Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More Cookies

Here is a recipe I experimented with and now I will share with you. If you like the chewy fudgy type of cookie this ones for you...

Triple Chocolate Cherry Christmas Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped (you substitute semisweet chocolate chips for both)
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk or Egg Nog
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder, such as Hershey's or Scharffen Berger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 oz (1 bag) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries. optional
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a small sauce pan warm the Grand Marnier and soak the cherries drain when ready to add to mixture.

Put the butter and the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 75 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir and heat again until melted, up to 2 minutes more. (Alternatively, put the chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.)

Stir the light brown and granulated sugars and vanilla into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and buttermilk and beat vigorously until thick and glossy.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and grand marnier soaked cherries, if using.

Drop the batter in heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets--a small ice cream scoop is ideal for this. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart. Bake until the cookies set but are soft and fudgy on the inside, 12 to 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Ok I know everyone loves cookies and most of us made them or saw them being made as kids around this time of year. Here are some great recipes that hopefully you will share with your family and maybe make a tradition.
White Chocolate and Cherries or Cranberries

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts or even Pecans
  • 1/2 cup candied cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined. Set aside.

Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Add milk to the butter mixture and then add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Batter should be stiff.

In another bowl, combine nuts, cherries or cranberries, and white chocolate. Then add to batter, stirring only to blend. On a greased baking sheet drop the cookies using a truffle scoop or a spoon into 1" rounds about 2" apart and bake for 10 - 14 minutes.

Italian Wedding Cookies - (one of my Faves)

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Cream butter or margarine in a bowl, gradually add confectioners' sugar and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add almonds and vanilla. Blend in flour gradually and mix well.

Shape into balls (or crescents) using about 1 teaspoon for each cookie. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, and bake for 15-20 min. Do not brown. Cool slightly, then roll in the extra confectioners' sugar.

Gingerbread Men

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the egg and mix well. Mix in the orange peel and dark corn syrup. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves and salt, mixing until well combined. Chill dough overnight.

Roll dough out to 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Decorate to your liking.

I will add some more tomorrow so be on the lookout. I hope you like these and let me know what you think. ENJOY and INDULGE.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Pork Chops

So are you tired of chicken or all turkeyed out? Well lets try a meat that is usually not eaten a lot. First pick up some nice boneless pork chops and brine them in apple cider, 1/3 cup salt, 1/4 cup sugar. Leave in the fridge for about an hour up to over night.

Now it is time to prepare them take them out and dab dry with a paper towel. Get a skillet or frying pan nice and hot you want to sear the meat and get that lovely caramelizing started.

Now that you have browned both sides reduce the heat to medium. Add 4 tbsp of good maple syrup 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard and 4 tbsp of apple cider. You can just add this to the pan with the pork chops and then stir it around.

Once the chops are cooked it should take about 20 minutes max they will be firm to touch or you can cut them open check for a white color. Now turn the chops a couple times to ensure they are covered in the maple syrup glaze and serve with your favorite sides or a quick home made apple sauce.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The night before Thanksgiving

All right I like my pies fresh as well as my other desserts so lets make them the night before so they are still fresh but that is one less thing to worry about.  Lets start off with a pumpkin cheesecake:

Pumpkin Cheesecake:

Lets start with the crust:

1/2 cup of biscotti finely ground
1/2 cup pecans finely ground
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 stick melted butter

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl and then press about 1/4 inch thick into the bottom of your pan.


24 oz of room temp cream cheese
3 eggs
1 egg yolk
15 oz pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves 
or substitue 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice for the three spices above
2 tbsp corn starch or flour
1 tsp vanilla

Whip cream cheese until smooth then add eggs and pumpkin puree.  Slowly add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

Pour into pan and spread out evenly.  Bake for one hour remove and let stand for 15 minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Top this off with an amaretto whip cream.

Start with 1/2 cup of heavy cream beat until soft peaks add 2 tsp powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla add in the amaretto about 2 tsp.  Beat until medium peaks and then serve.

I will have more desserts and pre-thanksgiving recipes on here today.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quick and Easy Apple Cake

Here is something someone asked me for and it is quick and easy so that you can do it with your kids or alone and have plenty of time to still do whatever else you need to. Start by getting the following ingredients prepped:

1 - Cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 - tsp Baking Powder
1/2 - tsp salt
1 - tsp cinnamon
1/2 - tsp nutmeg
1/3 - cup sugar
4 - eggs
1/2 - cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 - stick unsalted butter (melted)
1 - tsp vanilla extract
1 - tbsp orange zest
1 - cup pealed and chopped granny smith apples
1/2 - cup warmed Grand Marnier (Optional)
1/2 - cup Cranberries (Optional)

Start by soaking the cranberries in the warm grand marnier. Then begin melting the butter then add in the sugar stir until combined then add one egg at a time. Combine all dry ingredients and slowly add them to the wet ingredients. Add orange zest and vanilla extract and stir until Incorporated. Last step add the apples, nuts and strained cranberries.

Place in a greased and lightly floured cake pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.....

Prepping for the Big Day (THANKSGIVING)

So it is really not that scary to take on the duties of hosting Thanksgiving at your house, specially with some of the recipes you will see on my page the next few days. So if you have not planned Thanksgiving out maybe these will help and you will be the talk of the party at least until Christmas.

Lets start off with the turkey since this is usually the star of the show.

Depending on the amount of people you are creating this magnificent meal for is going to determine the size of your turkey. You can do Thanksgiving for one or two, all the way up to 50. If you are doing it for one or two I would suggest buying the Turkey breast. Now that you've decided on a whole turkey or just a part of the turkey the next step is the preparation the day prior.

To make the brine you will need the following:

Apple cider
2 - Oranges (juiced)
zest of 2 oranges
1 - sprig of rosemary
3 - tbsp lemon pepper
6 - tbsp sea salt

In a large bowl place the turkey and all ingredients cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight turning the turkey 3- 4 times throughout the day and night. The amount of apple cider will depend on the size of the turkey used you want it to fill the bowl at least 3/4 of the way with the turkey in the bowl.

Cranberry sauce:

1 - bag of fresh cranberries
the zest of 1 orange
1/2 - cup fresh apple cider
1/2 - cup sugar or honey

Rinse cranberries and then in a medium sauce pan combine the above ingredients. Let the cranberry mixture reduce on medium low heat until it starts to thicken approximately 30 - 45 minutes. Let cool then cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve will last about 2 weeks.

I will have more recipes and preparation tips for an easy stress free Thanksgiving. If you want to know how to make something or need any information or tips please leave a comment I will answer it in my next post.

Hey it's time to make cooking and entertaining fun again!!!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Something comforting

So how about some good old fashioned Mac-n-Cheese but with some SPUNK...


1 cup - Grated (white) Smoked Cheddar
1 cup - Grated Fontana Cheese
1/2 cup - Grated Parmesan
1/2 cup - sliced white or yellow onion
1 box - gemelli or elbow pasta
1 tbsp - butter (unslated)
1 1/2 cup - chicken stock
1 cup - Heavy cream

Start off by putting on the water to boil for the pasta. Then heat a medium sauce pan melt the butter and saute the onions. After the onion starts to caramelize add chicken stock and heavy cream bring almost to a boil and add cheese whisk until smooth remaining on heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add salt to the boiling water then add the pasta cook until al dente. At this point your sauce should be thickened and you can add the pasta.

Serve and sprinkle with the Parmesan add a little sharpe cheddar and parsley to spruce it up a bit more.


If you liked something on here let me know or if you want to know something don't hesitate to ask.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Saturday Night

So it's Saturday night and you and a few friends have decided to chill at your place and watch movies and drink. So you are thinking should I order in a couple pies or perhaps chinese? Well I am here to give you a couple hints that could save you money and gain great reviews from your peers.

Lets start off with the prep this will save you some time.

Lets start by making some;

Honey BBQ wings with a back note of heat:

Get a one pound bag of wings and a large baking sheet or catering pan. Preheat oven to 350.
Place the chicken in the pan and prep, you will need the following:

1/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
4 tbsp of sea salt
2 tbsp lemon pepper

Bake for 35 - 45 minutes covered.

Now for the honey BBQ sauce with a kick:

Your favorite BBQ sauce half of a bottle in a sauce pan add the following:

1 tbsp lemon pepper
3 tbsp honey
4 tbsp hot sauce (red hot or Louisiana)
2 tbsp fresh minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh minced onion
2 tbsp brown sugar

Let simmer for about 30 minutes to infuse all flavors. Once the chicken is done take half of the sauce and cover the chicken evenly in it and place back in the oven uncovered for 10 minutes.

The remaining sauce is used as a condiment.

Tuna Mac Salad:

You will need the following for this light and refreshing salad:

2 cans of Albacore tuna drained
3 stalks of celery finely chopped
3 tbsp sweet relish
1/3 cup of mayo
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tbsp sea salt
1 box of macaroni pasta

Boil water add salt and cook pasta until it is soft but still has a bite. Drain and place in a large bowl let cool. Mix the above ingredients together and then add to the cooled pasta. Chill and serve garnish with fresh parsley.

These two items will be a hit at your next Saturday night gathering and are fast and easy with little prep work. Try this with a few beers or a cocktail. Add a tsp of grenadine to a corona and it enhances the flavor like you won't believe.

Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas or just a question leave a comment and I will make sure and answer that on my next blog.

Happy cooking.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sunday Brunches

So Sunday's are usually a lazy day for most the day before the long work week and the day a lot of people sleep in and make brunch around 10 or 11 in the morning. Here are a few simple but outstanding recipes I hope you try out and enjoy.

Breakfast Skewers:

Skewers that you need to soak in water for at least 30 minutes.
Sausage (pick your favorite I prefer Italian sweet sausage) cut this about five chunks per link.
Ham or panchetta (cubed)
Red or orange bell pepper cubed
Pineapple cubed.

Now all you need to do is alternate the ingredients on the skewer. Place on a foil lined baking sheet or an oven top grill and cook through.

French Toast:

1 Loaf of French or Italian bread
8 Eggs
1/2 cup half and half
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp brown sugar

Start with a loaf of french or Italian bread sliced into one inch pieces. In a medium mixing bowl whisk eggs and the remaining ingredients together. Heat a pan or griddle to medium - medium high heat depending on your stove. Butter the pan or griddle and place your first few slices of bread which you have dipped each side in the egg mixture and cook until golden brown on each side.

Stack on a serving platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Use warm maple syrup or your favorite topper to finish these off.

Home Fries:

12 Red potatoes (cut in to eighths)
1 Red bell pepper (diced)
1 Spanish onion (diced)
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper

In a large skillet (preferably a cast iron skillet) melt a tbsp of butter and a tsp of olive oil. Add the potatoes, onions and bell pepper saute until they start to soften. At this point add all the seasonings and taste if you need more add at this time stir and cover until the potatoes are cooked through.


6 Lg eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 yellow onion finely diced
2 tbsp half and half
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

In a medium mixing bowl whisk all ingredients except the parsley together. In an oven safe skillet melt butter on medium heat and add egg mixture for about 3 - 4 minutes until the base of the eggs have set in the pan and the top is starting to set. Sprinkle with parsley place pan into a preheated oven set to broil for an additional 3 - 4 minutes until golden.

Fresh Fruit salad:

1 Mango (cubed)
1 cup of fresh chopped strawberries
2 Kiwis chopped
1 banana sliced
2 oranges cut in to bite size segments
5 sprigs of mint (finely chopped)
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp grand marnier
1 cup raspberries
3 tbsp orange juice

In a large bowl mix all fruit and mint together. In a small mixing bowl whisk together honey, orange juice and grand marnier together. Dress the fruit and mint mixture with the honey mixture, cover and chill until ready to serve.


Pom and orange Billini:

1 1/2 cup chilled Prosecco
1 1/2 cup chilled orange juice
1 1/2 cup chilled pomegranate juice
4 mint sprigs

In 4 champagne flutes evenly distribute the 3 ingredients above and garnish each with a mint sprig.

Bloody Mary Pitcher:

6 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon celery seeds
3 tbsp grated fresh or prepared horseradish
2 quarts tomato juice, chilled
2 tbsp hot sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to flavor)
1 1/2 cups pepper vodka, chilled in the freezer (or regular vodka to substitute)
Celery stalk, for serving
Cucumber spears, for serving
Handful fresh cilantro, for garnish

Combine the lime juice, celery seed, and horseradish in a pitcher. Muddle the mixture with the end of a wooden spoon to blend and break up the celery seeds. Pour in the tomato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together to combine.

Divide the vodka among 6 tall, chilled glasses filled with ice. Fill the glasses with the bloody mary mix, stick in the celery and cucumber and garnish with the cilantro. Give the bloody mary a good stir and serve.

I hope you enjoy all of these recipes and if you want to know how to do something don't hesitate to ask. I will put it in the next post.


Friday, February 29, 2008

It's finally here... THE WEEKEND

So Friday is here and the long stressful week is behind us at least for a couple days. So lets start the night out right.

Sea Breeze

  • Ice cubes
  • 20 fluid ounces vodka
  • 16 fluid ounces cranberry juice
  • 16 fluid ounces grapefruit juice fresh or ruby red (ocean spray)
  • Lime wedges

In a large pitcher mix vodka, cranberry and grapefruit juice together. Fill glass half full of ice and fill with the mixture garnish with the lime wedges.

Mai Tai

  • 2 cups of ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup dark rum (recommended: Meyers)
  • 1/4 cup lemon rum (recommended: Bacardi Limon)
  • 1/4 cup coconut rum (recommended: Malibu)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sweet and sour mix
  • Splash grenadine
  • Orange slices, for garnish, optional
In a large pitcher mix all ingredients together well. Serve in a large glass and garnish with orange slice and a splash of grenadine.

Fried Ravioli

  • Marinara sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Buttermilk
  • Italian seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • Ravioli (fresh or frozen thawed)

In a medium frying pan pour olive oil until its 2 inches deep and heat to 325 degrees. While oil is heating take ravioli dip into the buttermilk bath and then coat in bread crumbs repeat and then fry until golden brown. Heat the marinara sauce serve on the side garnish the sauce with freshly chopped parsley.


  • 4 large tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • mozzarella
  • 2 french baguettes
Slice the baguettes at an angle in to 1 inch rounds. Place on a baking sheet brush with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees until toasted.

In a medium bowl mix the tomatoes, parsely, basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (just enough for your personal taste). Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Place baguettes on a plate and place one slice of the fresh mozzarella on each and top with the tomato relish.

This should start your Friday night out great. Tell me what you think and if you would like to see something else on here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Almost the weekend....

So lets make tonight (Thursday) the pre-weekend starter. So today's menu has some quick fixes that you should all love with a cocktail to finish it off.

Lemon / Dill Baked Chicken Breast

  • one lemon
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl mix the juice of one lemon, dill, salt, pepper and olive oil. In a small baking dish place the chicken breasts and pour the mixture of lemon and dill over them ensuring you have covered both of them. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Risotto with mushrooms and peas

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 5 oz finely chopped white mushroom
  • 2 garlic cloves minced finely
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice or short grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas thawed
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
In a separate medium sauce pan bring broth up to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and add the porcini mushrooms.

In a large sauce pan melt butter and add the olive oil, add the onions and saute until soft. Add the garlic, white mushrooms and porcini mushrooms (use a slotted spoon you do not want to add the liquid yet). Saute until mushrooms are tender and the liquid evaporates (5 minutes). Add the rice and let it toast for a few minutes you should smell a slight nutty scent. Add the white wine and cook until it is absorbed stirring often. Add one cup of broth and continue to stir and monitor adding the remaining broth a cup at a time the rice will absorb the liquid and when finished in about 20 minutes should have a creamy consistency

Amaretto Ice Cream Dessert

  • 8 Amaretti Cookies
  • 2 shots of Amaretto Liqueur
  • 4 scoops of french vanilla ice cream
  • whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Now there are two ways to do this. First way is to toast the almonds for about a 2 minutes this releases the flavor. Or skip this step and crumble 4 Amaretti cookies in each dish pour 1 shot of Amaretto on to the cookies. Add 2 scoops of ice cream to each and top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with almonds.

Citrus White Wine Spritzer

  • 2 (1/4-inch) slices lemon
  • 2 (1/4-inch) slices lime
  • Ice cubes
  • 4 ounces Pinot Grigio or other white wine
  • 2 ounces lemon lime flavored seltzer water

In a large stem glass arrange slices of lemon and lime between ice cubes to fill the glass. Pour 4 ounces of white wine, (1/2 cup) and 2 ounces of sparkling lemon lime seltzer water, 1/4 cup, down over fruit and ice. Stir with cocktail stir-stick or straw and serve. This recipe makes one spritzer just repeat to make an additional drink.

I hope that you enjoy this meal and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Creamy Polenta

  • 3 cups of Heavy Cream
  • 2 cups of Chicken stock
  • 1 cup of polenta
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of butter (unsalted)

Heat a large pot add in the liquids and bring to a simmer stir in the polenta with a whisk and add cheese. Whisk until a creamy consistency then add the butter and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 more minutes stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.