Category Archives: entertaining

Paella

Who does not LOVE Paella!   As a child, my father would take us to a Spanish restaurant in Greenwich Village called Sevilla, it was one of his favorite places to eat while he was attending law school at Brooklyn Law.   As far as I know it’s still there.

This was my first attempt at Paella and I felt it necessary (after reading a shlew of recipes) to purchase a Paella pan.  I picked this one up at Bed Bath & Beyond for about $30.00  and I have to say it worked out very well.  I don’t have a recipe (although I will try to get one together when I make it again) because I sort of combined 3 or 4 different ones that I liked.  It’s a pretty easy to make, just a little time consuming and takes a little organizing and prep work.  I made this one with muscles, clams, scallops, lobster, shrimp, calamari, chicken and chorizzo.  This is a great dish to make for a large crowd!  I will definitely be bringing this one back!

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sunday dinner

eggplant fritti

fried chicken cutlets

braciole

sausage

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stuffed artichoke or carciofe

There is nothing more delicious and special than a stuffed artichoke.  My parents made these as a special treat for us growing up.  Sometimes cooked in the oven, sometimes on the stovetop.  This yummy spiral journey  begins by eating each leaf, packed with yummy breadcrumbs and a bit of artichoke.  You must scrape the leaf between your teeth.  Like climbing down a flight of stairs anticipating the last step, you come to the heart.  Ahhhh.  Joy.  Be sure to remove all the fuzzy hairy fibers or “choke” that sit atop, protecting the jewel of this glorious vegetable.

Here is what I think is the best and “foolproof” way of making an artichoke.

First wash the artichoke.  Pull off the outer tough leaves, and then with a scissor trim each leaf so the tips are blunt. Next, with a very sharp knife cut off the top third of the artichoke.  I leave the “choke” intact, i don’t mess with it.  Bring a large pot of  salted water to a boil, drop carciofe in the water and let cook for about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from water, drain excess water.  Stuff them with breadcrumb mixture.

Breadcrumb mixture:

2 cups breadcrumb, 1/2 cup olive oil, 8 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1/2 cup  grated pecorino, bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped, handful of basil leaves chopped, black pepper, 1/2 cup chicken stock

Stir mixture together stuff carciofe (artichoke) and drizzle each one with olive oil.  Roast in oven at 350 for about 45 minutes to one hour.  Cover with foil for first 30 minutes.  You will know when artichoke is done if leaf pulls away with ease.

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mini vanilla cupcakes with chocolate ganache center

I love Mrs Millmans recipe for chocolate ganache or frosting:

This will last in the fridge for about 5-6 days in a plastic container.  I had some leftover so I decided to inject my vanilla cupcakes with it.  I used my piping bag.  Use a tip that you can easily pierce through the cupcake with.   You want a decent size tip opening to allow the ganache to flow… don’t go too small, it will take you forever.  I used a #21 star tip. They do make a tip for this very purpose(# 230).

Makes 6 cups

  • 24 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Directions

  1. Put chocolate and cream into a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat; stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until thick, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in corn syrup. Transfer to a large, wide metal bowl. Refrigerate until frosting is cool enough to spread, about 2 hours, checking and stirring every 15 minutes. Use immediately

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pumpkin pie

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My 6 year old son is a HUGE fan of pumpkin pie. Last week we made a pie together, and almost every night for a week he enjoyed a slice after dinner.  So tonight, he asked if we could make another.  I happily obliged.  As I set out to make our pie from my stockpile of Libby’s canned pumpkin, my little guy said…”Wait!”  Can we use real pumpkin?  We have a bunch outside on the front step!”  So we set out together to make our pie from fresh pumpkin.

I do love having canned pumpkin on hand, it is one of the top 10 super foods!!  I like to add it to cakes and brownies and omit the fat.  My kids also love pumpkin bread and cupcakes, so I like having it available.

Making pie from fresh pumpkin is more nutritious and actually quite simple.  Make sure that you use the small sugar pumpkins.

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First, we scrubbed our pumpkin clean. Then I cut it down the middle with a long serrated knife.  We scooped out all the stringy fibrous  material and seeds with a sturdy ice-cream scoop.  (You can save the seeds and roast in the oven with melted butter salt and brown sugar).

Quarter the pumpkin, place it on a baking sheet with some butter and brown sugar and a little salt.  Roast it in a 350 oven (i cranked up the convection).  Let it roast until it is tender, about 35-40 minutes or so.

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Let cool.  When you can comfortably handle the pumpkin with your hands, peel off the skin and discard.

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Puree the pumpkin in a Cuisinart, blender…or whatever you have.

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Preheat oven to 425…mix together:

1 3/4 cups of pureed pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 /4 cloves

1/4 allspice

1 tbls vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of heavy cream

1  9″ deep dish pie shell

Mix it all together simply in a bowl with a wire whisk…that’s it!!  Pour into pie shell and bake at 425 for 15 minutes, lower temp to 350 for 40-50 minutes

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heirloom tomato, beauty in its’ imperfections

i am a lover of tomatoes! when i was a little girl my favorite sandwich was sliced tomato with lots of mayonnaise (hellmans)…or italian bread with tomato, salt and really good olive oil.
my local farm is harvesting some of the best tomatoes i have ever tasted. absolutely spectacular!! juicy and sweet!!
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heirloom

heirloom

my tomatoes in my garden are not quite ready yet, i planted maybe 4 varieties…the cherry’s have started to come in and are pretty good…waiting on the others…

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never get caught without a banana…

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freeze those bananas!! i have always frozen my bananas, this was something that my mother always did!! and she made the best banana bread!! I will share her very simple recipe with you. but it’s all in the bananas. she was constantly throwing bananas if they were getting a little too ripe into the freezer, skin and all, just like that. and they turn black, they get incredibly sweet.

whenever i need a banana for a recipe or a smoothie, i either whip them out of the freezer and thaw them out on my counter for an hour or two, or pop them (still in their skins!) into the microwave on medium power for about 10 secconds or so until slightly soft. peel and add to your recipe.

here is my mom’s recipe:
Marie’s Banana Bread

3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium bananas (previously frozen is great!!)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar (could use 1/2 light and half dark)
1 cup sugar
1 cup walnuts

preheat oven to 350
mix everything together in a mixer. divide mixture in 2. spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray. bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. checking with toothpick for doneness.

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