Monday, April 30, 2012

Homemade Biscuits

If you are looking for a classic fluffy biscuit recipe, this is the best. These golden brown biscuits are slightly crunchy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside. I like the garnish them with salt and rosemary. They taste great for breakfast or even as a side for dinner.

Homemade Baking Powder Biscuits 
Makes 24

2 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp cold butter or shortening
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg-lightly beaten
Rosemary and sea salt to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift again.

2. Cut in shortening or butter with a pastry blender, two knives or by hand. Add milk gradually, stirring until a soft dough has formed.

3. Turn out dough on a floured surface and lightly knead for 30 seconds, enough to shape.

4. Roll  dough 1/2" thick and cut with a  2" round floured biscuit cutter.

5. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Mix the beaten egg with a little bit of water to create an egg wash. Brush the biscuits with egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F  for 12-15 minutes.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Salad with Mushroom, Potato and Leek Croquettes

A quick post today. Here is a great salad for lunch or a light dinner. These croquettes are filled with nutritious vegetables and keep you feeling satisfied. There are only 266 calories per serving (serving size-2 patties) Try this recipe when you are looking to reinvent your everyday salad.

Salad with Mushroom, Potato and Leek Croquettes (Adapted from Cooking Light)
Makes 8-10 patties

8 oz yukon gold potatoes (peeled and chopped)
4 oz cremini mushrooms
4 oz button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped leek (1 leek)
1 tsp fresh thyme
Cooking spray
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grates Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese-divided
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup flour
1 large egg white
2 tsp water
1/2 panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz mixed greens

1. In a pot of boiling water; add in potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes until tender. Drain and press through a ricer or food mill into a bowl.

2. Place mushrooms, leeks and thyme in a food processors and pulse until finely chopped. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray and add mushroom mixture; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add mushroom mixture to potato. Add in Gruyere cheese, 2 tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, pepper and egg yolk; stir until combined. Shape mixture into 8-10 round patties.

4. Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine egg white and 2 tbsp water into a separate shallow dish; stirring to combine. Combine the remaining 2 tbsp of Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko bread crumbs into a shallow dish.

5. Working with one patty at a time, dredge in flour; dip in egg mixture; and dredge in breadcrumbs. Heat a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add in olive oil to coat the bottom. Add in patties and cook 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

6. Serve with a salad of mixed greens.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spicy Pepper Jelly-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

On a recent trip down to Charleston, South Carolina, my parents brought me back my favorite kind of souvenir, a cookbook. The book is Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen, filled with recipes from the south. The book contains beautiful pictures to go along with the delicious sounding recipes. I always love when a cookbook has great photography.

This recipe calls for pepper jelly. I was not sure exactly what that was when I first read the recipe, but I found out that it is exactly what the name suggests. It is peppers made into jelly, sweet and spicy. I found a jar at a local farm stand, but you can find it at some grocery stores. Brands, such as, Stonewall Kitchen carry pepper jelly.

The recipe calls for grilling the tenderloin. I was planning on grilling, but the weather turned and I had to cook it in the oven. It still came out very tasty but I will try it on the grill next time. I think the jelly will caramelize better on the grill. I am including the original recipe, with the grilling instructions. Tis the season for grilling.

Spicy Pepper Jelly-Marinated Pork Tenderloin 
Serves 4-6

Two 1 pound pork tenderloins
1/2 cup pepper jelly, plus more for serving
1/2 cup red wine
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp fresh rosemary-chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Rinse the pork, pat dry, remove the silver skin if necessary. Place in a shallow container or large plastic resealable bag.

2. Whisk together the pepper jelly, wine, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the marinade over the pork and turn to coat the meat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Turn the pork several times to distribute marinade evenly.

3. When you are ready to cook, prepare a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill and let the coals burn to gray ash with a slight red glow. Keep the coals on one side of the grill to create direct and indirect heat. If using a gas grill, heat just one side on medium.

4. Remove the pork for the marinade, reserving the marinade, and season with salt and pepper. Place the pork on the hot side of the grill, directly over the coals for 12-15 minutes, turning 3 times and basting with remaining marinade.

5. Move pork away from coals, close the grill cover or cover with foil, and cook another 3-5 minutes, until an internal thermometer reads 145 degrees F for medium, or 160 degrees F for med-well.

6. Remove pork from grill and let rest on a cutting board covering the meat with foil for 5-10 minutes. Slice in 1/4" slices and serve warm with additional pepper jelly on the side.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cappuccino Chocolate Swirl Muffins

I adapted this recipe from the original recipe for orange chocolate swirl muffins. You can find that recipe on a previous post under the recipe page.

These muffins come out very moist. They have a chocolate espresso batter mixed with a cinnamon batter with chocolate chips. Together they create the flavors of a cappuccino. I hope you enjoy!

Cappuccino Chocolate Swirl Muffins
Makes 12 regular muffins or 6 large muffins

1/8 cup boiling water
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup canola, vegetable oil or melted butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine 1/8 cup boiling water with 1 tbsp instant espresso powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients:  flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: egg, oil or butter, buttermilk, vanilla yogurt and

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix together just until moistened. Do not over mix.

Into two separate bowls, divide the batter in half. Add the espresso/water mixture and the cocoa powder into one of the bowls. Fold the chocolate chips and cinnamon into the other bowl of batter. You now have a chocolate espresso batter and a cinnamon batter with chocolate chips.

Drop spoonfuls of each batter into prepared muffin tins, alternating the two different batters.
Fill the cups 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Bake 20-25 mins for larger muffin tins.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Broccoli and Corn Chowder with Bacon

One cool and rainy day will put almost anyone in the mood for a comforting bowl of creamy soup. This past Sunday was the perfect soup day, not only a day of rain much needed for our plants but a day to try a recipe I have had aside for a while now.

This soup is not only healthy but so delicious, it really hit the spot. This is a recipe I know I will be making over and over again. It's really easy and fast to put together and was enjoyed by everyone in my family, even 8 month old Layla!

I gave Layla mostly broth with small pieces of corn, broccoli and potato. This is the first soup of mine that she really loved. I couldn't feed her fast enough! There was growling, screaming and banging of her hands between each bite.

Broccoli and Corn Chowder with Bacon (Recipe adapted from Everyday Food Light by Martha Stewart) 
Serves 4

4 stripes of bacon, cut into 1" pieces
1 onion-finely diced
1/4 cup flour
1 russet potato-diced
4 cups of chicken broth
1 head of broccoli-cut into bite sized pieces (large stalks removed)
2 cups (about 3 ears) of fresh or frozen corn (do not thaw)
1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
1 cup milk (any kind will do, I used skim milk)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese-optional*

1. In a dutch oven or other large heavy pot, cook bacon over med-low heat, stirring occasionally until crispy; 8-10 mins. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and transfer to paper towels. Set aside for later.

2. Add onion to bacon drippings and cook until soft; 6-8 mins.

3. Add in flour, stirring constantly; 30 seconds (do not let brown). Add in broth and potato; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until potato is tender; about 10 mins.

4. Add in broccoli, corn, thyme and milk; cook 10 mins more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top each serving with bacon and a little shredded cheddar cheese.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicken Cutlets with Herb Butter Sauce

Don't let the title of this dish fool you with the word butter sauce, this is actually a healthy chicken dish. The entire dish uses only 2 tbsp of butter but still gives you the delicious, salty, rich flavor that you get from buttery sauces. Two chicken cutlets with sauce is around 362 calories.

This entire dish comes together really quick and is simple to make for any week night dinner. I served this with rosemary sweet potatoes (posting recipe soon) and sauteed kale and collard greens.

I got the greens from a local garden and cooked them with a little oil until wilted. Then I added some chicken stock and let them braise for 30 minutes. Add a little salt and red pepper flakes and its a healthy and flavorful side dish. Just make sure to remove the tough stems from the greens.

Chicken Cutlets with Herbed Butter Sauce (adapted from Everyday Food Light by Martha Stewart) 
Serves 4

1/4 cup flour
8 thin sliced chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 dry white wine
2 tbsp cold butter-salted or unsalted
3 tbsp flat leaf parsley-chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary-chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme-chopped

1. Place flour in a shallow dish or on wax paper. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper and dredge in flour to coat.

2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook chicken until golden brown; 2-3 minutes per side. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Transfer each batch of chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

3. When you are done browning the chicken, add the wine to the pan with the juices from the chicken. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid has reduced by half; about 4 minutes. Return chicken to the pan and turn to coat in sauce.

4. Remove skillet from heat and add in butter and herbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. To serve, arrange chicken on a platter and pour sauce over top. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sous Chef Baby Bake Sale to raise money for Canine Counsel Rescue!

Exciting News! Sous Chef Baby has teamed up with The Canine Counsel to participate in a bake sale for charity. All proceeds from the bake sale will go to helping animals in need. Please see below a letter from the vice present of the Canine Counsel Rescue to find out more information about the charity.

"By way of introduction, my name is Ashley Boyd, I am the Vice President of a not-for-profit 501(c) animal rescue group called Canine Counsel Rescue and Rehabilitation Center located on Long Island. We are a unique animal rescue that focuses on rehabilitation of animals that are usually looked at as lost causes. There is no case we will not take on. Presently there are shelters inundated with unwanted animals during these hard economic times, some which sit there for years. Our rescue is focused on putting in the time and effort to work with these dogs and find them their perfect home. All of the proceeds go towards helping the animals."

Any donation you can provide would be greatly appreciated and would mean a great deal to these animals in need. 

Again, Thank you for your consideration and for supporting a cause we believe strongly in. 

Ashley Boyd

Please visit us Saturday, May 12th at Ann Marie's Farm Stand and pick up some delicious baked goods for Mother's Day! We hope to see you there.

If you are interested in baking something for the sale, please e-mail me at We would appreciate your delicious treats! 

Location: Ann Marie's Farm Stand: 72 North Country Rd Setauket, NY 11733

Date: May 12th 

Time: 10am-3pm

Here are some pictures of just a few of the many dogs that need a home. Contact me if you are interested.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vegetable Tian

Over the weekend my family and I went into the city for dinner and a Broadway show. We went to see Newsies (my favorite movie of all time). The show was amazing! I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see a great show.

Following the show we ate dinner are Les Halles, Anthony Bourdain's restaurant, located at 411 Park Ave New York, NY 10016 (between 28th and 29th)  It is french bistro style cuisine and the food was really delicious. Here are a few of the plates we ordered:
-Brie with honey and cracked pepper toasted on croutons- This was unbelievable and I cannot wait to try and recreate this at home.
-Escargot in butter and garlic sauce
-French Onion Soup (a good as it gets)
-Rosemary Lamb chops with Pomme Frites (french fries)
-Plache De Grillades: Lamb chop, hanger steak, merguez steak, thick cut bacon, and french fries (we did not order this, but if my husband Tom was with us, I bet he would have :)
Warm Chocolate Banana Tart
Blueberry Creme Brulee

Over all the restaurant was a lot of fun with great food. I would recommend it. Take a look at the menu:

In keeping with the french theme and flavors, try this easy side dish. I love to make this to accompany any meat dish. It can even pair nicely with Italian style dishes, such as Chicken Parmesan.

*Cooking Tip: Try to use vegetables with same diameter so they look similar in the dish.

Vegetable Tian (Recipe from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten)
Makes 4-6 servings

Olive oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium round potatoes, unpeeled (Yukon gold or red potatoes work best)
3/4 pound zucchini
1 1/4 pounds medium tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs
2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush a 9 x 13" baking dish with olive oil.

2. In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Spread the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish.

3. Slice the potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices. Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, fitting them tightly, making only 1 layer. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and thyme sprigs and drizzle with 1 more tbsp of olive oil.

4. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, remove the thyme sprigs, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Best Potato Salad

The first time I made this potato salad was back in 2008. Tom and his brother Steven were working at my parents house and I decided to make them a big lunch for all the hard work they were doing in the yard. They loved this potato salad! I now make this salad for most barbecues and warm weather parties. Fresh herbs are the key to making this the best potato salad you will ever eat!

Cooking Tip: Make sure you do not over cook the potatoes. If they become too soft, they will not hold up well when you add the liquid ingredients.

The Best Potato Salad (Recipe from Barefoot Contessa)
Serves 6-8


1 pound small yellow boiling potatoes
1 pound small red boiling potatoes
2 tbsp dry white wine
2 tbsp chicken stock
3 tbsp Champagne vinegar (White wine vinegar would work if you cannot find champagne)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
10 tbsp good olive oil
1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
2 tbsp minced fresh dill
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp julienned fresh basil leaves

1. In a large pot of salted boiling water; add in potatoes and cook for 20-30 minutes, until just cooked through. Drain the potatoes in a colander and place a kitchen towel over the potatoes for 10 minutes, to allow them to steam. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half (or quarters if potatoes are larger) and place in a medium sized bowl.

2. Toss potatoes gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes for a few minutes.

3. Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add in the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, April 13, 2012

French Toast Souffle

Out of everything on the brunch table this Easter, this was the overall favorite. In my opinion, this is as good as french toast gets. It's very simple and easy to make. Assemble 1 day in advance and baked right before the guests arrive. It comes out of the oven light and fluffy in the middle and a little crisp on the top. Pour maple syrup over the warm french toast, there is nothing more comforting than that!! This will be a staple at all brunches at my house from now on.

A bonus, this recipe comes from cooking light. This recipe serves 12 larger servings for breakfast. If you are having a lot of other food you can easily turn this into 16-20 servings.

French Toast Souffle (Recipe from Cooking Light)
12 Servings (16-20 smaller servings)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kale and Lentil Soup

I made a big pot of this soup on Sunday and ate it for lunch the entire week. It is a very healthy and satisfying lunch. This soup is also very comforting and flavorful and does not taste like "health" food at all.

 Lentils are high in soluble fiber. One cup cooked provides 16 grams. They are also a great source of protein, 18 grams per cup, cooked.

A recent study found that women who ate lentils or beans at least twice a week had a 25 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who ate them less than once a month. Lentils are also rich in folacin, a B vitamin proven to lower blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked with increased risk of heart disease and dementia. The fiber in lentils also helps keep you regular.  (Souce: Readers Digest: Magic Foods)

Kale and Lentil Soup
Makes 6 servings

Olive oil
1 carrots-diced
1 celery stalk-diced
1 onion-diced
1/4 fennel bulb-diced
8 oz lentils
6-8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you can use 4 cups brother and 2-4 cups water)
1 bunch kale-stems removed and leaves chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese to garnish

1. In a large stock pot add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and bring to medium heat. Add in onion, carrot, celery and fennel. Cook until soft; 8-10 minutes. Season vegetables with salt and pepper.

2. Add in lentils and cook additional 1 minute. Add in 6 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered; 25-30 minutes. Add in more water if the soup get to thick.

3. Add in kale; cover and cook until wilted about 5-8 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve with a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken Milanese

After indulging in sweet treats, decadent foods and jelly beans over Easter weekend, we are getting back on the health train. It will be a little easier now that all the great leftovers have been eaten. Here is a recipe I cook very often, a take on Chicken Milanese. To "lighten" this meal a little more, you can skip on breading the chicken cutlets. You can take it a step further and bake or grill the chicken, instead of pan-frying it, thats up to you.

Chicken Milanese
Serves 4

1/2 fennel bulb-sliced thin
1 yellow or red pepper-sliced
3 scallions-chopped into 1" long pieces (light green and dark green parts)
1-1 1/2 lbs thin sliced chicken cutlets (about 2-3 per person)
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (You can use unseasoned bread crumbs and season yourself)
1 egg-slightly beaten
Canola Oil
6-8 oz mixed greens
10 cherry tomatoes-halved
4 oz mozzarella cheese (regular or fresh)-diced into small cubes (not shredded)
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a parchment lined baking sheet, place sliced fennel, scallions and sliced peppers. Roast for 15 minutes until soft; stirring once half way through cooking time. Remove scallions before 15 minutes if they start to become to dark. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

2. Prepare the chicken cutlets by placing bread crumbs in a shallow dish (or on wax paper) and place beating egg with a little water in a shallow dish. Working with one chicken cutlet at a time, dip chicken into egg, then into bread crumbs. Continue until all the chicken is breaded.

3. Coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet with oil and bring to medium-high heat. Working in batches brown each chicken cutlet until crispy and cooked through; about 3-5 mins per side. (You can place chicken into a 250 degree oven to stay warm) Continue cooking all the chicken.

4. To make the salad: Toss mixed greens, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fennel, scallions and peppers with oil and vinegar (or your favorite dressing).

5. To serve: Place two chicken cutlets on a plate and top with salad.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Spinach and Gruyere Strata

A very successful Easter. Nice weather, great food and family, it doesn't get much better than that! Everything for the brunch came out delicious and I managed to get most of it done ahead of time and was not stressed when the guests arrived.  Thankfully the weather was warm and sunny so we all spent time outside playing Bocce Ball and Scattergories. Looking forward to hosting again next year.

I will be posting a few recipes this week, that were favorites among guests at the brunch. Below is a recipe for Spinach and Cheese Strata. This is similar to a savory bread pudding. It is creamy and fluffy in the middle from the baked eggs and melted cheese and the top bakes to a crispy perfection. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Layla and Aunt Kim

Spinach and Cheese Strata
Serves 15-16
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups onion, finely chopped
2 (10 oz.) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp. salt, divided
½ tsp. pepper, divided
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
6 oz. coarsely grated Gruyere (about 2 cups)
2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 2/3 cup)
9 large eggs
2¾ cup milk

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions to the pan and saute until soft; about 5 minutes.  Add  in 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and nutmeg; cook for 1 minute more.  Remove from heat and stir in the spinach. Set aside.

Butter the inside of a baking dish (2 1/2-3 qt).  Layer the bottom of the dish with one third of the bread cubes. Top with one third of the spinach mixture and one third of each of the cheeses.  Repeat these layers twice more with the bread, spinach and cheese.

In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach layered in the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 8 hours or up to 1 day.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.  Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake uncovered until  golden brown and cooked through, 45-55 minutes.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Source:, originally from Gourmet, February 2003

Friday, April 6, 2012

Coconut Macaroons

Happy Passover! Here is a recipe for macaroons. (These are not kosher for Passover because they contain flour, but there are a lot of macaroon recipes without flour) I have made these for a few parties and they are always a favorite among guests.

If you would like to make these chocolate dipped macaroons, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips over double boiler or in microwave, dip the bottoms of the cooled cookies in the chocolate and cool on wax paper.

**Cooking Tip: If you do not have cake flour on hand, this is how you can make it from all purpose flour: This recipe is for 1 cup of cake flour. 
In a dry measuring cup, place 2 level tablespoons of cornstarch. Fill the rest of the cup with all-purpose flour using the proper method of measuring flour. Once the "cake flour" is added to the dry ingredients, be sure to sift together a few times.

Coconut Macaroons (Recipe from Flour by Joanne Chang)
Makes 24
Macaroons: Bottom Right 

1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cake flour
Pinch of kosher salt
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Two (14oz) bags of sweetened shredded coconut
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt

1. To make the pastry cream: In a small sauce pan, scald the milk over med-high heat. (bubbles start to form around the edge, but milk does not boil). While the milk is heating, in a small bowl stir together the sugar, flour and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in flour mixture. The mixture will be thick and pasty.

2. Remove the milk from heat and slowly add it to the egg/flour mixture; whisking constantly. When all the components have been incorporated, return the contents to the sauce pan and place over medium heat. Whisk vigorously for 1 minute, or until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the cream, and let cool completely.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter.

4. In a large bowl, combine coconut, egg whites, sugar, salt and pastry cream. Stir with wooden spoon, until combined. (The dough can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

5. Using a 1/4 dry-measuring cup or large spoon, scoop the dough in rounded mounds on baking sheet.

6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.

7. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days, at room temperature.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tom's Hot and Spicy Home Fries

On a rare occasion, I get a delicious breakfast prepared by my husband Tom. He is really great cook and has a lot more patience than I do when it comes to cooking. He recently made me these awesome home fries with eggs and bacon...yum! They were very hot and spicy! I have added options to tone down the spice level for this recipe. Hope you enjoy.

Tom's Spicy Home Fries
Serves 4

Olive oil
4 Yukon Gold potatoes-1/2' dice
1 bell pepper-chopped
1/2 onion-chopped
1 jalapeno-diced (you can use 1/2 a jalapeno to reduce heat or leave it out)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (use 1/2 tsp to reduce heat)
Salt and pepper-to taste
1 tsp paprika

1. Coat the bottom of a non-stick skillet with olive oil and heat to medium-high. Add in diced potatoes and cook until slightly golden brown; stirring frequently; about 10 minutes. (Do not rush this step)

2. Once the potatoes are golden brown, add in pepper, jalapeno and onion and cook until softened; 8 minutes. (Add more oil if necessary) Season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and paprika.

3. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue to cook; stirring frequently, until potatoes are cook through and they have a nice crispy exterior. Re-season to taste.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Margarita Short Bread Cookies

I love making cookies. They are the perfect treat for entertaining. My mom got this recipe for me after tasting these cookies in her office one day. I have now made these at almost every holiday or special occasion. They are always a big hit at parties and would be perfect for Easter.

These cookies are delicate, buttery and crunchy. They are flavored with fresh lime and orange zest with a hint of tequila. They are then rolled into a sugar and salt mixture to create a sweet and salty rim. These cookies can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.

Take a look at my post of dessert platters for entertaining:

Margarita Short Bread Cookies
Makes 50 Cookies (prep time 15 minutes, 2h30m chill time, 14 minutes bake time)

2 sticks unsalted butter-room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
2 egg yolks-separated and at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 tsp tequila
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1/2 orange
2 cups flour
1/2 cup coarse sugar and 1-2 tsp coarse salt

1. In a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Sift in confectioners sugar and mix until incorporated. Beat in 1 egg yolk, salt, lime zest, orange zest and tequila. Slowly beat in the flour and mix until incorporated.

2. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Form each half into a log 1"- 1 1/4" thick. Re-wrap each log and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

5. Whisk egg yolk until smooth. Mix sugar and salt in a shallow dish or on wax paper. Brush the tops of the cookie logs with egg and cover the entire log with sugar/salt mixture.

6. Slice 1/4" thick cookies and place on backing sheet. Bake 10-14 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Baked Onions with Gruyere Cheese

I am hosting my first holiday this year...Easter. I have always loved this holiday and have visions of hosting Easter brunch in the years ahead while Layla (and hopefully some cousins one of these days) have a big Easter egg hunt in the yard.

On the menu this year will be french toast souffle, spinach and Gruyere Strata, yogurt with berries and granola, scones, a large ham, salad and sides, bread and cheese, along with various cocktails, coffee and desserts.

Over the next week, I will be posting some recipes that I think would be perfect for entertaining a crowd. I hope you enjoy.

This recipe doesn't necessarily work for brunch but would be perfect for Easter dinner or any special occasion. This recipe has become one of our family favorites and goes really well with red meat. This is one of those recipes that I will be passing down one day. It is very easy to make and requires very little hands on time.

Bakes Onions with Gruyere Cheese
Makes 6 servings (2 halves per person)

6 small to medium yellow onions-peeled and cut in half
Olive oil
2/3 cup beef stock
2-3 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 grated Gruyere cheese (you can add more to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a 13" x 9" baking dish place onion halves cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45-50 minutes; until soft.

2. Remove onions from the oven and drizzle with 2/3 cup of beef stock and soy sauce. Place back in the oven and bake an additional 1 hour.

3. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until melted.