A wonderful Greek dish from Pastitio This would be great for a party as it makes a large amount that would serve at least eight. I love the addition of the Greek yogurt to the béchamel sauce as it gives it a wonderful flavor. **I do not add the cinnamon as I have an aversion to it. I make it ahead and reheat when I am ready to serve.
pastitio part 3
For the Tomato Meat Sauce:
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (1 large)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground lamb
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 large cloves)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon ** see note above
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Bechamel:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan or Kasseri cheese
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup Greek-style yogurt, such as Fage Total
3/4 pound small shells
pastitio part 1
For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add the beef and lamb, and saute over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until it’s no longer pink, crumbling it with the back of wooden spoon. Drain off any excess liquid, add the wine, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, and cayenne, and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 45 minutes. Set aside.
pastitio part2
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the bechamel, heat the milk and cream together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Pour the warm milk and cream mixture into the butter and flour mixture, whisking constantly. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until smooth and thick. Add the nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Stir in 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the tomato and meat sauce, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggs and yogurt and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Don’t over-cook because the pasta will later be baked. Drain and set aside.

Add the pasta to the meat and tomato sauce, and pour the mixture into a baking dish. Spread the bechamel evenly to cover the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour, until golden brown and bubbly. Set aside for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Spicy Toasted Pecans

A simple nut recipe that is perfect for cocktails or anytime. I will be serving these on Thanksgiving for sure! It is not very spicy as the recipe is written so feel free to up the spices as you wish.
Spicy toasted pecans
3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. favorite hot sauce, Cholula, Marie Sharp’s
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. salt, or to taste
2 1/2 c. pecan halves (10 oz.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan over moderate heat, then stir in the seasonings. Remove from heat and add pecans, tossing to coat well. Spread in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant, 8-10 minutes.

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

This is the cake to make for the season!! I made homemade applesauce from Judy Rodgers that was so easy and fantastic and this cake is amazing. It swims in the caramel glaze but I love it! From Food 52, one of my go to blogs for great recipes.I madApplesauce cake w:caramel glazee this in my bundt pan which I double spray or grease and flour to make sure the cake will release and it did! I prefer the caramel glaze from the caramel cake on this blog as it is not quite as sugary.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened (preferably homemade) applesauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the caramel glaze

4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 to 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and spices and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs with both sugars until light. Mix in the applesauce, oil and vanilla until smooth. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning it out and cooling completely on the rack — make sure the cake is not at all warm before you make the glaze. TheRunawaySpoon wisely advises that you put a piece of foil or paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips before you start the glaze. Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat. Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.

Lemon Zest Shortbread

A delicious shortbread from Williams Sonoma I uLemon zest shortbreadsed really good butter, European style-it could be Kerrygold, Plugra or Organic Valley makes one. I think it makes a difference in this cookie.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into
pieces, at room temperature
Preheat an oven to 325°F.

In a food processor, combine the flour, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the confectioner’s sugar, lemon zest and salt and process briefly to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and gather it into a rough ball.

Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 10-inch springform pan or tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the tines of a fork around the edge to form a decorative border, and then pierce the surface every 2 inches with the fork. Sprinkle the surface with the 1 Tbs. granulated sugar.

Bake the shortbread until lightly golden at the edges and the center is firm to the touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove the sides of the pan. Using a long, sharp knife, score the shortbread into thin wedges. Let cool completely before cutting and serving. Store in layers, separated by waxed paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Makes 12 to 16 cookies.

Chocolate Cake

This recipe comes from the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste and is easy and delicious. The sour cream in both the cake and the frosting give it a wonderful texture. Be sure to have your sour cream at room temperature, especially for the frosting or the chocolate will seize up. You can make this a day ahead, refrigerate it and then serve it at room temperature.
1 1⁄4 cups (61⁄2 oz/200 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1⁄2 cup (11⁄2 oz/45 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
3⁄4 cup (6 oz/185 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1⁄4 cups (9 oz/280 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2⁄3 cup (5 oz/160 g) sour cream
Sour Cream Fudge Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment (baking) paper. Butter the paper.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until light, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternately with the sour cream in 2 batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and mixing until incorporated.

The batter will be thick. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert onto the racks, peel off the parchment, turn right sides up, and let cool completely.

Place 1 cake layer, top side down, on a plate. Using an icing spatula, spread 2⁄3 cup (5 fl oz/150 ml) of the frosting over the top. Place the second cake layer, top side down, on top, lining up the edges. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of the cake. Serve right away, or cover and store at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Sour Cream Fudge Frosting
When a cake calls for something ultrarich, creamy, and chocolaty, this is the answer. Sour cream can curdle if exposed to high heat, so be sure to let the butter-cream-chocolate mixture cool until it is just warm enough to melt the sour cream when it is added.

Makes about 2 2/3 cups (21 fl oz/660 ml)

4 tablespoons (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) heavy (double) cream
10 oz (315 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3⁄4 cup (6 oz/180 g) sour cream
1 cup (4 oz/125 g) confectioners’ (icing) sugar

In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter and cream over low heat and heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. Add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool to lukewarm, about 8 minutes.

Whisk in the sour cream until fully combined, then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar. Let the frosting stand until thick enough to spread, about 10 minutes.
If the frosting becomes too stiff to spread, rewarm it briefly over low heat and whisk again until smooth.

For mocha frosting: Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or regular coffee powder to the butter and cream.

For tangerine-fudge frosting: Whisk in 1 tablespoon grated tangerine zest before adding the confectioners’ sugar.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake

A very simple easy to make cake from Raspberry Buttermilk Cake If you don’t have raspberries you can use what ever fruit you have on hand. A garnish of some whipped cream or ice cream will make it extra special.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (about 5 ounces)

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or a springform pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.

Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

White Chocolate Brownies

I am not a white chocolate fan but this recipe comes from my sister Meg who is a fabulous cook and assured me these brownies would be a hit! They were! It is an easy recipe and you can double it and make it in a 9″ by 12″ pan.
White Chocolate Brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, (salted is fine too)
8 oz. white chocolate chips
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 cup flour
8 oz. semi-sweet choc. chips

Melt butter in saucepan. Remove from heat and add 1/2 of white chocolate chips. Do not stir. Using electric mixer, beat eggs with a pinch of salt (omit this pinch if you used salted butter), in large bowl until frothy. Add sugar and beat well. Add butter-white chocolate mixture, vanilla, salt, then flour and mix until just combined. Stir in semi-sweet chips and remaining white chocolate chips. Spray a 8 x 8 pan with Pam or Pam with flour (or you can grease with butter). Pour mixture in pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.


This is from Williams Sonoma’s blog. The blog makes the pesto as a garnish for a roasted summer vegetable soup but I just made it to have on hand to go with summer tomatoes and corn! I also had some naan on hand and made pizzas with burrata, pesto and field grown tomatoes!! A perfect lunch!
1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) pine nuts
3 garlic cloves (I like 2 cloves better than 3)
2 cups (2 oz./60 g) packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
In a blender or food processor, combine the pine nuts and garlic and process until finely chopped. Add the basil leaves and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until a thick green sauce forms. Add the Parmesan, process to combine, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Indian Spiced Corn Soup with Yogurt

From The New York Times Indian spiced corn soup a very easy corn soup to make! I did strain the soup for a finer texture and loved the flavor. We ate it cold but I think it would be delicious hot, as well. I love the flavors of the Indian spices with the corn.
Indian spiced corn soup
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
Large pinch cayenne
3 cups corn kernels, from 4 ears
Salt and pepper
Whole milk plain yogurt, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped chives, for garnish
A few cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for garnish, optional

Put butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds and cayenne and sizzle for a minute or so.
Add corn kernels and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 4 cups water and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Purée soup in a blender. Check seasoning and adjust salt.
To serve, ladle into small bowls. Garnish each with 2 tablespoons thick yogurt. Sprinkle with chives and cilantro sprigs. Add a squeeze of lime.

Korean style Marinade for Flank Steak

This recipe comes from the wonderful blog, The Yellow Table. You can use it with flank steak or pork tenderloin and I will bet it is delicious on chicken too! I found that I was able to use the recipe for both flank and pork tenderloin and still have some that I reserved aside for a sauce after grilling! By the way, The Yellow Table is also a wonderful cookbook that is full of great menus and recipes.

½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
¼ cup tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons freshly ground ginger (I used fresh ginger as I had it)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds flank steak
Salt and pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
For the steak, in a large bowl combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, honey, garlic, ginger and oil in a large bowl. Pour half of the sauce into a smaller bowl and set aside. Add the flank steak into the large bowl of marinade and let sit for 10 minutes. Note-I did marinate the steak overnight and it was delicious!