October 21, 2015

Skillet Red Potatoes and Carrots

Our family loves the rich flavor of this vegetable side dish when slightly charred in my trusty old iron skillet.

2 T. unsalted butter
3 cups cubed red potatoes
1-1/2 cups carrots, diagonally sliced
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced

Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-low heat.
Add potatoes and carrots. Toss to coat.
Add onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Stir in parsley. 

Serves 4

March 1, 2015

Italian Apple Torte

This rustic Italian cake is bursting with flavor. For a more elegant presentation, cut the peeled apples into thin curved slices instead of chunks and arrange them in an overlapping circular fashion from the center of the cake to the outer edge. 

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 baking apples, such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" chunks
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
2 Tbsp. apricot preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and white sugar in a large bowl. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy. 
Beat in the vanilla. 
Stir in the lemon zest.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
Stir dry ingredients into creamed mixture just until combined. 
Spread the batter into the prepared springform pan.
In a medium bowl toss together the apples, brown sugar, and pecans.
Sprinkle the apple mixture evenly on top of the batter. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes.
Microwave preserves in a small bowl for 15 seconds. 
Brush top of warm torte with warmed preserves.
Cool torte on a rack. 
Remove springform pan sides. 
Cut torte into wedges to serve. 

Serves 8

February 16, 2015

Homemade Snow Cream

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 large bowl of fresh, clean snow

Mix first four ingredients together in medium bowl.
Add snow by large spoonfuls, mixing well before adding more.
Stir until thick and serve immediately.

July 31, 2014

Pasta Margherita

This light, quick and easy "no cook" pasta sauce is a delightful way to use basil and tomatoes fresh from the garden.

8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta OR 1 box uncooked spiral/rotini pasta
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. chopped green onions (about 2)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 c. halved cherry or grape tomatoes OR coarsely chopped Roma tomatoes
1 T. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c. diced or shredded fresh Mozzarella cheese

  • Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and return to pan.
  • Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients, except cheeses, in a food processor or blender. Pulse 10 times or until coarsely chopped.
    No food processor or blender? Just chop by hand and mix well in a bowl.
  • Stir (uncooked) tomato mixture into hot, drained pasta. Toss gently to coat.
  • Serve warm. Top each serving sprinkled with cheeses.

Serves 4-6

June 28, 2013

The Perfect Blueberry Cobbler

After picking several pounds of blueberries recently at a local you-pick berry farm, this easy and not-too-sweet recipe was at the top of my list for putting some of them to very good use. 

4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 T. sugar
3 T. cold butter
3/4 cup buttermilk

  • In a large bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar with the cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Gently stir in the blueberries.
  • Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, lemon peel, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and 2 T. sugar. 
  • Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (You may use the food processor instead.)
  • Stir in buttermilk just until moistened. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the blueberry mixture.
  • Bake uncovered at 375 degrees F for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  •  Serve warm.


    Buttermilk substitute: Add milk to 1 T. white vinegar to make 3/4 cup.

    After using sticks of butter, place the empty wrappers in the refrigerator to use later for greasing baking dishes and pans, then toss them away. Recycle and use less cooking spray!

    June 20, 2013

    Almost Authentic Tiramisu'

    Tiramisu' (teer-ah-me-SUE) means "pick me up" in Italian, and this dessert will definitely do just that! Authentic Italian recipes for Tiramisu' are generally complicated to prepare and typically use uncooked egg whites. This variation of mine that only takes about 30 minutes to prepare is much easier to make and contains no egg whites, while "almost" retaining the flavor and texture of the real thing.

    1 cup powdered sugar, divided
    8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
    20 ladyfingers 
    1/2 cup hot water
    3 T. instant espresso (or coffee) granules (I like Espresso Cafe' Bustelo.)
    2 T. Kahlua or Amaretto (or 1/2 tsp. almond extract)
    1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa

    • Beat 2/3 cup powdered sugar and cream cheese in a large bowl at high speed until well blended. Set aside.
    • With clean, dry beaters, beat whipping cream and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in a medium bowl at low speed until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.
    • Gently fold whipped cream into cheese mixture. Set aside.
    • Arrange ladyfingers in a single layer to completely cover the bottom of an 8" square baking dish.
    • Combine hot water, espresso granules, and Kahlua in a small bowl or cup.
    • Drizzle half of the coffee mixture over the ladyfingers, completely soaking them.
    • Spread half of the cheese/cream mixture over the ladyfingers.
    • Repeat the procedure with a second layer of ladyfingers and remaining coffee mixture and cheese/cream mixture.
    • Sprinkle with cocoa.
    • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
    • Serve cold and refrigerate (unlikely) leftovers.

    Serves 8


    Ladyfingers may be substituted with one package of any plain, hard, dry cookie such as vanilla wafers, butter cookies, or animal crackers. I've even made the Tiramisu' with chocolate animal crackers and boy was it good! Italian ladyfingers, called Savoiardi (sah-vo-YAR-dee), may be found in Italian food markets.

    If using plastic wrap to cover, stick one toothpick in each corner and in the middle to prevent wrap from sticking to the top.

    June 17, 2013

    Slow Cooked Italian Beef Subs

    These hearty sandwiches are a big hit at our house. 

    3 lb. beef rump roast, cut into 6 chunks
    0.6 oz. envelope Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
    12 oz. jar sliced banana peppers
    6 split sub rolls
    12 slices Provolone cheese

    Combine dressing mix and peppers (including the juice) in a slow cooker.
    Place the beef chunks in the slow cooker; turn to coat with mixture.
    Cook on high for 4 hours (or on low for 8 hours).
    During the last hour, shred the beef using two forks.
    If beef does not shred easily, cut into 1" chunks and cook a bit longer.
    Transfer shredded beef to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon; drain well. 
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
    Place rolls, spread open with cut side up, on a large baking sheet.
    Top with cheese slices.
    Bake until cheese is melted and rolls are toasted.
    Spread rolls with mayonnaise and top with shredded beef. 

    Serves 6