MAITAI TRACY’S KITCHEN

MaiTai Tracy’s Kitchen:  Our Favorite Recipes

apple-soup-1From Our Kitchen To Yours

“A passion for food is a passion for life” – Old Italian saying

Welcome to MaiTai Tracy’s Kitchen!

Tom and I love to travel … and to eat!  When Tom started Travels With Mai Tai Tom, MaiTai Tracy’s Kitchen was added as a way to help Tom build content.  Somewhere along the way, I realized I enjoyed sharing recipes and really liked writing and taking pictures.  I started by posting some of our favorites recipes from our years of entertaining.  I have kept track of the menus for every single dinner and party we have had at our house since 1999.  We like to host, what can I say?

Our very first party in 1991 was a Blazing Saddles costume party where we served Yankee Bean Soup and Tuna Surprise (food from the movie – not to worry, those recipes are not here).  Our second effort was Thanksgiving, where the turkey erupted in flames.  Apparently, it was a very juicy turkey and the drippings spilled out and caught fire in the oven.  As I recall, everything turned out great despite our beagle snatching a loaf of cranberry bread from the table.

We are much improved since those two efforts.  The recipes I share with you are our favorites; ones that can’t go wrong and that we feel are worth the effort.  Our motto: “Good Food, Great Friends and Fun.” 

On the travel side of things, I am the “Scribe.”  I take copious notes that Tom magically transforms into his trip reports and posts.  I am also his back up photographer; if it is a close up or a panorama, that is probably mine.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we like sharing them!

“People who love to eat are always the best people” – Julia Child

Tracy & Tom

 


Shrimp Scampi in a Garlic Butter Sauce with Pasta

From The Kitchen of Kim & Mary Shrimp Scampi in a Garlic Butter Sauce with Pasta (Tom and Tracy Note: Two of our favorite places to dine on the road in Southern California or Northern California are at one of the homes of our intrepid traveling companions, Kim and Mary (we were very happy when they added their new location).  Both are wonderful home chefs, plus they don’t charge us a corkage fee. This recipe is their daughter’s favorite and just one of the numerous terrific recipes they have created for us throughout the years.)                     This is a super easy recipe, as long as you do all the preparation before you start cooking.  Once … Read more…

Donna Jean’s Tropical Pork Carnitas Mini Tostadas

Bet You Can’t Eat Just One Donna Jean’s Tropical Pork Carnitas Mini Tostadas Appetizer For Tom’s 65th birthday party in July, we decided to celebrate with a fiesta catered by the terrific La Cabañita Restaurant in Montrose (technically Glendale).  Since La Cabañita was only bringing dinner items, I needed to prepare a few appetizers for the party.  In addition to guacamole and chips, I made Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho served in shot glasses, Black Bean Salsa and Salsa Baked Goat Cheese Dip. However, I felt this just wouldn’t be enough food to soak up the muchas margaritas, sangria and cerveza we were also serving.  (Did I mention we were expecting 65 people?)                                    … Read more…

Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin & Lime

Some Like It Cold! Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin & Lime Appetizer or Main Course It’s been blistering hot here in Southern California lately…so scorching in fact that it’s too hot to barbecue or even turn on the oven.  So, what to make for dinner?  Soup…chilled soup that is.  I turned to my favorite soup cookbook, Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom, for a recipe.  Tom wanted a chilled cantaloupe soup, but I vetoed that, opting instead to make the Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime.   To make this a little more robust for a meal, I added a garnish of diced radishes, cilantro, lime zest and some crumbled Queso Fresco.  Avocado would be a nice addition too, but I … Read more…

Salsa Baked Goat Cheese and Chorizo Dip

Olé! Salsa Baked Goat Cheese and Chorizo Dip Appetizer This recipe is adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe that I found in a Williams-Sonoma booklet in 2002.  It has been a consistent winner over the years but I got bored with it and decided it needed something …. something to take it up a notch or two.  Hmmm, chorizo! Disclosure:  I am a reluctant fan of chorizo.  Tom loves it, but I don’t like to think about what it is made from, and I also hate cooking with it … too much grease.  But thank goodness for Trader Joe’s.  They sell a delicious soy chorizo (soy chorizo should also be available at your neighborhood grocery store) that has all the … Read more…

Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits  

Bone Appétit! Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits As some of you may know, we have two Pembroke Welsh corgis named Frankie and Remi.  They are brother and sister from the same litter.  We adopted them when they were two years old. They are joyful and exuberant (although they were quite tired on that long drive home seven years ago). As seen in this Vanity Fair piece, corgis are Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dog. They are also super smart and athletic.  Because they are herding dogs, they need to be kept busy.  We have taken many agility classes over the years and even once took them to a ranch in Malibu to herd sheep.  That experience set us back … Read more…

Borough Market Cheese Toastie

Say “Cheese!” Borough Market Cheese Toastie Main Course Having recently returned from our London / Scotland holiday (trip report coming soon!), we were in the mood for the delicious cheese toastie we had at the Kappacasein Stall at the Borough Market in London on a previous trip.  We tried this sandwich on our first excursion to London in 2013.  Tom liked it more than I did, but I changed my mind after trying it again last month.                              Biting into the crunchy, toasted cheese goodness, I realized the addition of leeks and onions made for sheer perfection.  As you can see, Tom’s eating manners have not improved in the past four years. The sign hanging over the Kappacasein stall…          … Read more…

Mom’s Grasshopper Pie

Patience Grasshopper Mom’s Grasshopper Pie Dessert Grasshopper Pie is one of Tom’s childhood favorite desserts.  I make it for him every year on his birthday.  Today, we roll it out early in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, not because it’s Irish, but because it’s green! The easiest way to make this pie is with a 9” pre-made chocolate crumb crust.  However, I find those pre-made crusts aren’t really deep enough to hold the entire recipe.  Not to mention, the tin foil pan does not make for an appetizing picture. For today’s pie, I made the pie crust on the side of the box of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. This is an old-school minty chocolate delicious dessert that will have your … Read more…

Skillet Cornbread with Hatch Chiles & Spicy Cheese with Hatch Chile Honey Butter

Cornbread With A Kick! Skillet Cornbread with Hatch Chiles & Spicy Cheese with Hatch Chile Honey Butter Category: Side Dish One of my favorite things to eat at Bandera’s or Houston’s Restaurants (part of the Hillstone group of restaurants) is their Iron-Skillet Cornbread.  They serve it as an appetizer, but it really could be a meal with a small side salad.   Cheesy rich and yummy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside from baking in the cast-iron skillet.  I was so excited to see the recipe in Bon Appetite  that Tom and I immediately made it, and it was every bit as good as the restaurant. With all the rain Southern California is (finally!) getting, I decided to … Read more…

Limoncello Orange Sugar Cookies

When Life Hands You Lemons and Oranges… Limoncello Orange Sugar Cookies Our next door neighbor, she of the fabulous fig tree, also has an incredible Meyer lemon tree (very pretty) that fortuitously hangs into our yard and provides us with lemons nearly year round.  After reading the recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies in Dorie’s Cookies, I decided to give it a try with Pat’s lemons. I wish you could smell these lemons!  Unlike many of the lemons you buy in the store, these exude the sweetest scent and are really juicy.  To maximize the amount of juice you can get from a lemon, roll it around on the counter with your palm a little bit before squeezing it. If you … Read more…

Steakhouse Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tracy’s “Secret” Recipe Dip Steakhouse Spinach Artichoke Dip There are lots of really good spinach artichoke dip recipes out there.  This one was given to me years ago and allegedly is the “secret” recipe of a famous steakhouse (although the restaurant was never divulged).  This recipe never fails and is a party favorite.  For large parties, I double the recipe and serve it in a crock-pot to keep it warm. The best thing about this dip is it is made ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld and to free up the kitchen and you.  Just bring it to room temperature before baking.   And because there aren’t enough calories and deliciousness in this recipe, next time I am … Read more…

Dorie’s Classic Jammer Cookies

A Hunky “Dorie” Classic Cookie Dorie’s Classic Jammer Cookies In late 2016 you could not pick up a holiday magazine without seeing a cookie recipe by Dorie Greenspan or reading about her new compendium of cookies, “Dorie’s Cookies.”  I had no sooner read a review in the LA Times when Tom was invited by Melissa’s Produce to attend a demonstration featuring Dorie. Despite my Nana’s best efforts, other than the occasional drop cookie and Bundt cake, I am not a baker (nor do I play one on TV).  That having been said, I told Tom to take copious notes and maybe I would give one of these recipes a whirl. Tom came home from Melissa’s Produce with a bag of … Read more…

Italian Wedding Soup With Orzo & Spicy Chicken Meatballs

A Marriage of Pasta and Chicken Italian Wedding Soup With Orzo & Spicy Chicken Meatballs Our New Year’s Eve plans changed at the last minute and as it was an unusually cold and wintry day in Southern California (even rain!), I turned to my favorite cookbook author, Ina Garten, to make her Italian Wedding Soup.  I have made this on numerous occasions and always change it up.  My favorite is to use spicy Italian chicken sausage in the meatballs, pancetta to sauté the veggies and orzo for my pasta.  If you are like me and don’t have the homemade stock on hand, a little trick I like to use is to add 1 t. Better Than Bouillon (reduced sodium) to … Read more…

Tom’s Famous Black Russian Bundt Cake

Simply Irresistible Tom’s Famous Black Russian Bundt Cake Category: Dessert From MaiTaiTom’s Kitchen baby!  Every great chef has his or her Signature Dish. I’m not a great chef nor do I play one on TV, but this is my Signature Dessert, and the reason is because it is so damned easy to make. I’m nothing if not lazy.  Yet with so little effort, this dessert is so incredibly delicious. I was given this recipe in 1981 from Cynthia Salcido (Cynthia, wherever you are…thanks). In looking online I see many Black Russian Cake recipes that only include 1/4 cup of Kahlua and 1/4 quarter cup of vodka.  They also include 3/4 cups of water.  Well, my thought is if you have … Read more…

Apple Of My Eye Soup

Soup With A Peel Apple Of My Eye Soup Category: Main Dish or First Course I love apples, but I must admit that when Tracy said she had a recipe for Apple Soup, I was a tad skeptical. However, once I took the first spoonful, I knew she had concocted a winner.  It’s a perfect dinner for a chilly night.  Heck, it’s a perfect dinner any night.  We happen to use a variety of apple called Envy, and it is the best tasting apple I’ve ever tasted (yes, even better than Honeycrisp).  If they’re in season (and it’s a nearly year-round season now with apples out of the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand) try one, and if you love them … Read more…

Nana’s Old Fashioned Christmas Oatmeal Gumdrop Cookies

Yuletide Treat Nana’s Old Fashioned Christmas Oatmeal Gumdrop Cookies Recipe Type: Cookies This cookie recipe recently made it into the top 10 in the Los Angeles Times 2016 Holiday Cookie Bake-Off Competition. The results are not yet in as to the winner, but as December 4th is National Cookie Day we are sharing this recipe with you now…. It was mid-November and the Christmas candy was out in every store, but no gumdrops!  I spent an entire Sunday afternoon driving around looking for gumdrops to make my Nana’s Old Fashioned Christmas Oatmeal Gumdrop cookies.  Apparently, this candy has fallen out of favor (at least in our neighborhood).  At home, I jumped online and discovered that gumdrops come in various blends.  Who … Read more…

Pumpkin Pie Spice Vanilla Vodka Martini

Spicing Up The Holidays! Pumpkin Pie Spice Vanilla Vodka Martini Recipe Type: Cocktail To help you get through the upcoming Thanksgiving and holiday season, MaiTaiTracy’s Kitchen is rolling out a Pumpkin Pie Spice Vanilla Vodka Martini recipe sure to ease the way.  This recipe was shared by a friend a few years ago, and a quick review of the online recipes show several variations including your choice of vodka or rum and whether to include actual pumpkin.  Although adding actual pumpkin to your cocktail would give you a good dose of fiber, I think for ease of mixing and clean-up this recipe works better. Thank to Tom running into a pretty woman selling Irish Cream Liqueur, we tried one with … Read more…

Cinnamon Pear Jam

A Pair Of Pear Jams (Part 2) Cinnamon Pear Jam While the Pear Vanilla jam was cooling, I turned to using the remainder of the pears for Food in Jars’ Pear Cinnamon jam. If these two recipes are any indication, be sure to check out Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars blog for lots of good recipe ideas! I love cinnamon and usually am of the opinion that more is better so I was torn between using just ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick or both. Reviews of various recipes seemed to think it was better to go light on the cinnamon so as not to overwhelm the pears. I decided to go with the original recipe using 1 tablespoon. Also, … Read more…

Vanilla Pear Jam

A Pair Of Pear Jams (Part One) Vanilla Pear Jam Sadly, fig season is over, but I remain smitten with jamming.   Recently I read an article featuring food blogger Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars.  Not only did I learn lots about canning but I was inspired to try her recipes for Pear Vanilla jam and Pear Cinnamon jam.  I would love to attend one of Marisa’s canning classes but Pennsylvania is a tad too far, maybe if Tom and I ever get around to doing our Philadelphia trip I can talk him into adding some time for me to take a class or two. On to the jams …I took a trip to my local market in search of … Read more…

Creamed Corn and Pancetta Orzo

Corn To Be Wild! Creamed Corn and Pancetta Orzo Side or Main Dish: From the Tracy’s Kitchen archives, here is a recipe that I first came across in Bon Appétit magazine and it was our Recipe of the Year for 2008.  I have made this periodically over the years and had forgotten how really good it is.  Of course, I had to amp it up with the addition of Pancetta (Pancetta could be one of my all-time favorite ingredients).  To save some time you can use a bag of frozen sweet corn, but fresh picked summer corn is hard to beat. We paired this with a BBQ Tri Tip, an arugula salad and Skillet Corn Bread I made using Hatch … Read more…

Strawberry Grand Marnier Fig Jam

Ain’t It Grand! Strawberry Grand Marnier Fig Jam After the success of the Boozy Bourbon Vanilla Fig Jam, I was inspired to try another jam recipe also including a potent potable (Strawberry Grand Marnier Fig Jam).   It was a good thing too, because as I was making the jam I looked out the kitchen window to see a family of raccoons helping themselves to all the fruit from the top of the tree!  If they clean out the tree, this may be the last batch of fig jam I make this season. While researching strawberry jam recipes, many people mentioned that the jam sometimes would get foamy.  I did not experience that, but if you do be sure to … Read more…

Boozy Bourbon, Vanilla and Fig Jam

We’re Jammin’ Boozy Bourbon, Vanilla and Fig Jam Our neighbor has a gorgeous fig tree that fortuitously hangs into our yard (as does her luscious lemon tree).  Never having been a big fig fan, each year I would pick them to take to the office where they are scooped up like hotcakes and, I am told, are delicious. After a friend shared Jill Silverman Hough’s Drunken Fig Jam recipe with me, I decided to give it a try with this year’s crop.  The original recipe appeared in the October 2008 issue of Bon Appetit and calls for brandy although I read reviews of people using sherry, white port and other liquors.  We (that would be me, although Tom did do … Read more…

Some Like It Hot Chicken Enchiladas with Hatch Chile Sauce

Scrumptious South Of The Border Enchiladas Some Like It Hot Chicken Enchiladas with Hatch Chile Sauce Tom Preface:  (About five years ago…when I was gainfully employed…I conducted an interview with my friend Robert at Melissa’s Produce.  I asked him what was new, and he replied, “Well, it’s almost Hatch Chile season.” I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.  Some reporter I was!  Robert went on to say that fresh Hatch chiles from New Mexico…grown in the Hatch Valley…were hitting retailers the second week of August…the season is a short one…and he was nice enough to provide us with a box.  They come in “mild” and “hot,” and, of course I went for the hot. Well, that day … Read more…

Grandma Moore’s Baked Beans

A Magical Side Dish Grandma Moore’s Baked Beans Category:  Side Dish Beans, beans, the magical fruit …. not sure if these beans are magical but they sure are good!  This recipe comes to Tracy’s Kitchen from subscriber Kevin’s Grandma.  However, the recipe might actually be magical as Kevin’s Grandpa recently turned 103 (… hmmm, we will have to ask what is the secret to his longevity, it may very well be this delicious concoction).  Grandma, who is 96, uses baked beans in tomato sauce, but we decided on utilizing Bush’s Homestyle Beans (which were delicious) in this version.  The other great thing about this recipe is it is even better the next day. Ingredients: 6 slices, thick cut bacon, diced … Read more…

Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho Soup

The Perfect Summer Soup Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho Soup Category: Soup While traveling in Spain in 2015, I ordered many versions of gazpacho, and while some were better than others, none were made with watermelon.  When I saw this recipe in Fine Cooking I was intrigued.   Recently we fired up the BBQ and grilled up some watermelon.  The results were delicious, and Tom has declared it his new favorite summer soup (which is amazing as he claims to hate cucumbers!). After following the original directions, I had left over watermelon and cucumber, but no actual gazpacho left over, so I have increased the ingredients a tad  to use up all the ingredients and yield more servings.   With regard to the watermelon, … Read more…

Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam

Bringing Home The Bacon (Burger) Bacon Burgers with Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam Category: Main Course WOW… what more can you say about this recipe we found in the Fine Cooking Grilling 2016 issue?   We think we make pretty, darn tasty burgers, but this recipe blew them all away and is well worth the effort (actually, pretty minimal effort) of making the Bacon-Onion-Balsamic Jam.  Of course, if bacon is not your thing (subscriber Burt, you may now leave the room) then this recipe isn’t for you.  Be sure to use a high quality, thick cut bacon.  We used Trader Joe’s Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon. Ingredients…FOR THE JAM: 4 thick slices Applewood-smoked bacon cut crosswise into ½ inch strips 1 large red onion, halved … Read more…

Cauliflower, Fennel & Celery Root Soup

Triple-header Soup Cauliflower, Fennel & Celery Root Soup Category: Soup I’m not quite sure why this recipe called to me to give it a try; but I love fennel and it is an Ina Garten recipe (from Make It Ahead), and the Barefoot Contessa rarely fails me.  To begin with, I had to Google an image of celery root as I didn’t know what it was and do not recall ever seeing it in the store.  But this is beyond delicious and fairly easy to make.  It only has 2 tablespoons cream so it is also low calorie, can be made ahead and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.  Yummy! (Tom’s note: “another … Read more…

Divine Orange Sherbet Jello

The Dish That Helped Save My Life Divine Orange Sherbet Jello This is the ultimate comfort food from your grandmother’s generation.  It is also Tom’s favorite and was an integral part in his recovery from his 105-day hospitalization in 2010, as it was one of the few foods he would eat.  It was a childhood favorite of our friend, Susan, who made vats of this to aid in his recovery.  Jello and orange sherbet…what’s not to like?  By the way, it’s perfect for that Easter (or any day) brunch! Ingredients: 1 large package orange Jello 1 can mandarin orange slices, drained 1 pint orange sherbet 2 c. boiling water                                                   … Read more…

Chocolate Orange Mousse

A Valentine Dessert From The Heart Chocolate Orange Mousse Category: Dessert Ina Garten, aka the Barefoot Contessa, is my absolute favorite chef.  When you make a Barefoot Contessa recipe you know it is going to be good.   Plus, this one has the three elements I look for in a recipe:  (1) worth the effort; (2) can be made ahead or made so you aren’t spending all your time in the kitchen away from your guests; and (3) not too complicated or expensive. When I first started cooking, I tried a scallop recipe from Martha Stewart (remember the Tiffany blue cookbook from the 80s?).  To this day, if you ask Tom what the worse recipe I ever made,  he says it … Read more…

Mai Tai Kevin’s Award Winning Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Crock Pot Turkey Chili Mai Tai Kevin’s Award Winning Crock Pot Turkey Chili Category: Main Dish Tom’s friend Kevin (aka “The Big Kahuna”) and co-owner of Mai Tai Studios…Your Recording Paradise…has graciously shared his award winning chili recipe.  Kevin has entered the annual chili contest in Canoga Park, California, for several years, and this past year came away with the trophy!  Way to go Kevin!!! Ingredients: 1 lb. Jenny-O Ground Turkey (lean, not extra lean) 2 cans Chili Beans 1 can Kidney Beans (rinse in cold water) 1 can Petite Diced Tomatoes 1 small can of corn (drained, not rinsed) 2 Yellow Chili Peppers, seeds removed and diced 1 Jalapeño Pepper, diced (leave the seeds in for an extra kick) … Read more…

Steak, Chipotle & Black Bean Chili

Some Like It (Really) Hot Chili Steak, Chipotle & Black Bean Chili Category:  Main Dish This is our go to chili when the frozen tundra of winter hits Southern California (or when the calendar says it is winter, otherwise how would we know? Seriously, it is supposed to be 80 later this week). I have listed the ingredients for those of you without a Trader Joe’s. For those of you with a Trader Joe’s, we use their Cuban Style Black Beans (with green peppers and garlic), Diced and Fire Roasted Tomatoes (with green chiles), the canned or the frozen Hatch chiles; and last, but not least, Trader Joe’s frozen garlic cubes and frozen trio of peppers.  It makes for such … Read more…

Cajun Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Sauce

That’s A Fact Jack! Cajun Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Sauce Category: Dessert This is my most requested dessert for Christmas parties.  I have no idea why it is called Cajun Bread Pudding, but I do seem to recall it came out of a New Orleans-style cook book, and that Jack Daniels sauce really “kicks it up a notch.”   A 9 x 12 x 4 baking dish works best for this dessert.  When I double the recipe for a party, I use a large tin foil roasting pan.                           This is not really a make ahead dessert as it is best served warm right out of the oven, but if you assemble all the ingredients ahead of time it is … Read more…

NYC Salted Caramel Martini

A Martini Worth Its Salt NYC Salted Caramel Martini Category: Cocktail Here’s a “go-to” drink for your next holiday soirée!  While in New York, Tracy and I stopped by the Bryant Park Grill for a bite to eat.  On the menu was a Salted Caramel Martini, which sounded like the perfect dessert.                                                 At $15 a pop, Tracy and I shared our martini because we had already spent our yearly salary during the first few days in NYC. The martini was well worth the money, and upon returning home we “experimented” with perfecting the recipe (hey, it’s a tough job, but someone needs to do it).  As it turns out, the simplest recipe turned out to be the best.  Plus … Read more…

Tuscan Tom’s Perfect Pumpkin Risotto

Just In Time For The Holidays Tuscan Tom’s Perfect Pumpkin Risotto Category: Side or Main Dish Here is a recipe that Tom and I sent out with our Christmas cards in 2005 having deemed it “Tuscan Tom’s Recipe of the Year.”  We had just returned from a three-week vacation to Umbria, Tuscany, Venice and Rome, so we were in an Italian state of mind.                               We made this again this past weekend, and it’s as good (or better) than we recalled and, more importantly, even worth the two-day effort of making it. Just a couple of notes…with regard to the rice, we have tried many brands and it does make a difference.  If you are using Arborio rice, we like … Read more…

Meat Loaf With A Kick

Comfort Food Extraordinaire Meat Loaf With A Kick Category: Main Dish While lying on the floor with a bad back watching daytime TV last week (a sad tale of water conservation gone awry), I came upon Chef Jeff Mauro making meatloaf on a show called The Kitchen.  Tom happened to be walking through right then and chimed in, “Meatloaf is my favorite!” “What?”  I’ve known Tom for 25 years, been married for 21 and never once in all those years did he tell me meatloaf is his favorite comfort food.  In fact, I have never in my life made a meatloaf (I do, however, make a pretty good Shepard’s Pie).   Now that I am back on my feet again, … Read more…

Sweet Summer Corn Soup

Fresh Off The Cob Sweet Summer Corn Soup Category:  Soup Sure it’s autumn, but in Southern California it’s summer all year long (almost).  I asked Tracy to make this soup after seeing a recipe in the Los Angeles Times from a chef named Gavin Kaysen.   She thought it was going to be really bland and had to force herself to restrain from adding any extra spices.  Once we tasted the final product, we were very glad we tried it (mostly) as written.  It was pure, silky corn goodness.   Enjoy!                                                   Ingredients: 1 stick unsalted butter 1 cup. thinly sliced leeks, whites only (1 medium leek) ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion (1 medium onion) 2 cloves garlic, minced 4 … Read more…

Supremely Lemon Bundt Cake

Lemon Heaven Supremely Lemon Bundt Cake Category: Dessert A co-worker shared this recipe with me.  The secret here is the Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake mix and the apricot juice.  It is perfect for Spring, especially as our neighbor’s lemon tree overhangs our driveway full of the sweetest lemons ever.  It is both delicious and easy, exactly what we want at Tracy’s Kitchen.                                 Ingredients: Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake Mix 1/2 c. sugar 1 c. apricot juice (we used Kern’s Apricot Nectar in the can) 3/4 c. vegetable oil 2 t. lemon oil (we used McNess Pure Lemon Oil from Williams Sonoma, but lemon extract works well too) zest of one fresh lemon 4 eggs at room temperature                                    … Read more…

Gruyère Mac & Cheese

Swiss Cheesy Gruyère Mac & Cheese Category: Main Dish When Tracy and I visited Switzerland (Gruyères to be exact), it started pouring down rain in the late morning after visiting the chateau, so we ducked inside a little restaurant for lunch. On the menu was an incredible Gruyère Macaroni and Cheese dish I have tried to replicate for the past 12 years (constantly evolving). This one is pretty close, and on a cold evening, it is the perfect dinner. Be careful, however, after two helpings you might have the urge to yodel! Ingredients : 12 – 14 ounces of Grated Gruyère Cheese 5 large Shallots, diced 12 – 16 ounces of Pancetta, chopped 12 ounces Small Elbow Macaroni 1 cup Milk … Read more…

Roasted Carrots and Oranges With Cumin

A Colorful Side Dish Roasted Carrots and Oranges With Cumin Category: Side Dish Tracy continued on the carrot/cumin kick with this recipe that she originally saw in the Los Angeles Times (you see, newspapers are still good for some things).  This is her continuation of a plan attempting to make me eat healthier.  So far…so good.                                      Tracy said about the dish, “This was a delicious surprise as I never had roasted oranges before.  The oranges caramelized while cooking and were excellent.  I used a combination of fresh carrots from the farmers’ market with a bag of Organic Carrots of Many Colors from Trader Joe’s…love the purple and yellow ones.                                   “Also, we love … Read more…

Bath Soup

Bath Soup Sally Lunn’s Carrot, Lentil & Cumin Soup Category:  Soup A couple of years ago Tracy and I traveled to Bath in jolly old England.  Located in that famous town (which I highly recommend you visit) is a famed tea and eating house by the name of Sally Lunn’s.  According to its website:  “Our kitchen museum is believed to originally have been the bakery of the young Huguenot baker (today our namesake patron) who created the first Bath bun: a regional speciality now known the world over.”   It would have been a nice place to stop in. One problem: I had never heard of Sally Lunn’s before we left, so it was never on our radar.  Fortunately, Tracy … Read more…

Not Just for Breakfast Veggies, Eggs & Chorizo Hash Browns

Anytime Meal Not Just for Breakfast Veggies, Eggs & Chorizo Hash Browns Category:  Breakfast…or Lunch…or Dinner After a long day, there are times you just can’t figure out what you want for dinner.   OK, it happens to us a lot.  It’s on those nights that we often tend to gravitate off the dinner grid toward making something that might be another person’s breakfast dish. This one has been a winner each time Tracy makes it…I usually end up eating ¾ of it. I love chorizo…Tracy does not.  Tracy does like soy chorizo (I believe she doesn’t like what it is made from), and truthfully I can’t tell the difference.  You can reheat this dish in the morning for breakfast, however … Read more…

Maitai Tracy’s Kumquat Infused Vodka

Homemade Booze…KumQuat May Maitai Tracy’s Kumquat Infused Vodka Category: Cocktail The old adage says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Sure, but what if life (actually a dwarf tree in our backyard) gives you kumquats? Why make vodka, of course. Near the end of February, Tracy and I picked as many kumquats as we could off that little tree and, over a martini, decided to attempt making a Kumquat Infused Vodka. The difficult part of this experiment was that we would have to wait a long, long time until this concoction came to fruition, and waiting is not my forte…but wait we did. See what the verdict is below. Preparation: 1 1/2 month minimum (I suggest drinking to help … Read more…

Arugula, Watermelon & Mint Salad

Summer Salad Fit For A Queen Arugula, Watermelon & Mint Salad Category: Side Dish Tracy and I were looking for a tasty, refreshing side dish to accompany our “Risotto Balsamico” on a warm Southern California evening last weekend. This recipe calls for arugula, watermelon, fresh mint, feta cheese along with an Italian, olive oil, balsamic dressing, and it turned out wonderful. I could even envision making a meal out of this. We like to use the Dulcinea PureHeart® Mini-Seedless Watermelons (perfect every time) and North Shore Living Herbs® Mint, by far the best tasting mint out there. As you can see above, this salad is fit for a Queen (and her Corgi), even if they are solar powered.                    Ingredients: … Read more…

Coeur à la Crème avec Raspberries

You Gotta Have Heart Coeur à la Crème avec Raspberries Category: Dessert In Tracy’s notes, it just says, “OMG!” Yes, I think we liked it. This is a variation of a variation. The Barefoot Contessa used Anne Pump’s recipe with a few little twists, and Tracy changed up Ina’s recipe a little. This is another dessert that will leave your guests saying, “WOW,” or even “OMG.” As far as the calories, it’s best not to ask. Ingredients: 1 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar 2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Paste Zest Of 1 Lemon Seeds Scraped from 2 Vanilla Beans 1 Pint Fresh Raspberries Raspberry Sauce Ingredients 1 Pint Fresh Raspberries 1/2 Cup Sugar 1 Cup Seedless Raspberry … Read more…

Pasta Roma

Exceeding Pastabilities Pasta Roma Category: Main Dish Here’s a recipe that its roots from an incredible Cacio e Pepe that we had in Roma in 2009 at a Trastevere establishment called Le Mani In Pasta. When we returned home, we used the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Oilo as the base but over time have changed it up a tad and come up with this very tasty pasta treat. Ingredients: 1 Pound Dried Pasta (Spaghetti…or we prefer Thin Linguini) 1/3 Cup Olive Oil 8 Large Garlic Cloves, cut into thin slivers (we use frozen Trader Joes Garlic Cubes) ½ Tablespoon (or more) Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 3/4 Pound Prosciutto, chopped 1 Bunch Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves 1 ½ … Read more…

Chicken Avec Morels

Classy Chicken Chicken Avec Morels Category: Main Dish Stolen from The Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot In Paris cookbook (with a few variations), this is the perfect dinner party main course when you have those pesky guests who don’t eat red meat. As a matter of fact, it is so good that Tracy made this dish twice over the holidays. For those of you have not cooked with Morels, they are a mushroom that to me almost tastes like meat, and more expensive than most meat. One ounce of these little guys cost nearly 25 bucks. In the end, the cost was more than worth it. Très Délicieux! Ingredients: 1 ounce Dried Morels, soaked for 30 minutes in 3 Cups very Hot … Read more…

Tiramisú al Limoncello

A Taste of Sorrento Tiramisú al Limoncello Category: Dessert A great dessert made with everyone’s favorite…Limoncello. Who could ask for anything more? This recipe is from a cookbook by Tanya Bastianich Manuali and Lidia Matticchio Bastianich. It takes some time to prepare, but boy is it worth it!! Ingredients : 5 large eggs 5 or 6 lemons 1 cup sugar 1 1/2 cups limoncello liqueur 1 cup water 1 pound (2 cups) Mascarpone, at room temperature 40 ladyfingers (preferably imported Italian savoiardi), or more as needed Equipment: A double boiler (we had a makeshift one), with a large stainless-steel bowl and a wide saucepan to hold it; a large flexible wire whisk; a shallow-rimmed pan for moistening the savoiardi with … Read more…

Tom’s Favorite Enchiladas topped with Great Guacamole

Ole! Tom’s Favorite Enchiladas topped with Great Guacamole Category: Main Dish I think if it ever came down to what I would want for a last meal (hopefully I’ll never be on death row), Tracy’s incredible cheese enchiladas would probably top the list. Spicy and extra cheesy, this dish never fails to satisfy. Ingredients (Enchiladas): 16 Ounce Container Cottage Cheese 1 Bunch Green Onions (sliced)) 2 Cups Shredded Habanero Cheese (Cabot makes a great one) 1 Small Can Dice Jalapeño chiles 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregeno White Pepper (to taste) Corn Tortillas 1 Pound, 12-Ounce Can Las Palmas Enchilada Sauce – Spicy Fresh Chives, Sliced Fleur de Sel and White Pepper (to taste) Ingredients (Guacamole): 4 Avocados (Ripe) 1 Bunch Green … Read more…

Spring Risotto

A Taste Of Italy Spring Risotto Category: Side Dish or Main Dish Our trips to Italy have been the downfall of our waistlines. One Italian dish I can never get enough of is risotto, and this recipe is perfect as a side dish with a nice steak or as a meal unto itself. Although it says “Spring” Risotto, this dish is perfect for any season. Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons Butter 1 Bunch Green Onions (white only – leeks or shallots also work well) 1 Cup Arborio Rice (we are partial to Ferrara in the blue box) 1 Cup Dry White Wine 4 Cups Low Salt Chicken Broth 2 Cara Cara Oranges (if unavailable use orange with sweeter skin) 2 Tablespoons Mascarpone … Read more…

Mousse jaune citron fraîche

Sweet Lemon Treat Mousse jaune citron fraîche Category: Dessert The Barefoot Contessa strikes again (with a little variation from Chef Tracy), this time with a dessert that is as addictive as it is delicious. It’s best you not determine how many calories are in this dish, but just savor the flavor. As the contessa says, “freshly squeezed lemon juice is an essential element,” and thankfully our neighbor has a tree that produces some of the sweetest lemons we have ever tasted. Ingredients: 3 Extra Large Whole Eggs 3 Extra Large Whole Eggs, separated 1 Cup Sugar (plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar) Grated Lemon Zest from 2 Lemons 1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (4 Lemons) Kosher Salt 1 Cup Heavy Cream … Read more…

Uncle Bill’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Hot Off The Griddle:  Dad’s Favorite Pancakes Uncle Bill’s Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes Category: Breakfast On those special Sunday mornings when I was a kid (or an adult), my dad would mess up the kitchen and make these incredible pancakes that are light as a feather. Now I’m messing up the kitchen making my favorite breakfast item. Thanks dad!! (I’m including blueberries, but they are delicious on their own as well) Ingredients (Serves 6 easily. For two people, halve the recipe) 6 Eggs 2 Cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour 2/3 Teaspoon Salt 4 Teaspoons Brown Sugar 5 Teaspoons Sugar (Sugar Substitute works, too) 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda 2 Cups Buttermilk 5 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil 2 Pints Blueberries Zest … Read more…

Singing Gondolier (aka Sgroppino)

A Refreshing Venetian After-Dinner Refreshment Singing Gondolier (aka Sgroppino) Category: After-Dinner Drink Tracy and I were told about this Venetian after-dinner drink by a drunk Brit (you can always trust a drunk Brit) when we stayed at the Pension Calcina in Venice back in 2005. Over the past five years we have tried to perfect it to fit our taste, and the following recipe is our favorite variation. It’s also a good brunch concoction or a refreshing cocktail on a warm afternoon. Hell, it’s good anytime! Ingredients: 2 Cups (16 ounces) softened Lemon Sorbet 1/4 Cup Vodka 1/3 Cup Prosecco 4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream 1 Egg White Limoncello Recipe Directions: Chill four to six Champagne Flutes In blender, mix Sorbet … Read more…

Steak au Wonderful

Barefoot In The Kitchen Steak au Wonderful Category: Main Dish Very rarely does Tracy ever strictly stay with the exact recipe. She likes to add her own flair (and usually something very hot) to the original ingredients. This is the one recipe that she stays strictly on point, because nobody makes Steak au Poivre like the one and only Barefoot Contessa. Ingredients: 6 filet mignon, cut 1 1/4 inches thick 
Kosher salt (or Fleur del sel if available) 
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper 
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided 
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 
3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots) 
1 cup canned beef broth 
1/2 cup good Cognac or brandy Recipe Directions: Place the filets on … Read more…

Picard Martini

A Cocktail That Is Simply Out Of This World! Picard Martini Category: Cocktail I originally was going to call this martini the Star Trek: Next Generation, however I decided on the shorter name because I learned this recipe from a friend named Patrick Stuart (not spelled exactly like the actor who played Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard, but certainly close enough for cocktail names). Ingredients: Mint (North Shore Living Herbs Mint, if possible), Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur (with VSOP Cognac), one large Lemon, Bitters, Sugar and Cayenne Pepper. Recipe Directions: Muddle 10 – 12 Mint Leaves in the bottom of a Martini Shaker
.  After muddling, pour in 3 – 3 1/2 ounces French Ginger Liqueur
.  Squeeze in the juice … Read more…