Thursday, July 31, 2014

Raisin Nut Cookies

Prep / Total : 50 minutes [including refrigerating]
Makes  4 dozen or  24 serving  ,  2 cookies  each 

1-1/4   cups  flour
1        teaspoons  baking  powder 
1        teaspoon  baking soda
1/2     cup old fashioned or quick cooking oats 
1        cup  pecans (or nuts of  your  choice) chopped
1/2     cup (1 stick) butter
3/4     cup firmly packed  brown sugar 
1/2     cup granulated  sugar
2        eggs 
1        teaspoon vanilla 
1        cup Post  Raisin Bran Cereal
1-1/4  cups  Baker's Angel  Flake  Coconut 
1/2      cup  raisins 

1 .      Preheat oven to  350*F. Mix  flour , baking  powder , baking  soda  and oats ; set side . Beat  butter  and sugar  in large  bowl with electric mixer  on medium speed  until light  and fluffy .

2 .      Add eggs  and vanilla  , mix  well . Gradually  add flour  mixture  , beating  until well blended  alter  each addition . Add cereal ,  coconut , pecans  and  raisins ; stir  until well blended .

3 .     Drop  heaping  teaspoons  of  dough , 2 inches  apart , onto an ungreased  baking sheets .

4 .     Bake  14 to 16 minutes  or until lightly  browned . Cool on baking sheets  4 minutes  ; remove  to wire  racks . Cool completely . Store  in tightly  covered  container  at room temperature .

Monday, July 28, 2014

Maxy's Gone .... And his family is Broken Hearted

Our precious Maxy passed away on Friday. He died while my daughter and I held him at the animal hospital. He was a victim of someone's carelessness. They left out some poisoned bait meant for rodents , we assume, and Maxy ingested some. He had an agonizing death that has traumatized us all. And all we could do was stand helplessly by and watch him suffer.

Please, Please don't use poisons on or around your property for any reason at any time. It is a risk to so many innocent little lives and the dying process is horrible. Maxy bled internally and then his eyes and ears hemorrhaged and he vomited blood. We could not bear to watch him suffer any longer and asked the vet to euthanize him. She thinks it was Warfarin (rat poison) or possibly strychnine.

He was a wonderful little guy with lots of personality and a member of our family. He was beloved in our neighborhood and our friends and neighbors are upset and angry and have sworn to find the culprit. He will be so missed by so many, but he will always be in our hearts and will always be the 'Dog on the Blog'.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mix Fruit Salad with Black Pepper & Honey

Prep / Total: 50 minutes            Makes  10  servings

Looking for ways to jazz up your basic fruit salad this summer? Consider giving it a hit from the savory side of the food world.
It’s not something we often think of, but ingredients we generally consider savory or spicy can provide a delicious contrast when added to a sweet and juicy fruit salad. Where to start? Something as simple as thinly sliced fresh basil adds a peppery bite to a salad of strawberries, watermelon and grapes.
For even more bite, consider adding very thinly sliced jalapeno peppers  (I bet you saw that one  coming) the heat  ; -D.  The best way to do this is to slice a fresh pepper in half, scrape out the seeds and ribs, then use a mandoline to slice the pepper paper-thin. Mix into the salad for a great sweet-and-heat blend.
And no matter what savory element you add, make sure to also add a pinch of salt. It won’t make the salad taste salty, but it will highlight the natural sweetness of the fruit.

1                  quart. strawberries, halved
1                  pint. blueberries
1                  mango (about 1 pound), peeled, pitted and diced
1                  20-ounces jar grapefruit segments, drained
2                  nectarines, cut into 1-inch pieces
3                  plums, cut into 1-inch pieces
Pinch of salt
½                 teaspoon ground black pepper
1                  tablespoon lime juice
2                  tablespoons  honey

1 .          In a large bowl, gently mix together the strawberries, blueberries, mango, grapefruit segments, nectarines and plums.
2 .         In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, lime juice and honey. Drizzle the dressing over the fruit and stir gently to coat.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sausage Sandwiches with Fennel

Prep / Total : 55 minutes        Makes 5 servings

I love fennel , when I found this recipe in my local paper , I had to share it with the rest of the fennel foodies lovers ...enjoy
Want to dress up these rolls even more? Slice sweet onions into thick slabs, coat them with oil and slap those on the grill, too. The grilled onions will provide a delicious bed to nestle the sausages into inside the rolls.

5                 fennel sausage links (about 1 lb.)
1                 bulb fennel, trimmed
1                 red bell pepper, cored
2                 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
2                 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2                 tablespoons  mayonnaise
2                 tablespoons  whole-grain Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5                 crusty French rolls, to serve

1 .          Heat a grill to medium. Oil the grill grates with an oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs.
2 .          Grill the sausages for 20 minutes, turning regularly.
3 .          While the sausages grill, make the fennel slaw. Use a mandoline or food processor to shave the fennel and red pepper very thinly. Alternatively, use a knife to slice the fennel and pepper as thinly as possible.
4 .          In a medium bowl, whisk together the crushed fennel seed, vinegar, mayonnaise and mustard. Add the fennel and red pepper, tossing to thoroughly coat with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
5 .          To serve, place each sausage in a roll and top with the slaw.

Friday, July 11, 2014


Prep / Total time : 20 minutes active (plus 30 minutes marinating) Make 6 servings

12              ounces fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1                bunch asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1                cup snow peas, sliced lengthwise
1                medium zucchini, halved, seeds scraped out, then cut into thin half moons
2               tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2               tablespoons grated shallot
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2               tablespoons sherry vinegar
1               teaspoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1              avocado, sliced
Manchego cheese, to serve
Fresh dill, to serve
Honey, to serve

1 .       Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and have it near the stove.
2 .       Add the green beans to the boiling water and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender and bright green. Use a slotted spoon to quickly transfer them from the boiling water to the ice water. While the green beans cool, add the asparagus to the boiling water and blanch for 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks, until just barely tender. Transfer the asparagus to the ice water with the green beans.
3 .       Once they have cooled, drain the green beans and asparagus, pat them dry and transfer to a large bowl. Add the snow peas and zucchini.
4 .       In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, shallot, orange zest and juice, vinegar and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and stir gently to coat well. For best flavor, allow the vegetables to marinate in the dressing for at least 30 minutes.
5 .       Serve topped with sliced avocado, grated manchego cheese, sprigs of dill and a drizzle of honey.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Orzo: The New Rice

Lately, I’ve seen orzo showing up on the table of folks who didn’t even know it existed a few years ago. Louisianans, and in particular Cajun Creole, home cooks are a stubborn bunch who hold to tradition more so than most cultures. But, this ingredient has made the grade for several easily explained reasons.

First, it’s easy to cook. Orzo cooks quickly (less than 10 minutes) in salted boiling water. And it’s versatile. It’s great in soups, or in a salad as I’ve done.

I’ve even heard it is a great substitute for Arborio in a risotto. And that leads me to the final, and most important, reason Louisiana, especially in the south, has embraced orzo; it’s a lot like rice.

Orzo mimics the shape and texture of rice, but has a taste profile that is an interesting twist to the tried and true.
"Orzo" is Italian for the word "barley," but truth be told, it is not a grain at all. It is pasta and might explain its ability to pick up flavors and hold on to other ingredients so well. In fact, in my recipe today I am dressing this orzo salad with a combination of quality extra virgin olive oil (the good stuff) along with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The orzo picks up that combination of flavors with astonishing results. Adding fresh kale and chicken  makes this orzo dish a light and healthy lunch.

For all my traditional long-grain white rice fans out there, not to worry. I can assure you orzo pasta is not going to show up covered in gravy anytime soon. Rice is the king of all crops, and will reign supreme for generations to come.
But give this little foreign newcomer a try and you might be surprised. It just may find a place on your table.
                        Orzo, Chicken and Kale Salad

Prep / Cook time:  1 hour  10 minutes       Makes 4 servings

Tip: This salad is versatile and the ingredients easily altered. Adding seared tuna , grilled salmon or large shrimp would turn this into a stellar center-of-the-plate dinner entree.

                     **Extra virgin olive oil**
1                   dozen fresh mushrooms
                    **Kosher salt**
½                 cup table salt
1                  bunch green asparagus spears
2                  pounds of diced  cooked  chicken diced
1                  12-ounces package orzo pasta
2                  cups kale, chopped
1                  cup spinach leaves
1                  cup parsley, chopped
1                  cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
1                  cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1                  cup slivered almonds
2                  fresh lemons
                   **Freshly ground black pepper**

1 .        In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add a light coating of olive oil. Clean the mushrooms with a brush and slice thinly. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and sauté until just browned. Sprinkle lightly with salt and move to a platter. Cover and refrigerate.
2 .       In a large pot filled halfway with water on high heat add the salt. Bring to a boil and add the asparagus. Cook until just blanched, about 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the asparagus and plunge immediately into a bath of ice water. Once cooled, snap off the woody ends and cut the remaining spears into bite-sized pieces. Cover and refrigerate.
3.       In the same pot of salted water, bring to a boil and add the diced  chicken. Turn the fire off and cook until the chicken until no longer pink and the all the  chicken is done, about 25 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and drain on paper towel. Let cool.
4 .      In the same pot of salted water, add the package of orzo. Bring to a boil and cook to package directions. Once cooked, pour the orzo into a colander and let drain. Add the orzo to a large mixing bowl and coat lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl and refrigerate.
5 .      For assembly, remove the mixing bowl of orzo and add the asparagus. Add the kale, spinach, parsley, tomatoes and almonds. Take 1 lemon and grate the zest into the salad mixture. Squeeze the lemon juice into the salad being careful to remove any seeds.
6 .       With the other lemon, slice and remove each end. With a sharp knife, very thinly slice the lemon into rounds. Add the lemon rounds to the salad. Season the salad mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to incorporate all ingredients, cover and refrigerate.
7 .       For serving, toss the salad once again and portion the mixture onto salad plates. Add the chicken to each plate. Make sure to include all of the key ingredients on each serving.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Have a Fanastic 4th July --- From My Family to Yours

The  4th Of  July
 It's time for the "Barbecue"
And the "Fireworks" galore !
And  the "Beer"  and the "Friends"
And the "Burgers" for  sure !
But  most important
And I really  must say
Is that "America" got
It's "Independence" today !
Yes in "1775"
The  famous politician
Senator "John Hancock"
Had  sighed  the petition
That stated that our  country
Was "free" from all others !
And that  we would "only be  governed"
By our "American brothers"!
So while we are celebrating
This "great day of  fun"
Let  us always remember
What our forefathers had  done !
Author :   Billy  Nardozzi

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Grilled Peaches Are Perfect Finish To a Meal

It’s July Fourth and the grill is roaring for all those burgers and hot dogs your crowd is hankering for. But there’s no need to step away from the flames for the meal’s sweet finish. I came up with an easy grilled dessert that is simple and takes just minutes to cook and assemble.

Inspired by peach melba, I tossed halved fresh peaches on the grill and gave them a delicious sear, which caramelizes the fruit’s natural sugars. I then top the grilled peaches with a rich whipped yogurt cream and fresh raspberries. Refreshing, sweet and deliciously festive.


Prep / Total : 30 minutes               Makes 8 servings

1             cup heavy cream
2             tablespoons  packed brown sugar, divided
6             ounces vanilla Greek yogurt
4             peaches, halved and pitted
1             pint raspberries
2             tablespoons  lime juice
              **Heat the grill to medium**

1 .          In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the cream and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar until it holds medium peaks, about 2 to 4 minutes. Gently fold in the yogurt, then set aside.
2 .         Using a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel held with tongs, oil the grill grates. Grill the peaches, cut sides down, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until charred and tender.
3 .        While the peaches grill, in a small bowl stir together the raspberries, lime juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
4 .        Arrange each peach half on a serving plate. Top each with a spoonful of the berries and a dollop of the yogurt cream.