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.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tomatoes Gratin

Lamb was on sale at the market last week.  I needed an easy, tasty side dish.  I decided on Tomatoes Gratin.  ‘Au gratin’ refers to a cooking method that creates a crispy crust on top of the dish.  When tomatoes are prepared this way their natural sweetness deepens.  Lamb tastes earthy and this offered a nice balance.

Tomatoes Gratin takes very little time and no skills, but is different and tasty enough to serve to guests.  I like to eat the leftovers with rice for lunch the next day.

Servings: 6-8
Time:  Prep: 5 minutes; Cook: 15 minutes
Hardware: Cutting board and large knife, measuring cups and spoons, a bowl, 9’x13 inch baking dish

  • 1 ½ pounds (6 medium) tomatoes 
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Cooking spray
  1. Spray the dish with cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 400˚.
  2. Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. Salt and pepper them generously.
  3. Layer the tomatoes on the bottom of the dish, slightly overlapping them.
  4. Drizzle the pesto over the tomatoes.  You can buy pesto or you can make your own.
  5. Mix the onion flakes, bread crumbs, and cheese. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the tomatoes. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve alone or over rice.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sausage Potpie

Potpies have been around since the Roman Empire. They have remained popular because they are so delicious and easy to serve. Everything-meat, veggies, and bread-all in one little package. They are a great way to use up leftovers, as well.

These are not classic potpies, which are usually filled with stew. These are breakfast potpies packed with creamy sausage goodness. You can use your favorite sausage.  I used spicy Italian because it has the bold taste we prefer. You can add other veggies like mushrooms or cubed boiled potatoes.  Sometimes I include different shredded cheeses, in addition to the cream cheese.  Cheddar and Swiss are good choices.

These can be frozen and rewarmed.  However, these are NOT tasty cold.  The cheese become gelatinous.  When I make these I serve a side of fruit or scrambled eggs.
Sausage Potpie
Servings:  6 pot pies
Time:  Thaw: 30 minutes, Prep: 30 minutes, Cook: 35 minutes total
Hardware:  Measuring spoon, a cutting board and knives, a skillet, a wooden spoon, 6-6 ounce ramekins (or individual pie plates), a clean flat surface, a rolling pin, a fork, a baking sheet, a kitchen towel, serving plates

  • Olive oil to cover bottom of the skillet
  • 1 ½ pounds bulk sausage
  • ½ large bell pepper (¾ cup)
  • 1 small onion (¾ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces soften cream cheese
  • Salt
  • Flour
  • 2 sheets thawed puff pastry
  • Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Dice the veggies.
  2. Cover the bottom of the skillet in olive oil and heat over medium. Add the sausage and veggies.  Cook and crumble until the sausage is no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Drain.
  3. Add the sausage mixture, pepper flakes and the cream cheese to the skillet over medium low and stir until the cheese completely melts. Taste and adjust the salt. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool while you prepare the crust.
  4. Spray the ramekins liberally with cooking spray. On a slightly floured surface roll the first pastry sheet out to a 12”x 9”. Cut it into six squares.  Place a square into a ramekin.  Gently push the dough down into the bottom.  Make sure that some dough hangs out the sides because you will need to seal the pies.  You can use kitchen scissors to cut off a piece and wet it with a little water to make a patch if needed.  Repeat for the rest of the ramekins.  Fill each pie with the sausage mixture.  The mixture can mound up a little.  There may be some filling left over.  It is great served over rice.
  5. Roll out the second pastry and cut it into 6 pieces.  Lay a top crust on each pie.  Crimp the edges of each pie.  Make sure each one is sealed. Use a knife to cut three vents in each top.  If you have leftover dough, you can bake it and serve it with the pies.
  6. Place the pies onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  7. Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to cool for about five minutes. Holding the ramekin with a kitchen towel, carefully turn a pie upside down over a small plate.  It should gently slide out.  You may need to run a thin knife along the edge, but be careful not to pierce the pie.
  8. Serve warm.
Creamy Sausage Goodness

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Seafood in Brodo

This dish is so simple and so elegant that I often serve it to guests.  I have a friend who requests it every time he visits.  If you prep everything before your guests arrive you will spend very little time in the kitchen.  Serve it with a salad of bitter greens and a white wine. 

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes, Cooking:  Less than 30 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, a large skillet, kitchen tongs,  a large bowl, measuring cups & spoons, a large skillet

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices of thick pancetta or bacon
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes –DO not drain
  • 2 cups of a DRY white wine (Sauvignon Blanc is a good choice)
  • 1 cup fish or chicken broth
  • 1 dozen hard shell clams-cleaned & purged
  • 1 dozen mussels- cleaned & purged
  • ½ pound large shrimp (31/35 count)-cleaned but do not remove the tails
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 4-5 basil leaves for garnish
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Piles of Shellfish
  1. Dice the garlic and the pancetta. Wash the basil and remove the stems. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil on medium. Add pancetta, garlic, and red pepper to the pan and heat until the garlic begins to sweat (about 2 minutes.)  Do not allow anything to brown.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the wine, tomatoes, and broth and allow to come to a boil.
  4. Add the clams in a single layer and monitor them constantly. Using the tongs remove the clams as they open and place them into the bowl.
  5. Make sure to stir and do not allow the tomatoes to stick. Add the mussels in a single layer and remove as they open. Discard any clams or mussels that do not open.
  6. Add the shrimp to the soup and boil for 3 minutes. Tear the basil into small pieces and add to the broth. Boil for 2 more minutes.
  7.  Return the other shellfish and any juice to the broth and remove from the heat. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  8. Stack the basil leaves that you set aside for garnish and roll them up. Cut them into very fine strips. (This is called chiffonade.)   Place everything into the serving bowl. Pile the basil garnish in the middle.
  9. This can be served with crusty bread.  Or to make the dish heartier serve with pasta or rice.  Make sure to place a bowl on the table so your guests can have a place to discard shells.