Sunday, August 30, 2009

Summer? What Summer??

Ok, this is's the end of August here in Chicago, and for the next few days, the highs will be in the 60's and the lows in the 40's!!! We have had the worst summer on record for a long time. This should be October weather, not August weather. It's so unfair...winter is on it's way. Way too soon. So, please forgive me if my thoughts have turned to...chili! Yes, it's that miserable here. I want a big, steeping, spicy bowl of chili to warm me up in...August. Oh, did I forget to mention it's been raining practically every day? It's damp, windy, dreary...I could go on and on, but why? Just cut to the chase and make the damn chili! This is one of my favorites:

Chili (in August, in Chicago)

6 Tbls. oil
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 small bulb of garlic. minced
3 lbs. ground chuck
3 lbs. sirloin, cubed
2 1 lb.12 oz. cans whole, peeled, tomatoes (or tomatoe puree if you prefer)
1 small can tomatoe paste
1 tsp. cumin seed
3 Tbls. hot chili powder
3 Tbls. mild chili powder
1 Tbls. salt
1/2 Tbls. oregano
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbls. pequin quebraba (some grocery stores, or Mexican market)
1 Tbls. chili caribe (some grocery stores, or Mexican market)
1 tsp. sugar
2 cans pinto or kidney beans, drained
16 0z. tomatoe juice

In a large pot brown meat, in oil, in batches. Remove to large bowl. Brown onions and garlic. Place meat back in pot. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 2 hours. Adjust seasonings as desired. If you live in Chicago, serve. If you live in a warmer climate, well...I'm jealous!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Sesame Noodles # 3, 2, & 1

I love Sesame noodles. Therefore, I couldn't decide which recipe to post for you all. So...I am going to give you my top 3 faves in order of deliciousness, starting with # 3. They are all different, they are all yummy. You be the judge. You can eat these as is, or turn them into more of a main dish by adding cooked chicken. As a side dish, they will add a nice hearty zing to almost any meal you are serving. Here goes:

Sesame Noodles # 3

12 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked, drained, cooled
1 diced green pepper
1 diced red pepper
1 diced orange pepper
1 diced yellow pepper
3 thinly sliced green onions


1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 small clove garlic (or more, if you like), minced
1 tsp. hot chili oil, or to taste

Whisk dressing ingredients together and toss with pasta and diced vegetables. Chill and serve.

Sesame Noodles # 2

12 oz. linguine noodles, cooked, drained, cooled


1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
6 Tbls. cold water
1 Tbls. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic (or more), minced
6 Tbls. creamy peanut butter
3 Tbls. Asian sesame oil
1 tsp. hot chili oil, or to taste

Place soy sauce, vinegar, water, sugar, salt, ginger, and garlic, in a food processor. Process on high speed until ginger and garlic are smooth. Add the peanut butter, process 1 minute longer. Combine the oils and with the processor running on low speed, drizzle them through the feed tube, and process until completely combined.

Place the cooked linguine in a large bowl and toss with 1 1/2 cups of the dressing. Chill and serve.

Sesame Noodles # 1

1 12 oz. package linguine, cooked, drained, cooled
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, cut into matchsticks


1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbls. oriental sesame oil
2 Tbls. red wine vinegar
1 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbls. sugar
1 Tbls. prepared chili sauce with garlic

Place noodles, peppers, and green onions in a large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Chill, serve.

I hope some of you try one or all of these and let me know what you think and which is your favorite. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Puff Pastry Pizza Appetizer # 2

I love puff pastry. I could probably write a blog just using all my recipes for various ways in which to use these tender, flaky little gems. So versatile. So impressive when served. So satisfying when your friends think you're a genius. So easy! This is another good pizza type appetizer (refer back to # 1) to serve with cocktails or as an accompaniment to a main dish salad for lunch or dinner. Any way you serve it, it will be delicious, and most important...your friends will be impressed :)

Puff Pastry Pizza # 2

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry - defrost according to pkg. directions
3 cups (or more - you decide) swiss cheese, shredded; divided
2 lbs. plum tomatoes, thinly sliced and blotted dry
1 cup (or more) green olives, sliced or chopped
good quality olive oil

Lightly roll out puff pastry sheets. Cut each into 1/4's and crimp edges. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and sprinkle each square with shredded swiss cheese, sliced tomatoes and green olives. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with remaining shredded swiss cheese. Bake at 375* for 20 - 30 minutes, or until lightly browned and cheese is bubbling.
Serve. When your guests applaud, feel free to take a bow :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


If you are looking for a great summer side dish look no further. This corn salad is easy, flavorful, and really attractive displayed in a pretty glass bowl. Did I mention easy? Everything is pretty much in season now, so go to your Farmer's Market and get your vegetables as fresh as possible. You can serve this salad with almost anything - steaks, chops, chicken, you name it. It's crunchy, colorful, and a little spicy depending on how much heat you decide to add. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of chilies and cumin to satisfy your personal taste buds.

Summer Corn Salad

4 12 oz. cans of Green Giant corn, drained
1 large tomato, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large red pepper, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
4 green chilies (or 1 small can) diced
1 small can artichoke hearts hearts, quarted


1/2 Tbls. cumin
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
3 Tbls. minced parsley
2 Tbls. lemon juice
2 Tbls. apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.

Blend all vegetables together in a large glass bowl and toss with the dressing. Let marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Didn't I tell you...easy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

When Life Hands You Lemons...

If given a choice between a chocolate dessert or a lemon dessert, I always go for the lemon. I love the tart, refreshing, citrusy bite of lemons, especially in the summer. This dessert combines 2 of my favorite things...lemons and good vanilla ice cream. Since it's frozen, it's a great dessert to have on hand in your freezer for when guests stop by. I love the contrast between the tart lemon filling and the sweet vanilla ice cream. I usually make two at a to share and one to have just because! This recipe calls for a 9 inch frozen pie shell, baked according to package instructions - but I usually make a graham cracker or ginger snap crust - up to you.

Frozen Lemon Pie


2 cups graham cracker or ginger snap crumbs
6 Tbls. butter, melted
1 Tbls. sugar
Combine ingredients and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes - cool on wire rack


1/2 cup of butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 Tbls. grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 quart of vanilla ice cream, softened

Melt butter in top of a double boiler. Add lemon juice, lemon rind, salt, and sugar. Beat the eggs and egg yolks thoroughly. Gradually stir into butter mixture. Cook over hot (not boiling) water, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and chill. Press softened ice cream into pie shell and freeze. Spread lemon filling over the frozen ice cream and freeze. When frozen cover with Saran. When ready to serve, top with a dollop of whipped cream.
A great summer dessert!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Peachy Keen

Peaches can either be really good or really disappointing. When they are bad they are mealy, woody, tasteless. But when they are good, oh man, they are gooood! I find myself eating them over the sink or over a napkin to catch all the juices...sigh.
This summer has been a positive peach experience for me. Whether I buy them at the grocery or the farmer's market, I have been in peach heaven.

This is a peach pie recipe I got from an old Cooking Light magazine and have made many times over the years. It's really easy and fool proof. The recipe calls for refrigerated pie dough, but if you are a purist, please feel free to substitute your own favorite dough recipe. I have done both depending on how much time I have wanted to spend - and really, it's all about the peaches, so get yourself some good ones.

Brown Sugar - Peach Pie With Coconut Streusel

1/2 (15 oz.) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
3 Tbls. all-purpose flour - ( if your peaches are very ripe and juicy, you might want use an additional 1-2 Tbls. flour to thicken the filling)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
8 cups peeled, sliced, ripe peaches (about 3 1/2 lbs. or 12 peaches)
1/3 cup regular oats
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 1/2 Tbls. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425*

Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold edges under, flute. Line dough with a piece of foil, and arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake at 425* foe 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350*. Remove pie weights and foil. Bake at 350* for 5 minutes. Cool crust on a wire rack.

Combine 1/3 cup brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl with the sliced peaches - gently toss and arrange into prepared crust. Bake at 350* for 30 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup brown sugar, oats, coconut, and butter and sprinkle over peach mixture. Shield edges of crust with foil. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or not. I love it just the way it is - no embellishments necessary. I hope you try this and if you do, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.