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.

Halloumi and Grape Salad

Halloumi and Grape Salad on these gorgeous plates!

Halloumi cheese is firm and salty and common in Eastern Europe.  I think any large cheese shop would probably carry this.  I loved it.
Halloumi and Grape Salad
For the dressing:
4 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper
1 Tbls. chopped fresh thyme or dill
For the salad:
5 oz. mixed greens
3 oz. seedless green grapes
3 oz. sedless black grape
9 oz. halloumi cheese
3 Tbls. olive oil
young thyme or dill leaves to garnish
Thinly slice the cheese.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Add the cheese and fry briefly until golden on the underside.  Turn the cheese and cook the other side.
Arrange salad greens and grapes on a platter.  Top with cheese and pour dressing over.  Garnish with thyme or dill leaves.

Alsatian Pizza with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

Alsatian Pizza with Bacon and Caramelized Onions
source, Epicurious, Fred Thompson

This recipe is for topping only.  You can make your own thin crust pizza dough, or purchase it fresh from your local pizza store like our friend did! 

3 Tbls. butter
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbls. firmly packed light brown sugar
3 slices thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, cut into strips
1/4 lb. Gruyere, thinly sliced
2 Tbls. chopped fresh thyme

Cook onions with butter and sugar on medium-low heat, stirring, until onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.  At the same time, in a second saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring, until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.

On partially grilled pizza crust, top each with the onions, bacon and cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Return to grill and cook until each crust is firm and browned at the edges and cheese has melted a bit, 4-6 minutes.  Slice with pizza wheel and enjoy.  I loved this so much and think it would be great for a luncheon.

View the original post here.

make your own pimientos, roasting peppers

Making your own pimientos couldn't be easier, and way better than the expensive jars you buy in the store.  When red bell peppers or other mild red peppers are on sale, or if you have a windfall from the garden like I did yesterday, here's what you do:

Bee you tee full.

Slice into large pieces, removing, stem, membrane and seeds.  Place them cut side down on a baking sheet.

Broil on high until black and blistered, 5 or 10 minutes.  Place them in a paper bag, close it up and wait to cool.

When cool, blackened skin removes easily and the peppers will last for a week or two in the fridge, no oil or vinegar necessary.  I didn't think of taking a picture of this until we had eaten most of them.  This is a great start to roasted red pepper soup, great on sandwiches or chopped into just about anything.  And of course makes the best Pimiento Cheese.

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Crystallized Ginger

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Crystallized Ginger

The soup has the daring combination of the humble cauliflower and spicy sweet candied ginger.  This recipe receives rave reviews and is requested by everyone who tastes it.

2 leeks, trimmed
1 T olive oil
2 T butter
1 celery rib with leaves, chopped
2 T minced garlic
2 t. curry powder
1 t. ground ginger
6 C or more chicken or vegetable broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 head cauliflower, cored and broken into florets
1 C half and half*
salt and pepper to taste
3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger, for garnish

1.  Slice leeks lengthwise and wash well.  Pat dry and thinly slice.
2.  Melt butter and oil, add leeks and celery and cook for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in curry and ground ginger, cook over very low heat for one minute.
4.  Add broth, lemon juice and cauliflower.  Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.  Cool slightly.
5.  Purr soup in food processor until very smooth.  Add half and half through feed tube and more broth if the soup seems too thick.  Season with salt and pepper.
6.  Serve hot and garnish each portion of soup with a teaspoon of the candied ginger before serving.
*When I made it I substituted fat free milk and the recipe didn't suffer.

Skinny Twice Baked Potatoes

I skinnied the stuffed baked potato years ago.  I make them all the time and thought it was time to share my very low fat and healthier stuffed potatoes (except the ones above have some leftover sausage, oops).  For years I made these as I would imagine the Pioneer Woman makes them still, with cups of cheese and cream, but I have turned up my nose to that old-fashioned and fattening way and get my flavor instead from vegetables. Now you can eat stuffed baked potatoes guilt free!

Scrub and bake 4 large baking potatoes until done.  Cool slightly, cut in half and scoop out pulp.  You can mash the pulp, but I prefer riced potatoes and have a nifty ricer that I use for that.  In the meantime, in the food processor grate veggies of your choice.  Today I used 1 small onion, 4 ribs celery, 3 carrots and 1/2 sweet potato.  In a very large pan with 2 T butter and 2T olive oil, saute grated vegetables until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add cooked veggies to riced potato pulp and mix together, add non fat milk to thin a bit, and add about 2 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper.  Pile back into the reserved potato skins and top each with 1 T grated cheese if desired.  Heat in microwave until heated through.  Makes 8 servings.

This is a 16" saute pan, it takes over two of the burners.

I had 4 oz. of breakfast sausage leftover from the kid's visit so browned that up and topped it with that too.  Sometimes I will add thinly sliced leftover chicken or even a poached egg.  Add a salad and we call that dinner.  These look orange tonight, but they look green if I use broccoli or spinach, funny!

Smoked Chicken and Celery Root in Endive

 Smoked Chicken and Celery Root in Endive
I've been making this appetizer for years and it's always popular!

 I'm sorry I don't know the original source of this recipe.  I've altered it slightly for simplicity's sake.

1 celery root, peeled and grated
juice of 1 lime
1 cup shredded smoked chicken (must be smoked, I find it at a local German butcher shop)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few drops Tabasco sauce
3 or 4 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 to 3 heads Belgium endive

Mix together first 7 ingredients.  Fill each endive leaf with mixture, sprinkle with minced cilantro.  (I used dill because I had it)

It's light and fresh, just a lovely appetizer.

Roasted Pencil Leeks

Roasted Pencil Leeks
Slice off root and most of the green part of the leeks.  Cut leek lengthwise to within one inch of the white tip.  Fan out the leaves and rinse thoroughly to remove grit and sand.  Pat dry.  Douse with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 425 deg. F for about 15 minutes.

Fennel and Paprika Pork Tenderloin

Fennel and Paprika Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4-6

Searing the meat before roasting it provides an additional layer of flavor.  Coat the tenderloins with the fennel crust after searing (and before roasting), so that the delicate crust doesn't burn.

4 T fennel seed, grind in small grinder or use mortar and pestle
1/4 C finely minced shallot
2 t. sweet paprika
2 t. finely minced garlic
1/2 t. ground cumin
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 1/2 pounds total
1 quart water
1/2 C kosher salt
1/4 C sugar
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
2 T prepared mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard

Remove silver skin and any fat from pork.  Combine water, salt and sugar in a large bowl, and stir to dissolve.  Place tenderloins in a resealable plastic bag and add the brine.  Remove the air when closing the bag and place in shallow dish in refrigerator.  Let it brine for 1 hour or up to 3 hours.  

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Remove meat from brine, rinse and pat well.

In a large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat, add olive oil to pan and heat.  Place tenderloins in skillet and sear on all sides.  Move browned meats to a large plate.  Combine mayonnaise and mustard and spread a thin coating on top and part-way down sides of tenderloins.  Combine first 5 ingredients above and press into mayo mix.  Leave the bottom uncoated. 

Place the tenderloins on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet, place in oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 142-145 F (I prefer it at 150), check with meat thermometer after 15-20 minutes and then adjust cooking time.  The meat will be fully cooked with a blush of pink remaining. I found I had to cover it loosely with foil after 10 minutes more or less so the crust wouldn't burn.

Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 

During this resting, I made a gravy with the pan drippings.  I also added 1/2 jar of some ginger/pear chutney at the end.  Pour over sliced meat.

This is a great do-ahead recipe and can be reheated easily.  It's also excellent cold the next day in sandwiches.  Easily doubled, quadrupled, etc.!

Recipe was given to me by my friend Rene, from an unknown source, perhaps Bon Appetit Magazine.

Preserving Lemons, Lemon Sugar and Salt Preserved Lemons

 You know the old saying, "When life gives you lemons, preserve them!"
(it's something like that!)

I've used expensive store bought preserved lemons in a Moroccan recipe before.
I loved them.
 When I was gifted some beautiful lemons, I thought I'd try it myself.

The recipe is so easy with ingredients I already had on hand:
lemons, kosher salt, coriander and fennel seeds plus a cinnamon stick.

Salt Preserved Lemons

Wash glass canning/pickling jar in very hot water.  Scrub lemons well.  Cut the lemon in half lengthwise almost to the base, do not cut all the way through.  Make another similar cut to divide the lemon into 4 sections.  Pry apart and pack with kosher salt and put in sterilized jar.  Repeat with as many lemons as you can squeeze in, I had to cut a few lemons in half to fill up the sides.  Add spices if you like, fennel seed, coriander seed, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorns and cinnamon stick are good choices.  Pack with more salt, I used a bit less than a cup total, and add freshly squeezed lemon juice to fill all crannies.  Shake and turn up side down occasionally, adding more salt and juice if needed.  The picture below is what it looked like the next day.  Shake daily for about a week.  They are ready in 3 weeks and can be stored for 6 months, unrefrigerated.  To use them, you need just rinse excess salt and they are ready for the recipe.

This is my first try at salt preserved lemons.  I'll let you know what I think of them and what recipes I end up using them in!  And since we're talking lemons, have you ever made Lemon Sugar?  So simple.

Lemon Sugar
The easiest way to preserve that lovely lemon flavor.

Scrub and dry 3 large lemons.  Zest just the bright yellow part.  Add 2 cups sugar and rub through fingers to infuse the zest and lemon oil throughout the sugar.  Sprinkle sugar on baking sheet to dry overnight.  Next morning break up crumbles, I had to give it a quick whirl in the food processor.  Store in clean jars.  We had it on yogurt this morning, nice, and I see lemon cookies in my future.

Helpful links:
Original recipe for preserved lemons here and another one here.
Canning jars here.  I love these, they last forever!
You can purchase preserved lemons already made for you here or here.
Here are several recipes using the preserved lemons, 
and also this recipe from the lovely Barefoot Contessa.
My favorite lemon zester here.