring to a simmer over a medium high heat. Add the pasta dn1/2 cup of the olive oil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Cook for 1 more minute. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with grated Parmigiano cheese. Serves 4

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