Monday, April 27, 2009

Broccoli and Tomato Casserole

I hate the word casserole. It implies some sort of mushy baked concoction usually containing one or more cans of condensed soup, some sort of bland meat, and absolutely no personality. But every once in a while you try something that surprises you. May I present to you my Mom's broccoli and tomato casserole. A summertime delight that you'll have to work a little bit for, but trust won't mind one bit once you taste it.


3 cups of broccoli florets
3 large tomatoes ( sliced)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1.5 cups whole milk
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1 teaspoon oregano
a light sprinkle of garlic salt

Start by melting butter in a saucepan and adding in the flour. Stir for about 30 seconds until all of the flour is incorporated. In a microwaveable bowl, heat the milk until warm. Add half the milk slowly to a second bowl containing 2 beaten eggs. You're actually tempering the eggs. Add the other half into the saucepan with the butter and the flour, and whisk thoroughly. Now slowly add in the egg mixture and whisk until thickened. Next add in half of your cheese and 3/4 of the oregano. Stir until combined, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over an oven safe pan containing a mixed layer of broccoli florets and thick slices of tomato. Top with the remaining cheese, and sprinkle with garlic salt and a small pinch of dried oregano. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until slightly brown on top.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chocolate Covered Easter Eggs

Well, it's a little late, but these were so cute I decided to blog them anyway! Put this one in your recipe box for next year, or mold them into another shape for your next themed party. WARNING: THIS WILL SATISFY A SERIOUS SWEET TOOTH!


16 ounces of confectioners sugar (one bag)
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon milk
10oz chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Decorative coating (optional)

red food coloring
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Grass (optional)

1 bag coconut
green food coloring
yellow food coloring
zip-lock bag

In a mixing bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter and milk until blended. Mixture will be crumbly, but you should be able to kneed it a bit into something that almost resembles a stiff cookie dough. Shape mixture into small egg shapes and freeze for about 1 hour. You can freeze these for longer, but you may need to let them thaw a bit before working with them. When you are ready to work with the eggs, put chocolate chips into a saucepan with vegetable oil and melt over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Insert a toothpick into each egg, and dip into the chocolate mixture. When the eggs are cooled and set, remove the toothpick.

To decorate, heat white chocolate chips, vegetable oil, and food coloring as done previously with the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Drizzle this "icing" over your finished eggs.

For extra flair, try this easy coconut grass for serving with the eggs!

Empty desired amount of coconut into a zip-lock baggie. Add in a combination of yellow and green food coloring, close the bag, and kneed with your hands until you have reached a color that is pleasing to you! You may need to use quite a bit of coloring to get a nice rich looking bed for the eggs. I hope your family enjoys!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Haha! She's back! I mean, I am back...not sure why I switched over into the third person. Over the past year, my husband and I subcontracted our own home, sold the one we were in, and moved into what is the nicest place I have ever had the pleasure of owning. It was one hell of a struggle making ends meet for awhile through the building process, but we're here. We're settled. And dammit, I am ready to cook!

First up, a shoot from the hip (use what's in the fridge) inspired, Smoked Salmon and Caramelized Onion Pizza. Shazaaam...and so delicious!


Enough pizza dough to make a 12'' thin-crust pie
1 tablespoon of cornmeal
1/2 cup cream cheese - room temperature
1/2-3/4 cup flaked smoked salmon
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onions
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon of diced chives
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt (optional)

Serves 2- 3

Start by rolling out your pizza dough as thin as you can get it, and placing it on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal. This keeps the dough from sticking and adds a nice texture to the crust. Then let it rest for about 30 minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Oh yeah, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Next, place your onions into a small frying pan on medium heat along with the butter and olive oil. Saute for about 3 minutes, and then reduce heat to medium low and add in the sugar. Cook for about another 10 minutes until the onions are very tender and beginning to caramelize. If they look like they might burn during this process, sometimes I add in a splash of water just to help cool the pan down and create a little bit of a sauce for the onions to tenderize in as they cook. Set aside.

After 30 minutes, and before adding any toppings, pop your dough into the oven for 7 minutes. This will give the dough a headstart on the rest of the ingredients and give you a nice crunchy crust. Pull the crust from the oven, up the temperature to 450, and prep the rest of the pizza as the oven heats up. Top with cream cheese, salmon, caramelized onions and parmesan cheese. Season the pizza with a bit of cracked pepper and a tiny bit of salt. Go light here, or skip this step all-together if your smoked salmon is really heavily seasoned. Drizzle with some good olive oil and bake for about 5-10 minutes more depending on how crunchy you like your crust. You're finished! Let the pizza cool for a moment before cutting, and dig in!