Sunday, January 24, 2016


When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. 

~ Joyce Brothers


1 large head romaine lettuce
Large chunk of Parmigiana Reggiano
Pumpernickel Croutons 

Caesar Vinaigrette:

12 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tin drained anchovy fillets
freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Pumpernickel Croutons:  Preheat oven to 400º. Toss 2 cups (1/2-inch cubes) pumpernickel bread with 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle heavily with cracked pepper. Spread on baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until crisp. (Can make ahead)
  • Caesar Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients (but olive oil) in blender. Gradually add olive oil and process until creamy. 
  • Add bite-size pieces of crisp Romaine to large salad bowl. Toss gently with Caesar Vinaigrette to taste. Add Pumpernickel Croutons and toss again. Serve topped with grated Parmigiana Reggiano. 


(adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

“Onion soup sustains. The process of making it is somewhat like the process of learning love. It requires commitment, extraordinary effort, time, and will make you cry."
~ Ronni Lundy

6-8 pounds thinly sliced yellow onions
6 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
6 heaping Tbsp. flour
3-4 quarts good beef stock
3 cups dry white wine
coarse salt and cracked pepper
few glugs of Kitchen Bouquet
12 Tbsp. Cognac
1 pound Swiss cheese*
1 - 1 1/2 pound cheese like Gruyere or assorted shredded cheddar, Colby and Swiss or Parmesan
Cook onions slowly in butter and oil in covered stockpot for 15 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to moderate, and stir in salt and sugar. Cook for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently until onions have turned deep golden brown. (Long slow cooking develops the deep, rich flavor). Sprinkle in flour and stir 3 minutes. Off heat, blend in liquid. Add wine and season to taste. Simmer partially covered for 30-40 minutes, skimming occasionally. Correct seasoning. Add Cognac and set aside until ready to serve. (*the Swiss cheese is a surprise. Place a big hunk in the bottom of the soup before assembling.)
(hard crusts of French bread for topping)
Slice several 3/4 - 1 inch pieces of French bread. Brush tops with cut garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in 325 degree oven about 30 minutes or until crusty brown.
~ Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place hot soup in oven-proof crocks. Slip in hunk of Swiss cheese. Top with croutes and finish with shredded cheese. Bake 20 minutes and finish browning under broiler. (Be careful serving ~ the 'lava soup is very hot 

(Classic French Onion Soup)


(National Pasta Association & Mom 100)

Panko Topping:

3  Tbsp(1/2 . unsalted butter
2-3 Cups Japanese Panko Crumbs
1/2  Cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Pasta & Cheese Sauce:

4  Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing baking dish/dishes
4  Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2  tsp. red pepper falkes (optional)
4  1/2  Cups 2 % or whole milk
1  Cup heavy (whipping) cream
5  Cups coarsely grated flavorful cheese, such as sharp cheddar or Gruyere, or mix
1/2  cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4  tbsp. Dijon mustard
1  1/2  tsp kosher or coarse salt or to taste
1/2  tsp. freshly ground black pepper or to taste
1  1/2 packages (24 oz.) dried cavatelli, ziti, penne (or what I used, tortiglioni)

  • Preheat oven to 400º. Butter shallow 4-5 Quart baking dish (or 2 smaller ones or individual ramekins)
  • Bring large pot of water to boil, salt generously, and let return to boil.
  • Meanwhile, make panko topping. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat or place in medium microwave-safe dish and heat in microwave 15 seconds or until melted. Add panko and Parmesan and stir until combined. Set topping aside.
  • Make pasta and sauce:  Melt butter in large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and red pepper flakes (if used). Cook, stirring until flour is blond in color, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, Increase heat to medium-high and let simmer until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add cream, grated cheese, Parmesan, mustard, salt & black pepper, stirring until smooth. test for seasoning, adding more salt & pepper as needed.
  • Add pasta to boiling water and cook until barely al dente (follow package directions but stop a minute or two before pasta is completely tender). Set aside 1 cup of pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.
  • Whisk reserved pasta cooking water into cheese sauce, combining thoroughly. Add pasta to cheese sauce and stir to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. There will appear to be a lot of sauce. Some of it will be absorbed into pasta as it cooks. (Better saucy than dry)
  • Sprinkle panko topping evenly over pasta and bake until golden and bubbly, 30-40 minutes.Ket pasta sit for a few minutes before serving.

(White Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Parmesan Panko Crust)

Heavenly rich, truffle-like EASY dessert and, like clouds, always a delight
(from a December 1992 issue of Southern Living)
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 cups melted unsalted butter
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Ganache Cream
  • Preheat oven to 225-degrees. Grease bottom of 9-inch springform pan; line with greased waxed paper and set aside.
  • Dissolve coffee granules in boiling water. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved; set aside.
  • Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add chocolate morsels. Process 1 1/2 minutes or until finely chopped, stopping once to scrape down sides. Pour coffee mixture through food chute with processor running, stopping once to scrape down sides. Pour butter through food chute with processor running. Add eggs, one at at a time, through food chute, pulsing after each addition. Add vanilla and pulse once again.
    Pour into prepared pan and bake at 225-degrees for 2 1/2 hours or until slightly firm to touch. Cool completely on wire rack. 
  • Run knife around edge; release sides of springform pan. Invert torte onto 8-inch cardboard round and place on rack over shallow pan. Pour Ganache Cream over top and sides, covering completely. Chill 8 hours. Garnish with chocolate leaves (if you feel the need) and chocolate-covered coffee beans (from Trader Joe's). 
1 cup whipping cream
2 (4-oz) packages bittersweet chocolate, chopped and divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, divided

Combine whipping cream and two-thirds of chocolate in double boiler. Bring to boil & reduce heat to low. Cook until chocolate melts, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add remaining chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Add one-third of butter, beating until butter melts & mixture is smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining butter. Let cool until mixture is slightly thickened and of pouring consistency. If mixture becomes too thick, reheat in double boiler over simmering water.

(Mocha Velvet Torte)

Saturday, January 23, 2016


"Scallops are expensive, so they should be treated with some class. But then, I suppose that every creature that gives his life for our table should be treated with class."

~  Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet)


Quick-cooking scallops are excellent with sweet fennel and a buttery lemon-caper sauce. From Kay Chun and Food & Wine)

2  Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1  lb. sea scallops
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2  Tbsp. unsalted butter
1  medium fennel bulb - trimmed, halved, and thinly slices, fronds reserved for garnish
2  Tbsp. drained capers
2  Tbsp fresh lemon juice (*I also included lemon zest), plus lemon wedges for serving
2  Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • In large nonstick skillet (not a fan of non-stick, I use large stainless sauté pan), heat the olive oil. Season scallops with salt & pepper and cook over moderately high heat until golden brown on the bottom, 2 - 3 minutes. Turn scallops and cook until just opaque throughout, 2 -3 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
  • Melt butter in skillet. Add sliced fennel and capers and cook over hight heat, stirring, until fennel is crisp-tender and lightly golden, 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice (zest) and parsley and season with salt & pepper.
  • Spoon fennel around the scallops and garnish with chopped fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges. (Suggested pairing ... a bright Spanish white)

( Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise)


( Adapted from "Momofufu" by David Chang and Peter Meehan and tasted by the Chicago Tribune )

6 oz. ramen noodles or lo mein, rice noodles, or Shanghai thick noodles (I used brown rice noodles)
6  Tbsp. Ginger Scallion Sauce (recipe follows)
1/4  cup of any/all/none of the following: sliced bamboo shoots, quick-pickled cucumbers, roasted cauliflower or any other vegetables you have on hand (I omitted the veggies since the fennel was to be 'star of the show' veggie flavor ... )

Heap drained noodles in a bowl. Spoon on ginger sauce. Add a heap or two of vegetables, if you like and serve. (2-4 servings)

Ginger Scallion Sauce

Toss together 2  1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (white and green from 2 bunches), 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger, 1/4  cup grapeseed or other neutral oil, 1 1/2 tsp. light soy sauce, 3/4 tsp. sherry vinegar (I used champagne) and 3/4 tsp kosher salt. Let rest 15 minutes. Toss again. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Keeps nicely in the fridge, ready for noodle duty. 

(Ginger Scallion Noodles)

(Scallops with Fennel Grenobloise and Ginger Scallion Noodles)

Saturday, January 16, 2016


"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show."

~ Andrew Wyeth

Bare Bones of Winter
(Hubbard Lake, MI)

~ So easy, so good (Thx for sharing dear Kelly Lodish)

5  lbs. lean beef stew, in 1 - inch cubes
6  onions (medium) cut into wedges
12  carrots, sliced in big chunks
2  (28 oz.) cans tomatoes (one diced and one stewed)
2  cups chopped celery
2  healing Tbsp. brown sugar
2  Tbsp. coarse salt
6  Tbsp. minute tapioca
1  Cup seasoned breadcrumbs

Mix all together and bake in slow cooker for 6-8 hours depending on high or low (or at 325º for 4 hours in oven).

Friday, January 01, 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bidding adieu to the first day of the new year ~ 'Simple One Plate Supper' : Shrimp Scampi Zoodles for two

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The new year begins on a 'healthy' note ... good clean food and a heartfelt wish for feeding more posts on my thirsting blog ... 


~ Lemon, garlic, and shrimp served atop a bed of 'zoodles' ...  a carb lovers alternative to 'noodles'. Spiralizers are the hit for foodies wanting lower calories and/or less carbs in diet. Trust me, no flavor is lost in the prep of this easy tasty dish. 

2  Tbsp.  butter
1  Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1  lb. shelled, deveined shrimp
4-5  chopped garlic cloves
1/2  tsp. red pepper flakes
sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste
1/4  cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon plus grated zest
3  'spiralized' zucchini (put in colander to rest, drain, and pat as much liquid as possible)
chopped fresh parsley to taste
freshly grated Parmesan Cheese to taste 

  • Heat butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until frothing. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add shrimp and cook about 2-3 minutes, tossing as needed, until cooked and pink on all sides. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground coarse pepper. Remove shrimp from pan, leaving all liquid, and set aside.
  • Add wine and lemon juice to deglaze pan and simmer for 2 minutes or so. Add zucchini noodles and cook about 2 minutes or until crunchy tender. Add shrimp, lemon zest, and parsley, tossing all together. Test for seasoning.
  • Serve garnished with additional parsley and grated Parmesan Cheese.