Nana's Beau Monde Dip

Beau Monde Dip

My Nana made this often.  It's great as a dip for chips and veggies.
As a kid, it was the only way I would eat a vegetable! 

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons Beau Monde seasoning, or more or less to taste.  (it's salty!)
2-3 tablespoons finely grated onion
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill or 1-2 tablespoons dried dill

Mix together and serve with chips or raw veggies.

Pork Loin Roast with Cranberry Chutney

 Pork Loin Roast with Cranberry Chutney

This recipe has been around the block.  First found by Faye, given to Sue, then to Maryann
next to me and now to you.  Sorry, but the source has been forgotten.

3 1 to 1 1/2 lb. port tenderloins (I used 2 pork loin roasts)
1 T. allspice
 2-3 t. cracked black pepper
1 t. salt
2 T. cooking oil
1 T. butter
1 large onion, quartered and sliced thin
1 12 oz package fresh cranberries
1 10 oz. jar currant jelly
1 C. cranberry juice
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. grated fresh ginger or 1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. curry powder
1 bunch watercress or parsley 

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.  In a small bowl comine allspice, pepper and salt.  Rub on all sides of tenderloins.
2. In a skillet brown tenderloins in hot oil over med. heat, turning to brown all side.  Transfer tenderloins to a shallow reosting pan.  Roast for 25 Minutes or until internal temperature registers 160 F on an instand read thermometer.  Remove from oven and keep warm until ready to serve.
3. Make Chutney:  Add butter and onion to the same large skillet.  Cook about 5 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally.   Add cranberries, jelly, cranberry juice, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, and curry to the skillet.  Bring to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened to desired consistency and reduced to about 3 cups.
4.  To serve, line a serving plate with cress.  Slice pork and arrange.  Spoon some of the Chutney over pork.  Serve remaining chutney on the side.


Kransekaka is a famous Norwegian wedding/celebration cake and is a favorite dessert of my family.   You can find Kransekaka recipes in Scandinavian cookbooks and there are many on the internet; some are very cakey using 5 cups of flour, some are very candy-like using no flour at all.  Some recipes use a pound of butter, and some use none.  One thing they all have in common is their shape, concentric rings stacked into a pyramid.  My recipe uses easily found almond paste and is more candy-like than cake-like.  I've developed this recipe over the years to give a cookie-type crunch with a candy-ish chewy texture.  It's terrific!

One thing I must tell you:  Kransekaka is notorious for wanting to stick to the pan, refusing to budge causing shattered rings and kitchen tantrums.  But you know I would never give you a recipe that would do that!  I promise if you follow my directions you will have great success!  If you've tried making kransekaka before and failed, try mine.

 My husband came home and saw this on the sideboard, and said, 
"Well hon, you've outdone yourself this time!"  Yeah, I guess it is kinda showy.

There will be leftover dough to make jam tarts.

Over the years I've owned several different ring pans, but this Norpro set is the best.  They have a non-stick surface that is pretty reliable.  Kransekaka is notorious for wanting to stay put in the pan, but I've had good luck with these.  You don't have to have the specialty ring pans, you can eyeball it and bake them on baking parchment paper you've drawn concentric circles on.

The recipe:

3 7 oz. tubes Odense almond paste
4 egg whites, lightly stirred
2 pounds powdered sugar (you'll use some for the icing)
1 cup flour (GF version:  1/2 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup all purpose GF flour)
dry unseasoned bread crumbs, regular or GF

In a food processor, add paste that has either been broken apart in small pieces or grated.  Add egg whites, flour and 4 cups sugar and process.  It will be very sticky.  At this point I like to transfer it to my big mixer.  Add some sugar, little by little continuing to mix until it starts to look like you could knead it, that will take just a few minutes.  It will be thick and sticky.  Transfer to a powdered sugar covered board and knead, using more powdered sugar, until the dough feels like you could roll it into ropes.  Make into disc and wrap with plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.

Next, follow the step by step directions below:

Spray pans WELL with cooking spray, sprinkle LIBERALLY with dry bread crumbs.
On a powdered sugar coated surface, roll out thin ropes of dough.
If they are too thick they will stick to each other as they bake
 and you won't be able to separate the ring cookies.

Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  If they are undercooked,
they won't remove easily from the pan.  Cool on rack for 10 minutes or so.
Don't wait too much longer, waiting too long will also make them want to stay!

When slightly cool and with the tip of a knife, carefully pry the cookie free.
It will loosen, and most likely come apart in one piece like the one above.
This is the "pan" side and the pretty side you will be showcasing. 
You can see the rings are baked into each other.  I put this on a bread board
and with the tip of a sharp knife, cut the rings apart from each other.

Once you have them loosened from their pans, they are ready to assemble!
Don't worry if you broke one or two or more, 
they can be easily glued together with the icing in the next step.

Prepare royal icing.  I use the recipe on the Wilton Meringue Powder box.
Alternately you can use the traditional powdered sugar/egg white recipe.
You will need less than a cup.  Use a paper cone or a piping bag 
with a small round tip for decorating.

 Take the largest ring and turn upside down.  
Pipe one line of icing around ring
and place on the cake plate to glue it in place.

Make pretty scallops of icing on top of the bottom ring,
  place next largest ring on top and repeat until all the rings are placed.

Decorate with little flags, Christmas poppers or trinkets.  
I like these little vintage Santas.
Sew sleeve seams and close underarm gap.  Sew on buttons and lightly block, being careful not to block out the gathers. - See more at:
Sew sleeve seams and close underarm gap.  Sew on buttons and lightly block, being careful not to block out the gathers. - See more at:
With leftover dough you can make Jam Tarts, see below.
Roll walnut sized dough and place in prepared mini cupcake pan.
With the handle of a wooden spoon, make a depression in each ball.
Fill with scant 1/2 teaspoon jam and bake at 350 F for 12-14 minutes or until done.
Cool slightly then remove and cool on rack.  These are chewy and delicious.

With leftover dough make pretty jam tarts. 

This is not as difficult as it looks.  Perhaps a bit time-consuming but worth it!  Once my Norwegian girlfriend and I made 5, yes, FIVE! in one day for her daughter's wedding.  It was show stopping to see them all together.  Quite spectacular!

How to serve:  If you are having a dessert buffet, it deserves a place in the center as the showpiece.  Break off a piece or two and encourage your guests to do the same.  Once a few top rings are gone, people are pretty comfortable taking bits off.  Or, if your are planning to pass it at the table, keep it throughout dinner in a place of honor to show it off.  When it's time to serve dessert, take it into the kitchen and break it up and put on a platter and pass.  Leftovers keep well.

Mom's Pinto Beans

I think every family has their own version of "Mom's" beans.  My husband's mother made chili beans with red kidney beans and lots of chili powder.  I love her recipe, but of course my mother's beans are what I crave.   I've always loved the smokey flavor from the ham and since it takes all day to cook, the house smells wonderful!

Mom's Pinto Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans water
1 meaty smoked ham hock
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. herbs de Provence
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried pepper flakes

1 carrot, chopped fine
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped fine
2 ribs celery, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound hamburger, cooked and drained
1 small slice ham, diced

Soak beans overnight, drain and rinse.  Put beans in a slow cooker and add next 8 ingredients and set cooker to low.  Toss diced vegetables with the olive oil, roast in hot oven for 10-15 minutes until just soft.  Add to slow cooker.  About 2 hours before the beans are done add the meats.  Adjust seasoning and add water if necessary.  Just before serving, remove bay leaves and ham hock.  Shred meat from ham hock and add to pot.  This takes all day to cook and will be done by dinnertime if you start it in the morning.

You can make this on the stove top, but I like the slow cooker as it eliminates the constant stirring.

Lemon, Ricotta & Almond Cake

Lemon, Ricotta & Almond Cake

A dense but light cake, slightly similar to a cheesecake.

1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/3 cup superfine sugar (whirl sugar in a blender to super fine it)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup lemon zest (about 5 lemons)
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
2 1/2 cups almond meal
10 1/2 oz. ricotta
sliced almonds and powdered sugar to decorate top of cake

Heat oven to 325 F.  Line the base and side of a 9" round cake tin with baking paper and set aside.

Place the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer several minutes until pale and creamy.  Scrap down side of bowl, then gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until fully combineed.  Add the almond meal and beat to combine.  Fold in ricotta cheese.

In a clean bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and whisk until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture.  Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin, smooth the top with a palette knife, decorate the cake with the almond slices and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and firm to touch.  Allow to cool completely in the cake tin.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.


I'd forgotten how much I loved rumaki until I was served them at a party last week.  As a newlywed, this was my go-to hors d'oeurve--my specialty!  We gobbled these up like they were potato chips.  

Wrap a whole canned water chestnut with a half slice good quality bacon.  Secure with toothpick.  Bake in hot oven (400 F.) for about 15 minutes or until nicely browned, turning halfway through cooking.  Great variations are adding quartered dates, small pieces of chicken liver, and/or cubed Parmesan cheese to the water chestnut and bacon.  Serve with dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:  Mix 3 tablespoons jam or jelly with 3 tablespoons prepared mustard, heat slightly. 

Curried Cashews

This is from the Knitionary post, America's Cup, bay view party

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Mom's Stuffed Bell Peppers

These are economical when peppers are plentiful.
My son asked for the recipe, so here it is.

2# extra lean ground turkey
1# lean ground pork sausage
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 bunch Italian parsley, minced
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 1.5 oz. packet of Meat Loaf seasoning mix
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

5 to 6 bell peppers, halved and seeded.  I prefer red, but green, yellow or orange will do just as well.
2 cups tomato sauce
olive oil

Mix first 7 ingredients by hand in a large bowl. Stuff each pepper half with meat mixture and mound it high.  Put tomato sauce on bottom of large roaster and place stuffed peppers on top.  Pour a little bit of olive oil over the peppers and cover lightly with foil.  Bake at 400 F for 1 hour or until done, removing foil for last 15 minutes or so.  Serve with sauce.  10 to 12 servings.  These freeze well cooked or uncooked.

I consider this a family dish and never serve it for company, but don't know why on earth I don't.  It may not be elegant, but it is delicious.  Who doesn't like stuffed bell peppers?  This may be my number one requested dish for family get togethers and always makes my husband happy. 


Fancy Shortbread

Basic Shortbread
10 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl beat butter and sugar, salt and vanilla until fluffy.  Mix in flour.  Press into a buttered and floured 8" round cake tin or 8" sq. pan (I use a tart pan with removable bottom) and sprinkle with additional 2 tablespoons sugar.  Cut into wedges or squares and pierce with fork tines. Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes or until lightly browned.  While it is still warm,  re-cut the wedges or squares along the scoured lines.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Gluten free version:  Substitute 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 1/4 cups King Arthur All Purpose Gluten Free Flour and 1/4 cup rice flour.  Add 1/2 teaspoon ground psyllium huks (finely ground unflavored Metamucil)

The original post was Cavihour, a champagne and caviar party!

Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts and Thighs

Marinated Grilled Chicken Breasts and Thighs  

For 24 pieces of chicken with skin and bone in for flavor.


 2 cups olive oil, 1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 small jar lemon chipotle prepared mustard
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup fresh rosemary.

Marinate in zip-lock bags overnight.  I grilled in the oven for about 1/2 hour turning half way through.  Right before it was done, I basted it with the remaining half jar of mustard mixed with 1 jar lemon chutney and grilled another 5 minutes until it was shiny and glazed.

The original post for this recipe is Let's Party!

Shrimp with Olives and Feta

Shrimp with Olives and Feta
from Gourmet's Quick Kitchen

This is such a delicious dish, I'll be serving this at our next family get-together.

1/4 C Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 small tomato, chopped coarse
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. mined garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 lb. large shrimp (about 12) shelled and deveined
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
In a bowl stir together olives, tomato, oregano, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar and pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, toss shrimp with remaining tablespoon oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Heat a well-seasoned ridged grill pan over high heat until hot and grill shrimp 1-3 minutes on each side, or until just cooked through.
In a shallow dish toss shrimp with olive mixture and let stand 15 minutes.
Sprinkle shrimp with feta and serve with bread.  Serves 2, easily doubled or more.

William Hill's Chicken Salad

William Hill's Chicken Salad
I got this recipe years ago at the William Hill Winery in Napa Valley, California's famous wine grape growing region.  Years ago, not only could you meet the winemaker and taste any wine you wanted, they were so happy to see you they also fed you!

3/4 C mayonaise
1/2 t. dried ginger
1/2 t. salt
1 t. curry powder, or more to taste
3 C cubed cooked chicken
1 1/2 C red seedless grapes
1 C celery, chopped
1/3 C chopped green onion
1/2 C chopped roasted pecans
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.  Chill and serve.  Makes 5 1/2 cups.

I served this during Easter week last year, in the original post, Peep!

Cream of Celeriac Soup


2 tbls peanut oil or olive oil
2 pounds celeriac - peeled & roughly chopped
3 pints chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
juice of 1 lime
1" piece fresh ginger grated
1 tsp thyme
1 green chili seeded & chopped
1 bunch cilantro (or to taste)
1/2 can coconut milk
salt to taste
4 green onions chopped

Heat oil and cook celeriac gently in covered pan for 10 minutes without coloring.

Add stock, lime juice, ginger, thyme, chili, and cilantro stems. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 30 minutes or until tender. Add green onions for last 10 minutes or so of cooking. Remove from heat.

Cool a little, add coconut milk and then puree in blender until smooth. Taste for seasoning, reheat and stir in chopped cilantro leaves. Serve sprinkled with herbs or cilantro leaves.  Unknown source.
 The original post for this recipe was A Party With A View.


Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold Cucumber Soup
This is embarrassingly easy, but still the best I've had.  I look forward to it each summer.
In a food processor, whirl:
2 or 3 seeded cucumbers, skin removed
1 pint non fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon salt (or more) to taste
1 tablespoon (or more) fresh snipped dill
Process until smooth and refrigerate.  Serve cold.

The recipe is from this post, Let's Party!

Veal & Chicken Liver Pate with Muscatels in Cognac

Veal & Chicken Liver Pate with Muscatels in Cognac
A coarse and crumbly pate.  Make a few days in advance to improve the flavor.
For the muscatels:
1/2 C cognac or brandy
1/4 lb. muscatels on the stem
Put the cognac and muscatels in a shallow bowl, cover and set aside at room temp for 24 hours.  Every so often mix them up and recover.
for the pate:
4 T olive oil
4 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t ground pepper
1/2 t dried tarragon or 2 T fresh chopped
1/4 t each grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon
1/3 C port
2 T cognac
3/4 lb. lean veal (for scallopini)
1 lb. chicken livers cleaned of all fat and sinue
about 1/2 lb. lean bacon
Heat oil and butter, add onion, garlic, salt, pepper, tarragon, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Fry gently without browning until the onion is soft.  Remove from heat and cool.  Put onion mixture, port, cognac, veal and livers into a food processor.  Puree to rough puree, do over process.  Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.   Next day, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a loaf pan with bacon, pour pate into it and cover with more bacon.  Cover with foil and bake on a rack for 1 hour, maybe a bit more, until it has shrunk a little and looks as though it is floating in its own juices.  (My pate measured 190F when I took it out)  I also broiled the top uncovered for a minute to get the bacon nice and brown.  Pour out juices.  Cover with foil and weight top to compact it, I used canned goods.  Once it is cool, you will have a little more juice at the bottom to drain, remove weights then place in refrigerator until needed.  Unmold the pate and serve with the muscatels on the top.  This slices beautifully and is best served with brioche toast or french breads toasts.   We ate half this weekend and I sliced up the rest and double wrapped individual slices in plastic wrap, apparently it will last in the freezer for up to a month. 

Perhaps it's a bit of an ordeal to make this, but I would make this again in a heartbeat, it was that good.  I think it would look beautiful on an appetizer buffet and would be so welcome.  Sorry, I don't have the source, this was an old gourmet group recipe photocopied from an unknown magazine.

Read the original post, Fall Dinner for Six.


Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips.  There is really no recipe for this except that you need the Mansard Chip Tray and Mandoline which I found at Sur La Table. It's just $20 and a gadget that you will be happy to find a sliver of space for in your kitchen.  Our favorite veggie for chip making is the sweet potato.  I follow directions on the maker.  I do salt and pepper before I pop them in the microwave, they say not to, but we've found it's better to do it before.  You can make these in the morning to serve that evening and they will still be crispy and fresh tasting.  There has never been any leftovers so I can't tell you if they last longer.
Here's what the website says about the chip maker:
Homemade, crispy, fat-free chips are as easy as using your microwave. Slice your own potatoes with the included mandoline, place the slices on the tray and pop them into the microwave for a healthier alternative to greasy potato chips.

The nonstick silicone tray surface crisps your chips, so no added fat is necessary. Works best with root vegetables and fruits, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, apples, pears and mangoes. Not recommend for other root vegetables and fruits.

Perfect for snacks or for parties, chips are ready in as little as 3–5 minutes. The easy-to-use slicer cuts your vegetables and fruits thinly and evenly. Stack up to three trays at one time to make larger batches quicker. For microwave use only. Silicone tray is dishwasher safe; hand wash mandoline. 

The original Knitionary post is Winter Dinner Party for 8, view here.

Red Cabbage Slaw


Red Cabbage Slaw

I know you'll love this light and fresh tasting slaw as much as I do.

3 T butter
2 lbs red cabbage shredded
3 T water
1/2 t ground cloves
fresh black pepper
2 T sugar
2 T red wine vinegar
salt to taste
2 T red currant jelly
1 T brown sugar
1 T cumin 
Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Add all other ingredients and cook 30 minutes or until tender. Adjust seasonings and serve hot. May be made ahead and reheated, in fact, best if made a day ahead to marry the flavors.

View the original post, Octoberfestive, here.

Harvest Tomato and Onion Tart

The tomato and onion tart was part of this beautiful harvest buffet table.

The stunning Tomato Tart...recipe below.

I love this tart recipe as it calls for no egg or cream 
and tastes as good as it looks.
(Source, a vintage Gourmet Magazine)

 Tomato and Onion Tart

2 large onions, thinly sliced
salt to taste
2 T olive oil
butter pastry dough for a single 12 inch tart
1/2 pound dry Jack or Gruyere cheese, shredded, about 2 C
1/2 pound plum tomatoes cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1/2 pound medium yellow tomatoes, about 2, or 1/2 pound plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2" wedges
1/4 C Nicoise olives, pitted

Cook onions in olive oil with salt to taste, covered over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and cook inions, stirring occasionaly, until golden and any liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Using a 12 inch removable bottom tart pan, partially bake your pastry crust (prick the bottom to prevent bubbling).  Spread onion mixture over dough and top with cheese.  Arrange tomato wedges and olives in concentric circles and season with salt and pepper.  Bake tart in middle of oven for 1 hour, or until pastry is golden.  Cool on a rack and serve warm or room temperature.  Serves 12-16 as part of a buffet.

Original post of the beautiful harvest brunch is here.


Slice and Bake Currant Cookie

Sometimes the Sun-Maid Currant box has the recipe, sometimes it  doesn't.  For the times when it doesn't, here it is!  It's one delicious cookie and the dough freezes well.
Slice and Bake Currant Cookies
(from the Sun-Maid box)

1 C softened butter
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 t. vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1 C currants

Combine butter, sugars, egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.  Combine flour and baking soda and stir into butter mixture, mix well.  Stir in currants.  Shape into 2 inch roll, cover and chill until firm.  Slice into 1/4 inch slices, place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 F. for 12 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 4 dozen.  I always double, the cookie dough rolls freeze well.