Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad

My local grocery recently remodeled their store and added a specialty cheese department. I purchased a delicious English Blue Stilton cheese there which I used in this salad. The walnuts were candied in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad

  • 1 – 5 oz container baby spring mix lettuce
  • 2 Bartlett pears
  • 1/2 lb. English Blue Stilton cheese
  • 1 cup walnuts candied and chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

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Heat butter in a saute pan until melted, stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Remove from heat and stir in the walnuts coating them all. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet covered in foil on 375 degrees for 5 – 8 minutes until they darken. Remove them from oven and let them cool. Once cool chop them for the salad. Slice the pears. In a large mixing bowl, add the pears, chopped nuts and crumble in the blue cheese. Serve with a balsamic dressing.

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Tomato, Sausage & Cannellini Bean Soup

We finally had our first cool weather here in Cave Creek, so I decided to make soup.  I just had a cup of this with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on it and it was delicious.

Tomato, Sausage & Cannellini Bean Soup

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 jar (24 oz) spicy red pepper tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes drained
  • 2 cans (15 oz) cannellini beans drained
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 large sprigs rosemary chopped
  • 1 package (1.22 lbs) hot Italian Jennie-O turkey sausage
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to saute with

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Brown turkey sausage in a skillet and set aside. Chop onions, fennel and carrots. Mince garlic cloves. Chop fresh rosemary sprigs. Saute onions, fennel and garlic in olive oil for 5 –  7 minutes. Set aside. Pour vegetable stock, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes into crock pot on high. Add the carrots, rosemary, pepper flakes, sautéed onion, fennel and garlic into the pot. Add the cooked turkey sausage. Let the flavors cook together for an hour on high in the crock pot. Right before serving add the cannellini beans and salt and pepper to taste.

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Christmas Sugar Cookies

Baking treats for the holiday and giving them away is one of my favorite things. Right now my freezer is full of cookies and I’ve already given away several dozen of them. The recipe I use is Martha Stewart’s sugar cookie and royal icing recipe. Since I’ve been baking cutout cookies for so long, I’ve collected lots of cookie cutters and icing materials. My favorite decorating item is the edible sparkling glitter especially the one that looks like snow.

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Here are some of the cookies I’ve made.

Christmas Cookie Angels and Snowflakes 2017

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In 2016, I experimented with a new technique and painted on the the decorations with food color gel mixed with a tiny bit of royal icing. I found the process to be a lot quicker and was happy with the results.

Christmas Cookies 2015

Cookies 2014

Grandma’s Rice Pudding

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Gothic with Greeting

Grandma’s Rice Pudding

My grandmother made this rice pudding for every holiday. I asked for the recipe many years ago which she gave me on a piece of notebook paper in her handwriting. Like her cookies, I’ve taken over the tradition of preparing this dish.

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Grandma’s Rice Pudding Recipe

  • 1 cup cooked white rice
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Cook the rice and drain and set aside. Scald the milk on low heat, add the rice and raisins. Set aside and let cool a bit. Beat the eggs in a separate dish and add the sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture and stir together. Pour into a greased baking casserole dish. Bake on 325 degrees 50 minutes to an hour. Chill in the refrigerator.

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Hungarian Cookies

Today I made my grandmother’s cookies. My grandmother and her sister made these cookies every year during the holiday season. Fortunately I got the recipe from my grandmother many years ago and have taken over the tradition of making them. When I was a child, she stored them on the upper shelf in the hall closet at her house until Thanksgiving day. My sister and I knew they were there and we would steal them and load our pockets with them. The recipe she gave me is on a piece of notebook paper in her handwriting. I treasure the recipe and think of her whenever I make them. Hers were always perfect in size.

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Grandma’s Hungarian Cookies

  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 cups mission figs
  • 2 cups pitted prunes
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • zest of one orange
  • juice of one orange
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 lb unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar for dusting cookies

Mix raisins, figs, prunes, walnuts, orange zest and orange juice in the food processor until a thick paste filling forms. I do this in half batches. Set aside.

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Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl and add the eggs a little at a time and continue mixing. Add vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture until completely mixed together. The dough will be sticky. Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangular shape approximately 1/4″ thick. Cut into 2″ squares with a serrated cutter. Fill each square with a heaping tsp of the filling. Lap the dough over and form a triangle. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 – 10 minutes or until golden on the edges. The thinner you roll out the dough, the quicker they will bake. Once they cool, dust them in powdered sugar. Yields 7 dozen cookies. I freeze them until they are ready to be given away.

 

Italian Cookies II

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Thank you grandma

Grandmother

 

 

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oh my goodness, these cookies are so good! Be warned you need to chill the dough for 12 hours before you bake these. I ended up chilling the dough for two days since I didn’t have time to bake them and they turned out fantastic. This recipe is from the NY Times cooking section.

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Sweet & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup & 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 1/2 cup sesame tahini
  • 1 -3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • sanding sugar & sea salt mixture for sprinkles on the top

Mix butter, sesame tahini, eggs, sugar and vanilla for five minutes until creamy. Sift dry ingredients together and add slowly to the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Chill the dough for 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Form large balls with the dough and place on a baking sheet bake. I baked 8 on a sheet. Bake at 325 for 15 – 20 minutes until golden around the edges. When the cookies come out of the oven sprinkle them with a mixture of sanding sugar and sea salt. Yielded 24 cookies.

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Leek, Potato and Spinach Quiche

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This quiche reminds me of scalloped potatoes in the taste and texture.

Leek, Potato and Spinach Quiche

  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 2 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 cup spinach (remove stems)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 – 1/2 cups half & half
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop leeks and shallots and saute in butter for 5 – 10 minutes. Boil potatoes until soft approximately 20 minutes. Cool potatoes and slice into 1/4″ slices. Remove stems from spinach. Heat pie crust for 5 minutes on 325 degrees. Line pie crust with cooked leeks and shallots. Cover them with spinach and cooked potatoes. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Whip half & half and eggs together adding dill, salt and pepper. Cover with the half & half and egg mixture. Heat on 375 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown.

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