"I love comments, so don´t forget to leave one during your visit!"

Monday, February 22, 2010


Chips and salsa are one of my favorite things to eat.  As a result, we eat Mexican food at least once every 10 days.  This salsa is so easy to make and gives you the flexibility to make it chuncky or smooth with just one flick of the switch.

1 (14.5oz/425g) can whole or chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 jalapeño chile, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1 (14.5oz/425g) can peaches or mangos, drained

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Blend on low speed for 1-4 seconds, depending on desired consistency.  Adjust flavors as needed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Banana Muffins

Okay, I couldn´t stop eating these the other day when I made them.  I thought they were scrumptious!  I added crunchy granola to give them an extra flavor, but you can add anything your heart desires to kick things up a notch (shredded coconut, banana chips, chopped walnuts or pecans).

Make 18 muffins

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
2  teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (225g) butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup crunch granola

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).

Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the melted butter and blend.

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla and mashed bananas.  Add the banana mixture to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well.  Don´t overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, granola and any additional items into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one 3/4 full.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly, removed from pan, and serve.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Basic Meatloaf

I discovered this recipe a few months ago and it was a big hit.  We had it again this weekend and everyone couldn´t get enough.  I knew it had to be posted!

4 servings

1 pound (450g) ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
14 teaspoon ground black pepper
Few dashs ground red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 egg, slightly beaten
12 ounces (350g) crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup rolled oats

For the topping:
1/3 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Preheat oven to 375° F (180° C).

Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish.  Shape into a loaf.

Mix topping ingredients and spread on loaf.  Bake for 1 hour.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Buttermilk Biscuits

This biscuit is wonderful right out of the oven!  Served with cinnamon apples, jam or butter and honey - it doesn´t matter, everyone will love them.

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425° F (210° C). 

Combine the flours, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Add the oil and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until a course meal is formed.  Add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.  If the batter is too dry add more buttermilk.  Roll out between two pieces of wax or parchment paper with a rolling pin until about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut out circles with a cookie cutter and place in a lightly greased or parchment lined baking pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden browned. Serve immediately.

*Makes approximately 10 biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch diameter cookie cutter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pasta with Mushrooms & Pancetta

I tried this dish for the first time recently and it was a big hit, even with the rucola.  I try to slip in something green and leafy whenever I can!  The rucola adds a nice flavor to this dish.

Serves 3-4

8 oz. (250g) spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. (125g) pancetta, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
8 oz. (250g) mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup (80ml) apple juice
1 cup (200ml) crème fraîche

Cook the spaghetti in lightly salted water for approximately 9 minutes.

Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and add the pancetta and garlic.  Cook until the pancetta is slightly browned.  Place cooked pancetta and garlic in a bowl and set aside.

Add the quartered mushroom to the same pan and saute for approximately 5 minutes.  Do not over cook.  Add the pancetta and garlic to the mushrooms.  Pour in the apple juice and crème fraîche and simmer on low heat until combined.  Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the spaghetti and add the sauce.  Mix in rucola and serve.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup

This is a very nice tomato soup.  My kids love it and it´s so easy to make. 

Serves 6 to 8

Tip:  If you like onions, but they don´t like you, omit them. This soup still tastes great without them. 

3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28 ounces canned tomatoes with their juices
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread tomatoes in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes.

In a large stockpot on medium heat, sautè the onions (if using) and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter and red pepper flakes, until the onions start to brown.  Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock  Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.  Place in a blender or food processor and blend for just a few seconds.  Adjust the seasoning.  Serve.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cherry Pie

This pie is the most requested in our family.  I remember my mom making 2 or 3 at a time just so we had enough to go around at holidays and birthdays.  Now, my kids request it for their birthdays and special occassions.

For the Crust
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons cold water

Cherry Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 can sour pitted cherries packed in water
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the crust, mix the flour and salt together. Add the oil and cut into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Sprinkle with water and mix with a fork.  Add more water if too dry.  Separate into two parts and rollout each part between two pieces of wax paper.  Place one crust into a 9" pie plate.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon and undrained cherries.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constanstly, until it boils and thinkens.  Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract.  Pour into crusted pie shell, top with butter pieces and cover with second pie crust.  Pinch together crust edges and make 4 small cuts in the top to allow pie to breath during baking. 

Bake at 425° Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling through the top cuts.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Take-out pizza or store bought pizza just isn´t in our vocabulary anymore.  Our family enjoys this homemade pizza and it gives everyone a chance to make their own! 

Makes 6 pizzas

For the dough
1 1/4 warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour, plus more for kneading (I use 2 cups of whole-wheat & 2 cups of white flour)
2 teaspoons salt

For the toppings (choose 6-8)
1 pound shredded mozzarella
Beef, pork or turkey sausage, cooked
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Basil leaves, julienned
Chives, chopped
Pineapple chunks
Ham, chopped
Red onion, thinly sliced
Mild goat cheese, sliced
Red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
Crushed red pepper flakes

For Prep
1 jar tomato pasta/pizza sauce, warmed
Olive Oil

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix.  While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough.  Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour if necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.  When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a dozen times.  It should be smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.  Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball.  Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel.  Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.  Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Roll and stretch each ball into a round 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.  Two pizzas will fit on each 18 x 13-inch baking sheet.

Brush the dough with pasta/pizza sauce and add any toppings you wish.  Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.