Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday in the Kitchen

Spent the weekend in the kitchen. It's been raining and blustery for several days, so what better activities than cooking and baking some special comfort foods?!

Yesterday, I stuffed pasta shells with a ricotta and spinach filling and smothered them in a homemade marinara sauce. Tangy and delicious! Later in the evening, I baked a super-moist chocolate cake and mini-muffins.

Today, I frosted the cake and muffins just as the morning was beginning to bluster like crazy. Then, I made pizza dough. In between the assembly and baking of two pies, I started the dessert we will take to our friends' home later tonight: a pear-apple-cranberry tarte tatin. I pre-heated the oven to 450 degrees F to accommodate the snacking pizza.

First, I rolled the pizza dough very thin, placed it on a square of parchment paper which was on top of a large wood bread board. Then I brushed the dough with olive oil, topped with 1/2 cup of leftover marinara, 3/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, super-thin slices of tomato and garlic, basil, salt and pepper, then threw on some more olive oil. I slid the parchment paper onto my pre-heated baking stone in the oven for exactly 15 minutes. I let the pie rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes, and ate half while making my dessert!

The pear-apple-cranberry tarte tatin is baked to perfection and the second pie just came out of the oven, so when I publish this post, it will be snackie time!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grilled Stuffed Lamb Burgers

In Episode #2 of "Gourmet Again!" we made these yummy Lamb burgers, stuffed with handmade English Cheddar. This version features a Feta-Spinach filling.



1 lb. Ground Lamb

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2-3 oz. Feta Cheese

½ cup Spinach, minced

½ teaspoon Basil (dried or fresh), minced

¼ teaspoon ground Thyme

Dash of Worcestershire

Pinch of Salt and Pepper


In a bowl, combine Lamb, Garlic, Worcestershire and Salt & Pepper. Divide into eight even portions. Form thin patties with four portion, about ¼” thick, and place on a platter or flat pan.

In a small bowl, make a paste with the Feta, Spinach, Basil and Thyme. Place ¼ of the mixture on each lamb patty.

Form the remaining four patties and seal each stuffed patty gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.

Grill on medium heat marks to desired doneness, turning each burger every two-three minutes to create criss-cross pattern.

Chef’s Notes: In Episode 2 of “Gourmet Again!”, I used handmade English Cheddar with Sun-dried Tomatoes as the filling and added Basil and Thyme into the lamb mixture.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Zesty Asian Slaw Recipe

Many of you are here today after viewing my "Gourmet Again!" cooking show on YouTube! The most recent episode featured this colorful and delicious twist on traditional coleslaw, with a creamy-crunchy peanut dressing!

(Thanks to Aaatheena for providing positive feedback and becoming the inspiration for this blog).



8 cups red and green cabbage, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

4 small green onions, sliced


1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts

¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise or Vegenaise

¼ cup brown sugar and white sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon wasabi

½ teaspoon sesame oil

optional: 1 tablespoon rice wine


In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots and onions. Toss well to combine.

In food processor, pulse-chop peanuts until all pieces are very small, making the dressing slightly crunchy.

Add remaining ingredients, mixing thoroughly on low speed.

Pour the dressing over the slaw, toss to coat well.

Marinate for at least 6 hours or overnight, even better.

Chef’s Notes: Toss in some crunchy asian noodles just before serving!