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cool pointy peppers

sweet pointed peppers

While shopping at Costco recently, I was looking for the mixed bell peppers I usually buy. I stumbled across these cool looking “sweet pointed red peppers” instead.

They taste exactly like red bell peppers. So, I decided to stuff them for a pretty new twist on your everyday stuffed bell peppers.

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August 29, 2013   1 Comment

neighborhood bunco appetizer

I hate to always brag, but I live in the greatest neighborhood. Oh, how I do love and appreciate my neighbors!

neighborhood

Along with our Amazing Progressive Dinner Parties, we have fun monthly Bunco nights. Unfortunately, I’m only make it a couple times a year, since they usually fall on a night that I’m working at Les Gourmettes Cooking School.

Happily, I was able to attend last week. It was so nice catching up with everyone after the long hot summer. NOT that the Long Hot Summer is anywhere near over, but families are back in town and the kids are back in school, so that “summer” is over.

Players bring an appetizer, salad, dessert, or drink to share. I brought these tasty little treats.

pepperoni pizza skewers

By the way – did you know that string cheese freezes great? It doesn’t change texture at all.

stringcheesesticks

I suppose that proves it’s not exactly real cheese, but it sure did come in handy when I pulled what I had left, from some that I had bought for Connor, out of the freezer.

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August 21, 2013   No Comments

more tapas

tapas plate

The tasty little ricotta stuffed pepper on the plate above is the recipe we’re going to make today from Peggy’s Tapas Dinner party.

mini sweet peppers

The mini sweet peppers are readily available in most grocery stores, at Trader Joe’s and at Costco.

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August 13, 2013   1 Comment

summer salad

I was using up cooked wheat berries that I had left in my freezer from THIS recipe. You could use cooked quinoa, Israeli (pearl) couscous, farro, bulgur, or barley for this delicious and refreshing summer salad.

wheatberry salad

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May 28, 2013   2 Comments

squash blossom quesadillas

When Chef Beau MacMillan was teaching at Les Gourmettes last week, Duncan Family Farms sent over a huge box of squash blossoms.

The lucky students received the added bonus of Barbara Fenzl’s delicious Squash Blossom Quesadillas at the start of the class.

baby squash blossoms

Once again, I was on the happy receiving end of a basket full of goodies! I brought them home and made Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms, intending to share the recipe here.

ricotta stuffed squash blossoms

Then I discovered that I’ve already posted the recipe, nearly to the day, two years ago. CLICK HERE to see.

Of course, with that many squash blossoms, I also had to make Barb’s fabulous and super easy quesadillas!

zucchini squash blossoms

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May 6, 2013   2 Comments

Spinach, Chicken and Feta Spaghetti

Spinach, Chicken and Feta Spaghetti  recipe

On the last day of Les Gourmettes classes last week, Barb sent me home with a big box of spinach and a package of feta. Both would have gone bad in her refrigerator – since she would be eating out all weekend.

The following pasta recipe is what I created with it.

Waste not, want not.

cooking fresh spinach

It’s magical to watch a huge pile of fresh spinach wilt down …

cooked spinach

and down … to a little handful of cooked spinach …

add balsamic

… in only a couple minutes.

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April 29, 2013   No Comments

galette

IMG_6974

Galette is a French term that refers to a variety of flat round cakes, usually made with a flaky pastry dough.

Galettes can be sweet or savory. Although it is most common for galettes to be filled with fruits or chocolate and served for dessert, savory galettes are a satisfying meal on their own.

When making this galette, it is important to have the filling ingredients chilled or at room temperature. A hot filling will melt the butter in the dough before it hits the oven, preventing the crust from becoming flaky and crispy.

add thyme

One of the filling ingredients in this galette is an onion jam. I link you to that recipe in the list of ingredients.

I made a simpler version for this galette by eliminating the vinegar and raisins in that original onion jam recipe and instead adding a couple teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves. Either version will work wonderfully here.

Joanne Weir made a Mushroom and Blue Cheese Galette in cooking class at Les Gourmettes last week. It was fabulous! I was the lucky recipient of an extra round of dough for the crust. It is an outstanding dough. It is flaky and crispy and delicious. The recipe below is for Joanne’s dough and my filling.

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April 22, 2013   3 Comments

sitcom or reality

“Here’s a story of a lovely lady, who was …”

No, stop there! Not “bringing up three very lovely girls. All of them had hair of gold, like their mother, the youngest one in curls.”

music

Let’s try again..

“Here’s a story of a lovely lady, who is all about getting what she wants. She uses trickery and scams plus plans and schemes, and drives her youngest child insane.”

That could be the theme song for my own sitcom or reality show. Honestly, I drive poor Connor crazy with all my ideas. He desperately tries to resist, but somehow he can’t escape when I pull him into these plans, completely against his will and better judgement.

sitcomreality

I’m going to give you the recipe today first, and then if you feel like hearing the story behind it, feel free to read all about it, after the recipe.

waffled ingred

This is a fun way to make grilled cheese.

3 cheeses

Use whatever cheese or cheeses you like.

the stufings

Top the cheese with your favorite additional fillings, or no fillings at all.

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April 21, 2013   8 Comments

muffin “almost there”

Here is a quote from yesterday’s post:

“So back to the drawing board. I hope to have it down by tomorrow and post the recipe and my success.”

craftsman and wolves sign

What I hoped to have down was the recipe for “The Rebel Within” from Craftsman & Wolves, a restaurant in San Francisco.  “The Rebel Within” is a buttery, cheesy, sausage flecked muffin with a soft-cooked egg in the center. The egg yolk in the muffin should be soft and runny with the oozing yolk dripping like liquid gold onto the plate.

oozing

The muffin is named after a Hank Williams III song. Williams is the grandson of the legendary Hank Williams and the son of Hank Williams, Jr.

So, the big question is… did I get it right? Was I successful? Was the liquid gold running onto my plate?  No. No. and No!

I really wanted to name this post “Muffin Extraordinaire” but it’s honestly only “Muffin Almost There.”

blueprint

I developed the recipe by using the blueprint of the muffin that I found on the restaurant’s website. It’s a tongue-in-cheek blueprint with a hint of what ingredients to use, but it has no real portions. At least it gave me a starting point.

First, I tried soft poaching the eggs for 3 minutes in simmering water and then shocking the cooked eggs in ice water, as with THIS method. But once the muffins were baked, the yolks were firm, not even close to runny.

The second go-round, I tried only poaching three of the eggs for one minute and shocking them in the ice water. I cracked the remaining three eggs directly into the bottom layer of batter in the muffin tin.

I imagined that the 1-minute poached eggs would work and that the raw eggs would run all over the place and make a mess.

Once the muffins were baked, I anxiously cut into one of each type of muffin. The result? Exactly the same as the first time around. The yolks were cooked firm. The raw eggs did not run and make a mess, as I anticipated, they were firm right in the center of the muffin, just as the poached eggs were.

Even though the yolks didn’t turn out as I had hoped, I am going to share the recipe I developed while trying to get it right, because even without runny yolks, the muffin is AMAZING! Wonderfully scrumptious. Somehow the muffin is dense, yet still fluffy and fabulously flavorful.

Instead of naming my version “The Rebel Within” I shall name mine “The Easter Egg Within.”

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January 31, 2013   7 Comments

pop and fresh

These “pillows” aren’t what anyone would consider gourmet, but they are still pretty darn great!

chicken pillows

I saw a recipe similar to this on Pinterest the other day. I didn’t pin it, but when I went grocery shopping later in the day, it popped into my mind.

pinterest chart

So I bought what I thought were the right ingredients and just winged it.

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January 10, 2013   3 Comments