Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pomegranate-Champagne Punch

There is one last hurrah before we ring in the New Year.  If you are still entertaining guests and are looking for a crowd pleasing punch that is both festive and has a grown-up style, then this is your crowd pleaser.  This is not a sweet punch and those that are looking for the ginger ale variety will be disappointed.  We served this punch at our recent holiday party with rave reviews.

Pomegranate-Champagne Punch
Serves 12
Recipe from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 750-ml bottles chilled brut Champagne
1-1/2 cups white rum
1-1/4 cups pomegranate juice
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
Pomegranate seeds
Fresh mint leaves

1 ice block

Bring 1/2 cup water and sugar to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Cool completely.

Combine Champagne, rum, and pomegranate juice in punch bowl.  Add enough syrup to sweeten to taste.  Mix in lemon slices, pomegranate seeds, and mint leaves.  Add ice block to bowl.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Paula Kiger at

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

If you are looking for one last item for your baking list this holiday, or need to add one to your list of favorites then stop right here!  You don't need to go any further!  You will love these dessert bars forever. 

These peanut butter and jelly dessert bars are sinfully delicious. Did I mention that they are easy to prepare too?  Easy is important to me and I assume it is a positive thing for you too.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Makes 24 bars
Recipe from Ina Garten

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-1/2 cups raspberry jam or other jam
2/3 cups salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x13x2-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light yellow, about 2 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, eggs and peanut butter and mix until well combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture.  Mix just until combined.

Spread two-thirds of the dough in the prepared pan, using a knife to spread it evenly.  Spread the jam evenly over the dough.  Drop small globs of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.  Don't worry if all the jam isn't covered; the dough will spread when it bakes.  Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool and cut into small squares.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Becky Beatty

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls for Sunday Supper

This is a dish that evokes childhood memories for me.  A Jewish peasant food that tastes so good on a cold day.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Serves 6
Recipe from Ina Garten

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2-(28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup raisins
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large head Savoy or green cabbage, including outer leaves

For the Filling:
2-1/2 pounds ground chuck
3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onions, and cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Remove the entire core of the cabbage with a paring knife.  Immerse the head of the cabbage in the boiling water for a few minutes, peeling off each leaf with tongs as soon as it is flexible.  Set the leaves aside.  Depending on the size of each leaf, you will need at least 14 leaves.

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, eggs onion, bread crumbs, rice, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add 1 cup of the sauce to the meat mixture and mix lightly with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To assemble, place 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of a large Dutch oven.  Remove the hard triangular rib from the base of each cabbage leaf with a small paring knife.  Place 1/3-1/2 cup of filling in an oval shape near the rib edge of each leaf and roll up toward the outer edge, tucking the sides in as you roll.  Place half the cabbage rolls, seam sides down, over the sauce as you roll.  Add more sauce and more cabbage rolls alternatively until you've placed all the cabbage rolls in the pot. Pour the remaining sauce over the cabbage rolls.  Cover the dish tightly with the lid and bake for 1 hour, or until the meat is cooked and the rice is tender.

Serve hot.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snickerdoodles for the Holidays!

Just a reminder,  Snickerdoodles should be on your holiday baking list.  A soft sugar cookie with a cinnamon topping that is perfect for any season. These cookies remain an American classic, easy to prepare, and are simply delicious.

Makes 24

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. or (205 degrees C)

2.  Combine 1-1/2 cups white sugar, butter or margarine, vanilla and eggs.  Mix well.

3.  Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Blend well.  Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.  Roll dough in sugar/cinnamon mixture and place 2-inches apart on an ungreased baking sheets.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookie is set.   Immediately remove from cookie sheets and cool.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Megan Carroll at

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shrimp and Chorizo Stew

Here is a delicious, easy, minimal fuss one pot meal that can be enjoyed during this busy, and sometimes frantic holiday season.

Shrimp and Chorizo Stew
Serves 4
Recipe from Food Network

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 ounces Spanish chorizo, casings removed, sliced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (hot or sweet)
Kosher salt
1 cup canned whole plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
plus, 1/2 cup juice from the can
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.  Heat the olive oil in a small Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Add the chorizo, paprika and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the oil turns deep red, about 2 minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes (reserve the juice), the bay leaves, thyme and oregano and cook for 1 more minute.

2.  Add the potatoes, 2 cups water, the tomato juice and 1 teaspoon salt.  bring to boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.  Add the kale and cook until the potatoes and kale are tender, about 10 more minutes.  Stir in the shrimp and simmer until just until they curl and turn pink, about 3 minutes.  Discard the bay leaves.  Ladle the stew into bowls.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

I have been perusing my new Dorie Greenspan cookbook around my french table (no capitol letters in her title) and I came across this salad recipe that reminded me of a similar salad that I enjoyed in France a couple of years ago.  The salad arrived on a large plate layered with a fresh spring lettuce greens, drizzled with a vinaigrette, and adorning my lettuce was three perfectly cooked sunny-side up eggs, with a side of fried potatoes. This was simply the best entree salad that I had ever enjoyed.  You can check out my Dinner in Paris post that highlighted this salad at

As soon as I saw this salad recipe, same concept, with a different twist, there was no hesitation, this salad was being prepared for dinner.  There is only one way to make this salad, and that is with fresh ingredients.  If you have access to fresh eggs, even better.

 I am inexperienced with preparing soft boiled eggs, and reading instructions such as "saying a little don't-let-my-egg break prayer" or "Allow the eggs to boil for exactly 6 minutes" or my favorite "very, very carefully shell the eggs.  It's a fussy job." stresses me.  Nevertheless, after I gently peeled those shells and saw the golden glory, I appreciated the stress.

The recipe instructions appear complicated but, really it isn't. It's just Dorie's way of assuming you know nothing, and trying to give you too much information with her charming up close and personal style.   

Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad
Makes 4 servings
Recipe from around my french table

For the Vinaigrette
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil or walnut oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all the ingredients in a small jar, cover, and shake to blend; or use a small bowl and a whisk.  If you've used the mustard, the dressing will be fairly well blended; if not, it will blend, then separate-either way, it's fine.  Set aside, and shake (or whisk) again before using.  (You can make the vinaigrette up to a week in advance and keep it in the fridge.)  

For the Salad:
4 cold extremely fresh large eggs
20 asparagus spears, preferably thick, trimmed and peeled
6 strips bacon
3 handfuls mesclun or other mixed salad greens, rinsed and dried
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts

Bring a medium saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil.  One by one, put the cold eggs on a spoon and slowly and gently lower them into the water (saying a little don't-let-my-egg-break prayer on the way down).  Allow the eggs to boil for exactly 6 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.  Lift the eggs into a strainer, and run them under cold water to cool them quickly.  Fill the pan with cold water and leave the eggs in the water until needed.

Bring a large skillet of salted water to a boil.  Slip the asparagus into the pan and cook for 4 minutes, or until you can pierce the spears with the tip of a paring knife.  The asparagus should be cooked through but not at all mushy.  Carefully transfer the spears to a plate lined with a double thickness of paper towels and pat them dry.

Pour out the salted water, rinse the skillet to cool it, dry it, and lay the strips of bacon in the pan.  Cook over medium-high heat, turning as needed, until the bacon is golden and crisp on both sides.  remove the strips and put them between a double thickness of paper towels; when the bacon is cool, cut into narrow strips or chop it into bits.  Leave 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet-you will use it for the eggs.

When you are ready to serve, very, very, carefully shell the eggs.  It's a fussy job, because the eggs are so soft, and you might not get the shells off cleanly, but unless you break into the yolks, it will be fine.  Rinse the eggs to remove any bits of shell and pat them dry.  Warm the bacon fat over medium heat.

While the bacon fat is heating, assemble the salad.  You can put it together on a platter or arrange it on individual plates.  Either way, season the mesclun with salt and pepper, then toss it with about three-quarters of the vinaigrette, and arrange in the center of the platter or your plates.  Toss the asparagus with the remaining vinaigrette ( I do this with my fingers) and lay the spears over the greens.

Now return to the skillet.  When the fat is warm, gingerly slip the eggs into the skillet and roll them around in the fat for a minute or two, just to coat them with fat, heat them slightly, and color them a little.

Lift the eggs out of the skillet and place them on top of the asparagus.  Scatter the bacon and toasted nuts over the salad and serve immediately.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Supper- Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

When cold happens, soup happens.  Today is Sunday and for us, that means it is Sunday Supper, a tradition that is a mainstay in our family.  A way of gathering friends and family together, enjoying a  meal, served up family style.  If the weather permits, we will bring the tables and chairs from inside, turn the music up, and do what we do best, eat!

One of the soups that will be enjoyed is a creamy stick to your ribs, turkey and wild rice soup.  A perfect choice when you have leftover Thanksgiving turkey, and the air is cool and crisp.  This soup is simple to prepare, tastes wonderful, is kid-friendly and it can be made in a large batch stored in the freezer, and enjoyed later.  Can you think of a reason not to make it?

Creamy Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
Serves 10
Recipe from the Pioneer Woman

3 cups celery, chopped
1 whole large onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups small portabella mushrooms, sliced
3 whole garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup flour
12 ounces, uncooked wild rice
6 cups chicken or turkey stock
3 cups cooked or diced chicken or turkey
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a 8-quart stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add celery, onion and carrots and saute for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent, stirring in the mushrooms slices at 5 minutes into the cooking time.  Add garlic and stir into the other vegetables.  Stir in white wine.  Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add wild rice and stock.  Cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the wild rice hulls open.

When rice is tender, remove cover and stir in the turkey or chicken meat.  Continue cooking for 5 minutes to heat the meat pieces throughly.  Stir in cream, season to taste and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.  Serve immediately or store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Autumn Orchard- A Toast to the Season

It's Thursday.  I want to make sure that you are prepared for the weekend with something that is going to warm you from head to toe.  What is really special about this cocktail is that it can be paired with foods such as hearty meats and cheeses.

This cocktail is a mixture of Calvados, Cognac, pear liqueur, Cointreau, with a few dashes of aromatic bitters, and fresh lime juice.  It is a wonderful companion to the cool autumn season.

 The Autumn Orchard
Makes 2
Recipe from Ted Kilgore, head bartender at Taste by Niche in St. Louis

1/4 cup Cognac (such as Camus VS)
1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy)
2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
2 tablespoons pear liqueur (such as Rothman and Winter or Mathilde)
4-1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
2 lime slices

Mix first 6 ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  Add ice.  Cover and shake vigorously 20 times.  Strain between 2 coupe glasses.  Float lime slices on top and serve.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Sharon Rudd @

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream

Thanksgiving has passed. The holiday was filled with wonderful food and plenty of over indulgence. We are exhausted.

Over the months, I have been reading many of your blogs that highlight Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, around my french table. I am now a proud owner of her cookbook, and this is the first recipe that was prepared. A beautiful, silky smooth cauliflower soup that is easy to prepare, and hits the spot just right on a cold day, following a huge eating festival.

We generously peppered and drizzled the soup with a bit of good extra-virgin olive oil just before serving.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Sans Cream
Serves 8
Recipe from around my french table
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Vidalia, Spanish, or large yellow onions (about 3/4 pound), coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, split, germ removed, and thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, broken into florets (discard the tough core)
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Put the olive oil and butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot and warm over low heat.  When the butter is melted, add the onions, garlic, celery, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of white pepper.  Stir until all the ingredients glisten with oil and butter, then cover the pot and cook slowly, stirring often, for 20 minutes.

Toss the cauliflower into he pot and pour in the broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so that the broth simmers gently, and cook, uncovered, for another twenty-minutes, or until the cauliflower is very soft.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor; or use an immersion blender.  This soup is best when it is very smooth, so if you think it needs it, push it through the strainer.  (If you've used a standard blender, this shouldn't be necessary.)  Taste for salt and pepper; I like to pepper teh soup generously.

Serve plain or garnished with the topping of your choice.

Optional toppings: Extra-virgin olive oil, walnut oil, grated cheese, crushed toasted walnuts, creme fraiche or sour cream, caviar or shaved truffles.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

No post today.  I am spending time with the family.  If you celebrate Thanksgiving my best wishes for a wonderful holiday to you and your family.

I will be back on Sunday!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn at

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Roasted Chili-Citrus Chicken Thighs with Mixed Olives and Potatoes

The passion for food is a collaborative effort, and it is best when it is shared.  I was honored when Andy from that Jew Can Cook, asked me to be a guest blogger.  I am a big fan of his blog and really enjoy his approach to food, which is spontaneous and fun.  He also has a knack for food photography.  He is going to work hard to ensure that your experience at his table is memorable.   His blog reflects that passion and it's contagious.  If you have not discovered his blog, please hop over and say hello.  You will not be disappointed!

I selected this recipe for my guest blog post because it is a dish that brings people together.  The dish is a blend of many food cultures, but it becomes a meal that represents the many food cultures of Americans.

I hope that you will enjoy this dish with friends and family.

Roasted Chili-Citrus Thighs with Mixed Olives and Potatoes
Serves 4

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch wide wedges
8 large skinless chicken thighs with bones
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup low salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
50 olives (preferably mixed colors and sizes)

Sprinkle chicken generously with salt; drizzle with 1 tablespoon lime juice and set aside.  Whisk 1-tablespoon lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, both paprikas, grated orange peel, ground cumin, dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small bowl.  Rub chili mixture all over chicken.  Arrange potato wedges on baking sheet, nesting around chicken.  Drizzle olive oil all over chicken and potatoes.  Bake chicken and potatoes 20 minutes.  Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F.  Turn chicken and potato wedges; spoon juices over meat and potatoes.  Bake 10 minutes longer.  Add chicken broth, one tablespoon chopped cilantro, and chopped parsley, stirring to scrape up any chili bits at bottom of baking sheet.  Turn chicken over.  Bake until chicken is cooked through and beginning to brown in spots, about 10 minutes longer.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Luscious Lemon Cake

It's my birthday! And this was my birthday cake! It is tradition in our family that you can select any meal that you would like to eat. Included in that deal, is the dessert that you want to enjoy. I have an advantage, my husband can bake.  Unfortunately, for him he does not have the same advantage, because I don't bake so well. 

A velvety rich lemon cake with a delicious lemon frosting.  This cake seals my husband's reputation as a  fabulous baker.  

Luscious Lemon Cake
Serves 12
Recipe from Southern Living

8 egg yolks
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Beat egg yolks at high speed with an electric mixer 4 minutes or until thick and pale.

2.  Beat butter at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add beaten egg yolks, beating well.

3.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.  Stir in 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.

4.  bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.  Remove from pans to wore racks, and let cool for 1 hour or until completely cool.

5.  Spread Luscious Lemon Frosting between layers of cake.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Note: You can frost the entire cake for a more elegant presentation.

Luscious Lemon Frosting Recipe:

1 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (32-ounce) package powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tablespoons half-and-half (optional)

1.  Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; stir in lemon zest and juice.  (Mixture will appear curdled).  Gradually add sugar; beat at high speed 4 minutes or spreading consistency.  Gradually beat in up to 2 tablespoons half-and-half, if necessary, for desired consistency.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Farm Chick at It's a Small Town Life

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome to Sunday Supper

Can you tell the weather is stunning?  I almost cannot contain myself.  The days are warm and the evenings are cool.  Wow!

I have been getting some ribbing from my northern friends who cannot fathom the idea that anyone in Florida would ever need a fire place.  Worse, to have one built into your home.  I am guilty on both counts.  I live in the northwest part of Florida known as the Panhandle.  In North Florida we do not have a tropical climate which secures 85 degrees in the summer with a breeze.  Ours is more like 100 degrees, and you cut the air with a knife, the humidity is so thick, the air is stagnant.  However, come Autumn our temps are mild.  Days are often warm and nights are cool.  Some mornings have already been down right chilly.  We have woken up to the 30's and this my friends is when I turn on the gas fireplace ( I can hear the chuckles already about the gas fireplace).

No recipes today, just a few photographs from our weekly supper gathering.

Feels like Spring.  If I did not tell you that the outside air was cool, you would not believe me. 

Appears, that I am confused because there is still fresh zucchini that is available at the farmer's market. As I often say, the summer squash that is the gift that keeps on giving.

Wine, salad and pasta-It does not get any better

Did I mention the pasta?  No heavy sauce just yet, that will be arriving soon.


If you would like to host your Sunday gathering here on Tomatoes on the Vine, send me a message.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Clementine Negroni Cocktail

If you are looking for a cocktail that takes it to the next level, and is bursting with autumn colors.  I suggest you turn the music up, find your favorite person, shake a couple of these cocktails and enjoy the evening. 

Clementine Negroni Cocktail
Makes 2
Recipe from Bon Appetit

3 clementines, peeled
3 dashes of orange bitters
1/4 cup Hendricks's Gin (A smooth Scottish cucumber infused gin-worth seeking out) or other good quality gin
1/4 cup Campari
3 tablespoons sweet vermouth
Ice cubes
2 clementines, sliced for garnish

Place 3 whole peeled clementines and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the clementines are broken down.  Add gin, Campari, and vermouth.  Fill shaker 3/4 full with ice.  Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Strain into two martini glasses, dividing equally.  Garnish each with a clementine slice.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Sharon Rudd at

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Enchiladas De Pollo (Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas)

Looking for a reason to party? Southern style? This is a twist on a classic latin dish.

This baked enchilada dish has graced my table many times over the years. It's a perfect crowd pleasing dish.  The filling can be prepared in advance, and the enchiladas can be put together a couple of hours before baking. It's easy, delicious and always gets rave reviews.

Enchiladas De Pollo (Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas)
Makes 20-24 enchiladas
Recipe from Paula Deen

4 large chicken breasts, roasted or boiled, skin and bones removed, meat shredded
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
One 10.75-ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
Two 4-ounce cans diced green chilies, with juice
6 green onions, chopped, including green tops
20-24 four tortillas (7-inch diameter)
Two 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Monterey Jack cheese
4 cups (1 pound) grated sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for garnish
Shredded lettuce, for garnish
Diced tomatoes, for garnish
Salsa, store-bought or homemade, for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 250 Degrees F.  Spray two 13 by 9-inch casserole dishes with vegetable oil cooking spray.

2.  Combine the chicken, cream cheese, soup, chilies, and green onions.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of this mixture onto each tortilla and roll up.

3.  Pour a very small amount of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of each casserole dish and tilt the dish so that the sauce covers the bottom.  Place the enchiladas side by side on top of the sauce.  When all of the enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the dishes, take the remaining enchilada sauce and pour it over the top of the enchiladas.  Combine the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses and sprinkle evenly over the casseroles.

4.  Cover the dishes with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.  To serve, cut between the enchiladas and serve from the dish.  Have bowls of sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and salsa, for garnish.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caramel-Applesauce Cobbler

It's apple season!  Here in the most southern part of the United States our climate is to warm to grow apples, and we miss out on days spent at the apple orchards, picking, walking and enjoying the ambience of an autumn day.  However, we do not miss out on the availability, and the tradition of enjoying apples this time of year. 

My sister in law, Kim is a wonderful baker.  On a recent family gathering she brought along this simply prepared apple cobbler.  I love fruit pies and cobblers, and this is as easy as it gets for an enjoyable fruit cobbler.

Serve it up with the warm pastry strips and a scoop of your favorite ice cream. 

Caramel-Applesauce Cobbler
Prepared by Kim Wilson
Recipe from Southern Living

1/2 cup butter or margarine
12 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-(15 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add apple, sugar and lemon juice; cook, stirring often 20-25 minutes or until apple is caramel-colored.  Spoon into a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

Unroll each pie crust, and cut into 1/2 inch strips.  Arrange strips into a lattice design over filling; fold edges under.  Place remaining strips on a baking sheet.

Bake remaining strips at 425 degrees F. for 8-10 minutes or golden.  Set aside to serve with cobbler.  Bake cobbler at 425 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden. Serve warm with pastry strips and your favorite ice cream.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Kristin Cohea

Sunday, October 31, 2010

An Autumn Sunday Supper

It's that time again. Time to move the furniture onto the back porch, turn the music up, friends and family join us with their dishes, we gather around the table laugh, nourish our bodies and souls, reconnect.  The food is rarely fancy, just a good meal served up family style.

This what our family does often, we eat. 

The weather is perfect-warm enough to keep the Thai peppers a fiery red

But, cool enough to add some color to landscape

Two of my boys getting ready to chow down

Thanks for joining us. See you next Sunday.

If you would like to share a friends and family gathering here on Tomatoes on the Vine send me an email at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Acorn Squash with Rosemary and Brown Sugar

I thought with the endless Summer squash, the gift that keeps on giving all season that we would be bored with squash in the Autumn.  As soon as I laid eyes on this recipe, I changed my mind.  What was I thinking?  Summer squash is no comparison to Fall squashes, different textures, different colors, different flavors.

This acorn squash was like eating creamy candy, yet it did not feel heavy or indulgent.

The squash looks stunning sauteing in the pan.  Look at those Autumn colors!

Acorn Squash with Rosemary and Brown Sugar
Serves 4
Recipe from Fine Cooking

1-2 pound acorn squash (unpeeled), halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a paring knife, score each wedge of squash lengthwise down the middle of the flesh.  heat the butter and oil in an 11 to 12-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium-high heat.  Arrange the squash in the pan in a single layer and cook, flipping occasionally, until deep golden-brown on all cut sides, about 10 minutes (note: if your pan is not large enough to brown all the squash at once, brown it in batches, and then return to the pan to simmer.

Carefully pour the wine into the pan, then quickly scatter the brown sugar, rosemary, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper over the squash.  Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the squash is almost tender, about 10 minutes more.

Uncover the pan and increase the heat to medium.  Flip the squash and cook until the liquid is thick and the squash is tender, about 5 minutes more.  Transfer the squash to platter, season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle any remaining liquid over the top, and serve.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Andy Wallack

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Peanut Butter and Toffee Candy Bark

Trick or Treat?  This is one time of year, where I am not an advocate for healthier food options.  I will not choose fruit instead of candy.  

Here is proof.  A fast and easy Halloween treat that goblins of all ages can't resist.

Halloween Peanut Butter And Toffee Candy Bark
Makes about 2 pounds
Recipe from Bon Appetit

1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
3- 2.1 ounce Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular 1-inch pieces
3- 1.4 ounce Skor or Heath toffee candy bars, cut into irregular 3/4-inch pieces
8- 0.55 ounce peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges
1/4-cup honey-roasted peanuts
3 ounces high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped 
Reese's pieces and/or yellow and orange peanut M&M's

Line baking sheet with foil.  Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch.  Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4-inch thickness (about 12x10-inch rectangle).  Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.

Put white chocolate in heavy small saucepan.  Stir constantly over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm (not hot) to touch.  Remove from heat.  Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zig-zag lines.  Scatter Reese's Pieces or M&M's over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate.

Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes.  Slide foil with candy onto work surface: peel off foil.  Cut bark into irregular pieces.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Camarones Con Salsa de Anis (Shrimp with Anise Sauce)

There are days when it does not seem there is enough hours in the day to make it all happen.  This is an opportunity to reach out to one of my favorite bloggers and ask for help.  Erica graciously provided one of her authentic Colombian recipes to share with you.

I have been following My Colombian Recipes loyally since I started blogging. Erica was born and raised in Colombia and now lives in the U.S..  Erica strives through her blog to bring awareness and appreciation for Colombian culture and food traditions. You may have already discovered her blog. If not, please take the time to stop by and say hello to her. You will not be disappointed.

Without further ado-Welcome back Erica!

This simple Shrimp with Anise Sauce is a traditional Colombian dish from the Department of Sucre, where plain white rice is always served to soak up the aromatic anise sauce.

This dish is so simple that once you make it, it's pretty easy to remember.

Buen provecho!

Camarones Con Salsa de Anis (Shrimp with Anise Sauce)
Serves 2
Recipe from My Colombian Recipes

10-12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

1.  In a large pot, bring water to a boil.  Turn off heat, add the shrimp and cover.  Leave the shrimp in the hot water for 1 minute, drain and set aside.

2.  In a large pot saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.  Add the onions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the flour and stir well.

3.  Add the wine to the saucepan, bring to a boil ad then reduce the heat to medium low.  Add the heavy cream, shrimp, anise seeds, anise extract and cook in sauce for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the chopped parsley.  Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Scott Edmonds

Sunday, October 17, 2010

La Diva's Heartthrob

I know it's Sunday, the weather is crisp and cool.  A hearty dish is probably the best option for today's post but, the past week has been hectic. I am going to skip cooking today, and join friends outside for a cocktail.  Share some good laughs, enjoy some nibbles and call it a day.

This is La Diva's spin on a classic whiskey sour.  This is her sexy drink that she calls "Heartthrob".  You can check out her sassy and fun blog at .  If you live in the South Florida area, don't forget to register for her cooking and cocktails classes.

Honestly, I have not been a fan of bourbons and whiskeys. No reason, probably a lack of experience and appreciation.  This cocktail is proof that I have a lot to learn. This drink is both a sweet and sour. Make no mistake, this drink is smooth and it promises to deliver a punch if you are not careful.

La Diva's Heartthrob

2 ounces cherry whiskey
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon raw egg white (use organic free range)
1 scoop ice

Put all ingredients in a shaker and vigorously shake until frothy.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cauliflower, White Bean and Feta Salad

The salad colors were pale, but the crunchy texture of fresh cauliflower, feta, white beans, rosemary and lemon, created a flavor combination that tied up your taste buds, and made this a memorable eating experience.

This recipe was prepared by our friend Karen who served up this fabulous salad which was perfect for our Black and White themed Cooking Club evening with friends.

Cauliflower, White Bean and Feta Salad
6 Servings
Recipe from Bon Appetit and Prepared by Karen Munoz

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
1 (15-ounce) can white beans (such as Great Northern or navy beans), drained
2 large heads of Belgian endive, trimmed, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

Combine oil and rosemary in small saucepan.  Stir over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Cool.

Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in small bowl.

Combine cauliflower, beans endive, chives, parsley,and rosemary oil in medium bowl; toss.  Mix in cheese.  Add lemon juice mixture and toss to coat.  Season salad with salt and pepper.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, October 10, 2010

French Lentil Rice Soup

Just as soon as I throw the windows open and get prepared to put on warmer clothes, the warm air comes rushing back. No matter, the cool air will return, and this is what we will be eating.

I don't use my slow cooker hardly enough.  When I do, I am reminded that it is a time saver.  More importantly, my slow cooker can produce healthy and flavorful meals that offer me a hassle-free dinner.

French Lentil Rice Soup
Serves 4

6 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely diced
3 tablespoons uncooked white rice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence or dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream or sour cream, divided (optional)
1/4 cup chopped parsley, divided (optional)

Stir together broth, lentils, carrots, onion, celery, rice, garlic, herbs de provence, salt and pepper in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

Remove 1-1/2 cups soup and puree in a food processor or blender until almost smooth.  Stir pureed soup back into the slow cooker.

Divide soup evenly among 4 serving bowls, garnishing each with 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, if desired.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tallahassee Cooking Club, October 2010

This month's Cooking Club theme was Black and White.  The beauty of using this theme is that there are so many other eye popping colors that contrast.

The appetizer consisted of three selections; skewered goat cheese filled kalamata olives,  a spicy black bean shooter and deep purple, almost black baby potato stuffed with cream fraiche and topped with caviar.

The salad was a flavorful mixture of cauliflower, white beans and feta cheese
(note: This salad will be a future blog post)

Our entree was an elegant Pork Tenderloin with a Blackberry Gastrique and Mango Salsa.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Gastrique and Mango Salsa
Serves 10-12
Recipe prepared by Shirley Mcfadden



2 ripe mangoes, medium dice
3 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped

Mix ingredients together and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

Blackberry Gastrique

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
8-ounces high quality blackberry seedless preserves or jelly
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen blackberries

Heat vinegar and jelly together.  Reduce to a sauce consistency. Before serving add frozen berries and heat.

Pork Tenderloin

3-pork tenderloins (1-lb. each)

Pork Marinade
1/8 cup kosher salt
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 cups ice cubes

Add ingredients together and marinate the pork tenderloin for 20 minutes.

Heat grill, remove tenderloins from marinade and pat dry.  Liberally grind black pepper on each tenderloin.  Cook on grill until desired doneness.  Remove from grill.  Tent the meat for 10 minutes.  Pour sauce on the pork and decoratively place fresh blackberries on the pork and garnish with mango salsa.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Krista Bjorn at

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melt

This classic patty melt gets a healthy makeover with lean ground sirloin, reduced fat provolone cheese and plenty of mushrooms.

The sandwich is quick and easy to prepare and makes a great weeknight menu idea.

Mushroom and Provolone Patty Melts
Makes 4 sandwiches
Recipe from Cooking light

1 pound ground sirloin
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package sliced cremini mushrooms (note: I used baby portabella)
1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark beer (note: use beef broth in place of the beer)
8 (1.1 ounce) slices rye bread
4 (3/4 ounce) slices reduced-fat provolone cheese

1.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Shape beef into 4 (4-inch) patties.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.

2.  Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, salt, pepper, and mushrooms; saute 3 minutes.  Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Stir in beer; cook 30 seconds or until thick.  Remove from heat, keep warm.

3.  When patties are done, remove from large skillet.  Wipe pan clean; heat over medium high heat.  Coat 1 side of each bread slice with cooking spray.  Place 4 bread slices, coated sides down, in pan.  Top each with 1 patty, 1 cheese slice, and one-fourth of mushroom mixture.  Top with remaining bread slices; coat with cooking spray.  Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned.