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April 01, 2014

Feta and Dill Galette with Lemony Spinach Salad

This recipe can be a salad, an appetizer or even a breakfast dish. It can be whatever you want it to be. This was one of my recipes for my last cooking class and it did me proud. Dill is a great herb with the lemon but if you wanted to use cilantro and lime go for it. See my suggestions for other ideas.

Serves 4


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped plus ½ cup dill sprigs for the salad
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and more to taste for the salad
  • Black pepper, fresh ground, to taste
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 small handfuls baby spinach, washed, dried, large stems removed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, chopped dill, lemon, zest, salt and pepper.

    On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out the pastry until it measures about 11 by 13 inches.

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a baking mat. Lay the pastry on the baking sheet, wet the edges with water and fold over a ¾ inch border.

    Distribute the feta evenly within the border and carefully pour the egg mixture over the cheese. Bake until the pastry is puffed and brown on the edges.

    Slide the galette off the pan and cool on a rack. Move to a cutting board and cut into desired pieces. Place on serving plates.

    In a large bowl, toss the spinach and dill with the olive oil and lemon juice until evenly coasted. Sprinkle with salt and pepper (or use lemon pepper mix). Arrange a handful of spinach on each galette and serve with more lemon to taste.

    Create your Own
    Use goat cheese to replace the feta. And if you do, try basil to replace the dill.

    The ideas are endless. If you want to use cilantro, try Monterey Jack
    Add crisp bacon bits or even prosciutto which would be great with goat cheese.

    Cheddar is good too. Cheddar and dill will work if you don't care for feta.

    Posted by terri at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Grilled Italian Meatball Skewers with Parmesan Cheese

    I wanted to try something a little different. Instead of using a lot of sauce with the meatballs, I wanted the flavor of them to take center stage. So I grilled them as skewers. Don't forget to top with lots of Parmesan Reggiano- I forget this important step in my class but no one seem to really care since I just added the cheese to the salad instead.

    When you are cooking live in front of 20 + folks you have to be flexible.
    The key is to have fun!

    Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, very finely chopped (or slivered almonds)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef (80% lean)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for finishing
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • More olive oil for brushing
  • Finishing salt
  • 4 skewers


    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet on medium heat; add garlic and sauté until garlic releases it flavors about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

    In a medium bowl, combine garlic and remaining ingredients through Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly to incorporate all ingredients. Roll the mixture into 1 ½ inch balls, you should have about 26-30.

    Thread the meatballs onto the skewers alternating with the onion and pepper. Brush with olive oil and dust with finishing salt. Grill on medium heat until juices run clear and vegetables are crisp tender. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top.

    Posted by terri at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Cinnamon Biscotti

    Biscotti is a twice baked Italian biscuit or cookie. The result is an intensely crunchy cookie that is wonder when dipped into coffee or dessert wine, or even hot chocolate or a warm wine drink

    Makes 30 cookies
    Prep time: 25 minutes
    Total time: 65 minutes


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

    In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

    Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt; mix into the egg mixture.

    Shape dough into two equal logs approximately 12 inches long. Place logs on baking sheet, and flatten out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
    Bake for about 30 minutes in preheated oven, or until edges are golden and the center is firm. Remove from oven to cool on the pans. When loaves are cool enough to handle, use a serrated knife to slice the loaves diagonally into 1/2 inch thick slices.

    Return the slices to the baking sheet.
    Bake for an additional 10 minutes, turning over once.

    Cool completely, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

    Make it your own
    This recipe can be changed with the addition of just about any ingredient you would like. There are so many options.

    The most popular biscotti are those with added nuts such as almonds or hazelnuts. Add about 2 tablespoons.

    Try 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, keep the cinnamon

    Add 1 teaspoon orange or lemon zest, with or without the cinnamon

    Add 2 tablespoons dried blueberries, cranberries or apricots

    Posted by terri at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Pumpkin Trifle

    Even though this is really a fall dessert, with canned pumpkin you can enjoy it anytime. It's simple to make and depending on your mood, you can make the healthy version.

    Serves 8-10

    2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
    1 (5.1-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix
    1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
    2 (12-ounce) containers frozen whipped topping
    1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

    Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely.
    Meanwhile, stir the pudding mix and 1 container of the whipped topping into the pumpkin pie filling. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.
    Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a trifle bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread. Top with frozen whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding and finishing with whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired.
    Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a trifle bowl, punch bowl, or individual parfait glasses.

    Cooking wiser:
    For a healthier version use low fat cool whip and sugar free pudding mix

    Posted by terri at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

    Red Wine Braised Beef Shanks

    Rich with flavor, this recipe is so good, you won't mind the time it takes to develop the flavors. I recently ordered braised beef shanks at a very popular local restaurant. It didn't hold up to this recipe. Enjoy

    Serves 8
    Prep time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 5 hours, plus 24 hours marinating

    1 bottle dry red wine
    1 cup ruby port
    8 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 celery ribs, diced
    2 carrots, diced
    1 large onion, diced
    2 large thyme sprigs
    1 bay leaf
    8 meaty beef shanks (14 ounces each)
    ¼ cup cooking oil
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    6 cups low-sodium beef broth
    Parsley for garnish

    In a large roasting pan combine the wine, port, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, thyme and bay leaf. Add the beef shanks and turn to coat. Refrigerate 24 hours.

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove the shanks from the marinade and pat dry. Strain the marinade into a bowl, reserving the vegetables and marinating liquid.

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet. Season the shanks with salt and pepper and add 4 to the skillet. Cook over high heat until browned on each side. Remove to a large roasting pan. Add more oil, about 1 tablespoon and brown remaining shanks, remove and add to roasting pan. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and add the vegetables, cook over moderate heat until starting to brown.

    Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups broth to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Pour the vegetables, all 6 cups of the broth and reserved marinade over the shanks and cover the pan with foil. Braise the shanks for 2 ½ hours until just tender. Uncover and braise for 30 minutes longer, until the shanks are glazed on top.

    Remove the shanks to plate and cover. Strain the braising liquid through a coarse sieve into a large saucepan, pushing the vegetables through. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer the sauce over medium high heat until reduced to 4 cups. Season with salt and pepper. Return the shanks to the roasting pan and pour the sauce over them. Cover and simmer to rewarm the shanks.

    Transfer the shanks to serving plates and spoon the sauce on top. Garnish with parsley and serve.

    Posted by terri at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)