Friday, February 8, 2013

Beef Barley Mushroom Soup

Already February and we have not had any significant snow this winter.  Nemo, the name of this current Nor'easter was the topic of town the past few days.  When it snows, I love to make a hearty soup.  I've adapted this recipe from the September 2006 issue of Gourmet Magazine.  I did not omit any ingredients but added 1/4 cup more pearl barley and 3 cloves of minced garlic.  This is a stick-to-your ribs tasty bowl of soup.  This recipe yields approximately eight servings.


1 1/2 oz dried mushrooms
3 cups boiling-hot water plus 8 cups cold water
1 pound cross-cut beef short ribs or flanken
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
2 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup pearl barley
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill


1.  Soak dried mushrooms in boiling-hot water in a bowl until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain in a paper-towel-lined sieve set over a bowl and reserve soaking liquid. Rinse mushrooms, pat dry, and finely chop.
Mushrooms Soaking:

2.  Bring soaked mushrooms, soaking liquid, ribs, salt, pepper, and remaining 8 cups water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, skimming foam, until meat is just tender, about 1 hour. Transfer ribs with a slotted spoon to a cutting board to cool, reserving broth.

3.  While meat simmers, cook onion, carrots, celery, and creminis in oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in barley and minced garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

4.  Discard bones, fat, and gristle from meat, then cut meat into 1/2-inch pieces and add to broth along with barley mixture. Simmer, uncovered, until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Skim fat from surface, then stir in dill and salt to taste.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Revised Chicken Marbella

As a member of a food forum I was happily alerted to this recipe which appears in the January 2012 issue of Cooks Illustrated. The original Chicken Marbella recipe appears in the Silver Palate Cookbook and actually was the first prepared food item made when the cookbook authors, Sheila Lukens and Julee Rosso owned the Silver Palate Gourmet Shop in New York City. The original recipe has the same ingredients with the exception of anchovies and there is an addition of brown sugar. The chicken is marinated overnight with all ingredients except for the brown sugar and wine which is added when the chicken is baked. The original Chicken Marbella recipe was a standby for me for many years, most particularly when entertaining. This revised recipe does not involve marinating and is quick to prepare and cook. By browning the chicken the juices are sealed and I found the chicken to be perfectly moist. The taste is the same as the original recipe except it lacks the intense sweetness of the sugar which is fine by me. This was a hit at our table and comparing both recipes I prefer the revised version as it is much more flavorful and moist.



1/3 cup pitted green olives , rinsed
1/3 cup pitted prunes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves , peeled
2 tablespoons capers , rinsed
3 anchovy fillets , rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch red pepper flakes


2 1/2 - 3pounds bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts and/or leg quarters, trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup pitted green olives , rinsed and halved
1 tablespoon capers , rinsed
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup pitted prunes , chopped coarse
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


1. FOR THE PASTE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse all ingredients in food processor until finely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Scrape down bowl and continue to process until mostly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl. (Paste can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

2. FOR THE CHICKEN: Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle chicken pieces with 1½ teaspoons salt and season with pepper.

3. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving it until well browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate. Drain off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet and return to medium-low heat.

4. Add 1/3 cup paste to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and fond forms on pan bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine, olives, capers, and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits. Return chicken to pan, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Remove skillet from oven and use back of spoon to spread remaining paste over chicken pieces; sprinkle prunes around chicken. Continue to roast until paste begins to brown, breasts register 160 degrees, and leg quarters register 175 degrees, 7 to 12 minutes longer.

6. Transfer chicken to serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Remove bay leaves from sauce and whisk in butter, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce around chicken, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley, and serve.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Raspberry Squares

I discovered this recipe on a food forum I belong to. Its from my cyber foodie friend Linda and it originated from her mother's friend. It's a tried and true cookie (bar), and an oldie AND goodie. You can find the recipe over at Linda's Blog, How to Cook Like a Wolf. I love her background music, photography, writing, not to mention amazing recipes!

What I love about these squares is that they are not overly sweet.......great with a hot cup of coffee or tea. I usually have all the ingredients on hand as well and they are easy to put together.


2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 10 oz. jar seedless raspberry jam
4 egg whites
2 cups finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.
1. Cream together the butter,yolks, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Add flour and salt and knead with fingers. Pat dough into a greased 15 1/2 by 10 1/2 by 1" jelly roll pan.
2. Bake at 350* 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.
3. Remove from oven and spread with raspberry jam.
4. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold in remaining 1 cup sugar
and nuts. Gently spread on top of jam. Bake for 25 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm.

check out this vintage sifter!

Ready for first bake


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing

When the leaves start to change it is time to make these pumpkin bars. Many thanks to a food forum where this recipe is shared, it has been a big hit here for the past several years. I've made it with the cream cheese icing and also without. If without I usually sprinkle with some powdered sugar. Very simple and tasty treat!

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temp.
2 cups canned pumpkin (one 15-oz. can)
4 eggs, room temp.
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Don't know why I added the vanilla to this photo - does not belong!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 15 X 10 1/2 X 1 pan. Sift flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Spread mixture into pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cake springs back when touched or toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and frost.

3 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
1 stick butter, room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. orange zest (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat together until smooth.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bogart's Meatloaf.....woof, woof!

In August 2010 we got a puppy......this after at least 15 years of our children begging for a dog. One son was going into his senior year of college out of town and our youngest son entering his senior year of high school. Now, thirteen months later my husband and I are empty nesters as youngest went out of town to start college and oldest son is living and working out of town. Doesn't make sense, does it? We got a adorable Pug and named him Bogart, but we call him Bo.

We made rules, aka the "I nevers"........this dog will only eat dog food (dry kibble) and never hang upstairs where our bedrooms are. About four months ago Bo was upstairs with us, in our bedroom and YES, in our bed. Shortly thereafter, I started to make his food. I know, I know......SPOILED dog.

In all honesty, it is my pleasure to prepare his food. He loves it and gulps it happily down. Prior to making him food he often had tummy upsets....and would get very particular about the kibble. I also have found it more economical. Now he is a very happy pooch! Besides this meatloaf recipe I also make him a stew using either ground chicken, ground turkey, ground bison or ground lamb......will post that recipe at a future date.

This recipe is adapted (very tweaked) from a recipe I saw at for Doggy Meatloaf.


2 pounds ground chicken
3 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 apple, peeled and cored
3 eggs
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup rolled oats
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 cup cooked brown rice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using a food processor finely chop the carrots, celery and apples.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the carrots, celery, apples, eggs, ground chicken, wheat germ, brown rice, rolled oats and tomato paste. Mix well.

4. Spray a muffin pan (12 muffins) with olive oil spray and put mixture in each section. You will have enough to make another small loaf, either by hand or in a small loaf pan.

5. Bake one hour and remove from pan once cooled down. Freezes well.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tribute to Becky a true lady - Decolady-Peach Cobbler

The end of last month was a sad one. A cyber foodie friend of mine who I've known since 2004 crossed over to her new journey in the after life. She left behind a wonderful family and many friends. She was an inspiration to me and shared with me and others many of her treasured family recipes. Creole Shrimp and Pound Cake are two recipes I have previously shared here.

Yesterday I made Becky's grandmother's Peach Cobbler as part of a cyber tribute to this wonderful lady. Check out Becky's blog is chock full of her love of all things deco - particularly dishware; recipes, gardening, travel and many of her varied interests. Also included in her blog were medical updates as Becky had a bone marrow transplant just over two years ago. All during her illness Becky kept up her positive attitude. What a spirited lady who lived each day with grace and dignity. She inspired me and I do miss her. This one's for you dear Becky, on your first birthday.......namasté.

I am providing the pastry dough recipe that Becky used but since I am seriously dough challenged I decided to simplify and used refrigerated Pillsbury Pie Dough.

2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup coarsely crushed sugar cubes (about 40), or use about 2/3 cup granulated sugar

1. Sift together the flour and salt. Cut in butter to look like cornmeal. Sprinkle on cold water and mix quickly with a fork. Divide into 2/3 and 1/3. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
2. On floured surface roll out the large piece of pastry and line a large Betty Bowl or Fiesta pie plate. Sprinkle with 2-3 Tbsp of crushed sugar. Cover with wax paper and refrigerate. Preheat oven to 450°F. Roll out rest of pastry to form top crust and set aside. I used used a 9-inch pie dish.


5 (generous) cups fresh sliced peaches, about six peaches
juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch or 3 Tbsp Wondra flour
pinch salt
4 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp Half and Half

1. Mix peaches with lemon juice. Mix sugar with cornstarch and sprinkle over fruit. Add the pinch of salt and fold gently to combine. Fill pastry lined pan with fruit mixture and grate on a little nutmeg. Dot with butter. I left out the nutmeg on purpose as we are not fond of it.

Becky would have liked that I used my grandmother's red pyrex bowl:

2. Fit on top crust in one piece or in several smaller ones. If your edges are nearly sealed, cut slits for steam to escape. Can brush generously with half and half (do not brush edges) and sprinkle with remaining crushed sugar. Can also sprinkle on a bit of cinnamon. Place cobbler on baking sheet in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350°F. Bake 50-60 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown.

Ready for oven:

All baked:

Happy Birthday Deco Lady:
served in Fiesta rose color medium bowl