Who doesn’t love deviled eggs! You can add anything to the egg filling to create all different types of eggs. Deviled eggs are great for formal Easter dinner, a picnic, barbecue, just so versatile. I love to change up the ingredients in my eggs to create tasty new treats. I love Mediterranean food, and I couldn’t resist making an egg that captures the Mediterranean taste.
Mediterranean Deviled Eggs with Blue Cheese
12 large eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoon Dijon Mustardor Stonewall Kitchen Blue Cheese Herb Mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon minced capers
1/4 cup blue cheese or gorgonzola
sliced kalamata olives
Fresh thyme, for decoration optional
1. Place eggs single layer in a saucepan and cover eggs with water up to that 1 1/2 inches above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat to low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.
2. Crack eggshells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, place the whites on a serving platter.
3. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Gently combine olives, capers, and blue cheese with the egg mixture.
4. Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Decorate with sliced olive and serve.
These easy to make chocolate covered Easter Eggs will delight all your family members young and old alike. I sometimes omit the coconut and just make cream eggs and peanut butter. You can serve them plain or decorated with purchased sugar appliqués. However, you choose to embellish these candy eggs will be a big success.
Cream butter gradually with confectioners sugar. Add sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Mix until combined. Divide sugar mixture in half adding coconut to one half and peanut butter to the other. Shape cream mixtures into small eggs. Place on wax paper
Place chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl. Then, microwave one minute on high. The chocolate will look shiny; stir to combine butter. Microwave in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until totally smooth. Chocolate continues to melt once you take it out of the microwave. If you microwave the chocolate until it looks completely melted, you risk burning the chocolate.
Add cream to chocolate mixture until combined.
Roll eggs in chocolate and place on wax paper. Don’t coat the underside of eggs. Use a small spatula to smooth out the chocolate and cover the eggs of the filing. Decorate. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. The eggs can be made ahead and frozen. Makes 36 eggs.
Red Velvet is all over lately, even Dunkin Donuts has Red Velvet lattes and Red Velvet Drizzle Donuts for Valentine’s Day. I’m still not tired of this delicious flavor. What could be more appropriate for Valentine’s Day than Red Velvet Heart cookies? These little gems are fun and easy to make just screaming Be Mine!
Red Velvet Heart Cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon red food coloring
3 ounces white baking chocolate with cocoa butter, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon shortening
1. Preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside
2. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Add red food coloring gently hand mixing until the dough is red without any chocolate streaks.
3. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough until 1/2 inch thick. Using a 1inch scalloped heart cookie cutter, cut out dough. Place cutouts 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
5. In a small heavy saucepan cook and stir white chocolate and shortening over low heat until melted and smooth. Drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate. Let stand until white chocolate is set. Makes about 24 cookies.
I’ve never met a holiday that I didn’t love to celebrate. Valentine’s day happens to be one of my favorites. I love decorating, pulling out all my dishes, plates, teacups, pots, and more. I collect china, silver, and crystal, which I use all the time, and especially on Valentine’s Day, I have an assortment of heart shaped tableware.
For Valentine’s Day, I baked up some treats to share with my family. I made French Macaron cookies and Red Velvet Heart cookies. Perfect to say Be My Valentine!
These delectable little treats are worth all the work. I also like to fill the shells with other flavored fillings to change it up!
French Macarons with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes 24-30 shells or 12-15 macarons 3 large egg whites, at room temperature for three hours 1 cup slivered almonds, toasted 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Red food coloring Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw 1 inch or 1 1/2 inch circle. (Depending on the size you want the macarons) Turn parchment paper over; set aside.
Combine almonds and 1 tablespoon of the confectioners’ sugar, pulsing until finely ground. (Do not over process.) Add remaining confectioners’ sugar until combined. Set aside.
Using a mixer or medium-high speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add sugar, beating at high speed until peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract and desired about of food coloring: mix well.
Add almond mixture to egg whites, folding gently until well combined. Place batter into a pastry bag fitted with a medium tip. Pipe batter into drawn circles on prepared baking sheets. Tap baking sheets on the counter 5-7 times to release air bubbles. Let sit at room temperature 45 minutes to 1 hour before baking.
5 Preheat oven to 275F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool completely on baking sheets until ready to fill.
Place Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream in a pastry bag fitted small round tip. Pipe mixture onto the flat side of macaron, and top with another macaron, flat sides together, pushing gently down and twisting slightly so that filling will spread to edges. Repeat with remaining macarons and filling.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream 3 egg whites, at room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 1 cup butter 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine egg whites and sugar. Using a mixture at medium speed, whisk together. Set the pan over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until mixture registers 140 on an instant-read candy thermometer. Remove from heat and beat at high speed with whip attachment for 10 minutes. The meringue should be tripled in volume.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
Ah, Valentine’s Day the perfect time to celebrate love! What could be more impressive than a heart shaped cake decorated with fresh raspberries filling and white chocolate frosting! Hearts are my favorite shape, and I carry the motif in my jewelry, clothing, and home accessories. For Valentine’s Day, I bring out all my heart decorated serving pieces to set my table.
I have many go-to cake recipes depending on the size and type of cake I want to make. This recipe, one of my favorites, is a tender, moist cake perfect for birthdays and special occasions, yet simple enough to use for regular cupcakes. In this recipe, I used my favorite, King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, which results in a high rising cake with a moist, tender crumb.
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Cake Flour Blend 1 2/3 cups sugar; superfine sugar is best 1 Tablespoon baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg* 1 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract 2 cups fresh raspberries for decoration
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9″ x 2″ heart-shaped pans. Trace the bottom of the pan, then cut inside your marking. Next, butter the pan. Place the cut parchment inside the cake pan. Butter the parchment, then flour the pan. Tap off extra flour.
In a stand mixer or a sturdy hand mixer, mix all of the dry ingredients slowly to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the butter’s temperature, how much it’s mixed, and the granulation of the sugar used.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans—Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack for ten minutes, then remove from the pan.
Raspberry Filling This delightful filling is simple to make and can be made in advance. In fact, I always make the day ahead to chill in the refrigerator before using it. Yield: 1 3/4 cups
Ingredients: 4 cups raspberries 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons raspberry liquor
In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 3/4 cup of water, and the sugar. Bring to boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the raspberries have broken down. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain in a fine-mesh sieve. Return the strained mixture to the heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the raspberry mixture. Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat, raspberry liquor, and cool completely.
White Chocolate Frosting 1 cup butter, softened (no subs) 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 6 ounces white chocolate or 6 ounces white baking bar, melted and cooled 3 -5 tablespoons whipping cream or 3 -5 tablespoons half-and-half
In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners sugar at low speed until fluffy. Add in melted and cooled white chocolate and whipping cream (start with 3 tablespoons and add more to achieve desired consistency). Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the bowl with a spatula. To assemble the cake: Spread a small dab of frosting in the center of the cake plate to anchor the cake, and set down one cake layer. Spread 1/2 cup frosting over the first layer. Carefully spread raspberry filling on top, then cover with the second cake layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of assembled cake. Decorate with raspberries sprinkled with powder sugar.
An interesting salad adds to a meal with taste, texture, and color. Food should appeal to all the senses not just taste. Lately, I have been obsessed with Slaws which create for different seasons and occasions. And Slaws are healthy especially dressed with simple ingredients. for a colorful holiday slaw, I added pomegranate arils and pecans for crunch.
This recipe works well with other veggies like Brussel sprouts, kale or broccoli. Experiment and see what works for you.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
2 cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 cup baby kale
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1 Anjou pear, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
Whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place cabbages, carrots, and kale in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the dressing, and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperated 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Add pecans, pear slices, and pomegranate arils, and toss to combine. Drizzle with remaining dressing just before serving.
Who doesn’t love cheesecake? That rich, creamy taste savored with each bite, a sweet treat that is the perfect finish for any meal! The variety and texture of cheesecakes are endless. Cheesecake can be very dense and heavy or light and fluffy. You can use graham crackers, chocolate cookies, or pastry for the crust and fill it with your favorite recipe. I guess you can tell I love making all types of cheesecakes. Also, flavorings and toppings are endless to create wonderfully tasty cakes for special occasions.
At Christmas, I like to make an Eggnog cheesecake topped with cranberries and cherry preserves for a festive dessert table.
I like this recipe because it is light with a baking method that ensures the cheesecake doesn’t crack. I made either a fruit topping, or if you prefer, you can make a whipped cream topping sprinkled with sparkly candied crystals.
2 ¼ cups (302g) graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (112g) salted butter, melted
3 tbsp (39g) sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
24 ounces (678g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (207g) sugar
3 tbsp (24g) all purpose flour
1 cup (230g) eggnog
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 12-ounce jar cherry preserves
1 cup cranberries
1 tablespoon brandy or rum
Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper in the bottom and grease the sides. Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil so that water from the water bath cannot get in. Set prepared pan aside.
Reduce oven to 300°F (148°C). In a large mixer bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar,
and flour until well combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the eggnog and nutmeg and mix on low speed until well combined.Add the eggs one at a time, beating slowly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Pour the cheesecake filling into crust and spread evenly.
Place springform pan (covered with aluminum foil) inside another larger pan. Fill the larger pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30-40 minutes.
Turn off heat and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for 30 minutes.
Crack the oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and chill until firm, 5-6 hours or overnight
Cook and stir cherry preserves and cranberries in a small saucepan over medium heat until preserves are melted and cranberries start to pop. Stir in 1 tablespoon of brandy or rum. Cool for 30 minutes.
Remove the cheesecake from the pan. Spoon topping over prepared cheesecake.Refrigerate the cheesecake until ready to serve. Cheesecake is best for 3-4 days.
When I was little, I didn’t like Thanksgiving, my young mind thought if we skipped Thanksgiving, Christmas would come sooner. Now that I am older, I love the meaning of Thanksgiving and enjoy the day with family and friends. If you follow my blog, you know that I love to cook and entertain. And the holidays are special to me. But I have never entertained for Thanksgiving until this year. Due to the pandemic, our plans changed, and I am hosting a small Thanksgiving at my home. Yes, you heard me right. My mother hosted Thanksgiving dinner, and even living in Boston, my family would travel to Pennsylvania to be with my family. After my first grandchild was born, we remained in the Boston area to have dinner with our son’s family and in-laws. Food is the centerpiece in my family that connects us as we share our gratitude with each other. Even those we are not all together on Thanksgiving, our love of family radiates across the miles that separate us. Next year we will celebrate together and toast to health and happiness.
A first-generation American, my mother, embraced Thanksgiving and cooking a turkey with a passion. Now that my mother is no longer with me, I wish I would have asked her how she learned to cook the perfect turkey. My grandparents, both exceptional cooks, immigrated from Italy and cooked the best Italian dishes. I recall them making chicken, never turkey.
My mother was particular about her turkey preparation. Local, farm-fresh turkey, the biggest they had was what she purchased. We anxiously waited for her return from the farm. I can still see her walking up the driveway, weighted down by a twenty-nine or thirty-pound turkey, and we rushed to the door to help her. Then she began cleaning the turkey before cooking. She soaked her turkey overnight in a salt bath in the kitchen sink. Now we are cautioned about leaving the turkey out for an extended time; this was not an issue during my mother’s day. I believe that the salt protected from bacterial growth, and she thoroughly rinsed dried the bird before she stuffed the turkey.
She buttered and seasoned the bird, and then she cut a paper bag to fit over the turkey and the top of the roaster. Twine tied around the edge of the roasting pan secured the covering. When I was young, I was amazed that the bag didn’t catch on fire in the oven. My mother’s turkey was always browned to perfection and never dry.
When I cook a turkey, I soak mine in a tub in the refrigerator or if you don’t have room, place the tub in a cooler packed with ice. I’ve tried various turkey brines, home-made or store-bought; my favorite is still my mother’s simple kosher salt turkey bath. The basic ratio I use is two cups of kosher salt to two gallons of water
And as I prepare for Thanksgiving, getting the turkey ready, I pay tribute to my mother, my guide and inspiration throughout my life!
1 (18 pounds) whole turkey 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 lemon, zested and juiced 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 2 tablespoon kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 large bunch of fresh thyme 1 whole lemon, halved 1 shallot, quartered 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Place 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Let the turkey sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse again. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan.
Fill the cavity with thyme, halved lemon, halved shallot, and garlic, and brush the turkey outside with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thigh’s meaty parts registers 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), about 4 hours. If Turkey browns too quickly, cover with aluminum foil.
Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Make gravy.
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups*
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
Heat the turkey drippings and chicken stock in a pan. Simmer on low. In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, melt butter. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper—Cook mixture for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened.