Friday, September 30, 2011

Filet Mignon

...they say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach,
and here's the dish that proves its not only pleasing to the eye
but will surely get you much needed attention.

once you get the meat prepped and ready for cooking, the rest is a breeze.
I served this recipe up with my baked asparagus.

~ Enjoy


  • 2 (8 ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound total)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter (for searing)


  1. Place oven rack in it's highest position. Set oven to Broil.
  2. Rub steaks all over with olive oil. Sprinkle with onion powder, then with salt and pepper.
  3. Wrap one slice of bacon around each steak, and secure with a toothpick.
  4. Heat oven proof grill pan
  5. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablepoon of garlic butter in hot grill pan
  6. Add steaks for 3 minutes on each side
  7. Remove grill pan from stovetop and place in oven
  8. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Turn the steaks over, and broil for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, or until the steaks are cooked to your liking.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pineapple & Cranberry Spritzer

½ cup cranberry juice
½ cup pineapple juice
2oz Vodka
¼ cup carbonated water  
Ice cubes

Add ice cubes to a glass
Combine pineapple, cranberry juice and pour over ice
Add vodka and top off with carbonated water.

Stir and Enjoy

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cookie Cutter Crazy

So while going throught my local walmart houseware aisle, I came across this  “beautiful box of 101 cookie cutters from Wilton”, On Sale, tucked away on the bottom shelf.  It’s almost like the sky opened up, that imaginary light came down and the sweet sound of those harmonious trumpets started playing.

Inspecting the box, I thought to myself;  this many cookie cutters? with this price tag? …No Way!
 looking around I found the item scanner, fingers crossed I scanned the box …it rang up $9.99. 

Oh my! …there’s no way I could walk away and not get it. I get 101 cutters for the same price I would buy individual cutters online, not to mention shipping and handling.  so of course I bought it.

Now I have more cookies cutters than I have place to store them, so now what ???

Its time to bake & decorate some cool cookies ofcourse J

stay tuned !! 

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Best Sugar Cookies

When my daughter asked me to make cookies for her cheerleading team, ofcourse I turned to my tried and true sugar cookie recipe.  I’ve been using this same recipe for years and the taste and texture has never let me down

Not to mention the cookies will keep at room temperature in a tin for up to 1 week. and if wrapped well, they can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Yield:  50 small 2-inch cookies
            24 Medium Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (10 tablespoons)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder together.

If using a stand mixer, fit with the paddle attachment.
If using a hand mixer, gather a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for a minute or so, until smooth.
Beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and pale.
Add the egg and yolk and beat for another minute or two; beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and steadily add the flour mixture, mixing only until it has been incorporated – because this dough is best when worked least, you might want to stop the mixer before all the flour is thoroughly blended into the dough and finish the job with a rubber spatula.
When mixed, the dough will be soft, creamy and malleable.

Turn the dough out onto a counter and divide it in half.
If you want to make roll-out cookies, shape each half into a disk and wrap in plastic.
Whether you’re going to roll or slice the dough, it must be chilled for at least 2 hours.
(Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.)

Getting Ready to Bake:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

If you are making roll-out cookies, working with one packet of dough at a time, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to a thickness of ¼ inch, lifting the plastic or paper and turning the dough over often so that it rolls evenly. Lift off the top sheet of plastic or paper and cut out the cookies – I like a 2-inch round cookie cutter for these. Pull away the excess dough, saving the scraps for rerolling, and carefully lift the rounds onto the baking sheets with a spatula, leaving about 1½ inches between the cookies.

(This is a soft dough, so you might have trouble peeling away the excess or lifting the cutouts; if so, cover the dough, chill it for about 15 minutes and try again.) After you’ve rolled and cut the second packet of dough, you can form the scraps into a disk, then chill, roll, cut and bake.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes, rotating the sheet at the midpoint. The cookies should feel firm, but they should not color much, if at all.
Remove the pan from the oven and dust the cookies with sugar or cinnamon sugar, if you’d like. Let them rest for 1 minute before carefully lifting them onto a rack to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

We might have lost the battle but these cookies cheered them right up
"Orange, Black and White .....Fight Longhorns, Fight !!"

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Biscotti Anyone?

If you are not an almond lover, just wait till you try this biscotti recipe, you are sure to fall head over heels for this cookie. It’s much better than those day old biscotti’s you buy at the bakery that’s been sitting on a shelf, with barely any almonds in it.

Easily while still hot, I could indulge by eating a few of these before they leave the baking sheet …& a few meaning: it starts out with just one, then two, then three and before I realize what’s going on, I’ve eaten "a few" J

These are my rainy day go to; I whip up a batch; make myself some coffee, sit out and just watch the rain.
Its low in fat and I get to add Amaretto to the batter, which gives it such a wonderful aroma, you’ll want to eat it from the bowl,  mmm yum!

Yield: 2 dozen
1/2 stick of melted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
3 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cups of whole almonds

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or slipmat and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the eggs, almond extract, amaretto liqueur, baking powder, salt, and flour.
  • Mix everything well until it forms a smooth, sticky batter. Gently fold in the almonds.
  • Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.
  • Make two long, 3-inch wide, flat rows of dough on the sheet pan, spaced two inches apart.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cookie rows turns golden brown.
  • Remove the sheet pan from the oven.
  • Let the cookie rows cool for about 10 minutes then slice into 1 inch pieces with a sharp knife.
  • Turn the cookies over so they lay on the side.
  • Return the cookies back into the oven to dry out any moisture still in the cookies.
  • You can use the residual heat from the first baking, or turn the oven on to a low temperature.

Let’s get this party started:
Amaretto: A fragrant almond flavor liquor made from almond and apricot pits, (aka) the heart of my biscotti

I use whole almonds so there’s plenty in every bite (of course is you are not an almond lover you can substitute for dried cranberries, pistachios, chocolate chips etc..)

Mixing and Forming the Batter
Mixing the batter until it’s smooth and creamy.
It’s going to seem as though there are too many almonds in the batter, but not to worry. The dough will rise a bit in the oven.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a slip mat and using a spatula, carefully spoon out the batter at least two inches apart, creating two rows. Since they will expand horizontally, tall and narrow rows are good.

                            Already looking good after 15 minutes of baking

All done baking

Logs are fragile, so after they’ve cooled use a sharp knife to cut into 1 inch strips
(& already 2 are missing from the batch :)

You can use the residual heat from the first baking, or turn the oven on to a low temperature
Lay biscotti pieces on the side and return them to the oven to toast 5-8 minutes.

grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy :)
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Today we are whipping up a batch of Sun-dried Tomato Pesto (aka: red pesto).  Pesto can be made in many different ways, and comes in different variations as well. It’s a wonderful combination of basil, garlic, salt, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, (pine nuts can be omitted if you have nut allergy).  

Let your imagination run wild on the endless possibilities of use because not only is it healthy, it freezes extremely well.

1 cup fresh basil
1 cup sun dried tomatoes
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup canned dice tomatoes
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic

In a food processor or blender combine olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic, pine nuts; process until well blended. Add diced tomatoes and process. Stir in and Parmesan cheese.

So proud I get to use my own potted basil that I've been growing

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Orzo Stuffed Tomatoes

There’s no doubt how much my daughter Arianna loves tomatoes; if I let her, she’ll eat the entire container before we leave the market, so I always end up buying extra, just so I’ll have some leftover to add to my dishes. Today we decided down the middle on dinner, she loves tomatoes and my love for Orzo Pasta is borderline crazy.

“Orzo” is Italian for "barley” and is sometimes referred to as "Italian rice" because its’ shape is similar to a grain of rice. It’s great in soups and casseroles but today we are using them to stuff tomatoes, served alongside a grilled shrimp salad with a balsamic dressing.


1 cup orzo pasta
2 large tomatoes  
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
8 kalamata olives, sliced
½ red onion, diced
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated


  • Cook the orzo according to package & drain
  • Heat skillet over medium heat
  • Add 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Add garlic to infuse the oil, and remove so it doesn’t burn
  • Add onions & olives
  • Add cooked orzo, salt, pepper, paprika, chopped herbs and parmesan cheese
  • Toss thoroughly, cover and let heat through   
  • Wash and cut the top from the tomatoes
  • Hollow out with a spoon (i used a grapefruit spoon) and sprinkle a little salt on the inside
  • Stuff tomatoes with orzo mixture, sprinkle with parmasan cheese and serve


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Star Fruit Cocktail

This fruit cocktail is a cross between spiked lemonade and sangria.

½ pound star fruit (3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large)
1 ounce fruit liqueur - Cointreau, Triple Sec
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar
2 oz white rum
1 oz gold rum
¼ cup club soda

  • Slice 3 pieces of the star fruit for garnishing
  • Slice lengthwise and remove seeds
  • Add fruit to a blender and puree
  • Press thru a sieve twice
  • Mix in sugar and lemon juice
  • Add rum
  • chill in refrigerator or shake with ice in a cocktail shaker
  • Add club soda, garnish when ready to serve.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pan-Seared Scallops with Spinach

Quick and easy lunch and even more perfect for weeknights or entertaining. You can also serve it over fettuccine tossed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

1 lb. fresh sea scallops
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 10-oz. pkg. prewashed spinach
1 Tbsp. dry white wine or water
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

  • Rinse scallops
  • In a small container, combine scallops and seasoning to coat 
  • Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet
  • Cook over medium heat about 6 minutes or until browned and opaque, turning once.
  • Remove scallops and deglaze the pan with white wine or water.
  • Return scallops to pan, add vinegar; toss to coat evenly, heat through.
  • Plate pre-washed spinach, add scallops and drizzle with deglazed sauce from the skillet.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Easy Shrimp Salad

1 pound peeled & deveined, fresh shrimp
½ tablespoon paprika
½ tsp salt
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh spinach
Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

  • In a small bowl; combine shrimp, paprika, lemon pepper and salt, toss to coat.
  • Skewer shrimp
  • Heat 3 tablespoon of olive oil in grill pan
  • Add shrimp, cook until they turn pink
  • Wash spinach and add to plate
  • Top with cooked shrimp
  • drizzle with raspberry vinaigrette dressing and serve

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Ackee & Salt Fish

Ackee is the fruit of the evergreen tree. When ripened, it turns from green to a bright red to yellow-orange, and is only ready for harvesting when the pods are open.

Not only is it Jamaica’s national Fruit but when paired with salt fish it becomes Jamaica’s’ National Dish.

On my recent trip to Jamaica, I was very lucky to find it was still in season; so of course, I brought home enough to tide me over on those days that I’m missing that “taste of home”.

1 20 oz. can of Ackee or 1 lb fresh ackee
1 lb Boneless, skinless Bacalao fillets (salted codfish)
1 large tomato chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 cherry pepper chopped
6 sprigs of thyme
3 scallions chopped
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp coarse black pepper
4 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Rinse codfish fillets in cold water.   
  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil; add fillets, let cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes.  Drain and repeat same step to remove excess salt from the fish, when done boiling for the second time, drain & Flake the fish with a fork
  • If using fresh ackee: Boil in water until tender
  • Drain and rinse ackee, then set aside.
  • Heat oil in pan; add garlic, onions, tomatoes, scallions and thyme, sauté for 5 minutes on medium heat. 
  • Add flaked codfish, allspice, black pepper, cherry pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
  • Add ackee and toss, being careful not to mush. 
  • Let it simmer until ackee is heated through.
  • Remove from heat & sprinkle with scallion. 
  • Serve warm.
I served it with Fried Dumplins

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Friday, September 16, 2011

General Tso Chicken

When it comes to Chinese food, I've never been an “outside the box” type of person, so if we had to decide on takeout, it’s always either; Honey Chicken or General Tso.  I’ll stare at the menu for as long as it takes and while my brain is thinking; “I should try the tofu or beef & broccoli,” the words that part my lips always end in “…and I’ll take the general tso, please.” So no doubt it's a favorite “takeout” dish in my house.

Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s a very simple recipe and you know exactly what you are putting on your table.

  • 1-½ teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 whole Large Egg White
  • ½ cup Cornstarch
  • 1 pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken breast
  • Canola, Peanut, Or Vegetable Oil For Frying

  • 2 Tablespoon Peanut, Canola Or Vegetable Oil
  • 1 cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Ginger Root
  • 1-½  cups Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • ¼ cups Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoon Chinese Chile Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • Dried chilies  (optional)

  • Steamed Rice
  • Steamed Broccoli 

"the whisk is your friend" I use it for the batter and the sauce.

Prep your chicken:In a mixing bowl, Whisk together the sesame oil, soy sauce, water, egg white, and cornstarch until thick. It will look gummy but smooth. (yes, the batter does look like a weird mud consistency but trust me, it's for the good of the chicken and it will come together)
Add the chicken pieces and stir until all are evenly coated.  Set chicken aside, covered lightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Begin the sauce:
Add the oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Stir the garlic, dried chilies and ginger into the oil and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minute.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until the sauce becomes thick and shiny. Once the sauce thickens; lower the heat and keep the saucepan over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.

To fry the chicken:
Heat 1/2-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over high heat.
When the oil is shimmering, add a few pieces of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides.
Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until you’ve cooked all the chicken.
Then slide all of the fried chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat. (If desired, add some steamed broccoli to coat with the sauce also.) Increase the heat to medium, stir and cook just until hot all the way through.
Serve immediately over white rice.

Note: to keep the chicken crispy, only add to the sauce when you are ready to serve.

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