Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Years ago, my next door neighbors at the time, were from New York. Pat and her husband Skip used to make these savory little goodies on the grill, and I can't tell you how good they smelled. I followed my nose one day, and asked "what in the world is that divine smell? what are you cooking? can I have some?" They informed me they were making Spiedies...I had never heard of Spiedies, but I knew I wanted to be introduced. They let me know they were an "East Coast Thing" and because of them, they became a "Chicago Thing" - at least in our neighborhood. Get ready for some tasty little treats, and invite your friends over. They'll love you.

1 1/2 lbs. very lean beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 lbs. very lean veal, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 lbs. very lean pork, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 lbs. very lean lamb, cut into 1 inch cubes

Marinate the meat for 2 days in the following:

8 oz. red wine - Burgundy or Lambrusco
6 oz. Good Seasons Italian Dressing
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbls. kosher salt
1/4 cup oregano
1 tsp. onion salt or 1 samll onion, finely diced

Fire up the grill.

Take the meat out of the marinade, thread onto skewers and grill to desired doneness. Prepare to swoon. Eat.

P.S. If you're not having a crowd, feel free to cut the recipe in half.

The Best Baked Beans

This is the all time best baked bean recipe. Men especially love these beans, although the women do too. I have been making these beans for years, and whenever I'm invited to a barbecue, I am asked to bring them. Again, this is something you can prepare the day before. Just heat them in a 350* oven for 45 - 55 minutes before you are ready to serve.

1 large can B&M beans
1 large can butter beans, drained
1 large can kidney (or pinto) beans, drained

2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 lb. ground chuck
s & p to taste
1 can real bacon

3/4 cup catsup
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbls. white vinegar
1 Tbls. yellow mustard

Brown ground chuck in a little oil until nice and crumbly. Drain off grease, and remove from pan.Add a little oil to the pan and saute onion until golden brown. Add ground chuck back to pan and mix in all the beans and the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, put into casserole dish and refrigerate if not serving. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350* and bake the beans for 45 - 55 minutes, or until heated through. Yum! Really, really good.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw

This is a great side dish to serve with almost anything, and it's different - not the same old coleslaw that you have at every other barbeque. I think you'll like it.


1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. celery seed
2 Tbls. sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup onion, minced
3/4 cup Mazola oil


1 head of cabbage, shredded
1/2 lb. blue cheese, crumbled

Mix the shredded cabbage with the crumbled blue cheese.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together, pour over cabbage and blue cheese, cover and refrigerate. You can make it the day before you need to use it.

Judy's Corn Dip

I first had this dip at my friend Judy's house on Memorial Day many years ago, and it has remained a favorite. It is sort of a mystery dip in that people can't figure out what's in it, but everyone agrees it's great and asks for the recipe. So here it is folks...enjoy!

Judy's Corn Dip

2 cups lite sour cream
1/2 cup lite mayonnaise
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
3 oz. parmesan cheese
4 or more green onions, thinly sliced
1 10 0z. can of white corn, drained

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover, refrigerate overnight. Serve with corn chips, tortilla chips, or crackers...your choice.

You may as well print out several copies of this recipe in advance, because you will be asked for it!

Spicy Gorgonzola and Roasted Red Pepper Spread

This is a really good spread to use on a crusty french bread or a whole grain baguette for an appetizer. It couldn't be easier or more delicious.


1 lb. crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1 2/3 cup roasted red peppers, diced
2 scallions, minced
2 Tbls. sour cream
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree. Refrigerate overnight and serve on toasted bread slices.


Slice bread into 1/2 inch wide slices, and place on baking sheet. Brush with good quality olive oil and toast in 350* oven until lightly golden, 10 - 15 minutes. Cover each slice generously with the spread, arrange on platter and serve.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Grilled Lamb Chops

This is a really good basting sauce to use when grilling lamb chops. You can then use the remaining sauce (after re-heating) to dress the cooked chops. I originally had this at the home of a friend, swooned, got the recipe, and have been making it ever since. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Chili Plum Sauce

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
6 Tbls. butter
1 - 10 oz. jar of plum jam
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbls. lemon juice
1 Tbls. ground allspice

Saute onion in butter until tender and golden. Stir in jam, chili sauce, wine, lemon juice, and allspice. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Baste the lamb chops, with the sauce, during grilling time.
Before serving, re-heat the sauce and serve alongside the lambchops.

Flank Steak

Memorial Day is on the way, and I thought I would post a few recipes for my favorite marinades and side dishes. The first one is an unusual recipe for flank steak. You use freshly grated horseradish root which I had never used before. The recipe sounded like it could clear your sinuses for life, but in reality, it lent the flank steak a subtle, lovely flavor.

1 large flank steak - sprinkle with kosher salt to taste

Make a paste with:
1 cup Grey Poupon mustard
2 heaping Tbls. light, brown sugar
1 cup freshly grated horseradish root (use large side of box grater)

Score the top of the flank steak and spread the paste all over the top. Place into a baking dish or zip lock bag large enough to hold it comfortably, and refrigerate it overnight.

Take the flank steak out of the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and scrape the excess paste off the top.

Fire up the grill. Place steak on grill and cook to medium rare or your preferred doneness. Place on cutting board, let rest for several minutes, then slice on the diagonal (against the grain of the meat).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just Pretend It's a Meatball

Over the years I have tried, I don't know, a dozen or so meatloaf recipes. It just seems like such a warm, fuzzy, homey thing to make. I have desperately wanted to like it, but somehow it always falls short of my expectations. But, I love meatballs...mine. So, I decided to adapt my meatball recipe into a meatloaf, and pretend it's a gigantic meatball! Maybe it's psychological, but I have to say, after some experimenting, that I have finally created a recipe for meatloaf that doesn't make me gag... in fact, it's really, really good.


2 lbs. ground chuck
1 lb. ground pork
1 egg, plus 2 yolks, beaten
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 Tbls. dried Thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup good quality Parmesan cheese
1 Tbls. light brown sugar


1/2 cup catsup
1/2 cup barbeque sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. dry mustard

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine all meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into a loaf and place into a large baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Combine all sauce ingredients. Uncover meatloaf, cover it with the sauce, and bake for an additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve. Easy!

I like to serve it with smashed potatoes and green beans. A perfect dinner for a rainy day.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

...and then she sang to me!

Periodically, to promote my baked goods, I do tastings at various places that sell my products. I always meet interesting and sometimes odd people.

Today I was at a store I have done tastings for several times, and it's always an experience. People come by to chat me up while sampling my offerings. Today it was several types of brownies and tea breads.

The last time I was at this particular store, I was visited, on and off, by a very hip looking Priest. He was maybe 65 years old, shaved head, wearing all black, many silver chains, bracelets, rings, and a pierced ear. He would come by my table, stand there and EAT....like he was having lunch! Then he would wander around the store, come back to my table and EAT! He would repeat this 3 or 4 times over an hour, without saying a word. I didn't know what to do. He was eating all my samples. He was a PRIEST for God's sake! So, I just stood there and let him...but I wanted to say, "Father, have you forgotten? Gluttony is a SIN".

Today, I was approached by a woman who sampled nothing. She started chatting with me, and when she discovered my name was Dawn, she started singing to me in jingles...loudly. She started with my name, moved on to my business name, Sweet Considerations, and ended up with a Groucho Marx impersonation, while doing a soft shoe. I swear people, you can't make these things up. We ended the performance with a hug, and I have to say, she really made my day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Favorite Salmon Recipe

If you like salmon, you are going to love this recipe. The flavor is spicy - sweet due to the blend of spices used. And it's gorgeous when it comes out of the oven, all carmelized and golden brown, tender and flaky. Yum! I like to serve it with asparagus and boiled or roasted new potatoes.

Roasted Salmon
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tbls. lemon juice
4 center cut salmon fillets (6-8 ozs. ea.)
2 tbls. brown sugar
3 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
lemon slices for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine the first three ingredients in a zip lock plastic bag. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour turning occasionally.
Remove fish from bag and discard marinade. Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients in a bowl. Spray a baking dish large enough to hold the fillets with cooking spray. Place fillets in baking dish and coat with the dry spice rub. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mother's Day

The sight and smell of lilacs will always remind me of Mother's Day.

When my children were small, they would go into our yard, early in the morning, to pick lilacs for me. They would bring them in, put them in a glass with water, and "prepare" breakfast for me. This could be anything from toast, to cereal, to frozen waffles. And, yes, sometimes the waffles were still frozen. They would also include a small glass of orange juice and a cup of cold coffee I had left in the pot the night before for just this reason, as they were still too young to make it themselves.

My role was to pretend I was still sleeping as they quietly came up the stairs to surprise me. I would "wake up" to two very proud little boys, the wonderful smell of lilacs, and a breakfast made with love. A perfect Mother's Day.