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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Happy New Year!  These cocktails will make your New Year celebration one to remember!  Be safe, be sane, be happy!

Hardware:  Mixing glass, shot glass, strainer, stirrer, and martini glasses

All the drinks follow the same instructions: 
  1. Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes.
  2. Add all of the ingredients, stir, and strain into the chilled martini glasses
Floridian Breeze
  • 3 parts citrus vodka
  • 2 parts cranberry juice
  • 1 part orange liqueur (I use Curaçao)
  • A squeeze of lime juice

 Ginger What Ails You
  • 3 parts white rum
  • 4 parts cranberry juice
  • 4 parts raspberry ginger ale
  • 1 part orange liqueur
  • A squeeze of lime juice

Raspberry Love
  • 2 parts citrus vodka
  • 1 part Chambord
  • 1 orange peel

Cranberry on the Sauce
  • 3 parts citrus vodka
  • 3 parts cranberry juice
  • 1 part orange liqueur
  • 1 part orange juice
  • A squeeze of lime

You can dress up your cocktails with rimming sugar, chunks of frozen fruit, and citrus peel.  Make some snacks for your guest.  You might enjoy last year's cocktail recipes, too.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Baby, it’s cold outside.  Sausage and Lentil Soup will thaw you out.  

Dried beans are a popular choice for soups. They come in many varieties and are inexpensive.  However, most dried beans require soaking overnight and take forever to cook.  Lentils require no soaking and cook in about 30 minutes. They are extremely high in protein and an excellent source of soluble fiber.  They also contain iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1 and potassium.  Oh, and unlike most other beans, lentils do not contain sulfur, meaning that they do not produce the embarrassing and smelly side effect often associated with ‘beans, beans the musical fruit.’

Servings: 8-10
Time:   Prep: 10 minutes; Cook: 50-60 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a can opener, a soup pot with a tight fitting lid, a slotted spoon, a bowl, a wooden spoon, a ladle, serving bowls

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ pound of Italian sausage
  • 1 small onion (⅓ cup)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1-14 ounce can of diced tomatoes (Do not drain)
  • ½ tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 quarts of low-sodium chicken stock
  • 7 ounces of dried, brown lentils
  • Grated Parmesan cheese and crusty bread
  1. Chop the onion and garlic, the smaller the better.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil on medium high.  Remove the sausage from the casings and cook and crumble until it is no longer pink.  This should take about 7 minutes.  Remove the sausage from the pot with the slotted spoon.  Set aside. 
  3. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and garlic to the fat in the pot.  Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the sausage. Allow the soup to come to a boil.  Cover in a tight fitting lid and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Simmer for 35 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir occasionally.  Add the sausage for the last five minutes of cooking.
  5. To serve, ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Give each guest a hunk of crusty bread for dipping and sopping up the last drop of soup.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Wishes

This is my blog's third Christmas.  Thanks for reading my blog and sharing my recipes. When I look back at the first enteries, I can see how much I've grown, as a cook and a blogger.  And a food photographer! I'm excited at the challenge of creating another year of recipes.

Christmas Menu
Stuffed Pork Loin Roast
Savory, Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Honey Roasted Cauliflower
Mint Chocolate Mousse

You might enjoy last year's Christmas menu, as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mashed Savory Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes.  However, I prefer them savory to sweet.  Even if you have a sweet tooth, I think that you will enjoy this, too.

Servings: 6-8
Time:  Prep: 20 minutes;  Cooking:  30 minutes
Hardware:  A measuring cup, cutting board and knife, a veggie peeler, a large pot, a skillet, a colander, electric beater, a plate covered in a paper towel

  • 4 slices of thick cut maple bacon
  • 4 large sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 small onion  (½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ⅛ cup sour cream
  • S&P
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes.  Cut up the onions.
  2. Place the potatoes and onions into the large pot and cover in water.  Boil until the potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes.)  Drain.
  3. While the potatoes are boiling, chop the garlic.  Cook the bacon in the skillet until it is crispy.  Place the bacon on the paper towel covered plate.
  4. Drain most of the fat from the pan, but don’t clean it.  Sauté the butter and garlic over medium heat in the same pan you cooked the bacon in.  Sauté until the garlic is golden.  Pour the garlic, butter, etc into the large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the potatoes, onion, sour cream and milk to the bowl and beat until they are creamy. S&P to taste.  Top with crumbled bacon and serve warm.

Honey Roasted Cauliflower

I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up vegetables.  This cauliflower is pretty jazzy.

Servings: 4-6
Time: prep: 5 minutes, roast: 25 minutes
Hardware: Cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, a baking sheet


  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ⅓ cup light olive oil
  • ¼  cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • S&P to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper 
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets.  Chop the garlic.
  3. Mix the garlic, oil, honey, and vinegar.
  4. Toss the cauliflower in the honey mixture.
  5. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Don’t crowd the cauliflower or it will not roast, but steam instead.  Sprinkle with S&P.
  6. Roast for 20-25 minutes.  Stir the cauliflower half way through.
  7. Top with a few grinds of fresh black pepper and serve warm.

Chocolate Mint Mousse

Chocolate Mint Mousse is too wonderful for words. If I were to try to reduce this dessert to words, I would say, “Rich, sweet, chocolaty, minty, silky, and love.”  You can also prepare this a day in advance so I might throw in “convenient.” 

Servings: 6-8
Time: prep: 20 minutes, chill: 1 hour
Hardware:  Metal mixing bowl, beater, measuring spoons and cups, microwave proof bowl, 2 wooden skewers, a small glass ramekin, an open flame (a gas stove or a candle),  a large plastic spatula, a large spoon, 6-8 martini glasses, plastic wrap, and room in the fridge

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 8 ounces of the best semi-sweet chocolate chips you can afford
  • 4 ounces of the best mint chocolate chips you can afford
  • 3 ounces of strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon of Bailey’s Mint Chocolate Irish Cream
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, chopped into little pieces
  • 1 teaspoon flavorless gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
  • Crushed candy canes for garnish
  1. Chill 1 ¾ cups whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill the metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.
  2. Pour the other ¼ cup whipping cream into the glass ramekin and set aside on the counter.
  3. In the microwave proof bowl combine the chocolate chips, coffee, Irish Cream, and butter. Microwave on high for 20 seconds, stir with a wooden skewer, and then microwave in 10 second increments, stirring every time, until the chocolate is just melted.  It is okay if a few of the chips are still chip shaped.  They will melt while sitting.  It is important to do this slowly.  If you scorch the chocolate, you will need to start over. Set the chocolate aside.
  4. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream in the ramekin. Allow the gelatin to sit for about 10 minutes. This is called ‘blooming.’  Carefully heat the cream/gelatin mixture over a very low gas flame or candle. Gently swirl the ramekin and stir it every so often with the other skewer.  You want the gelatin to dissolve.  If you allow the gelatin to get too hot, you will need to start over.
  5. Test the chocolate with your finger.  It should feel a little warm (just above body temperature).  If it has cooled down too much, zap it for 5 seconds and stir.  Stir the gelatin mixture into the chocolate and set aside.
  6. In the frozen mixing bowl, beat the 1 ¾ cups chilled cream and powdered sugar to medium peaks.
  7. Stir a plop of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
  8. Fold ½ of the remaining whipped cream into the chocolate. Then gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream.  Don’t worry if a few streaks of the whipped cream don’t get mixed in completely.  The important thing is that you don’t cause the cream to break down.
  9. Spoon the mousse into martini glasses, cover in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for at least one hour.  You can chill them overnight, if needed. 
  10. Garnish with crushed candy canes.

Adapted from a recipe by Alton Brown

Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

I know that turkey is the traditional choice for Christmas.  I, however, am not a big fan of turkey.  Pork loin roast is an easy and tasty alternative.   

Servings: 8-10
Time:  Prep: 15,  cook time: 10 minutes, roast: 90 minutes
Hardware: Cutting board and knives, measuring spoons and cups, a wooden spoon, a mixing bowl, a small bowl, , a large skillet, kitchen twine, a roasting pan (or large, shallow, metal dish), a glass baking dish, a meat thermometer, and foil

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ pound bulk sausage
  • 1 large onion (1 cup)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (1cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • ½ tablespoon + 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
  • 3 cups day old cornbread
  • ½ loaf white bread
  • 2 eggs
  • S&P to taste
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth (maybe more)
  • 1 pork loin roast (2 ½ to 3 pounds), (Ask the butcher to butterfly it for you or read the instructions below)
  • Cooking spray

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º. 
  2. Roughly chop the onion.  Wash and peel the apples.  Remove the cores, and roughly chop them up. Chop the herbs as small as you can get them. Set aside.
  3. Cut the cornbread into rough cubes.  Remove the crust from the white bread and cut it into 1 inch cubes.  Place the breads into the mixing bowl.
  4. Thoroughly beat the eggs.  Set aside.
  5. Cut off about three 10 inch pieces of twine. Set aside.
  6. In the skillet heat the oil over medium high. Add the sausage, onion, apples, and fresh herbs. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent, the apples are soft, and the sausage is no longer pink. Stir often. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool completely.
  7. Stir the apple mixture, ½ tablespoon Herbes de Provence, eggs and S&P, into the bread. Do this gently; you don’t want everything to be mushy.
  8. Gently stir the chicken broth, a little bit at a time, into the breads crumbs.  You want the bread to be moist, not soggy!
  9. Spray the glass baking dish with cooking spray and spoon about ½ of the stuffing in into it.  Set aside.
  10. Starting on the longest side of the roast, spoon the rest of the stuffing along the edge. Roll the pork up over the stuffing.  Tie the roast closed with the kitchen twine.  Place the roast, seam down and fat up, in the roasting pan (or shallow metal pan).  Score the fat with a sharp knife.  Sprinkle the roast with S&P and the rest of Herbes de Provence. 
  11. Place the pork roast and the stuffing in the oven.  Cook the roast for about 25 minutes per pound or until the thermometer reads 150 º when inserted into the thickest part.  Bake the dish of stuffing for about 40 minutes.  Remove the roast (and the other stuffing) from the oven and tent with foil.  Allow everything to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with gravy.

Instructions from the National Pork Board on how to butterfly a pork loin roast:  To double butterfly the pork loin, lay the meat, fat-side down, on a work surface and make a horizontal lengthwise cut two-thirds of the way into the depth of the loin and about 1 inch from the long edge nearest you, taking care not to cut all the way through. Flip the loin over so that the cut you just made is opposite you. Make another lengthwise cut, again 1 inch from the edge. Open up the two cuts so you have a large rectangle of meat whose diameter is roughly 3 times the thickness of the meat. Place fat-side down and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a cleaver or a meat pounder, gently flatten the meat to an even thickness.