Archive for May, 2010

First, I would like to say thank you to all of our brave men and women serving in the Military making it possible for us to enjoy our picnic’s here at home. I would ask that you take a moment to do the same.

If you already have today’s picnic planned, here is a recipe from “Country Living Picnics and Porch Suppers” that I think would make a great addition to your summer menu plans. I have substituted shrimp for lobsters, but have included the directions for both.

New England Clambake Salad

Lemon-Basil Dressing

1 ¼ cups packed fresh basil leaves

½ cup mayonnaise

3 Tbls fresh lemon juice

1 Tbls Olive oil

1 clove Garlic, chopped

¼ tsp sugar

¼ tsp gr black pepper

1-2 Tbls water as needed

Clambake Salad

1 ¼ pounds small red potatoes

1 ¼ pounds Fingerling potatoes

4 ears fresh yellow corn, shucked and silk removes

2 lbs large shrimp or 4 – 1 lb lobsters

12 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed

12 littleneck clams, scrubbed

Prepare lemon-basil dressing: In a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, process the basil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, oil, garlic, sugar, and pepper until smooth. Thin with water until the mixture has the consistency of a salad dressing. Refrigerate.

Fill and 9-quart sauce pot with 2 ½ inches of water and heat to boiling. Add the potatoes and cook for 12- 15  minutes, or until the potatoes are tender but still retain their shape. Meanwhile, cut each ear of corn into quarters and add the corn to the potatoes during the last 2 minutes of cooking. With a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the potatoes and corn at the end of the two minutes to a large serving bowl or platter and set aside.

Drain off all but 1 inch of the cooking water and reheat to boiling. Add the shrimp, mussels and clams. Cook for about 5 minutes, the shrimp will turn bright pink and the mussels and clams will open. Transfer with slotted spoon to serving platter, discarding any shellfish that has not opened completely. Serve with dressing. (For lobsters, add to boiling water, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until bright red and one small leg pulls off easily, indication that the lobster is completely cooked. Remove the lobsters and add the clams and mussels. Cook until opened)

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Today I will be at The Fresh Market in Altamont from 3-6. I posted the recipes two weeks ago and today wanted to give you some information on potatoes. The recipe today calls for a mashed Yukon gold potato. This is an “all-purpose” type of potato that can be mashed, boiled or fried. There are potatoes with a higher starch content, such as Russet and Idaho, that are light and fluffy when baked, light and creamy when mashed and make the best french fries. Red potatoes and round white potatoes, distinguished by their thinner skins are lower in starch and work better in stews and soups. You can mash these potatoes but they will usually be lumpy.

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Where has May gone. A little late but I still have a few days to get the cookie of the month in. This is an updated version of a traditional Italian cookie, Biscotti. This version calls for dried tropical fruit, crystalized ginger, coconut and nuts. I have replaced them with white chocolate and cranberries, dark chocolate and dried cherries, or Holiday spices to make them into gingerbread bars. I hope you enjoy them as much as everyone I have made them for over the years.

Tropical Biscotti

1 stick butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla

3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup toasted fry shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried tropical fruit bits

1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

1.4 cup chopped toasted almonds

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter until it is light. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla, then beat in the eggs. Stir in the flour, salt and baking powder. Fold in the coconut, dried fruit bits, crystallized ginger and toasted almonds.

Spoon strips of batter that are 2 inches wide and 10 inches long onto parchment or silicone lined baking trays. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack for about 30 minutes.

Cut the loaves into diagonal slices that are about 1/2 inch wide. Return the slices to the baking sheet and bake an additional 10-14 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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French toast is one of my son’s favorites. This recipe was a hit at an event I cooked for yesterday morning. For those of you that don’t know, french toast is egg soaked bread, sautéed in butter and serve with maple syrup. This version from Lord Stocking’s Bed and Breakfast was found on www.Bed&BreakfastInnsonline.com I make it for clients so the night before, so all they have to do is bake it off in the morning. With the butter and brown sugar “crust” there is no need for maple syrup.

Baked French Toast

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

8-10, 1 inch slices of french bread

4 eggs, beaten

1 3/4 cups milk

In a small pan over low heat, stir together the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Bring to a simmer and once it is combined, pour into a 13×9 baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Combine the eggs and milk and soak the bread slices. Arrange the bread over the sugar mixture and pour over the remaining egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate 2-24 hours. Remove cover from the baking dish. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until the center appears set and the top is lightly browned. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Here is the companion recipe from my demo at The Fresh Market. This was using the already mashed Yukon Gold potatoes from the deli, you could use any leftover mashed potatoes you have to make this easy side dish.  



Crispy Mashed Potato Cakes

Serves 4-6


2 c TFM Deli Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes

2 tbsp mashed roasted garlic cloves (from TFM Olive Bar)

2 scallions, finely chopped

¼ c TFM cream cheese, softened

1 egg, slightly beaten

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Olivado Extra Virgin Avocado Oil for frying

Sour cream, optional


Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well. Roll a small

handful of mixture into a ball and lightly press flat forming a disc.

Repeat until all of the mixture is used. Heat a nonstick skillet over

medium high heat for 2 minutes.

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, swirling to coat. Place potato

cakes a few at a time (being careful not to overcrowd the pan) for

about 3 minutes on each side until browned and crispy. Serve with

sour cream on top, if desired.

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This month’s demo at Fresh Market centers around Argentina, their wine and their food. I will be at The Fresh Market in Dr. Phillips tomorrow, Saturday May 15 from 3-6. 

Red Wine Marinated Argentine Chimichurri Steak



4 lb skirt steak 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper 

½ tsp sea salt 

3 tbsp Gaucho Club Malbec 

2 tbsp Olivado Extra Virgin Avocado Oil 

1 jar Gaucho Ranch Chimichurri sauce, divided 

zest of 1 lemon 


In a bowl, combine garlic, salt, pepper, wine, avocado oil and 1/3 cup 

Chimichurri sauce. Add steak, turning to coat well with the marinade. 

Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, up to overnight. 

Preheat grill to high heat. Remove steak from marinade and discard 

remaining marinade. Grill steak until meat is charred on the outside and 

rare within, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a carving board and let 

rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice steak across the grain. Stir lemon zest into 

remaining Chimichurri sauce and pour over sliced steak. Serve immediately 

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Amazing Camping Food

Back from camping and wanted to share one of the girls favorites besides Smore’s. We call them Banana Boats and the girls love them.

Banana Boats

1 banana per girl

assorted fillings to include chocolate chips, nuts, caramel sauce, marshmallows


Take the whole banana (do not remove skin) and slice it   down the middle. Fill with whatever you like from available fillings. Close the banana up and wrap securely in foil. Place on glowing coals for 20-30 minutes. Unwrap and enjoy.

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Off to cook in the woods for 150 Girl Scouts. This is my 11th year leading my daughter’s troop. We are camping tonight and tomorrow and I am in charge of the food. Tacos in a bag for lunch tomorrow. We are celebrating Scouting around the World and the World Centers of Girl Scouts. Dinner is three different types of chicken grilled chicken, rice (should be interesting in a dutch oven) and Chocolate Fondue for dessert. Wish me luck!

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Here is the recipe for Pastry dough (pie dough) I mentioned in an earlier post. This is one of the easiest, nicest pie dough I have ever worked with.

Pastry Dough

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and frozen

2-4 Tbls ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the regular blade, combine the flour and frozen butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal and the butter is the size of small peas. Working quickly add the ice water a little at a time until the dough becomes a ball. At this point you can immediately roll it out if you work quickly with the dough. It is at the right consistency to roll out at this time.

Baking a Pastry Shell Blind

This is done to make something like Lemon meringue Pie or Chocolate Pudding Pie where you fill an already baked pie shell with a filling.

Roll the pastry out to a size slightly larger than the tart or pie tin. Pick the pastry up by rolling it around the rolling-pin and unroll over the tin. With your fingers, gently east the pastry into the tin, allowing for shrinkage. Roll the pin over the edges of the tin to cut off the excess pastry.

Line the shell with parchment paper, and fill the shell to the brim with pie weights or uncooked rice

Bake the pastry in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Place the shell on the lowest rack of the oven or on a pizza stone for an additional 5 minutes to brown the bottom crust.

Remove the tart shell from the oven, take out the parchment and the weights, and remove the shell from the tart tin if desired. Transfer the baked shell to a rack and allow to cool.

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