Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Tonight we had Steak au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce. Lots of stuff was cooking at one time. Thank God for the glass of Proseco! I just sipped away and kept all the pans simmering. The meat was medium rare. Perfect for me but I have to get my timing right because Chris likes the meat a bit more medium. I am still playing the new stove card. I will get the timing worked out soon... Maybe by next New Years Eve!

From The Complete Cooking For Two Cookbook, Steak au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce-

2 Boneless Strip Steaks, 3/4 inch thick
Salt and Pepper
4 tsp peppercorns, cracked
5 tbsp vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1. Dry off steaks and season with salt on both sides. Rub cracked peppercorns evenly 1 side of each steak, and suing your fingers, press peppercorns into steaks to make them adhere.
Heat 1 tbsp oil until just barely smoking. Add steaks to the pan and sear 3-5 minutes on each side.  Flip steaks and reduce heat to medium, until meat registers 120-125 degrees for medium-rare. 1 to 4 minutes. Remove steaks to a dish and tent w/foil. Pour off the fat and stray peppercorns.
2. Heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add the shallots to the pan. Saute until tender and then add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in 2 tbsp. brandy and the broth into the pan, scraping up all the brown bits. Simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the cream and simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 1 tbsp brandy, lemon juice and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon over each steak.

And our wine selection -


2015 In Review

Well this has been an interesting year. I have picked out my favorite posts from each month. I hope you enjoy the trip down memory lane as much as I did.

The Book Club. This was my first time hosting and the book lent it self to a Tuscan meal. I even got help from my nephew with the wine selection. It was really a simple meal to prepare. And the conversation and the company made for a wonderful evening.

So You Say It's Your Birthday. I love the Jamie Oliver One Tray Bake. It reminds me of something my mom would make. One tray = EASY clean up. On this occasion I added potatoes and carrots to mimic what my mom use to put on the table. The flavors are over the top. As I am typing this I am thinking of making this very soon....

A Week of No Cooking, Well Almost. Yes that is a week I will not soon forget. One of the things I did make that week, aside from a few dozen cookies, was Pappa al Pomodoro, Tomato and Bread Soup, adapted from Lidia's Favorite Recipes. Any recipe that calls for bread is a winner to me!


Chicken Cutlets and Roasted Green Beans. Yep that is when I made the Chicken Cutlet recipe from Frank Pinello and his Nonna for the first time. I guess I will make my mom's recipe again but damn these are just so good!

Black Bean Soup. Maybe it is because it is getting cold out but this was a good recipe to remake. I just wish I had noted where I found the recipe!

The Book Club, Delicious. I love my book club. It is my favorite Friday night of the month. The meeting was the last one until September. But we did get together in the summer for that fantastic trip to Arthur Avenue! For this particular meet up we had read Ruth Reichl's book, Delicious. In the book was a recipe for a Gingerbread Cake. Sure I offered to make it. It was a challenge as it used spices that I never go near. But heck it was darn good!

And the other thing from that night that stood out for me were the Stuffed Grape Leaves. Wow! If I had know about this recipe while my Dad was still alive Kate could have all the grape leaves she ever needed.

Pappardelle with Broccoli Rabe Sausage in Tomato, Butter and Onion Sauce. There are so many wonderful parts this dinner. The pasta and the sausage were from that fantastic Book Club Road Trip to Arthur Avenue. The sauce was the Marcella Hazan recipe, perfect. And I submitted this post to the Borgatti's Facebook page contest for best recipe using their pasta and I won a 25% off my next purchase. Yes everyone got pasta for Christmas this year.

Polpette di Pane. This dinner was delicious and the ingredients were so simple. This is a dinner I know my Dad would have loved.

Handmade Pasta with Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs. Why this recipe out of all the others from September? I made a video of me making the pasta! And they were so good!

Fagiolata. Anytime I can make beans and Chris likes the dinner it is a winner!

 Happy Thanksgiving. What can I say but it was a delicious dinner. Family, wine and pie.

Christmas Eve. Yes another delicious dinner at my sister's house. The sauce, the stuffed squid, the seafood polpettes and the fried eel and smelts. I think about the meal and smile.

What will 2016 have in store. We are starting off with the new stove and the crock pot and lots of new recipes to try. And of course a lot of old favorites to revisit! Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Leftovers

Grilled Mozzarella and Slice New York Strip Roast on No Knead Sandwich Bread.

And finally a photo of my sister's Cappelletti!

And some more shots of the No Knead Bread.

An almost wordless Wednesday!

My Sister & My Mom's Chicken Cutlet Recipe

Since I have been making Chicken Cutlets using the recipe from Frank Pinello and his Nonna I have not made my Mom's recipe. My sister, Lenore, still makes my Mom's recipe, thank goodness! They are so good. We had dinner at Lenore and Ralph's house. We got to see my nephew, his wife and their 3 children. And my niece from Florida was also there. To me the best part of the holiday season is seeing family. So grateful to have spend time with all of them.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thank You Irving Naxon!

Who is Irving Naxon? He invented the Crock Pot. Tonight was our first Crock Pot Dinner.
The hardest part was cutting up all the ingredients. I put everything in the Crock Pot and stepped away. I did leave the house to run to the library to return some books and pick up a couple of Crock Pot Recipe books!
I asked Chris to pick tonight's dinner from the recipes that came with the Crock Pot. He suggested Beef Bourguignon. Nice!
The house smelled so good. And there is enough for one if not 2 more meals. Yes I am happy.


Beef Bourguignon, serves 6-8

  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3# Beef Chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 strips cooked bacon
  • 1 10-oz can beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 springs fresh thyme stemmed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces

  1. Coat beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Sear beef in a skillet on stove top.
  2. Place Meat in Crock Pot and add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 5-7 hours, or until the meat is tender.
We used the leftover Polenta Parmesan Gratin as a side. The potatoes were Perfect! The meat was amazing! I Love My Crock Pot!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December the 26th Salad

Yes we have eaten like Kings the past 2 days. Time to bring it back to normal. Until tomorrow night anyway! I think the day after Christmas is the prefect day for a salad. A Caesar Salad. And of course with meat.
We seem to have a bit of polenta leftover. So I made some Polenta Croutons. Nice addition!

The dressing was a revision of Lidia's Caesar Salad dressing.

Caesar Salad Dressing-
Using an Immersion Blender mix 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice an 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Add one Hard Boiled Egg Yolk, 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard, 1/2 Tsp. Worcestershire Sauce and Salt and Pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Toss with the cleaned and chopped lettuce, I used a mixture of Romaine and Red Leaf. Toss the dressed salad with 1/2 cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

At this point I added some diced Fresh Mozzarella and sliced meat. We served the Polenta Croutons on the side.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

 Merry Christmas! 

Today Chris and I had my sister, Lenore and her husband,
Ralph over our house for Christmas Dinner.
I tried, I really did, to keep the amount of food
served down from previous years.
But hey it's Christmas! Mangia!

We started off with cocktails and some munchies. 
Parmesan, Rosemary and Thyme Shortbread.

Roasted Nuts with Sage 

Cheese Straws and Garlic Free Hummus with
Crackers and Veggie Sticks (sorry no photo).

Next was my favorite thing about Christmas.
The Cappelletti. (Sorry no photo for these. 
I was too busy inhaling them to take a darn photo.)

On to the meat.
This year I tried a different cut of meat. 
A New York Strip Roast.
I found a recipe on the Fresh Market site. Loved it.
Simple to prepare and the flavors were over the top.
I did use garlic! But I cut the amount in half.
Honestly 4 cloves would have been too much!
Before and After - 
Chris is using one of the knives from
our new set that Santa brought us! 

I made Herbed Polenta and Parmesan Gratin as a side dish
along with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pecans (sorry no photo!)
Note to self - next year only make 1/2 of the Gratin recipe!! 
And serve it not straight out of the oven. Too hot!

And it's not Christmas without Pop Overs.

Everyone enjoyed the meal. 
No there was nothing for Archie today!

But I have to say the cats were so well behaved. 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

I am sorry I have not posted many dinners this month. It was too busy. I took photos but to write at night seemed like too large a task. If anyone missed the posts I am sorry. To be a better blogger is on my to do list for next year.  Without any further ado lets move on to my favorite meal of the year. Christmas Eve at my sister's house.
This year Lenore and Ralph out did themselves. The Pasta. The sauce. The Stuffed Calamari. Okay stop right here. The texture of the Calamari was perfect. And the stuffing, lobster!

Fried Smelts and Eels. Eels in Vinegar. At this point I thought I died and went to heaven.

My sister made the Seafood Polpettes this year. I honestly think they taste better when someone else makes them. But what happened to the photo????

Then there were the scallops with a Balsamic Dressing on top. What? Spot on sear on the scallops. Gordon Ramsay would be happy.

Wine and cordials and cookies galore.

And a full moon too!