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Buttermilk Blue Cheese Biscuits with Walnuts and Apple Thyme Butter



Walnuts, apples, and blue cheese – it’s a great combo and these yummy little biscuits are as flakey as can be thanks to the secret ingredient!  I’m already picturing them as part of our Easter dinner. 

 I hate to admit that the biscuits I’ve made before turned out like little cement blocks and then if you did bite into one, it was like chewing talcum powder - hence no recipe until now re: biscuits.

 I think certain dishes and techniques are in your blood.  For instance, I can roast potatoes, but according to my kids, I can’t roast them like my BF Debbie, in London, can – must be a British thing.  I can make potato salad, but not like my BF Terri, can – must be a Southern thing and that’s why her recipe’s on this website. I had almost given up on the biscuit process putting it down to me not being a born and bred Southerner.  I won’t even bore you with my red velvet cake story.

With some things there seems to be that little je ne sais quoi which goes hand in hand with your geographic cooking DNA.  I hate to think about my original geographic cooking DNA pointing to bologna sandwiches and hot dogs.  But, having said all that, there are some amazing things now being done to alter DNA of all sorts...after all...look how far I’ve come. I can make biscuits now!


Makes 16 biscuits

For the biscuits:

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cups vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into cubes (the secret ingredient!)

1 ¼ cups blue cheese, crumbled

¾ cup walnut pieces

1 cup buttermilk, plus a little more for brushing


For the butter:

2 sweet apples, like Fuji or Braeburn, peeled, cored and diced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped

1 cup water

1 stick of butter, room temperature


First make the butter...

Sprinkle the apples with sugar and thyme.  Cook over medium low heat in a small skillet until the apples soften, collapse, and turn into a chunky sauce, about 20 minutes. 

Add water as necessary to the skillet so the apples don’t scorch and burn.  Smash down any stubborn pieces that refuse to sauce-ify.  Cool completely.  Blend the butter and apples together using an electric hand mixer or whisk.  Chill until ready to use. 


Now make the biscuits...

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl.  Work shortening into flour using a pastry blender or fingertips until you have course looking crumbs and the shortening is distributed throughout the flour mixture. 


Add walnuts and 1 cup of the blue cheese, again using a pastry blender or fingertips work dough until blended.  Make a well in the center and add buttermilk, stir using a spoon or spatula until a dough forms. 

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until combined.  The dough will not be completely smooth, like a pie crust but should hold together and be a little elastic.  Form into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick and use a pizza slice to cut into 16 squares (if you prefer round biscuits...have at it!). 

Place biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush with a little buttermilk, sprinkle with a little blue cheese and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature with apple butter. 


It’s All Delicious notes:  The dough can be made a few hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to bake.



Whole Wheat Bread...Who Knew?


I admit it...I’m a white bread, white rice, and white pasta kinda girl.  Whole grain versions no matter how much Omega 3 or fiber haven’t really done it for me in the past.  I tried and failed.  Once in a while I’d get on a whole grain kick then would look at that whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce on it and miss the color and taste of “proper” white flour pasta.   I know full well that brown rice and whole wheat this and that are better for one’s “system” but I still like the plain ole bad boy fiber-less, sugared up carbs.

Which brings me to this part of the story...I’ve been breaking out the bread machine a lot lately.  Making lovely loaves of delicious white bread for the weekends when the house is full.  It’s dead easy and so much tastier than those loaves packed on the store shelves that have expiration dates a month out (that can’t be good for you, whole wheat, high fiber or not!).  

With my magical bread machine (it still amazes me the way it works), all I do is dump the ingredients into the pan.  Press a few buttons and presto in 3 hours homemade delicious warm fresh white bread appears and the kitchen smells wonderful...well, that is until someone, in a rush – that would be me, picked up a bag of King Arthur whole wheat flour.

“Whole wheat flour?  Really?  I can’t believe I did that.”  I said to myself at first, and then I looked at the flour, looked at the bread machine (lovingly), and thought...“Hmm, I’ll give it a go.”  

So, I found a few recipes for whole wheat bread on the King Arthur website, tweaked a bit from one, added a bit from another and deleted a bit from the last one and came up with the recipe below.  I used the same exact scientific process  I always do...dump the ingredients into the pan, press a few buttons and presto in 4 hours a homemade healthier delicious warm loaf of fresh whole wheat bread appeared.  And then I fell in love with the heartier texture and the sweet nutty flavor – it made scrumptious toast the next morning. 

Now I’m not giving up my bad boy fiber-less pasta or white rice and I’m not going to get all healthy on everyone, but I am adding whole wheat bread to my repertoire.  Next on my “to do” list is...oatmeal honey bread.  I’m on a bread roll!


Makes 1 ½ lb. loaf

1 ½ cups luke warm water

2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces

2 tablespoons demerara or light brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons salt

3 ½ cups whole wheat flour

½ cup dry milk powder

2 teaspoons instant yeast

Set the bread machine for a 1 ½ lb whole wheat loaf with light crust.  Place all the ingredients in the loaf pan in the order above.  Make sure the yeast does not come into contact with the liquid.  Press start and let the machine do its thing!


Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms - A classic!


You’ve got to love the classics – Books, movies, cars, and of course FOOD!  And Chicken Marsala is one of my favorite classic dishes.  It’s easy, quick and uses just a few ingredients; chicken, shallots, mushrooms, stock and Marsala wine.  Now if you don’t have a bottle of Marsala hanging around waiting to be turned into a sauce, try Madeira wine.  If you don’t have a bottle of Madeira from your last trip to Portugal in the wine closet then try using Sherry.  But if you just had Dr.’s Frasier and Niles Crane over and they drank your last drop, then from what I gather you can mix white wine and brandy for a similar-ish taste since Marsala is a fortified wine anyway (that means a spirit, like brandy, has been added to the wine).  I guess what I’m trying to say; not only is this dish quick and easy but also versatile and forgiving if the bottle you have on hand isn’t Marsala. 

And that brings me to my other point about versatility...I pulled this recipe out of the archives after Mr. Crown and Ginger (that’s my I’m too old to call him a boyfriend boyfriend) had an amazing grilled trout with a Marsala sauce the other evening at Charlies Etoille Verte (here on the Island and one of our favorites).  Now I would have never put Marsala and fish in the same sentence before, I guess since I’ve always reserved it for a classic scaloppini (chicken, veal or pork) dish.  Plus, I don’t have many fish dishes on this site (trying to improve that, in fact, also trying to improve my posting frequency – I’ve been a slacker).  But like I said, it did get me thinking of the classic dishes in that “go to” category, adaptable, straightforward and deserving of a re-visit on a regular basis.  Enjoy!


Serves 4

4 chicken breasts pounded to about a ¼ inch thick

All purpose flour

5 tablespoons olive oil

6 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

3 cups thinly slice mushrooms

¾ cup Marsala wine

1 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper


Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then dredge both sides in flour. 

Heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  When butter begins to foam, working in batches, cook chicken until golden brown on one side about 3 minutes.  Continue cooking the other side for another 2 minutes.  Add more oil if necessary.  Remove breasts and set aside. 

Drain fat from skillet and return to medium heat.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet then add shallots.  Cook until they soften, about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until they brown.  Pour Marsala wine over mushrooms and continue cooking until wine turns slightly syrupy.  Add remaining butter and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper.  Boil until sauce is reduced by half.  Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan.  Continue cooking until sauce thickens and chicken is heated through, turning occasionally to coat in sauce.  Add parsley and serve spooning sauce over each serving.  





Vanilla Babycakes

This little cupcake maker is so sweet.  Granted it’s a bit of a gimmick but it’s a fun, cute little baby kitchen gizmo and brings a smile to my face when I use it.  How can it not...just look at it – sitting there all pink and baby-ish.

 The recipe booklet that’s included is really pretty good (which was surprising).  I made the vanilla cupcakes and they were delish.  So much so that this will be my “go to” vanilla cupcake recipe when I make cupcakes that are all grown up as well. 


Makes 16 baby cupcakes


1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

¼ sour cream (only Daisy in this kitchen)

3 egg whites

1/3 cup whole milk

3 teaspoons vanilla


Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, set aside.  Add vanilla to milk, set aside.

Beat butter and sugar together using a hand mixer until light and creamy.  Beat in sour cream.  Add egg whites and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl occasionally using a rubber spatula.  Add half the flour and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Add milk and beat until incorporated.  Beat in the remaining flour on low speed until batter is smooth.

Line the cupcake maker with mini cupcake papers.  Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon of batter (do not overfill – it creates a mess!). 


Bake in babycake cupcake maker until a tester inserted comes out clean, approximately 5-6 minutes.  Cool completely and frost (or not) with your favorite frosting.


Gateau de Crepes from "The Essential New York Times Cookbook"


They are all over the place.  Every time I turn around another one just grabs my attention.   They are almost impossible for me to ignore.  Burning holes in the back of my head, staring me down as I travel from store to store, aisle to aisle.  A good looking one will catch my eye and I’ll think about it and think about it until I can’t stand it anymore.  Then usually desire takes over and BOOM – I own another cookbook.  Well with this one, I stupidly held off working on the “I need another cookbook like a fish needs a bicycle” and “Christmas is coming” mottos.  And I got my wish – The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser.  YES – it’s fabulous!  I’ve been reading it ever since Santa (okay, my son Luke) placed it under the tree.  I love her background stories with each recipe and I love the twists and updates on the classics.  I love her straight forward recipe writing approach - no nonsense - this is how you do it sort of way. 

The first recipe I tried was her Gateau de Crepe.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a recipe that works and does so perfectly.  The crepe recipe made exactly 20 crepes.  The pastry cream recipe made exactly enough for filling the 20 crepes.  The cake wobbled a bit but did not fall down (which was my fear when I thought about making this in the past) and was absolutely one of the most delicious desserts I have ever made.  So, thank you Amanda Hesser for a wonderful New Years Eve dessert and a new tradition.

For the crepe batter:

6 tablespoons butter

3 cups milk

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups flour

7 tablespoons sugar

Pinch salt

For the vanilla pastry cream:

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

For the assembly:

Corn oil

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar or more

3 tablespoons Kirsch 
(I used Grand Marnier)

Confectioners' sugar.

1. The day before, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. Batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2. Pastry cream: Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove bean. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.

3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.

4. Assemble the cake the next day: Bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.


5. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won't hold peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.

6. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for creme brulee, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners' sugar. Slice like a cake.

Batter adapted from Joy of Cooking.  Pastry cream adapted from Desserts, by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan. Serves 10.

It’s All Delicious Notes:  Recipe from The Essential New York Times Cook Book by Amanda Hesser



Christmas Dinner Cake?


All in one?  One for all? 

I ran this past the Christmas elves as a Christmas eve alternative to our usual dinner after seeing it in the Daily Mail this morning.  Needless to say it received a thumbs down all around.  I was able to carry the joke for about fifteen minutes before I saw tears well in my little elves eyes and the begging began..."don't do it, wouldn't feel like Christmas...please, please."  But, I just thought I'd pass this all in one Christmas dinner to anyone who missed it or wants to taunt their own elves.  And just incase you do want to try it?  I've even included the recipe...if you are brave enough to give it a go.  





  • 500g turkey breast, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, chopped


  • 1.5kg potatoes (keep a third aside for the parsnip and mashed potato layer)


  • 3 large carrots
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Parsnips
  • Sage and onion stuffing, 1 packet
  • Pot of ready-made bread sauce, 300g
  • Unsalted butter for coating the pans


Heat the oven to 175c. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with butter.

Place all the turkey layer ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Divide the mixture evenly between the pans.

Bake until cooked through and the cakes begin to pull away from the edges of the pans.

Make your mashed potato and boil and mash your parsnips. Mix the two. 

Remove turkey from oven but leave the oven on. Let turkey cool for 10 minutes.


  1. Remove one of the layers from its case and place it bottom-side up on an overturned cake pan or in an oven-proof serving dish.
  2. Evenly spread a 1cm layer of your potato and parsnip mash on top of the turkey layer, leaving a 1cm border.
  3. Spread a generous layer of cranberry sauce.
  4. Make up the stuffing and spread a layer 1cm thick.
  5. Carefully place a layer of carrot pieces.
  6. Add a 1cm layer of bread sauce, again remembering to leave a space at the edge so that it does not spill out when the final meat layer is added.
  7. Now take the second turkey layer out of its cake mould and place it bottom-side up on top of the bread sauce.
  8. Transfer the cake pan with the partially assembled cake to a baking sheet and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and set aside. With a long knife or spatula, evenly coat the outside and top with mashed potato. Serve with warm, meaty gravy... and tuck in.

It's All Delicious notes:  this recipe was written by Vincent Graff of the Mail - online



Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


If you don’t have Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri in your repertoire – get it!  It’s my go to cookie bookie.  There are over 200 recipes in it with almost every type of cookie you could imagine; piped, bar, rolled, wafers, savory  – you name it.  He doesn’t stop there – fillings, icings, glazes and if you don’t have enough to do – a decorating projects section.  But most importantly every recipe I have tried works and works well.  This book is easy to understand and his writing and techniques are very straight forward.  My book is dog-eared, stained with chocolate and very much loved from years of baking.

Makes about 48 cookies


2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 cups rolled oats (regular oatmeal – not steel cut)

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened

1 cup granulated sugar

½ cup packed dark brown sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ½ cups raisins

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.   Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and oatmeal in a large bowl.  Mix well.  On medium speed, beat the butter, and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well combined, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth, then beat in the vanilla.  Wipe down bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.  Mix the flour mixture in on low speed, then add the raisins.  Mix until raisins are evenly distributed.  Using a tablespoon measure or medium ice cream scoop drop batter on cooking sheets lined with parchment paper about 3 inches apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Cool on racks.  Store in an air tight container.  

It’s All Delicious notes:  This recipe was adapted ever so slightly from Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri


Apple, Onion, And Cranberry Tart with Goat Cheese



I looked around my kitchen and in the fridge and saw the above ingredients hanging out in my cupcake tree.  I had a pre-made pastry crust that was screaming to be used and it was a dreary baking kind of day.

Years and years ago I made a red onion and apple tart as an appetizer and loved the combination (that tart had a bit or rosemary in it as well).  Everyone loves the apple-cranberry combo in the stuffing I make for Thanksgiving and Christmas so I didn’t think I could go too wrong here.  Now as I’m typing, I could have thrown in a few chopped chestnuts for a nice crunch – next time.  Oh, and grated Gruyere cheese would work really nicely – next time. 

But as I said, given the dreary day, the ingredients that were just hanging out in the cupcake tree (who knew what a versatile piece of kitchen equipment it truly is).  This is a happy combo of flavors, takes no time to whip up and would also make nice little tartlets for the upcoming hols!

Makes 1 9-inch tart


½ large sweet onion, diced

2 apples, peeled and diced on the small side

¼ cup chopped dried cranberries

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 tablespoon calvados (optional)

4oz goat cheese, crumbled

1 10 inch pre-made pie crust

Salt and pepper

Canola oil for cooking

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Spray a 9-inch tart pan with cooking oil spray (if tart pan is not non-stick).  Line with parchment paper and feel with baking beads.  Bake for 15minutes, remove beads, and bake another 5 minutes to dry out bottom of tart.  Let cool. 

Cook onions until soft in a little canola oil over medium heat.  Add apples, thyme, cranberries, and calvados Season with salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until apples are tender and mixture is syrupy/on the dry side. 

Spoon mixture into tart shell, pressing down with the back of the spoon.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes until heated through.  Serve warm or room temperature.


Devil's Food Cupcakes with White Chocolate Filling and Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting


These cupcakes are a “must do” for the holidays.  Chocolate, peppermint, and marshmallow...I mean come on!  I took inspiration for these little babies from the December 2008 Bon Appetit magazine cover.  But, this time, rather than wrestling with a cake that, when done, looked like something from Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” – which was not a bad thing, I just worried that it might end up in Whoville overnight – so, this time I decided to make cupcakes.  And it worked great since I didn’t have to worry about the cake toppling over in the fridge (even with cake-dowels stuck in it) and the individual cakes are so much easier to handle.  When I made this, I used James Peterson’s Devil’s Food Cake recipe from his book “Cooking” – it’s just so easy and delicious –  I kept with the peppermint marshmallow frosting and white chocolate cream recipe from BA.  These little cupcakes are now a new holiday tradition.  If you don’t like peppermint you can substitute orange – that would be yummy as well!


Devil’s Food Cake – from “Cooking” –

Makes 12-14 cupcakes

Ingredients - Cupcakes

1 cup flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, cut into eight pieces

8oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

1 cup sour cream (only Daisy here)

¾ cup sugar

3 eggs beaten

Ingredients – White Chocolate Cream Center

6 oz white chocolate pieces like Lindt or Ghirardelli

1 ½ cups chilled heavy whipping cream

¾ teaspoon peppermint extract

Ingredients – Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting

1 1/8 cups sugar

¼ cup water

2 large egg whites

½ tablespoon light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon peppermint extract



Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a standard sized muffing tin with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.  Heat butter, sour cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt over a sauce pan of simmering water.  Stir with a rubber spatula until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, attachment beat sugar and eggs until well blended. On low speed, add the chocolate mixture then the four.  Scrap down the sides and bottom of bowl making sure everything is mixed evenly together – do not over mix.  Fill each liner with a scant ½ cup of batter.  Bake for 15-18 minutes until the tester inserted comes out clean and the tops spring back when pressed.  Cool completely. Using an apple corer or small paring knife, cut a small plug from the top of each cupcake. Can be made one day ahead.  Store at room temperature in a cake domes or covered in foil.

White Chocolate Cream

Heat 1 ½ cups cream in a small sauce pan until simmering.  Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour hot cream over pieces.  Let stand 1 minute then whisk until smooth.  Whisk in extract.  Cover and chill until mixture thickens – about 4 hours.  Can be made one day ahead.  When ready to assemble cupcakes. Beat ½ cup of heavy cream in to chocolate mixture until smooth and peaks form.  Pipe filling into cupcake centers, chill while making the frosting.

Peppermint Marshmallow Frosting

Combine sugar, water, egg whites, and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whisk to combine well.  Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk, pretty much constantly, by hand until mixture resembles marshmallow and ribbons form when whisk is lifted – this could take as long as 20 minutes!  Whisk in peppermint extract.  Remove bowl from sauce pan and attach to stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk on high speed until barely warm to touch and very thick – about 10 minutes.  Pipe frosting on the filled cupcakes and chill.  Let cupcakes come to room temperature before serving.

  Note:  you must use the frosting immediately, so do not make until you are ready to ice the cupcakes




Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with a Caramel Center and Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe started in my head a few days ago.  I had been looking at old, old, Gourmet and Bon Appetite magazines and started combining different recipe ideas.  I had always wanted for some strange reason to boil a can of sweetened condensed milk and turn it into caramel but never had the guts to do it.  Visions of an exploding can and caramel all over the stove, floor and walls put me off.  But in one recipe I found in the Gourmet 2002 Christmas issue, there was an oven method that I jumped all over and I’m glad I did (it’s actually posted on the Eagle Brand website).  It took a while (a good 2 ½ hours to be exact) to get the right color and consistency but well worth it.  The taste is just soooo ridiculous delish especially after being stuffed inside a moist spicy flavorful cupcake (had to take a breather after that sentence) then topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting. The only other thing I could say as a possible improvement would be...sit down and let you’re your sweet tooth envision this...Double chocolate cupcakes with a caramel center and chocolate ganache frosting...check back for that recipe!  



Makes 15-18 cupcakes

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel


For the caramel center:

1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk



16-ounces powdered sugar

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Beat the oil, sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated.  Reduce speed to “stir” and add the flour, mix until the batter is smooth (the batter will be thick).  Fill each liner with approximately a scant ½ a cup of batter. 


Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when pressed lightly in the middle.  Cool on rack.  Can be made a day ahead, stored in an air tight container.


To make the caramel: 

Preheat oven to 425°F

Pour Sweetened Condensed Milk into a 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil and place in a bain- marie (large shallow pan filled with hot water). Bake for 2-2 ½ hours or until thick and caramel-colored, whisking occasionally.  Cool completely before piping into cupcakes.

To make the frosting:

Beat the butter and cream cheese, and vanilla on medium until smooth using an electric mixer.  Slowly add the sugar (and I mean slowly or you will have a confectioners’ sugar cloud in the kitchen) and beat until incorporated and smooth.  Can be made one day ahead and stored in the fridge.  Let stand at room temperature until soft enough to spread.


To assemble cupcakes:

Using an apple corer or small paring knife, cut a small plug from the top of each cupcake, reserve the plug, and scoop out a hole in the center of each cupcake to hold the filling.

Transfer cooled caramel mixture to a heavy-duty re-sealable plastic bag, and seal; cut off one corner of the bag to make a 1/8-inch opening.  Place the tip in the cupcake and pipe in the filling to fill the hole.

Replace the plug and frost with cream cheese icing.  Dot top with additional caramel.




Brown Sugar, Pineapple, and Horseradish Glaze for Baked Ham...and Just About Anything Else


Some glazes, especially store bought, are too too sweet with no substance and a lot of “stuff” in them to keep their shelf life going forever.  The horseradish, cloves, and molasses give this a little added oomph.  What was nice about this as well is that the glaze didn’t slide off the ham; it stayed right where it should on the ham not in the pan.  Cooking the glaze down, letting it cool and using crushed (not tidbits and not chunks) pineapple gives this just the right consistency.  This would be delish on a pork roast, pork tenderloin or chicken legs, and wings.



Makes 2 cups

1 cup light brown sugar

8oz crushed pineapple

¼ Dijon mustard

2 ½ tablespoons horseradish

1 tablespoon molasses

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

½ teaspoon ground cloves


Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.  Simmer for 20 minutes until glaze is thickened, syrupy, and dark golden brown in color.  Let cool.  Can be made two days ahead.  Makes enough glaze to coat a 6-8lb ham. This can easily be doubled for a larger ham.

It’s All Delicious Notes:  I baked the ham tented in foil for 13 minutes per pound at 350°F.  During the last 40 minutes, I turned the oven temperature up to 425°F, uncovered the ham, and basted it twice in 15 minute intervals.  


Goat Cheese Spread with Thyme and Lemon


I wish I could take credit for this, but can’t.  So simple, so delicious and so like Chef Bob Waggoner to whip it up one day.  Yummy! 



Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

4oz goat cheese, room temperature

1 small shallot, finely minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Black pepper to taste


Soften and “cream’ the goat cheese in a medium bowl using a fork.  Add the shallot, thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice and season with black pepper.  Continue mixing until all the ingredients are combined.  Serve with crackers or toasted baguette pieces.  


The Reuben Sandwich - An American Classic




There are two stories to this sandwiches origin.  One has that it was made for a group of  old poker playing cronies back in 1920 at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha Nebraska.  The other story is that Arnold Reuben a famous NY deli owner invented the Reuben put it on the menu in 1914 as a “special.”  Either way, it’s one of my favorite sandwiches.  I love the tart and hearty rye bread, the salty corned beef, the sour sauerkraut mixed with the sweet Thousand Island dressing and well what’s a sandwich without melted cheese?  It’s perfect no matter where it came from.  After making these the other day for “Game Day” I have all sorts of combos in my head; turkey pastrami and coleslaw instead of sauerkraut was the first to come to mind.

 The key to getting the bread toasted not burned and the cheese to get lava-y is to cover it then “grill” it low and slow.  The bread toasts, the cheese lavas, and the beef and sauerkraut heat up.  During the last few minutes, I put a grill press on top just to compact the sandwich slightly.


Makes 2 sandwiches


4 slices rye bread

10 slices corned beef

6 slices Jarlsberg cheese

¼ cup sauerkraut, drained

3 Tablespoons Thousand Island dressing, see below

2 Tablespoons spicy brown or Dijon mustard

Butter for grilling or frying


Heat a large skillet over medium low heat.  For each sandwich – spread one side of  the bread with mustard.  Top with 5 slices of corned beef.  Spread ½ the sauerkraut mixture on top of beef.  Add 3 slices of the cheese and top with remaining slice of bread, press down slightly.


Butter one side of the sandwich and place buttered side down in skillet.  Butter remaining side of bread.  Cover sandwiches with a lid or aluminum foil and “grill” for 7 minutes on each side or until dark golden color.  Use a “press” for the last few minutes on one side just to compact the sandwich slightly.  Let rest 3 minutes before cutting. 


Thousand Island Dressing



Makes about 2 cups

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream (only Daisy brand here)

¼ cup ketchup

1 ½ teaspoons fresh grated horseradish

½ cup sweet pickle relish, drained

1 ½ teaspoons capers, drained and minced

10 small pimiento stuffed Manzanilla olives, minced

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


Whisk the above ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


It’s All Delicious Notes:  This recipe can easily be doubled. 




Thousand Island Dressing


This is not unlike Louis dressing just a bit lighter, sweeter, and saltier.  Well, that’s my take on it anyway.  We’re grilling up Reuben sandwiches later (game day baby!) and there was absolutely no way I was ever going to buy store bought dressing...blich.  So I concocted this and have to say, am damn pleased with myself!  Go Gamecocks!



Makes about 2 cups

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream (only Daisy brand here)

¼ cup ketchup

1 ½ teaspoons fresh grated horseradish

½ cup sweet pickle relish, drained

1 ½ teaspoons capers, drained and minced

10 small pimiento stuffed Manzanilla olives, minced

1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce


Whisk the above ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


It’s All Delicious Notes:  This recipe can easily be doubled. 




Paella with Chicken, Shrimp and Clams


This was one of the best and most flavorful Paella’s I have ever made and dare I say – had!  Instead of kind of just throwing it all in, I followed a lead from two of my favorite guys in the cooking realm – Gordon Ramsey and Tyler Florence – I know I know, how could two total opposites have a common thread that I could find attractive in both and then mold and manipulate into the perfect man...I mean Paella.  I took Gordon’s robustness flavor, teamed it with Tyler’s ease and confidence wielding style in the kitchen and voila!  A pretty much perfect man...I mean Paella.  Please look at the notes below, this is not hard by any means, but depending on your tastes and pan size this could be a little on the fiddly most men.  

Serves 6-8


8 boneless chicken thighs, seasoned with dry rub below

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 Spanish chorizo sausages, thickly sliced on the diagonal (about 8oz each)

1 Spanish onion, medium chop

8 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and minced

½ bunch of flat-leaf parsley leaves (or a good handful) chopped

½ bunch of cilantro (or a good handful) chopped

A good splash of sherry or dry white wine, about ¼ cup (not really optional)

1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, crushed and smashed

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

4 cups chicken stock plus a little more if needed

Saffron threads, a large sized pinch dissolved in a little chicken stock

1 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed

1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and de-veined – tails left on

1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

Lemon wedges, for serving

Dry rub for chicken:  Oregano, paprika & garlic powder


Sprinkle oregano, paprika & garlic powder generously over chicken, coating both sides and rubbing into skin and meat.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.


Heat oil in the paella pan over medium heat. Sauté the chorizo until browned, remove and set aside. Add chicken pieces and brown until golden on both sides and almost cooked through, remove, and set a side with chorizo.

Add onions, garlic, parsley, and cilantro to pan, cook for 2 or 3 minutes over medium heat. Then, add rice and splash of sherry.  Stir to coat the rice and cook until it begins to crackle.  Add tomatoes and stir to combine all the ingredients, cook for a few minutes more until the liquid thickens slightly. 

Pour in stock; stir so the rice absorbs the liquid evenly.  Add saffron and stir to break up threads.  Add chicken, chorizo along with all accumulated juices back to the pan and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the clams tucking them into the rice and more stock if necessary.  At this point, you may have to remove the chicken pieces, cover, and keep warm depending on the size of your pan.  When the clams begin to open, add the shrimp.  Continue to simmer, adding more stock if needed.  The shrimp should take about 8 minutes to cook.  Carefully stir paella to distribute liquid.  When the shrimp are pink and cooked and the clams opened, remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Garnish with peas and lemon wedges.

It’s All Delicious Notes:  A few suggestions – a 15” Paella pan was not large enough for all this – men and their measurements!  So, I removed the chicken thighs and kept them warm while the shellfish were cooking.  I added ever so little additions of stock to keep the Paella nice and moist.  I also used a mixture of hot and mild chorizo sausage, cutting them in two different ways, so those who like their chorizo hot, knew exactly which sausage would suit their tastes.  Obviously, there’s nothing saying that you couldn’t make two different Paella’s – one all seafood the other all meat – after all it’s nice to have choices in and out of the kitchen!

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