Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spicy Sweet Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli slaw is a fun alternative to cabbage slaw.  I like to throw in baby bells for color and raisins for sweetness and a change in texture. 

Servings: 4
Time:    Prep: 10 minute Chill: 2 hours
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a mixing bowl, a whisk, a large storage container

Baby bells are crunchy
& so beautiful

  • ½ cup olive oil based mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons spicy stone-ground mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Pinch Cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 package of broccoli slaw
  • 3 red, orange, and yellow baby bell peppers (¼ cup)
  • 3 green onions
  • ⅛ cup golden raisins*
  • Dressing
  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.
  2. Wash the peppers and onions.  Slice them as thinly as you can.
  3. Toss the slaw, peppers, onions, and raisins.  Then toss the slaw with the dressing until everything is thoroughly coated.  Chill for at least two hours before serving.
 * I use golden raisins, regular raisins, and dried cranberries to make my salad pretty and to add more tastes and textures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strawberry Balsamic Foole

Strawberries are in season right now.  This year they are particularly juicy and sweet.  Obviously the best way to enjoy them is to just eat them naked (the fruit-not you.)  But macerating them in balsamic vinegar is surprisingly wonderful.  Also wonderful?  The fact is that this dessert has less than 200 calories per serving.  Really.

Servings:  4
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes, resting time:  1 hour
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, knives and a cutting board, a whisk, an airtight container, 4 wineglasses

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar glaze
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • A can of spray whipped cream
  • 8 lady fingers
  • Strawberries for garnish.

  1. Rinse and chop the strawberries.
  2. Whisk the glaze and sugar together.
  3. Toss the strawberries and glaze together and place everything in the container.  Allow the container to sit at room temperature for an hour.
  4. Rip up the cookies.
  5. Compose each foole in a wine glass.  Start with a layer of strawberries followed by whipped cream, then cookies, more strawberries, then end with whipped cream.
  6. Garnish with a strawberry.  Serve immediately.
Yummy & under 200 calories!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Athena's Shrimp and Pasta

Dill is one of my favorite herbs.  It has been cultivated by humans since the Neolithic Era.  Stems of dill were found with Amenhotep II.  Its seeds, stems, and leaves are used extensively in the cuisine of Finland, Russia, and Greece.  It inspired me to make this light spring dish.  Enjoy. 

Servings: 4
Time:    Prep: 15 minutes; Cook: 15 minutes
Hardware:  measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a large heavy bottom skillet (I prefer a cast iron skillet), a large pot, a colander, a wooden spoon, a serving dish

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small white onion (¼ cup)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • ½ pound (31-35 count) shrimp (You can usually buy these from your fish monger already cleaned.  It saves so much time.)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Greek seasoning (I use Konriko Greek Seasoning or you can make your own)
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ⅛ cup chopped black olives
  • 8 ounces of uncooked angel hair pasta
  • Salt
Spinach, dill, olives, and yogurt
make this light dish perfect for spring
  1. Put 4 quarts of salted water on to boil in a large pot.
  2. Dice the onions.  Mince the garlic. Rinse and chop the dill.  Quarter the tomatoes.  Rinse and stem the spinach.  Rinse the shrimp and remove their tails.  Set aside.
  3. Place the olive oil in the skillet on medium.   Add the onion, tomato, dill, and garlic to the skillet and adjust the heat until the dish is bubbling. Continue to sauté until the tomatoes begin to give up their liquid.  Nothing should be browning.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Stir this occasionally.
  4. Place the pasta in the salted water in the other pot now.  Cook it according to package directions.
  5. In the skillet, when the tomatoes begin to look soft, add the spinach, shrimp, and seasonings to the pan.  Stir occasionally. Cook this just until the shrimp turn pink and the spinach wilts (about 5 minutes).
  6. Stir the yogurt and feta into the shrimp.  Stir only until everything is just mixed.
  7. The pasta should be done now.  Drain the pasta but do not rinse it.
  8. Place the pasta in the serving dish and toss with shrimp sauce.  Toss in the olives.
Serve with a salad and warm bread.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes

My family is huge!  I have 5 sisters and 3 brothers.  My mom is the middle child of 11 and I am close to all my brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, second cousins, grand nephews…You get the idea.  Because there are so many of us, holiday meals are always potluck.  I took this dish to our Easter celebration.  It was a hit.

Servings: 8-10
Time:    Prep: 20 minutes Cook: boil 10 minutes, bake 40
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a peeler, a pot, a sauce pot, a whisk, a food processor or grater, a large mixing bowl, a large wooden spoon, foil, and a 9 x 13’  glass baking dish

  • 3 pounds of potatoes
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1-½ cups milk
  • 2 cups + ½ + ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • S&P
  • Cooking spray

Hard to believe such simple ingredients

become something so good

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Peel the potatoes.  Place them in the pot of salted boiling water.   Only cook them until they are just tender.  You want them to still be firm.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, place the butter in the sauce pan on medium and whisk in the flour.  You are now making a roux.  Continue to whisk until the roux is a golden color.  This should take about 5 minutes.  Slowly stir in the milk.  Allow the milk mixture to reach a simmer, but DO NOT BOIL.
  4. Add 2 cups of the grated cheese to the milk mixture and allow the cheese to melt.  Stir often.  This should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Put the potatoes into the food processor to grate them (or grate them by hand).
  6. Mix the grated potatoes, cheese sauce, sour cream, and ½ cup of the cheese together.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray. Place the potatoes in the dish and cover in foil.  Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. Remove the foil and sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is bubbling (about 5 more minutes.)
  9. Allow the potatoes to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Hint:  Stir in any one of the following before baking:
4 pieces of crisp, crumbled bacon
1 cup of chopped, cooked ham
1 cup steamed, chopped broccoli florets
¼ cup chopped grilled onions

OR stir in ½ cup of a different cheese before baking (step 6): Gorgonzola, pepper jack, Gouda, Gruyère, or Havarti would all be good choices.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lazy Polenta

     Like its American cousin grits, polenta is a peasant food.  In recent years it has become popular for Italian restaurants in the States to serve polenta as a side dish, but fancy it is not.
     Polenta's name is derived from pulmentum, which comes from the same root word as pollen.  Polenta was a staple in the early Roman diet. Originally, polenta was a porridge made from grains such as millet or spelt or from garbanzo bean flour. Polenta was not made from corn until much later, hundreds of years later when the grain was introduced to Europe in the 1400s.
     Now corn polenta is a very common Northern Italian dish.  Most people have a polenta pot or paiolo.  Made of unlined copper, with a flat bottom and gently sloping sides, the pot is designed to conduct heat evenly while making it easy to stir smoothly. The pot has no place for the cornmeal to stick and lump up. Lumpy polenta is not acceptable.
     Usually polenta is made by adding a thin stream of cornmeal to salted, boiling water.  Then the polenta is stirred constantly for 40 to 45 minutes. It is an arduous task, but worth it.  However, if you are like me, you don’t want to stir constantly for almost an hour.  I have tweaked this recipe and have created a yummy polenta for lazy people.

Servings:  6-8
Hardware: A pot, measuring cups and spoons, a whisk (or a stick blender), a crock pot. optional: a loaf pan, a spatula, plastic wrap, a frying pan
Time:  Prep 5 minutes, cooking 4-6 hours.

  • 7 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups stone-ground, course, yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (the best you can afford)
  • optional: butter, olive oil for bottom of pan
Fried polenta with sundried tomato pesto
  1. Put the water on to boil.
  2. Rub the inside of the crock pot with butter.
  3. Turn the crock pot on high. You want it to be hot when you add the water.
  4. Put the boiling water into the crock pot.  Stir in the cornmeal, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Whisk until it is completely blended.  Make sure there are no lumps.
  6. Turn the crock pot down to low and cook for 4-6 hours.
  7. Every 2 hours or so, scrape down the sides of the crock pot and stir vigorously.
  8. The polenta will be done when the liquid is absorbed and it is the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes.
  9. Stir the polenta making sure there are no lumps; you can use the immersion blender if needed.   Stir in the Parmesan.
  10. You can serve the polenta immediately.  Top it with gravy, butter, or pesto.
  11. Or you can spread it evenly in a buttered loaf pan.  Cover the pan in plastic wrap making sure that the plastic is against the polenta.  Place the pan in the refrigerator and allow it to cool and set until firm. Cut the firm polenta into ¼ inch slices and sauté it in olive oil until it is crispy and golden brown on both sides.