I love the combinations of flavor in this dish. It is so easy to make and always satisfies my taste. I always have panko breadcrumbs in my pantry and combine them with a little grated parmesan to make a perfect crust. I vary the tomato salad on top of the milanese depending on what I have on hand. You can add olives or capers or just keep it simple!

Chicken Milanese6

 

 

Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless,pounded between wax paper

Flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

Beaten Egg

Panko mixed with Parmesan

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

2 sliced Red Onion or Shallot, finely chopped

Basil, torn

1 T. Capers

Diced Blue Cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

I make this salad ahead of cooking the chicken and add the ingredients to taste.

Milanese relishjpg

Dip the pounded chicken breasts in flour, egg and panko. Cook in extra virgin olive oil that you have heated over medium heat. I sauté for 4-5 minutes per side, depending on how thinly I have pounded the chicken breasts.

Serve chicken with the tomato salad on top

 

This is a delicious soup from a new food network star named Amy Thielen who has a show called The Heartland Table. I have really enjoyed the shows that I have watched and was excited to try it. It did not disappoint! You have to be careful not to boil the soup once the cheese is in as it will curdle.

Beer cheese soup

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter
1 to 1 1/2 large carrots, diced (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup small-diced piquillo peppers, or 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock, low-sodium store-bought or homemade
One 12-ounce bottle beer, preferably a mild-flavored blond or pale ale
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
12 ounces aged yellow cheddar (aged at least 2 years), grated
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot sauce
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Mustard oil or extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Fresh goat cheese, for garnish
Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until well incorporated, about 5 minutes more.

Add the chicken stock, beer and half-and-half and cook, whisking often, at a very slow simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

Add the cheddar to the soup by the handful, whisking each batch until smooth. Add the Worcestershire, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, mustard and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender (holding a thick towel over the lid to prevent overflow) until very smooth.

Just before serving, reheat the soup until steaming and taste for seasoning, adding salt as necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each bowl with a swirl of mustard oil, a dollop of goat cheese and a sprinkle of thyme.

My friend Hilary had told me that her husband was hooked on these cookies, however they are $8 for a package. They are sold by Tate’s Bake Shop in Whole Foods and everywhere. I was determined to find the recipe and I did! I had to download the cookbook but I think it was worth it! However, the author neglected to tell you how many pecans to put into the recipe. I used 1 cup and think it is perfect. This is a rather flat cookie but so flavorful. *I did not have instant oatmeal, so I just processed the half cup in the food processor.

Toffee pecan cookies

1 1/2 c. all p flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. instant oats * see note above
1 c. salted butter, room temp
1 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 c. white sugar
1 large egg
2 t. vanilla

1 c. pecans
2 c. toffee bits

Makes 42 cookies!!
Preheat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or grease them. Combine flour, baking soda and oats in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugars til creamy. Add egg and mix well. Add vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add flour mixture and mix until combined. Do not over mix. Stir in the toffee bits and pecans. Make cookies about 2T. size. Bake 12-15 minutes for chewy cookies and 18-20 for crunchy cookies. I prefer them cooked for 18 minutes after experimenting.

This recipe comes from Canal House Cooks Everyday-one of the most dynamic duos in the cookbook business. These two women have worked on the best cookbooks published and many of them! This is a nice quick bread that is delicious warm and fabulous toasted-with Irish butter of course!! Do not be intimidated by the caraway seeds-they add an interesting dimension with the currants.

Irish soda bread

Makes 1 large loaf

4 c. all purpose flour

2 T. sugar

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

4 T. butter

1 c. dried currants

1 t. caraway seeds

2 c. buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 10″ cast iron skillet. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together. Blend in the cold butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until it resembles cornmeal. Add the currants and caraway seeds. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk and beaten egg. Stir until you cannot mix any longer and then add some flour to your hands and knead the dough in the bowl until you can form it into a ball. Transfer to a floured surface and shape into a rounded loaf. Put into buttered skillet and with a serrated knife cut a 1/2′ deep x on the top of dough. Bake until bread is golden and sounds hollow when tapped with a knife-about 40 minutes. Cool briefly and serve warm.

 

My husband loves caramels and I have never made them! I have been intimidated by the recipe for reasons unknown but I ventured forth and finally tried the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and also looked at a recipe from the pastry chef of Le Bernardin. Alas, it was a success! Next time, I would cook them a little longer as I was impatient this time and also worried that I might burn the caramel. Be very careful and work slowly when pouring the cream into the sugar syrup. It took a good 10-15 minutes to reach the 248 degree temperature after adding the cream. I cut the caramels into at least 36-40 pieces. Ina suggests to roll them but I did not do that. My caramels are about 1″ square and I cut 4″ squares of wax paper to wrap them. The hardest part for me was wrapping them attractively! I did not have fleur de sel but used my Himalayan sea salt in the recipe!

Caramels

Ingredients
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.

In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don’t stir — just swirl the pan.

In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.

Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

I love this dishtowel that I bought from Studiopatro in SF. All of her dishtowels are beautiful and she also has nice aprons.

Studiopatro

 

I  LOVE pico de gallo! The combination of flavors of the tomatoes, onion, lime, chile and cilantro is my absolute favorite. I can eat it by the spoonfuls! I make a small batch of it and eat it on chips, quesadillas or anything! My perfect breakfast is a quesadilla with pico de gallo on top.

Pico de gallo

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

2 thin slices of onion, diced

1 chile-serrano or small jalapeño, seeded and diced

juice of 1 lime

2 T. cilantro chopped

Combine together and enjoy!

Another wonderful recipe from the Barefoot Contessa! These are easy to make and loved by all. **I did not use Skippy peanut butter but some misc. Whole Foods creamy and another from a Natural Grocer that was chunky! I cut the pan into 24 bars and that seems to be a perfect size.

Pan of PB&J bars

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups (18 ounces) creamy peanut butter (recommended: Skippy**)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (18 ounces) raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake pan. I used a glass pyrex oblong pan. Line it with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs, and peanut butter and mix until all ingredients are combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Mix just until combined.

PB&J Bars

Spread 2/3 of the dough into the prepared cake pan and spread over the bottom with a knife or offset spatula. Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam. Don’t worry if all the jam isn’t covered; it will spread in the oven. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and cut into squares.

I don’t think a week goes by that I do not cook from the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste. So many of their recipes are appealing to me and delicious! I used cremini mushrooms and added about a half of a pound. I had leftover asparagus that was blanched from last night and used that instead of a whole pound of asparagus. I love the sweetness from the currants and the balsamic vinegar. This can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

Quinoa with mushrooms, asparagus, feta

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) olive oil, plus more for dish and for drizzling

1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) red quinoa

2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml.) chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) dried currants

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 small red onion, halved and sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 lb. (500 g.) asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces

1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g.) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Grated zest of 1 lemon

4 oz. (125 g.) feta cheese, crumbled

 

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Oil a 3-qt. (3-l.) baking dish.

 

In a saucepan, bring the quinoa and 2 cups (16 fl. oz./250 ml.) of the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the currants, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, but keep covered to stay warm.

In a large frying pan, heat the 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 4-6 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and toss to coat with the oil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is fork-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, parsley, lemon zest and half of the feta. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining feta, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

I have dreamt about madeleines forever but it was this article in the Wall Street Journal that inspired me to buy the madeleine pans and make these tiny cakes! I made these first with orange zest and orange flower water which was delicious but it was the lemon and rose combination that really appealed to me.

Madeleines

Total Time: 25 minutes Makes: 24 madeleines

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 6 tablespoons, unmelted

1 tablespoon flour

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 cup sifted cake flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 large eggs, at room temperature

⅓ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons rose water

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Prepare tins: Brush molds with melted butter and dust lightly with flour.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm remaining 6 tablespoons butter until just shy of liquid. Stir in lemon zest and set aside to cool until butter is tepid but still very soft.

4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt.

5. Use an electric mixer to beat eggs and sugar until very thick and light in color, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and rose water and blend 10 seconds.

6. Sift half of flour mixture over eggs and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold in. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Quickly but gently, fold in cooled butter until incorporated into batter.

7. Immediately spoon batter into madeleine tins. Bake until centers of cookies spring back to the touch and edges are a golden brown, 8-11 minutes.

8. Let madeleines sit in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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