Friday, December 27, 2013


1 1/2 c. warm water 105-110 degrees
1 envelope dry yeast
2 T. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 c. flour, divided
1 lb. red onion, sliced thin
1 large red bell pepper
4 sweet Italian sausages, castings removed
12 oz. ricotta cheese, drained 1 hour
3 c. mozzarella cheese, grated
3 tsp. dried oregano
2 T. olive oil
Corn Meal for dusting
Option: 2 cloves crushed garlic in 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
Pour warm water into a large bowl and stir in yeast. Let stand about 5 minutes until
yeast dissolves. Mix in salt and oil. Add 3 3/4 cups flour (do 1/2 cup at a time),
stirring until blended. Transfer to a floured surface and knead dough (you may not
need all of the 1/2 cup reserved flour for this). You want it smooth and elastic, but not
sticky. Rub inside a large bowl with oil and place dough in the bowl. Flip the dough
over (oily side up) and cover with saran wrap in a draft free place for 1 hour, 15 min.
The dose has risen when 2 fingers indentations remain. Filling: Place a red pepper on
a baking sheet and set the oven to broil. Roast the pepper until all of the sides are black. Transfer to a bowl and cover with saran wrap for 10 minutes. The steam will help shed the skin. Peel, seed and slice into thin strips. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat olive oil, over medium high heat. Cook red onions until brown (25 minutes.) Remove onions to a bowl and cook sausage, breaking it into small bits, until done. Set aside. In a bowl, mix together the mozzarella, ricotta and oregano. Season to taste
with salt and pepper. Place oven racks in the top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the oven.
Preheat to 400 degrees. Brush 2 cookie sheets with olive oil and dust with cornmeal.
Punch down the dough. Knead on a floured surface for 1 minute. Divide dough into 4
equal portions,shaping each into a ball. Roll each into a 9 inch round. I transfer it to
the bake sheet before assembly.) Spread 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture over half of
each round, leaving a 3/4 inch border. Place 1/4 of the onions, another 1/3 cup cheese
mixture, 1/4 of the sausage, 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture, and 1/4 of the peppers.
Fold dough over forming a half circle and seal edges firmly, so nothing leaks out.
Pierce top of calzone a few times with a sharp knife so steam can escape while
baking. Repeat with 3 other calzones, 2 per bake sheet. Bake 15 minutes, reverse
sheets and bake 15 more minutes, until golden brown. Makes 4 HUGE calzones.
Note: You can be creative with the fillings. I recommend making sure everything is
cooked going into the calzones. 4 calzones can easily feed 8 people. I'd also consider
adding garlic flavored melted butter to brush on as it comes out of the oven.
Note #2: I doubled the dough and the cheese filling. I made 4 circles of dough, wrapped them up and divided the cheese mixture by 4 and put it in baggies. Then a freezer bag. Now when my son wants a calzone in college, he just needs to buy a jar of roasted red peppers and fry up sausage/ onion. Stuff and bake.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Aunt Olive's Christmas Fudge (Page 85)

2 1/2 c. sugar                               
1/2 c. sour cream                           
1/4 c. whole milk                           
1 T. corn syrup                                
1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. unsalted butter
1 c. walnuts (or pecans)       
1/3 c. green candied cherries, chopped
1/3 c. red candied cherries, chopped

 Note: You use the cherries that you see out around the holidays, usually near the
produce area. I thought they would have a fancy name, but the container simply says
"red cherries", NOT maraschino cherry! Some people call these "candied cherries".

Line a 8 x 8 pan with quick release foil, leaving some overhang on the sides, for removal. Mix the first 5 ingredients and stir over medium heat until it boils. Stir no more. Cook until soft ball stage. Remove from heat and add vanilla, butter, nuts, and both cherries. Beat until no longer "glossy". Pour into pans. The fudge will whiten slightly as it cools.

This makes an adorable "Christmas" fudge.

Here it is after it has cooled. It is less translucent:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Corn and Wild Rice Soup

 Corn and Wild Rice Soup
12 c. (or more) of chicken broth, divided
1 1/4 c. wild rice (Gourmet house suggested)
2.5 lbs frozen corn (4 cups + 1 cup,divided)
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
12 oz. FULLY COOKED smoked sausage, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 c. chopped onion
1/2-1 cup heavy cream (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley or chives

Bring 4 cups chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add wild rice, reduce heat and simmer (covered) until almost tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.(You undercook it a bit here- it will cook longer in the soup)

Blend 4 cups of corn with 2 cups of broth in a food processor until a thick almost puree forms. Set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Add sausage and saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and onions. Saute until the onion is soft. Add remaining 6 cups of broth and simmer (reduce heat to low) and cook for 15 minutes. Add cooked wild rice, corn puree,plus 1 cup whole corn. Cook 15 more minutes. Stir in the cream (optional). Thin with extra broth if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped chives or parsley.
Serves 12
Notes: You can freeze this (before adding the cream! Thaw and then add the cream when ready to eat.)Wild rice is a grass and  harvested by hand.Don't spend a lot and rinse before using.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Butternut Squash Pizza

1 Boboli-type ready made pizza crust (Or make your own)
1 small butternut squash- peeled
olive oil
salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup mozzarella (I would use 1 cup), grated
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese (again I'd use 1 cup), grated
20 sage leaves minced (You can freeze sage leaves fyi)
1/2 lemon juiced (You can freeze lemons too)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

 Slice off the top and bottom of the squash, Cut half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces. Place on a cookie sheet. Brush w/ olive oil and sprinkle w/ salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes (until lightly browned and tender to touch).

 Turn up oven to 450 degrees!

Brush pizza dough with olive oil. sprinkle on minced garlic. Then sprinkle the cheese evenly over the crust. Arrange the butternut squash. (Play- make a circle or spell something....have fun).

Bake (on a stone if you have it) I use a cookie sheet or nothing. Bake at 450 degrees 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts and just starts to brown.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with minced sage leaves and lemon juice. Cut. Eat

Saturday, September 14, 2013


From my friend, Cheryl

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. Karo light corn syrup
4 eggs
3 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 c. pecan halves, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan with no stick quick release foil. (Do it.)
 Cookie crust: In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (it will change color and become lighter.)
Beat in flour and salt on low speed, stopping to scrape sides as needed, until well mixed. Press into the prepared pan evenly and bake for 18- 20 minutes,watching it closely towards the end, until golden brown. While it's baking prepare the filling.

Pecan filling: In a separate bowl, beat eggs, syrup, sugar, melted butter and vanilla, until well blended. Stir in pecans. As soon as the cookie crust is finished, you pour the pecan filling onto the hot cookie crust and return it to the oven for 25 minutes, until it is nice and firm around the edges Cool completely and cut into desired size.
Note: Nice recipe for making tiny pecan pieces, instead of dealing with the mess and limited quantities of the standard pecan pie. This is from a friend in N.Carolina named Cheryl.

Sunday, May 19, 2013



1 pork tenderloin, about 3/4 lbs. tied with
1 tsp. dried mustard
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/4 c. soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. brown sugar
2 T. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. cumin, ground
Mix all of the ingredients, except pork, in a large zip-lock bag. Add pork and seal well, squeezing out the air. Refrigerate 1-2 hours. (You could freeze for 2 months,just bring to room temp. before continuing). Grill, basting with marinade, until pink in center. Remove pork and allow to rest 5 minutes. We serve it with goat cheese for amazing sandwiches and cilantro rice as the side dish.

Note: A family favorite.We love this meal, but last year we walked away from the grill with the lid down, and set the grill ablaze. We learned and I hope you don't do what we did! Just stay nearby and keep the lid up as you grill.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ham Loaf with Apple Glaze (Page 49)

1 1/2 lbs. ham ground in a food processor                1 tsp. dry mustard
1 lb. mild pork sausage (Bob Evan's)                        1 tsp. curry powder
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed                                         1/8 tsp. cayenne powder
1/2 c. unsweetened                                                     1/8 tsp. paprika
2 eggs                                                                          1/4 c. milk
1 small onion, chopped                                               1 c. apple jelly
2 ribs celery, chopped                                             1/4 c. cider vinegar
1 small green pepper, chopped                               1 tsp. yellow mustard
2 c. dry bread crumbs                                            1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 2 loaf pans. Mix next 14 ingredients well.
Shape into 2 loaves and place in the pan. Bake 45 minutes. While loaves are baking,
combine jelly, vinegar, mustard and pepper in a small saucepan. Heat until jelly has
smoothed. Remove from heat. Remove from oven and carefully drain fat. Pour glaze
over ham loaves. Bake an additional 30 minutes, with basting juices. Let it sit 15
minutes before serving.
Note: Great use for leftover ham. It makes 2 loaves. Freezes very well. I just make
extra glaze for the thawed, baked loaf. Mom asks for this when I ask her what she
wants for dinner ("but go easy on the cayenne pepper"). Another family favorite. Also
makes an awesome leftover sandwich with mustard.

Italian Meatloaf (Page 50)

1 T. canola oil                                                     
1 onion, minced                                                 
4 cloves garlic, minced                                      
2 Portobello mushrooms, stemmed and               3/4 lb. *ground beef
rough chopped                                                      3/4 lb.*ground veal
1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley                                    1/2 lb. *ground pork
10 fresh basil leaves                                            
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar, divided  
1 T. Kosher salt
2 eggs, beaten                                                    
3/4 c. dried bread crumbs                                   
4 T. Parmesan cheese
1/4 -1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. thyme
1 T. black pepper
3/4 c. ketchup, divided 1/4 and 1/2 cup

 8 thin slices of pancetta or bacon
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small sauté pan, over medium heat, heat canola oil.
Add the onions and sweat them until they are tender, about 5-7 minutes. At about 4 minutes into the onions being cooked, add the garlic, stir constantly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let it cool. In a food processor, add mushrooms and pulse until chopped (not pureed). Add parsley, basil, and 2 T. of the balsamic vinegar and process until minced. Add the mushroom mixture to the garlic mixture and stir. Mix in the eggs, breadcrumbs, cheese, milk, oregano, and thyme, until combined well. Add the meat salt and 1/4 cup of the ketchup. Transfer to a baking sheet and form either 1 large loaf, or 2 smaller loaves. (I make 2 and freeze 1 at this point OR you can freeze after baking, too). In a small bowl, mix the remaining ketchup and balsamic vinegar. Spread evenly over the meatloaves. Arrange the pancetta to lay over the loaves. Bake 55 min. for 2 loaves, 9 min. for 1 large loaf, or until inner temperature reaches 155 degrees. Let meat rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Note: You can just do 2 lb. all ground beef if you wish.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rita's Toffee crackers (Page 88)

1 c. brown sugar, packed
11 oz. chocolate chips
2 sticks of butter
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1 sleeve of club crackers
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a non-stick 9 x 13, or use quick release foil. In a small saucepan, combine butter and sugar and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, for 2 minutes. The mixture will gradually combine and form a thick sauce. Be careful with this sauce; it can burn very easily. Carefully spoon the sauce over the crackers. You can gently spread the sauce to cover all the crackers with the tip of a spoon. Bake the mixture for 10-12 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles all over its surface. Pour over the crackers and spread evenly. Scatter the chocolate chips
over the dish and return to the oven for 1 - 2 minutes. Remove and spread chocolate evenly, scatter the nuts and chill for 30 minutes. Break into pieces, as you normally would toffee.
Note: I like this because I like salt club crackers. This gets an A+ for easy!