Butterscotch Pots de Crème with Bourbon Whipped Cream & Toffee Bits

Crunchy Delight in Every Bite Butterscotch Pots de Crème with Bourbon Whipped Cream & Toffee Bits Dessert: There are some holidays when it is easier to stay at home and cook.  In my opinion, Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays.  I made this recipe from Betty Rosbottom’s Soup Nights (my favorite soup chef!) for Christmas Eve.  It is make-ahead (which I love) and it was fabulous.  So much so, I decided to make this for Valentine’s Day.  The recipe serves six which ensures there will be leftovers.  Rich, creamy butterscotch deliciousness topped with a dollop of Bourbon Whipped Cream and a pinch of crumbled toffee bits.  Yum…. Skor candy bars make an excellent toffee topping although Almond Roca or … Read more…

Tiffany’s Cream Cheese & Cheddar Cheese Toast (and Dip!)

The Cheesiest! Tiffany’s Cream Cheese & Cheddar Cheese Toast (and Dip!) Appetizer: Ok, here is probably the easiest recipe I have ever posted, courtesy of my sister-in-law, Tiffany.  We have been making this recipe for years, um, decades, and it never fails to please.  I have also used this as a stuffing for mushrooms (brush mushroom caps with olive oil, fill and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted). Or, you can even just bake the cheese spread in a small skillet or oven proof dish until bubbling and use crostinis or sturdy crackers as a dipper.  (Bake uncovered at 400°F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling, let cool before serving.)  If not serving … Read more…

Ham, Cheese & Potato Soup

Amy’s Soup Ham, Cheese & Potato Soup Appetizer or Main As some of you may know, I lost my mom earlier this year.  A few days after Christmas, she had a heart attack.  I flew up to take care of her and made a pot of soup with her left-over Christmas Honey Baked Ham.  Using Yukon Gold potatoes with lots of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese it made for a comforting, make you feel better, pot of soup.  We had a big, steaming bowl for my belated birthday.  (Editor’s Note: Amy had no dietary restrictions).  I made this again recently at home, hoping that it really was as delicious as I remembered.  I would have hated for my mom’s last meal … Read more…

Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Apple Cider Cinnamon Glaze

Sweet Breakfast Treat Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Apple Cinnamon Glaze Breakfast: When I was growing up, my Nana made cinnamon rolls every year for breakfast on Christmas morning.  They were terrific.  I asked about the recipe once, and she replied, “Sissy, that is what they make bakeries for!”  At this point, I had shown no interest in baking, so I’m not sure if she thought it would be beyond my skill set or if she was just tired of getting up before the crack of dawn to make cinnamon rolls. Because Tom and I host Christmas Eve dinner, we have always left the Christmas day festivities to his sister.   Tom’s sister, Deanna, passed away earlier this year leaving … Read more…

Pignoli Cookies with Orange and Rosemary

Taste of Italy Cookies Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies with Orange and Rosemary As indicated by the last couple of recipes here in Mai Tai Tracy’s Kitchen, our recent trip to Italy has inspired me to cook Italian!   My absolute favorite cookie on our first trip to Italy in 2001 was the pignoli (pine nut) cookies we had in Siena.  I could live on those cookies, but I had forgotten about them over the years until I tasted them again at our B&B in Orta San Giulio.  Upon returning home, I came across a recipe in the 2009 issue of Better Homes & Gardens Ultimate Italian that was ridiculously easy with only four ingredients.  The recipe reminds me of my favorite … Read more…

Italian Blue Goat Cheese Risotto and Xocopili Chocolate

Remarkable Risotto Risotto with Italian Blue Goat Cheese and Xocopili Chocolate Category: Appetizer or Main Dish We saved one of our best meals for last on our 2018 Italian trip.  On our final night in Orta San Giulio, we enjoyed a stupendous risotto made with blue goat cheese, candied walnuts and shaved Xocopili chocolate (Risotto all’erborinato di capra della Val Vigezzo, cioccolato Xocopili e noci caramellate).  Wow! That was that good risotto!  We stayed at the incredible Bed & Breakfast Al Dom on the shores of Orta San Giulio with a private garden at the edge of the lake and views across to the L’Osola del Silenzio (Island of Silence).  Below is our little Al Dom “picnic area.”     … Read more…

Apple and Snickers Salad

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This! Apple and Snickers Salad Dessert A few years ago, I read an article in the NY Times regarding the most distinct recipes searched for online in each state around Thanksgiving.  Being born and raised in California, many (who am I kidding?) … most of the recipes I had never heard of — Frog Eye Salad, Pig Pickin Cake, Dirt Pudding, you get the picture.  The big winner in South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska was Snickers Salad. (In case you were wondering, Persimmon Bread was the winner here in California.) So what is a Snickers Salad?  It’s a combination of chopped Snickers candy bars, apples and whipped topping.  YUM, and what a great way to use … Read more…

Bucatini Aglio e Olio

Pasta Perfetta Bucatini Aglio e Olio Main Dish Having just returned from a three week trip to Italy, we are still craving pasta, and our favorite pasta recipe is Bucatini Aglio e Olio. (Here are a couple of teaser photos from the upcoming trip report … The roof of Duomo di Milano and our hometown of La Morra in the Piemente wine country).                       .   Upon our return from our Christmas week 2009 journey to Rome, we started making the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, which is made with garlic (aglio), olive oil (olio), red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese. We make this all the time … Read more…

Mai Tai Upside-Down Skillet Cake with Hatch Chiles and Pineapple

skillet pineapple upside down cake Edible Mai Tai Mai Tai Skillet Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Hatch Chiles  Dessert: As Hatch chile season drew to a close, my mind was humming on how to use the Melissa’s Extra Hot Chiles we had grilled for the Hatch Chile Butterscotch Blondies.  We made some Hatch Chile hamburgers for dinner one night and when I opened a jar of my Caramelized Pineapple & Ghost Pepper Salsa, a pineapple upside-down cake popped into my mind.  Caramelized Hatch chiles and pineapple?  You bet!  I have not had Pineapple upside-down cake since I was probably in kindergarten.  My mom used to make it in a cast iron skillet.  I whipped one up, but it was kind of bland.  The cake just wasn’t … Read more…

Hatch Chile, Butterscotch & Pecan Blondies with Fleur de Sel

Butterscotch Blondies Recipe Salty, Sweet and … Hot! Hatch Chile, Butterscotch & Pecan Blondies with Fleur de Sel Welcome to Hatch Chile Season, or as Tom calls it, “The most wonderful time of the year!”  We go crazy this time of the year grilling Hatch Chiles and finding new ways to use them.  Tom published a magazine for the produce industry for years and years and one of his favorite clients was Melissa’s Produce.  I credit Melissa’s for getting Tom to eat produce outside his comfort zone.  Now that Tom is retired, Melissa’s continues to include us in events and new products including sending us a big ole box of Hatch Chiles.  Thanks, Melissa’s! Knowing the box of chiles was to arrive soon, I had been … Read more…