The recipes on this blog are a combination of things I've learned over the years and meals inherited through generations of adoration for good food. They are a cherished property, so please be good to them.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The posts won't be frequent during the next week. The holiday is among us in my house and panic and freaking out have begun.

Cookie pics and recipes to follow before the holiday.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chicken Cacciatore

Growing up, I ate this meal a lot. Chicken Cacciatore is traditionally cooked with an whole chicken, cut into pieces. For a mid-week dinner, I like to use chicken breasts, when I know their

use won't jeapordize the dish. This is a simple, less time consuming version without the dredging of chicken through flour as you would with the traditional recipe.
2 chicken breasts (boneless here), halved crosswise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 ( 28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
a handful of black olives, chopped
coursely chopped mushrooms (i had creminis)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
basil/salt/pepper to taste
In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, olives and oregano. Return the chicken pieces to the pan and turn them to coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue simmering over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through.
Serve over warm pasta (I had linguine in the pantry). Serves 2, but enough sauce for 4.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pork Chops & Brussels Sprouts

Tonight's Menu:
Pork Milanese
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Basmati with Basil

Pork Milanese:
1 Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
2 large eggs
3/4 c flour
4 boneless pork loin chops (1lb total) pounded thin to 1/3 inch-thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Equal parts olive oil and butter to coat pan for frying
a lemon
In the meantime...Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan in one shallow dish. Lightly beat the eggs in another large shallow bowl. In a third shallow dish, the flour. Sprinkle the pork generously with salt and pepper. Dredge the pork, 1 piece at a time, in the flour , coat with the egg, allowing the excess to drip off, then dredge the pork in the crumb mixture, patting to coat completely. Place the pork on a small baking sheet.
Heat oil/butter mixture in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops to the hot pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then transfer them to a clean baking sheet and keep them warm in the oven. Serve with lemon wedges.

Bastmati w/ Basil
The rice was plain basmati.
I used 2 c chicken stock to 1 c rice.
Add 3 tbs. basil chopped finely.
2 tbs. olive oil and salt to taste.
Bring to boil then cook 30 minutes on simmer.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts (the only way to eat them, in my humble opinion)
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
one sweet onion, quartered
In the meantime...Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves.
Mix them in a bowl with the onion, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve immediately.

My husband loves these brussels sprouts. They are as good as any french fry!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

My Culinary Hero's

It was long before the popularity of the the Food Network that my love affair with cooking began. My little Irish grandmother, married an Italian from Baltimore, and was instantly brought into his family and learned all of the age old recipes from this country and Sicily. My grandfather's family had been in the US over a decade and were very much assimilated into the city life. My great uncles and their children ran their very own vegetable stand at various open air markets that existed in Baltimore during the time. To this day my favorite way to spend early Saturday morning's in the spring is at the farmers market in Waverly .

The kitchen has always been the center of every home in my family. Something behind the traditions of recipes passed from generation to generation.... it's the stories and events surrounding those meals, that make them memorable. My immigrant family didn't have a lot of wealth to pass down, but the art of cooking... that was the true gift. When I was 12, my grandmother decided to teach me a new recipe every time I was over (usually Saturdays) and she and I began learning the basics of cooking. The first things I learned were basic tomato sauces as they are typically "easy" to make but require a long simmering time (for traditional, old world sauce methods) and I eventually graduated to full on dinner menu's.

My grandmother was my culinary doubt about. Not only did she come from Ireland to a new world, a new family and a much different lifestyle (imagine coming from a small farm in 1940's Ireland, to a bustling city like Baltimore)... but she had a family, and managed to be a better cook than many of the old Italian Aunts/Mothers etc that dominated her husbands world.

She taught me the importance of a good wooden spoon and an effective spatula. Only she, my mother and I can truly appreciate those kinds of treasures.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Rosemary Butter Cookies

The Baltimore Sun (my local paper) has an annual holiday cookie contest. My parents submitted and won this very contest over 15 years ago for thier cookie, "Nutmeg Flats".

My husband and I decided to submit our Rosemary Butter Cookies for the contest in hopes others would see how amazing they really are.

Last week I got a call letting me know that we had won, along with a few others, out of over 100 submissions!

Rosemary is very important as a symbol or Remembrance. Over a year ago when I was getting married, my husband and I chose this herb as a central theme in my wedding. When we came across this recipe, we knew we had to use it as part of the dessert options at the wedding. All the women in my family and my bridesmaids all came together to make these cookies, along with our infamous "italian cookies" that have been made for decades for all family holidays and weddings.

Here is what the article had to say:

Sugar and spice may or may not be what little girls are made of, but they definitely take center stage when it comes to holiday cookies. More than 100 bakers answered our call to send their best sweet or spicy recipes for our annual holiday cookie exchange. We floured, buttered, sliced and tasted our way to nine favorites - four sugar, four spice and one "everything nice" that had the best of both.The winning sugar entries were rolled in sparkling, coarse sugar; flavored with subtle citrus or a surprising herb; studded with colorful fruit; or topped with a light coating of superfine sugar. For Meghan of Parkville, the Rosemary Butter Cookies she submitted are part of a long family tradition of baking cookies for weddings.She and her husband, Evan , found the recipe in a wedding edition of Martha Stewart Living and chose it for their wedding last year because they liked rosemary as a symbol for remembrance. Murphy baked dozens of the crisp, buttery cookies with her bridesmaids - and now the married couple bakes them as Christmas gifts. Because it's more buttery than sweet, this cookie would add nice diversity to a mixed-dessert plate, and would even be at home at a cocktail party on a platter with cheese and fruit. "People react really well to this cookie," Meghan says. "It's pretty much fail-safe."

Congratulations to the other winners!
For another great winning recipe, check out