Friday, February 10, 2017

Spaghetti with 5-Herb Pesto by Tom

Fresh Basil, Sage, Parsley, Tarragon and Celery Leaves Pesto

Barbara was flipping through one of her cookbooks and asking me what we should make for dinner that evening.  More accurately, what was I going to make for dinner.

I kind of had a desire for pasta.  So when she passed this recipe, I told her to stop.  Looked interesting and not to difficult to make.  Right on both counts.

This is really a three-step recipe.  Step 1: cut up four different herbs.  Five when you count the garnish on top.  Step 2:  puree in a food processor the ingredients for the pesto.  Step 3: prepare the spaghetti.  From then on it is just assembly.

What will strike you immediately is the fragrance coming from the herbs.  Next the garlic from the pesto.  And finally the beautiful aroma when it all comes together.

But it does not stop with the smell.  The taste is really good.

This dish was exactly what I was hoping for!  Great taste and a relatively light and healthy meal.


Spaghetti with Fresh Herbs 
(from Williams-Sonoma Good Food To Share cookbook )

Serves 4

1 pound spaghetti
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh tarragon leaves (our store did not have this, so I used dry tarragon about 1/2 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lightly packed celery leaves
salt and ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan at the table

Finely chop the basil, parsley, tarragon and sage and place in a bowl.  Sprinkle in the lemon juice and lightly coat the herbs.

Next combine the garlic, Parmesan cheese and the pine nuts in a small food processor or blender.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.  Process until the mixture is creamy and well blended.

Pour the oil mixture into the bowl with the herbs and stir to combine.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti per the instructions on the box.  I like pasta to be al dente, which usually takes about 10-11 minutes.  When the spaghetti is at the desired consistency, drain through a colander, and then transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates, as we did.

Add the pesto mixture to the spaghetti.
Sprinkle on the celery leaves.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
Add grated Parmesan cheese.

This smells really good and it tastes really good!  Twirl and enjoy.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Toasted Pecan Cocoa Biscotti

Twice Baked Italian Cookies (Biscotti)

Well, I broke down and baked this weekend, having made it through a full month into the new year to compensate for the excesses of the holidays.

I was really missing a morning treat to go with our coffee, and this recipe on the side of the Dutch-processed cocoa powder box fit the bill. They are not very sweet but they are chocolatey.

Toasted Pecan Cocoa Biscotti
(from the Dorval cocoa powder box)

1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. instant espresso powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, at room temperature
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a large cookie rimmed sheet with parchment paper.
Toast the pecans, either in the toaster oven, or in the oven, or in a large skillet on the stove top, until fragrant but not dark.  (3-4 minutes in my toaster oven. Watch them carefully.) Break them into large pieces, or chop roughly.  Set aside to cool.
In a bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, espresso powder, baking soda and salt.
In a larger bowl, using an electric mixer, combine eggs, butter and vanilla until well blended.  Turn mixer to low and slowly add the sugar.

Then gradually (a 1/2 cup or so at a time) add the flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Mix in the toasted pecans.  (Make sure they are cool.)

(The batter will be stiff.)
On a floured surface, (turn out the dough)
and divide it in two logs (as equally sized as possible and flattened on top.)
Place them on the parchment paper lined baking sheet, allowing for enough space for the dough to expand as it bakes.
Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until firm to the touch. (Wish I had taken mine out sooner.)
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, slice the logs into pieces approximately 3/4 inch thick.
Place back on the baking sheet with pieces standing upright and bake for another 20 minutes (checking after 10, and then again at 15) or until the desired crispness.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
These biscotti are the dry-style of biscotti.  Best with coffee or red wine.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar, Pine Nuts and Parmesan by Tom

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar, Sprinkled with Pine Nuts and Shaved Parmesan

On a recent trip to Toledo to visit my parents, we stopped for dinner at a restaurant called Revolution Grill.  The name highlights the fact that the menu changes frequently, or revolves, around whatever is freshly available that day.

But one dish per our waiter that does not change is their roasted Brussels sprouts appetizer.  He said people come just for that dish.  With a recommendation like that, we just had to try them.  They were really good!

The Brussels sprouts themselves were roasted and then a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar coated them.  Added to the dish were pine nuts and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.  It was delicious.  But I detected a hint of hoisin sauce and some sweetness, although it was denied by our waiter.

So, of course, I had to try to make them at home.

The first time I made them, I just used balsamic vinegar.  It was good, but not quite as good as at the restaurant.  The second time I made them I added hoisin sauce to the balsamic vinegar.  Much, much better but still not quite right.

As they say three is a charm, and this time I got it.  I detected a little sweetness initially, so I added just a little tiny bit of maple syrup.  That did it!

So, I now offer you my roasted Brussels sprout recipe with balsamic vinegar, hoisin and maple syrup.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar Mixture, Pine Nuts and Shaved Parmesan
(from Revolution Grill in Toledo, Ohio)

Serves 4

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
Brussels sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
1 tablespoon pine nuts
shavings of Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a baking sheet, lightly coat with olive oil.

Place the Brussels sprouts cut side down and squish around in the olive oil so that the cut side is coated.

Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the underside of the Brussels sprouts are slightly golden brown.

Meanwhile mix the balsamic vinegar, hoisin sauce and maple syrup in a bowl or cruet.  Be sure it is well mixed.

When the Brussels sprouts are finished, remove from the oven and put into a serving bowl.  Spoon or pour as much of the balsamic mixture as you like over the Brussels sprouts, enough liquid to insure the Brussels sprouts will get coated.  Mix thoroughly to coat the Brussels sprouts.  Now sprinkle the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese over the vegetables.

Serve immediately and enjoy.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Italian Greens Salad with Sauteed Apple, Crispy Bacon and Aged Gouda

Waiting to be tossed

This is our new, favorite salad.  Been making it throughout the holidays and into the new year.  A good fall and winter salad.

You can tell from the lighting in my photos that we are cooking when it is dark outside this time of year.  Rather depressing.  But this salad is bright and homey at the same time.  We really like it.
Image result for wegmans italian greens mix
A mix of romaine, endive and radicchio Italian greens hold up well to the bacon, sauteed apple and aged Gouda cheese.  Or you can use escarole.

The salad dressing is sweet and spicy, because it is made with Dijon mustard and maple syrup.  It goes well with the apples and the bacon.

Only make this with real maple syrup.  And look for extra-aged Gouda in the cheese section. Smoked bacon works best, but anything you have will do.

Italian Greens Salad with Sauteed Apple, Crispy Bacon, and Aged Gouda
(adapted from Fine Cooking, Dec 2016/Jan 2017)

Serves 4

1 8 oz bag of Italian Blend Salad Greens
(or 8 cups of cored and chopped escarole)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 T. pure maple syrup
1 T. Dijon mustard
4 slices of bacon
1 large crisp apple, cored and sliced into wedges
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) coarsely grated, aged Gouda
salt and pepper to taste

In a large salad bowl, add the chopped greens.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

In a skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, to render out the fat, until crispy.  Remove from the skillet to a paper towel to drain and cool.
Drain off the fat, then add the apples, placing them one side down, and cook over medium heat until browned, then flip them over and brown the other side.  You want them to start to caramelize and start to soften, but not get mushy.  Takes about 3 minutes per side, a total of 7 minutes to get them softened and brown.

Scrape the apples from the skillet over the greens, then break up the bacon into bite size bits over the apples, then grate the aged Gouda cheese over the top. Season with salt and pepper. (we didn't need anything but pepper due to saltiness of the bacon.)

At the table, add the dressing, then toss it together and serve.

If you want a more wilted salad, then you can add the dressing to the hot apples in the skillet, and then pour it over the greens, before adding the bacon and cheese.  Season. Then toss together and serve.

Both ways are good.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8th Anniversary for Feast Everyday

First post was about the value of good rice

Wow, it has been 8 years ago today that Feast Everyday has been in existence. Started it January 17th, 2009.

It was fun to read the first post and the related comments from Anne and Emily.  Click here:

706 posts later.  Which means we must have over 700 recipes now available to use.  

Thanks to everyone who has participated.

I hope you will help me keep it going in 2017 by sharing recipes, links, your favorite products and tools, or good stories.

And, a special thank you to my husband, Tom, who has been a good sport and a regular contributor to Feast Everyday.

Happy 8th Birthday, Feast Everyday!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Noosa Yoghurt

Made with A Touch of Honey
Thick and Extra Creamy

I discovered Noosa yoghurt in a grocery store in a tiny town in Iowa when we were on a driving trip across the Midwest to the Dakotas last fall.  It is made in Colorado by a woman who is an Aussie ex-pat and local dairyman.

I felt guilty about liking it so much because Greek yogurt is crucial to our dairy industry here in New York state.  And I thought that it was going to be only available west of the Mississippi.

To my surprise, when we got home, I discovered that Wegman's has it, but it is tucked away, in the corner, far away from my usual brands.

And they have added smaller 4-packs in 2 flavors over the last few months.  

And then I saw it at Target, in some additional flavors, like Passion Fruit and Pumpkin.  

If you go to their website, you can sign up a friend for a coupon for a free sample to try it.  

It is a very cute and fun website, just like the packaging.

Yes, it is a little pricier than the more popular brands, but it is good for you and a real treat.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Molasses Cookies (with Coconut Oil)

Good to know that you can substitute coconut oil for the Crisco shortening in the recipe on the Grandma's jar. Made them twice this way.

The second time, I learned to melt the coconut oil in the microwave before adding, to make the dough easier to work with.
A simple, flavorful cookie.  Dusted them with sparkling sugar for an extra touch. (Instead of sprinkling them with water, as the original recipe suggests.)

Molasses Cookies
(adapted from the jar of Grandma's Molasses)

3/4 cup softened coconut oil (or shortening like Crisco)
1 cup light brown sugar packed (dark works well too)
1 egg (at room temperature)
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. cloves
1 t. cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)
1 t. dried ginger powder

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a microwave safe vessel, like a Pyrex measuring cup, soften the coconut oil in the microwave until smooth and almost transparent.  Heat for 10 seconds at a time and check.  You want it to be fluid but not too hot.  Cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and the sugar, then add the molasses and whisk, and then the softened coconut oil.  The residual heat from the coconut oil will help with incorporating the molasses into the mixture and keep it all smooth.  But don't worry if you get a few globs.  Do your best to incorporate it all together.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients.

Gently stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to create a dough.

My dough was ready right away to form into balls.  You can chill it it you want or need to.

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut, and then roll them in sparkling sugar or any coarse sugar, like demerara or turbinado.

Place them in rows on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let them cool for 5 minutes or so, then using a spatula, remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

And they froze well, too.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies by Tom

Recently we were watching " The Great American Baking Show" and one of the contestants was making a chocolate cake flavored with peppermint.  I thought this sounded pretty good and guessed I would be able to find many recipes that used both ingredients in order to make cookies.  I was right! 

But the one I found, and ultimately modified, started off as a gluten-free recipe from Heartbeet Kitchen.  The pictures made their cookies look really good. 

What I am offering today is a modification of the Heartbeet Kitchen gluten-free chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies.  If you want to use the gluten-free recipe, just substitute teff flour for wheat flour.

The finished product was very fudgy and full of peppermint flavor.  This was exactly what I was aiming for.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Makes approx. 40 cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
2 large eggs
1 egg white
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons dark, Dutch processed cocoa powder
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (I actually think the recipe would benefit from increasing the amount of flour.  More discussion below.)
1 tablespoon corn starch
pinch of salt
1 drop peppermint oil, or 1 1/4 teaspoons pure peppermint extract
powdered confectioners sugar for rolling the cookie dough balls in

Over low heat, melt the butter and dark chocolate in a small sauce pan.  It is very important to constantly stir the entire time.  Once the chocolate is just melted, remove from the heat and set aside for at least 3 minutes to cool.

In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs, egg white and sugar until light colored and frothy with little bubbles sneaking out of the top.  I found it easiest to do this in our stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment.

Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture and continue whisking to incorporate.

Add the cocoa powder and stir.  Next add the flour in two additions.  Then the corn starch, salt and peppermint.  Whisking the whole time until there are no more streaks of flour visible.

Cover the bowl with a cloth and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

(Baker's note:  Before freezing, the batter will be very loose.  In fact, I think too loose requiring more flour.  Although I did not add more flour this time and the cookies turned out just fine, the cookie batter was extremely hard to work with even after being in the freezer for 20 minutes.  The next time I make these I will add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour to stiffen the batter a bit more.)

When the cookie batter is done in the freezer, use a cookie scoop or teaspoon to make tablespoon sized balls.  Drop the balls in the confectioners sugar and roll around until completely covered.  Place on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and lightly press down to slightly flatten the cookies.

Bake for 11 minutes and take out from the oven.  Cool initially on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack.

The only difficult part of this recipe was actually handling the cookie dough.  It was extremely sticky, and that made it hard to actually roll a ball.  The warmer the dough became, the stickier it got.  So it was important to keep the unused dough in the freezer while a cookie sheet was baking.

But even with this handicap, the cookies tasted great.  I will definitely make these cookies again.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Figgy Date Nut Bread

Figgy Date Nut Bread
A lack of dates to fulfill the recipe led to this tasty combination of figs and dates in this easy, old-fashioned recipe.

The original recipe comes from a really old cookbook we used to use when I was growing up.

Tom says that I am "on to something" with the figs in this bread.  That means he really liked it.

Since I make date nut bread for Tom for most Christmases, I am making the effort to write up the modified, figgy version so I can make it for him again next year.

Here are both the original and the modified versions of the recipe:

Date Nut Bread
(from Madge M. Shaw, Borger H.S., Borger, Texas)

Serves 12

1 package dates (2 cups)
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 t. soda
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 cup nuts

Cut up dates, pour 1 cup boiling water over and soak.  Beat egg and sugar until creamy, add dry ingredients, nuts and dates.   Bake in loaf pan 55 minutes in 350 degree F. oven.

FIGGY Date Nut Bread
(adapted from above recipe)

1 1/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup chopped dried dates, stems removed
1 cup boiling water
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 t. soda
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 cup pecans, broken in to large pieces or chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan generously with butter.

Be sure to remove the stems from the figs.  Cut up dried fruit, then pour 1 cup boiling water over and soak for 15 minutes. Fruit should be soft.   If not, soak longer. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and sugar until creamy.  Add the dry ingredients, then fold in the nuts and the dates.

Pour into loaf pan, and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lemon Sugar Cookies by Tom

Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Sugar Cookies 

What is not to like about a cookie that is both a sugar cookie and a lemon cookie all in one.  Two of my favorite taste combinations in a simple but flavorful cookie. 

In perusing Barbara's new "Dorie's Cookies" cookbook, this was the first cookie that I highlighted to make.  And, although it took me a couple of weeks before I actually got around to making them, I was not disappointed.  I made enough to include in our "cookie packages" for this year's gifts to our neighbors. 


Lemon Sugar Cookies
(from Dorie's Cookies cookbook)

Makes approx. 50 cookies (she says 60)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 or 2 lemons to obtain 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (or regular salt)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 drop lemon extract (optional) (my addition)
Granulated sugar, for dredging

Position the oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium size bowl.

Finely grate the zest of one lemon.  Squeeze 1/4 cup of lemon juice using one or both of the lemons.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and the mixer off, put the sugar and lemon zest in the large bowl.  Use your fingertips to mash and rub the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar is moist and fragrant.  Next add the butter and salt to the bowl and beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.  This will take about two minutes.

Beat in the egg, the vanilla extract, the optional lemon extract and the lemon juice until well combined.

Turn off the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients.  Mix on low speed until they are almost completely incorporated together.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the mixer off, and add the remaining dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed until fully incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

In a separate small bowl, pour in the granulated sugar.  You will use this to coat the cookie dough.

Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon, scoop out even portions of the dough and using your fingers make round dough balls.  Drop the dough ball into the granulated sugar and roll it around to coat the balls.  Place on a cookie sheet leaving about 2" between each dough ball.  I was able to place between 12-15 cookies on each baking sheet.  These cookies will spread when baking, so it is important to have some spacing between them.

Bake the cookies for 8-14 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through.  If you bake them for 8-10 minutes, they will be very soft and quite pale.  If you bake them for 12-14 minutes, they will be browned on the edges and the bottoms will be lightly browned as well.  They will be crispier but still chewy in the center.  I opted for about 11-12 minutes.

After you remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool pretty completely on the cookie sheet before you transfer them to a cooling rack.  If you try to transfer them while still pretty warm, they will fall apart.  Never good unless you like to serve broken cookies.

Repeat with the remaining dough always using cool baking sheets.  Takes a little longer, but worth it.

There it is!  Lemon Sugar Cookies.  Easy to make and better to eat.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Pecan Bars from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook

Pecan Pie in a Cookie

The two Toms:  my husband, Tom and our nephew, Tom, really liked these pecan bars with chocolate and a shortbread crust.

And I thought they were much easier to make than a pecan pie.  No rolling out the dough.  Just press the shortbread dough into the pan with your hands.  

However, you will need a food processor and have to clean it afterwards.  And pie weights or dried bean/rice for par-baking the crust.

The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, Dorie's Cookies, which came out this fall.  My sister-in-law, Laddie told me about Dorie, back in 2009 when I started Feast Everyday.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookie Bars
(from Dorie Greenspans's cookbook, Dorie's Cookies)

Makes 24 bars

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 t. salt (she prefers fine sea salt)
1 stick plus 1 T. (9 T.) unsalted butter, 
        very cold, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

For the topping:
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup or light or dark corn syrup
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 T. dark rum or bourbon
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. salt (she prefers fine sea salt)
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) pecan pieces
3 ounces chopped semisweet or
      bittersweet chocolate OR 1/2 cup chips

Note:  Be sure to grease your pan very well, or use parchment paper.  My bars were difficult to get out of the pan.

Center the rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F.  Butter a 9 inch square baking pan, and butter a piece of aluminum foil to use to cover the crust.  

To make the crust:  Put the flour, confectioners'sugar and salt in a  food processor and pulse a couple of times to blend.  Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely--  don't worry about getting it evenly mixed.  (Mine took 15 pulses)  Stir the yolk just to break it up and add it a little at a time (through the top opening), pulsing after each addition.  Then process in long pulses (I had to do it 6 times) --about 10 seconds each--until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms moist clumps and curds.  Pinch a piece of the dough, and it will hold together nicely.  

Turn the dough out into the butter pan and spread it evenly.  Using your fingertips (I used the back of a measuring cup), press the dough down into the pan so that you've got a compact layer.  Prick the dough all over with a fork.  

Cover with the foil, buttered side down, and pour in the pie weights or dried beans or rice.  Place the pan on a baking sheet. 

Bake the crust for 15 minutes.  Carefully remove the foil and weights, return the pan, still on the baking sheet, to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

Place the pan on a rack and let the crust rest while you make the topping.  (Leave the oven on.)

To make the topping:  Working in a large bowl, whisk the syrup and brown sugar together.  One by one, gently whisk in all of the remaining ingredients except the nuts and the chocolate.  Don't whisk energetically---you want a homogeneous topping, but you don't want bubbles.  Switch to a flexible spatula and stir in the pecans and chocolate.

Pour the topping over the crust and, if the nuts seem to be unevenly distributed, use the spatula to spread them around.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the topping has puffed across the top and set. It shouldn't jiggle when you tap the pan.

Transfer the pan to a rack to cool until the bottom of the pan feels comfortably warm or reaches room temperature.  If you want to unmold the bars, run a table knife between the bars and sides of the pan.  Invert the bars onto a rack and then turn right side up on to a cutting board.  Or work in the pan (carefully, so you don't gouge it).   Cut into 24 bars, each 2  1/4 x 1 1/2 inches.