Memorable Quotes:

"A Bearnaise sauce is simply an egg yolk, a shallot, a little tarragon vinegar and butter, but it takes years of practice for the result to be perfect." Fernand Point

Friday, December 25, 2009


1 package Robin Hood pizza dough. Cook until brown


3 oz. softened cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

½ cup mayo

1 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon powdered onion

Spread above over pizza dough

Mix: 1 small tomato cut up fine

½ cup green pepper cut up fine

1 small onion cut up fine

Spread on top of cheese mixture


1 cup shredded cheddar cheese on top




2 – 8-oz. packages cold pack cheese

2 – 8-oz. packages cream cheese

4 tablespoons oleo

4 teaspoons chopped onion

4 teaspoons chopped green pepper

4 teaspoons chopped pimento

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix altogether and form into ball

Saturday, December 19, 2009

French Onion Soup

Note: adapted from Cooks Illustrated

Serves 6.   Published January 1, 2008.   From Cook's Illustrated.
Sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, will make this recipe overly sweet. Be patient when caramelizing the onions in step 2; the entire process takes 45 to 60 minutes. Use broiler-safe crocks and keep the rim of the bowls 4 to 5 inches from the heating element to obtain a proper gratinée of melted, bubbly cheese. If using ordinary soup bowls, sprinkle the toasted bread slices with Gruyère and return them to the broiler until the cheese melts, then float them on top of the soup. We prefer Swanson Certified Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Pacific Beef Broth. For the best flavor, make the soup a day or 2 in advance. Alternatively, the onions can be prepared through step 1, cooled in the pot, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.

3tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 3 pieces
6large yellow onions (about 4 pounds), halved and cut pole to pole into 1/4-inch-thick slices (see illustration below)
Table salt
2cups water , plus extra for deglazing
1/2cup dry sherry
4cups low-sodium chicken broth (see note)
2cups beef broth (see note)
6sprigs fresh thyme , tied with kitchen twine
1bay leaf
Ground black pepper
Cheese Croutons
1small baguette , cut into 1/2-inch slices
8ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (about 2 1/2 cups)


  1. 1. For the soup: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Generously spray inside of heavy-bottomed large (at least 7-quart) Dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray. Place butter in pot and add onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, 1 hour (onions will be moist and slightly reduced in volume). Remove pot from oven and stir onions, scraping bottom and sides of pot. Return pot to oven with lid slightly ajar and continue to cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours longer, stirring onions and scraping bottom and sides of pot after 1 hour.
  2. 2. Carefully remove pot from oven and place over medium-high heat. Using oven mitts to handle pot, cook onions, stirring frequently and scraping bottom and sides of pot, until liquid evaporates and onions brown, 15 to 20 minutes, reducing heat to medium if onions are browning too quickly. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until pot bottom is coated with dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary. (Scrape any fond that collects on spoon back into onions.) Stir in 1/4 cup water, scraping pot bottom to loosen crust, and cook until water evaporates and pot bottom has formed another dark crust, 6 to 8 minutes. Repeat process of deglazing 2 or 3 more times, until onions are very dark brown. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until sherry evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  3. 3. Stir in broths, 2 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scraping up any final bits of browned crust on bottom and sides of pot. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove and discard herbs, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. 4. For the croutons: While soup simmers, arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in 400-degree oven until bread is dry, crisp, and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  5. 5. To serve: Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1 3/4 cups soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyère. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Mexican Chocolate-Cherry Rounds

Rich chocolate cookies get some Mexican flair when spiced up with cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper. Blanched almonds or pistachios can be used instead of cherries. (Note adapted from Epicurious)


6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour (315 grams)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup powdered sugar
60 (about) candied cherry halves

Stir chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water until smooth; cool.

Combine flour and next five ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat 1 3/4 cups of sugar and butter in a large bowl until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and chocolate. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating just until combined. Chill dough until firm, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets. Place powdered sugar in a shallow pan.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar to coat; shake off excess sugar. Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 and 1/2 inches apart. Press 1 cherry half into the center of each cookie. Bake until cookies puff and crack but are still soft.  About 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.

Cookies can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week, or freeze up to 1 month)

Makes about 5 dozen.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lentil Soup

Adapted from recipe in cooks illustrated.

makes about 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6. Published January 1, 2004.

Lentils du Puy, sometimes called French green lentils, are our first choice for this recipe, but brown, black, or regular green lentils are fine, too. Note that cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentils used. Lentils lose flavor with age, and because most packaged lentils do not have expiration dates, try to buy them from a store that specializes in natural foods and grains. Before use, rinse and then carefully sort through the lentils to remove small stones and pebbles. The soup can be made in advance. After adding the vinegar in step 2, cool the soup to room temperature and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To serve, heat it over medium-low until hot, then stir in the parsley.

3 slices bacon (about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 smoked ham shank (remove most of the ham from the bone and cut into cubes to add to soup.
1 large onion , chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 medium carrots , peeled and chopped medium (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 cup lentils (7 ounces), rinsed and picked over
1 teaspoon table salt
ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Fry bacon in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer. Add chicken broth and water and smoked ham shank and diced ham; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.

2. Puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth, then return to pot; stir in vinegar and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining parsley.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Salad of Arugula, Pears Poached in Red Wine, Parmesan Crisps and Walnut Vinaigrette

1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 Tablespoons water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup or 55 grams shredded Parmesan cheese
14 oz arugula
7 ounces frisee lettuce
¼ bunch fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped (about ½ cup/ 15g)
4 Beurre Bosc pears, peeled with stems attached
750 mL/ 1 bottle Shiraz
375 mL / 13 ½ fluid oz Port
1 ½ cups / 150 g walnuts, toasted

To make poached pears:
• Remove the core from the base of each pear using a melon baller, keeping the pear intact.
• Place the Shiraz and Port in a large sauce pan
• Add the pears, bring to a simmer and cook for 50 minutes or until tender
• Remove the pears, reserving the liquid
• Place 250 mL / 9 fluid oz of the reserved liquid in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
• Reduce to a syrup.

To make roasted walnuts:
• Preheat the oven to 350° C
• Place nuts on oven tray and bake for 5-7 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until the nuts are golden brown.
• Remove tray from the oven and set the nuts aside to cool.

To make the parmesan wafers:
• Preheat the oven to 400° C
• Place a non-stick silicone mat on an oven tray
• Evenly sprinkle the shredded Parmesan cheese over the mat forming a thin 13x9 inch rectangle of cheese on the mat.
• Bake for about 7 minutes or until the cheese is lacy and golden.
• Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely
• Break the Parmesan wafer into large pieces.

To make the dressing:
• In a large bowl, combine the shallots and white wine vinegar and being to wisk.
• Slowly add both oils while constantly whisking to blend.
• Whisk in the water and season the vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To make the salad:
• Toss the leaves and pears in a bowl with just enough dressing to coat.
• Divide the salad between 4 serving plates.
• Place the Parmesan wafers over the salad and sprinkle with roasted walnuts.
• Drizzle a small amount of reduced red wine around each plate and serve.