Roasted Red Potato Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese

Salads, Sides | March 21, 2017 | By

This potato salad is a refreshing alternative to the mayonnaise based version. The potatoes and the red onions are roasted with garlic for maximum flavor! Then throw in crispy bacon & blue cheese, drizzle on a simple, flavorful vinaigrette and sprinkle on chopped scallions for brightness! This will be a favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs of red potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 very large red onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 Tbs of olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 16 oz of bacon
  • 1/3 cup of white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 1 cup of blue cheese, crumbled
  • 5 green onions, white and pale green parts, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°

Start by dividing the potatoes and the onions evenly and place on 2 baking sheets, toss each with 1/2 of the olive oil, salt & pepper and garlic, place in the oven and roast for 35 -40 minutes, stirring halfway through.While the potatoes are roasting, cook the bacon, drain and crumble.
To make the dressing, add the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and sugar into a jar with a lid and shake until well combined. Place the warm potatoes and onions in a large serving bowl, pour in 3/4 of the dressing, the blue cheese and the bacon, stir to combine. Just before serving, stir in the green onions and add more dressing if needed. Enjoy

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Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cookies, Desserts | March 17, 2017 | By

These ice cream sandwiches are really fun to make and serve. Everyone loves them! Soft, homemade double chocolate, macadamia cookies are the scrumptious shells for your favorite ice cream! Roll them in more chocolate chips or chopped nuts and freeze. The last ice cream sandwich caused a huge fight in my family!

Ingredients:
Makes 10 sandwiches

  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 6 Tbs of cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of mini – semisweet chocolate chips, plus more for finished sandwiches
  • 1/2 cup of chopped macadamia nuts
  • 2 cups of ice cream of your choice, I used vanilla and strawberry

Directions:

Start by sifting the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, on medium/high speed, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, then add in the egg and vanilla, beat until well mixed. Add in the flour mixture slowly on low speed, beat just until incorporated. Remove from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips and the nuts by hand.
Drop a heaping scoop of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets using an ice cream scoop, placed three inches apart. Bake for 13 minutes, they will be slightly under baked. Let cool a few minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely. The finished cookie should be about 3″ in diameterTo assemble the sandwiches, spoon on as much ice cream as you like onto a cookie, (I used about 2 heaping Tbs on each) place another cookie on top and push down until the ice cream squeezes out to the edge. Then roll or press on the chocolate chips and place them in the freezer until ready to serve. Let them sit out at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly before eating. YUM!

Note to cooks: You can use any kind of ice cream you prefer and you could roll the sandwiches in chopped nuts or coconut.

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Gardening

Gardening | March 16, 2017 | By

Our gardens at the cabin are very important to us! First, I cook out of the kitchen garden, garden to table just makes good plain sense, fresh is better and flavor will be as good as it gets! All of our veggies have to be in raised beds, our ridge top is rocky, I always preserve, freeze and can enough for the winter, so I can pull out my own tomatoes, peppers and green beans for winter soups and stews, perfect for that! And nothing you can buy compares to home-made pickles, preserves or salsa! 
My herbs are also are crucial to my recipes, so I have a big herb garden and in the cold, cold winter, herbs are growing in the kitchen. There’s nothing like fresh herbs to ramp up a recipe. I don’t think I can cook without them and you really shouldn’t either! We also have strawberries and fruit trees for those oh so pleasurable fruit pies, cobblers, jellies & jams!The whole family pitches in to help in the garden, they have to, it’s a huge job, it takes all of us, but how satisfying and healthy to eat what you grow! I think gardening at a young age has taught the girls to be caring and nurturing, it’s a perfect way to teach them and it most certainly has developed a good work ethic in them, most of the time!Because we live deep in the woods, we are constantly troubled with critters and for good reason, we’ve invaded their space! All we can do is plant more and share! But look at these pests, and there are more! They’re all cute!

Our flower gardens are supremely important to us simply because of their beauty! Flowers make us happy, they lift our spirits and make us smile, not many things in life can do that! If I didn’t have anything else to do, I’m quite sure I would never stop planting flowers! No danger of that!


Good veggies on the way I hope, I’ve always wanted to enter a vegetable in the county fair, especially a prize tomato, but I’ve yet to get a huge, perfect heirloom tomato without a bite in it!

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Antiques

Antiques | March 14, 2017 | By

I come from a long line of merchants! My mother Elsie was an antiques dealer, shop owner and treasure hunter. My grandparents, Gaetano and Palmina had a general store in a coal mining camp where they lived and worked with a group of Italian immigrants. And in Bologna, Italy, my great aunts kept shop. So selling is in my DNA!

I like to sell anything, but I love to sell antiques! I had an antique shop for years near the small town where we live  “Gray Haven Inn – Antiques and Beautiful Things” It was so much fun, but with 2 small children, work and keeping up the old homestead….it was overwhelming!20150528_14405720150528_154016Our cabin is filled with antiques, I need another outlet! So now, 24 years later, the girls are grown, sort of, and I can open up my store! We’re transforming our english stable into a shop!

Our horses are turned out with a roof over their head and really this barn is way too fancy for horses! I can’t wait, but it’s slow going, of course we’re doing all of the work ourselves, you know, pioneer spirit and all! Thank goodness our girls help out and without too much sass!We have to find the perfect old windows, hardware, & fixtures, put old floors in, close it up with huge barn doors put in a wood burning stove. It will be a shop full of charm! And then…..the real fun starts!  I’m already on the hunt for treasures, then we fill, decorate and fluff! Stay tuned, I’ll take lots of pics of our progress!

 

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Wild Mushroom Pappardelle

Pasta | March 13, 2017 | By

This is such a yummy pasta! Silky pappardelle noodles with wild mushrooms, shallots, garlic, white wine, fresh thyme, lots of Parmesan and a sprinkling of parsley! Rich and earthy and no butter or cream! And it only takes 20 minutes to make! It’s a favorite at the cabin…I use morels in the spring if I’m lucky enough to find them!

Ingredients:
Serves 2- 4

  • 6 oz of pappardelle pasta (or other pasta with egg)
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb of assorted wild mushrooms (*shitakes, oyster, creminis, chanterelles)
  • 1 Tbs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup of parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta al dente, drain, add back to the pot, stir in a little olive oil and keep warm.
In a large skillet, over medium/high heat, add in the oil and saute the shallots and garlic for 1 minute, then add in the mushrooms, thyme and the salt & pepper, stir and cook for about 4 minutes. Next add in the white wine and the chicken broth over low/medium heat, stir and cook for 5-6 minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the parsley, parmesan cheese and the pasta, stir to combine. Plate the pasta and sprinkle on a little more parmesan cheese. Serve with warm, crusty bread. Buon Appetito!

*Note to cooks:  If you’re using any dry variety of mushrooms, save the soaking liquid and add 1/4 cup of it to the sauce and decrease the chicken broth by 1/4 cup, it adds a very rich earthy flavor.

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Calzone – Canadian Bacon, Spinach & Grape Tomato

Italian Favorites | March 10, 2017 | By

Is there anything better than a hot, cheesy, savory, golden brown calzone right from the oven?! Sprinkle on the fresh Parmesan for the last bit of baking and serve with Marinara! Heaven in a pizza dough, made right in your own kitchen!

Ingredients:
Make 4 calzones

⦁ 2 tsp of olive oil
⦁ 1/2  cup of grape tomatoes, sliced
⦁ 5 cloves of garlic, minced
⦁ 3 oz canadian bacon, chopped
⦁ 2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
⦁ dash of salt & pepper
⦁ 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
⦁ 6 oz of fresh mozzarella, in small pieces
• 1 Tbs of fresh basil, chopped
⦁ 1/4 tsp of kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp of black pepper
• 1 store bought or homemade pizza dough
⦁ 1 cup of marinara sauce for serving
⦁ 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
• 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat and saute the tomatoes for 2 minutes.Then add in the garlic and canadian bacon and saute 1 more minute.Add in the spinach and a dash of salt & pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted.In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, basil and salt & pepper, stir until combined.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough into 4 – 7 inch rounds. Place one of the rounds on the parchment and spoon on 1/4 of the tomato, canadian bacon mixture on the bottom 1/3 of the dough and top that with 1/4 of the ricotta mixture. Brush the edges with egg wash, fold, seal and crimp with a fork. Build the other 3 calzones. ( It’s easiest to build one at a time right on the baking sheet) Brush the remaining egg wash on top of all the calzones and bake for 15 – 20 minutes at 375° or until golden brown. Sprinkle on the parmesan the last minute of baking, serve with warm marinara.

Note to cooks: This calzone can be filled with most anything you can think of! Sub the canadian bacon with Italian sausage, prosciutto, bacon, etc and add in mushrooms or black olives or peppers, anything! Just make sure you cook meat or raw veggies first.

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Coconut Cognac Shrimp

 

This recipe could not be any easier, but the flavor is off the charts! We all love coconut shrimp, this is a quick, easy version, cooked stovetop under 10 minutes! Shrimp, toasted coconut, scallions, cognac, garlic, red pepper, how can this not be spectacular!

Ingredients:
Serves 2

⦁  1/2 cup of grated coconut, unsweetened
⦁  2 Tbs of canola oil
• 1 lb of large shrimp, peeled, deveined, patted dry
⦁ 4 scallions, chopped (white and green part)
⦁ 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
⦁ 1 red chilli, seeded and chopped (mild heat)
⦁ 3 Tbs of Cognac
⦁ 2 Tbs of butter
⦁ 1 tsp of granulated sugar
⦁ 1 tsp of kosher salt

Directions:

In a dry skillet, over medium/high heat, cook the coconut until lightly browned, stirring frequently, 4-5 minutes. Then in a large skillet, cast iron if you have one, over high heat, add in the oil, when very hot, add in the shrimp and cook about 2 minutes, just until they turn pink, then remove from the skillet.Now, in the same skillet, saute the garlic, scallions and the red pepper, just for a few seconds. Turn the heat to medium and add in the cognac, butter, sugar and salt. Add the shrimp back to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes.Sprinkle on the toasted coconut and serve!  Quick, easy and absolutely scrumptious!

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Teriyaki Pineapple Turkey Burgers

Here’s your new favorite burger! This is one of the most flavorful turkey burgers you’ll ever have! The turkey soaks up the Hawaiian style marinade and then is grilled to perfection and topped with grilled pineapple and red onion and slathered with teriyaki mayo! Spectacular!

Ingredients:
Makes 4 burgers

  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of pineapple juice
  • 2 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbs of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup of chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 4 fresh pineapple rings, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 slices of red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 Tbs of mayo
  • 4 buns
  • leaf lettuce

Directions:

Start by adding the soy sauce, pineapple juice, ginger, garlic and brown sugar to a small saucepan, over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, let cool. Stir 2 tsp of the soy mixture into 2 Tbs of mayo, set aside.Add the ground turkey to a large bowl and add in the chopped onion, bread crumbs and the cooled soy mixture. Mix well with your hands and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then shape into 4 patties.Time to grill, brush the burgers, onion and pineapple with a little canola oil and grill the burgers over high heat for 4 – 5 minutes per side, along with the red onion and pineapple, turning once. Put the lid on the grill if the flame flares up. Toast the buns for a few minutes.To assemble the burgers, spread some of the soy mayo on the bottom bun, place on a turkey burger, then add the lettuce, pineapple and red onion, spread a little more mayo on the top bun, place it on and get ready to chow down on one of the best burgers on the planet!Note to cooks:  You can also make these burgers with ground chuck or ground round and they can be cooked on the stovetop using a cast iron skillet or grill pan.

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Beef Tenderloin Crostinis with Blue Cheese, Mushroom Sauce

Appetizers, Beef | February 28, 2017 | By

These crostini are absurdly delicious! Melt in your mouth tenderloin is accompanied by fresh spinach and blue cheese mushroom sauce on a warm crostini! Decadent!

Ingredients:
Serves 10

  • 1 1/2 lbs of beef tenderloin (ask your butcher to cut the exact weight)
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 Tbs of canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbs of butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1/2 lb of assorted mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of plain cream cheese
  • 4 0z of blue cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 french baguette, sliced 1/4 ” thick
  • fresh spinach leaves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 475°

Bring the beef tenderloin to room temperature, then sprinkle on the salt and pepper. In a large skillet, cast iron if you have one, over high heat, heat the oil almost to the smoking point, add in the beef and 2 tbs of butter and sear for 4-5 minutes per side.Top the beef with the garlic, 1 more Tbs of butter and rosemary sprigs if using. (If you didn’t use a cast iron skillet, transfer the beef to a roasting pan)Place in the oven with a meat thermometer and bake for 10 minutes, the temperature should be 120° for rare. Remove from the oven, let rest and keep warm while you make the sauce. In a medium skillet, saute the mushrooms in 1 Tbs of olive oil until softened and lightly browned, 4 – 5 minutes.In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add in the cream and bring to a light boil, stir in the cream cheese and crumbled blue cheese. Whisk until the cheese is melted. Stir the sauteed mushrooms into the cream mixture. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes and stir in salt & pepper to taste. Place your baguettes slices on a sheet pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in a 350 ° oven for 6- 8 minutes.To assemble the crostini: Slice the beef about 1/2 inch thick, place a few spinach leaves on each baguette slice, then spoon on some sauce and then a piece of tenderloin, serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Bacon, Leek and Artichoke Quiche

Oh what a quiche! Bacon, leek and artichokes with sharp cheddar in a flaky crust! How can it not be spectacular! Quick and easy enough for a weeknight dinner, but elegant enough for company!

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of bacon
  • 6 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of whole milk or half & half
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 2 tsp of fresh thyme
  • 1 6-oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 3/4 cup of leeks, well washed and finely chopped
  • 6 oz of sharp cheddar, swiss or gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 store bought pie crust

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°

Start by cooking the bacon, drain on paper towels and cut or tear into small pieces. Then whisk together the eggs and milk, and add in the the garlic, salt, pepper and thyme. Roll out the pie crust a little larger than your pie plate, place it in and drape the edges over the top, crimp if you like.Arrange the artichokes, leeks and bacon in the pie crust, sprinkle on the cheese and then pour over the egg mixture. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until eggs are set, cover with foil for the last 15 minutes if the crust gets too brown. Let cool about 10 minutes before slicing. DELISH

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