Mushroom Leek Gruyère Soup with Puff Pastry Top

Chase The Winter Chill Away Soup Mushroom Leek Gruyère Soup with Puff Pastry Top Soup and Salad As soon as the calendar said it was winter, Tom started begging me to make soup. Mushroom Leek Gruyère Soup is a recipe I haven’t made in some time, but it is a yummy, hardy, delicious, chase the winter chill away soup. Plus, it is just as good with or without the puff pastry top. I found this recipe in a 2001 Holiday Cooking magazine, and I pretty much make the recipe as indicated. The recipe does not specify which type of mushroom to use, but we like Cremini mushrooms which are brown and have a slightly nutty flavor. Buy your mushrooms whole, … Read more…

Emeril’s Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip

Creole Crab Emeril’s Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip Starter Just in time for your New Year’s Eve soirée! This elegant, creamy hot crab dip from Emeril is just what you need to nibble with champagne. Tom’s nephew brought this dip to Thanksgiving many, many years ago. It was so AMAZING, and I loved it so much, that he bought me Emeril’s Creole Christmas cookbook as a gift that same year (although the dip recipe is not in there, there are lots of yummy recipes and menu ideas). It must have been 1997 as that was the year the cookbook came out. Emeril is practically unrecognizable!                                 … Read more…

Chicken with Morels

Elegant Dinner Party Dish Chicken with Morels Main Courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook (with a few variations), here is an elegant, delectable chicken dish for any celebration. For those of you have not experienced Morels, they are earthy and meaty, but unfortunately, they are more expensive than most meat. One ounce of these little guys will set you back nearly 25 bucks. Sadly, for me, they happen to be about the only mushroom Tom will eat.We usually host Christmas Eve dinner, and this is one of my go-to dishes that never fails to impress. I serve it with Crispy English Potatoes with Pancetta and Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Parmesan Panko Crumbs. A simple … Read more…

Cajun Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Sauce

The Proof is in The (Bread) Pudding Cajun Bread Pudding with Jack Daniels Sauce Dessert This Cajun Bread Pudding is one of the most requested desserts at our holiday parties. It is tied for popularity with Tom’s Famous Black Russian Cake, both of which are easy to make and guaranteed to Wow! your friends and family.  Tom always dresses up for the parties. If you Google bread pudding recipes you will get 177 MILLION results! So why should you give mine a whirl? Because the combination of the raisins and cinnamon in a moist, custard-like interior together with the Jack Daniels sauce remind me of an adult version of cinnamon rolls. Yum, yum, yum! I have been making this recipe … Read more…

Barefoot Contessa’s Crispy English Potatoes with Pancetta

Perfect Potatoes! Barefoot Contessa’s Crispy English Potatoes with Pancetta Side From Ina Garten’s FOOLPROOF, here is our absolute FAVORITE potato recipe! My notes in the cookbook say, “Holy Moly, these are perfect!”  They are so easy to make that I serve them year-round. Golden, crispy, crunchy oven-roasted baby potatoes with pancetta and a sprinkling of chopped parsley or chives make for one of the best side dishes we’ve ever tasted.                                                     I prefer either baby Yukon Golds (try Melissa’s Baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes) or fingerling potatoes. If you use a larger potato cut them so … Read more…

Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Star Anise

“Deliciously Decadent” Soup Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque with Star Anise Soup In Tom’s prior life (the one where he earned money … I miss those days), he wrote for a number of magazines. Every January, one of the associations he worked with held what could only be called an extravaganza. In the beginning they were formal affairs, but more recently they had a theme, and were held at various venues around Southern California. We have been attending these events since 1990, and I have a closet full of evening gowns to prove it! (This photo is from 2009.) And, here is a photo from the year Tom won the costume contest!  It seems like only … Yesterday. At the Dinner … Read more…

The Bomber’s Best Ever Oatmeal Spice Cookies

Chewy and Crunchy! The Bomber’s Best Ever Oatmeal Spice Cookies Dessert On a recent visit to our friends Kim and Mary, we walked into the aroma of something just out of the oven. I could detect hints of cinnamon and cloves and thought it might be a pumpkin pie (maybe that’s because it was so close to Halloween) …                                       … but was pleasantly surprised to learn Kim was baking a batch of his mom’s oatmeal cookies. Wow! Chewy and crispy at the same time, full of subtle spice flavor, these are not your usual thick, bland oatmeal cookie. The Bomber is … Read more…

Corn and Clam Chowder

corn and clam chowder

Yell A Little Loudah For My New Favorite Chowdah! Corn and Clam Chowder Soup As the long hot summer faded away to autumn, I was looking around for inspiration when I came across this chowder recipe from Boston chef Matthew Jennings. Once I read it included bacon, corn, and jalapeño, I was in! Chef Jennings uses fresh littleneck clams in his recipe and includes instructions on steaming them (in recipe link at bottom). I took the less expensive and easier route and went with canned minced clams. After making this the first time, I felt it needed more clams and used three cans rather than the two shown in the ingredient photo. Here’s a tip for cutting the corn off … Read more…

Spanish-Style Shrimp

Spanish Style Shrimp … The Flay Way Spanish-Style Shrimp Main I finally broke down and purchased Bobby Flay’s most recent cookbook, Bobby at Home: Fearless Flavors From My Kitchen.  Although we watch him all the time on Food Network, this is the first cookbook of his I have tried. I’ve made several recipes from this book. Bobby uses a ton of ingredients especially spices, some of which home cooks (like me) might not have on hand. It’s almost like he has a restaurant pantry at his disposal! The first thing I made was a batch of Pickled Red Onions. Bobby’s secret ingredient? Grenadine. I also whipped up a jar of pickled chiles, although Tom thought they were a tad too … Read more…

Roasted Yellow Pepper and Feta Dip

Roasted Yellow Pepper Feta Dip

Taking A Dip Roasted Yellow Pepper and Feta Dip Starter Before I met Tom, I had a roommate who didn’t particularly like to cook. It was great because she did want to do the dishes, which worked out perfectly! The one thing Colleen did make was an excellent roasted yellow pepper dip, which she served with crunchy veggies. This creamy dip only has three ingredients (plus seasonings), comes together quickly, and only gets better the next day. A couple of tips: Don’t use “less fat” cream cheese or “reduced fat” feta cheese, because the dip will be dry. Buy the feta cheese in a block in brine (not marinated). Crumbled feta has additives in it to prevent it from clumping … Read more…