Wild Mushroom & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Appetizers | May 19, 2017 | By

There are so many toppings for bruschetta, but this combination is crazy good! Wild mushrooms, creamy, tangy goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, all infused with garlic, sherry and fresh thyme, and it’s quick and easy!

Ingredients:
Makes 13 – 14 

⦁ 1 lb of mixed wild mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, cremini’s) rough chopped
⦁ 2 Tbs olive oil
⦁ 1 Tbs of butter
⦁ 4 garlic cloves, minced
⦁ 2 Tbs of minced shallot or onion
⦁ 1/4 cup of dry sherry (substitute white wine or brandy)
⦁ 1/4 cup of chicken stock
⦁ 1 heaping tsp of fresh thyme
⦁ 1 tsp of kosher salt
⦁ 1/2 tsp of pepper
⦁ 4 oz of goat cheese
⦁ 2 Tbs of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
⦁ 13 – 14 thin slices of sour dough or french baguette,
⦁ chopped chives for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Start by coarsely chopping your mushrooms. Then heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. (cast iron if you have one) Add the garlic and shallot, saute for 1 minute. Add in the mushrooms, saute for 5 – 6 minutes. Add sherry, chicken stock, thyme, and salt & pepper. Cook until the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and the thyme.Switch on the broiler and place the bread slices on a broiler pan, broil for 1 -2 minutes, then spread on the mushroom, goat cheese mixture and broil for 1 more minute. Place on a serving dish and sprinkle on the chives, serve warm!

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Maple, Bourbon & Black Pepper Bacon

This bacon comes with a warning…it’s highly addictive! So easy to make, so perfectly sweet, peppery and savory!  It’s wickedly delicious!

Ingredients:
Makes 12 slices

  • 1 Tbs of bourbon
  • 3 Tbs of maple syrup
  • 12 slices of thick cut bacon
  • 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°

Line a baking pan with foil, top with a wire rack and place the bacon slices on top. In a small saucepan, over medium/ low heat, add the bourbon and maple syrup, cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Brush the sauce on the bacon, sprinkle on the brown sugar and pepper, press into the bacon with your fingers.Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until crispy, rotating the pan halfway through. If you’d like it more crispy, turn off the oven, switch on the broiler and broil for a few minutes. Let it cool down on the rack, just loosen it with a spatula.Go ahead, bite into it and you’ll see what I mean!

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Blackberry Belgian Waffles with Mascarpone Cream

Oh what a treat! Crispy on the outside, light on the inside and filled with blackberries! The Mascarpone cream topping is out of bounds! Use a Belgian waffle maker for those deep pockets.

Ingredients:
Makes 4 – 7″ inch waffles

⦁ 1/4 cup of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
• 1/4 cup of half & half
⦁ 1 cup of powdered sugar
⦁ 1/2 tsp of vanilla
⦁ 1 cup of fresh blackberries, rinsed and dried (plus a few more for serving)
⦁ 2 Tbs of granulated sugar – for berries
• 3 Tbs of butter
⦁ 1 – 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
•  3 tsp of baking powder
⦁  1/8 tsp of salt
• 2 Tbs of brown sugar- for waffles
⦁ 2 eggs, seperated
⦁ 1 cup of whole milk
⦁ 1/2 cup of sour cream

Directions:

Preheat the waffle iron. (I use a 7 ” diameter, Belgian waffle maker.) Make the Mascarpone cream, whisk the Mascarpone until fluffy, then whisk in the half & half, vanilla and powdered sugar. It should be like an icing consistency.  Place blackberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with 2 Tbs of sugar. Melt the butter in the microwave, then in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, stir in the milk, sour cream and melted butter, then add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and gently fold into the batter along with the blackberries.Preheat the waffle iron and pour the batter in, cook for 4 – 5 minutes or until golden.Place in a warm oven and make the remaining waffles.
To serve, drizzle the waffles with Mascarpone and sprinkle on a few berries. Enjoy!

Note to cooks: These waffles are incredibly delicious with maple syrup alone, you could skip the Mascarpone cream.

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Skillet Cherry Cobbler

Desserts | May 10, 2017 | By

This is a quick, very easy recipe for a luscious cherry cobbler. It is prepared and baked in a cast iron skillet. The biscuit topping is perfect, golden brown and tender with a crunch of turbinado sugar, serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

Ingredients:

⦁ 1 cup of granulated sugar
⦁ 1/4 cup plus 1 scant Tbs of cornstarch
⦁ 4 cups of canned tart cherries, drained
⦁ 1 tsp of vanilla extract
⦁ 1 scant tsp of almond extract
⦁ 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
⦁ 6 Tbs of granulated sugar
⦁ 1 1 /2 Tbs of baking powder
⦁ 1/4 tsp of baking soda
⦁ dash of salt
⦁ 3/4 cup of buttermilk
⦁ 4 Tbs of butter, melted
⦁ 1 heaping Tbs of turbinado sugar (raw sugar)

 

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400°

Lightly grease a 10″ cast iron skillet with butter, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Place the cherries in the skillet along with mixed sugar & cornstarch and the vanilla and almond extract, cook and stir over medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes or until it just starts to thicken. Turn the heat off.For the topping, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then add in the buttermilk and the melted butter, stir until just combined. Drop by spoonful on top of the cherry mixture about 1/2 inch apart, you probably won’t use it all. Now just sprinkle the turbinado sugar on the topping.Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until lightly golden.Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Delish!

Note to cooks: You can make this in a casserole dish also, around 10 – 12 inches in diameter. Make the cherry mixture in a saucepan, then pour into your buttered casserole dish and proceed. Also, cinnamon is a tasty addition to the topping, about 1 tsp.

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Grilled, Balsamic Marinated, Pork Steaks

Pork | May 8, 2017 | By

These pork steaks are insanely good! A nice change from the bbq sauced version. They are marinated overnight in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, grated onion, dijon, garlic and thyme. So they are infused with incredible flavor, then grilled to perfection! No need for any other sauce! Super simple and great for entertaining!

Ingredients:
Serves 4

⦁ 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
⦁ 1/4 cup of olive oil
⦁ 1 heaping Tbs of dijon mustard
⦁ 3 Tbs of brown sugar
⦁ 1/2 of an onion, grated
⦁ 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
⦁ 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
⦁ 1/4 tsp of black pepper
1 Tbs of fresh thyme leaves
4 thick cut pork steaks

Directions:

Start by making the marinade, just combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl, whisk until combined. Place the pork steaks in a glass baking dish and pour the marinade over the steaks, cover and refrigerate overnight.Remove the steaks from the marinade, shake off the excess and let them come to room temperature before grilling. Prepare the grill for direct and indirect heat. Grill the steaks for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, over high heat, until nicely browned, then move them to the cooler side and cook for 20 more minutes, depending on the size, it’s best to check with a thermometer, the internal temperature should be 145°.That’s it! Let them rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Note to cooks: The overnight marinade makes these pork steaks very juicy, but it’s also very important not to overcook them, a thermometer is the best way to go!

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Shrimp with Fire Roasted Tomato, Red Pepper Sauce

 

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Strawberry Mousse Angel Cake

Desserts | April 26, 2017 | By

This a delightful, delicious cake that starts with an angel food cake mix. The tender light cake is stuffed and frosted with a creamy, homemade strawberry mousse. It’s easy to do and it’s best made the day before serving. 

Ingredients:
Makes 1- 10″ cake

  • 1 angel food cake mix
  • 1 tsp of strawberry gelatin
  • 2 Tbs of heavy cream
  • 2 cups of sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of crushed strawberries mixed with 2 Tbs of sugar

Directions:

Make the angel food cake according to directions and let cool. In small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoon of heavy cream, stir and set aside.Place the sliced strawberries and powdered sugar in a blender, cover and blend until smooth.Pour the mixture into 1-quart saucepan, add softened gelatin. Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer and gelatin is dissolved. Remove from the heat and cool for 30 minutes.Using an electric mixer with a whip attacment, beat the heavy cream and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form, then on low speed, add in the strawberry mixture and whip until blended, you just made strawberry mousse!To assemble: Turn the cake bottom-side up and cut a channel in the cooled cake with a serrated blade, taking care not to cut through the bottom of the cake. Pull out loose cake with your fingers.Spoon the mousse into the channel to the top, then spread the remaining mousse on the entire cake, like icing. Place the cake in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours, or overnight.To serve, mix 1 cup of crushed strawberries with 2 Tbs of sugar, cut a large pieces of cake and top with the crushed berries. Enjoy!Note to cooks: When making whipped cream, make sure that your bowl is super clean and it helps to put the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes or so before whipping the cream.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

This is my Granny Guerri’s spaghetti bolognese, she hails from Bologna Italy. I grew up on this sauce and I think it is simply the best! You’ll make this forever!

Ingredients:
Serves 4 – 6

• 1 Tbs of olive oil or bacon fat
• 1/2 lb of ground beef or veal
• 1/2 lb of ground pork
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 carrot, grated
• 5 – 6 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 large can (28 oz) of whole tomatoes and their juices ( crushed up with your fingers )
• 1 tsp of kosher salt
• 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
• 4 bay leaves
• 1 heaping Tbs of fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp of dried basil
• 1 tsp of dried oregano
• pinch of red pepper flakes
• 1/2 cup or so of dry red wine (a bold Italian wine)
• 1 Tbs of tomato paste
• 2 tsp of sugar
• 1/2 – 3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a heavy cast iron skillet, over high heat, brown the meats in a little olive oil or bacon fat, until browned. Turn the heat to medium and add onion, carrots and garlic and saute until they just start to soften.Add tomatoes and their liquid, salt, pepper, bay leaves, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, wine, tomato paste and sugar.
Simmer very gently for about 45 minutes, add in the Parmesan cheese for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. While the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti al dente, according to package directions. Drain the pasta and save a little of the cooking liquid to” loosen up” or thin out the sauce if needed. Remember to always add the pasta to the sauce. To serve, plate the pasta and sprinkle a little more Parmesan over the top, serve with warm crusty bread. Buon Appetito!

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Stuffed Pork Loin with Porcini sauce

Entrees, Pork | April 19, 2017 | By

This recipe is phenomenal! A pork loin is butterflied and stuffed with creamy fontina and fresh spinach, seared and baked to perfection, then topped with a porcini mushroom and exotic mushroom sauce that is mind blowing! I was lucky enough to find morels in our woods, so I threw those in too!

Ingredients:
Serves 8 – 10

  • 1/2 oz of dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup of hot water
  • 2 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1 pork loin – approx. 3 lbs
  • 2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 2 tsp of black pepper
  • 4 oz of fontina cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 big handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup of flour for dredging pork
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1 Tbs of butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbs of flour
  • 1 cup of dry red wine
  • 2 cups of assorted mushroom, sliced (creminis, shiitakes, morels)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325°

Soak the porcinis in 3/4 cup of very hot water for 30 minutes, drain, chop and reserve the liquid. Butterfly the pork, cut through lengthwise, but not all the way through and open it up like a book. Cover with wax paper and pound with a meat mallet until 1/2 inch thick. It will be about 12″ x 8″Season with salt and pepper and arrange the spinach and fontina lengthwise down the bottom third of the pork.With the long side facing you, roll as tightly as you can, keep tucking in the filling with your fingers, tie tightly with twine in 5 -6 places.Dredge with flour and a little salt & pepper, heat the olive oil in dutch oven or a large, heavy skillet over high heat and sear the pork on all sides.Transfer to a baking rack or pan and bake for  40 – 45 minutes or until 150°. While the pork is baking, make the sauce.In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil and butter and saute the shallots for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and stir. Add in the wine and whisk until well combined. Add in the assorted mushrooms and the porcinis and their liquid, simmer for 6 – 7 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and sauce is thickened. If the sauce seems too thick, just add a little water.Remove the twine from the pork and and cut into thick slices. To serve, place the pork slices on a serving platter and spoon on the mushroom sauce, serve any extra sauce on the side.

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Black Forest Trifle

Desserts | April 13, 2017 | By

This trifle is out of this world! It has all the components of a black forest cake, it starts with a layer of brownies, then cherries soaked in Kirsch, homemade custard and a whipped topping made with Creme Fraiche! Very impressive and it’s a perfect make ahead dessert, so great for entertaining!

Ingredients:
Serves 12 – easily

  • 1 chocolate brownie mix
  • 1/3 cup of cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbs of butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 – (14-oz) jars of cherries in Kirsch – see Note to Cooks
  • 1 cup of Creme Fraiche
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 2 Tbs of powdered sugar
  • grated chocolate – optional

Directions:

Start by making the brownies according to package directions: Let cool and cut into bite sized pieces.
Next, make the custard, stir together the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a large saucepan, over medium heat, then whisk in the milk, then the egg yolks, cook for 6 minutes, until it just starts to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent skin from forming. Let coolDrain the cherries, reserving liquid.  To assemble the trifle, arrange the brownies in the bottom of a large trifle dish or a large glass bowl. Scatter the cherries over the brownies (use all but 1/2 cup of cherries) then drizzle on 1/2 cup of the reserved cherry liquid.Spoon on the custard, spread to the edges. The trifle can be refrigerated at this point overnight, just make the topping before serving. To make the topping, use an electric mixer with a whip attachment, beat the Creme Fraiche, heavy cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spoon on top of the custard, spread to the edges, swirl with a knife and sprinkle on grated chocolate if you like and garnish with the extra cherries. Ready to serve!

Note to cooks: Cherries in Kirsch are readily available in liquor stores, they come in a 14 oz jar, some grocery stores also carry them in the liquor department.

 

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