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June 28, 2012

Too hot to cook- Try Antipasto

My friend Kathleen had the right idea to keep the heat down this summer. She turned the traditional "before the meal" Antipasto into the main meal and it was a hit.

Serve any combination of the following
Salami, smoked turkey or salmon, cocktail shrimp, capers, olives, variety of cheeses (but always include blue cheese and smoked gouda), dried and fresh fruit, nuts, cream cheese with herbs, marinated mushrooms, hummus, celery, carrots, pico de gallo, chips, toast points, fresh bread, or crackers.

To serve: Make one large tray or several smaller trays with different combinations of the food groups.

And don't forget the beverage: A jug of iced herbal tea with mint or lemonade with lavendar
For the "winers" try a Sauvignon Blanc or Syrah or be bold- Serve both!

Posted by terri at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2012

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

Have you ever created a sensational recipe, one that everyone loved but you forgot exactly how you made it? I try to write it down immediately but sometimes it just takes too much time and then I have regrets because I can’t remember what I did. I am happy to say I wrote this recipe down because it turned out to be delicious and definitely a keeper.

Serves 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes for medium rare (allow 10 minutes to rest)
The stock will take about 2 hours to make but can be made in advance


  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2 lb.) beef tenderloin, trimming a beef tenderloin,trimmed
  • 1/3 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped, such as basil, thyme, parsley, marjoram, and/or oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

    For the sauce

  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 2 cups red wine, such as a Burgundy
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste


    Mix herbs with olive oil into a paste. Prepare tenderloin by slicing gently lengthwise down the center of the tenderloin but not all the way through. Open up sides butterfly style and lightly flatten meat by pounding the two sides. Lightly salt and pepper the meat. Rub the herb mixture down the middle end to end. Roll up the meat jelly roll style. Generously salt and pepper the outside. Secure with kitchen twine. Place in roasting pan and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 130 for medium rare. Allow the tenderloin to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. The internal temperature will continue to increase about 5-10 degrees.

    To make the sauce: Heat the oil in a stock pot. Add vegetables and saute until golden brown. Deglaze the pan with the stock and add the wine. Simmer on medium heat for one hour. Strain broth, removing vegetables and return liquid to stock pot. Continue to cook on medium heat until sauce is reduced by half. Melt butter with flour in microwave and whip into sauce. Continue to cook until sauce has thickened. Sauce can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Reheat when ready to use.

    Cooking Wiser:
    Save time by asking the butcher to trim the tenderloin for you but keep in mind you will not necessarily save money.

    Another time saving tip: Make the herb mixture in advance; will keep refrigerated for 2 days or freeze in freezer plastic wrap for 4 months.
    Keep pre-melted butter and flour mixture in refrigerator ready to use anytime you need to thicken a sauce.

    Posted by terri at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

    June 21, 2012

    Chicken With Cremini Cream Sauce

    Cremini mushrooms, also known as brown or Italian mushrooms, are a more flavorful variety of the button mushroom. They come in a range of sizes; try to find small ones for this recipe.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 10 minutes
    Total time: 25 minutes


  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces small cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary


    Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Add the mushrooms, scallions, and remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, until the mushrooms have wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the broth, cream cheese, rosemary, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until the cream cheese melts, about 1 minute. Return the chicken to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through and still juicy, about 5 minutes. Divide the chicken and sauce evenly among 4 plates and serve hot.

    Cooking Wiser:

    Decrease salt by using a lower-sodium chicken broth
    Decrease fat by using reduced-fat cream cheese
    If you cannot find cremini mushrooms substitute any mushroom

    Make it your own
    Serve over rice or pasta
    Add vegetables for a complete meal such as Broccoli, carrots or sweet bell peppers

    Wine Pairing: As a general rule mushrooms pair well with earthy, medium body Pinot Noirs. This wine has enough body to match the cream and cheese in the dish.

    Posted by terri at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

    Summer salad

    There’s just something about spring, summer and salads. Though summer may not be the best time to cook it is the best time to eat fresh, cool and crisp food. The usual list includes fruit, nuts, lots of different veggies, sometimes shrimp or scallops, avocado, cranberries and maybe leftovers from dinner the night before. Toss it all into crisp salad greens and you’ve got what I call a salad sensation. I can’t stop thinking about what my next salad will be. The possibilities are endless...

    Serves 4
    Add 1/2 cup salad greens for each additional person


  • 2 cups mixed, prewashed salad greens, use your favorite or a combination such as red romaine, curly leaf, bibb, butter, arugula...
  • 1/4 cup of any of your favorite vegetables or a combination of sliced, diced or shedded carrots, bell peppers, celery, avocado, green or yellow summer squash, and or tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, minced such as dill, cilantro or basil
  • Top with your favorite:
    Cheese, cheddar, gouda, parmesan...
    Grilled or smoked turkey, salmon, beef or chicken
    chicken or tuna salad
    Fresh or dried fruit- strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, apples, or pears

    Cooking Wiser
    Splash on your favorite dressing or vinaigrette.
    Or for a light and fresh salad dressing use a white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Try a Balsamic vinegar for the friut topped salads. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
    You can also toss in a few additional minced fresh herbs

    Posted by terri at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

    June 12, 2012

    Warm Cannellini Bean Bruschetta

    Setting up a “bruschetta bar” and offering several toppings for your guests to choose from is a great party idea. This is one of several toppings that is always a hit. And it is so easy to make that you'll have time to enjoy the party.

    For best results use Bush's Best Beans.

    Makes about 12 servings (allow about 2/person)
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 15 minutes


  • 1 loaf Italian or French bread
  • 2 (16 ounce)cans Bush's Best cannellini beans, mashed (reserve about ¼ cup of the beans whole)
  • ½ pound bacon, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • White truffle oil (optional)
  • Finely chopped parsley for garnish


    Slice a loaf of French or Italian bread about ¼ inch thick. Brush with extra-virgin olive oil and grill or toast until golden brown. To make about 24 slices, you will need about 1/3 cup olive oil. To add additional flavor, add 1-2 cloves minced garlic to the oil about 1 hour before preparing.

    Sauté the bacon until golden. Add the mashed beans, garlic, rosemary and stir until well blended. Add the whole beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Other easy ideas for toppings:

  • Mix 8 ounces cream cheese with ½ cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
  • Finely chop 1 cup of mixed olives and add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil and the zest from one lemon

    Posted by terri at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

    Tomato Basil Bruschetta

    Bruschetta, simple food with creativity is a great way to start any party. It’s just grilled slices of bread, rubbed with fresh garlic and drizzled with olive oil. From that point you can add to the bread a number of toppings. Set up a “bruschetta bar” and offer several toppings for your guests to choose from.

    Fresh Tomato and Basil

    Makes about 12 servings (allow 2/person)


  • one loaf French or Italian bread
  • 2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt to taste

    Slice a loaf of French or Italian bread about ¼ inch thick. Brush with extra-virgin olive oil and grill or toast until golden brown. To make about 24 slices, you will need 1/3 cup olive oil. To add additional flavor add 1-2 cloves minced garlic to the oil about 1 hour before preparing.

    In a bowl mix together all ingredients. Let stand at room temperature for one hour before serving. Top each bread slice or serve in a bowl and allow guests to top their own.

    Make it your own: Add a slice of fresh Mozzarella before topping with tomatoes.
    See another great Bruschetta idea

    Posted by terri at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)