Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holiday Country French Pate'

Wow your family and friends this holiday season with this French classic adapted for the American kitchen.  It is the most extraordinary and festive appetizer you will ever serve!

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, November 14, 2013

Coffee Tart with Chocolate Sauce

Coffee Tart with Chocolate Sauce

Super easy and oh so delicious; a creamy coffee tart drizzled with the most amazing chocolate sauce!  You’ll never buy chocolate sauce again!
Chocolate Sauce:
·         100 grams Dark Chocolate
·         3 T. Water
·         70 grams Sugar
Coffee Tart:
·         1 Blind Bakes Pie Shell
·         ¼ cup Espresso
·         200 grams Sugar
·         130 grams Butter
·         6 eggs
1.       Combine butter and espresso and heat in microwave until butter is melted
2.       Beat eggs and sugar together until light buttery yellow
3.       Blend in the coffee/butter mixture
4.       Pour custard mixture into pie shell
5.       Bake in pre heated 325 oven for 1 hour 15 minutes
6.       Bring water to a boil in small sauce pan then add sugar and stir until dissolved
7.       Remove from heat and stir in chocolate pieces; continue stirring until chocolate is melted

8.       Slice tart and serve with chocolate sauce

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Easiest Pasta Sauce EVER!

This is such an incredibly easy and delicious way to serve fresh tomatoes!  Not having to cook the sauce saves time and keeps you away from the stove on hot summer days.  It can also be served cold as a pasta salad to accompany grilled chicken or fish.  The sauce is also an excellent topping for brochette, cheese omelets and chicken cutlets.   I usually double the recipe so I have it on hand in the fridge for the next couple of days.
Serves 4
3 Large Ripe Tomatoes
1 Large or 2 Small Garlic Cloves
6 Large or 12 Small Basil Leaves
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 Ounces Angel Hair Pasta
Fresh Grated Parmesan to pass at the table

Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze to remove the seeds then chop into small pieces.
Finely mince the garlic and combine with the tomatoes,
Stack and roll the basil leaves then thinly slice and add to the tomatoes.
Give a light sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Combine the olive oil with the tomato mixture.  Add more oil if the tomatoes are not covered with oil.
Set aside at room temperature while you bring salted water to boil and cook your pasta.
Drain pasta when cooked to al dente and transfer to serving bowl.
Spoon sauce over pasta and toss together.

Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

There is a lot more to pumpkins than Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween and pie for Thanksgiving!

First let's make Pumpkin Puree that will keep a week in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.  So all you have to do is pop your puree into baggies, I like to do one cup measures, freeze and it will be on hand for Thanksgiving!  

OK back to the puree; cut your pumpkins in half.  Clean out the seeds with an ice cream scoop; this makes cleaning fast and easy.  Sprinkle with salt and place flesh side down on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a 400F oven for 35-45 minutes.  Cool and then spoon the flesh into your blender and blend on high for 3's done!NOW, what to do with some of that pumpkin puree you just made?  How about something sweet this time!  

This just happens to be my all time favorite fall cake; Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake!

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake Recipe:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree

Whisk together flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
In mixer bowl beat together sugar and butter for 3 minutes.
Add the 3 eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute with each addition.
Add 1/2 of the flour and 1/2 of the pumpkin, mix well then add the remainder of the pumpkin and flour. beat on medium for 3 minutes.
Pour batter into a bundt pan that has been coated with butter & flour or non stick spray. Smooth top and tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 40 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Drizzle with glaze made of 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and about 2 tablespoons buttermilk while cake is still slightly warm.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It's Pumpkin Season!!!

There are so many dishes to make with the fresh pumpkins that are really cheap and readily available right now I had a hard time choosing which one to start off with.......
But something unique is always super fun so here goes......Pumpkin Lasagna!!!! An unusual lasagna that is absolute delicious!  Don’t be put off by the addition of pumpkin puree, it adds a depth of flavor to the lasagna that is amazing!
Doesn't this look delicious?  Here's a little secret....I didn't tell my kids or their friends that there was pumpkin in it!  Did they notice?  No and they polished off the entire pan....everyone had seconds, so I guess it was a hit!
Here's how it's made:
1 cup pumpkin puree I roasted fresh pumpkin for about 30 minutes in a 425 oven then mashed with a fork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms sliced
2 Italian sausages casing removed (you can use up to 1 pound of sausage)
½ cup red wine
26 ounces tomato sauce
¼ cup fresh basil chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano chopped
½ teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper
6 ready to use lasagna sheets
1 egg
2 ½ cups ricotta
2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella divided
½ cup pecorino Romano
2 medium zucchini sliced
Preheat oven to 350
Heat olive oil in large sauté pan and add onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the sausage, breaking into small pieces and sauté until just cooked through, then add the mushrooms and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the herbs and tomato sauce and simmer over medium low for 15 minutes.
Mix together the pumpkin and egg, set aside.
Mix together the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella and Romano.
Spread a ladle of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan.  Top with lasagna noodles, ½ of the pumpkin mixture, ½ of the sliced zucchini, ½ of the cheese and then repeat.  Top with remaining 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese and bake for 40 minutes.  Let rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vegetarian Lasagna Silvianne

My dear friend Silvianne has been a vegetarian her entire life. She admits to being in her fifties and has never tasted meat, fish or chicken!  Whenever Silvianne and her husband were invited to dinner I made something special befitting her dietary requirements and named every dish after her; hence the name Lasagna Silvia.  But the uniqueness of this lasagna does not end there!  The ‘lasagna noodles’ are actually strips of thinly sliced zucchini and tomato sauce has been replaced with  Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
The delicate flavors of lightly sautéed portabella mushrooms, zucchini noodles and chopped spinach are complimented and enhanced by the refined natural flavor of the Creamy Tomato Soup.  Together they create a little bit of heaven called Lasagna Silvia.

1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
8 ounces portabella mushroom sliced
2 tablespoons butter
16 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained well
3 zucchini
30 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan
1 quart Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup
1.       Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
2.       Coat a 9X12 Lasagna pan with non stick spray
3.       Drain ricotta cheese in a sieve while preparing onions and mushrooms.
4.       On medium heat, sauté onion on  in 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil until translucent; about 10 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
5.       In a large frying pan over medium/high heat sauté portabella mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until softened; about 5 minutes.  Add to the onions.
6.       Beat the two eggs and mix with the ricotta cheese.
7.       Mix the ricotta egg mixture into, onions and mushrooms and then the well drained spinach.
8.       Thinly slice 3 zucchini lengthwise to create noodles.
9.       Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with 1/4th of the Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
10.   Place a layer of zucchini noodles in the lasagna pan, slightly overlapping them.
11.   Spread 1/3 of the ricotta, mushroom, spinach mixture across the zucchini.
12.   Sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
13.   Repeat the layers two more times.
14.   Top with the tomato soup and sprinkle the last of the mozzarella across the lasagna.  
15.   Finish by topping the lasagna with the parmesan cheese; you will have a 2 cheese top.
16.   Coat aluminum foil with non stick spray and cover the lasagna to keep the cheese from getting too dark.
17.   Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.

18.   Let lasagna rest for 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Focaccia the Easy Way!

OK let's face facts; we don't always have the time to make our own focaccia dough, right?  I sure don't! So this is for all my friends who have eaten focaccia at my table...sometimes it's my dough and sometimes not!

Here's the trick, use the fresh pizza dough you can buy at your local market. Hey especially when it's offered at buy one get one free! The dough will keep in your fridge for up to 2 days so you'll have time to use both of them!
All you have to do is leave the bag of dough out on your counter until it looks like it's going to blow up!

That means you can take it out in the morning and not think about it again until late afternoon if your house is cool. Hey here in Florida it only takes a few hours but then we don't turn on the AC until the house get to be 80 plus!
Dump the dough onto a parchment paper lined pizza pan or cookie sheet.  Spread the dough out using your knuckles until it is about a half inch thick. Drizzle with olive oil and then spread the oil out evenly so the focaccia dough doesn't dry out.

Now just let the dough rise a while; anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Let your schedule be your guide.  The longer it rises the higher the dough but the flavor will be the same.  Then using one knuckle or the end of a wooden spoon, poke down the dough like I've shown you in the photo.
Now you can drizzle with a little extra olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 14-15 minutes in a preheated 450 degree oven OR you can choose to add some toppings.  Today I thinly sliced an onion and distributed that on the focaccia dough.  Topped that off with a bit of Herbs de Provence and a generous sprinkle of sea salt. 
Same cooking time and temp gets the job done and you have something marvelous! Now in Nice France they would saute the onions first and add anchovies and olives, that's called pissaladiere.  Me I'm not hot on anchovies but I do often saute to onions until soft and caramelized time permitting.

15 minutes in the preheated 450 oven and this is what you get.  Do give it a light drizzle with olive oil and another sprinkle of salt when it first comes out of the oven!
How easy is that? Seriously good eating!
Feel free to let your imagination soar when it comes to the toppings! How about brie and halved grapes or sliced pears along with the onions?  Some finely minced sun dried tomatoes are also a welcome addition; just go for it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Football Season Schedule!

With the football season opening game tonight it got me started thinking about my menu schedule for the games!  After all in this family the food is as important as the game itself.  Same for you?
So I started going through my recipes looking for just the perfect opening game treat.......For tonight I have chosen one of my most popular sandwiches ever on Chat 'n Dish; Zucchini Fritters & Spicy Cabbage Slaw Sandwiches. 
These sandwiches are so delicious and hearty no one is ever going to suspect they are vegetarian so they are also perfect if you want to follow the Meatless Monday tradition!
You can have everything ready to go prior to the start of the game so you'll never miss a second of the action!
Zucchini Fritters & Spicy Cabbage Slaw Sandwiches

Ingredients for 8 fritters
2 zucchini grated
2 eggs beaten
1 bunch green onions chopped
¼ cup-1/2 cup self rising flour
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup pickled peppers
Wrap grated zucchini in a tea towel and squeeze to remove excess moisture
Mix all ingredients together
Heat ¼ inch oil in sauté pan until hot
Drop an ice-cream scoop full of the batter onto the hot oil and flatten slightly
Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes
Turn and fry until second side is golden brown, about 3 minutes
Drain on paper towels
Spicy Cabbage Slaw
1 ½ cups cabbage grated
1/3 cup Ranch Dressing
1 tablespoon Sriracha Chili Sauce
2 tablespoons chopped pickled peppers optional
Mix ranch dressing and chili sauce together
Combine with cabbage and optional peppers
Method for the Sandwiches:
Fill a pita pocket or your favorite hoagie roll with 2 fritters
Top with ¼ of the spicy slaw


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Labor Day; the end of summer or the beginning of the year?

When I was a kid, Labor Day Weekend was always the last weekend before starting the new school year.  I guess that's why I always feel like it's both the end of summer and the start of the new year!  Silly I know but January first is just a regular old holiday to me.  Going back to school was starting teachers, new clothes, new friends, new chance to do really well....hahaha well the grade book didn't have any late reports or over due library books yet!

So now we still celebrate Labor Day even though my kids are away at university and start classes long before September 1st!  Only one difference; no more hot dogs and s'mores!  Instead I try to come up with something fun and unusual to help us very own labor of love for my family!  This year's treat is a real winner! Exotic, fun and delicious!  Oh an really quite easy to whip up!

Here's to the last weekend of summer and starting over with a clean slate!  I give you:

Tropical Sunset Fiesta
Serves 4
4 slices fresh pineapple
1 cup fresh papaya thinly sliced
½ pound fresh shrimp shelled & deveined
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 lemon
1 yellow pepper
1 bunch green or spring onions
4 slices rustic country bread
1 clove garlic finely minced
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
1 t. salt & 1/2 t. pepper
Oil for the bbq grill
2 T. butter for the sauté pan

2.       Char the yellow pepper on the oiled grill (high heat)
3.       Place yellow pepper in a paper bag to cool then peel, seed and cut into thin strips
4.       Grill the fresh pineapple slices on both sides (high heat)
5.       Zest the lemon and then juice
6.       Chop the green onions
7.       On the side burner melt the butter in a large flame proof sauté pan
8.       Add the shrimp and garlic; sauté until just cooked through
9.       Chop the grilled pineapple
10.   Add the parsley, pineapple and green onions, lemon juice and zest; warm through
11.   Top each slice of toast with sliced papaya then the sliced avocado
12.   Place ¼ of the shrimp and Pineapple mixture on each toast
13.   Serve immediately

Thursday, July 18, 2013

How about a Stay-cation Picnic?

One of my favorite things about a Stay-cation is having the time to be creative and experimental.  And boy did I get creative in laying out my Stay-cation picnic!  Haha I ended up combining colors and patterns that I would NEVER have tried during the normal time crunch life we live most of the time!
Here’s how it all pulled together in no time at all!  I mowed the lawn early ‘cause I wanted to get it done before it got too hot and also have the whole day ahead to do what I wanted!  So after getting the lawn finished; I have a really tiny lawn so I don’t want you to think this was any great feat, I hopped into the shower.  I could smell the scent of newly mowed lawn through the open bathroom window and that got me thinking……sometimes that’s a good thing…sometimes not!
Thinking about playing on the newly mowed grass when I was a kid; you know doing hand stands and cartwheels?  Well I don’t do gymnastics any longer for sure but hey….I can still enjoy the freshly cut grass!  That’s how I decided it was time for an impromptu back yard picnic!

First thing I did was to fire up the BBQ. Then it was what to make….chicken or lamb?  Yes I had both in the fridge so they became the main event.  Oh yes; had that too and corn on the cob is a perfect side to do on the BBQ….hey no heating up the kitchen for this picnic! Great I had some asparagus and peppers so I’ll figure out something to do with those too. Fresh fruit? Yes absolutely for a super easy and colorful dessert! What to drink? Well wine is great for sure but it’s really hot so Sun tea came to mind too. Hmmm this is looking like it’s going to be an absolute feast!
Let’s get started:
Gather up some blankets, quilts, and pillows. Mix and match to make it totally eclectic. You’ll be so happy you did I promise!  Now toss them out on the lawn making a seating reclining area and leaving an area for your drinks and dishes.  Plastic, paper, china…whatever YOU want to use.  It’s all going to pull together and be fantastic.  That’s the fun of doing a Stay-cation picnic.  Oh and don’t worry if it rains…hold your picnic in the living room and find an old movie to enjoy while you dine!

Rosemary Lavender Lemon Sun Tea:
1 Quart water
1 lemon
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried lavender blossoms
Slice the lemon and put it into a 1 quart carafe.  Add the rosemary and lavender.  Smash a bit with a wooden spoon.  Add the water and set in the sun for 2 to 4 hours.  Pour over ice and serve.

Pesto Rotisserie Chicken:
1 whole frying chicken
4-6 Tablespoons Pesto.  I always have my own pesto in the freezer so I used that. 
Separate the breast skin and massage a little of the pesto between the skin and the breast meat.  Rub the remaining pesto all over the inside and outside of the chicken. Put on the spit over med/low until done; about an hour and a half.

Grilled Lamb Steaks:
4 Lamb steaks or chops
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons basil (or mint if you prefer)
2 tablespoons parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Mince together the garlic, basil, parsley and add the salt & pepper and olive oil.  Rub onto the lamb chops and set into fridge until ready to use.
Grill over med/high heat about until medium rare.  Time depends on thickness of meat.
BBQ Corn on the Cob:
4 Tablespoons Uncle Gary’s Pepper Jelly
4 ears Corn on the Cob
8 Slices Bacon
Spread one tablespoon of pepper jelly on each ear of corn. Wrap two slices bacon around each ear of corn.  Place on med/high grill turning often until bacon becomes crispy.  About 15-20 minutes

Pepper Asparagus Salad:
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Red Pepper
1 Bunch fresh Asparagus
½ small red Onion
½ cup vinaigrette dressing
Core and seed both peppers then cut in quarters. Remove woody stems from asparagus. Grill peppers and asparagus for about 10 minutes over med/high.  Remove blackened skin from peppers and slice. Mix peppers and asparagus together in a serving bowl. Chop the red onion and add to the peppers.  Toss with vinaigrette dressing.

Three Fruit Dessert Cocktail:
1 Cup Watermelon chunks
1 cup Pineapple chunks
1 Cup Blueberries
4 Tablespoons grappa or vodka
Layer the fruit in glasses and drizzle with grappa.  Chill until ready to serve.
Get it all together:
When the chicken is done remove to serving platter and let rest.
Grill the peppers and asparagus for the salad.
Put the corn on the BBQ and put the salad together.
Half way through the grilling for the corn put the lamb on the BBQ.
When the lamb and corn ore done put onto a large serving platter and bring out to the picnic along with the drinks and salad.  ENJOY

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Roasted Parmesan Tomato Panini

Roasted Parmesan Tomatoes are an ideal side dish to accompany beef, chicken and fish. Super easy to prepare and taking only 15 minutes to bake you can have a fresh side dish any time of the year! But one of my favorite Panini uses Baked Parmesan Tomatoes as the main ingredient! Juicy and flavorful, this panini will please even your hungriest teenager!
I'm so excited to share this family favorite with all of you not only because it's such a winning dish but I am also entering a blogger contest because "I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas!" which kind of makes this a double win:)
Is your mouth watering yet????
Here is the recipe; I do hope you enjoy this true Tuscan delight!!!
·         4 ripe tomatoes cut in half
·         ¼ cup grated Parmesan
·         ¼ cup bread crumbs
·         1 tablespoon oregano
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         1/8 teaspoon pepper
·         4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
·         1 baguette or 5 grain Italian bread
·         ¼ cup mayonnaise
·         3 tablespoons country  mustard
·         8 ounces mozzarella slices
·         4 lettuce leaves
·         ¼ cup chopped black olives

Preheat oven to 450°F.
Mix together cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Spoon mixture onto tomato halves.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Cut bread into 4 segments and then slice in half lengthwise.
Mix together mayonnaise and mustard and spread onto bread.
Add mozzarella slices and lettuce to sandwich bottoms and top with tomatoes and black olives. Place the top bread slice on the tomatoes and press down lightly.  At this point you can light grill both sides or serve as is.  My family never can wait long enough for them to be I guess that tell you something about how much they love these panini!

Serve with lots of napkins!
Here is a video demonstrating just how easy it is to transport your taste buds to Tuscany......

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fourth of July Sweet Treats

BBQ, Family & Friends.  That's what the 4th of July means to me; celebrating this great country with our nearest and dearest!  Oh yes and naturally there's big time food involved!!
To get everyone in the mood I thought I'd share two sweet treats that just sing out July Fourth!
First up:  Adults Only Iced Lollies
Seriously, don't let the kids get a hold of these little babies 'cause they have just a bit of bite to them thanks to a serving of vodka in each little iced lolly!
Take 1 1/4 cups of lemonade and add 1/4 cup key lime juice and 1/2 cup vodka
Fill Lolly holders with blueberries 1/3 full
Pour the lemonade over until 1/2 full
Drop in fresh Raspberries
Fill to top w with lemonade mix
Freeze and enjoy!
Yes that's all there is to it but these little treats are an absolute delight!
 Now on to something wonderful for children of all ages!
Patriot Cake

Red Strawberries, white cake and the deep blue of blueberries just shout out USA to me; that’s why I named it Patriot cake!  You’ll find this colorful dessert one of the easiest cakes you will ever make. If your family is not big on lemon, omit the juice and zest and replace it with 1 teaspoon vanilla or even almond extract!  No time to make the coulis?  Don’t worry, a bit of chocolate syrup is delightful also!

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking Time: 45 minutes Serves 6
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)
½ Pint Fresh Blueberries
Vanilla Ice Cream for topping
Strawberry Coulis for topping
1.     Pre-Heat oven to 350
2.     Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and extract and cream.
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 around the outside of the pan in a circular pattern and a few in the center.  Fill remaining area with blueberries.
7.     Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a tooth pick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
8.     Cool 15-20 minutes and transfer to serving platter.
9.     Slice & serve with remaining berries, vanilla ice cream and strawberry coulis.
Strawberry Coulis
Fruit Coulis is not usually cooked so this one is definitely far outside of the traditional.  But it is extremely flavorful and will keep in the fridge for up to a week; if it isn’t used up when your family first tastes it!  I also forgo the usual sugar and flavor the fruit with just a bit of lemon juice, lemon zest and balsamic vinegar.
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 Pint Strawberries, hulled and cut in half
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
1.     Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium/low heat.
2.     Cook until the berries a very soft and the berry juices have reduced by half.
3.     Pour berry mixture into a strainer resting over a bowl.
4.     Using the back of a ladle press the berry mixture around in the strainer until all the juices have gone through the strainer in to the bowl.

5.     Chill and serve over the Patriot Cake.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Croque Monsieur The National Sandwich of France

One of the first things I eat when arriving back in France is their most popular of all sandwiches the Croque Monsieur.  If you don't know it....basically its an extravagant version of a regular old ham and cheese.  Extravagant because you need to make a nice Gruyere Bechamel sauce and who in the world has time to do that!  NOT me!
So after much experimenting I finally came up with a viable alternative sauce that is quick, easy and delicious!
Here goes just watch the video and you too can have a Croque Monsieur on you plate in no time at all!