Sunday, May 24, 2009

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies

79.  Have you seen the newest Martha Stewart Living Magazine for
 June 2009? The cookie of the month is a Strawberry-Shortcake Cookie.  How ingenious this is!  I love traditional shortcake but how convenient to have that same enjoyable taste packed into a cookie.  So here is Queen Martha's recipe...remember to adjust the time so the bottoms of the cookies do not burn.  Try to keep the strawberries towards the top of the cookies when dropping the dough onto the cookie sheet.
Replacing sugar crystals instead of sanding sugar was a nice finish.

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • Sanding sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Very delicious cookie I know you will enjoy!

"Broken cookies don't have calories"
  - Unknown

Monday, May 18, 2009

Challah Bread French Toast

78.  Friends of ours own a bakery in town and they treated us to a fresh loaf of challah bread yesterday.  It smelled wonderful!  But what could be better than "Challah Bread French Toast"?  
Tonight we had breakfast for dinner. 

 "Challah Bread French Toast with Buttered Apple Topping"
One loaf of Challah Bread.
Cut the bread in thick slices
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
1 Tblsp grated orange rind
¼ cup toasted almonds, ground
Beat together the egg, milk, cinnamon, sugar and orange rind till blended well.
Heat a griddle or frying pan to approximately 300º.  Spray with oil.  Begin to immerse each piece of bread into the egg mix till bread is completely coated but not soaked.  Pause a couple seconds, then transfer to the hot griddle.  Once griddle is filled, sprinkle the almonds over the un-griddled side of the bread.  When the bread is toasted, flip and continue grilling.
"Buttered Apple Topping"

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tblsp orange juice, or lemon juice
3 Tblsp butter
¼ cup sugar
1 cup water
❋  ❋  ❋  ❋  ❋  ❋
2 Tblsp corn starch
1 cold water

Place the apples in a 4 quart saucepan.  Add cinnamon, juice, butter, sugar and water.
Stir together all ingredients and place saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and simmer till apples are tender but firm in the center.
While apples are simmering, mix corn starch and cold water to make a thickener.  Pour into the simmering apples and mix till the apples begin to thicken.  If too thick, add water till desired thickness, or if not thick enough, add more corn starch/water mix.  Continue to simmer till toast is complete.  Serve the apples on the side.
Slice oranges and float in a pitcher of water.
Breakfast is delicious any time of the day!

"I am an optimist.  
It does not seem too much use being anything else."
  ~Winston Churchill

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pasta Salad

77.  The beauty of Pasta Salad is how varied your flavor choices and ingredients can be.  And, you can choose any type of pasta shape.  It is a pretty simple process and so easy to prepare ahead of time. 
I found a very yummy recipe for pasta salad on Epicurious, Lemon Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Feta.  

I made my own version...which by the way, you can use whatever veggies you have in the fridg. 

"Pasta Salad"

1 lb cooked pasta, any shape, rinsed in cold water and set aside

2 stalks celery split and chopped
1 leek, rinsed and chopped  or 3 scallions chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
5 radishes, rinsed and chopped in cubes
1 large bunch of broccoli, rinsed, large stalk cut off, and cut in small pieces
several sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
handful of fresh basil, rinse, pat dry, roll together and chop
black olives, sliced
1 cup feta cheese
salt and pepper
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar 
1 Tblsp Italian Spices, opt

Place pasta in a large bowl.   Add all ingredients and stir till everything is incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Cover and refrigerate.  Before serving, mix the pasta adding more oil or balsamic as needed, or more seasoning.  Serve cold.

Other optional ingredients:  Fresh green peas, fresh corn cut from cob, zucchini chopped, green beans blanched and chopped, cauliflower chopped, red onion, green, red or yellow peppers chopped, oregano spicy or traditional, fresh tarragon chopped, cherry tomatoes sliced, green olives, salami or ham cubed, cheddar or mozzarella cheese cubed, red cabbage sliced thin, beans of any type cooked and rinsed, or any vegetable you choose.  
Skies the limit! Check out
  this list of recipes to find the perfect pasta salad for your taste.

"Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! 
 I say, let your affairs be as two or three,
 and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million
 count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. "
  ~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Strawberries with Cream and Sugar

76.   Here is a delicious and super simple dessert.  We first had Strawberries with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar in a wonderful restaurant in Niagara Falls.  I smirked  at the simplicity until I tasted this dessert.  You will be very surprised once you take a taste.

"Strawberries with Cream and Sugar"

Strawberries, washed and patted dry, do not hull
8 oz. Sour Cream
1 cup brown sugar

Place strawberries in a serving bowl or on a plate.  Place sour cream in a small bowl and brown sugar in a separate bowl.  Provide small plates or tapas dishes for each person.
In your small plate place a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of brown sugar.
Take a strawberry by the stem and first dip the end in the sour cream.

Then dip it into the brown sugar and take a bite.  
You will be delighted and marvel at this simple and yummy dessert.

"Strawberries are the angels of the earth,
 innocent and sweet with green leafy wings
 reaching heavenward. " 
  ~Jasmine Heiler

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Turkey Tortellini

75.  A turkey showed up on our doorstep (wink, wink ;-) and I just couldn't let it go to waste.  Last night we enjoyed a turkey dinner with all the fixings.  I remember someone telling me recently they can't wait till Thanksgiving so they can have turkey again...hhhhuuuuuhhhh?  Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving.  With that in mind...I made bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegies.  It was delicious!   

But today, I have left-over turkey.  What to do with the left-over turkey...I've decided to make Tortellini Soup with Homemade tortellini stuffed with the left-over turkey. There is a delicious Turkey, Tortellini and Watercress Soup on Epicurious that looks very good. 

I boiled my carcass in water for about two hours till it fell apart, then strained it separating the liquid from the bones and meat.  Allowing it to cool, I strained the liquid once more and returned it to a clean stockpot.  After I picked all the meat from the carcass and bones, I placed it in a processor and pulsed it till it was chopped in very fine pieces.  
To that I added parmesan cheese, nutmeg, parsley, salt and pepper and 
heavy cream to soften the mixture to a slightly wet filling.

My pasta dough was ready to go,  and a few turns through the pasta machine
  and I cut out circle shapes.
Next, I brush the dough round with water and dolloped ½ tsp of filling into each round,
sealed it into a moon shape and pressed to seal.
I place my finger at the center of the straight edge
then grabbed the short ends and pulled them together and pinch
and I pinch in the opposite direction as well to double the seal. 
It makes a little bonnet or purse shape.
  You place the shaped tortellini on a clean towel to air dry.

To the delicious stock was added sliced carrots, 1 leek washed and chopped, and 1 stalk of celery chopped, salt and pepper and a handful of spinach leaves and chopped parsley for color and garnish.  After the carrots are tender, I dropped in the tortellini and continued to boil for approximately 15 minutes till they were tender.
What I love to hear are the oohhs and aahhhs at the dinner table.
We sprinkled chopped parsley and parmesan cheese over the hot soup.
This is my idea of comfort food, it is delicious and beautiful.

"Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living. 
 For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite
 than any other one dish.”
 ~ Louis P. De Gouy

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spinach Salad Pasta?

74.  Today, while looking in my frig deciding what to make for dinner, I found spinach, bacon and chicken.  The thought of making a cold spinach salad with warm bacon dressing sounded so good.  Both of my girls turned their noses up.  "Yuk, I don't want to eat just cold spinach!" was the reply.  Maybe I could make everyone happy.  So, I thought, why not make a version of spinach salad but hot over pasta.  This was a total risk...but it was well worth it.

Here is my recipe a la Lilly

Hot Spinach Salad Penne

1 pound penne pasta, boil and set aside keeping hot

½ lb of bacon, chopped
6 cups fresh spinach, washed 
4 chicken breasts
¼ cup flour
salt and pepper
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1 Tblsp white balsamic vinegar
2 Tblsp butter
2 Tblsp flour
¼ parmesan cheese, opt

Fry bacon in a large frying pan till crispy.  Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.  Set aside.
Take each chicken breast and pound till thin.  Salt and pepper each chicken breast and dredge with ¼ cup flour.  Saute' in bacon drippings for approximately 20 minutes or till browned and cooked through.  Remove to a warm plate.  Add the red onion to the pan, adding olive oil if necessary, and saute' 3 minutes.  Add spinach all at once, salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat till spinach wilts.  Add balsamic vinegar and chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  In a small bowl, mix together the butter and flour making a paste.  With a wisk, begin to add the butter paste to the liquid, breaking up any lumps and incorporating into the liquid.  Simmer till liquid thickens. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Plate the pasta and begin to spoon the hot spinach sauce over the pasta, sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Take the chicken breast and slice in long strips. Stack the chicken pieces over the pasta and sprinkle bacon on top.  Serve with warm bread and salad.
We were all very satisfied with the outcome!

"On the subject of spinach: divide into little piles. 
Rearrange again into new piles.
 After five or six maneuvers, sit back and say you are full."
 ~ Delia Ephron, How To Eat Like A Child

Monday, May 4, 2009

Beautiful Barbara's Brazilian Lemon Pie

73.  Let me tell you about "Beautiful Barbara!"  We met two years ago, she had just arrived in the US from Brazil and was just beginning her new job as an Au Pair.  She didn't speak or understand much English.  We smiled and shook hands.  I noticed her beautiful long curly black hair and beautiful brown eyes.   Not only was Barbara beautiful on the outside...I found she was even more beautiful on the inside!  To tell you all the special times we shared would take up many pages.  Before Barbara returned to her homeland, she brightened our lives, befriended many and brought so much joy to our hearts!  (Barbara you get 1000 points for that!)

One evening, my daughter brought home a gift from Barbara, it was a pie!  In Brazil, limes are considered  green lemons, so she called it a Lemon Pie.  It was soooooo delicious.  Ever since we had this pie, I have wanted the recipe.  Barbara shared it with me last week...from Brazil...on-line through MSN calling.  So here is her recipe with an embellished new name.

Beautiful Barbara's Brazilian Lemon Pie

1 cup flour
1 egg
1 Tblsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
8 Tblsp butter

Blend flour, egg, sugar, baking powder and butter together till crumbly.  Add enough water till dough comes together and forms a ball.  Press into bottom and up sides of a removable bottom tart pan.  Lightly cover pan with tinfoil and use pie weights or beans to weigh down the crust.  Bake 350º for 20 minutes.  Remove tinfoil and pie weights and return to oven till crust is light brown.


2 cans condensed milk
7 "green" lemons, (limes), juiced
1 pkg plain gelatin, using only half the packet

Blend together the milk, juice and add half the packet of gelatin till incorporated.  Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate.

4 egg whites
1 Tblsp sugar

Beat egg whites in a mixer with the wisk attachment slowing pouring the sugar in a constant stream.  Blend till stiff peaks form.  Spread meringue over set filling.  Place under broiler till peaks turn light brown.  


zest one lime and sprinkle over top of pie.  Chill.
Delicious!!  This pie is very similar to a Key Lime Pie.  You will enjoy it.  You can always substitute the meringue for Whipped Cream for a richer taste.

  Barbara é meu amigo bonito!

"If instead of a gem, or even a flower, 
we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, 
that would be giving as the angels give."
  ~George MacDonald


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