Archive | December, 2013

Lentils and Pasta

30 Dec


I was lucky to spend the day with my older daughter in New York.

We ate our way through the city but she had some work to do.

While she was working I was reading magazines. Of corse they where cooking magazines.

I came across a recipe that was almost identical to mine except the cooking methods  and amounts were different .

So I will give you my version, my mothers version and my grandmothers version. They are all the same.

Lentils are a tradition for News Years because it is supposed to be a sign of optimism  and possibility.

Lentils and Pasta

8 cups of water

One pound of rinsed lentils

Two teaspoons salt

1/2 lb spaghetti broken into thirds.

One small can of tomato paste

One diced onion

Five cloves of  mashed garlic

One large can of diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon  of black pepper

6 to 8 large basil leaves

Saute the onions in 3 tablespoons oil till soft.

Add the garlic and cook for about five minutes.

Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.

Add the tomato paste.

Add the washed lentils and cook till they are soft.

Add the  tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.

Bring the tomato lentils to a boil, break the spaghetti into thirds and cook according to the package directions with the lentils. I always like pasta a little chewy so I cook it about three minutes less than the package.

If it is too dry add more  water.

Serve with grated cheese.

We would eat this on Friday nights when we couldn’t have meat.

Now I serve it either plain or with crumbled sausage.

Eat it right away because it gets very thick.


Pasta with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese

27 Dec

If you wake up at 7a.m , dinner is half way done at 7:15.

Two containers of grape tomatoes

2 to 3 cloves of minced garlic

One pound of  diced mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup canola oil

One teaspoon salt.

1/2 bunch of chopped basil

Dice the tomatoes

Add everything else. Mix and cover.

Let this sit out all day.

Cook one pound of orrechette pasta according to the package directions.

Add to the tomato mixture.

Toss well.

Serve with grated cheese.

This is a great dish to make when you have to get supper on the table quickly.

Great to serve hot or at room temperature.

Tastes like a caprese salad with pasta.

One of my family favorites.

I always double or triple this recipe.

Fabulous leftover.

Smoked Salmon Pizza

24 Dec

salmon pizza

Pretty and easy. It also travels well.

What is it with me? I am always transporting food.

I love it.

This is the simple recipe you will make over and over again.

One pound of pizza dough.

olive oil

salt and pepper


12 ounces of good thin sliced smoked salmon

8 tablespoons garlic and herb pub cheese.

1/2 thin sliced red onion

1/2 thin sliced cucumber

5 tablespoons of capers

10 to 12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half

2 handfuls of arugula. More if you like it.

Preheat the oven to 450. The oven has to be very hot.

Grease the cookie sheet with the Crisco. A very thin layer.

Stretch out the dough so it touches the ends of the pan.

Sprinkle with maybe a teaspoon of olive oil.

Spread over the dough

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for about 15 minutes on the bottom shelf in the oven.

It may need more time because you want a nice crisp bottom.

Let the dough cool a little.

Spread with the garlic and herb cheese

Spread the salmon evenly on the dough

Add the cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, capers and arugula.

Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and black pepper.

Fabulous appetizer. I make it for breakfast.

If you grill the dough it is even better but it is too cold and wet to go outside now.

Always a big hit and so good.

Stuffed Calamari

23 Dec

It’s been a couple of days and I haven’t posted but I am cooking.

Three days before Christmas and I am trying to stay organized.

Made the stuffed calamari and this is one of my Dads favorites.

We eat this dish on Christmas eve with six other types of fish.

Two pounds of whole cleaned calamari with the tentacles.

If you buy the uncleaned calamari, you may never eat this delicacy again.

One diced onion.

Three cloves of garlic

Three tablespoons of butter

One cup of seasoned breadcrumbs. Maybe more.

1/2 cup grated Italian cheese.

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley.

1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.

Wash the calamari and drain on a paper towel.

Saute the onion and garlic in the butter.

Add the diced calamari tentacles.

Saute till the fish is cooked. The color and texture changes so you can tell right away.

Add the salt and pepper.

Take off the heat and add the seasoned breadcrumbs, parsley and cheese.

Take the raw calamari bodies and carefully stuff them only 1/2 to 3/4 full.

Set aside, cover and put into the refrigerator.

Make the sauce.

Spicy red sauce

Three tablespoons of olive oil

One diced onion

Three cloves of garlic

One can of Pastene kitchen ready tomatoes

1/2 can of tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

8 basil leaves

salt and pepper

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil

Add the tomatoes. paste and all the spices.

Bring to a boil.

Carefully add the stuffed calamari.

Cover and simmer for one hour or more.

The calamari will shrink and then cook for at least the full hour.

Test one to see if it is tender. If not continue cooking.

My Mom used to bake it in the oven, covered with foil, because she needed the stove space.

You can also put then in a crock pot for a couple of hours.

Boil a pound of linguine and pour the calamari over it.

It is worth touching the raw calamari for this delicious dish.

We serve this in small bowls because we have all the other fish to eat.

This is delicious leftover. All the flavors blend. It also freezes great.

Chewy Cherry Chocolate Squares

19 Dec


I was shopping with my son and I wanted a box of chocolate covered cherries. He said I didn’t need them. He was right.

He made me feel so guilty I didn’t buy them.

Here I am at 9 o’clock craving chocolate and cherry.

Nothing stops me.

I started to rummage threw the closets and found this brownie mix.

And a miracle was preformed.

One box of dark chocolate brownie mix

20 maraschino cherries with the juice

Make the brownie mix according to the package directions BUT

instead of water use the cherry juice

After pouring the batter into a 9 X 9 pan evenly place the cherries into the batter

Bake according to the package directions

Let cool and cut into equal squares.

I got my chocolate covered cherries and went to bed a happy chocolate fatter camper.

Butter Balls

17 Dec

Russian Tea Cakes

It is snowing and I am housebound, the usual winter gluttony has commenced.

So , since I feel like a butter ball I might as well make some.

These are for Christmas so I won’t touch them.

Everything else in the house is up for grabs or should I say available for my next snack.

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sifted confectionary sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

One cup unsalted butter

One teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the butter with the sugar.

Add the flour,  salt,  vanilla

Then the nuts

Chill the dough one hour.

Roll into nickle size balls at 375 for ten minutes.

Bake on the top shelf

While the cookies are warm, not hot, roll in powdered sugar.

Wait till the cookies are cooler then roll again in the powdered sugar.

These cookies melt in your mouth and then you have the little chew from the nuts.

A cup of tea and some dental floss is great.

Monday Marinated Mushrooms

17 Dec

This recipe was in the Sunday Telegram and Gazette and I made some changes.

It is very good and a little different.

2 pounds of small button mushrooms.

1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar. I used the dark balsamic the first time and the mushrooms were a lovely brown. Tasted good but not pretty.

One egg yolk

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

One large clove of minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1/2 cup canola oil

8 tablespoons shredded mozzarella

3 teaspoons fresh parsley for garnish

Use a 9 by 13 pan

Wash the mushrooms and place in the pan

Put the rest of the ingredients in the blender to make the marinate.

Pour the marinate over the mushrooms and coat well.

Bake for 30 minutes. Stir the mushrooms once or twice.

Turn the oven to broil and broil 10 minutes till the mushroom liquid evaporates a little.

Add the mozzarella cheese.

Broil till the cheese is melted.

Take out of the oven and add the parsley.

I served this with left over roasted chicken.

Thank you Alicia Ross at Kitchen Scoop. Hope you don’t mind my changes.