Eggplant Gratin

Eggplant Gratin            

2 medium eggplant, sliced 1/2″ thick

salt & pepper to taste

olive oil

3 cups tomato sauce (recipe below)

1 Tbs. minced thyme leaves

1T sp. minced Basil  

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup provolone cheese

1/4 cup asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 375.   Brush Eggplant slices lightly with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet or griddle pan over med-high heat and fry eggplant slices in batches until golden brown on both sides.  Set aside and put cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce to about 1 cup, then stir in half of the grated parmesan, all  of the provolone, Asiago, the garlic, and all of the chopped herbs. Use a small roasting pan (approx. 9in. Round makes a pretty presentation) lay the eggplant in a single layer, Cover with a thin layer of the tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan.  Make two more layers of eggplant and sauce, covering the top with tomato sauce. Pour over the cream and cheese mixture and sprinkle on a final layer of parmesan cheese.  Bake uncovered until browned and bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.  Allow it to rest for approx. 5 min after removing it from the oven. Serve. 

Tomato Sauce:

5-6 large tomatoes

Fresh Basil  (5 leaves, minced)

Fresh Oregano (2 sprigs minced)

4 cloves fresh garlic finely chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Quarter your tomatoes, mix with a little olive oil, sat and pepper and east in the oven on 375 for approx. 30-40 min, When finished roasting, blend the tomatoes until smooth. In a small sauce pan sauté the garlic with a little olive oil, add the herbs and tomato puree, allow to cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, until groovy. 

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Chicken Pot Pie.. No, the BEST Chicken Pot Pie!

What you need For The Best Pot Pie

3 whole Chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, (I prefer homemade)
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) real butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots
2 cups fresh peas
1 sprig minced Rosemary
2 tbs fresh thyme
1/2 cup of a good white wine
Fresh Biscuit dough (see below for recipe)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Rub with salt and pepper and part of the rosemary. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Dice the chicken into Large cubes.
-In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the garlic and onions over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.
-Add the Carrots, thyme and remaining rosemary then sauté for another 3-4 min. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes until thick.
-Add the chicken stock and wine to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. —Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, and peas,Mix well.
-Divide the filling equally among 4 ramekins. Place Biscuit dough on top of the filling in each ramekin, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper then place on a baking sheet and bake for approx. 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Biscuit Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fine salt
7 tbs cold real butter, sliced
3/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I like Parmesan and provolone but you can use anything)

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until combined. mix 2 tablespoons of the butter into the flour with your fingertips, until it is all absorbed. Work the remaining butter into the flour until it is in even pieces about the size of a pea. Gently stir the milk into the flour mixture. You will have a loose dough. Add the cheese, stir it in well, your ready to top your pies!
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With a cherry inside!

Individual Cherry Cobbler Pie’s! 

What you need: 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs raw sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 6 cups pitted cherries
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tbs bourbon 

What you do:

Preheat oven to 400°

Make topping. In a medium bowl stir together flour, 2 tbs raw sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbles.  Set aside.

Make filling. In a saucepan combine cherries, 1/2 cup of the raw sugar, the bourbon and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat until cherries release juices, stirring occasionally.  The mixture is ready when it thickens and is bubbly.  Keep it hot.

Assemble cobbler. whisk together egg and milk.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.  Pour cherry filling into a Mini Pie Pans and  Immediately drop topping with a spoon into mounds on top of filling.

Bake  for 20-25 minutes or until topping is golden brown.  Let cool in pans for about 1 hour before serving.

Food Editor for Floridian View Magazine, July Edition.

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Red Snapper w/ Tomato Lemon Sauce

My husband and I purchased some Fresh Red Snapper caught right off our beaches from a new fish market we found, I couldn’t make up my mind what to do with it, so literally threw this together. It was way more delish than I even anticipated! Mouth watering! Its really a simple application and recipe and it allows the fish to shine.

What you need:

  • 2 Large Red Snapper Filets (A little over a pound)
  • S&P To taste
  • Dried Thyme
  • Lemon
  • Diced Beef Steak Tomato
  • Small Diced Yellow Bell Pepper (I used Red, but next time would use yellow for color contrast)
  • 4-5 Cloves of fresh Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • Celery Tops

What to do:

  1. Coat the bottom of a Heavy Oven Safe Skillet or Pan with Olive Oil
  2. Turn the heat to Med. High to High
  3. Season both sides of the fish with Kosher Salt, Pepper, and Dried Thyme (Not too heavy on the thyme)
  4. Once the oil is hot put the fish in the pan and sear both sides (Approx. 1 min each side)
  5. Remove the fish from the pan carefully, and lower heat to med/low
  6. Add the Bell-pepper to the pan and sauté for about a minute
  7. Add the Garlic until it starts to brown
  8. Add the tomatoes, the butter and A little salt and pepper
  9. Stir until butter melts
  10. Add the Fish on top of your mixture, place celery tops on top of your fish
  11. Squeeze half of the lemon over the fish, cover and place in the oven on 350 degrees for approx. 15-20 min. (garnish with the other half of lemon sliced)

Theres so much more you can do with the recipe, more veggies you could add, like diced celery, diced carrots etc. This is a base for even more amazing things for your taste buds!

 Ready for the Oven!                                                     Finished! 

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One Pan Goodness

I always see everyone pinning and posting one “pot” meals, tonight I needed easy but good so I did a one pan meal. 

What you need:

  • 1.5-2 pound pork loin
  • Fresh Veggies (I used cabbage, corn on the cob, shallots and carrots)
  • 9-10 Cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3-4 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Approx. 1 tables spoon of fresh rosemary 

What to do:

ALL together, Chop the Garlic, Salt, Rosemary and Basil. then rub it all over the pork.

Put the veggies in a deep dish pan and sprinkle with some salt and pepper, add about 4 pats of butter, some more rosemary (not too much its strong!) and mixed it all up, then put the pork on top, sprinkle it with pepper, and put it in the oven on 375 for about an hour! So Easy, SO delish!

I think next time I will add about a 1/2 cup of white wine to the pan to help me create a bit of a pan sauce. 

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Strawberry Bourbon Brie with Toasted Almonds.

I had to make a few things the other night for a wine tasting fundraiser, one of the things I wanted to try was a Brie with my own sauce. So I experimented and hit a home run!!

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 cup good quality bourbon
  • 6-7  strawberries cut in half
  • 1/4 almonds toasted
  • 1/4 good honey
  • Brie Cheese

What you do:

  1. In a sauce pan add the bourbon and cook down for approx. 1 min. on medium heat (It should be bubbling)
  2. Add sugar and honey, stir in well and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes
  3. Add the strawberries, stir in gently and allow to cook for approx. 5-10 minutes.

After baking the brie on 400 for approx. 15 minutes, score the top, pour the sauce on and sprinkle on your toasted almonds.

Easy, Fast, and people will think you slaved for days! SO Good! Serve with apples, crackers, grapes and/or toasted bread!

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Lemon Ginger Pound Cake.

I’m not much of a baker.. ok, lets be honest.. Im not a baker at all! But this! THIS, is amazing, sometimes, I do ok just throwing stuff together! I didn’t even manage to get a picture it disappeared so fast!

Lemon Ginger Pound Cake: 

What you need: 

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (plus some for garnish)

6 large eggs

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or if you can get it, use the beans from 1 vanilla bean pod)

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (Plus 1tsp for fruit mixture)

1/2 quart of fresh strawberries quartered

1/2 quart of fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons of good quality honey

What You do: 

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a Bunt Pan (approx 2 qts)

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

3) Using paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric stand mixer at medium speed, until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low. In three batches beginning and ending with flour, add flour, alternately with milk and lemon juice, and beat just until combined.

4) Spoon batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in several placed comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

5) While cake cools, Mix your blueberries and strawberries in with 1 tsp of lemon juice and honey.

6) When cake is cool, Place on serving platter and top with fruit mixture when ready to serve. Add Lemon zest and/or grated candied ginger to the top and serve!

The Cellar.

My review for Floridian View Magazine Aug. 2012

The Cellar.

Growing up in this area I’ve known of the home my entire life, built in 1907 it was the home of our nations 29th president Warren G. Harding. Today it is the location of one of the most beautiful and delicious restaurants in the Daytona area, The Cellar. Owned by Sam and Lina Moggio it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

With a desire for something different and to seek out an eating experience in a more tranquil setting, we chose the Cellar.  Would it meet our expectations?

Currently, the upstairs dining area is being remodeled so we were led to a lovely, cozy dining area downstairs.  Our waiter, Gene, courteously advised us of the specials and wine choices but ultimately suggested what we considered the best choice to sample everything The Cellar had to offer: the tasting menu.

The tasting menu is a five-course selection of pure, fresh, amazing food.  You can order the menu with or without wine pairings.  We elected to choose our own and selected a Chianti and a “Merchant of Venice” which is a beautiful, crisp Prosecco with pomegranate syrup instead.  They were delish!

We made different selections from the Tasting Menu so that we could share a bit of everything. Starting with an Amuse’ of Tuna tartar, the tasting took us on a journey of culinary expertise and care that tickled our taste buds at every turn. The highlights of the evening for me were the Air-Dried Beef with arugula, peach vinaigrette and apple salad garnish, as well as the fettuccine, smoked duck & seasonal mushroom ragu.  The only misstep in our entire meal was that the potatoes in my main dish, which was a Paillard of snapper with fine chopped vegetables, potato galette and walnut oil, were a bit overdone for my liking.

One area of the Tasting Menu generated consensus with my dining partner and myself: Dessert!  We both insisted on ordering the Dark Chocolate Torte with creme anglaise and chocolate sauce. Served warm, the torte was delicate and rich every bite making us want another, it did not disappoint.

It’s clear from the flavors and presentation that Sam and Lina have a love for fine, fresh foods, and the flavors of Italy.   It shows in every dish, as well as the way Lina floats throughout the dining room greeting each guest with her beautiful smile and charming accent. I recommend you give this quaint old home a taste, you won’t be disappointed!

A Taste of Webster: Amuse-bouche; a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef’s selection alone

 

 

Beef Carpaccio.

The Perfect Beautiful Bite: An amuse-bouche is not only beautiful, but the beautiful flavors that take over your taste buds when eating one, should send you on a journey of culinary amazement. Here’s one you can try at home.

Beef Carpaccio Amuse Bouche with Radish and Cucumber Salad 

What you need: 

10 oz. best quality Beef Tenderloin

1 Cucumber finely chopped

2 Radish finely chopped

Fresh asiago cheese

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon raw sugar

pinch kosher salt

Pinch freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan until golden

1/4 tablespoon soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil

What you do: 

Wrap the tenderloin in plastic wrap or wax paper and place in the freezer for approx. 2 hours.

While your beef is in the freezer prepare your vinaigrette and salad.

Finely chop and mix together your radish and cucumber.

For your Vinaigrette: whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients until emulsified.

After 2 hours, unwrap the tenderloin and thinly slice the beef.  Place each slice on wax paper. Top with another piece of wax paper, and gently pound the meat with a meat mallet until it’s paper thin. Repeat until all of the meat is sliced and pounded.

When you are ready to plate your Amuse, mix your salad in with your vinaigrette tossing carefully. Plate Salad on spoon or in small dish, take one piece of beef and roll into a loose ball and place on top of the salad and add a ribbon (or grated) Asiago on top.

*NOTE: The salad flavors the beef if you do this as an Amuse, if you choose to plate pieces of beef, marinate it before freezing with the vinaigrette.

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