Sunday, January 31, 2010

Easy Focaccia Bread

This is one of those recipes that tastes/looks like you put a whole lot more effort into it than you actually did. You can use either homemade pizza dough (my favorite crust recipe is listed under pizza in the label section) or refrigerated dough. I never have any leftovers when I make this!

Fresh or refrigerated pizza dough
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup Italian salad dressing
2 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil a pizza stone with the olive oil. Spread the dough on the stone, and made indentations in it with the tip of a wooden spoon. Pour on the dressing and spread it over the crust. Sprinkle with italian seasoning, then the grated cheese.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Slice into wedges and serve.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Red Pepper Shrimp Linguini / Dei Fratelli Tomatoes

Afew months ago I was a winner in a Dei Fratelli Tomatoes contest for my recipe for Red Pepper Shrimp Linguini. Spicy and easy to prepare, I make this all the time. The less mess I have to make, the better sometimes, and only 2 pots are needed for this one.
My prize from the contest was a box of Dei Fratelli products every month for a year, and I just got my first one yesterday. There were other items in the box (like salsas) that were spirited off by my family before I could take a photo, but I will definitely make use of every item. This brand is one of my favorites as they use real food ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup, no need for a chemistry degree to decipher the label.

Red Pepper Shrimp Linguini

  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 1 cup White onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup Red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Dei Fratelli Chopped Italian Tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds Fresh large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tail on (can substitute thawed frozen cooked shrimp)
  • 1 pound Linguini, cooked al dente per package instructions

Heat oil in large pot with lid. Add onion, peppers, garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, salt, pepper and mushrooms. Sautée over medium heat 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp and simmer until shrimp is pink and hot (if using frozen cooked shrimp, approx 5 minutes to heat through). Toss with cooked pasta

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baked Potato Crab Cake Appetizers

This recipe was a recent runner up winner for me in a contest sponsored by Wisconsin Potatoes (the photo is from their website). Doing some experimenting, I discovered that baked potatoes are a great way to stretch expensive crab meat, the mild potato flavor combines well with the crab and seasonings, and it really helps to hold the crabcakes together.
Serve with lemon slices, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce if you like.

3/4 cupfinely diced sweet onion
1 tbspminced garlic
2 tbspolive oil (divided)
3 cupscrabmeat (canned or fresh)
2large baked potatoes, peeled & mashed with fork
2 tbspdill pickle relish
1 tspsalt
1/2 tsppepper
2 tbsp Old Bay
seafood seasoning
1/2 cupmayonaise

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In med. skillet, heat 1 tbsp of oil, sautee onion and garlic over medium heat until soft. Approx. 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine crab, potato, relish,old bay, mayo , salt/pepper, & onion/garlic mix.
  4. Form into 24 crabcakes
  5. Place on nonstick or lightly sprayed cookie sheet. Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  6. Bake approx. 15 minutes until they are lightly brown.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Herbed Chicken with Ginger Stone Fruit

Another recent contest win was a contest sponsored by Genji Marinades. This contest had a nice prize (gift certificate to Whole Foods), plus the added bonus that they used my own photo of the dish on the website when they published the recipe.
I like to combine fruit and herbs to create sweet and savory dishes. If you can't get the marinade, balsamic vinegar or another Asian ginger type dressing can be substituted.

Herbed Chicken with Ginger Stone Fruit

2 cups peeled and sliced peaches
1 cup sweet pitted cherries, halved
1/4 cup diced shallots
3 pounds bone in chicken pieces (legs, breasts, thighs)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbsp fresh chopped marjoram
1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
4 tbsp butter, chopped in cubes

Glaze - 3/4 cup Ginger Miso Dressing, 1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Combine peaches and cherries. Arrange on the bottom of a 5 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with shallots. Arrange chicken on top of carrots. Season chicken with salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, marjoram and thyme. Top chicken pieces with butter cubes.
In a medium bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Pour over chicken. Bake at 350 approx 1 hour or until chicken is golden brown.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Lemon Dill Scallops over Linguini

I've had afew recent recipe contest wins, which is always exciting (even if the prize is small). This recipe for Lemon Dill Scallops over Linguini was a runner up in a contest sponsored by Food and Water Watch. The requirements were to create a dinner for 4, under $25, using a sustainable seafood item. The environment is a passion of mine, so it was fun for me to be included in their online cookbook. The site/cookbook is a bit hard to navigate, but if you can find the cookbook, my page is #17.
I love sea scallops, but don't get to use them nearly as often as I would like due to their expense. Especially since I will only use diver caught scallops that do not come from an Asian country. Asian origin seafood (especially from China) is bad news from both a health and environmental standpoint. Unsound practices and scary chemicals.
Diver caught scallops are collected with minimal disturbance to the rest of the environment. They are generally a "day boat" operation, which means that the boats return to the port every night, they don't stay out for days. This makes it unnecessary to use chemical preservatives on board to keep them fresh.

Lemon-Dill Scallop Linguini

1 1/2 lb sea scallops (rinsed and lightly patted partially dry)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil

2 sticks butter, melted
4 tbsp white wine
1 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dill (dried or fresh, chopped fine)
1/2 lb cooked linguini

Combine bread crumbs and lemon pepper seasoning in a large bowl. Roll scallops in mixture until lightly coated. Place on barbecue or stovetop grill on medium heat, and drizzle with olive oil. Cook until opaque and slightly brown. Approx 6 minutes, flipping halfway through.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, wine, lemon juice, garlic and dill. Stir over medium until heated through. Toss with cooked linguini, top with scallops.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

This is a delicious pie, another Martha Stewart recipe. Good for pumpkin and chocolate lovers, but not too “pumpkiny” for people who don’t really care much for pumpkin. If you don’t tell those people, they probably won’t even know there is pumpkin in it.
As with most Martha recipes, I simplified the steps a little. Melting chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave works just fine. No need for a heatproof bowl over simmering water.
This is supposed to be a triple chocolate pie, but I ran out of time to do the final step of drizzling the milk chocolate. I was taking it somewhere, so I couldn't cut it up and get a photo of it sliced like I would have preferred

* 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers)
* 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
* 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
* 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
* 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably 55 percent cacao), chopped
* 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
* 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
* 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
* 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 3 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* Ground cloves
* 1 ounce milk chocolate, melted


1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt, and cinnamon in bowl. Firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of a deep, 9 1/2-inch pie dish. Bake until firm, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Remove from oven, and sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over bottom of crust. Return to oven to melt chocolate, about 1 minute. Spread chocolate in a thin layer on bottom and up sides. Let cool on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
3. Make the filling: In a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt semisweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
4. Mix pumpkin, milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a pinch of cloves in a medium bowl. Whisk 1/3 pumpkin mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in remaining pumpkin mixture until completely incorporated.
5. Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight). Before serving, drizzle melted milk chocolate on top. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Goodbye and hello

In early November, on a warm sunny day, we said goodbye to an old friend.


Dallas was my first horse, and he’d been with us for 12 years. He was a race horse when he was young. We know nothing about his racing history as his registration papers were long lost. Like all race horses, he had a lip tattoo, but it had become illegible.
After his racing career he was taken to a horse auction, and probably would have ended up going to slaughter had he not been rescued. He was then retrained as a riding horse. He taught me a lot about horses and being a horse owner.
He was 24, which is fairly young for some horses, but old for a thoroughbred who has been raced. I am very glad that we were able to make his later years pleasant and easy.

As sad as losing Dallas was, we were happy to welcome a new addition to the family.


Twilight is a 4 year old palomino quarter horse. Only 14.2 hands, which is small for a horse. Almost large pony size. But perfect for kids, and not too small for an average sized adult to ride. He is very sweet and gentle, and amazingly calm for a 4 year old horse. He will be my 9 year old daughter’s 4H project this summer.

Back to blogging....

I have not been a good blogger at all! Months since my last post. Fall has come and gone here in northeast Ohio. Beautiful September, rainy October, but it stayed pretty warm for a long time.


Lots of late blooming things in the garden this year due to the mild summer. Raspberries are usually long gone by fall, we had raspberries in late September.


We grew a pear in a bottle, just for fun


Honeybee on fall asters. I love these wildflowers. We plan to add a beehive to the farm this spring. The honeybees are in trouble, and they need all the help they can get