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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Barley Mushroom Soup

Winter seems to be coming early this year.  Lows were in the 30s here yesterday and we are in Florida.  When it is really cold out nothing makes me feels cozier than soup.  Barley mushroom is a healthy choice when deciding what soup to make. Barley helps control bloodsugar, reduces blood pressure, helps lower cholesterol, and may help with weight control.  Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium which has been shown to lower blood pressure. Riboflavin, niacin, and selenium are found in abundance in mushrooms.  These are antioxidants that aid our cells in fighting off free radicals.  If you don’t care about all of that, how about this:  This soup is crazy good.

Servings: 6-8
Hardware:  A cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a pot with a tight-fitting lid, a large soup pot, a wooden spoon, a colander or strainer
Time:  prep:  10 minutes, cook 1 hour

  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 carrots (about a cup)
  • 1 celery stalk (about ½ cup)
  • 1 pound baby Portobello mushrooms
  • ½ small onion (about ½ cup)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon powdered thyme)
  • 7 cups liquid (I used vegetable broth)
  • S&P to taste

Barley Mushroom Soup

  1. Boil 4 cups of water in the small pot.  Stir in the barley.  Cover with a tight fitting lid and reduce to simmer.  Simmer for 40 minutes or until the barley is soft.  Drain. 
  2. While the barley is cooking, roughly chop the garlic, celery, carrots, and onions.  Rinse and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Heat the olive oil on medium to medium-high in the large soup pot.  Sauté the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery until the carrots are tender.  Stir often.  Everything should be bubbling, but not browning.  This should take about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid.
  5. Add the broth and thyme (if you are using fresh thyme, count the sprigs so that you can fish them out later) and bring to a boil.  Stir in the barley and turn down to a simmer.  Allow the soup to simmer for about 15- 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Fish out the thyme sprigs.  S&P to taste.
  7. Serve right away with crusty bread.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for:  our friends, our family, our health, and this holiday season that will allow us to enjoy all three.  This is my Thanksgiving menu.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Potato Soup as a first course.  Roasted Cornish game hens served on top of a Wild Rice Mélange and a side of Roasted Brussles Sprouts for dinner.  And when you have rested and wallowed and napped you can follow this all up with Mini Peanut Butter Pies

Thanks for reading my blog.  I hope you have enjoyed it this year. 

You might also enjoy last year's more traditional menu.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Cornish game hens are a fun alternative to traditional turkeys.

Servings:  8
Hardware:  Knives & chopping board, measuring cups & spoons, NO POWDER latex gloves, roasting pan, thermometer, kitchen twine, sauce pot
Time: Prep-10 minutes, Cook-1 hour, 10 minutes

  • 4 Cornish game hens
  • 4 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 teaspoons of sweet paprika
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cups chicken broth 
  1. Remove the hens from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to cook them.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°
  3. Cut the onion into quarters.
  4. Rinse the hens and cut off the butt flaps and wing tips. Place the hens in a roasting pan, breast side up. Put an onion quarter into each hen’s cavity. Tuck the wings under and tie the legs together with binding string to help the hens hold their shape.
  5. Wearing the gloves, rub each hen with butter. Sprinkle the hens with Herbs de Provence, S&P, and paprika.
  6. Place the roasting pan on the center rack.
  7. While the hens are cooking, heat the broth with the remaining butter, keep warm. About half way through cooking time baste the hens with the broth.
  8. Roast for about 70 minutes or until the thermometer reads 165° when inserted into the thickest part of one of the thighs.
  9. Turn the oven up to 450° for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking to brown the skin.
  10. Remove the onion quarters and allow the hens to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting them in half.
  11. Save the pan drippings to make gravy.

Mini Peanut Butter Pies

Normally, I make everything from scratch and shy away from processed foods.  But I also believe in everything in moderation, including moderation.  This is so good; you won’t feel guilty for long.


Servings:  8 (or 4 or 1 if no one is looking)
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes, chilling time:  2 hours
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a mixer, a large mixing bowl, a rubber spatula, plastic wrap, space in the fridge

  • 1-5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2/3 cups peanut butter
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓-½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 miniature, pre-made graham cracker pie crusts
  • Chopped salted peanuts, whipping cream, and miniature peanut butter cups for garnish
  1. Place the pudding mix, sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, and sugar in the mixing bowl.  Mix on high for about 1 minute.  The mixture will become very thick. 
  2. Add the cream, a little at the time, and blend until the mix is the consistency of very creamy peanut butter.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as you mix.  Don’t add too much cream or the pie will not set up.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the pie crusts.  Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  4. To serve, carefully turn the pies out and place in the center of a plate.  Top with salted peanuts, a dollop of whipped cream and one miniature peanut butter cup.

Wild Rice Mélange

I know that most people traditionally have a bread based dressing with their turkey.  However, wild rice and brown rice are much healthier than bread.  The addition of vegetables and dried cranberries make this side dish even healthier.  Wild Rice Mélange has a wonderful earthy aroma and an interesting mix of texture and tastes.   I don’t think you will miss the stuffing.  Trust me.
Servings: 4-6
Hardware: knife and cutting board, measuring spoons and cups, sauce pot with a tight-fitting lid, large skillet, and a wooden spoon
Time:  Prep 15 minutes, cooking 55 minutes
  • 1 cup wild rice and brown rice blend
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (about a cup)
  • 1 small onion (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ a carrot (about ¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup Craisins
Wild Rice Mélange
  1.  Dice the garlic, rinse and slice the mushrooms, dice the onion, shred and then dice the carrot.  Set aside.
  2. Rinse the rice.
  3. Put the rice, broth, and 1 tablespoon of butter in the pot and cover with a tight-fitting lid.
    Bring the rice to boil.  Stir, reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer 45 minutes.  DON”T LIFT THE LID. 
  4. Remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Don’t lift the lid.
  5. While the rice is resting, heat the olive oil on medium high.  Add the vegetables, walnuts, and Craisins and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until the mushrooms begin to release their liquids.  Stir into the rice with the remaining butter.
  6. Serve warm.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a delectable side dish that takes almost no effort. 

Servings: 4
Time:    Prep: 5 minutes; Cook: 30-40 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring cup, a large skillet that can be used on the stove top and in the oven (cast iron works great), a wooden spoon

  • 12 oz bag of steam in the bag Brussels sprouts
  • ¼ cup of your favorite oil based Italian dressing (I use Ken's Northern Italian)
  • S&P to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Heat the dressing on medium high until it becomes fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Open the frozen bag of Brussels sprouts and pour them right into the skillet.  Stir until they are completely coated with dressing.  Make sure they are in a single layer.
  4. Put the skillet into the oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Stir to make sure they are all coated again.  Roast for another 15 minutes and check to see if they are cooked enough for you..  I like mine firm and usually remove them after 30 minutes.  Some people prefer them mushy and cook them for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove them from the oven and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Friday, November 9, 2012

Linguine with Clam Sauce

This popular favorite of Italian American restaurants is quick and simple.  Just add a side salad and some crusty bread and winner, winner, clams for dinner.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep:  15,  Cook: 15
HardwareLarge pot, large skillet, cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, tongs, a wooden spoon, a ladle, large bowl, a colander, and a large serving bowl


  • 16 ounces of linguine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay would work well)
  • ½  cups clam juice
  • 3 dozen littleneck clams
  • ½ cup fresh flat leafed parsley
  • S&P
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

  1. Clean and scrub the clams. 
  2. Put the large pot of salted water on to boil.
  3. Chop the garlic and wash and chop the parsley.
  4. Heat the oil in the skillet on medium.  Cook the garlic for about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the wine, clam juice, pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce, turn up the heat, and bring to a soft boil. 
  6. The pasta water should be boiling now.  Add the linguine and cook according to package directions.
  7. While the pasta is cooking, add a ladle (1/2 cup) of boiling pasta water to the sauce.  Add the clams to the boiling broth in a single layer. Do not stack the clams.  You will probably have to cook them in batches.  Using the tongs, place the clams in the large bowl as soon as they open.  (Discard any clams that do not open).
  8. Remove the clams from the shells.  Do this over the large bowl to reserve as much juice as possible.
  9. When all the clams are cooked and shucked, stir the clams, their juice, and the parsley into the sauce.
  10. Drain the pasta.  Toss it, the sauce, and the butter in the serving bowl.  S& P to taste.  Serve right away.
  11. In Italy, cheese would not be served with clam sauce.  But I l'm in Florida and like the sauce with cheese.