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Tiramisù Cheesecake

Tiramisù Cheesecake

Creamy and decadent tiramisù cheesecake is the perfect dessert for all your gatherings.

Quick Tomato Basil Sauce

Quick Tomato Basil Sauce

Quick tomato and basil sauce ready form start to finish in under 30 minutes.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

Southern buttermilk biscuits with their tender, flaky, layers of perfection are a true work of art. Not having a southern mama to teach me all the ins and outs of a treasured family biscuit recipe, I was a bit intimidated. I stuck to my recipe for baking powder drop biscuits until I found they were just a little too unrefined for my chicken and biscuits recipe. I began testing and here’s what I have for you today, a recipe that is easily replicated and produces flakey, tender biscuits every time.

 

Now, my love affair with southern cuisine began a long time ago. Not that I was really exposed to it growing up in Central New York, but television chefs and cookbooks sparked my interest as a teen. And in college…I chose two of the best foodie cities in America to receive my bachelor degree (shocking, I know). My choice in universities ultimately depended more on the city and food and less on the degree programs offered. Priorities, right? I knew I’d find a program of interest, and it would all work out. And it did. Not the way I thought it would, but perfect just the same. The two cities which still have my heart? New Orleans, LA, and Charleston, SC. If you’ve ever been, or are lucky enough to live in one of these cities you know what I’m talking about. The food! It’s exceptional! From small little roadside shacks to high-end dining, a memorable meal awaits around every corner.  My advise if you’re visiting either city? Venture out, don’t limit yourself to the tourist traps, There’s so much to explore.

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Even though I don’t recall eating buttermilk biscuits during my time in either city, just making them reminds me of my time in the south. Food, friends, and experiences that had a hand in how and what I cook today. So, not being able to base this recipe on a particular biscuit that I experienced in the south, I did my research. I found that most recipes contain a standard list of ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter or shortening, and buttermilk. Ratios of leavening agents vary as does the flour of choice and whether to use butter or shortening. Although I prefer an all butter biscuit, a combination of butter and shortening make the dough easier to handle for those new to biscuit making. If you use all shortening, your biscuits will be lacking in flavor and texture, not a fan. Something I add to this standard formula is a bit of heavy cream. Not traditional. I know. Don’t hate me. I do this because it adds a little bit of richness without weighing down the biscuits. Often, low-fat buttermilk is the only option available at the grocery store, making the addition of cream even more appealing.

Once you’ve established the ingredients you’ll be working with, there are three important steps that must be followed for a successful biscuit. 1. Be sure your fats and liquids are cold. 2. Work dough with a gentle hand 3. Cut biscuits with a biscuit cutter, pressing straight down. Shaking cutter to loosen the biscuit will seal the dough on the sides and prevent them from rising to their full potential. The more you make biscuits, the more you will develop a feel for the dough and how to handle it. And once you experience a successful homemade biscuit, you’ll be making them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Yields: 12 biscuits   Prep Time: 15 minutes   Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted, cold butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons cold, non-hydrogenated, shortening
  • 3/4 cup cold, buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup cold, heavy cream

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven 450°

Ensure oven rack is in the center

Line a sheet pan with parchment (18×13)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk to evenly distribute. Add the cold butter and shortening to the flour mixture and work into the flour by rubbing between your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal (work quickly at this point, you want to keep the butter and shortening cold). Mix buttermilk and heavy cream together in a liquid measuring cup and pour into the bowl with flour and shortening. I like to use a rubber spatula to gently bring the dough together. The dough will be very wet and sticky. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. With floured hands gently pat dough into a 1-inch rectangle. Now for the folding. I like to fold my rectangle as if I am folding a business letter, press out slightly and fold in thirds again, and then, one more time. You want about 6 folds. Now, press dough out into a 1-inch rectangle or round and cut out your biscuits with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. As I mentioned earlier, avoid shaking the biscuit cutter to loosen the biscuit from the dough. Shaking seals the edges and prevents them from rising to greatness. Simply press the biscuit cutter straight down and repeat the process with the rest of the dough. Gently roll scraps together and cut again. Place cut biscuits on the lined sheet pan. You may choose to allow biscuits to touch slightly or not to touch. Biscuits that touch have softer sides, while biscuits that do not touch have crisper sides. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They should be a nice golden brown when done. Remove to a cooling rack and watch them disappear! Don’t wait too long to serve, they’re at the peak of perfection while still hot!

Enjoy!

 

Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

Mediterranean Chopped Salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

A bright and fresh salad with Mediterranean flavors, fresh herbs and an easy to prepare dressing.

Salted Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

Salted Almond Butter Cookies (Gluten Free)

Sweet and salty almond butter cookies are easily prepared with a short list of ingredients. Treat your loved ones to a dessert that is sure to please.

Spelt Flour Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Crumble Topping

Spelt Flour Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Crumble Topping

I realize I’m running dangerously close to the pumpkin season deadline! Pumpkin everything begins flooding our lives beginning in September and then just after Thanksgiving… we’re done, nauseated by the thought of one more pumpkin recipe. Don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin, but its association with cozy sweaters, apple picking, fireside chats, lattes and cool, brisk air… a little too much. Pace yourself, and you’ll be enjoying pumpkin recipes at least 6 months out of the year.

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So, we agree, pumpkin is awesome and we’re not going to cheapen its name by arbitrarily adding pumpkin spice to recipe after recipe? Great! Now we can move on to my favorite muffin recipe. Yes, it’s pumpkin. Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, it’s healthy (only by coincidence 😉).  When added to muffin batter, aside from the obvious… flavor, the pumpkin helps in keeping the muffin tender, even if you’ve neglected to follow directions and were a little heavy handed in your mixing. The other two key players in this recipe are spelt flour and coconut palm sugar. Experimenting with different flours can be fun. It can also be a disaster, but in this recipe, no disasters, the spelt flour works beautifully.  It’s sweet, nutty and not as heavy as whole wheat flour.  Added bonus, this ancient grain is nutrient dense, packed with fiber and necessary minerals. Although it does contain gluten, it’s touted as being easier on the digestive system. In addition to spelt flour, coconut palm sugar makes for an excellent refined sugar replacement. I find that it’s less sweet and provides almost a toasted caramel taste. When you have children who want to eat muffins for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a healthy muffin that doesn’t taste healthy…. is a win-win for all! This pumpkin recipe is worthy of being put into recipe rotation throughout the year, not just pumpkin season 😉. Enjoy!

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Yields: 16 muffins  Bake Time: 25-30 minute

Ingredients:

Topping:

1 C. Spelt Flour
1/2 C. Coconut Palm Sugar
1/2 C. Chopped Pecans
1 tsp. Cinnamon
4 Tbsp. Melted Butter

 

Muffins:

2 C. Spelt Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

1/2 C. Melted Coconut Oil
1/2 C. Melted Butter
1 15 oz. Can Pure Pumpkin (Not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
2 Large Eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 C. Coconut Palm Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350° F
Line 12 C. Muffin pan with liners + 4 more liners for extra muffins

In a small mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the topping. The mixture should hold together when squeezed in your hand. Squeeze the topping mixture with your hand, forming clumps. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to top your muffins.
Melt the butter and the coconut oil in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (spelt flour – sea salt), stirring with a whisk to ensure even distribution.
In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients (melted coconut oil/butter – vanilla).
Slowly, fold the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, being cautious not to over mix.
Using a 1/4 C. measure or a standard ice cream scoop, fill muffin tin with batter. You will have enough batter left in the bowl for about four more muffins.
Top each muffin with pecan topping
Bake on center rack, in preheated oven, 25-30 min., rotating pan halfway through baking time.

 

 

***Note:
If you choose to evenly distribute all of the batter among the 12 muffin cups, and not make 16 muffins, the baking time will be slightly longer.

 

 

 

Italian Cutlets

Italian Cutlets

Crisp and tender Italian cutlets made with your choice of pork, chicken or veal. A family favorite!

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce and Crème Fraîche Whipped  Cream

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce and Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream

Deep, rich, decadent flourless chocolate cake paired with homemade caramel sauce and a dollop of crème fraîche whipped cream, is pure heaven!

Unbelievably Good Saturday Morning Pancakes

Unbelievably Good Saturday Morning Pancakes

Pancakes. Not really my breakfast of choice. I’m more of an eggs over-easy with bacon kind of girl, but these pancakes, I can do.  They remind me of the cottage cheese pancakes my mom and aunt would make for us kids when we were little, only… better. The cottage cheese pancakes of my childhood were very thin, creamy and almost crepe like. Wonderful, but I like a little more fluffiness to my pancakes. The use of sour cream and folding in of the egg whites at the end are key. Do you love tough, heavy, gut bombs that sit in your stomach like a ton of bricks? No? Me either. Who wants to waste carb calories on that!!! These pancakes are so very tender and fluffy, I often eat more than my fair share. They do require a little more time and few more bowls versus a box mix, but it’s Saturday, make it special.

I know leisurely Saturday mornings are somewhat of a luxury these days. We’re always trying to fit in as much as possible within that 48 hour time frame, the weekend. Whether it be demands of work, errands, chauffeuring kids here and there, etc., we either can’t or we forget to slow down. Cooking a special breakfast can be like therapy, taking our minds off the craziness of the past week. You’re focused on measuring and mixing, you’re permeating the kitchen with delightful aromas and you’re filling bellies with homemade goodness. On the rare occasion you find yourself with a free Saturday, try some cooking therapy. Stay in your jammies, sip your coffee and gather with friends and family for pancakes that are Unbelievably Good!

Yields: about 18, 4 inch pancakes   Prep time: 15 min.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • butter or coconut oil for cooking

 

Instructions

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar with a wire whisk. Separate eggs, placing the whites in a medium bowl and the yolks in a large bowl.   Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Now, to your bowl with the egg yokes, add the milk and sour cream, mixing thoroughly. Drizzle in the melted butter while stirring. Finish with vanilla and stir to combine.

Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and gently fold, being careful not to overmix. The batter should be combined, but still contain lumps. Add whipped egg whites and gently fold in. Again, taking care to leave some lumps, it should not be completely smooth.

Heat a seasoned cast iron griddle or skillet of your choice over medium heat. Grease pan with a small amount of butter or coconut oil. Using a 1/4 cup ladle, drop batter onto hot, greased pan. Flip when golden and continue to cook until done. Serve with extra butter and warmed maple syrup.

 

Rigatoni and Meat Sauce

Rigatoni and Meat Sauce

Large batch Italian meat sauce perfect for when you just don’t have time for Sunday sauce!