12 posts from month 12/2014

Shepherd’s Pie

A comfort favorite of mine is this delicious and classic Shepherd's Pie.  Creamy mashed potatoes on top of a deep and flavorful lamb mixture is oh-so-satisfying.  And served in these cute little cocottes dishes it makes for a wonderful presentation.  But if you don't have these dishes any 1.5 quart baking dish will do.  I chose to put a Boursin cheese into the mashed potatoes because I like that garlicky herbal flavor but you can omit that if it's not ... Continue Reading

Pancetta and Parmesan Hashbrown Bites

Perfect for your Christmas morning!  The Parmesan and hash brown crust adds a little bit of texture and is an easy do ahead step.  Then just mix a few eggs and cheese and bake.  Very quick and easy so you can get on with more important things on Christmas morning.....like installing batteries in your kids' toys and assembling race tracks or doll houses.  Better make an extra batch for Santa!  So good with the fresh tomato relish (see recipe) or your ... Continue Reading

Strawberry Mango Smoothies

On Christmas morning I'm always trying to get some good food into my kids in between the frenzy of presents and all the yummy treats Santa left behind.  Our tradition is to have a late breakfast after the presents are open and I like to make things that are easy but also make everyone feel special.  This strawberry mango smoothie is so very easy that it took all of five minutes to make.  You can adjust the amount of honey you use to your taste.  This ... Continue Reading

Ultimate  Cheese Platter

A good cheese plate is all you need for a fabulous evening for two or a centerpiece to a party for twenty.  And believe it or not this beautiful cheese plate took ten minutes to put together.  All it takes is a little planning so you have the right ingredients on hand.  Here's what I like but don't be afraid to add or change things that suit your palate or highlight local ingredients where you live!  Featured here:Good quality assorted crackers and ... Continue Reading

Sweet and Spicy Cashews

Spiced nuts - any kind of nut it doesn't have to be cashews - are such a great addition to any holiday gathering.  They are great starter to have with cocktails before dinner or as an addition to a cheese plate.  I even like to serve them as part of a dessert course with port wine and port soaked cherries dipped in chocolate.  Or another idea is to include these great little homemade treats as part of a gift basket.  Just add some crackers (see yesterd... Continue Reading

Gruyere and White Cheddar Crisps

If you've never tried making own cracker before don't be intimated; it's really just as easy as making cookies. Maybe even more simple than that, in fact.  It's basically a quick savory dough with whatever you want to include in it for flavor.  In this recipe I am using Gruyere cheese, for it's nuttiness, and a good aged white cheddar for it's flavor and bite.  I added a little bit of cayenne pepper just for a teeny bit of heat, but you can always omit that ... Continue Reading

Chocolate Bites with Espresso Ganache

I love these little bites of chocolaty heaven because they aren't too sweet, they are full of chocolate flavor, and they have a sophisticated touch from the espresso in the sauce, and a nice crunch from the peppermints.  It's definitely a dessert for adults more than kids.  If I were making it for kids I'd leave out the espresso in the ganache and replace with more heavy cream and probably add more sugar to the cake batter before I bake them.  I like to serve ... Continue Reading

Happy Hour Menu – Pretzel Roll Sliders and Martinis

This simple menu is perfect for any Friday night get together with friends.  If you make the Habanero Spiked Ketchup (see recipe) and the Creamy Peperoncini Caper Relish (see recipe) a day or two ahead of time then all you have to do when Friday night rolls around is grill a few quick burgers, assemble and shake those martinis!  Ahhhhh....nothing better than relaxing with friends after a long week.  Cheers friends! Sliders1. ... Continue Reading

Creamy Peperoncini and Caper Relish

It seems like every good burger experience involves some kind of a special sauce.  I really love pickles on my burgers...that tangy, briny flavor goes so well with a juicy, rich burger.  Right? I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it.  This creamy 'relish' is very tangy but once you pair it with the burger I think it really works.  And especially when paired with the Habanero Spiked Ketchup I posted earlier.  Now that's the combo.... ... Continue Reading

Habanero Spiked Ketchup

This little condiment is so easy to make and has amazing flavor from the roasted habanero pepper, which has a sweet, fruity quality to it as well as some serious kick.  Roasting it though really mellows the heat.  You can adjust the amount of ketchup to habanero to your own taste. I created this recipe to be a good medium heat with a gradual build but you can certainly make it spicier if that's your thing.  Just buy an extra habanero and roast two instead of ... Continue Reading