Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee

Hmmmmm sometimes when you have a craving for a certain kind of food, does it seem that nothing else will quite satisfy you?  Well I've been craving shrimp etouffee lately and finally just had to break down and make some!
Here it is; not really difficult.  The only fussy part is the roux because you do have to keep it moving until it's nice and dark like chocolate.......other than that really simple!

Shrimp Etouffee
1 t. salt
1 t. Old Bay Seasoning
½ t. white pepper
½ t. black pepper
1 t. oregano
½ t. thyme
¼ c. canola oil
¼ c. flour
¼ c. chopped onion
¼ c. chopped celery
¼ c. chopped yellow pepper
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
4 T. butter
1 pound peeled medium shrimp
½ c. chopped scallions

In a small bowl combine first 6 ingredients and set aside
In a heavy sauce pan heat oil until the smoking point then sprinkle in the flour and whisk for about 30 seconds until well incorporated
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook about 45-55 minutes whisking all the time until the roux is dark in color
Add onions and stir constantly until softened; usually about 5 minutes
Remove from heat and stir in ½ of the spice mixture, celery and peppers.
Stir until roux has cooled and darkened a bit more
In a 2 quart sauce pan heat 1 cup of the chicken stock until boiling
Slowly whisk in the roux and cook for 2 minutes
Remove from heat and set aside
In a large sauté pan melt the butter over medium high heat until bubbling
Stir in shrimp and scallion; continue stirring for 2 minutes
Add the remaining spices and chicken broth along with the roux mixture
Stir while cooking for about 5 minutes until shrimp are cooked and sauce is shiny
Serve at once over rice

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mac 'n Cheese Carbonara

What happens when you combine America's favorite Mac 'n Cheese with Italy's favorite Pasta Carbonara?  Mac 'n Cheese Carbonara that's what and I can guarantee it will just right up to the top of YOUR family favorite's list!
Video Recipe:

1 pound elbow macaroni cooked to al dente
Carbonara Topping:
10 slices pancetta rough chopped
3 cups bread crumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano
½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Mac & Cheese”
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
3 teaspoons flour
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 cups grated Fontina
¾ cup  Parmigiano
1 cup mozzarella
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup olive oil
In a dry saucepan cook pancetta until slightly crisp
Combine pancetta, 2 tablespoons drippings, bread crumbs, I cup Parmigiano and parsley
Set aside
Add garlic to pancetta drippings and heat for 1 minute
Whisk in flour until bubbling and slightly browned
Slowly add, cream, milk, salt and pepper whisking over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes
Add fontina, parmigiano and mozzarella whisking until melted
Mix together with pasta and pour into buttered baking dish
Top with bread crumb mixture and press down
Drizzle with olive oil
Bake in preheated 350F oven for 20-25 minutes

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daube Provencal

A faster and easier approach to the traditional Daube. This recipe was inspired by the daube served at Chez Barale in old town Nice. Now the traditional doube's cooking time is somewhere around 8 hours which is just not realistic for our busy lifestyles today so I have created a method that keeps the full robust flavors of the traditional but cuts your prep and cooking time considerably!

8 ounces dried proccini mushrooms
2 pounds beef ( I use an inexpensive chuck)
2 pounds pork
1 pound veal
4 ounces salt pork
1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons Herbs De Provence
3 cups chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 pound carrots
1/4 cup cognac
1 bouquet garni (parsley, thyme bay leaf)
1 tablespoon orange zest

Soak mushrooms in 1 cup hot water
Cube the beef, pork, veal but leave the salt pork whole
Brown the meat in olive oil. Do this in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.
Chop the onion and garlic.
Add to the meat and saute over medium heat for 15 minutes.
Drain the mushrooms, chop and add to the pan along with the strained juices.
Add Herbs De Provence and tomatoes.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the red wine, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the carrots, cognac, bouquet garni and cognac; cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
Daube Provencal is taditionally served with ravioli stuffed with Swiss Chard.  Any wide pasta or mashed potatoes make a heavenly match for this Daube Provencal!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dijon Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon Wine Sauce

Long name for a VERY easy dish to make!  Seriously easy yet absolutely delicious is more like it!
While living in France I came to realize just how marvelous Dijon mustard is as a flavor base for protein. Goodness, I swear half of the restaurants in the south serve rabbit with Dijon mustard sauce and the other half use it with chicken or pork.  Today we are combining the tang of Dijon with the sweet herbiness of Tarragon; a flavor marriage made in heaven!

OK lets get started with the video recipe:

Oh yes, there is also a sweet treat to enjoy after dinner.  One that you can toss together in seconds and then pop in the oven while you are dining!
In the mean time, here is the printable recipe for Dijon Mustard Pork Tenderloin with Tarragon Wine Sauce!

1 Pork Tenderloin
3 T. Dijon Mustard
¼ C. olive oil
1 C. dry white wine
3 cloves garlic
2 T. fresh thyme
3 T. fresh rosemary
½ t. allspice
¾ C. heavy cream
2 T. fresh chopped tarragon ½ cups chicken stock
Salt & pepper

Put garlic through a press into a large zip lock bag.
Add olive oil, wine, garlic, thyme, rosemary and allspice.
Add the pork tenderloin and let marinade for 30 minutes.
Remove pork tenderloin to roasting pan and discard marinade.
Spread with mustard and bake in preheated 375 oven for 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150.
Set aside to rest and prepare tarragon sauce.
Combine cream, tarragon, chicken stock salt & pepper.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat then lower heat and simmer until reduced by half.
Slice tenderloin and serve with tarragon sauce.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Coq au Vin the EASY way!

Coq au Vin, which simply translates to rooster in wine, is now updated to be made easily in American kitchens.  Instead of an aged rooster, use boneless chicken breasts or thighs to cut your prep and cooking time down to 30 minutes!

I mean really; who has hours and hours to spend cooking an old stringy rooster that is past his prime!  Not me that's for sure!  Here we keep all of the delicious flavors and lose all the cooking time.
Coq au Vin short video recipe:

Coq au Vin
6 slices bacon
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 T. fresh parsley
½ t. salt & ¼ t. pepper
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms
6 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 ½ cups chicken stock
4 t. flour
Rough chop and sauté the bacon in a non stick pan until lightly browned.
Remove from pan and set aside to drain on paper towels.
Chop the parsley and sprinkle over the chicken breasts.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place into the sauté pan used for the bacon and cook over medium/high heat until just done; about 6 minutes per side.
Transfer chicken breasts to an oven proof dish and place into pre heated 300 degree oven to keep warm.
Wipe mushrooms with damp paper towel to clean then cut in half or quarters depending on size.
Slice shallots in half lengthwise and sauté with the mushrooms until beginning to brown, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Finely mince garlic or put through a press then add to the mushrooms and mix well.
Add the wine, 1 ¼ cups chicken stock and the drained bacon.
Bring to a boil and let bubble gently for 10 minutes uncovered.
In a small bowl mix the reserved ¼ cup chicken stock into the flour and whisk until incorporated.
Combine the flour mixture with the cooking wine sauce and stir well, then let thicken for about 5 minutes.
Place chicken on serving platter, add any juices to the sauce.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Country French Pate'

Wow your family and friends with this French classic adapted for the American kitchen

Considered to be one of France’s best dishes, Pate’ de Campagne from Brittany is made with ground pork, cognac and spices; without a hint of liver ever!  Always served cold, don’t forget the traditional condiments; Dijon mustard, cornichons and baguette slices!
Video Recipe; watch and learn just how easy it is to make your own Country French Pate'!

·         3/4 cup Cognac
·         3 tablespoons butter
·         1 onion minced
·         2 1/2 pounds ground pork
·         24 slices bacon divided 8 for the pate & 16 to line the pan
·         3 cloves garlic minced or put through press
·         2 1/2 teaspoons salt
·         2 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
·         1 /12 teaspoons allspice
·         1 teaspoon pepper
·         2 beaten eggs
·         1/3 cup whipping cream
·         6-8 ounces high quality ham steak
1.      Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.      Bring cognac to a simmer and reduce to 1/2 cup then set aside to cool.
3.      Sauté onions in butter until soft then set aside to cool.
4.      Place pork in mixing bowl.
5.      Chop 8 slices of bacon and add to pork along with onion, salt, thyme, allspice and pepper.
6.      Mix in eggs, cream & cognac.
7.      Line loaf pan with bacon slices and spread 1/2 pate mixture in bottom.
8.      Cut ham into 1/4-inch slices and place in one layer in loaf pan.
9.      Top with remaining pate’.
10.  Fold bacon slices over pate’ starting with long sides of pan and end with pate’ being encased in bacon.
11.  Cover tightly with non stick foil and place in roasting pan on lowest rack.
12.  Pour boiling water into roasting pan and bake for 2-2 ½ hours until internal temperature reaches 155F.
13.  Remove from oven and top with heavy cans.
14.  Refrigerate for 24 hours.
15.  To unmold pate’, place in roasting pan and fill with hot water. Let stand for 2-3 minutes.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes

This week Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes will be released to the trade- available where books are sold!
So I thought celebrating Best Loved Recipes with Pumpkin Cupcakes would be the perfect fall match-up!  I didn't frost mine, the family got too them right away and with full mouths' declared they didn't need frosting!

Yield: 16 cupcakes
Prep: 30 min.
Bake: 20 min. + cooling


  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup 2% milk
  • 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1-½ cups confectioners' sugar

1. In a large bowl, beat shortening until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture will appear curdled). Beat in syrup and milk. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger and allspice; add to shortening mixture and beat just until moistened. Stir in pumpkin and pineapple.

2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to a wire rack to cool completely.

3. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mini Tarts & Prosecco Citrusade

Looking forward to a great holiday entertaining season I want to share with you the perfect way to greet your guests!  Get the party started with a pairing of Mini Goat Cheese Tarts and a glass of refreshing Prosecco Citrusade.

Super simple to make so you'll have time to spend with your guests!

Ingredients for the Mini Tarts:
5 ounces goat cheese
1 egg
3 sprigs each fresh oregano & thyme finely chopped
Pinch salt & pepper
½ sun dried tomato minced
4 tablespoons cottage cheese
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 box mini filo tarts
Mix together the goat cheese, egg, herbs, salt, pepper, sun dried tomato and cottage cheese
Lightly toast the bread crumbs in a medium sauté pan
Add the cheese mixture and warm, stirring constantly for 5 minutes
Fill the tarts and serve
Prosecco Citrusade
1 Bottle Prosecco
2 Lemons
2 Limes
2 Oranges
2 Tablespoons sugar
Juice 1 lemon, 1, lime, 1 orange
Slice the remaining fruit
Mix together the juice and sugar
Add the sliced fruit
Pour in one bottle of prosecco
Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Someone Stole My NEW Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes Cookbook!

And I know just who it was!   But more about that a bit later....

This just happens to be the best family cookbook I have seen in years!  I love the way you can see food trends over the last 20 years, the photos are amazing and the tips are extraordinary!

First thing I did was to sit down and go through the book thinking I would choose a recipe to try right away....well after drooling over more than 20 in as many minutes I knew making just one was out of the questions.  So I closed the book and opened it back up willy nilly to one of the many book marks I had placed during my first thumb through.  Then I did the same thing again and voila...I had 2 new recipes to try!

First up: Pasta and Salami Salad

What can I say other than we have a new family favorite!

Easy to make, hearty enough for a main dish and absolutely delish!

Next up: Rice Pilaf

Absolutely delightful!  The perfect side for chicken, fish, pork or beef!
I really want you all to have the total picture on just what this amazing cookbook has to offer so here is a bit of info from Taste Of Home:

What is Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes?
  • Taste of Home is America's connection to the personal recipes of people who cook at home as a way to bring family and friends together, particularly at the holidays.
  • This special collection includes more than 1,400 of the most requested, most beloved dishes, all submitted by Taste of Home readers
  • Each recipe has been evaluated and selected by Taste of Home, which ensures that it can be prepared with affordable everyday ingredients. 
  • Practical and proven tips to help every kind of cook enjoy perfect results every time 
  • Personal stories and memories from contributors are sprinkled throughout

  • Prep/Cook Times
  • Top 100 favorite recipes marked with an icon
  • Everyday ingredients
  • Easy-to-follow directions
  • How-to photos and cooking tips
  • Personal stories
  • Ribbon marker

That from now until September 13th Best Loved Recipes is only available through the Taste of Home website:

When you order from the Taste of Home website you'll get an exclusive Taste of Home Baking Guide Free and free shipping. 
Now on to just who stole my daughter!  This book got her excited and gave her confidence about cooking for herself and friends in her very first semi apartment at university so she quietly packed it with her school things!  I'm not mad I'm thrilled she has a cooking tutor always at hand!!!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Taste of Home Mrs. Holiday Contest

Taste of Home magazine is searching for their first ever Mrs. Holiday using video submissions and public voting!  One lucky Mrs. Holiday will be a Taste of Home ambassador to the media, post articles in the magazine, represent  Taste of Home at foodie events and receive a $50,000 salary for doing all this fun "work"!

I would love to be named Taste of Home Mrs. Holiday!  This where you come in; I need YOUR voting help!  It's super quick and easy; just follow this link, like the page on Facebook and vote for me, KC Quaretti/ Thanksgiving.  I'm on the lower left of the page under Most Popular.

Thank you so much for you voting support!!!!!!!!!!

Here is my video entry:

Here is the recipe for my almost famous Pumpkin Pecan Praline Pie:


1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
½ teaspoon salt
1 can (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs beaten
1   pie crust (9 inch) ready to bake


1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons dark corn syrup
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
Pinch salt

Crumble Method:
Mix all crumble ingredients together and set aside  

Pie Shell:

Pre heat oven to 425F

Place crust in pie dish and prick with a fork

Line with parchment paper or non stick foil

Fill with dried beans or pie weights

Cover edges with foil

Bake for 20 minutes

Remove foil and pie weights, return to oven for 5 minutes

Pie Method:

Mix pumpkin, spices, eggs and milk together
Pour into pie shell

Cover edges with foil
Bake in preheated 425F oven for 15 minutes
Reduce heat to 350 and bake 25 minutes or until just set
Top with praline crumble and return to oven for 10 minutes
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Servings: 8 slices

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Best Steaks EVER

Have you seen the Walmart commercials where they replace the steaks at a restaurant with Walmart steaks?  When my daughter saw it the first time she said “I’d be mad if they did that to me!  Well she certainly changed her tune when I had the opportunity to test Walmart’s USDA Choice Steaks!  They were the best steaks I’ve had in YEARS, that’s including restaurants!  I was given a $25.00 gift card to cover the cost of the steaks while creating an economical summer BBQ.  I spent the entire twenty-five on two huge steaks; a rib eye and a T bone.  With that I served grilled corn on the cob and sweet potato oven fries.  The steaks were so big that one was plenty for two people so actually we had the most marvelous family BBQ with the most amazing steaks ever for just less than $30.00.
So all I can say is I’ll be back for more USDA Choice Steaks from Walmart real soon!

For the blue cheese butter:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
3 Wedges Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Herb butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature 
4 Tablespoons fresh chopped herbs
Freshly ground black pepper

For the steaks:
4 USDA Choice Steaks about an inch& a half thick

Blend the butter, blue cheese & pepper together ( or butter, herbs & pepper) in a small bowl. 

Pack the butter into a small ziplock baggie and form into a log. Refrigerate until needed. The butter can be made several days in advance and freezes well.  Actually I always have herb butter in the freezer!

Make sure you allow at least 30 minutes for the steaks to come to room temperature prior to grilling.  Generously sprinkle with salt just prior to grilling; no more than 5 minutes before!
Preheat your grill and when very hot, oil the grill racks.  Place the steaks on the grill, close the lid, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare
Let steaks stand for 5 minutes before serving to let the juices settle. Top with a generous slice of the butter of choice and enjoy!

Here’s some interesting and important information:
·         Customers across the country can now enjoy Walmart’s premium selection and wide assortment of top quality USDA Choice steak, including T-bone, NY Strip, Filet, Rib eye, and Top Sirloin, at a great price.            

·         Walmart selects the best USDA Choice cuts, tender-ages the steak to perfection, and, as we do with all our steaks, makes sure it undergoes rigorous USDA inspections for quality and safety.

Walmart is so confident that you’ll love our top quality USDA Choice steaks that we offer a 100% Money Back Satisfaction Guarantee. If you aren’t fully satisfied, just bring back your receipt for your money back.

·         Only 1 in 5 steaks qualify for Walmart’s USDA Choice Premium Beef label