Fat Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday

Big week coming up: Tuesday is FAT TUESDAY and the last day of Mardi Gras. Wednesday is Valentine’s Day. Wednesday is also Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent. Here are a few recipes to celebrate Fat Tuesday and Valentine’s Day. There are also recipes for the first day of Lent.

As you can see from the photos, I made the Dark Chocolate Cake in 2 different forms – Round and Heart Shaped. Lucky me just so happens to have heart shaped cake pans.


Duck and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

Valentine’s Day Treats

Dark Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Linzer Heart Cookies

Lenten Dinner

Sautéed Red Snapper with Vegetable Couscous

with Beer Can Chicken

Busy Week Ahead

Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Andouille Sausage, Cake, Chicken Stock, Chocolate, Confectioners Sugar, Cookies, Corn, Couscous, Dessert, Dessert/Pastry, Desserts, Dinner, Duck, Entree, Fish, Food For Thought, Frosting, Gumbo, Ham, Ham Stock, Hints and Tips, Kielbasa, Menus, Red Snapper, Soup, Tasso Ham | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Super Bowl Party Treats

The long awaited, end of the season, BEST party of the year is fast approaching. Here are several ideas for Super Bowl 52 Party Treats that will please the crowd and make you the hit of the Super Bowl Party.

Click on to the title of the recipe or picture to get to the recipe.

Kalamata Olive Tapenade

Goat Cheese Crisps

Fried Calamari

Crab Cakes

Buffalo Style Chicken Wings

Buffalo Style Chicken Wings


Wild Mushroom and Brie Quesadillas


Corn Fritters

Conch Fritters

BBQ Pork Ribs

BBQ Ribs


Pulled Pork Soft Tacos

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Don’t forget the few good old standbys like Onion Dip and Potato Chips, Pigs in the Blanket, Deviled Eggs and Nachos Grande. I know you all know how to make these delicious Super Bowl Treats.

Happy Super Bowl 52!


Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Ancho Chili Preserves, Appetizers, BBQ Ribs, BBQ Sauce, Blue Cheese, Brie, Brownies, Calamari, Charcoal Grill, Chocolate, Cocktail Sauce, Condiment, Condiments, Corn, Corn Fritters, Dessert, Dessert/Pastry, Desserts, Food For Thought, Fritters, Goat Cheese, Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate, Hints and Tips, Hors d'oeuvres, Maryland Crab Cakes, Maryland Lump Crab Meat, Mini Chocolate Chips, Mushrooms, Olives, Pork, Quesadilla, Recipes To Share, Remolaude Sauce, Sauces, Seafood, Unsweetened Chocolate | Leave a comment

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

What to do on a cold winter day? Make Ravioli! But instead of traditional ravioli let’s make something different. I have a huge jar of dried wild mushrooms and I made a delicious mushroom duxelles with them along with fresh wild mushrooms. Filled fresh pasta dough with the duxelles and served these delicious pillows of love with a wild mushroom sauce. So good, so good!

Making the ravioli is easy but it takes a whole lot of time. You could make the dough and the ravioli the day before (keep them in the refrigerator over night) and then make your sauce the next day.

To make this mouth watering dish you will need:

1 Recipe Pasta Dough

1 Recipe Wild Mushroom Duxelles Filling for Ravioli

1 Recipe Wild Mushroom Sauce


Buon Appetito!


Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Chicken Stock, Creme Fraiche, Food For Thought, Mushrooms, Pasta, Pasta Dough, Ravioli, Ricotta Cheese, Sauces | Tagged | Leave a comment

Christmas Dinner 2017

Christmas is a week away and I have finally settled on my Christmas Dinner Menu. My favorite entree for Christmas Dinner has always been Prime Ribs of Beef.  This year I decided to get away from the ALWAYS and do something a little different. Of course it involves meat and I am going in the direction of Roasted Tenderloin of Beef. I also have some non-beef eaters dining with us so I’ve added Roasted Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp  served with Pesto and Tomato Marmalade.

Christmas Dinner

Charcuterie, Cheeses, Condiments

Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Cabernet Sauce and Sauce Béarnaise

Roasted Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp with Pesto and Tomato Marmalade

Haricot Verts with Pecans

Potatoes Dauphinoise


Christmas Cranberry Tart with Crystalized Ginger and Ginger Gelato

Charcuterie, Cheeses, CondimentsAntipasti


 Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons & Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

Roasted Tenderloin of Beef with Cabernet Sauce & Béarnaise

Sauce Bearnaise

Roasted Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp with Pesto and Tomato Marmalade

Haricot Verts with Pecans

Potatoes Dauphinoise

 Christmas Cranberry Tart with Crystalized Ginger

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To All!


Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Antipasti, Beef, Caesar Salad Dressing, Cheese, Condiment, Condiments, Cranberries, Cranberry Citrus Compote, Cranberry Tart, Dessert, Dessert/Pastry, Desserts, Dried Cranberries, Entree, Food For Thought, Fruit Desserts, Hints and Tips, Meat, Pancetta, Pate Sucre, Pistachio, Potato, Potato Dauphinoise, Salad, Salad Dressing, Sauces, Seafood, Tenderloin of Beef, Vinaigrettes and Dressings | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Chicken Cobbler

Here is a new take on an old favorite. Instead of topping a chicken or turkey pot pie with puff pastry or pastry crust I decided to top this delicious dish with a cobbler topping. What a surprise – I like it better this way than any other. The recipe is easy and quick as long as you have all the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. This is a great way to use up left over chicken (or turkey).

Makes One 9” Deep Dish Pie

For Cobbler Filling

4          Tablespoon (1/2 Stick) Unsalted Butter

2          Cups Sliced Carrots, Sliced Crosswise ¼” Thick

1          Cup Sliced Celery, Sliced Crosswise ¼” Thick

½        Cup Finely Diced Spanish or Vidalia Onion

1           Leek, White Part Thinly Sliced

1          Cup Medium Diced Yukon Gold Potato, Peeled

1          Cup Fresh White Pearl Onions, Peeled, or Frozen and Thawed

1          Cup Fresh Corn Cut From the Cobb or Frozen and Thawed

1          Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

½         Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4          Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

2          Cups Homemade Chicken Stock or Canned Low Sodium Chicken Broth (Heated)

1          Cup Half and Half (Heated)

1          Cup Petite Green Peas

3          Cups Shredded Cooked Chicken Breasts

For Cobbler Topping

2          Cups All-Purpose Flour

3          Tablespoons Granulated Sugar

2          Teaspoons Baking Powder

½         Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

½         Cup Unsalted Butter (1Stick), Cold and Cut Into Bits

1          Cup Buttermilk

Heavy Cream for Brushing Top

Preheat oven to 375°F.

For Cobbler Filling

In a large sauté pan melt the butter over medium heat.  When butter starts to sizzle, add the carrots, celery, onion, leek and potato.  Add the salt and pepper.  Sauté until vegetables begin to soften, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  You do not want the vegetables to brown. Add the corn and pearl onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring the whole time, for 5 minutes.

Slowly add the chicken stock stirring the whole time to combine.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.  Add the half and half; stir to combine, bring back to a simmer and cook for 5 more minutes until the sauce is thickened and the vegetables are cooked through.  Add the peas and chicken and stir to combine. Transfer the pot pie mixture to a 9” deep dish pie dish. Set aside.

For Cobbler Topping

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry cutter or your finger tips, cut butter into the flour mixture to form lumps that are the size of small peas.

Pour the  buttermilk over the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture comes together and a soft sticky dough is formed. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 equal parts and arrange over the filling. Brush the dough with heavy cream.

Place the baking dish onto a sheet pan lined with parchment to catch any drippings. Bake until the top is gold brown and the filling is hot and bubbling, about 60 minutes. (If the top is browning too fast, loosely cover with foil.)

Remove from the oven and let the cobbler rest 15 minutes before serving.


Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Chicken, Chicken Cobbler, Chicken Stock, Cobbler, Corn, Dinner, Entree, Food For Thought, Pastry, Poultry | Tagged | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving Feast 2017

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and I know many of you are starting to get ready for the “Great Thanksgiving Feast of 2017”. I am sharing a menu with you that has some new ideas and a few of the old standards: Standards that we must have on this day of feasting. 

Click on to the photo or recipe title and you will be directed to the recipe.

Thanksgiving Feast 2017

Wild Mushroom Soup with Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted Turkey with Dried Fruit Stuffing

Turkey Gravy

Roasted Corn Pudding

Haricot Verts & Sautéed Pecans (French Green Beans)

Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes and Turnips with Fresh Sage

Cranberry Citrus Compote

Traditional Pumpkin Pie Topped with Italian Meringue

Apple-Pear Pie

Sweet Potato Pecan Tart with Whipped Creme Fraiche

Wild Mushroom Soup with Roasted Chestnuts

Roasted Turkey with Dried Fruit Stuffing

Roasted Turkey Stuffed with Andouille Sausage and Cornbread

Golden Cornbread and Dried Fruit Stuffing 

Roasted Corn Pudding

Haricot Verts & Sautéed Pecans (French Green Beans)

Smashed Yukon Gold Potatoes and Turnips with Fresh Sage

Cranberry Citrus Compote

Apple-Pear Pie

Apple Pie Made With Love

Traditional Pumpkin Pie Topped with Italian Meringue

Sweet Potato Pecan Tart with Whipped Creme Fraiche



Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Apple Pie, Apples, Brine, Chicken Stock, Corn, Cranberries, Cranberry Citrus Compote, Creme Fraiche, Dessert, Dessert/Pastry, Dried Fruit, Entree, Food For Thought, Gravy, Hints and Tips, Italian Meringue, Menus, Pastry Crust, Pears, Pecans, Pie, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie, Recipes To Share, Sage, Side Dishes, Sides, Stuffing, Tarts, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Pies, Turkey, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella, Spinach, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Prosciutto

Here is a delicious chicken dish that is sure to please your guests. It not only tastes great but also looks really beautiful when sliced and placed on each diner’s plate. This is also a perfect dish for a buffet. Slice each breast and arrange either in a concentric circle or arrange on a round plate spoke fashion. Serve with a little of the sauce and have the rest on the side for each person to help themselves. I did this stuffed chicken breast for many catered parties and it was always a big hit.

Serves 6

For the Stuffed Chicken

6          Boneless Skinless Single Lobe Chicken Breasts, 5 to 6 Ounces Each

6          Slices Prosciutto, Thinly Sliced

3          Cloves Roasted Garlic, Smashed

¼         Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

6          Scallions, Thinly Sliced Crosswise

¼         Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes Packed in Oil, Drained and Julienned

1          10 Ounce Bag Fresh Spinach

3          Ounces Shredded Whole Milk Mozzarella

2          Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

2          Tablespoons XVOO

Fine Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Flour for Coating Chicken

For the Mushroom Marsala Sauce

1          Cup Red Onion, Thinly Sliced

3          Cloves Garlic, Minced

1          Lb. Baby Bella Mushrooms, Sliced

1          Cup Marsala Wine

2          Cups Homemade Chicken Stock or Canned Low Sodium Broth

1          Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

½         Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2          Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

For the Stuffed Chicken

Lay the chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and with a meat mallet lightly pound the thickest part of the chicken breast to the same thickness as the thinnest part.

Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on each breast and on each, place a slice of Prosciutto, an equal portion of the roasted garlic, basil leaves, scallions, sun dried tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella. Carefully roll the chicken breast and secure with a toothpick or tie with butcher twine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425°F.

Dredge each rolled breast in the flour. Shake off excess. Meanwhile, in a skillet large enough to hold all of the chicken breasts heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat. When the butter stops sizzling add the chicken breast to the pan and gently brown the chicken on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove the chicken to a half sheet pan and place in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking in the oven, to the pan used to brown the chicken add the onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue sautéing until the mushrooms start to just release their juices. Sprinkle two tablespoons flour over the mixture and stir to coat. Cook the mixture for two minutes. Add the Marsala wine cook until reduced and thickened. Add the chicken stock and continue cooking until slightly thickened. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Take out the picks (or cut twine) and place the chicken breasts in the pan with the sauce. Gently simmer in the sauce for a few minutes turning each breast to coat with the sauce. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and let them rest for a few minutes. Slice the breasts into three or four pieces on the diagonal. Spoon some of the sauce on each plate and arrange the slices on top of the sauce.


Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Cheese, Chicken, Chicken Stock, Food For Thought, Mushrooms, Sauces, Stuffed Chicken Breast | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wild Rice Recipes

It’s the middle of September and Fall is visibly on it’s way. Here in South Carolina the grass goes brown and dormant for the winter and it’s starting to turn colors now. The leaves on the Forests’ Trees are starting to show hints of color change as well. The weather is a bit cooler, especially in the evening, and it makes me want to start cooking recipes for the cooler (and colder) season that will be coming upon us sooner rather than later.

Here is the first of my winter faves that feature Wild Rice as the main ingredient. My initial experience with Wild Rice came in 1979. I was working at La Vielle Maison in Boca Raton, a Mobile Guide 5 Star restaurant. I fell in love with Wild Rice and ever since those days at La Vielle I’ve introduced Wild Rice to the restaurants I worked in as a Chef. When I was catering, I introduced Wild Rice  to many of my customers, also. The response was overwhelmingly great.

Wild Rice-Smoked Chicken and Lemon Cilantro Vinaigrette

Wild Rice and Chicken Soup with Mushrooms

Wild Mushroom Soup with Wild Rice and Chestnuts


Wild Rice and Vegetable Salad


Enjoy the cooler weather!


Posted in Food For Thought | Leave a comment

Two More Peach Recipes

I can’t help myself with all these peachy recipes. The recipes are so good I couldn’t resist the temptation to share. Try the Peach Tart Tatin with a dollop of Peach Semi-Freddo. I hope you give them a try.

Peach Tart Tatin

Makes One 10” Tart Tatin

½         Recipe Pate Sucre

¾         Cup Granulated Sugar

3          Tablespoons Water

¼         Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Pieces, Room Temperature

6          Fresh Peaches, Medium Ripe 

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Bring a pot of water to boiling. Drop the peaches into the boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds. With a slotted spoon, remove the peaches to a dish. Peel the skin and cut one peach in half, the remainder into quarters. Remove the pits.

In a 10” heavy ovenproof skillet with 2” sides combine the sugar and water. Over medium heat bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved turn heat up to high and cook until the syrup becomes amber in color, swirling the pan occasionally and brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush. Remove from the heat and add the butter stirring until melted and smooth. Cool for a minute or two. Place one peach half in the center round side down. Arrange the quarters round side down in a tight circle. Press remaining peach half and quarters round side down on top of the first layer.

Over medium heat cook the peaches until caramel is bubbling and thick, about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, roll out the pasty to an 11” circle and place on top of the warm peaches and tuck pastry edges round the peaches. Bake until crust is golden brown and the filling is thickened and dark, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Place a platter over the pan and carefully invert the tart onto platter. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or Peach Semi-Freddo.

Hints and Tips: This tart is usually made in a cast iron pan. I don’t have one and I used a non-stick Calphalon pan that worked perfectly as nothing stuck to the bottom. Plus the cast iron pan would be very heavy when inverting.

When inverting the tart I used an 11” tart pan with a removable bottom instead of a platter. It was super easy as the tart pan fit perfectly over the pan that held the tart. It was also not messy. Once inverted I then removed the side of the tart pan and left the tart on top of the removable bottom.

Peach Semi-Freddo

Makes 2 Quarts

2          Cups Peach Jam

8          Large Egg Yolks

1          Cup Granulated Sugar

1          Cup of Reserved Peach Syrup

½         Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

4         Large Egg Whites, Room Temperature

¼        Cup Granulated Sugar

2         Cups Heavy Whipping Cream (36%)

¼        Cup Sugar

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the jam over medium low heat. Once heated through remove from heat and strain the jam in a fine mess strained set over a bowl. Reserve one cup of the syrup. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large heatproof bowl beat the yolks with the sugar, until combined, with a wire whisk. In a slow and steady stream add the 1 cup reserved peach syrup to the eggs and sugar whisking the whole time.

Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, being careful to not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl, and whisk the egg mixture continuously until very thick and hot. It will be thick enough when you lift the whisk and the mixture lies down slowly in a ribbon shape and takes a moment to sink back into itself. Be patient, as this will take about 20 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk for a few more minutes to help cool it down. Place the bowl in an ice water bath to cool completely, gently whisking every few minutes. Once cooled, fold the drained peaches into the cooked egg mixture (This is called the custard). Set aside.

Place the 4 large egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and slowly beat the whites to break them up, about 30 seconds. Gradually increase the speed to high and continue to beat the whites until very soft peaks form. White the mixer running on high, gradually add the ¼ cup sugar. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and the sugar is completely dissolved. Fold thoroughly, but gently, into the cooled custard.

In a clean standing mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium high for a minute. Add the ¼ cup sugar and beat until light and fluffy and peaks form when the whisk is lifted out of the cream.

Fold the whipped cream into the custard thoroughly, but gently.   Put the Semi-Freddo into an air-tight container, covered and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving. Semi-freddo will last in the freezer for up to one month.


Have a very peachy day!


Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Cream, Custard, Dessert, Dessert/Pastry, Desserts, Food For Thought, Fruit Desserts, Pastry Crust, Pate Sucre, Peaches, Semi-Freddo | Leave a comment

Pork Tenderloin with Ancho Chili Preserves

It’s still peach season and I am continuing to take advantage of the season by make preserves, pies, cobblers and gelato with this year’s beautiful crop of South Carolina Peaches. I came up with this Pork Tenderloin recipe using the Ancho Chili Preserves I make with Peach Jam.

If you don”t make your own peach preserves there are plenty of good quality preserves on your grocer’s shelf.

Serves 4

1          1.5 to 2 Pound Pork Tenderloin Trimmed of Silver Skin and Fat

1          Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt

½         Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

½         Teaspoon Garlic Powder

¼         Cup All-Purpose Flour

¾         Cup Ancho Chili Preserves

2          Tablespoons XVOO

1          Tablespoon Unsalted Butter

2          Cups Homemade Chicken Stock or Canned Low Sodium Chicken Stock

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large skillet or sauté pan heat the oil and butter until hot and the butter has stopped bubbling, over medium high heat.

Rub the pork tenderloin all over with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dredge the pork in the flour. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the flour for the sauce. Sauté the tenderloin on all sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Spread ½ cup of the Ancho Chili Preserves on the top of the pork. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 140°F when inserted into the middle of the pork.

Remove the pork from the pan and set aside to rest for 10 minutes. In the mean time, drain most of the fat from the pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon of the fat. Over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of flour to the remaining fat and cook for a minute or two to make a roux. Add the chicken stock and blend it well with the roux in the pan. Add ¼ cup of the Ancho Chili Preserves and cook the sauce until nicely thickened.

Slice the pork into ½ inch slices. Spoon a bit of sauce on the plate and top with the pork.

I served my pork tenderloin with Vegetable Couscous and Braised Brussels Sprouts.




Posted in Accompaniments, Ahh Haa Moments, Ancho Chili Preserves, Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Stock, Condiments, Couscous, Entree, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Food For Thought, Pork, Pork Tenderloin | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment