Friday, September 30, 2022

Broccoli Pesto

We are on the cusp of October, and what that means is that  it’s time to harvest all of the tender herbs in your garden. For me, that means basil, and basil means pesto. Pesto is one of those things that I could eat with a spoon. I love the bite of the garlic, the freshness and fragrance of the basil, and the pungency of the Parmesan cheese. Recently I have discovered a lot of new recipes for pesto, and I plan to try them all. This one, for broccoli pesto was something that I couldn’t even imagine. The combination of broccoli and basil doesn’t immediately spring to mind, but it really works. Broccoli is such a wonderful antioxidant, and this is a deliciously easy way to get it into your diet. Whether you like broccoli or not, you’ll never know it’s here.

Sources: Pasta Bowl, Black Floral Flatware

Broccoli Pesto

 1 heaping cup very small broccoli floret pieces

½ c. fresh basil

⅓ c. extra-virgin olive oil

¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. fresh lemon juice

1 t. lemon zest

2 garlic cloves

½ t. sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 Bring a medium pot of water to boil and place a bowl of ice water nearby. Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water for 30 seconds, and then use a slotted spoon to scoop it into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and pat dry.

Place the broccoli into a food processor with the basil, olive oil, cheese, lemon juice and zest, garlic, salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper. Pulse until combined.

If desired, toss the pesto with the cooked pasta. Serve with pine nuts, red pepper flakes, and additional cheese. Season to taste and serve.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Cinnamon Swirl Apple Fritter Bread

When the local supermarket was advertising fresh local peaches, I knew this would be the weekend to make peach cobbler cheesecake, a recipe that I spotted in the new Golden Girls Cheesecake and Cocktails Cookbook. Unfortunately, when I got to the store, there wasn’t a peach in sight. Still, I was in the mood for baked goods. Remembering a recipe that I had seen on the Food Network website, I grabbed a couple of Granny Smith apples and headed home. This is delicious! I tweaked it a good bit in order to add to the depth of flavor. It worked. Your home is going to smell like apple pie is baking when this is in the oven. Stock up on apples, you’re going to want to make this again and again.

Cinnamon Swirl Apple Fritter Bread

Inspired by Food Network

 1/3 c. light brown sugar

2 t. ground cinnamon

Few gratings fresh nutmeg

2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped

2/3 c. sugar plus 2 tablespoons

½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened

2 large eggs, room temperature

1½ t. vanilla extract

1½ c. flour

1¾ t. baking powder

1-1/8 t. apple pie spice, divided

1 t. kosher salt

½ c. milk plus 1 to 3 tablespoons

1 c. powdered sugar, sifted

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan Baker’s Joy; set aside.

 Mix brown sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a bowl; set aside.

 Toss apples with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and remaining teaspoon cinnamon in another bowl; set aside.

 Beat butter and remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time; add vanilla extract.

 Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice together in another bowl, then add to creamed butter mixture and beat until blended. Mix 1/2 cup milk into batter until smooth.

 Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan; add half the chopped apple mixture. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture on top of apple layer.

 Pour the remaining batter over apple layer and top with remaining chopped apples, then the remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter; swirl brown sugar mixture through apples using a knife.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let loaf rest in pan for 20 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

 To make glaze:  Mix powdered sugar with 1/8 teaspoon apple pie spice and remaining 1 to 3 tablespoons milk, thinned to desired consistency. Drizzle bread with glaze.

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Bavarian Meatballs

I was rummaging around in my mother’s recipe box as I have often mentioned doing, and came across a recipe that I had not noticed before. It had been written on one of those pieces of stationery that fold into an envelope, and are then stamped and mailed. For this reason I know that her friend Shirley Fick sent it to her on the 21st of April 1979, at a cost of 13¢. Because my mother was such a good cook on her own, when she asked for a recipe from someone that meant that she really enjoyed it, so I thought I should try this for myself.

Including sauerkraut in a meatball was new to my experience, but it worked. Surprisingly, it did not do a whole lot to alter the taste, something I found a tiny bit disappointing. I enjoyed mine a couple of times in a variety of ways: first, as you see here on top of egg noodles, second, on top of mashed potatoes, thirdly, on top of mashed potatoes and topped with sauerkraut. I even had leftovers as a meatball sandwich slathered with stone ground mustard and topped with thinly sliced red onion. Clearly this recipe is versatile and I can tell you that I enjoyed them all of these ways.

 Because I always tend to think that I know better than everyone else, I altered this recipe just a tiny bit to give it more flavor. These are easy to make, and something that I think the entire family would enjoy, however you plan to serve them. I do find that they make quite a striking presentation in these beautiful black au gratin dishes.

 Bavarian Meatballs

For meatballs:

½ c. beef stock

1 t. caraway seeds

2 lb. ground chuck

1 lg. egg

1 c. drained, chopped sauerkraut

1 T. dried minced onions

¼ t. lemon pepper seasoning

1/8 t. dry mustard

½ t. salt

¼ t. freshly ground black pepper

3 T. flour

2 T. olive oil

For sauce:

2/3 c. sour cream

2 T. whole milk

½ t. caraway seeds

Pour beef stock over 1 teaspoon caraway seeds and let stand for five minutes. Combine ground chuck, sauerkraut, onions, lemon pepper seasoning, dry mustard, egg, salt, pepper, and stock/caraway seed mixture. Mix well and shape into 18 balls. Roll balls in flour; set aside.

Heat oil over medium/high heat in the bottom of a
12-inch skillet. Add meatballs and brown on all sides. Reduce heat to medium/low and cook slowly for 30 minutes until cooked through. (Meatballs may have to be done in batches.)

Combine sour cream, milk, caraway seeds, and salt in a medium saucepan and heat until hot. Remove meatballs to platter (or individual
au gratin dishes) and top with sour cream.

Garnish with chopped parsley and a few gratings of lemon pepper seasoning.

Makes six servings.


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Friday, September 23, 2022

Easy Arroz Con Leche

Last week I mentioned that my aunt came for lunch for a Mexican meal. I decided that, in addition to making the margaritas, that I would prepare an easy yet traditional dessert. Mr. O-P used to be the one to make rice pudding, and he was really good at it using, what I consider to be the best recipe in the land, the one from Neiman-Marcus. I decided to go for a Mexican version, spotted online, and make Easy Arroz con Leche. It is super simple to make. I stirred everything together an hour before my aunt came so that it was still simmering lightly on the stove when she arrived, scenting the room with the rich fragrance of cinnamon and vanilla. 

Easy Arroz Con Leche

As seen on

½ c. uncooked white rice
1½ c. water
½ t. ground cinnamon
2 c. whole milk
1 14-oz.
can sweetened condensed milk
1 t. vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, add the rice, water, and ground cinnamon. Bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the milk, condensed milk, and vanilla extract. Stir well. Continue to cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat, and garnish with additional ground cinnamon and/or
cinnamon sticks. 

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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Hot Ham and Cheese Dip

 Ever since the Rams left St. Louis, my interest in football is (I was going to say diminished), really nonexistent. I do have friends who avidly follow football, and I do like the conviviality associated with gathering to watch a football game, and I particularly like the food. Here is a hearty hot ham and cheese dip that will please even the most ravenous of football fans. It’s make ahead, and will keep in the refrigerator for one or two days prior to baking if you want to prepare it in advance. Who doesn’t love hot ham and cheese?

 Hot Ham & Cheese Dip

 1 Melissa’s shallot, finely diced

2 T. butter

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 t. yellow mustard

1½ c. diced deli ham

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

¼ c. whole milk

¼ c. sour cream

2 t. chives

 Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8” x 8“ baking dish (or similarly sized casserole dish) with PAM; set aside.

  In a medium skillet over medium heat, sauté shallot until transparent. Add cream cheese, and stir until it begins to melt; stir in mustard. Add remaining ingredients, turn the heat to low, and stir until everything is combined.

 Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until all of the cheeses have melted and the edges are hot and bubbly.

 Serve with crackers, chips, or small slices of toasted rustic bread.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Table for Two

I’ll bet, like me, you have a lot of things that you haven’t used in a long time. Apparently, I haven’t used this large chicken that makes up the centerpiece at this table in more than 10 years because I’ve never written about it on the blog, and I’ve been blogging for more than 10 years.

 I ran across it in the belly of the beast last week, decided to bring it upstairs, give it a good cleaning, and set a table around it. Here are the results. I think this is one of my most favorite tables. The colors are like an autumn sunset, so bold and beautiful.

 The bright red tablecloth that I used here is another one of those inexpensive linen tablecloths, of which I have many. There’s no reason not to stock up considering the low cost and the wide varieties of colors offered.

 I was tired of using the woven placemats that I believe I have used in the past three table settings, so I went with black to give it some drama.
On top of the placemats is a plate stack beginning with a Bordallo Pinheiro geranium leaf charger. This is topped with a deep yellow Waechtersbach plate that is then topped with an orange plate that I got from Pier 1.
I struggled with the napkins here. I tried a variety of autumnal solids, a couple of plaids, and ultimately decided that this cream colored napkin with the rooster on it from Williams-Sonoma was my best bet.

The flatware is Noritake.

The chicken glassware belonged to my mother. I don’t use these as often as I would like, but I think they work very well here.

The teapot and oversized mugs featuring a rooster on one side and a sunflower on the other are in the “Orange Rooster” pattern and are by Maxcera.

Aren’t the corn cob candlesticks the cutest?! I do not remember where I got them, but it was in one of the shops along Historic Main Street in Saint Charles, MO. (That really narrows it down for you, doesn’t it, particularly considering that stretch is about a mile long.) I don’t use these often, but when I do they always get comments.
What a colorful way to enjoy breakfast in the morning!


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 This post is linked to: Tablescape Thursday


Monday, September 19, 2022

1905 Salad

 Despite the fact that I briefly lived in and went to university in Florida, until recently I had never heard of The Columbia Restaurant. Opened in 1905, it is one of the longest running restaurants in the state and the birthplace of the 1905 Salad. You may have seen this recipe going around the web recently, as have I. Lover of salads that I am, I naturally had to try it. Interestingly enough, the salad was not created until the 1940s when waiter, Tony Noriega, created it one night from random leftovers in the fridge. Who among us hasn’t done that?!

Personally, I am a fan of the crunchiness of iceberg lettuce. I think the addition of this to a salad gives it such life. It’s not the most flavorful of lettuces, however, hence the need for other ingredients and a very flavorful dressing. The dressing, I thought, had too much oregano, so I cut that with a teaspoon of sugar. In my opinion, that makes it perfect.

1905 Salad

Slightly adapted from The Columbia Restaurant

 For the Dressing:

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. dried oregano

1 t. Worcestershire sauce

½ c. extra virgin Spanish olive oil

1/8 c. (2 T.) white wine vinegar

2 t. fresh lemon juice

1 t. sugar


Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 For the Salad:

½ head iceberg lettuce, shredded

2 ripe tomatoes, sliced into wedges

½ c. Swiss cheese, sliced into matchstick strips

½ c. baked ham (or shrimp or turkey), sliced into matchstick strips

¼ c. green Spanish olives, pitted

2 t. freshly grated Romano cheese

 In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, dried oregano, and Worcestershire sauce. Gradually beat in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Mix in the vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

 In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, ham, and olives.

 Pour the dressing into the salad and toss well to coat. Sprinkle the Romano cheese and toss again. Serve and enjoy!


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Friday, September 16, 2022

Alfredo Mac and Cheese

My number two son asked me the other day if I had ever come across a recipe for Mac & Cheese Alfredo. He loves Fettuccine Alfredo, but prefers the smaller noodle. It hadn’t occurred to me, so I went looking for one. I found a couple of them, and they seemed unnecessarily complicated. Macaroni and cheese is peasant food. It is supposed to be an easy dish to put together and serve to the family. Recipes that require jumping through hoops no longer interest me. When I got to thinking about it, I figured that, based upon my comfort culinary experience, I could come up with one on my own. Here it is, and it’s a good one -- all of the convenience and comfort of macaroni and cheese, with the taste of Alfredo!

Alfredo Mac and Cheese

 2 c. rotini, cooked al dente*

1 c. whole milk

1 c. heavy cream

2 T. butter 

2 T. flour

1/8 t. white pepper

1/8-¼   t. kosher salt

2 t. Melissa’s minced garlic

½ c. Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

Few gratings fresh nutmeg

 Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 1.5 quart baking dish with PAM; set aside.

 In the same pan that you have cooked your pasta, i.e., while it is still warm, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted, whisk in flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic, continuing to whisk, and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly add milk and cream, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking regularly, until it begins to thicken. Add Parmesan cheese, whisking until it has melted, remove from heat, and whisk in nutmeg. Taste for seasoning. If you think it needs more salt, pepper, or nutmeg, now is the time to add it.

 Add half of the cooked pasta to the prepared dish. Pour on half of the sauce and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers of pasta and sauce and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the top.

 Bake for 45-60 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the top just starts to lightly brown.


 *I like cellentani, because I think it’s more fun, but use your favorite pasta.

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Cauliflower Toasts

I think we have all probably heard of avocado toast, something I never stop enjoying being the fan of avocado that I am, but I’m wondering how many of you are familiar with Cauliflower Toast. This is from the genius of Ina Garten, and is absolutely delicious! Personally, I can eat the cauliflower on its own just roasted in the oven, tossed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes as she has done here, but when you stir in all of these other ingredients, mound it on toast and broil, it is wonderful! Do what I did, and use a large slice of rustic bread, cut it into quarters, and share it with a friend.

Cauliflower Toasts

 1 small head cauliflower (2 lbs.)

4 t. olive oil

¼ t. crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 oz. Italian mascarpone cheese, room temperature

6 oz. Gruyère cheese, grated

4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto*, julienned

¼ t. freshly ground nutmeg

6 large slices country-style bread


Freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese

2 T. minced fresh chives

Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

 Preheat the oven to 400° F.

 Turn the cauliflower upside down on a cutting board. Cut off and discard most but not all of the stems, then cut the florets into small, ½” clusters. Place the florets on a sheet pan, toss them with the olive oil, red pepper flakes, 1 t. salt, and ½ t. black pepper, and spread them out in a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing two or three times, until the florets are tender and randomly browned. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

 Set the oven to broil and arrange a rack 6 inches below the heat.

 Transfer the florets to a large mixing bowl and add the mascarpone, stirring to coat the florets evenly. Stir in the Gruyère, prosciutto, nutmeg, 1 t. salt, and ½ t. black pepper.

 Toast the bread in a toaster until lightly browned, and place in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with foil. Mound the cauliflower mixture evenly on each toast and dust with paprika. Broil the toasts for 2 to 4 minutes, until browned and bubbling. (Watch them carefully!) Transfer to plates and sprinkle with Parmesan, the chives, and sea salt. Serve hot.

 *I used deli ham. I’m not a fan of prosciutto. It just seems like ham jerky to me.

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