Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Friday, March 31, 2006

WDB #28

So the one major rule is.. "No balls in the house!"
Check out the rest of the canine bunch at Sweetnicks this weekend =)


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

100 things...

'kay so I'm not cooking tonight and I'm bored.. so's I'm stealin' the 100 things idea and makin' myself a list!

1. I am allergic to peanuts and lobster - but ONLY if I eat them both within a couple hours of each other.
2. I love my dogs as if they were my children. Seriously, it's kind of scary how much I love them.
3. I have a horrible temper, something I wish I could change.
4. I hate my job because I'm bored to death.
5. I'm too lazy to go look for another job.
6. I'm a diabetic
7. I'm a chocoholic.. which isn't so good for the diabetes thing.
8. I name my dogs using the name of the dog before them.. Lulu Bell, Jiggles Lu, Nigel Jiggs etc.
9. My fiance is 18 years older than I.
10. My fiance acts like a 10 year old.
11. I lost my dad in 2000, but my mom is still here to keep me company =)
12. I have 2 sisters, both younger
13. I have the same best friend for over 20 years.
14. I dye my hair red. I think it was originally dark brown?
15. I wear contact lenses.
16. I could live on raw oysters.
17. I smoke way too much.
18. I sometimes get paranoid if I think too much about what other's think of me.
19. My sense of humor is both warped and warped.
20. I can't have kids. Had to have a hysterectomy last year. =(
21. I firmly believe there was a baby switch when I was born.. some poor kid is living with my rich parents somewhere.
22. I love to read.. but only on the pot. I fall asleep anywhere else. True story.
23. Stephen King cracks me the f*ck up.
24. I use to fall for any long haired guy that would give me the time of day. Now I tell them to cut their hair. I prefer bald now :D
25. I use to drink excessively.. now I frown upon excessive drinkers.
26. I own my own house. I never thought that would happen.
27. I miss the restaurant biz like you would not believe.
28. I'm a good listener.
29. I like to give unsolicited advice. It's usually shit, so no one listens.
30. My favorite color is emerald green.
31. I hate roses.
32. I dislike diamonds.
33. I'm an 80's hairband freak. Tesla rules!!
34. I'm a movie aficionado. Ask me anything.
35. I can recite most of the movie, "Weird Science".
36. I type 86 words a minute.
37. Everything I know about computers, I've taught myself, excluding some HTML.
38. I went to school to be a nail technician.
39. I fantasize about visiting Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.
40. I fantasize about winning the lottery.. yet I don't play often at all.
41. I can lizard spit.
42. I'm an excellent cook.
43. I love to craft, but don't do it very often anymore.
44. I'm addicted to home improvement shows.
45. I'm addicted to Food Network.
46. I think the sexiest man alive is Al Pacino (or Robert Redford)
47. My nails don't grow very long before they rip.
48. I have a tiny scar between my eyebrows.
49. Going to markets excites me way too much.
50. My house is full of house plants.. I can't keep up.
51. I hate my car with a burning, searing passion.
52. If I watch a scary movie at night, I can't go to bed until I've watched something funny.
53. My thesis in college was printed in their newspaper.
54. I want to see a therapist.
55. My best friend, Kim, is my current therapist.
56. I had 4 rooms in my house custom painted when we moved in.
57. I probably wear too much eyeliner.
58. I lied to the "Quit Smoking" people to get the free patches so I'd have them when I was ready to quit smoking.
59. I favor Nigel over Chloe. I'm a bad mommie.
60. No matter how cold it is, I have to have my feet sticking out from the covers when I sleep. *Updated - not so much anymore.. now they need to be tucked in. Go figure.
61. I use to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. Now I can't make it past 10 at night.
62. I'm still up at the wee hours though.. how annoying.
63. My favorite flower is the Dahlia. Followed closely by mums.
64. My favorite flavors are chocolate, coffee, orange and cinnamon.
65. I guilt horribly if I leave my dogs alone for too long. So much that I usually cut whatever I'm doing short - regardless if I'm having a good time or not.
66. I dislike some people so much that my blood boils if I think about them.
67. I'll put up with a lot of things.. except cheaters, fakes and braggarts.
68. I use to care about having a lot of friends.. these days I only care about keeping a few select friends.
69. I'm a grudge holder - but only if some one truly hurts me. Normally I get over a lot.
70. I can't take pills without gagging. I don't care what size they are, it doesn't matter.
71. I go through the roof if you touch my feet.
72. I always have a secret crush on someone.
73. Young boys make me nervous. I think it's a throw back to the lil bastards that made fun of me in elementary school.
74. If you can make me laugh, most likely I'll love you forever.
75. When I do love you.. you'll never have a better friend.
76. I love to go fishing with hubbs.
77. I love spending time with hubbs.
78. I love having my time alone without hubbs.
79. I have the cutest nieces and nephews EVER.
80. I miss my dad tremendously.
81. I love to swim, but I wouldn't be caught dead in a bathing suit.
82. I love to sing at the top of my lungs while driving or when I'm alone at home.
83. I love to dance, but I usually have to be half looped to do it.
84. My favorite night out is dinner at a nice restaurant and then maybe catching a good rock band and/or movie.
85. I'm a closet bingo addict, kinda.
86. If I could go to bingo and just play the instant cards and NOT bingo.. I'd be happy.
87. I can see myself developing a bad gambling habit. I have to keep a tight reign. lol
88. I hate Tuesdays.
89. I can't keep a fern alive - no. matter. what.
90. I'm very happy there are only 10 more freaking numbers left.
91. I'm on a quest to find the ultimate chewy chocolate chip cookie. Found it!
92. The name of my blog is going to be the name of my future catering and/or restaurant biz.
93. I despise Ohio winters.
94. I love Ohio autumns.
95. I'd like to retire in North Carolina.
96. I think I'm a control freak.
97. I laugh at funerals.. my nerves.. it's horrible.
98. I'm scared of being buried alive more than anything else in the death category.
99. I'm scared of losing my hubbs, dogs, mom and friends more than anything else in any category.
100. I have a list fetish. But I think after this one, I'm good for a while! =)


Monday, March 27, 2006

Send off...

Sunday was Wayne's last day home before having to head back to Arkansas. We had a great weekend, though =) Friday we lounged and were generally lazy. Saturday we checked out Trader Joe's and went to one of our favorite markets. Trader Joe's was a bit of a disappointment. After reading about it on so many blogs, I was really excited to see this place. Maybe ours is a smaller store? I'm not sure.. but there wasn't too much of a variety of uncommon items. I did score some vanilla beans and a tiny bottle of saffron though! So that was cool. I've learned about so many products from reading all of these blogs, things that make me drool.. so when we hit Miles Farm Market and I really looked through all of their gourmet items, I was surprised and tickled pink to find quite a few items I've been reading about! Mainly, a nice selection of Stonewall Kitchen goodies, Valrhona chocolate (party on!) and San Marzano tomatoes (which no grocery store near me carries) - so it was a great day of foodie treasure finds =)

Sunday morning was spent scouring the city for the best buy on a Dyson "Animal" vacuum. Yep we finally broke down and paid the big bucks for a freakin vacuum. Chloe, although Mommie's girl, has blown me away with the hair she sheds. My gawd. I've never owned a larger breed dog.. that sheds. And. Sheds. My lil Bissel would literally use it's attachment hose to hold on to the inside of the closet making me force it out to try and keep up with Chloe's shedding. Poor lil guy. So we decided to retire him and buy the big gun. Now.. I'd like to say right off the bat that it was money well spent, as it picked up hordes and hordes of hair like a charm.. but still, for that kinda money? It really should make me dinner and do my laundry as well.

I wanted to make Wayne one more home cooked meal before he had to go to the airport and I wanted it to be something he could take and snack on during his trip annnddd it didn't hurt if it was a brunch type meal, because I want to contribute something to Weekend Cookbook Challenge and I figured I wouldn't have an opportunity for Easter brunch this year.

Although I find Giada De Laurentiis' mouth freakishly huge - almost to the point where I can't watch her - I do like her cooking =) I chose to make her Mini Fritattas with a side of Miles Farm Market's honey cured bacon and Great Harvest's Apple Pie bread, lightly spread with butter and cinnamon sugar and then grilled.

The frittatas were fabulous. They puffed up beautifully, were perfectly seasoned and had a really creamy texture. The bacon was a nice compliment as it was both savory and sweet and the apple pie bread was warm and gooey, yet crispy from the cinnamon sugar coating. Yum!


Mini Frittatas courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Recipe can be found here Mini Frittatas

My only changes were I halved the recipe, used a regular size muffin tin, diced the ham into little cubes and subbed baby spinach in lieu of the parsley.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Friday night's disaster

Wayne's first full day home. It was fabulous. We both had early morning appointments and then we met back at home and just lounged all day long.. perfect =)

I promised another home cooked meal. But I wanted to try something new. We've had cornish hens many times and enjoy them very much. Usually we deep fry. Tonight I wanted to try another recipe I've had for years but hadn't gotten to yet. Simply called "Seasoned Cornish Hens" I have no idea where I got the recipe. Basically, it was just a marinade and then you bake the hens. Easy, eh? 'kay well the marinade was easy - basically soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and pepper. No problem.

Here's where the problem was.. we were suppose to have the hens on Saturday night as we were going out to dinner Friday night. Well... once you and your honey have lounged all day - the thought of having to get gussied up for food just isn't as appealing anymore. So we pushed dining out until Saturday. Luckily, I had taken the hens out of the freezer early that morning. By 6 pm they were probably 85% thawed. So I figured I could count on an extra 15 minutes (give or take) in cooking time. Wrong. TWO hours later - two 1 pound each Cornish hens were NOT done. By this time, we were salivating.. literally drooling because we were so hungry and they smelled so good. But we couldn't eat! I left them in for another 30 minutes.. to still find their juices were no where near clear.. so we said screw it. Cut them up and broiled the pieces until they were done. The hell? My thermostat said 350º. My oven said 350º. I don't get it.

But all was not lost.. my side dish was to die for.. thank gawd. I diced two red garnet sweet potatoes, steamed them until they were fork tender and then spread them on a baking sheet and slathered them with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar and baked them until they were crispy on the outside. Divine.

For desert, I had made my apple crisp.. it was perfect. Recipe follows =)

Apple Crisp Whole

Apple Crisp

For the apples:

6 to 8 peeled, thinly sliced baking apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 c. white sugar
1 TBS. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

For the crisp:

2 c. quick oats
1 1/2 c. flour
2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

For the whipped cream:

1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 TBS. confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350º

Coat the apples evenly with the first 5 ingredients.

Combine the remaining ingredients well, and press 1/2 to 1/3 of the mixture into a 9" x 13" x 2" Pyrex baking dish. Place apples on crust evenly. Scatter the remaining crisp mixture on top of the apples, evenly.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

*Note: This is a sweet apple crisp. If you prefer a more tart apple crisp, cut the white sugar down considerably. This is also a Splenda friendly recipe. I have substituted both the white and brown sugars for Splenda's white and brown sugars and it turned out very good.

For the whipped cream:

About 1 hour before ready to serve, place your mixing bowl and mixers (or the whisk attachment if you use a KitchenAid mixer) in the fridge. After your bowl and mixers are well chilled, whisk the heavy cream at medium fast speed until it starts to form soft peaks. At this stage, add your sugar and vanilla. Whisk until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Apple Crisp

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Blog of the Week March 25, 2006

For months now I've wanted my own blog. At first I thought it would be therapeutic for me. A way to keep a journal of what I was feeling. But after much consideration, I realized I didn't want your normal everyday blog where it's all about me. I mean, hell.. that's what my best friends are for right? I call them.. I bitch.. they tell me to grow up. Done! Doesn't cost me a thing and I usually get an offer for lunch or time spent with my nieces and nephews. Bonus! But the appeal of joining the millenium and having some kind of online journal was still pretty strong. One day I happened upon my first food blog.. I was hooked. A way to express myself AND share recipes? Perfect. So I kept reading these blogs.. and although I enjoy each and every one of them.. some are just awe-inspiring to me. These guys and gals know how to make me laugh, drool over a dish, inspire me to create my own dishes with ingredients I've not yet incorporated into my cooking, get up every morning - grab my coffee - and greedily try to read all their new posts before I have to get in the shower for work! hehehe

So, my Blog of the Week feature is just my way of showing my appreciation for the blogs out there that give me that lil extra something that makes me look forward to their next post. =)

I'm starting it out with Ali's Something So Clever. No, not because she created my kick ass website! But because this gal is hilarious! And her recipes and pictures on her site make me drooooooool =) Check her out, if you haven't already!


Thank you...

I just wanted to say Thank You Soooooooo Much to Alicat from Something So Clever for making my blog look absolutely, totally amazingly, beauteous =)

I'd been a fan of her blog for quite some time now and one day I just contacted her and told her how much she made me larf out loud and we just hit it off.. we discussed our lives and got to know each other and then one day she blew me away and offered to do up my blog however I'd like - she wants to learn web design and by doing this for me, it would be helping her to learn. Can you imagine? I was so happy and so grateful for such a generous offer! Did I have any idea it would turn out this gorgeous? Heck no! I'd say she's learning this stuff pretty damn well! hehee

As you can see, she did a fantastic job - I couldn't have pictured it any better! Here's the best news of all.. she's going to start her own web design business! One day soon, you'll be able to have your very own custom Designs by Ali Beach website too! I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor, my friend! From the few sites I've seen of yours so far, you're gonna kick some arse! =)


Friday, March 24, 2006

WDB #27

Sun was a lil too bright

Yes, this is Nigel looking way too cool! He's a moviestah, people! hehe This was taken last spring and yep, he would sit with those glasses on for minutes, can ya believe it?

Check out the rest of the doggie crew at Sweetnicks this weekend =)


This is the recipe everyone wants.. and it's inexpensive!

Hubbs came home last night for his long weekend before having to go back to Arkansas for at least another month. It was such a great night.. we sat around our dining room table and just bs'd for hours. I had missed that so much. Today we both have early morning appointments and then we're just gonna hang out together - yay! Tomorrow is going to be even better as I discovered there is a Trader Joe's not too far from where we live so we're gonna go check it out!

For his first night home, I made one of his favorite meals. Linguine and Clam Sauce. This recipe has been in my family for many, many years. My father use to love experimenting with recipes, and admittedly, some were.. hmm.. strange. But he was right on with this one! I've yet to meet anyone who did not want this recipe after they've tasted it. And the ingredients are so simple and inexpensive! This is not your high end Linguine and Clam Sauce, but my guess is that it will be, at least, one of the best you've tasted.

Linguine with Clamsauce

Hank's Linguine and Clam Sauce

1 lb. uncooked linguine
2 tbs. olive oil
5-6 cloves minced garlic
4 (6 oz.) cans chopped or minced clams
1 heaping tbs. dried oregano
4-5 heaping tbs. dried parsley
2 eggs, seasoned (S&P) and gently beaten
Pecorino Romano - grated *There is no real measurement to the cheese. Add to your taste. You will need at least a good handful or two for a pound of pasta to get the right consistency of creaminess.

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt and the linguine. Cook until al dente, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.

While the water is coming to a boil, in a small saucepan, saute the garlic in the olive oil until it is golden brown. Add clams, oregano and parsley and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain pasta (but do not rinse-you'll need the starch) and transfer to a 9" x 13" x 2" Pyrex glass baking dish (or something similiar that you can really mix everything up in), pour the eggs over the hot pasta and mix throughly. You don't want the eggs to scramble, but you want them to evenly coat the pasta. Add a good handful of the cheese and mix well.

Using a slotted spoon (or similar to scoop out the clams from the broth) add as much of the clam mixture as you can get, leaving the broth in the saucepan. Mix well. Add more cheese. Then start adding the broth, a little at a time, mixing well until the sauce evenly coats the pasta and turns creamy.

Serve immediately with a fresh garden salad and garlic bread.

Serves 4

*Note: If the raw eggs make you squeamish, I would think you could leave them out without there being a huge difference in taste.

This is going to be a two-fer for me because it fits the bill for 2 great round ups this month! My first submission will be for this month's VRC at The Savory Notebook Look for everyone's most requested recipe at the end of the month! The other round up that this dish is perfect for is Something for Nothing at Toast where Lindy is looking for tasty, creative and budget friendly recipes. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone will come up with for both of these round ups =)

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Soup's On!

I haven't posted much as of yet.. hubbs has been out of town and I thought I'd still be cooking quite a bit, but eh.. hasn't happened so much. I found cooking for 1 is kind of a buttpain after putting in my 8 every day with no one else home to appreciate it, ugh. I did bake again this weekend.. a recipe I found somewhere on the internet called "Chewy Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies" - well they need to keep that recipe secret a while longer. I didn't even bother taking pictures, I could tell the minute they came out of the oven they were going to be drier than the Mojave. The description was something about someone's Grandmother made these and they were the most moist, chewy, wonderful chocolate chip cookies of all time.. blech. I am on a quest to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie.. I want the chewiness! I want the moistness! I want to stick my hand in the jar 2 days later and still have chewy, moist goodness! Is that too much to ask? I think not.

Anyhoo.. I WILL be cooking up a storm this weekend for Wayne! Other than taking my mommie out to dinner on Friday night, I've promised him good home cooked meals. I started my promise last night and made him some soup. It's a recipe I've had in my recipe box for many, many years - but never made it! When I had originally found it, I thought it was like the sausage soup that Olive Garden serves, which my mom loves. It's not.. not even close. This is a beef/tomato base, where their soup is more of a cream and no tomato base. Regardless, this soup turned out to be the BEST soup I've ever had. Seriously. And I like soup, so I've tried quite a few of them. This was easy to prepare and quick to make. I did make a few changes in the recipe and I'll note them below.

Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup
Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (I just used bulk sausage)
1 c. chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
6+ c. beef stock
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. red wine
2 regular size cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes with the juice
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. diced yellow bell pepper
1 (1 lb.) bag of baby spinach
1 TBS. packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. sliced zucchini or 1 1/2 c. celery - leaves and all
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 lb. fresh tortellini pasta
3 TBS. chopped, fresh parsley *I bought it but didn't use it.. went with more basil*
1/8 c. soy sauce (Optional - *See Note)
Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved

In a 5 qt. Dutch oven, brown sausage. Remove sausage & drain, reserving 1 TBS. of drippings.
Saute onions & garlic in drippings. Stir in beef broth, water, wine, tomatoes, all the veggies, basil, oregano, tomato sauce & sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

Skim fat from the soup. Stir in zucchini, tortellini and parsley. If the tortellini are fresh, add them in the last 10 min. of simmering. Simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. *This would be the hour mark and I still felt it needed more saltiness and flavor - so I added 1/8 c. soy sauce*

Sprinkle with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top of each serving. I also served (har! to myself) this with crunchy garlic bread - which is simply sliced italian bread with a compound garlic butter spread on top and then grated romano cheese sprinkled over that and broiled until golden brown and delicious. =) The cheese won't melt, but instead creates a crunchy topping.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

WDB #26

My first WDB! I love showing off my "kids" so what a cool way to do it =)

This is a hilarious photo that Wayne took. He had them both sitting pretty and just as he hit the button.. Chloe decided to jump up. It looks like Nigel is one of Chloe's toys. har! Check out the rest of the cute pooches on Sweetnick's site tomorrow =)


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Holy crap I've got crap cam pictures!

I just want to say thank you soooooooooooooo much to Cate at Sweetnicks for solving my picture posting problem! Cate, you so rock!

So now you can see what my meatloaf and cookies look like! 'kay so I'm hoping your view isn't like the view I have here at work.. because my crap cam pictures make my meatloaf look grey. Gawd. I don't care though! I've got pictures! Yay!
Have a great day! =)

Nigel is really happy that his silly pictures can be posted now, too =)


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

So here's what I've been doing...

First off, thank you for such a warm welcome! How exciting it was to see comments! Yay!

The past few nights I've been checking out other blogs.. purely for the fun of it. I've come across so many excellent blogs out there, you guys rock! My thing is, I find a blog that looks interesting and then go back to the very first post and read until the most present. I get so hooked that I can't stop reading. And the recipes! Oh man.. I'm going to have to set aside 6 months, cook 3 dinners a day along with umpteen sides, appetizers and desserts - just to get through 1/4 of what I've found that sounds yummy!

I was hoping that I'd have pictures to show off my recipes, but I can't seem to get this damn photo uploading thing to work yet. But I don't want to not post anything until I figure it all out. So tonight I'm going to post a couple tried and true recipes and then maybe somewhere down the road, after I figure out the photo thing, I'll add the pictures then.

If anyone has any spare time and they'd like to help me figure this out.. I'd sooooooo appreciate it!

On with the recipes =)

Antipasta Squares

This recipe can get a bit expensive as it calls for different lunchmeats and cheeses. But it's also extremely adaptable - as you can use any combination of whatever you like. I lean towards the more italian side, but this would be outstanding with ham, turkey breast, bacon & cheese for a more "club sandwich" type appetizer.. use your imagination =)

2 (10 oz.) cans refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1/4 pound thinly sliced Proscuitto di Parma
1/4 pound thinly sliced Provolone cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced Genoa salami
1/4 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced sandwich pepperoni
1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained, cut into thin strips
3 eggs
3 TB. grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Unroll 1 package of crescent roll dough and cover the bottom of a 9" x 13" Pyrex baking dish. Layer the ham, provolone, salami, swiss cheese, pepperoni and peppers on top of the dough.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly and stir in the grated cheese and black pepper. Pour 3/4 of this mixture over the peppers. Unroll the second package of dough and place over the top of the peppers. Brush with the remaining egg mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove foil and bake another 10 to 20 minutes, or until dough is fluffy and golden brown. Cut into squares. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Appetizers sound good tonight.. especially since I need to figure out what I'm going to make this weekend for a game day with some friends. So here's another terrific appetizer that everyone loves. It's a bit sticky.. but they are worth it!

Brown Sugar Smokies

1 (16 oz.) package of little smokies (I find that the all beef kind don't work so well in this recipe)
1 pound bacon
1 c. brown sugar (or to taste)
Dipping sauce:
1/4 c. mayo
1/4 c. red chili sauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
hot sauce to taste *optional*

Cut bacon into thirds and dredge in brown sugar, then wrap each strip around a lil smokie.
*Note: Here's where you choose.. you can place them as they are (individually) in a large ziplock bag and refrigerate overnight, they will turn syrupy. OR After you've rolled 8 to 9 smokies, skewer them on long kabob skewers and then store all the skewers in a large ziplock bag in the refigerator overnight making sure to not puncture the bag as the syrup that forms will (believe me) run all over your fridge shelves and you'll spend hours trying to clean it up. Reasoning for skewering them is when you go to broil them, it's a lot easier turning over a skewer full of them rather than trying to turn over each lil smoking because the sugar will make them sticky and the bacon might fall off.
Arrange on a foil wrapped broiling pan (foil the bottom of the pan for easy clean up) and sprinkle them liberally with more brown sugar.
Broil for 10 to 12 minutes, turning and re-sugaring once halfway through. They should turn out brown and crispy.

Dipping sauce:
Combine all ingredients well and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or overnight) so flavors can meld.



Monday, March 13, 2006

VRC: Cinnamon

I'm so excited.. my first contributions! Unfortunately, I didn't see what this week's VRC theme was until late last night, so I didn't make either of my submits.. therefore no pictures. (as if I could get a picture to show up anyway.. har!)

Cinnamon Cookies

For cookies:
2 c. sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. walnuts (4 oz.)
1 c. granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, beaten

For icing and decoration:
2 tsp. powdered egg whites
2 TB. warm water
1 1/4 c. sifted confectioners sugar (sift before measuring)
1 drop of fresh lime juice
1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts (2 oz.)

Pulse walnuts with 2 TB. sugar in a food processor until finely ground (be careful not to grind to a paste).

Beat together butter and remaining sugar with an electric mixture until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs until combined. Mix in flour mixture and nuts at low speed until just blended. For dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic warp, until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325º F.

Keeping remaining dough chilled, roll out half of dough 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out cookies with a 2 1/2 to 3 inch floured cookie cutter. Chill scraps.

Arrage cookies 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until firm but not browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer cokies to a rack to cool. Makes cookies with remaining dough in same manner, rerolling scraps no more than twice.

Ice and decorate cookies:
Whisk together powdered egg whites and water, then stir in confectioners sugar and lemon juice until smooth and spreadable.

Spread a thin layer of icing on 1 cookie with a metal spatual or knife and sprinkle lightly with walnuts. (Use your imagination and decorate more elaborately if you like.) Decorate remaining cookies in the same manner. Let icing harden, about 1 hour, before storing cookies.

Makes about 6 dozen.

*My notes: Although these are heavy in cinnamon, I've found that using a weak cinnamon really doesn't do justice for this recipe (or any recipe, really). I use vietnamese cinnamon that I purchase from a local farmer's market. This cinnamon smells exactly like red hots candies.. it's very strong and gives the cookies a great bite not to mention so delish! Next is, if I don't have powdered egg whites on hand, I just leave them out of the icing. I really haven't tasted or noticed much difference from the batches with the egg whites and the batches without. Also, I usually leave out the walnuts on the icing. This does not add nor take away from the cookies, it's just a personal preference. =)

Cinnamon Ice Cream

6 c. Half & half
1 oz. Cinnamon stick - in small pieces
1 Vanilla bean -- split length
2 1/2 c. Sugar
12 Egg yolks
4 c. Whipping cream
Strawberry for garnish

Combine half and half, cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean in heavy large saucepan. Scald over very low heat. Remove from heat, cover and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour. Combine sugar and egg yolks in large bowl of electric mixer and beat at high speed until mixture forms slowly dissolving ribbon when beaters are lifted. Reheat half and half over low heat. Gradually beat 2 cups half and half into egg yolk mixture. Stir yolk mixture into remaining half and half. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 180º F. and custard coats back of spoon; do not boil. Immediately transfer custard to large bowl. Cool at least 2 hours. If possible, cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Strain custard, discarding cinnamon and vanilla bean. Whisk in whipping cream. Transfer to ice cream maker (in batches if necessary) and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. To serve, spoon into large bowl and garnish with fresh strawberries.

Makes 1 gallon.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

A dinner for one...

My fiance, Wayne, is out of town on a job for work. He's been gone for 4 weeks now and still has another 4 to 6 weeks (if not longer) to go.. so it's just me and "the kids". I miss him tremendously, but the good news is, he's coming home for a long weekend in 10 days.. I'm so excited!!

While he's been gone, I haven't really done too much cooking. It's not quite as fun when you are just cooking for yourself. Hmm.. well, I guess that's not a truly accurate statement. I have been cooking - but nothing new, like I cook when he's home. Normally I try to find something new for us to try as often as I can. I try to incorporate foods we don't normally eat, or preparations that we don't normally use. Sunday's are usually the big dinner day.. especially this fall/winter season, as we've been hitting the farmer's markets a lot on Saturdays.

Today though, I decided to give in to a craving for a meatloaf I love and to try a recipe for a side dish that I had found on Culinary in the Desert (love that blog!). Tonight's dinner for one was a Meatloaf with Ranch Seasoning and French Fried Onions - a recipe I found off many, many moons ago and Carrot Coins in a Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter, thanks to Joe at C in the D. The meatloaf turned out fantastic as it always does and the carrots were absolutely yummy. I was a little hesitant cooking with maple syrup as I've never used it for anything other than pancakes & french toast. But the combination of the maple and the sweet tang of the balsamic vinegar along with the already sweet carrots was quite delightful.. a great compliment to the savory meatloaf. I like this meatloaf so much because it's quick and easy - and I usually always have the ingredients in my pantry. I usually double the recipe for the two of us, but this time I followed the recipe exactly and it was a perfect size for my dinner tonight, a lunch another day this week and nice dinner I can take to my mom.

I also did a little baking today, again a recipe from C in the D. Chewy ginger cookies. I love homemade ginger cookies and these were definitely the very best I've ever had. They were crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle.. and so buttery! I don't think I've ever tasted such a buttery flavor in a ginger cookie before and really, this recipe doesn't call for any more butter than other recipes I've tried. I did leave 2 ingredients.. the crystallized ginger, as I didn't have any on hand and was too lazy to run up to the store for it and the cloves because I do not like cloves.

That was pretty much my day.. it was cold, wet and foggy here today.. perfect for time spent in the kitchen. Unfortunately, all other energy and time was spent on lounging on the sofa with the dogs watching movies and reading.. ahhh the perfect Sunday :D

Meatloaf with Ranch Seasoning and French Fried Onions
1 1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1/4 c. ketchup
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 pkg. ranch dressing seasoning mix
3/4 c. dry chicken flavored stuffing mix
6 oz. + 2 TB. french fried onions
Preheat oven to 350º F.
In large bowl, combine all ingredients (except 2 TB. onions) thoroughly.
Press into a 9" x 5" loaf pan and sprinkle remaining onions on top.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 50 to 60 min.*
*Note: I bake it covered for 45 min. and then take the foil off and bake for another 15 min. I find this really crisps up the onions on top.

*Update* Because I think this is such a great meatloaf recipe, I'm going to submit it to the Meatloaf Madness round up at Eating for One! Check out all the rest of the delicious recipes at Eating for One =)

Carrot Coins with Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter

3 1/4 c. sliced, peeled carrots - about 1 lb. cut 1/4 inch thick
1 TB butter
1 TB maple syrup
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh parsley
Steam carrots, covered, 15 minutes or until tender.
Melt butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook butter 3 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add syrup, vinegar, salt and black pepper, stir until combined. Add carrots, cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring to coat. Stir in parsley.

Chewy Ginger Cookies
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
rounded 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 oz. crystallized ginger, chopped coarsely

Preheat oven to 375º F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter, sugar, molasses and egg.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and spices. Stir into the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in the chopped ginger. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Scoop out the dough to about 1" balls and gently roll in granulated sugar. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 min. Let cool on cookie sheet for about 5 min. before moving to a wire rack.

Makes about 36 cookies.

I have pictures of everything but haven't figured out the trick of getting them to show up yet.. will work on that another day.

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So this is where it starts...

Hi! I'm Lis and I'm from northeast Ohio. I have become addicted to lurking on other food blogs and have been itching to start my own.. so here goes! I am not a professional chef.. I just enjoy cooking very, very much. I grew up in the restaurant biz, as my family owned a small italian restaurant in the small town I grew up in. My mother is a fantastic cook, although she won't admit to it! My father loved to cook as well and he was rather good.. although sometimes he'd scare us with some of his "creations".

My ultimate dream is to open another restaurant. This is a dream that I never, ever thought I would have.. because after putting 11 years into my family's restaurant, I had had enough. I was young.. still living at home and working closely with my family.. I wanted to go get out on my own and try ANYTHING that wasn't restaurant related.. so I've done that. And, yeah, my heart really does belong to that business.

I live with my fiance and our "kids": Nigel, a 2 year old blonde Lhasa Apso; Chloe, a blue merle Australian Shepard who will be 2 in May; and last but not least Kitten, a grey tiger cat who initially adopted my mother and I back in my hometown, but who eventually came to live with us here. We both work for the same company.. I'm in the office and he's out in the field. I find my current job to be mind numbingly boring and a total dead end. I enjoy where I work, but boredom has overtaken all things good. I'm thinking a career change is going to happen in the near future, but will it involve cooking? Keep your fingers crossed for me, please! =)

I'm not really sure how this blog will turn out.. I know I want it to mainly be a food blog, but don't be surprised if there is the odd post here and there about something entirely non-foodie. I have some fabulous recipes to share and I even hope to have pictures to show them off. I hope to use this online diary as a way to share recipes, make friends and be able to express myself in a way I've never done before. So, I guess we'll see how this ends up - am looking forward to learning and sharing!


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Contact the Author

I would love to hear from you! You can contact me at or feel free to contact me on Yahoo Messenger, my user name is tesla5620 =)

Recipe Index


Cornmeal 'Hamcakes' with Pineapple Maple Syrup

Appetizers & Snacks
Antipasta Squares
Brown Sugar Smokies
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Cheesy Sausage Snackers
Chinese Wontons
Homemade Potato Chips
Mascarpone Stuffed Mission Figs Wrapped in Prosciutto
Mindy's Guacamole
Party Stuffed Pinwheels
Roasted Garlic, Olive and Tomato Pate

Soups, Chowders and Salads
Broccoli Slaw
Grilled Corn & Shrimp Salad courtesy of Kevin
Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini
Seafood Chowder
Summer Tortellini Salad

Fish and Seafood
Baked Walleye
Broiled Parmigiano Tilapia
Fresh Garden Tomato and Shrimp Linguine
Grilled Corn & Shrimp Salad courtesy of Kevin
Homemade Fried Shrimp
Honey-Ginger Glazed Salmon
Laura Rebecca's Crab Salad courtesy of Laura Rebecca
Linguine and Clam Sauce
Lisa's Shrimp and Penne
Mango Rice Salad with Grilled Shrimp
Pan Fried Walleye using Panko
Pan Seared Shrimp & Scallops
Scallops with Capers and Sun-dried Tomatoes
Shrimp Alfredo
Wayne's Fresh Lake Erie Perch Fry

Baked Penne and Sausage
Creamy Cheesy Lemon Fettucini courtesy of Ivonne
Creamy Mac & Cheese
Fresh Garden Tomato and Shrimp Linguine
Lasagna Rolls
Linguine and Clam Sauce
Lisa's Shrimp and Penne
Manicotti Alla Romana
Mom's Mac and Cheese
Shrimp Alfredo
Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Penne

Chicken Breasts in Creamy Caper Sauce
Chicken Enchiladas
Creamy Roasted Vegetable Curry courtesy of Marianne
Crispedy Baked Chicken
Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale courtesy of Alysha
Honey-Dijon Curry Chicken with Israeli Couscous
Japanese Wings
Sara's Most Excellent Wings courtesy of Sara
Sun-dried Tomato Crusted Chicken
Wings with Peppers

Baked Tortellini Casserole
Cabbage Roll Casserole
Meatloaf with Ranch Seasoning and French Fried Onions
French Onion Salisbury Steak
Italian Stuffed Flank Steak
London Broil Marinade
Mom's Cabbage Rolls
Mom's Goulash
Pepper Steak - Lisa Style
Slow Braised Chuck Roast *Serve with Au Jus
Spinach, Garlic and Roasted Red Pepper Stuffed Flank Steak
Steak Diane
Taco'd Corncakes
Wayne's Stuffed Peppers

Baked Penne and Sausage
Baked Tortellini Casserole
Hand-Hacked Pot Stickers *See Misc. for Tangy Ginger Dipping Sauce
Honey-Hoisin Pork Chops
Jack Daniels' Glazed Ribs
Paprika Pork Chops
Spiced Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Vegetable Main Course
Deep Dish Eggplant Parmesan Pizza
Lisa & Giada's Eggplant Rollatini
Lisa's Sage, Zucchini and Green Onion Risotto
Mom's Cabbage Rolls
Mushroom Hash
Mushroom Ragù with Soft Polenta
Fried Zucchini

Side Dishes
Basic Risotto
Carrot Coins with Maple-Balsamic Browned Butter Courtesy of Joe and Cooking Light Magazine
Grilled Zucchini
Honey Cornbread
Mushroom Hash
Rice Pilaf
Roasted Potato Salad
Roasted Veggies

Auntie Ann's Pizza
Super Stuffed French Bread Pizza Rustica
Tangy Ginger Dipping Sauce *See Pork for Hand-Hacked Pot Stickers

Apple Brownies
Apple Cake with Cinnamon Sauce
Apple Crisp
Chewy Ginger Cookies courtesy of Joe
Chocolate Covered Banana Gooey Butter Cake
Chocolate Espresso Cake with Caffe Latte Cream
Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Cake courtesy of Paula Deen
Cinnamon Cookies
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce
Espresso Cream Cake with Chile-Chocolate Sauce
Fabulous Fudge Chocolate Cake
Key Lime Cheesecake Pie
King Arthur's Apple Dumplings
Lemon Gooey Butter Bars courtesy of Paula Deen
Macerated Berries with Mascarpone in Puff Pastry
Mexican Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies courtesy of Chaim Potter
Mrs. Field's Chocolate Meringue Puffs
Outrageous Triple Chocolate Cookies courtesy of Laura Rebecca and The Martha
Salted Caramel Sauce
Stephen's Peach Cobbler courtesy of Stephen
The Best Ever Carrot Cake You'll Have
Three Berry Shortcake
Tyler Florence's Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Velvet Cream Cake