A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I just read a wonderful comment in the Tuscan Cooking post below. A reader who saw and enjoyed this blog wrote in a wonderful note describing to me how recipes had touched their life. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to hear people enjoying food and sharing their joy with friends. Thank you all who read this blog, for sharing your thoughts ideas and stories with me.
I hope you like the pumpkin soup recipe below. It was serves as part of a “wine tasting with friends” dinner, which focused on the region of Napa.

Pumpkin Soup from Janet/Alice

Here is a pumpkin Soup dish that a friend made as part of a "Napa wine tasting" nite. I wanted to share it with you since so many Pumpkin soup dishes start with- buy a large pumpkin and roast it... what a mess! This one came from my friend janet via her fried Alice. Enjoy!

6 cups Chicken Broth
2 cups Heavy cream
1 can Pure Pumpkin ( 29 or 30oz can)
6 Table spoons of Dark brown sugar
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 Teaspoon Chili powder
1 Teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg

Bring Chicken and cream to a boil.
Wisk in remaining of ingredients in order.
Reduce heat and simmer till it thickens ( about 20 minutes).
Salt and pepper to taste ( I didn't use any).
Cheddar cheese and Cilantro for presentation

Monday, October 20, 2008

Waldorf Salad

This is an updated version of a classic American dish, often served during the holiday season. I love to begin making it during the “Apple Harvest” season. It is the perfect way to use up apples from a trip to the apple orchard. This classic dish can become quite elegant by thinly slicing the apples and stacking them on top of some fresh greens. The dish can become a hearty main course by adding in a cupful or so of freshly roasted chicken.

2 ¼ to 2 ½ cups of apple slices- remove core and slice as thin as possible, about 1/8”
Immediately toss the apples in lemon juice (I used 2 red delish and 1 granny smith the get the amount of apple slices necessary, and I like the combination of tart and sweet. If you are using smaller heirloom apples you may need more than 3 total)

2 tablespoons lemon juice- immediately toss the apples in lemon juice as you are slicing them so they do not turn brown
1 cup toasted walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries
Plus a handful of fresh salad greens to garnish – a mix is fine, arrugula would also be nice

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Hazelnut oil (or other nut oil)
1/8 Teaspoon Kosher salt
¾ cup Hellmann Mayonnaise
½ Teaspoon Dijon Mustard

Into a medium-mixing bowl place the Apples in lemon juice, walnuts and cranberries (and chicken if using).

In a Small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together to just combine. You can hold back a few cranberries or nuts to use as garnish) Pour the dressing over the apple mixture. Toss to combine. Place a bit of salad greens beneath each serving of Waldorf salad. Garnish with extra nuts and Berries.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Prunes soaked in Brandy

If we were cooking in France this would be Prunes soaked in Armagnac. Upon investigation at my local wine shop, I was told that it would be ok to substitute Brandy for Armagnac for the purpose of cooking, since the lower cooking quality Armagnac is not widely found here. Soaking Prunes in Armagnac (or in our case Brandy) is common throughout France form the Loire valley to Gascony. Typically, the prunes are then stuffed into a loin of pork.

11 ounces of whole pitted prunes, cut in half (one small container from whole foods)
1 ½ cups red wine
¾ cup brandy

Place the prunes, wine and Brandy in a small bowl and allow to soak for several hours or overnight.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oven Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes for Storing

We have all seen recipes for Oven Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. A few cupfuls of cherry or other small tomatoes are thrown onto a baking sheet, drizzled with a little salt and pepper, a bit of fresh thyme, and perhaps a bit of garlic, minced. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes. Sound familiar? They are great to serve with anything from roast beef to scrambled eggs. What if though, time was running out? What if it was a cool September day and upon looking around your garden, you realized that you would not have fresh tomatoes forever? The lovely golden, orange, green and red beauties that you have grown used to over the summer would not be around all winter? Here is a simple way to elongate their stay on our tables.

2 –2 1/2 cups garden, heirloom tomatoes (about the size of cherry tomatoes)- cut in half
6 sprigs thyme
8 cloves unpeeled garlic
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat oven to 250

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut side down. Scatter the thyme and garlic around the baking sheet. Mix the olive oil, salt and pepper together then drizzle all over the tomatoes. (You can toss them a bit with your hands to coat all of the tomatoes) Place in oven and cook for about 2-2 ½ hours. To vary the recipes if you have large Brandywine of beefsteak type tomatoes you will just increase the cooking time to 3-4 hours.

Tomatoes dried this way can be stored in the fridge or even frozen.