Friday, April 15, 2011

Georgia Pecan Crusted Grouper with Tomato Coulis

The local market had fresh grouper yesterday that I just couldn’t pass up!  Now my husband doesn’t really like fish very much and if he is forced to have it; fried is his preference.  But, I’m not big into fried foods so I had to try to come up with something that just might please us both!
I had lovely pecans from Georgia in the freezer and suddenly thought if you can serve trout with almonds; why not grouper with pecans.  Hence this simple yet flavorful dish was born.  The pecans really held up flavor wise to the tomato coulis and both Filippo and I enjoyed the nutty savory combination.  Served with French green beans and new yellow potatoes it turned out to be a very successful dinner!

Georgia Pecan Crusted Grouper with Tomato Coulis
Serves 4
4 Grouper fillet pieces about ¼ to 1/3 pound each
1 cup ground pecans (food processor works well for this)
2 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil divided
6 tablespoons butter divided
1 ripe tomato finely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs; sage and rosemary combination
½ cup dry white wine
1 lemon juiced
1.       Mix salt and pepper into flour
2.       Beat together the eggs and milk
3.       Dip fillets into flour then egg then into the ground pecans
4.       Sauté fillets in pre heated pan with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil
5.       Turn fillets over, add 2 tablespoons butter before putting fillets back down
6.       Remove fillets to serving platter and keep warm
7.       Turn pan heat to high and add 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoon olive oil, white wine and reduce by 1/3
8.       Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and lemon juice cook for 2 minutes
9.       Pour sauce over the fillets and serve.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Blueberry Streusel Cheesecake

This is absoluetly the best cheesecake I have ever made!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Caribbean Shrimp & Scallops with Yellow and Red Pepper Lime Salsa

For some reason I’ve been feeling like it should be vacation time; maybe it’s the warm weather?  Unfortunately the reality is this is not, nor will it be anytime soon, the moment for a vacation! 
I had picked up some lovely cherry tomatoes, red and green peppers, limes and cucumbers at the farmers market that were sitting in my veggie basket waiting…suddenly I thought; what about salsa!  A Caribbean inspired salsa!  At least we could eat like we were on vacation…….
So I popped up to the market and picked up a few fresh shrimp, scallops and fresh white corn tortillas. I really don’t think tortillas are Caribbean but I wanted a base for the shrimp, scallops and salsa; something with a bit of crunch and the fresh tortillas were calling to me!
Here’s the finished product which my husband declared really good and a keeper recipe. 

Caribbean Shrimp & Scallops with Yellow and Red Pepper Lime Salsa
Serves 4
4 Fresh 6 inch White Corn Tortillas
1 Tablespoon + ¼ Teaspoon Jerk Seasoning
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Limes
½ Yellow Pepper (finely chopped)
½ Red Pepper (finely chopped)
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes (quartered)
¼ Cup Cucumber (finely chopped)
4 Green Onions (finely chopped)
16 Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
16 Scallops of medium size
Salt & Pepper
1.       Mix together yellow Pepper, red pepper, green onions, tomatoes and cucumber.
2.       Zest the limes and reserve the zest for the finished dish.
3.       Juice one lime and mix into the vegetables then sprinkle with salt and pepper; mix again.
4.       Juice the second lime into a small bowl; add the jerk seasoning, shrimp and scallops.
5.       Brush tortilla with olive oil and sprinkle with the ¼ teaspoon jerk seasoning.
6.       Grill the tortillas on high heat until golden browned and slightly crispy.
7.       Grill the shrimp and scallops on high heat just until cooked through; do not overcook!
8.       Place one tortilla on a plate, put one scoop of the salsa in the center of the tortilla.
9.       Arrange 4 shrimp and 4 scallops in a circle around the salsa.
10.   Sprinkle a bit of the zest on top of the salsa and serve.
Unfortunately, with two kids in university,  this is about as close as we are going to get to a Caribbean vacation for quite a while!
At least we’ll always have Caribbean Shrimp & Scallops with Yellow and Red Pepper Lime Salsa!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken Teriyaki Sub with Sweet Onion Sauce

I admit up front that I spoil my daughter Marina.  Can’t help it, I adore her and she is so sweet it’s easy to go that extra step.  When she was little and had sleepovers I’d bring the girls breakfast in bed; usually pancakes.  When we moved to Florida, her bedroom was right next to the kitchen so school mornings I’d wake her up with a bowl of cereal in hand.  Now that she is a senior in high school and has a very busy life of her own there’s precious little opportunity to give her personal treats.  So when she declared Subway’s Teriyaki Chicken Sub with sweet onion sauce her absolute favorite I couldn’t resist trying to come up with something close for her school lunches.

It’s not the same as Subway, but Marina loves them so I thought I’d pass along the recipe.  These Spoiled Daughter Sandwiches are really yummy and are super to serve when you have people over to watch a game or for spring and summer picnics.

I’m giving you quantities for 4 large sandwiches on hoagie rolls with enough sauce left over for the next batch of sandwiches.
Let’s start off with the Sweet Onion Sauce:
¼ Cup finely chopped sweet or red onion (I use mostly red but also like it with sweet onions)
½ Cup light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered milk
½ Teaspoon lemon juice
¼ Teaspoon poppy seeds
¼ Teaspoon garlic powder
¼ Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Ingredients for the Sandwiches:
4 hoagie rolls
2 large chicken breasts
¼ cup teriyaki sauce
8 slices provolone cheese
8 slices tomato
½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
4 or more  tablespoons sweet onion sauce
Marinade the chicken breasts in the teriyaki sauce for 1 hour
Sauté the chicken breasts in a non stick pan on medium heat until done; about 15 minutes
Let the chicken cool and then slice thinly
Slice the hoagie roll lengthwise but do not separate
Place 2 slice provolone cheese on each roll, top with chicken slices, top with tomato slices and then the lettuce
Drizzle with sweet onion sauce; close sandwiches and serve.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio

When I was asked to review   Matthew Locricchio’s Teen Cuisine I must admit I was a bit skeptical.  After all, teens, at least mine, are much too busy with their social lives, work and activities to think about anything other than food that I hand to them ready to eat!   Real food, real cooking by real teenagers? 
Boy oh boy was I wrong!  I handed the book to my son Giuliano asking what he thought.  I figured he’d take about 30 seconds to pretend he’d looked at it and then hand it over saying “cool” before he headed out the door.  First, the gorgeous photo of the Fresh Fruit Tostados caught his eye.  Second he related to the directions being broken into “On your mark; Get set; and Cook”.  After Pancakes he actually stopped to check out Slow Cakes, even commenting on the photo; “I could probably eat 20, maybe I’ll make them Saturday.” 
Had I heard correctly? Actually yes I had!  Giuliano cruised through the book without stopping until he reached the photo of the 4th of July Shortcake!  A picture truly is worth a thousand words! 
The photos, fun directions and chef’s tips caught my son’s attention and were so enticing he enthusiastically chose to spend Saturday mornings making some of the recipes. 
The Oatmeal Cookies were a huge hit and disappeared super fast!  But the biggest hit and something Giuliano will continue to make and now thinks of as his signature dish is the pizza!  He's hooked on being able to make pizza and I can't even tell you how happy that makes me! 
Great Book, well written and fun! 
Here is the Oatmeal Cookie recipe from the book and a bit about Matthew Locricchio!  Enjoy! Oh, by the way, that's Giuliano's friend helping make the Slow Cakes Saturday morning.  Hmmm now if I can just get them to clean up afterwords I'll be in heaven!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
By Matthew Locricchio,
Author of Teen Cuisine

Oh, the oatmeal cookie. What an inspired creation . . . a portable bite of bliss. There are very few things that can match the irresistible aroma of cookies baking. And somehow, no matter where you are, this aroma will find you. Homemade is always worth the effort -- especially with cookies. I recommend that you bake these cookies one baking sheet at a time to make sure they cook evenly.

Giuliano''s first batch of the Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1¼ cups raw (turbinado) sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature plus ½ teaspoon for greasing
¼ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins

On your mark 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with an oven rack in the middle slot of the oven.
  • Using a piece of wax paper, lightly grease two 10 ½ by 15 ½-inch cookie sheets with ½ teaspoon butter. Set aside.
Get set . . . 
  • Combine the all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, oats, raw sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed. 
  • In a separate bowl, combine the butter, milk, molasses, egg, and vanilla.
  • Beat with an electric hand-mixer at medium speed until the mixture is smooth. Add to the dry ingredients. Toss all of the ingredients together to moisten.
  • Mix in the nuts and raisins. 
  • Scoop up about a tablespoon of dough and drop onto the greased cookie sheet.  Repeat until you have 12 cookies about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake one sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 18 minutes, or until the edges are crisp and start to color.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare and bake the next tray.  Continue until all the cookies are baked.
  • Once the cookies have cooled for 10 minutes, use a spatula to lift them off the cookie sheet and place them on a rack to cool completely.
The above is an excerpt from the book Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2011 Matthew Locricchio, author of Teen Cuisine

Author Bio
Matthew Locricchio, author of Teen Cuisine, was born into a restaurant and catering family and has worked in the food industry most of his life.  Included in his resume as a professional cook are stints at the well-known Gandy Dancer in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the West Coast Stock Exchange's private club in San Francisco, and the legendary Barbary Coast restaurant.

Matthew has taught culinary classes and given cooking demonstrations at culinary schools throughout the country as well as the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

James Peterson, photographer for Teen Cuisine, is a renowned cookbook author and photographer, and a James Beard and International Association of Culinary Professionals award winner.

For more information please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No Mortar for this Pesto

Cruising through the organic stands at the Sarasota Florida Farmers Market I found the most beautiful bags of Basil! No flower buds at all, which mean the basil was harvested at its flavor most peak AND amazingly, the roots were still attached.  While raving about their beauty the stand operator told me they had just been pulled early that morning!  Who could resist; certainly not me!

I inhaled deeply the aroma emanating from my coveted bag of fresh organic basil and immediately thought of Pesto; Pesto alla Genovese which my Italian husband will gladly tell anyone who will listen; is the only true Pesto!  Now I have a mortar and pestle which I use often to make enough Pesto for one family dinner but I decided to go the easy route since my basil bag was huge and I really didn't like the idea of spending the afternoon making one single batch after another.

So out came the food processor and off I went full speed ahead into pesto land. 
Toss all of your cleaned basil leaves into the food processor; I had about 4 -5 cups.  Peel 6 good sized cloves of garlic and add to the basil leaves along with 8 ounces of parmesan cut into chunks.  Pulse this mixture about 10 times and then add ½ cup of pine nuts and pulse again another 10 times. 

Now pour in a steady stream extra virgin olive oil into the processor running on the slowest speed.  Add about ½ cup and check the consistency and taste to see if it needs salt..probably not because of the saltiness of the parmesan.

Your goal here is to make a paste so process until the ingredients are no longer chunky and you have a paste.

Divide the pesto into small Tupperware containers and cover it olive oil and then top with the lid.  This will keep in the fridge if covered with olive oil for about 5-7 days. Pesto freezes amazingly well so go ahead and make it now so you have it available whenever!

Couldn’t resist a little pizza with pesto, brie and prosciutto later that evening….yum!

Next up I’ll be making a very special Lasagna featuring the pesto I have just shown you how to make!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tarte aux Fraises the EASY way!

KC Quaretti-Lee & Chef Judi Gallagher

Strawberry season is upon us here in Florida and today I showed ABC7's Culinary Director Chef Judi Gallagher how to make my favorite strawberry tart on ABC7 news at noon.  It was such fun I can't wait to be invited back!  Here is the video from the show and right below that, you'll find the recipe! This is a perfect recipe to make with the kids and grandkids!  Just a bit of simple measuring and mixing that a child can do and well,  adding the strawberries on top is a natural for the little ones!  But don't let that get you thinking this is just for the kids; oh no it's perfect to serve at family meals and to dinner guests too!


1 ½ Cups Self Rising Flour
¼ Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons Butter
¾ Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract (almond extract can also be used but then delete the lemon zest)
Zest from ½ lemon
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons cream
1 Pint Strawberries (washed, hulled and cut in half)

1.   Pre-Heat oven to 350
2.   Beat butter, sugar, eggs, lemon extract and cream together.
3.   Combine flour and salt.
4.   Gently add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, do not over mix.
5.   Spread into a 9 inch spring form pan coated with non stick spray.
6.   Press strawberries into batter in a circular pattern.
7.   Bake for 45 minutes.
8.   Cool 15-20 minutes and transfer to serving platter.
9.   Slice & serve as  is or with optional toppings.
Optional Toppings:
Sliced strawberries and whipped cream
A drizzle of chocolate sauce
Vanilla or strawberry ice cream

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Are U ready to win $25,000????

KC Quaretti-Lee, Sheila Chutchlow, Caryn Ross, Mandy Heaston

Season two starts at midnight tonight!  Get your Philadelphia Cream Cheese Recipes ready!  Having the opportunity to be the Dessert Host for the RWOP has been the best year of my life!  Wouldn't you like to have the opportunity to be a Real Women of Philadelphia Host for Season 2?  Oh and by the way....I should say it again....$25,000 is what you earn and that is JUST the start!
Any questions?  Check out the details at or leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer your questions!