Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Hannah’s Brownies

My daughter, Hannah has caught the snow day baking bug. Her school was closed yesterday due to ice so she searched online and found this recipe from allrecipes.com. They came out delicious. Nice and dense, chewy and fudgy, just the way our family likes them.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 9×9 pan
In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, combine
flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in nuts if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. Let cool on wire rack before cutting into squares.


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Pistachio Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

I adore rack of lamb.  It is one of my favorites.  This was my first time making it at home.  It turned out so good!  I will definitely be doing it again, with some tweaks of course.  One note – it is essential to have a meat thermometer on hand to determine doneness.  I ended up having to put some of the chops back in the oven for a few more minutes.  Not a big deal.

photo (1)


  • 2 racks of lamb (remove some of the fat cap if there is a large amount, but you need some fat to sear it)
  • Salt and pepper

For crust –

  • ¾ cup pistachios (shelled)
  • ½ – 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Coriander seeds (I put a small amount in the middle of my palm, maybe ½ tsp, then did it again)
  • Rosemary – maybe ½ – 1 tsp
  • Green Peppercorns ( ½ tsp)
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

To Prepare

  • Mix all except the mustard in a food processor until it forms a coarse paste.  I added a tiny bit of olive oil to help it come together.  (I made the mistake of adding the mustard to the food processor.  I should have spread the mustard on the lamb and then added the spices as a crust.  My crust while delicious fell off when the lamb was sliced)
  • Heat a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet to very very hot.  Sear the lamb fat side down for 4 – 5 minutes until nicely browned.  Flip and sear another 2 -3 minutes.  Remove to a baking sheet.
  • Coat the meaty side of the lamb with the mustard.  Then pat ½ the spice paste onto each rack of lamb. 
  • Roast the racks of lamb in the preheated oven crusted side up for 15 – 20 minutes.  The internal temperature should be:

¨       Rare:  120-130

¨       Medium Rare:  130-140

¨       Medium:  140-150

  • Loosely tent the racks with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice chops (single or double, your choice) and serve on a warmed platter.  They cool very quickly.


Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Radicchio, and Fried Capers
(Taken from Anne Burrell, with modifications)

I would definitely make this again but I would substitute maybe endive or red cabbage for the radichio.  Or use more cauliflower and less radicchio.  I like the bitterness of radicchio but it was a bit much for the family.  The original recipe called for adding Perorino but I was making this with lamb so I omitted the cheese and instead added a bit of honey to mellow out the dressing and ease the bitterness of the radicchio.



  • 1 large or 2 small heads cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup capers, patted dry
  • 2 radicchio, cut into chiffonade
  • ½ – 1 tsp Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

To Prepare

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and toss. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until the cauliflower is very brown and crispy, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven to a large bowl and reserve.
  • Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. The oil should be about 1/8-inch deep. Heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the capers. As the capers cook they will open up and start to look like little flowers (very cute). Fry the capers until they are crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the capers from the pan, dry them on paper towels and season with salt immediately. (Go LIGHTLY on the salt, capers are already a bit salty but you did rinse them so a bit of salt is needed)
  • Toss together the cauliflower, capers, and radicchio. Dress the salad with lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and rosemary.  


It was also served with a simple quinoa that had some red chili flakes, salt, pepper and a little rosemary to tie it all together.  Oh, and a really nice red wine.

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I photocopied this out of a cookbook but sadly forgot to write down what book it was.  My apologies to the creator of this delicious dip.  The way that it is listed here is how I altered it.


  • 2 cans (14oz) white beans (I used one can of butter beans and one can of small white beans)
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • dash salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin (I used a small mound of cumin seeds in my hand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 small handful cilantro
  • Cracked black pepper to taste


  • Drain and rinse beans under cool water several times until the water runs clear.
  • In the bowl of a food processor pour the beans, lemon juice, olive oil, spices and most of the cilantro.
  • Process on high until smooth.  If it appears dry, you can add more olive oil, lemon juice or even a tiny bit of water to loosen it up.  It should be the same consistency as hummus.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish with paprika and chopped cilantro.

Serve with chips, pita bread or veggies.

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We try to plan our menus for the week on Sundays.  This week my daughter asked for Spaghetti Bolognese.  I’m not sure where she had it before or heard of it but she wanted it.  Fine by me.  I looked up a few recipes and was dismayed to find that not only did they contain pancetta but that they also contained butter and cream.  Since we keep kosher that was a big problem.  Luckily I stumbled on a version that touted itself as the Perfect, Authentic Italian Bolognese Sauce.  That is quite a claim!  Not sure it if is the perfect sauce or not but it was s big hit at our house.


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 or so slices pancetta (I used turkey bacon)
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground veal or lamb (I used sweet Italian Veal sausage that I took out of the casings)
  • 2 cans (400g) diced or chopped tomatoes
  • 2 large glasses Red Wine (nice precise measurement, maybe that is why I love this recipe! I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pasta (enough for 4 people, cooked.  Recipe suggested tagliatelle, but we used spaghetti)


  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and fry the bacon until golden brown over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and the garlic, sauteing until slightly browned and softened.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute until the beef is browned.  Remove from pan to a bowl.
  • Add the veal or lamb and saute until browned.
  • Add the onions, garlic and beef back to the pan.  Pour in the wine and boil until it has reduced in volume by about a third.
  • Reduce temperature to medium-low and add in the tomatoes, celery and carrot.
  • Allow to simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours until the sauce has reduced considerably.  Stirring now and then.
  • Pour sauce over the cooked pasta.  Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Mole Chili

No photo to go along with this.  Sorry.  Despite that it was delicious.  Inspiration found here at the BrokeAssGourmet.


  • 1 pound or so of ground beef.
  • 1 shallot, minced (didn’t have any onions, not sure how that happened)
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, chopped (remove seeds and membranes)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste mixed with equal amount water
  • 2 cans (15 oz) beans (your choice – black, kidney, white)
  • ** Mexican Mole Seasoning blend (from Savory Spices) – to taste.  I think I ended up with about 1 – 2 tsp
  • Chili Powder  – to taste.  Start out with 1/2 tsp and work your way up.
  • 1 small pie pumpkin roasted and mashed OR 1 small can (15oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup (+/- might need more, might need less) water
  • juice of one orange
  • Handful chopped cilantro


  • Heat olive oil in medium stockpot
  • Add shallots and garlic.  Cook until translucent and golden.
  • Add carrots and poblano pepper.  Cook until softened.
  • Add beef and cook until no longer pink.
  • At this point, add in the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste, the beans and the seasonings.  Salt to taste.  Let simmer about 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Add pumpkin and orange juice.  Add some chopped cilantro.  If needed, add water
  • Let cook another 15 minutes or so.  Stir now and then.  If too dry, add some water.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings.  

Serve with diced avocados and some corn chips over rice!

** If you don’t have Mole seasonings, you can substitute 1 – 2tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder.  Dark chocolate powder is better.

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My Mother-in-law, like my Mom is a great cook.  We are blessed to have two wonderful cooks (and knitters) in our family.  I am trying to take down their recipes so that we can save them for the kids.  That is in effect what this blog is.  Partly a place for me to gather recipes from them as well as from Jeff and I.

MIL makes this dish all the time in the summer.  We made it recently but the kids changed her recipe a bit. Instead of adding cheddar cheese the way she does, they opted to add in some sliced fresh mozzarella.  Either way you make it, it screams summer with its brightly colored tomato pieces and sweet aromatic basil leaves.  The kids also voted to add some butter to the pasta before adding the tomatoes and basil.


There is no real recipe for this.  Here’s the basics:

Make pasta according to the directions on the package.  We have been using whole wheat pasta.  Spaghetti works but if you prefer another shape, go for it.

Drain the pasta and put it into a bowl.  Add a bit of butter to the pasta.  Mix it up to melt the butter.

Cut a good sized handful of grape tomatoes in half.  We used some red and some yellow to make it pretty.

Grab a really big handful of basil leaves (fresh from the garden) and roughly chop them.

Add the basil and the tomatoes.  Give it a good toss.

Slice up some fresh mozzarella.

Salt and pepper it all and serve!

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Absolutely Avocados
Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A whole cookbook dedicated to avocados? I’m there! This slim volume (<200 pages) is filled with fun facts about avocados as well as over 80 recipes for ways to incorporate these delicious green fruits into your daily menu plan. Some of the recipes are fairly simple and no brainers – mashed avocado on toast, huevos ranchero with avocados but others are new ideas to me and will certainly be added to my repertoire of avocado recipes. Not entirely sure that I will be making avocado brownies but it might be worth a shot. Stunning photos of the recipes but I would prefer a photo of every recipe. All in all, a surprisingly good single ingredient focus cookbook.

View all my reviews

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