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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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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Halloween 2017

Last weekend I helped cater a Halloween fundraiser for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. We all had a lot of fun in the kitchen taking direction from the talented chef. The tour will be open to the public this weekend on Friday October 27th and Saturday October 28th from 6 pm until 9 pm. Here are some pictures of the spooky tour.

Halloween Tour PCH

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for baking and decorating. Here are some treats I’ve made from Halloween’s past.

Halloween Card 2016
Yours Truly,

Charisse the good witch

Charisse Witch

How I got lucky

How I got lucky . . . yesterday I tagged along with my husband to southeastern Arizona while he looked at several gas station locations to give quotes on gas tank removal. When we arrived at the first location in Pearce, Arizona next to a dollar store, I spotted a building nearby with a darling green sign which said Lorraine Patisserie. I thought I think that means bakery. I told my husband I am going to walk over to that bakery. Wow! I couldn’t believe it, when I walked in the door and saw the most beautiful pastries. I purchased an almond and chocolate croissant and saved them for today. The owner told me he learned to bake thirty years ago in Paris. I’ve always had a deep respect for the bakers who make the world a sweeter place. I just ate the chocolate croissant and it was the best one I’ve ever had. Here is his site Lorraine Patisserie. 

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