Posts Tagged ‘Butter’

Fennel CDC

Fennel CDC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OMG! This dish is so simple yet the flavors were deliciously complex.  I could not stop eating it last night and I will be making it again soon.  I think it’s  a dish to serve to company, Peter thought otherwise.  He said he loved the taste but felt it didn’t have enough substance. MMMMmmmm I thought about that and then decided he wasn’t the person to judge a pasta dish like this one because he would never order a pasta with an alfredo sauce, or spaghetti carbonara, or linguine aglio e olio.      For him, pasta has sausage, meatballs or vegetables or clams or mussels.

My cousin Janet (I like to call her Janie)  gave me this recipe.  When I was making it, I realized that the directions mentioned butter but I hadn’t written butter in the ingredient list – what to do?  I went online of course and found a recipe that was almost identical to hers minus the native seasoning, which is a blend of herbs produced by a company founded by  her sister (my cousin) and her husband.

Thanks Janet.

Here it is:

1 lb of Farfalle or Penne

A slab of pancetta about 3″ by 1/2″ – diced – you can also buy pancetta already diced in a package

1 bulb of fennel – chopped including fronds

1 TBS dried fennel seeds

1/2 cup of cream or half & half – I used about 3/4 cup

1-2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 onion chopped – I used a whole small one

3 TBS unsalted butter

grated Parmesan or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Saute pancetta in sweet butter till crisp, add garlic, onion, fennel, fennel seeds to pan.  I used a braising pan.  Stir frequently till all is soft .  Cover pan.  

Add cooked pasta to the pan and toss with mixture.  Add the cream.  Sprinkle liberally with grated cheese.


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I wish I were a better cookie baker but I’m not!   Luckily I have two friends who are fantastic cookie makers/bakers!  My friend Susan in CT brought a large plate of assorted delicious cookies last week.   I had to finally put the last of them in the freezer because I was eating Ginger Snaps for breakfast, Christmas trees for lunch, Milk chocolate and white chocolate chip cookies and Pfferneuse for late night noshing! And my friend Dorothy brought me a plate of cookies ostensibly for Finley, however, I don’t think Finny even got one – they were yum yummy!

Christmas cookies, doves, holiday cookies

Sugar Cookie Doves

Makes 18 cookies| Hands-On Time: 25m | Total Time: 1hr 25m



  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff). Shape into a disk and (unless otherwise specified in an individual recipe) refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days. 

Recipe from Real Simple

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Gifts to buy, presents to wrap, groceries to buy, decorate the house, buy stocking-stuffers, get the Secret Santa gift, send out Christmas cards, go to the office holiday party and on and on and on….

Here’s one holiday preparation that is truly quick and easy and yummy too.  Check it out.



  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cream, and cocoa, then boil for 1 minute.
  2. Remove the saucepan from heat, add the peanut butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Stir in the oats and peanuts.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the batter onto wax paper–lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart, and let cool until set, about 20 minutes.
  4. Storage suggestion: Keep the cookies at room temperature, between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

*** This recipe from Gina Maria Miraglia Enriquez to REAL SIMPLE magazine

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Littleneck clams, small hard clams, species Me...

Little Neck Clams

You know I LOVE shopping at Wegman’s and one the best features of the store is that fact that often when you walk in, you see Gus over to the left and you know to make a bee line directly to him to see what he is cooking up!  Well the other day it was clams!  Gus was grilling some Little Neck clams and preparing them in a way that never occurred to me.  He handed me a warm little half clam shell with the clam and a tiny piece of steamed asparagus in it and it was drizzled with Wegman’s  Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

If you recall my very long Memorial Day blog, you know that I served these clams as an appetizer.  They were different, delicious and fairly easy to make.  Of course it is easier to do when you have the ingredients available the way Wegman’s does;  The clams were in a net bag, the asparagus were a gorgeous green, uniform in size and packaged in a micro-wavable pouch and Wegman’s carries a line of finishing butters which come in small round containers, slightly bigger than a disk of cream cheese you might get at a restaurant.

Steam or grill the clams till they open.

Steam your asparagus for a couple of minutes in the microwave.

Melt a container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

I put the clams on the stove to steam open.   I put the asparagus in the microwave and then put the finishing butter in the microwave to melt.

With slotted spoon, I removed the clams to a colander in the sink and proceed to remove one half of the shells.   I quickly sliced a few asparagus into tiny pieces and put one piece on each clam and then just drizzled the melted butter on each.  It was a great presentation to bring a platter of these to the table

Here’s what I learned – I should have used just the tips of the asparagus because it would have looked nicer and you can always serve the rest of the asparagus minus the tips as a side dish later.  The clams didn’t stay hot while I went through the process of opening and discarding one shell and then topping with asparagus and butter.  A good chef has every component prepped so he or she can just add the ingredients as needed.  I thought I had but I found myself cutting up asparagus or trimming pieces to make them smaller because the clams are tiny.  Next time I will put the finished clams on a baking sheet and warm them up a bit before putting them on the platter.  I was using my Melmac so that wasn’t going in the oven and was too large for the microwave.    To improvise if you can’t find finishing butter, for this dish, I believe melted butter with some garlic powder or garlic salt in it and maybe some finely chopped Italian parsley would be fine.

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Peanut butter 14juni09 001

Image via Wikipedia

Late, late just like the White Rabbit who sings: I’m late / I’m late / For a very important date. / No time to say “Hello.” / Goodbye. / I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” Not late with this recipe BUT this bark is supposed to be a Christmas present for my daughter and I’m making it tomorrow!


Smooth peanut butter and two types of chocolate make up this version of the beloved peanut butter cup.

Vegetable oil cooking spray

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 ounces of milk chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Coat a 9-by-12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on ends.  Melt bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring.  Pour into baking sheet, and spread in an even layer.

Melt milk chocolate with peanut butter in a double-boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Drizzle chocolate-peanut butter mixture over bittersweet chocolate, and swirl with a skewer.  Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  Break into pieces.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine

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I served this dessert at Christmas for several years.  Of course, the dessert table was laden with other choices, however, this is one of my favorites because it incorporates two of my favorite foods: chocolate and ice cream!  This year it may be resurrected.


1  1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa

1 TBS ground espresso beans

2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees with two racks spaced evenly apart. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa, and espresso beans; set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, scraping down sides of bowl twice.
  • Roll 2 1/2 tablespoons of dough between the palms of your hand to form a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining batter, spacing cookies two inches apart. Using a dinner fork, press tines into dough, and gently press into biscuit shape. Bake biscuits just until firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve these dessert biscuits with coffee** ice cream.
  • Read more at Marthastewart.com: Espresso Biscuits – Martha Stewart Recipes

    I have also served these delicious (not too sweet) biscuits with Peppermint Ice Cream.

    chocolate cookie, espresso, christmas dinner dessert,coffee ice cream, peppermint ice cream

    Yum Yum Yummy!

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    Someone stuffing a turkey

    Image via Wikipedia

    Or NOT – for the past few years I’ve opted to bake the stuffing separately and not in the bird.  When you have an empty cavity you can put onions and lemons inside, and you don’t have to get all gooey while trying to jam the stuffing in – and if you are using meat in your stuffing, I definitely would not want it inside the turkey because by the time you were sure the sausage had cooked through, your turkey could be dry and overdone.  Anyway, that’s just my opinion and this blog is really about the stuffing itself.

    There are probably hundreds of stuffing variations; regional choices dictate certain ingredients, generational recipes passed down over the years, perhaps tweaked a bit here and there.  I’ve made all kinds of stuffings;  my mother-in-law’s recipe (see   previous blog http://wp.me/pNyWj-19g), basic bread stuffing, sausage and chestnut dressing, sage stuffing and god knows how many others for Thanksgivings past.

    This year it’s going to be Celery-Herb Stuffing.  I’ve picked this stuffing for this year because I’m doing most of the cooking myself, and Peter has been telling me for two weeks “not to overdo it”.  So I’m hoping this stuffing won’t be too difficult and I think it will complement the Roast Turkey with Rosemary and Lemon.


    7 TBS unsalted butter, plus more for baking dish

    1 loaf rustic white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/2″ cubes

    1 celery Root (1 1/2 lb) peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

    Coarse salt and pepper

    2 TBS Olive oil

    3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal

    2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced in half-moons

    2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

    1/2 cup extra dry vermouth

    1/2 to 1 3/4 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken stock

    1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (such as Bell’s)

    3 TBS coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

    3 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage

    2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

    2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

    3-4 large eggs lightly beaten

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt 5 TBS butter in a skillet.  Toss with bread cubes in a large bowl.  Spread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Toast in oven, tossing once, until golden about 29 minutes.  Let cool completely.

    Place celery root in a medium saucepan; add salted cold water to cover.  Bring to boil; reduce heat, and simmer until soft, about 15 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

    Heat oil and remaining 2 TBS of butter in a large skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH heat.  Add vermouth, cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until it bubbles.  Pour over bread-vegetable mixture.  Stir in 1/2 cup stock, the poultry seasoning, and herbs; season with salt and pepper. Stir in 3 eggs.

    Stir in 1 1/4 cup stock.  Stir in an egg.  Spoon into buttered 13″ by 9″  baking dish, and dot generously with butter.  Cover with   foil, and bake at 375 degrees, 25 minutes.  Uncover, and bake until golden brown, 10-15 minutes more.

    Recipe from Martha Stewart Living


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