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  Preps that are not shown or linked in the Salon  


For 11.20.20 – Sweet Potato Casserole

From “Cooking With Friends” by Nick Stellino

3 med-large sweet potatoes or yams, baked, peeled and cut into large pieces

8 oz cream cheese, softened

¼ t salt

¼ t black pepper

½ c honey

½ c Parmesan

Good pinch of dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375. Treat a large pan or casserole dish with baking spray.

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with a mixer {hand or stand} until uniform in color. Spoon into prepared pan or dish and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.


For 11.13.20 – Artisan BBQ Ribs

By Chef Phllip Dell, featured in our “Cocktail Hour Buzz” section

Ask your butcher for a “St. Louis cut” rack of ribs with the membrane removed. This will help you save time and frustration.

  1. Liberally dust the front and backside of the ribs with your favorite bbq rub.
  2. Place the ribs on the cool side of a 275 degree charcoal (or gas) grill set up for indirect heating. Add a chunk of hickory, cherry, or apple wood (I like to use Mojobricks®) to the fire and close the lid.
  3. After two hours, place the rack of ribs onto a large piece of foil Pour a mixture of melted butter, brown sugar and honey over the ribs (optional). Note: I don’t generally measure these, but if I had to guess, the recipe would look like this.  1/3 cup unsalted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and a couple tablespoons of honey.  Sprinkle the ribs with a little more seasoning and wrap it up tightly, being careful not to pierce the foil.
  4. Place the wrapped ribs onto the grill, close the lid and let them cook an additional 1.5 hours or so before checking for doneness. When you open the foil the meat should have pulled back from the bones a little and tear slightly in the center when lifted up with tongs.
  5. Remove the ribs from the foil (you can leave them in the foil for this step if you wish) and place them onto the grill grate.  Baste the ribs with your favorite bbq sauce or glaze (I like to use Sweet Addiction BBQ Sauce by Chef Phillip Dell) and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the sauce reaches the desired amount of stickiness.  Place the finished ribs onto a platter and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!  Be sure to have plenty of wet wipes on hand 🙂


For 05.29.20 – ”Homemade Vanilla Oreo® Filling”

From “Bravetart” by Stella Parks 

1 1/2 sticks//46 oz unsalted butter

1 t vanilla extract

1/8 t kosher salt

2 c organic powdered sugar, sifted

In a 2-qt stainless steel saucier {see vs sauce pan}, melt the butter over med-lo heat, then simmer, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula, while the butter hisses and pops; if you notice brown bits forming along the edges, reduce heat to low. Continue cooking and stirring until the butter falls silent, then strain into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Add vanilla and salt, followed by powdered sugar. Mix on low speed to moisten, then increase to medium. Beat until creamy and soft, about 5 min. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ plain tip and use immediately to pipe a generous dollop of filling {just shy of a tablespoon} on half of the wafers {flat side up}. Cover with remaining wafers and join them with a gentle twist.

Transfer to an airtight container and let stand at room temp until filling has set, about 30 min.  The cookies {based on her homemade wafers} will keep for up to 1 week at room temp, or 3 mos frozen; serve at room temp.

and . . .

Chocolate Topping

that Parks uses for her “Homemade Hostess®-Style Cupcakes”

1/2 c//4 1/2 oz heavy cream

1 c//6 1/2 oz finely chopped dark chocolate, about 60%

1T//1/2 oz corn syrup

Bring the cream to a simmer in a 2-qt stainless steel saucier {see above} over med heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate, followed by the corn syrup. Set aside until thick and warm, about 20 min {roughly 90°F}; stir well before using.


For 03.13.20 – Savory Creamy Herbed Steak Sauce

From the CS Kitchen

1/2 stick butter

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, mashed

1/2 t ea white pepper. dried marjoram, dried basil, dried parsley

1/4 t ea dried thyme, hot sauce {opt or more}

8 oz tub soft onion chive cream cheese

1/4 c beef bouillon {from powder}

1/2 T lemon juice

1/4 c fresh parsley, plus extra for garnish, chopped

2 green onion tops, sliced thin

Melt butter in a medium skillet over low heat. Saute garlic until just fragrant, about 1 min. Add seasonings through thyme. Stir to coat, cooking for an additional minute or two.

Add cream cheese and mash into butter mix with a spatula. When it fairly well melted whisk smooth. Whisk in bouillon to blend. When heated through whisk in lemon juice, then stir in 1/4 c parsley and onion tops.

Serve immediately on steak or other food, topping the sauce with remaining parsley. Or, cool and refrigerate – as with many dishes, the flavors improve even further overnight.

Note – See post for additional serving suggestions


For 02.07.20 – Beef a la Mode

From “Dinner with Dickens” by Pen Vogler 

A little olive oil

2 onions, chopped

6 slices of streaky unsmoked bacon, chopped small

A pinch of freshly ground white pepper

1/2 t ground cloves

1/4 t gronnd mace

1/4 t ground nutmeg

Top roast or silverside or other pot-roasting joint, approx. 2 lb, 3 oz

2 1/4 cups hot beef stock {or substitute about 3/4 c white or red wines or about 3 1/2 T brandy}

1 bay leaf

A few sprigs of thyme

{Note alternate stove-top cooking option below}

Preheat oven to 325. Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onions until transparent. Add the bacon and fry until the fat starts to color. Add the spices and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add the spices and stir for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a flameproof casserole, add the wine or brandy if using, and let it bubble and reduce.

Heat a little more oil in the skillet, add the beef and brown all over. Then place it on top of the onion mixture, pour the hot stock around it, add the herbs, and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook in the preheated oven for about two hours, turning halfway, until the beef is very tender. Serve with greens and carrots.

Notes: I actually used just a pinch of the spices. I also added chopped garlic for a brief saute just before pouring a 1/4 c of red wine in with the onions. And, as noted, roasted the carrots and taters right in with the beef. You probably want to remove the cooked thyme sprigs, but you definitely want to pluck out the bay leaf. The 1747 original shown on the recipe page cooks everything atop the stove {and also makes use of the sauce} . . .








For 01.10.20 – Shrimp Curry with Spinach

From “The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook” by Annie Gray 

1 lb spinach or other sturdy greens

1 small sweet onion, diced

1 T curry powder

1 t cayenne pepper

1 t ground ginger

Kosher salt

1 T unsalted butter

2 c full fa coconut milk

1 lb cooked and peeled shrimp

Cook spinach in boiling water for 2 min or steam it covered for 5 min with just the rinsing water clinging to the leaves. When wilted and tender, squeeze gently in a kitchen towel to remove the excess moisture, then chop finely.

Sprinkle the onion with the curry, cayenne, ginger and a little salt. Melt the butter in a saucepan over med-lo heat, add the seasoned onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 min.

Add the coconut milk and spinach, raise the heat to med-hi, and bring to a boil, stirring as needed to prevent scorching. Add the shrimp and heat through, then serve right away.

Notes: I did use fresh ginger instead of powdered, and also added a bit of fresh garlic, both sauteed with the onion, the ginger right away, the garlic for just about a minute after the onion turned translucent. Also garnished with some julienned uncooked spinach leaves.


For 11.29.19 – Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce with Cocoa

From “Happiness is Baking” by Maida Heatter

1 c strained unsweetened cocoa powder {preferably Dutch-process}

3/4 c sugar

1 1/4 t instant espresso or coffee powder

pinch of salt

1 c boiling water

1 1/2 T rum

In a heavy 5-6-cup saucepan, stir the cocoa, sugar, espresso or coffee, and salt to mix. Add the water and stir with a wire whisk.

Place over moderate heat and stir and scrape the pan constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low and let barely simmer, stirring and scraping the pan constantly with a rubber spatula, for 3 min.

Remove from the heat. Strain. Stir in the rum. Place in a covered jar and refrigerate.

Check the sauce ahead of time. If is has become too thick to serve, set it stand at room temp and stir it a bit,

Pour  the sauce into a pitcher and serve quickly while it is cold.

Notes: the “Immediately” in the instructions above is important because you want to be careful that as the mixture comes to a boil that it doesn’t boil over . . . I have nothing against rum and in fact find it a great friend to cola, but in preps like this I prefer vanilla and don’t think it suffered any as a result . . . also, I did let it cool a bit before covering and refrigerating.


For 11.08.19 – Sweet Potato Casserole

From “Cooking With Friends” by Nick Stellino

3 med-large sweet potatoes or yams, baked, peeled and cut into large pieces

8 oz cream cheese, softened

¼ t salt

¼ t black pepper

½ c honey

½ c Parmesan

Good pinch of dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375. Treat a large pan or casserole dish with baking spray.

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with a mixer {hand or stand} until uniform in color. Spoon into prepared pan or dish and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.


For Oct 11, 2019 – Chocolate Fudge Cake from mix

From Mary Giuliani’s “Tiny Hot Dogs”

16.5 oz box dark chocolate fudge cake mix

4 eggs

1/2 c vegetable oil {or melted coconut oil}

3.9 oz pkg instant chocolate pudding

8 oz container sour cream

12 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8″ cake pan.

Mix all the above ingredients together, adding in the chocolate chips last. Pour in pan and bake for 25-30 min.

Note: I did find that it bakes a bit more evenly in a larger pan, and even so baked it longer than specified – should note I used a Moist version of cake mix which may have had an effect.

For Sept 20, 2019 – Sweet Potato Sundae

From Jose Andres’ “Vegetables Unleashed”

4 medium sweet potatoes

Extra virgin olive oil

4 scoops vanilla ice cream


Rice Krispies

Ground cinnamon

Maldon salt

Preheat oven to 450. Rub sweet potatoes all over with olive oil. Wrap each one in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake the sweet potatoes for 30-45 min, until soft enough that a pick can be inserted to the center.

Remove from the oven, carefully open the foil, and let the potatoes cool slightly. You want them to still be warm when you serve them.

Cut a slit down the top of each potato and squish so some of the flesh comes out of the slit. Arrange on plates and top each with a scoop of ice cream, a spoonful or two of honey, the cereal, and a pinch each of cinnamon and salt.

For Aug 16, 2019 – Bacon Cheddar Dip

From “Kids Can Cook – Bacon Artist”

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, when cool, crumbled

2 green onions, washed, root ends trimmed off, finely chopped

1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

2 c sour cream

1 t dried parsley

3/4 t ground black pepper

1 t salt

1.2 t garlic powder

1/4 t onion powder

For serving: crackers, chips, veggies

Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.


For July 26, 2019 – Glazed Irish scones

Adapted from AllRecipes {more detail follows in 08.02.19 Salon}

2 c a/p flour

1/2 c brown sugar

1 T baking powder

1/2  salt

1/4 c butter, chilled and diced

1 c dates

1 c heavy whipping cream

1/2 c chopped pecans

1 egg

Glaze – store-bought whipped buttermilk frosting thinned to drizzle consistency with cream

Pour heavy cream over dates and set aside. Heat oven to 375. Treat baking sheet{s} with baking spray or non-stick spray.

Whisk together dry ingredients, then cut in butter to create coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts. Remove dates from cream with a slotted spoon and to mixture.

Beat remaining cream with egg and slowly add to flour mixture, blending well after each addition. Knead 4 or 5 times.

Divide dough in half and turn onto a floured work surface and shape each half into a 6″ circle. Cut into triangles with a sharp knife or circles with a biscuit cutter. Place on prepared sheet{s} and bake until golden brown, 14-16 min. Glaze if desired after cooling.


For July 5, 2019 – creamy, citrusy, herby sauce

From “Gramercy Tavern Cookbook”

1/2 c Greek yogurt

2 T water

1 t balsamic vinegar

1 t lime juice

1/4 t honey

1 t cilantro, finely chopped

1 t mint, finely chopped

1 t tarragon, finely chopped

s & p

Combine ingredients and stir until you have a smooth, spreadable sauce, thinning it with a bit more water if necessary.Season with salt and pepper, cover, and refrigerate.

For the flounder dish, the sauce is spread in the center of plates, topped with drained & dried marinated cucumbers, then the fish, then sliced cucumbers, chives and cilantro.


For June 21, 2019 – Chewie’s Bacon

From “Star Wars Cookbook BB-Ate”

Serves 4 {we’ll be the judge of that}

8 bacon slices

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

Heat oven to 400. Place a wire rack on a foil lined baking sheet and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Distribute the sugar on a plate and press both sides of each bacon slice into it. Lay the bacon slices on the rack and twist each end several times {I didn’t do this, see Notes}. Bake until crisp and glazed, 15-18 min. Let cook for 5 min.

Notes: since I was cooking bacon in a pan for another purpose {German potato salad!}, I took some of the cooked slices, blotted them, and pressed brown sugar onto one side, sugar-side up onto a pan lined with sprayed foil and broiled on a lower shelf in the toaster oven – if you do this, stay right at the oven and take the bacon back out as soon as the sugar has begun to melt, which can happen very quickly . . . also, since this would be for “big kids” I also sprinkled on some cayenne . . . I’d like to add that however you originally create the sugared bacon, also be careful when you reheat it, whether in an oven, toaster oven, or microwave {oh, no leftovers? never mind}.


For May 24-30, 2019 – Chicken Parmesan Dip

A Tasting Panel Selection

2 T olive oil, divided

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 t each kosher salt, black pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic salt

2 c marinara, divided

1 pkg mixed shredded Italian cheese

1/2 pkg mozzarella

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Fresh or dried parsley

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1 T olive oil in an 8″x 8″ pan.

Stir together chicken, cream cheese, seasonings, 1 1/2 cups marinara and the Italian cheese until combined. Turn into the prepared pan.

Spread remaining marinara over the mixture, top with the mozzarella and Parmesan, then drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake until cheese is melted, about 15 min. Sprinkle with parsley.


For March 1-14, 2019 – Spaghetti with Fresh Chiles

From Clifford A Wright’s “Hot & Spicy”

Salt, as needed

12  oz spaghetti

1/4 c virgin olive oil

Seeded and finely chopped – 2 fresh green jalapenos, 2 fresh green serranos, 4 fresh red finger-type chiles

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2T unsalted butter

1 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese {about 3 oz}

Bring 5 qts water to a rolling boil over high heat, salt abundantly, then add the pasta. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally to the pasta doesn’t stick, until al dente. Drain without rinsing.

Meanwhile in a skillet, heat the olive oil with the chiles and garlic over medium high heat and cook until it has been sizzling for 2 min. Turn the heat off and add the pasta, tossing well. Add the butter and cheese and toss until they melt. Serve hot.

Notes: if you like heat but maybe not this much, can certainly substitute some bell pepper . . . also, you’ll note from the photo that I used penne pasta and that worked out just fine.


For 02.22.19 – Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

From David Venable’s “Comfort Food Shortcuts”





















For 01.11.19 – Charlaine’s Very Unsophisticated Supper Dip

From Charlaine Harris in “The Mystery Writers Cookbook”


















For 12.07.18 – Chicken Tortilla Soup

From “Pull Up a Chair” by Tiffani Thiessen

Serves 4

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 c finely chopped scallions

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 c chicken broth

2 Roma {plum} tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/2 t ground cumin

1/2 t ground coriander

1/2 t chili powder

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts {about 2 med breasts}

3 T fresh lime juice {from about 2 limes}

2 T coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

For serving: sliced avocado, tortilla chips, cotija cheese

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and jalapenos and cook, stirring, until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until slightly fragrant, 1 minute.

Stir in the broth, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts, raise the heat to med-hi, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to med. Cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly.

When cool enough to hande, shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Add the lime juice and cilantro. Serve with toppings listed and other others of your choice.

Notes – her recipe calls for homemade tortilla chips and her cookbook includes the prep . . . I also like fresh cilantro as a topper.


For 11.23.18 – Ladies of the Night Pasta

From “As You Like It/Recipes” from the Guthrie

Serves 6-8 “customers”

1 lb rotini pasta, cooked according to directons

2 T olive oil

1 lb hot Italian sausage, cut into 1” pieces

1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1’ pieces

8 oz sliced mushrooms

¼ c basil pesto sauce

10 oz can low salt chicken broth

½ c good Parmesan

Saute sausage and chicken in olive oil until chicken is no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon. Saute mushrooms in drippings.

Mix all ingredients together. Place in a large baking dish and top with Parmesan. Bake covered at 325 for 35-40 min.

Notes: given that this is seemingly intended as a quick dish, I think we can assume the mushrooms are canned, the sauce is jarred, and the broth is either ready to use or made from bouillon powder . . . also I used chicken sausage so sliced rather than crumbled, the whole 6 oz jar of pesto, and actually fresh mushrooms – did not use a full pound of pasta, left it juicy and served it in bowls topped with parm/romano, parsley and red pepper flakes.


For 11.09.18 – Chocolate Topped Peanut Butter Bars

From “What Can I Bring?” by Elizabeth Heiskell

1 lb pkg powdered sugar

8 oz {1 c} salted butter, softened

1 c creamy peanut butter

1 ½ c crushed vanilla wafers {about 30 cookies}

½ c heavy cream

12 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips

Beat the powdered sugar, butter, and peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed. Add the crushed vanilla wafers, and beat until well blended, scraping down the sides as needed {the mixture will be stiff}.

Press the mixture into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish. Chill 30 min.

Place the cream in a med saucepan over med heat, and cook, stirring often, until warm, about 5 min. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate chips, and stir until melted.

Pour the chocolate over the peanut butter mixture, and spread to cover evenly. Chill until firm, about 30 min. Cut into bars.

Notes: I actually used my hand mixer which worked just fine, although the note about the mixture being stiff is totally accurate . . . instead of the vanilla wafers I used ready-made graham cracker crumbs . . . I didn’t really like the way the chocolate looked so spread over that a thin layer of ready-made chocolate frosting – next time would just use the latter in a thicker layer . . . the reason this serves even more than you’d expect from a large pan is that as rich as it is you can cut the bars quite small, mine about 1” x 2” . . . also see the Tip below.


For 10.19.18 – Sweet Potato Casserole

From “Cooking With Friends” by Nick Stellino

3 med-large sweet potatoes or yams, baked, peeled and cut into large pieces

8 oz cream cheese, softened

¼ t salt

¼ t black pepper

½ c honey

½ c Parmesan

Good pinch of dried thyme

Preheat oven to 375. Treat a large pan or casserole dish with baking spray.

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and blend with a mixer {hand or stand} until uniform in color. Spoon into prepared pan or dish and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes.


For 09.21.18 – Chocolate Twinkie Cake

From “What Can I Bring?” by Elizabeth Heiskell

12 oz pkg semi-sweet choc chips

1 1/2 T unsalted butter +

3 large egg yolks

1 1/2 c heavy cream

2 1/2 T powdered sugar

1 t vanilla extract

15 Twinkies

1/2 c toasted pecans

Sweetened whipped cream {optional}

Microwave chips and butter in a mw-safe bowl on High, stirring every 20 sec until melted, about 90 sec. Gradually whisk in the egg yolks.

Beat the cream, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on med speed, increasing to high speed when the mixture starts to thicken. until soft peaks form, about 1 min. Gradually add the chocolate mixture, beating on med-hi speed until completely blended and smooth, about 3-4 min.

Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish with butter. Cut the Twinkies in half horizontally and line the bottom of the dish with half of them and cover with half of the choc mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with pecans.

Cover and chill until set, about 2 hours. Top serving pieces with sweetened whipped cream if desired.

Note: If this seems like too many Twinkies for the pan, may not need them all. The recipe does call for 15, but then parenthetically says 1.35 oz, which I’m guessing should be 13.5 oz, but that’s the weight for a 10-oz package. Fortunately this is not a prep where you’re mixing a cake from scratch so a few more or less certainly won’t hurt the final result.