March 12, 2011


Sangria has been important to Spanish culture for many centuries.  This wine punch has gained international popularity and is easy to make at home.  Versions of Sangria have held a planting of the Iberian Peninsula’s vineyards around 200 BC.  As Spain’s soil and weather are particularly well suited for growing grapes, the nation has maintained an abundance of red wine and its subsequent wine punch variations.  Interestingly, there is no one recipe for Sangria, as the ingredients of this wine punch are based on availability, season, and a number of other factors. 

Sangria requires a light, young Spanish red wine.  The most common of these come from the La Rioja, Castilla-La Mancha and Catilla-Leon regions.  It is also necessary to include fresh fruit.  Spain’s popular locally grown fruits include oranges, lemons and melon.  Any fruit can be used, however, one might find bananas, apples, grapes or any number of fruits in Spanish Sangria.  Sangria is meant to be light and refreshing so a certain amount of juice and sugar are generally added for a more refreshing taste.  Sangria is to be served ice-cold and generally is prepared in large pitchers and served to guests as an accompaniment to a meal or tapas in the summer time

Sangria is to be served ice-cold as a hot-weather refreshment. Generally, it is prepared in large pitchers and served to many guests as an accompaniment to a meal or tapas in the summer time.


1 Cup Orange Juice

¼ Cup Lime Juice

1 Bottle Red Wine

½ Cup Brandy

¼ to 1/3 Cup Sugar

Ice Cubes

Orange Slices

Lime Slices

In a 2 quart pitcher stir together orange and lime juices.  Add wine, sugar and brandy.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cover and chill for 3 to 24 hours.  Serve over ice.  Garnish each serving with orange and lime slices.

Chai Tea

March 11, 2011

Chai Tea

Chai is the word for tea in many parts of the world.  It is a centuries old beverage which has played an important role in many cultures.  Chia from India is a spiced milk tea that has become increasingly popular throughout the world.  The spices used vary from region and among households in India.  The most common are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and pepper.  Drinking chai is part of life in India and many who travel to India come away with fond chai drinking experiences.  Chai has become common at specialty beverage shops and there is a growing line of prepackaged consumer products.  Great chai can often be found in Indian restaurants along with great food, but I think making your own chai provides immense satisfaction and makes your house smell divine! 


½ Cup Water

1 Bag Black Tea (Orange Pekoe, English Breakfast, Lapsang Souchong or Darjeeling)

3 Inch Piece of Cinnamon Stick

2 Cups Milk

2 Tablespoons Honey

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

½ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cardamon

In a small saucepan combine water, tea bag and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.  Discard tea bag and cinnamon stick.  Stir milk, sugar, vanilla, ginger and cardamom into tea.  Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture is heated through (do not boil).  Serve warm.  Serves 2

Veal Parmigiana

March 10, 2011

Veal Parmigiana


2 Cups Marinara Sauce

1 Cup Plain Dried Bread Crumbs

½ Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

1 Large Egg

2 Tablespoons Water

6 Veal Cutlets (1 ½ Pounds)

3 Tablespoons Butter

¼ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Cup Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese – Shredded

Prepare Marinara Sauce.  On waxed paper, combine bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.  In a pie plate, beat egg and water.  Dip cutlets in egg mixture, then in bread crumbs; repeat to coat each cutlet twice.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add cutlets, a few at a time, and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side, using tongs to transfer cutlets to platter as they are browned. 

Return cutlets to skillet.  Spoon sauce evenly over cutlets.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and top with mozzarella.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook just until cheese has melted – about 5 minutes.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Serves 6

Marinara Sauce

This sauce is very versatile!


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Chopped Small Onion

1 Finely Chopped Garlic Clove

1 Can (28 Ounces) Plum Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Basil (use dried if this is what you have)

½ Teaspoon Salt

In a medium sized saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook.  Stir until onion is tender – for about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes with their juice, tomato paste, basil and salt.  Heat to boiling, break up tomatoes with side of spoon.  Reduce heat and partially cover and simmer.  Stir occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly – for about 20 minutes.  Use to coat 1 pound of pasta for 4 main-dish servings.  Makes 3 ½ cups.


March 9, 2011



7 Egg Yolks

1 Cup Sugar For Egg Yolks

3 Cups Mascarpone Cheese

4 ½ Tablespoons Water

1 ½ Tablespoons Powdered Gelatin

3 Egg Whites

¼ Cup Sugar For Egg Whites

1 Cup Heavy Cream – Whipped

2 ½ Cups Cooled Espresso Coffee

½ Cup Kalhua

20 t0 24 Ladyfingers

1 Cup Chocolate Shavings

In a mixer whip yolks and sugar until thick and pale in color.  Add the mascarpone and whip until well combined.  Pour water into a small bowl and then pour the powdered gelatin over it.  DO NOT STIR.  Allow the gelatin to absorb all of the water which will take about 15 minutes.  Next place the bowl on top of a small saucepan containing simmering water to create a double boiler.  Immediately turn off the heat and allow the gelatin to dissolve completely.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to a soft peak and gradually add the sugar.  Next slowly pour in the dissolved gelatin.  Whip to a stiff and glossy peak.  Fold the egg whites into the mascarpone and egg yolk mixture and the fold in the whipped cream. 

In a separate bowl, combine the espresso and kalhua.  Soak 1 ladyfinger at a time in the espresso mixture.  In an 8 x 10 inch pan, arrange the soaked ladyfingers close together in neat rows until the bottom of the pan is completely covered.  Pour ½ of the “mousse” over the ladyfingers and smooth with a spatula.  Sprinkle ½ of the chocolate shavings over the mouse.  Create another layer and chill until set. 

Serves 10 to 12

Panna Cotta With Raspberry Sauce

March 2, 2011

Panna Cotta With Raspberry Sauce


Three ¼ Ounce Envelopes Unflavored Gelatin

½ Cup Cold Water

1 Quart Half & Half

2 Cups Heavy Cream

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Strip of 3 Inch Piece Lemon Zest

1/3 Cup Sugar

Raspberry Sauce

Two 10 Ounce Packages Frozen Raspberries In Syrup – Thawed

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Cornstarch Mixed With 2 Tablespoons Water

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and set aside to soften.  Combine the half & half, cream, lemon zest and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Remove from heat and add the softened gelatin.  Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. 

Discard the lemon zest and add the vanilla extract.  Divide the cream mixture among twelve 6 ounce custard cups.  Cover and refrigerate until the panna cotta is set.  This should take at least 4 hours.  You can refrigerate these overnight if you wish. 

To make the raspberry sauce, puree the berries with their syrup, the sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor or blender.  Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a small saucepan.  Bring the puree to a simmer over medium heat.  Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool, then pour into a tightly sealed container and refrigerate.  The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 

To serve, dip the bottom of the custard cup into a bowl of hot water for 10 seconds.  Run a thin knife around the edge of the cream.  Invert the cream onto a serving plate.  Repeat with the remaining custard cups. 

Spoon some of the sauce around the creams.  Serve immediately.  Serves 12

Wine Poached Ginger Pears

February 27, 2011

Wine Poached Ginger Pears


4 Medium Firm Pears

4 Pieces Crystallized Ginger (1 inch size)

1 Cup Red Wine

1 Cup Water

2 Tablespoons Honey

3 Thin Strips Lemon Peel

½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

Peel the pears, leaving the stems intact.  Use a corer or sharp knife to remove the bottom “flower,” and about 1 ½ inch of the core.  Place one piece of the ginger into each hollow.  Place the pears upright in a medium pot.  Combine the wine, water, honey, lemon peel, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and pour over the pears.  Cover the pot and place over medium-low heat.  Simmer the pears for 20 minutes.  Uncover the pot and gently lay the pears on their sides.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Uncover and gently turn each pear over to its other side.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Stand the pears upright in a medium glass bowl.  Pour the wine syrup over the pears.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream.  Serves 4

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake

February 19, 2011

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake


1 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

¾ Cup Butter (you can use sour milk)

¾ cup Melted Butter

3 Eggs

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease a 9 inch cake pan and set aside.  Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Melt butter and add to dry ingredients.  Next add eggs and buttermilk to dry ingredients.  Mix everything together until smooth with an electric mixer.  Pour into pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean.  When done remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  After the cake has cooled, slice cake in half to make 2 layers.  It is easier to slice if the cake has been refrigerated for a couple of hours.  Frost with Chocolate Butter Frosting.  Use 1/3 of the frosting between the two layers, 1/3 on top and the rest around the cake.  Grandma’s Chocolate Cake should be served at room temperature.  Serves 12

**To Make Sour Milk: ¾ cup of milk and add either two tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice.  Let sit for five to ten minutes.

Madeleines Proust Would Love These!

February 16, 2011



5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter – Melted & Cooled

½ Cup Plus 1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

½ Teaspoon Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 Beaten Egg

1/3 Cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Zest

Powdered Sugar for Dusting

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Brush Madeleine pans with melted butter.  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour in pans and tap out excess.  In a medium bowl, sift ½ cup flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a second medium bowl, beat egg and sugar until thick (5 minutes).  Add vanilla and lemon zest.  Fold in flour mixture.  Fold in remaining melted butter.  Spoon heaping tablespoon of batter into each mold.  Tap pan on counter to remove air bubbles and evenly distribute batter.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden (springs back when pressed).  Remove to a wire baking rack to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.  Makes about 12

Calvados Creme Anglaise

February 14, 2011

Calvados Crème Anglaise


2 Cups Half & Half

½ Cup Sugar

¼ Cup Calvados

½ Vanilla Bean – Split Lengthwise and Sees Removed and Reserved

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

6 Large Egg Yolks Lightly Beaten

In a medium saucepan over medium heat whisk together the half & half, sugar, Calvados, vanilla bean and salt.  Cook, whisking often, until mixture just begins to boil and then immediately remove from heat.  In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks.  Using a ladle, slowly stream about 1 cup of the hot half & half mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly and repeat.  Return the yolk/half & half mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon or until mixture registers 170° F on an instant read thermometer.

Remove from heat.  Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the mixture into a stainless steel bowl set in an ice bath.  Discard vanilla bean and any solids.  Stir until mixture comes to a room temperature.  Cover the surface of the crème anglaise with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Makes about 3 cups.

Calvados is a dry apple brandy made in the Normandy region of northern France.  Applejack or other apple brandy may be substituted.

Banana Bread Pudding

February 14, 2011

Banana Bread Pudding


8 Tablespoons (1 Stick) Butter

4 Bananas – Sliced 1/3 Inches Thick

6 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

2/3 Cup Milk

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Eggs

1 Egg Yolk

1/3 Cups Sugar

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

6 Slices Firm White Bread

Preheat oven to 325° F.  Using 1 tablespoon butter, butter a 9 inch deep dish pan and set aside.  Cook bananas with 4 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown.  Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cook until sugar melts and coats bananas. Set aside.

Beat the milk, cream, eggs, yolk, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and remaining 4 tablespoons brown sugar together.  Brush bread with the remaining butter, cut each slice in half and layer in dish.  Tuck bananas between the slices.  Pour in the milk mixture.  Press to absorb the liquid.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and bake uncovered until golden brown for about 25 more minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature with Calvados Crème Anglaise.

 Makes about 10 servings

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