Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Reprise...Christmas At The Lake

For those of you who are spending Christmas at the lake or at one of your vacation homes lucky you!  I've put together and easy but appropriate menu to be enjoyed by many or just a few.  Let's face it, we want to enjoy our time away from the stress of our everyday lives, so why put an elaborate and complicated meal on the agenda. 

You can make these simple hors d'oeuvres ahead to bring with you or simply get some smoked salmon just like I did for the menu on Lindaraxa's Garden.  For those so inclined, there is nothing like popovers to delight everyone at the table.  They can be made while the tenderloin is resting. The cake takes a little effort but not as much as you think. You can make the layers the day before and the frosting early that day; or switch to the Mocha Cake which is a cinch.

So have fun instead and enjoy yourself.  Don't forget to think about what this holiday is all about.  We have many blessings to be thankful for.

Christmas At The Lake

What's stress????

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sausage, Cornbread And Chestnut Dressing

This is one of my all time favorite Thanksgiving recipes and the one I will making this year at the new house.  Did I tell you we are moving the day after Thanksgiving??



  • 8 cups cubed day-old corn bread (1-inch cubes)*
  • 2 cups cubed day-old country-style white bread,
    crusts removed (1-inch cubes)
  • 1 1/2 lb. mild Italian pork sausage, casings
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil, if needed
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts, quartered
  • 1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as
    sage, rosemary and thyme
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock


Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow gratin pan.

Spread the corn bread and white bread out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown and dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, brown the sausage, stirring and crumbling with a fork, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Return the pan to medium heat. Add the olive oil to the accumulated fat in the pan, if needed. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to the bowl with the sausage. Add the corn bread and white bread, the chestnuts, herbs and stock. Season with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine.

Transfer the dressing to the prepared gratin pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until browned and crispy, 35 to 40 minutes more. Serves 10 to 12.

*You can make your own cornbread or buy one at the store

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Handmade Rugs From Provence

My friend Libby Wilkie of An Eye For Detail has the prettiest rugs for sale in her new store Provence Rugs.  Libby and I go way, way back to our days in boarding school so I can vouch for her impeccable taste and service.  So go buy one! and don't forget to enter the contest on her website.

I'm thinking of one for my new guest bathroom...Hmmm.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Apple Stuffed Pork Loin With Cider Sauce

This roast is also good as part of a buffet. Slice the loin thin, but do not serve the cider sauce. For a more seasonal stuffing during the winter holidays, add 1/4 cup dried cranberries to the apples.

The Brussels Sprouts Gratin in Lindaraxa's main blog would make the perfect side dish for a Christmas Eve dinner!


For the stuffing:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Golden Delicious or other
    baking apple
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apples or 1/2 cup
    finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 boneless pork loin, 2 1/2 lb.
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup apple cider, plus more as needed
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch


To make the stuffing, in a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the apple and onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the dried apples, raisins and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add the apple cider and boil, stirring occasionally, until the cider is absorbed by the stuffing, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to 400°F. Have ready 4 pieces of kitchen string, each about 18 inches long.

Butterfly the pork loin by making a slit down its length, cutting just deep enough so that the loin opens up to lie flat like a book. Do not cut all the way through. Spoon the stuffing evenly onto the meat. Close up the loin and, using the strings, tie at even intervals so it assumes its original shape. Push in any stuffing that escapes from the ends. Sprinkle the surface with the thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Place the loin in a baking pan and add 1/2 cup of the cider to the pan.

Roast the loin for 30 minutes. Baste with the pan juices and add the remaining 1/2 cup cider to the pan. Continue to roast, basting at least twice with the pan juices at regular intervals, until the meat is firm to the touch and pale pink when cut in the thickest portion, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 150°F, about 45 minutes more.

Transfer the loin to a cutting board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Scrape the pan bottom to dislodge any remaining bits, then pour the pan juices into a measuring pitcher and add additional cider as needed to measure 1 1/2 cups total. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the pan juices and the cornstarch, and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Then add the remaining pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the sauce into a warmed bowl.

Cut the loin into slices and arrange on a warmed platter. Serve the hot cider sauce on the side.

Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Holiday Celebrations, by Marie Simmons (Time-Life Books, 1998).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tempura Apples With Honey

Apple fritters don't get any easier than this!


1 1/2 pounds apples, cut into rings
Neutral oil (like grapeseed or corn)
2 cups ice water
2 1/2 cups flour
3 egg yolks


1. Heat 2 inches of neutral oil in a deep pan to 350.
2. Whisk together ice water, 1 1/2 cups flour and egg yolks.
3. Put another 1 cup flour in a bowl.
4. One piece at a time, dredge apples, cut into rings, in the flour, then dip in the batter.
5. Fry each piece until golden, 5 minutes or less total.
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Garnish with a drizzle of honey.

Mark Bittman NYT

Monday, October 24, 2011

Leftovers...Lasagna Rolls Stuffed with Mushrooms, Scallions And Prosciutto

Several years ago I saw the recipe below on the Food Channel and it looked so good I got in the car and went to the store for the ingredients I was missing.  I don't think I made it more than once or twice after that until today.

Now, I'm not one to throw away anything so I already had  plans for some beatiful reconstituted French mushrooms that were left over from last night's stuffed tomatoes. I also found some leftover prosciutto in the freezer from another meal and 3 scallions in the vegetable compartment of my refrigerator.  That, my friends, was going to be dinner tonight.

For some reason these rolls came to mind except I did not have regular lasagna noodles in my pantry but I did have the no bake lasagna I sometimes use in a pinch. So here's what I did:

I placed 6 strips of lasagna noodles (Barilla) in hot water for about 15 minutes to soften.  Rinse and dry in paper towels.

Finely chop the mushrooms ( about 1/2 Cup) the prosciutto (1/4 cup) the 3 scallions and 3 cloves garlic.   Melt 2 TB butter in a skillet and add first the garlic and then the rest of the ingredients.  If you have parsley, be my guest.  Sauteed for 5 mins. and set aside to cool.  In another pan I make a cup of bechamel (you can follow the procedure below) and add 2 TB to cooled mushrooms mixture to bind.

Place about 1 TB mushroom mix in lasagna strip and roll up.  Make 6 of these.

In 2 gratin dishes, spread about 1 TB of the bechamel and then lay 3 lasagna rolls on each.   Cover with the rest of the bechamel and sprinkled Parmesan cheese (a lot!).

Set oven to 375 degrees,  cook them covered in tinfoil for about 20 minutes, uncover and cook until the cheese is bubbly and they are golden on top.

I did not put any marinara sauce over the bechamel (even though I had some also frozen), because I really just wanted a white sauce on mine; but you can certainly do so if you want.

Serves 2

Here's the original recipe:

Giada de Laurentiis courtesy of Food Network



2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour (I used 2 TB for my recipe)
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I used 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg


1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)

Here’s How:

To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle.

Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture.

Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.


Photocredit top photo

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Ghost Cake

One of the things I remember my mother telling me is always trust the recipe in back of a product.  It has to be good, after all it showcases the product.

With that in mind, look what I found in the Libby's website.  Just by reading the ingredients,  I can tell it has to be good.  Maybe I will invite my granddaughter for an afternoon of Halloween baking!



1 pkg. (18 oz.) spice or carrot cake mix

1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

3 large eggs

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


2 pkgs. (3 oz. each) cream cheeese, softened

2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

*Black string licorice, NESTLÉ RAISINETS Milk Chocolate-Covered Raisins and Halloween candy corn (optional)



PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch-round cake pans.

COMBINE cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, water, vegetable oil and pumpkin pie spice in large mixer bowl until moistened. Beat for 2 minutes or until thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into prepared pans.

BAKE for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.


BEAT cream cheese, margarine and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Spread between layers and on top and side of cake.


FORM licorice strings into ghost shapes; press into side of frosted cake. Use Raisinets for eyes. Arrange candy corn between ghosts on side and around top edge of frosted cake.

Recipe and photo from Libby's.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sunday Family Dinner - Roman Style Meatballs

Made with ground beef, pork and bits of prosciutto, these hearty Roman meatballs are simmered in a tomato sauce and paired with Gnocchi alla Romana (see recipe in Lindaraxa). They go well also with spaghetti or served on their own with crusty bread and a green salad.

To ensure tender meatballs, don’t overwork the ingredients; mix them gently until just combined.

The original recipe for the meatballs comes from Williams Sonoma. If you want to use their recipe for the gnocchi go here.  The one on my blog has been adapted from Marcella Hazan.


1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup milk

4 oz. finely chopped prosciutto

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano

6 Tbs. finely chopped fresh basil

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more, to taste

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

5 Tbs. olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes with juices (I use Pomi brand)

Gnocchi alla Romana for serving (see Lindaraxa)) or spaghetti


In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and milk and let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the prosciutto, ground beef, pork, eggs, cheese, parsley, oregano, 3 Tbs. of the basil, 3 of the minced garlic cloves, the 1 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the soaked bread crumbs and mix gently until combined. Divide the meat mixture into 1/4-cup portions and roll into balls. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the remaining 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 Tbs. basil.

Add the meatballs to the pan and cook, turning occasionally and basting with the sauce, until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately with the gnocchi alla Romana alongside.  You can also serve with spaghetti. 

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mushroom and Stilton Galette Simplified

There is a recipe from Williams Sonoma Seasonal Celebrations Series, Autumn cookbook that has made the rounds in the foodie blogosphere.  It is wonderful but rather time consuming in the making.  The problem comes with the dough which has to be frozen a couple of times before going into the oven.  I tried it tonight without all the fuzz and it was wonderful.

To begin with, I did not put the flour and butter in the freezer; but if you wish to proceed with this step may I suggest you do that the night before.  I added all the pastry ingredients to the bowl of the Cuisinart and pulsated 6 or 7 times until it all came together.  Then I stuck it in the freezer for an hour.

I skipped the dried mushrooms (step #2) and went straight to sauteing the fresh porcini, shiitakes and bella mushrooms I had.  For the cheese, I substituted Gruyere but I can't wait to make it with Stilton or Roquefort,

White vermouth was added to the mushrooms and reduced before adding the mushrooms to the tart.

This makes a great Fall lunch accompanied with a salad and a glass of dry French rose.

Serves 4


For the pastry:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into


1/4 cup sour cream

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:

1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini or shiitakes

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup sliced green onions

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/2 lb. assorted fresh wild mushrooms, such as

chanterelles, porcini and shiitakes, brushed

clean and large mushrooms thinly sliced

1/2 lb. fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean

and thinly sliced

1/4 cup white Vermouth (optional)

5 ounces Stilton or other good-quality blue cheese (for a mild flavor use Gruyere)


1. To make the pastry, in a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. (I put everything in the food processor and pulsed 6 -8 times until it came together) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. (I stuck it in the freezer)

2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add the boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until softened. Drain the mushrooms and mince finely. ( I skipped this step..I told you, it is simplified)

3. Preheat an oven to 400°F.

4. In a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the green onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Increase the heat to high, add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms, and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid they released has completely evaporated, 8 minutes.  Add vermouth and reduce. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

5. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Crumble the blue cheese into a bowl, add the cooled mushrooms and stir well. Spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the mushrooms and cheese, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Lunch At The Lake...Open Face Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches

Whether you are camping or lucky enough to have a house on a lake, this is a great Fall recipe to enjoy with your guests. 

We have been keeping a grill down by the dock to enjoy the cooler temperatures and the Fall foliage.  On weekends a few of our neighbors and their guests come down and cook on the grill.  Afterwards, we build a bonfire and enjoy the stars.  All is not perfect, for with nature come those awful little spiders that seem to gravitate only to my feet! Last time I was down there I got bitten not once but twice by those little monsters on the way back to the house.  You know the rest.  Another two weeks of itching and scratching and a swelled and ugly foot. 


Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of peasant bread
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
 One 1 1/4-pound eggplant, sliced crosswise 1 inch thick
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 4 plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
 1/2 pound buffalo mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
 8 large basil leaves, torn
 Coarse sea salt


1.Light a grill. Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and grill over high heat until crisp on the outside but still soft inside, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a platter.

2.Brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Grill over moderate heat until charred on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and grill until tender, about 3 minutes longer.

3.Top the eggplant with the tomato, mozzarella and basil. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese melts, 2 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bread, sprinkle with sea salt and serve.

Recipe Food & Wine
Photo Tina Rupp

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Tea Cake

I found this in Country Living while looking to perfect my recipe for lemon tea cake.  The cake is good enough on its own, without the frosting,  but why not gild the lily this time?!
Serves: 16
Yields: Two (9-by 5-inch) loaf cakes

Oven Temp: 325


 2 1/4 cup(s) cake flour
1 cup(s) cocoa
2 tablespoon(s) cocoa
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1 cup(s) unsalted butter, softened
2 cup(s) granulated sugar
1 cup(s) (firmly packed) dark brown sugar
6 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon(s) almond extract
1 1/4 cup(s) sour cream
1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoon(s) heavy cream
2 tablespoon(s) sliced almonds


1.Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9- by 5-inch loaf pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Combine flour, 1 cup cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda with a whisk and set aside.

2.Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add 1/2 teaspoon extract and sour cream; mix until combined. Add flour mixture in thirds, beating after each addition until batter is smooth.

3.Transfer to prepared pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 15 to 20 minutes, remove cakes from pan, and let cool completely.

4.Stir confectioners' sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa, heavy cream, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon extract together until smooth. Spread icing over top of cooled cakes and top with sliced almonds.

Recipe from Country Living

Monday, September 5, 2011

Poulet A La Normande...Chicken Normandy

One of my favorite French recipes. this dish hails from Normandy, land of apples, cream, Calvados and the famous Bresse chickens.  We may not have the latter but our apples are second to none!

This recipe comes from Alice Waters, the doyenne of California cuisine, owner of the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkely, California.

Serves 4.


1 (3 1⁄2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 bone-in pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 cup Calvados
1 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken stock
30 pearl onions
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
1 cup crème fraîche (or heavy whipping cream)


1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin-side down and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

2. Pour off most of the fat from the pan. Add the onions, carrots, thyme and bay leaf and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the Calvados, warm slightly, then stand back and ignite it. Once the flames die, add the cider, scraping up the brown bits. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the stock and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Transfer the breast pieces to a bowl. Cook the legs and thighs for 10 more minutes and add to the bowl. Keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, soak the pearl onions in warm water before peeling. (I used frozen pearl onions and let defrost for a bit) Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and a pinch of salt, cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Uncover, add 1 tablespoon butter and increase heat to medium-high. Place the apples in the center of the pan. Sear on each side for 10 to 15 minutes, until caramelized.

4. Strain the Calvados sauce and return it to the pan. Add the juices from the chicken. Whisk in the crème fraîche (or whipping cream) Simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season. Add the chicken pieces and warm through.

 Adapted from “Chez Panisse Fruit,” by Alice Waters. Via The New York Times

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A (Last Minute) Indoor Menu For A Soggy Labor Day!

If you live in the South or the Northeast, by now you know that all the plans you made last week for an outdoor BBQ just went out the window.  If you live on a lake and are expecting a small crowd you are frantic by now.

This happened to me years ago when I lived in North Carolina and we had a huge crowd for a pit barbecue on a Fourth of July.  A small house, a big soggy yard, a hundred people and downpours all day! That is one experience I never forgot, so since then I have always had a Plan B to resort to.

With everyone expecting barbecue for the holiday, here is something you can cook inside and make the day before (like today).  Trust me, you will never know the difference.

Plan A

Plan B

Rush to Costco and buy their Kirkland Pulled Pork.  It is fabulous, especially if you mixed it with homemade barbecue sauce.  As an alternative, use Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce! 

Serve with Caraway Cole Slaw and make a batch of Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies!

If you have the right crowd, plan a poker game!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

This classic cobbler is topped with a simple, rich biscuit dough that lets the berries really shine. The dough comes together in seconds in a food processor. Blackberries or raspberries may be used; a dash of cinnamon rounds out the berries' flavor. The biscuits are brushed with cream and given a light coating of sugar before baking, resulting in a crust with crunch. Vanilla ice cream is a sublime accompaniment/

Blackberries are in season and they are plump and scrumptious.  The only change I have made to the recipe is add 1/4 cup sugar to the dough.  It was a hit!

Serves 6 to 8


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup cold heavy cream, plus more for brushing

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar, plus more if needed and for sprinkling

3 tablespoons cornstarch, plus more if needed

6 cups (3 pints) blackberries or raspberries

Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, and add heavy cream in a slow, steady stream, mixing with a wooden spoon until dough just comes together. Divide dough into 9 pieces, and loosely form each into a ball.

2.Whisk together cinnamon, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Add berries; toss gently to coat. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish. Top berries with dough balls, spacing evenly. Brush dough with heavy cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until berries are bubbling in center and biscuits are golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack, and let cool slightly, about 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream if desired.

Cook's Note

The amount of sugar and cornstarch needed will depend on the sweetness and ripeness of the fruit. Taste the berries. If they are sour, add an extra 1/4 cup sugar in step 2. If juicy, add an extra 1 teaspoon cornstarch. To catch any juices that may bubble over when baking, place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet or lay a piece of foil on the rack below the cobbler.


Peach Cobbler 

You can substitute 8 sliced and peeled peaches for the blackberries.  Omit the cinnamon and add a dash of bourbon if you like.

  • 6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
bottom photo Lindaraxa

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Time Out!

Dear Readers,

There's too much going on right now for me to keep up with Lindaraxa and the lake blog.  I will resume regular posting here in the Fall, if not before.  In the meantime, check the main recipe blog for updates.

See you soon!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Watermelon Lemonade

We have been enjoying these on the lake for the past few weeks.  A great way for kids and adults to brave this summer's heat.  Just don't forget to leave out the vodka for the little ones! 

For more cold drinks, check out Lindaraxa

Serves 8


2 lemons, quartered

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 medium seedless watermelon (about 9 pounds), rind removed, flesh cut into chunks

1 cup vodka (optional)


1.Squeeze lemons into a large pitcher; add squeezed lemon quarters. Add mint and sugar; mash with a wooden spoon until mint is bruised and sugar is dissolved.

2.In a blender, puree watermelon in batches until smooth; pour through a fine-mesh sieve into pitcher (you should have about 8 cups of juice). Stir to combine. (Refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days.) Add vodka, if using; serve over ice.

Martha Stewart

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Light 'N Lovely...Peach Smoothie

The term smoothie is fairly new to me.  In my day, these frosted concoctions were called shakes or frosties and they were fairly simple and uncomplicated, unlike the ones they serve today.  Perhaps because we were thinner in a world of smaller portions and real food we were not as concerned with what we put in our mouths!

Weight was always a concern and one of the things I remember about going to Weight Watchers (even though I was not THAT fat) was the peach shakes we were allowed ocassionally.  These were made out of frozen skim milk, peaches and Equal or that other pink sugar substitute.  That was it, but they tasted divine, particularly when it was hot and muggy.

I had a couple of peaches sitting in my counter begging to be made into a smoothie and I thought I would share with you my 2011 version of the Weight Watcher's Peach Shake


2 small ripe Georgia peaches
1 Yoplait peach yogurt
1/2 cup 2% milk
1 cup of ice

Pour everything into a blender and turn it on!

I did not use any sugar or artificial sweetener as the peaches were very ripe and there was enough in the yogurt.

Yields 1 very large serving or 2 regular servings

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dinner Tonight...Farfalle with Tuna, Lemon and Capers

A yummy dinner, you will never know its canned tuna. Be sure to get the tuna in oil, it has much more flavor than the one in water.


Serves: 4

4 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves minced
3 (5-oz) cans Italian tuna, packed in oil, drained and flaked
1 pound dried farfalle (bow tie pasta)
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons capers
1/2 cup coarsely chopped frsh flat-leaf parsley


Cook pasta in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.

While pasta is boiling, cook remaining garlic in oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Toss pasta in a large bowl with tuna, 1/2 cup reserved cooking water, zest, juice, garlic and oil, capers, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste (add remaining 1/2 cup cooking water as needed if pasta seems dry.

Recipe courtesy of Kitchen Daily 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kayaking Westie!

Last Fourth of July as we were getting ready to filll up the tank this is what Lucy spotted coming out of the marina.  Needless to say, she was beside herself barking and running all over the boat, ready to jump overboard!

Get your camera out, are not going to believe this!

A Kayaking Westie!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gruyere And Parmesan Beignets

This delicious beignet recipe is courtesy of chef April Bloomfield.


Makes 60 beignets

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups finely grated Gruyere cheese

1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese

4 large eggs

Coarse salt

Vegetable oil, for frying


1.In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 1 cup water and butter just to a boil. Whisk in flour and stir with a spatula to blend completely. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

2.Add cheeses and mix on high speed until well combined. With mixer on low, add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition; season with salt. Transfer batter to refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes.

3.Drop tablespoon-size balls of batter about 1-inch apart onto 12-by-2-inch pieces of parchment paper; refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days. Beignets may also be frozen for up to 1 month.

4.Fill a large heavy-bottomed pot 4 inches high with oil. Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, carefully place entire piece of parchment into hot oil. Using tongs, carefully remove parchment from oil and discard. Fry beignets until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

From The Martha Stewart Show, April 2009

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Rustic Meringue Tart With Strawberries And Mint

I had every intention of making strawberry shortcake for dinner tonight but, in this heat, I am getting lazier by the minute.  That means no cooking and very little work around the house. 

At Costco yesterday we picked four artichokes, a box of strawberries and  fresh salmon for the grill tonight.  Hollandaise sauce to accompany the artichokes is a must in this house and little meringues for dessert with the leftover egg whites are a tradition with the "children" now passed down to the grandkids.  It's a great way to con them into eating artichokes at a very young age. "Nany Surprise" for dessert is the code and they bite! 

This weekend, with the grandchildren away at another lake with another set of grandparents, I decided instead to make a simple meringue tart  filled with the strawberries and served with ice cream.  The oven temperature is a low 275 degrees for an hour. 

For a hollandaise sauce, remember the eggs must be at room temperature.  Once I take them out of the fridge and separate them, the yolks are left in a bowl on top of the counter until the sauce is made.  The meringue is made soon after the whites have warmed up and the tart is left in the oven until dinner time.

Serves 4-6

1 pint fresh strawberries
2 TB sugar
8 leaves mint
Grand Marnier (optional)

Meringue tart

3 egg whites room temperature 
9 TB sugar
Pinch of salt

Wash and slice strawberries and put them in a bowl.  Add sugar and mint, cover and set aside.  Once the strawberries have rendered their juice, drain them  and transfer the juice to a small saucepan.  Boil it down until it is reduced by half.  You may have to add some sugar to make it more syrupy.  Set aside until ready to use.  Place strawberries in the refrigerator.

Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt to a stiff peak.  Add sugar gradually.

When the meringue is ready, spread in a circle on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Indent the middle so you can lay strawberries on top.

Bake at 275 for an hour.  Turn the oven off and leave tart in the oven until ready to fill.

Bring out of the oven.  Let cool for a half hour.  With a sharp knife make a circle on the top being careful not to cut all the way to the bottom.  Add strawberries, the syrup and some chopped mint on top.

 Slice as you would a pie. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fried Zucchini Sticks

Oh  dear, here comes the zucchini.  Last year when we grew a few plants, we couldn't give it away fast enough.  Not because we didn't want it but because it was coming out of our ears! Zucchini casseroles, bread, cake, you name it.  One of the things I didn't make were these zucchini sticks, something I always order when I go to an Italian restaurant.

Just yesterday I was watching Giada de Laurentis whip up a batch and decided that night to try her recipe.  I made two batches. One rolling them in flour first before rolling them in eggs and panko.  The other just eggs and panko (her recipe).  I wanted to see if more panko would attach to the sticks after first rolling them in flour.  The result? No difference.  It was pretty hard for the flour to stick to the zucchini on the first roll resulting in a mess.  Phew, that made my life much easier and frying these took no time at all.  If you have a wok, use it.

Next time though, I think I will add finely chopped oregano to the panko mix.  Also use an inexpensive olive oil or do what I did...half olive oil, half vegetable oil.  Otherwise it can be an expensive proposition.

Serves 4


Olive oil, for frying

1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips


Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.

When the oil is hot, about 350 on candy thermometer, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.

Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.

Recipe courtesy Giada de Laurentis

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tweetup At The Park


We are four dogs from the Atlanta area who met on Twitter and have been virtual friends for a long time.  Aside from lots of laughs and much comic relief for our Moms, we provide a valuable service to other dogs in the area by alerting them of upcoming storms and potential boomers in plenty of time to hide in the closet or under the bed.  Boomers can be fatal to a doggies heart.

.  There are two westies in the group, @Snowywestie and myself @Lucywestie, a Havanese named Cosmo who's also a star agility dog, and a lab that goes by the handle @Willowwiggles.  Yesterday we met for the first time, in dog, at the Beneful Dog Park in John's Creek, Georgia.

The dog park was donated by Beneful after two area residents won the design contest for a dream dog park in their area.
  Unfortunately, our Moms had to come too as we dogs, like women in the Middle East, are not allowed to drive! But we are conciously working to elect some anipals to Congress and change the stupid law.  If I hear correctly, they are a bunch of sleazy dogs anyway, or so says my Mom.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures!.

The entrance to the Park

Moms and doggiepals meeting each other

Thats @snowywestie, always checking IDs. He longs to be a Navy SEAL dog!

Two big poodles having a good time

@CosmoHavanese in the shade

I wish he'd go back to the shade

Let me tell you all the bad things I've heard about him

@willowwiggles waiting for action

Moms casing the joint

Dogs casing the joint

@CosmoHavanese back in the shade

It's too hot for games, Mom. Besides you forgot the treats!

Jeeze, it took them forever to organize themselves for a group photo (notice Snowy still trying to check IDs) the shade! no less. Lily @ WillowWiggles are the black spots on the right

We finally got the Cuban dog and my Cuban Mom to get out in the sun.

Hasta la vista, Baby!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tomato Hand Pies

A great recipe to have on hand for your next picnic

Left in the baking tin and covered with cheesecloth, these tomato hand pies are ready to pack. They can be baked a day ahead and refrigerated. The pies will come to room temperature on the trip to the picnic site.

This recipe is part of the menu  An Elegant Picnic for a Concert In Central Park coming up in Lindaraxa

Makes 1 dozen

Serves 6


All-purpose flour, for surface

Pate Brisee

2 1/2 pounds medium tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise

1 medium onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano, plus small sprigs for serving (optional)

1/3 cup chopped pitted oil-cured black olives

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


1.On a lightly floured surface, roll out pate brisee to 1/8 inch thick. Using a paring knife, cut out twelve 4 1/2-inch squares, and fit into cups of a standard muffin tin, leaving an overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide tomato and onion slices between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast, switching positions of sheets halfway through, until tomatoes begin to shrivel and onion slices are golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a bowl.

3.Divide half the chopped oregano, olives, and feta among the dough-lined tins. Top with tomato-onion mixture. Sprinkle remaining oregano, olives, and feta on top. Fold corners of dough toward centers. Brush with egg wash.

4.Reduce heat to 375. Bake pies until top crusts are golden brown and middles are bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes.

5.Let cool completely in tin on a wire rack. Tuck oregano sprigs into hand pies if desired.

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day...The Ultimate Grilled Steak

Forget the fancy meals.  What a Dad really wants on Father's Day is a perfectly grilled steak with a good bottle of wine.  Trust me, I've known a few dads in my time.  Go out and buy the best meat you can afford at a reputable meat market where the steaks don't come with a plastic wrap.   If you can, make it Prime.   Surprise him with a gooey chocolate dessert, buy a spectacular wine, give him something for the grill, a big kiss and he will be in heaven.

That's all.  Most dads are very easy to please.

Serves 4 


For the caramelized onion jam (optional):

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup light agave syrup

Steak Marinade

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram

2 bone-in rib or boneless rib-eye steaks each 10 to 12 oz. and 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick

Coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste


To make the caramelized onion jam, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the onion, vinegar, wine, sugar and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the agave syrup and stir to coat the onion. Cook until the onion begins to caramelize and the mixture is thick and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes more; do not allow the jam to burn. The jam will thicken as it cools. The jam can be served immediately, or stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and herbs.

Trim off the excess fat from the steaks; reserve a 1-inch piece to grease the grill grate. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper, gently pressing the seasonings into the meat. Place the steaks in a large baking dish, pour the herbed oil over the top and turn to coat well. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Using long tongs or a carving fork, grease the preheated grill grate with the reserved fat; it should smoke and sizzle immediately and begin to melt.

Remove the steaks from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the dish; discard the marinade. Place the steaks directly over high heat, cover the grill and cook until the steaks are nicely grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over, cover the grill and cook until nicely grill-marked on the other side. Continue to turn and grill until cooked to your liking.

Transfer the steaks to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut away the rib bones and thickly slice the steaks. Season with salt and pepper and serve with caramelized onion jam. 

Tips on selecting steaks: On or off the bone, the rib steak (or rib-eye) is the first choice of grilling aficionados. The second choice for the ultimate grilled steak is the sirloin strip steak. Look for hormone-free prime or choice rancher’s reserve beef, Black Angus or grass-fed beef. Stay away from prepackaged select beef displayed in plastic wrap in the supermarket case.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).


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