Tuscan Cannellini Bean Dip Spread

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This Tuscan Cannellini bean dip or spread is easy and fast to make. Using canned beans it can be ready in just minutes. Serve with a crusty Italian bread or crispy pitas.

Tuscan Cannellini bean dip
Tuscan Cannellini bean dip

Great to make ahead of time and serve as your holiday guests arrive or take along to a gathering.

Ingredients;
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
2 TBLS fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBLS fresh Italian parsley leaves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 TBLS grated Parmesan cheese

Directions;
Drain and thoroughly rinse the beans. Place all ingredients except the parsley in a food processor and puree. Stir in the minced parsley.
Serve at room temperature with crusty bread, pita or small cut raw veggies.

Winter Snow White Cupcakes

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This snow white cake and icing cup cake recipe was popular when I was a little girl.

Winter Snow White Cupcakes
Winter Snow White Cupcakes

A friend mentioned that his Mom use to make Winter Snow White Cupcakes for his birthday.
So I thought I would make it and share with my pantry followers.
The icing is so fluffy and pleasant tasting. Not too sweet and very soft. Great for decorating with holiday sprinkles, coconut flakes or candied cherries. It makes for a stunning presentation.

Ingredients for the cake;
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 TSP baking powder
1/4 TSP salt
3/4 cup egg whites, about 6 eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 TSP vanilla
12 cup cupcake pan, with liners

Directions;
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Combine egg whites, milk and vanilla extract. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to butter mixture then add half the milk mixture. Continue to alternate beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape bowl and beater often. I use a large ice cream scoop to keep the portions consistent, measure the batter into each cupcake liner.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes our clean. Cool and frost.

Boiled Fluffy White Frosting
Ingredients;
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 TSP cream of tartar
2 large egg whites, at room temp
1 TSP vanilla
Your chosen decoration

Directions;
In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Frost your cupcakes and decorate as desired.

Spaghetti with Black Truffles, Umbria Style

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Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Orvieto in the Umbria region of Italy, just north of Rome. We had a pasta dish, Spaghetti with black truffles that was just exquisite.
Years ago I was introduced to one of the best all around Italian cooks and her cookbooks, Marcella Hazan. She tells the history of a recipe or a story. I checked and sure enough she has the truffle sauce recipe in her “More Classic Italian Cooking” book. It’s called “Spaghetti alla Nursina”. I’ve made a few alterations to it. She says “its an expensive dish that should be reserved for lovers since some pleasures are too keen to be shared!!”  I have to agree with her.

Make a romantic dinner for your someone special.

Black truffle sauce
Spaghetti with Black truffles sauce

Ingredients;
2.5 to 3 oz black truffles, fresh is preferred but in brine is ok too(find it at an upscale grocer or on Amazon)
6 TBLS good quality fruity tasting extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove peeled and crushed
2TSP anchovy paste
Salt to taste
8 oz spaghetti or like pasta cooked according to the package directions
a Sprinkle of good Parmesan cheese

Directions;
If the truffles are fresh, clean them using a brush, rinse quickly and pat dry. If they are in brine drain them and pat them dry.
Grate the truffles using the fine grate side of a grater or micro plane to get a fine morsel texture.
Cook the pasta while….
In a frying pan on LOW heat add the oil and truffles stirring them for a few minutes. Add the garlic clove and anchovy paste. Stirring for about 5 more minutes. Drain the pasta and toss with the truffle sauce. Taste for salt and sprinkle the cheese and serve immediately.
Compliment with your favorite white Italian wine.

Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer

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This Caponata eggplant appetizer originates from Sicily and is very popular.  Serve it with bread or crackers as your holiday guests arrive.

Caponata
Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer

Easy to make and if you follow my jam recipes for canning you can enjoy Caponata Sicilian Eggplant Appetizer all year long.  Just keep the jars in the pantry, once opened refrigerate them.

Caponata mixture
Caponata mixture

Ingredients;
4 cups cubed fresh eggplant, with the skin on
4 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
2 med onions, chopped
3-4 ribs of celery, cubed
1/4 cup capers, drained
2/3 cup pitted olives, green Sicilian are preferred
1 TBLS red wine vinegar
3-4 leaves sliced fresh basil
1 cup plum tomatoes, canned and rough chopped with their juice

These are my favorite brand of tomatoes. They are from Italy and have no additives
These are my favorite brand of tomatoes. They are from Italy and have no additives

Directions;
Heat the oil in a pan large enough to accommodate all the ingredients. Saute the celery and onion until nearly soft but not brown. Add the eggplant a saute a few minutes more. Add all the other ingredients and simmer on low uncovered for about 45 minutes until the excess juices are nearly gone. Serve at room temperature. It can be store in the refrigerator for about 4 days. You can also can at this point with the mixture hot and going into hot boiled mason jars.
Serve with a crusty Italian or French bread.

Italian Sandwich on Ciabatta Bread

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This Italian sandwich was typical growing up in an Italian household.
So many different ways to make it, but I’m giving you this Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread as my favorite.

Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread
Italian sandwich on ciabatta bread

Ingredients;
One 10″ – 12″ fresh Ciabatta bread (found in the better markets)
2 TBLS Pesto (jarred or grind garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, 1 TBLS grated Parmesan and a few pine nuts to make your own)
One medium jar red/yellow roasted peppers, rinsed
8oz fresh Mozzarella, sliced
1/4-1/2 LB Sicilian salami, sliced very thin

Directions;
Cut the bread in half long ways. Brush both pieces with the pesto. Layer the balance of the ingredients to your desired thickness. Cover with the other half of bread and slice into 4 pieces.
Enjoy with a good glass of wine or an Italian soda.

Perfect Pie Crust

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This Perfect Pie Crust recipe is easy and flaky tender.
Just be sure to not over work the dough.
It can be used for savory or sweet pies.

Perfect pie crust
Perfect pie crust

Ingredients;
12 TBLS (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 TSP kosher salt
1 TBLS sugar
1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening,like Crisco
6 to 8 TBLS (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Sugar sprinkled on the top crust makes a nice shine

Directions;
Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Empty out on a floured surface and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured surface into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the surface. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust. Makes two 10″ pie crusts.

Vegetable Appetizer Platter

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I made this Vegetable Appetizer Platter to pick on before a family meal or its great to serve while guests arrive for a holiday get together.

Vegetable Appetizer Platter
Vegetable Appetizer Platter

It contains; Stuffed Zucchini, Stuffed Mushrooms and fried Yellow Squash. The zucchini and mushroom recipes are listed in the pantry. Below is the fried squash recipe.

Ingredients;
1/2 cup or so combination vegetable oil and olive oil
2 yellow squash, sliced 1/4″ slices
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 TBLS grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
dash of garlic powder, not salt

Directions;
In a large non stick frying pan heat the oil to med/hot.
Combine the bread crumbs, garlic powder and cheese in a 1 gallon bag. Egg wash the squash and place it in the bag. Shake the bag until the squash is coated. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on a paper towel and serve warm. Serve as is or dip in your fav dressing.

Tagliatelle with Zucchini and Broccoli Di Rapi

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This pasta dish is Tagliatelle with Zucchini and Broccoli Di Rapi.
That is the Italian broccoli known as di raperapi, or rapini.
This vegetarian dish is so delicious and nutritious.

Tagliatelle with Zucchini and Broccoli Di Rapi
Tagliatelle with Zucchini and Broccoli Di Rapi

Quick to make and serves a crowd or take along as I did today to a party.

Ingredients;
6 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 ” slices
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli di rapi, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 LB tagliatelle (white or green or mixed) cooked according to the pkg directions
6-8 fresh basil leaves, sliced
salt & crushed red pepper flakes

Directions;
Broccoli; I like to use only the small stems, leaves and flowered part. Chop and steam the broccoli di rapi until tender. If frozen just steam 1 cup, set aside.
Begin cooking the pasta.
In a large skillet heat the oil and add the zucchini and broccoli di rapi and saute for about 5 minutes until soft but not mushy. Add the garlic and saute for about 1-2 minutes. Drain the pasta keeping one cup of the water and combine with the zucchini/broccoli mixture and half of the basil and toss. Add the reserved pasta water if it appears to be dry. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with remaining basil, Parmesan and serve.

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

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Wow, talk about a flavor explosion!! The cherry, creamy cheesecake and rich chocolate flavors unite and explode in these cherry cheesecake brownies. So easy since part of the recipe is from a premixed box brownie. The 9×13 tray easily serves a crowd and freezes well.

Cherry cheesecake brownies
Cherry cheesecake brownies

Ingredients/Directions;

One 18oz-20oz boxed brownie mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1 TSP instant espresso powder
1 TSP vanilla extract, I prefer vanilla paste
Mix the above together and beat for 2 minutes.
Spread the batter in a 9×13 greased baking pan and set aside.

Cherry cheesecake brownies raw
Cherry cheesecake brownies raw

One 8oz cream cheese, at room temp
5 TBLS unsalted butter, at room temp
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBLS flour
1 TSP vanilla extract
One 21oz can of cherry pie filling
Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the above except cherry filling, until fluffy. Drop tablespoons full into the pan of brownies and use a knife to gently cut through the batter to pull the cream cheese into a marbled pattern.
Spoon tablespoons of cherry filling on top of the cream cheese/brownie pan about 1 inch apart.
Bake 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool for an hour before cutting into squares.

 

 

Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala

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This Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala recipe is a great side dish.
I love it with steak, but it goes well with poultry too.

sauteed mushrooms
Mushrooms Sauteed with Marsala

16oz pkg of fresh mushrooms, button or any type you like
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2 TBLS butter **
Dash of pepper

Clean the mushrooms. I say that because I like to rinse them and brush with a soft mushroom brush. I just can’t get over the grown in substance and not wash them. Some people like to just dust them off.

cleaned mushrooms
cleaned mushrooms

Slice them or leave them whole. Place the butter in a saute pan large enough to loosely fit the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms on a fairly high heat until the juices come out and then absorb again. Add the Marsala wine and saute for a minute or two as the wine sizzles and deglazes the pan. Add pepper to taste and serve warm.

** replace the butter with olive oil to make this more heath friendly.

Grilled Veal Chops

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A good cut of veal is very light pink. It doesn’t matter if you buy the rib or loin cut. Whichever you prefer. Pictured is rib cut Grilled Veal chops.

Grilled Veal chops
Grilled Veal chops

Grill/broil on high to searing the outside, keeping it pink inside. Please do not over cook it or you will find it dry and tough.

Ingredients;
2 to 4 veal chops, about 1″-1.5″ thick, loin or rib cut
2 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
1 TSP Bell’s Seasoning (the yellow box with the turkey on it)
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed and mashed
I have an herb garden so if you have any, a few leaves of each; sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary

Veal chop
Veal chop

Directions;
Place all the ingredients in a freezer bag and let marinate for 2-24 hours refrigerated.
Place on a hot grill and sear the meat on both sides. Baste once with the marinade. Cook until the center is pink about 155-160 degrees on a meat thermometer.
Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing

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This Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing recipe is tasty and easily serves a crowd.
Another option is to use the stuffing and roll it up in chicken or turkey thin sliced cutlets.

Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing
Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing

Ingredients;
1 TBLS chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
2 cups soft bread cubes
1 cup finely chopped apple
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2 TSP minced fresh parsley
1/2 TSP ground sage
1/2 TSP salt, divided
4 bone-in pork loin chops,1-1/2 inches thick
Dash of pepper
1 TBLS vegetable oil

Directions
In a small frying pan, saute onion and celery in butter until tender. Remove from the heat; add the bread cubes, apples, sage, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix well.
Cut a pocket in each chop by making a horizontal cut through the meat almost to the bone. Sprinkle inside and outside with pepper and remaining salt. Spoon stuffing loosely into pockets.
In a large frying pan, brown the chops on both sides in oil. Place in an ungreased large baking dish, I use my corning ware covered dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 30 minutes longer or until a thermometer reads 145°. Let meat stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Broccoli Patties

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My Mom would make these broccoli patties with leftover broccoli. It’s a great nutritious and easy side dish. Something different to do with broccoli and so tasty. Be creative and change the cheese to cheddar, change the bread crumbs to plain and add your own spice selection if you like.

Broccoli patties
Broccoli patties

Ingredients;
1 large head fresh broccoli or 1LB bag frozen chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBLS butter
1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 TSP garlic powder (not salt)
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions;
Wash and cut up the broccoli into small pieces. Steam, do not boil in water until very soft.
In a large bowl mix together the broccoli, butter and cheese.  Then add all the other ingredients, except the oil. Mix thoroughly and form into 4 inch or so patties. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the patties on each side until very lightly brown. Serve warm.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

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Spaghetti squash is nutritious and can be a good substitute for pasta. By itself roasted spaghetti squash does not have much flavor so its important to use a sauce with it that has an abundance of flavor.
I like to make something similar to a Puttanesca sauce.
Rich with olives, capers, tomatoes and herbs.

Roasted spaghetti squash
Roasted spaghetti squash

Ingredients;
1 whole spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
3 garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
1/2 med onion, chopped fine
2 TSP anchovy paste
1/2 TSP hot red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in juice or 6 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup pitted mixed Kalamata & Italian green ( not Spanish)olives, sliced in half
2  TBLS drained capers
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions;
Preheat the oven to 375.
Drizzle a little of the olive oil on the cut side of the squash.
Bake the squash in a roasting pan cut side down for about 45-55 minutes, unit a knife inserts easily. Set aside.
In a heavy fry pan place the oil and cook the onion, garlic, anchovy paste and red pepper for 2-3 minutes while stirring.  Pulse chop the tomatoes and their juice in a food processor or blender.  Add to the frying pan and stir.  Add the balance of ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.  Scrap the squash out of its skin and add it to the frying pan tomato mixture. Toss to mix.
Lightly grate Parmesan cheese over the top and serve.

Bloody Mary

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Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary is a great brunch beverage with or without alcohol. Tasty and many variations. Make it as spicy as you like.
Here is my favorite recipe.

4 cups tomato juice (I prefer Sacramento)
2 celery stalks with leaves and extra for garnish
4-5 dashes of Tabasco sauce, adjust to your taste
1 TSP prepared horseradish, adjust to your taste
1/2 TSP celery salt
1 TBLS grated onion, Vidalia if it’s available
1 TBLS Worcester sauce
1 cup vodka (optional)
the juice of one whole lemon, extra for garnish
Spanish stuffed olives for garnish
Rub the rim of the glass with lemon and dip into a spicy dry seasoning such as Prudhommes Magic or Emerils spices, optional

Place all ingredients, except the garnish, into a blender and puree.
Pour into a tall glass with ice and garnish as desired.

Broccoli Cranberry Slaw

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This Broccoli Cranberry Slaw is a great summertime side dish. It easily compliments many dishes. Many supermarkets have the slaw mix already shredded and bagged, ready to go.

Broccoli cranberry slaw
Broccoli cranberry slaw

Ingredients;
2 cups shredded broccoli stems
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 TSP celery seeds
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1-2 TBLS milk

Directions;
Combine the ingredients together with one tablespoon of milk. Mix thoroughly.
Add the second tablespoon of milk if you like it a little less creamy.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving.

Classic Chicken Salad

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This Classic Chicken Salad recipe has minimal ingredients allowing the chicken flavor to be the focus. Serve it over salad greens, on bread or stuffed in an avocado or a hollowed tomato!
If you like you can add sliced almonds, walnuts, grapes or anything else.

Classic chicken salad
Classic chicken salad

Ingredients;
2 cups cooked chicken, skin removed, cubed or shredded, any mix of white or dark meat (for quick and easy  buy a roasted chicken)
1/2 cup celery, rough or finely chopped
1 TBLS onion or scallion, finely chopped
1/2 to 1 cup mayo, use depends on your preference
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions;
Mix the chicken with all other ingredients.
Chill and serve.

Stuffed Zucchini

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This stuffed zucchini recipe can be made with many different ingredients.

Stuffed zucchini
Stuffed zucchini

I used mushrooms, onion, tomato and bread crumbs. Just about anything can be used; peppers of any kind, sausage, ham, beef, olives, capers etc…..

Stuffed zucchini mix
Stuffed zucchini mix

Ingredients;

4 long thin zucchini
2 TBLS butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a small onion, chopped
4 oz fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 plum tomato, chopped
dash of garlic powder, not salt
Salt & pepper to taste
1 TBLS grated Romano cheese
2 TBLS bread crumbs, any kind you like

Directions;
Preheat oven to 350.
Wash the zucchini thoroughly. Leaving the stem in tact make a “V” shaped  cut in them and remove the cut zucchini.  Use a small melon baller to make a canal in the zucchini.

hollowed out zucchini
hollowed out zucchini

Chop the removed zucchini and add it to the stuffing. In a frying pan add the butter/oil and the onion.  Saute for a few minutes and then add all the other ingredients, except the bread crumbs.  Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes or so. If you use salty ingredients you might not want to add salt. Add the bread crumbs, this will tighten up the stuffing from being too watery. Stuff the cooked mixture into the zucchini canal as pictured.  Place in a covered baking dish and bake for about  30 minutes or until the zucchini are soft but not falling over and mushy.

If you have extra mushrooms and stuffing make stuffed mushrooms with it…

 

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad

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An assortment of tomatoes are in abundance in the summer months.
This Heirloom tomato recipe mixes all types of tomatoes.
I bought these from the local farmers market picked at their peak of flavor.

Heirloom Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella Salad
Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Fresh mozzarella is key also. It’s from my local market but the store brand BelGioioso is good too.

ingredients for Heirloom Tomato Mozzarella Salad

1 LB fresh mozzarella
1 LB Heirloom tomatoes, mixed types
2 TBLS extra virgin oil oil
4-6 fresh basil leaves, sliced
A bottle of Balsamic glaze, check the label to be sure it doesn’t have corn syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Mix and assemble in a dish. Pour the olive oil over them and add the salt and pepper. Decorate with the Balsamic glaze and the basil. Serve just slightly chilled with a good crusty slice of Italian bread.
Add a glass of wine and opera music and you could drift off into Italy!!

Tomato Tart

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It seems like all the garden tomatoes come out at one time. This Tomato Tart recipe is a great way to use many of them. I served it as an appetizer.
Be sure to use Roma or plum type tomatoes. Regular slicing tomatoes have too much water in them.

Tomato tart
Tomato tart

Ingredients;
One 16oz pkg frozen Phyllo dough (use one of the two rolls in the pkg) defrosted according to the box directions
6-8 Ripe plum tomatoes, sliced thin
6-8 Basil leaves, sliced thin
1 TSP Dried Oregano
1 TSP Garlic powder (not salt)
1 TBLS Dried or fresh Parsley, minced
2/3 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBLS Butter, melted
3 TBLS Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parchment paper

Directions;
Preheat the oven to 400. Place the parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Mix the butter and oil together. Unroll the phyllo dough and one sheet at a time brush the first 4 sheets with the butter/oil mixture stacking them on top of each other on the parchment paper lined pan. Keep a damp paper towel over the unused phyllo dough while you are putting together the sheets. Sprinkle the 5th sheet with about one third of the oregano, basil, garlic powder, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Repeat brushing each layer of dough and repeat the sprinkle of spices when about 2 sheets remain. On the top/last sheet repeat the butter/oil and place the tomatoes over the entire dough area. Sprinkle with the remaining spices and cheese.
Bake for 25-35 minutes until the dough is lightly brown and the middle of the underside of the tart is a little firm. Cool slightly before cutting into squares to serve.

Zucchini Bread/Muffins

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This Zucchini bread or muffin recipe is so moist and flavorful. This time of year we have an abundance of squash and this is a perfect way to use them. This bread freezes well too.

Zucchini bread
Zucchini bread

Ingredients;
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil, can be part olive oil
2 cups grated raw zucchini, with skin
3 TSP vanilla
3 cups unbleached flour
1 TSP salt
1 TSP baking soda
1/2 TSP baking powder
3 TSP ground cinnamon
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350.
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla, mix for 1 minute. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Add to the egg mixture and mix until combined.  Add the nuts.
Pour mixture into two greased 9x5x3″ loaf pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Green Beans with Tomato and Potatoes

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This is a green bean with tomato and potato one pan wonder.
Quick and fresh vegetables all together. Great for a family meal.

Green bean with tomato and potatoes
Green bean with tomato and potatoes

Ingredients;
1 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 LB fresh green beans, tips cut off
5 Plum tomatoes, rough diced
4 small red potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
2-3 fresh basil leaves, rough cut
Salt & pepper

Directions;
In a saute pan large enough to cover and hold all the ingredients. Saute the garlic in the oil for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover and cook 4 minutes. Add the green beans and potatoes, stir and cover on a low simmer for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil and add salt & pepper to taste.

Stuffed Artichokes

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A fresh stuffed artichoke is intimidating to some, not only how to eat them but also how to cook them. Hopefully I will explain and picture the basics so you will try both. There are a few ways to cook artichokes. This one is stuffed.

Stuffed artichokes
Stuffed artichokes

Another is Roman style which steams them whole with lemon and oil, not stuffed.
They are truly a gourmet delight when prepared properly.
You can also use a crock pot for this recipe.

Ingredients;
2 large fresh artichokes(the leaves will be tightly closed when fresh)
1 1/2 cups of Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 TBLS parsley, minced
2 TSP garlic powder, not salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions;
Mix the bread crumbs, parsley, garlic powder and cheese together, set aside.

Stuffed artichokes
prepping artichokes
Stuffed artichokes
snipped artichokes

Wash the artichokes and cut off the stem at the base of the leaves (peel the stem and add it to the pot for cooking)and enough of the top to cut off the pointed ends of the first row of top leaves. Then with kitchen scissors trim just the tops of all the leaves. Rinse the inside leaves pulling them open while running them under water. Set the artichoke upright and sprinkle inside all the leaves and top with the bread crumb mixture. I use a grapefruit spoon as pictured, but any type will do.

Stuffed artichokes
Stuffed artichokes preparation

Place the artichokes in a pot and pour some of the olive oil over each one. Fill the pot about 1/4 up the sides of the artichokes with water. Cover and simmer on low for 1.5 to 3 hours depending on the size of the artichoke. At this point you could use a crock pot.
They are done when the middle leaves pull out easily. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a lemon wedge if you like.
You eat them by pulling the leaves off and placing them in your mouth and scrapping the leave with your teeth as you pull them out of your mouth. Once all the leaves are off there is a center with a fuzzy top. Peel away the fuzz and what is left is called the heart. It is and well as the stem completely eatable and so tasty.

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