Archive | January, 2018

Winter Warm Chopped Salad

17 Jan


I’m trying. I’m really trying BUT in the winter I need comfort food.

So I took my summer salad and changed it to be a winter meal.

Two containers of grape tomatoes

One sliced onion

One chopped red pepper

4 cloves of chopped garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8  tablespoons oil

12 big fresh basil leaves

One seeded jalopeno pepper (optional)

1 Kaiser roll cut into cubes

One cubed roasted garlic french stick

10 slices lean dime size cut ham

10 slices  dime size cut Genoa salami

1/3 pound dime size cut mozzarella cheese

6 slices  muenster cheese

6 slices provolone cheese

8 slices  American cheese

Sliced banana peppers  and olives for garnish

Two handfuls of greens

I liked arugula and spinach with diced red onion

Mix the tomatoes, onion, garlic , garlic powder, oil, red pepper, salt, oregano, cubed bread and optional jalopeno together

Bake in a 425 degree oven till the tomatoes have blistered about 15 minutes. Stir once to mix everything.

Add ham and salami for another ten minutes

Let cool for five minutes then add the cheeses and fresh basil

Put all your greens plus the red onion in a dish and top with a balsamic dressing lightly.

Spoon three or four heaping spoonfuls of warm salad on the greens.

Garnish with the banana peppers and olives.

Try very hard not to eat all of it.

This is also great leftover as a special treat for lunch.

**Cook tips

The bread absorbs the tomato juice and oil when it is cooked so make sure you stir the cooked tomatoes before you put it on the greens. This toasted bread is so delicious.



Creamy Fish Chowder

16 Jan


I love Bon Appetit magazine.

I have been getting the best recipes from it for years.

This recipe was on line and of corse I changed it just a little.

6 ounces of diced bacon

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

One large diced onion

4 chopped celery stalks with the tops

Salt and pepper

4 cubed potatoes

One can of chicken broth [14 ounces]

1 tablespoon fresh thyme  or 3/4 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

2 pounds of skinless cod, cut into 2 inch pieces maybe a little more.

4 cups half-and-half

1/2 cup corn

2 to 3 tablespoons chicken consomme

Cook bacon till it is brown but not crisp.

Take the bacon out of the pot and set aside.

Add the butter, onion and celery to the pot with the bacon drippings.

Cook until the onions and celery are soft.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the potatoes, broth, thyme and one cup of water.

Bring to a boil and then simmer till the potatoes are cooked about ten minutes.

Season the fish with salt and pepper and place over the potatoes.

Add the corn.

Cover and cook on simmer for about 7 minutes.

Add the half and half.

Season with chicken consomme.  This is a dry chicken flavored powder. Very tasty.

Let  everything simmer until it is very hot

This is not a thick chowder but you can add 3 tablespoons of potato flakes to thicken it up.

Add the cooked bacon to the chowder.

Serve with those little oyster crackers.

Spicy African Peanut Soup

15 Jan


There used to be a great bookstore in Worcester many years ago. They had a great cafe and they made this soup.

It became my quest to find the recipe.

Ta Da ……

I figured out the recipe by combining, mixing, adding and tasting.

3 cups chicken stock

One inch minced peeled ginger

1 teaspoon ground cumin

One peeled, diced and cooked large sweet potato

2 sliced big carrots

One diced red pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons oil

2 large diced onions

2 cloves chopped garlic

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

One cup chunky peanut butter

One can Rotelle diced tomatoes

One can rinsed, drained black beans

1/2 cup chunky salsa


diced scallions

lots of cilantro

crushed peanuts

diced red peppers

sliced jalapenos

Heat the oil

Add the onions, red pepper, ginger, carrots, cumin, cayenne pepper and garlic

Stir till everything is soft and fragrant

Stir in the chicken stock and sweet potato

Boil for about ten minutes

Stirring often

Add the peanut butter and diced tomatoes

Puree till smooth

Add the salsa, black beans and  brown sugar.

Check your seasoning now for salt and pepper

Garnish with cilantro, peanuts,  jalapenos  and scallions

A little dollop of sour cream is always a bonus

I always double this recipe so I can use the entire jar of peanut butter plus it is so good the leftovers are great.


Cranberry Walnut Bread

11 Jan


There is a blog called Once Upon a Chef

It is fabulous.

This is her recipe with a couple of changes

1/2 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

2/3 cup buttermilk

6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

One large egg

2 cup all purpose flour

One cup sugar plus two tablespoons

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups fresh chopped cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons almond extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Use a 9 x 5 pan and spray the bottom with cooking spray.

Stir together the orange juice, orange zest, buttermilk, butter, almond extract and egg.

In another bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and then add the cranberries and walnuts.

Do not overmix

I love things when I don’t have to pull my mixer out.

Pour into  the pan

Even the top out with a spatula

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Check with a cake tester to make sure it is clean and the bred is cooked.

I have made a ton of breads and this is one of my favorites.





Brussel Sprout Pizza

10 Jan


My son had this pizza in New Hampshire.

He came home and told me about it and this is my version.

One pound of pizza dough

15 cloves of garlic confit

One recipe of Bechamel sauce

One large package of sliced raw brussel sprouts.

I love the precut sprouts.

6 tablespoon grated Italian cheese

8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 pound of diced bacon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees

Place the oven rack on the lowest level of the oven.

Fry the diced bacon till you have crisp little pieces.

Drain the oil and mix the bacon with the shredded brussel sprouts

Grease the bottom of a pizza pan with a thin layer of Crisco

Stretch out the dough to the corners of the pan.

Smash the soft garlic in a bowl and spread over the dough evenly

Add the brussel sprout and bacon over the garlic

Season with salt and black pepper

Put it into the oven on the bottom rack for six or seven minutes to start cooking the crust.

The crust should be light brown.

Take out of the oven and taste the sprouts to make sure they are seasoned enough.

Add the bechamel sauce and top with the mozzarella cheese

Put it back into the oven and back for another 6 or 7 minutes or until the crust is crisp and brown and all the cheese is melted.

This is pretty good and another way to eat vegetables.

Lets not talk about the oil, butter and cheese.

This is pizza!

Bechemal Sauce Recipe

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/4 cups of hot milk

6 tablespoons grated Italian cheese

Melt the butter

Add the flour and mix well  about 2 minutes. Stir constantly

Add the hot milk and keep on stirring till it starts to thicken.

Boil for 2 to 3 minutes

Add the grated cheese and adjust the salt and  black pepper.

This is a great quick sauce with whatever kind of cheese you like.

Thai Red Curry Vegetable Soup

9 Jan


I love Thai food.

This is easy and it satisfies my craving.

Plus I save ten dollars.

2 tablespoons oil

4 cloves chopped garlic

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

2 tablespoons red curry paste

3 cubed small sweet potatoes

2 bunches chopped bok choy

4 cups chicken broth

13 ounce coconut milk

1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

3.5 ounces rice noodles

2 tablespoons chili paste with garlic

2 handfuls fresh spinach

One cup chopped broccoli

One cup sugar snap peas

2 sliced carrots

The trick to cooking anything especially Asian food is to chop everything in the beginning and have it all prepped and ready to go.

Heat the oil in a pot and add the garlic, ginger and red curry paste for 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potato cubes and carrots  with the chicken broth and cook for about 7 minutes till the potatoes are cooked.

In another pot bring water to a boil.

Add the rice noodles and boil for 3 minutes till cooked.

Drain and set aside

Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, chili paste and consomme to the soup.

Adjust your seasoning now. It may need just a little brown sugar about 1/2 tablespoon.

Add the noodles, broccoli, spinach, bok choy and snow peas

Garnish with cilantro, red onion, lime wedges and sriracha.

Cooks notes:

These are different add ins that are pretty good.

I actually used all of them in one soup and loved it.

Mild Rotelle diced tomatoes can also be added to increase the broth

Use two tablespoons of peanut butter to sweeten the soup. It gives it a great flavor.

Corn is another natural sweetener but only use 1/2 cup.


Cream Cheese Danish

8 Jan


When I first started cooking a very long time ago, I remember making danish.

I found my old recipe that was yellow and tattered and made them for breakfast.

This is too easy.

The dough is two cans of crescent rolls

One 8 ounce room temperature cream cheese

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Roll out the crescent roll dough and pinch all the perforated lines together

Cut into 9 equal squares

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and sour cream till smooth.

Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each square

Fold the two opposite edges together and pinch closed

If you want to add jam this is the time to do it.

Make a little indentation where you pinched the dough together and put  a small  1/2 teaspoon of jam on top

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until the bottoms are brown.

You can also frost the danish but I usually keep them plain.

Thats it .

A fifty year old recipe that hasn’t changed.