Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cuscino Di Frutta

A heavenly pillow filled with fresh fruit and honey served warm with vanilla ice cream topped with a honey drizzle and sliced almonds is the perfect ending to any dinner!

8 sheets filo dough
2 apples ( or 2 cups apples and fresh berries)
1/2 cup honey
Ice Cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds + 4 tablespoons for topping
1/2 stick melted butter

1. Peel, core and finely chop the apples
2. Lay out one sheet of filo and brush with melted butter, top with another filo sheet spread with butter and top with a third sheet of filo.

3. Brush filo with butter and cover with chopped apples and sliced almonds.
4. Drizzle with honey.

5.  Roll up filo dough.
6. Lay out one sheet of filo dough and brush with melted butter, cover with another sheet of filo dough and brush with butter then lay on a third sheet of filo ad drizzle with remaining honey.
7. Place the filo roll on top of flat filo sheet going in the other direction.
8. Roll up and tuck the ends under to form a pillow.

9. Brush pillow with melted butter and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
10. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Slice and serve wtih a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzles with honey and toped with sliced almonds.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pork Chops with Balsamic Orange Honey Shallot Sauce

This is a very easy dish but it has a level of flavors that are wonderfully sophisticated and delicate! The honey and the balsamic each retain their own individual personality and yet create a totally new flavor when combined with the orange juice and shallots. This sauce can also be used for lamb chops!

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


4 pork chops

2 T orange zest

4 shallots

4 T balsamic vinegar

¼ cup fresh orange juice

2 T orange honey

2 T white wine

2 T olive oil

1. Finely chop the shallots and sauté with the orange zest in 1 T olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Add the balsamic vinegar and let the vinegar reduce for 5 minutes.

3. Add the orange juice and white wine, continue cooking over medium heat.

4. Heat 1 T olive oil in large sauté pan and add the pork chops. Sauté for 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness of pork chops. Pork chops cook rather quickly so be careful not to overcook.

5. Just before the pork chops are done, add the orange honey to the shallot sauce and warm together.

6. Remove the pork chops to a serving platter.

7. Pour the shallot sauce into the pork chop sauté pan and stir well to combine with the tasty brown bits from cooking the pork chops.

8. Pour the sauce over the pork chops and serve.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Savannah Bee Company

While in Savannah filming videos for the Real Women of Philadelphia we were lucky to have the chance to visit Ted Dennard at his Savannah Bee Company! He is an expert bee keeper with a true passion for bees and the important role they play in our lives. What a delight it was to have Ted himself introduce us to his bees!

Ted showed us the hives and even let us taste the honey right from the honeycomb!

I brought home orange blossom honey which Ted said is the best in years and Tupelo Honey as well as a beautiful handmade honey drizzle stick! The Savannah Bee Company has a web site; that is filled with amazing bee facts, delicious recipes and all of their wonderful products!  Do take a discovery web trip to the Savannah Bee Company!

This week will Honey Week here in Venice Florida!  Check back for recipes featuring both orange and tupelo honey!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bacon Cheese Burgers

Prep Time 15 minutes
Bake Time 10
Easy to Make
Serves 6


2 Pound Ground Beef
6 Slices Bacon
1 chopped onion
4 Ounces grated cheese, I use a three cheese mix
6 Onion Rolls
6 Slices Tomatoes

Saute the onions until sweet and golden
While the onions saute, cook the bacon (I do it in the oven at 375 for about 7 minutes) until crispy
Crumble the bacon
Mix together the ground beef, onions, cheese and bacon
Form 6 patties

Grill the patties as desired on BBQ or under broiler (outer layer with cheese will get a bit crispy, yum!)
Layer lettuce, tomatoes and patties on onion rolls and serve


I do not use salt because the bacon adds enought salt.  If you want a south of the border flavor add some diced chilpotle peppers to the ground beef mixture.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Cassoulet

Want something hearty but still summery?  Try this summer cassoulet with thyme and apples!
Much lighter than the traditional French Cassoulet that is so comforting and wintery but is complicated and takes forever to make.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Easy to make!

4 chicken thighs
2 polish sausages
1 small onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1/2 green apple chopped
6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 large potatoes peeled and cut into large cubes
1 large ripe tomato cut into chunks

Brown the sausage in the olive oil then remove from pan and cut in half.

Brown the chicken thighs then remove from pan. At this point I remove the chicken skin also.

Saute the onion, celery, apple and carrots until onions are clear.

Add the chicken and sausage back into the pan along with the potatoes and sprinkle with thyme.

Add chicken stock, cover and cook on simmer for 40 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle a bit more fresh thyme or chopped parsley on each serving for a bit more color.
Serve and enjoy!
I like to make this in a pan that I can bring right to the table. Serve with lots of hearty crusty bread that you will want to dip into the sauce.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Today's Celebration Information

Today is national "Ice Cream Cone Day" as well as national "Be a Kid Again" day.  Perfect combination!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Begining

Some of my earliest memories in life are the “pancakes” I used to mix up and cook on the wood stove at our cabin! My mom would never let me use the “expensive ingredients” like eggs or milk, so these pancakes consisted of flour, water and the odd bit of sugar or spice that I could sneak in. I was so lucky to have Jack Wilson, our neighbor, bravely eat pancake after pancake, telling me how wonderful they were! His compliments and second helpings started me on a lifetime of loving to cook!

When I found the Real Women of Philadelphia Web site it was the beginning of the eight week competition. At that time I did not have a functioning video camera and announced to my husband Filippo (you’ll hear a lot about his tastes as well as my son Giuliano’s and my daughter Marina’s as we move forward) that I was going to enter this contest and needed to buy a little inexpensive video camera. I was thinking something along the lines of one of those cute little flip cameras. Well he lit up with the thought of a new tech toy and off we went to “get the right” camera!

Filippo was my cameraman/director/taster/cheerleader from the first video to the last! Giuliano and Marina counseled me to make MORE dessert videos; gee I wonder why! We laughed like crazy over the next seven weeks at all my bloopers and cried with joy when I was chosen as the 16th Real Women of Philadelphia finalist!

Savannah was a dream come true! I finally got to meet some of the amazing women from the RWoP site who traveled from all over the country to see Paula Deen and cheer us on. I’ve made friends that I cherish and will hold dear in my heart for the rest of my life! I wish you all could meet the 15 other finalists; the voice of the RWoP, the Kraft team, the Eqal team and all of the Philly Ladies in person so you could truly understand when I say they are the most extraordinary people I have ever known!

Here is my French Apple Cake Recipe. It is really very easy to make! Please do let me know how it turns out for you!

• 1 1/2 cup(s) of Sugar

• 4 tsp. of Water

• 1/2 Lemon

• 6 Apples

• 3 Eggs

• 1 cup(s) of Flour

• 8 ounce(s) of Melted Butter

• 4 ounce(s) of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

• 3 Ingredients for the Optional Topping

• 8 ounce(s) of Nuts and Honey Philadelphia Cream Cheese

• 1 cup(s) of Whipping Cream

• 1/4 cup(s) of Powdered Sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Prepare a caramel: heat 3/4 cup sugar with 4 teaspoons water. when the sugar becomes light brown add the juice of 1/2 lemon and remove from heat

3. Coat the bottom  of a spring form pan with the caramel.

4. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and arrange in an attractive circular overlapping pattern on the caramel.

5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with 3/4 cup sugar.

6. Add the flour, butter and Philadelphia Cream Cheese and continue beating until you have a creamy batter.

7. Pour over apples and caramel and bake for 35 minutes

8. Let cool slightly prior to turning over onto a decorative cake plate.

9. Optional: While cake is baking beat Nuts and Honey Philadelphia Cream Cheese until fluffy. Beat whipping cream until fluffy and then add 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Gently fold the whipped Philadelphia Cream Cheese into the Whipped Cream and chill well using the freezer if necessary. Top the warm cake slices with a spoonful of Philadelphia Cream Cheese/whipped Cream mixture and enjoy!