Romantic

Spinach Salad

August 23, 2012

Spinach Salad

This is a delicious main-dish salad.  For a refreshing side-dish salad, simply reduce the portions and omit the egg and bacon.  This salad pairs very well with roast chicken or a thick grilled pork or veal chop. 

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

2 Hard Boiled Eggs (Peeled)

3 Pounds Flat Leaf or Baby Spinach

6 Diced White Mushrooms

6 Strips Crumbled Bacon

6 Slivered Green Onions

1 Sliced Green Apple

10 Toasted Whole Pecans

1 Cup Garlic Croutons

 

Dressing:

1 Tablespoon Honey Dijon Mustard

1 Minced Garlic Clove

1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Dill

1 1/2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

6 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Heavy Cream

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together until nice and creamy.  Press the egg yolks through a fine mesh strainer and finely chop the egg whites.  Keep the egg yolks and the egg whites separate.  Set aside.  Add the spinach and mushrooms to the salad bowl and toss well to coat.  Divide among 4 serving bowls.  Sprinkle the egg whites, bacon, green onions and egg yolks around the top of the salad.  Arrange the apple slices around the outside of the salad and layer several of the apple slices with the toasted pecans.  Top with croutons.  Pass around the dressing for everyone to help themselves.  Serves 4

Victoria’s Risotto

August 21, 2012

Victoria’s Risotto

This is my favorite risotto which should take only about 30 minutes to make from start to finish.  My risotto is such a great dish for either a side dish or the main course. 

INGREDIENTS

1/4 Cup Cooked Peas

1/4 Cup Diced Green Bell Pepper

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Minced Garlic Clove

2 Minced Shallots

2 1/2 Cups Beef Broth or Vegetable Broth

1/2 Cup Red Wine

1 Cup Arborio Rice

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoon Butter

1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a heavy saucepan, over a medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic and shallots until they are soft. Add the kosher salt.  In a separate saucepan bring the beef or vegetable broth and red wine to a fast simmer over a medium low heat.  Add the rice to the olive oil pan.  Stir well until all of the grains are coated and the rice becomes translucent.  Add 1/4 cup of the broth mixture to the rice.  Stir the rice well until the liquid is absorbed.  The rice should still look moist and creamy.  Add another 1/4 cup of the broth mixture to the rice and stir until the liquid is absorbed.  Then pour in about a third of the remaining broth and stir well.  Simmer for 10 minutes over a low heat.  Stir occasionally.  Add the rest of the broth and cook for another 10 minutes.  The risotto will absorb the last of the liquid quickly.  The risotto will be done when the kernels are soft, but with just a little bite at the center.  There should be no liquid in the bottom of the pan and the risotto will be creamy and moist.  If you need a bit more liquid then add a tablespoon or two of water.  Stir in the cooked peas. At the very end add the butter and stir the risotto rapidly to incorporate.  Transfer to a serving bowl. Top with diced green bell peppers and serve warm. Do not stir in the grated Parmesan cheese as it will make the risotto sticky and dry.  Instead let each person top their own serving with Parmesan cheese if they wish. Serves 4

Busy Day Cake

August 3, 2012

Busy Day Cake

Everyone needs to have my Busy Day Cake recipe at their fingertips.  It’s great to have in a pinch.  Top it off with whipped cream and berries or top it with your favorite ice cream or drizzle with honey, chocolate or caramel sauce.  Any of these toppings will make this cake a special-day treat. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3Cups Unbleached Flour

2/3 Cup Sugar

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2/3 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2 Eggs

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

 

Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour an 8×1 1/2 inch round cake pan and set aside.  In a large size bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder.  Add the milk, butter, eggs and vanilla.  Beat on a low speed with an electric mixer until combined.  Beat for another minute on medium speed, but don’t over beat.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until done.  When you insert a wooden toothpick near the center is should come out clean.  When done remove from the oven and cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes.   Loosen the sides of the cake and invert onto a cake plate.  Cool for 20 to 30 minutes.  Serve warm with berries & whipped cream, ice cream or honey or caramel sauce.  Serves 8

Classic Martini

August 2, 2012

Classic Martini

Here’s an idea, why not have a martini party?

INGREDIENTS

2 Ounces Gin

1/2 Ounce Dry Vermouth

3 Green Olives

Lemon Peel

Thread 3 green olives on a cocktail pick and set aside.  In a cocktail shaker combine the gin and vermouth.  Add ice cubes.  Cover and shake until VERY cold.  Strain the liquid into a martini glass.  Garnish with the olives and lemon twist.  Makes 1 serving. 

Cosmopolitan

July 31, 2012

Cosmopolitan

Ever wondered how to make a Cosmopolitan?  Perfect for backyard barbeques, holiday or dinner parties. 

INGREDIENTS

2 Ounces Vodka

1 Ounce Orange Liqueur

1 Ounce Cranberry Juice

1/2 Ounce Lime Juice

Lime Slice For Garnish

In a cocktail shaker combine the vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice.  Add ice cubes.  Cover and shake until very cold.  Strain the liquid into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime.  Makes 1. 

Pan Seared Scallops With Ginger Sauce

July 29, 2012

Pan Seared Scallops With Ginger Sauce

There are many species of scallops in the sea, but you will find two general categories at the fish market.  Sea scallops are typically about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and are between 20 to 30 per pound.  Bay scallops smaller and are typically about 1/2 inch in diameter and are between 70 to 100 per pound.  When purchasing scallops look for plump meats in clear juices without shell particles or grit.  The juices should not exceed 10 percent of the total volume.  The scent should be a fresh ocean scent and not a sour or sulfur like scent.  Scallops should be firm and moist and should retain their shape when touched.  To store scallops refrigerate, covered in the juices, for up to 2 days.  You may freeze them for up to 3 months; however I think that they lose their flavor when they are frozen. 

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Fresh Sea Scallops

5 Teaspoons Butter

1/3 Cup Chicken Broth

1/4 Cup Frozen & Thawed Pineapple Orange Juice Concentrate

1 Teaspoon Grated Fresh Ginger

Rinse your scallops.  Pat them dry with paper towels.  In a large skillet melt the butter over a medium high heat.  Add the scallops to the skillet.  Cook for 3 minutes until the scallops are opaque.  Make sure to stir frequently.  Remove from the skillet, transfer to a plate and keep warm by covering with foil.  For the sauce, add the chicken broth, juice concentrate and ginger to the skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Boil, uncovered, for 3 minutes until the sauce is reduced by about half.  Spoon the sauce over the scallops.  Serves 4

Strawberry Milkshakes

July 5, 2012

Strawberry Milkshakes

It’s hot out and time for a good old fashioned Strawberry Milkshake! 

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Pound Fresh Strawberries

3 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Pint Good Quality Vanilla Ice Cream

1/2 Cup Milk

 

Hull and slice the strawberries.  Place the sliced strawberries in a medium size mixing bowl.  Add the sugar and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine and let sit out for 1 hour.  In a food processor or mixer place the strawberry mixture, ice cream and milk and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve immediately.  Serves 2

 

Lemon Parfait

June 28, 2012

Lemon Parfait

This dessert looks like it took all day to make, but actually is pretty easy.  The only trick is that you need to chill for a few hours so you will need to plan ahead a bit. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Strained Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Rind

3 Large Egg Yolks

1 Cup Sugar

3 Large Egg Whites

1/8 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Chilled Heavy Cream

3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Quartered Lemon Slices For Garnish

8 Small Shortbread Cookies

 

In a small saucepan combine the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, lemon juice and lemon rind.  Beat well until combined.  Cook over a medium heat.  Stir CONSTANTLY until the mixture gets thick, but do not let it boil.  Remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl to cool.  In a separate large bowl beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and kosher salt.  You want the egg whites to have peaks.  Now, add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar a little bit at a time.  Fold the egg white mixture into the lemon mixture.  In a chilled bowl beat the whipping cream until it has peaks.  Always be careful not to over beat so you don’t end up with butter.  Beat in the powdered sugar.  Take 4 parfait glasses and place 1 broken shortbread cookie at the bottom of each glass.  Place the lemon mixture over the broken cookie and alternate with the whipped cream until you come to the top of your parfait glass.  Do this to all 4 parfait glasses.  Garnish with quartered lemons and 1 whole shortbread cookie.  Chill for 3 hours.  Serves 4

Super Moist Chocolate Layer Cake

June 4, 2012

Super Moist Chocolate Layer Cake

 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 Cup Softened Butter

2 Cups Sugar

5 Eggs (Room Temperature)

3 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

4 Squares (1 Ounce Each) Melted & Cooled Unsweetened Chocolate

2 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Cups Buttermilk or Sour Milk

 

Preheat your oven to 325° F.  In a large size bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the vanilla extract.  Add the melted chocolate.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add alternately to the batter along with the buttermilk.  Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.  Divide the batter evenly between the pans.  Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes in the pans.  Remove from the pans and cool completely before frosting. 

 

Chocolate Frosting:

1 Cup Softened Butter (2 Sticks)

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

3 Cups Powdered Sugar

2 Tablespoons Milk or Cream

3 Squares (1 Ounce Each) Melted & Cooled Unsweetened Chocolate

 

In a large size bowl combine the butter, cream cheese and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and beat at a low speed.  Stir in the milk and melted chocolate.  Beat until fluffy.  Place one cake layer on a cake plate.  Spread a thick layer of frosting.  Place the second layer on top of the frosting and frost the top layer and sides.  Serves 10

Mother’s Day Breakfast Cobbler

May 12, 2012

Mother’s Day Breakfast Cobbler

 

Don’t be afraid to make this fruit dessert for Mother’s Day breakfast.  Serve it with a scoop of plain yogurt on the top.  Everyone loves this breakfast treat. 

 

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1 1/4 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

4 Tablespoons Chilled Unsalted Butter

1/4 Cup Room Temperature Honey

1/2 Cup Milk

1 Pound Ripe Plums (Split In Half & Pitted)

3 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar

3 Tablespoons Wheat Germ

Plain Yogurt For Serving

 

Preheat your oven to 375° F.  Lightly butter and flour a medium size glass baking dish.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a large size bowl.  Using a hand held pastry blender or two forks cut 3 tablespoons of the butter into the mixture until it is all crumbly.  In a small size bowl whisk together the honey and milk.  Add all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir to combine all of the dry ingredients.  The spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Using a knife score an X through the skin of each plum half.  Arrange the plums skin side up in a single layer over the batter.  Mix the brown sugar, wheat germ and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to form a cumbly topping.  Sprinkle the topping over the plums.  Bake for 30 minutes until the center of the cobbler is set and the topping is nicely browned.  Remove the cobbler from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Slice into wedges and serve topped with plain yogurt.  Serves 4

 

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