Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Linzer Tarts

Meals shared with family at Christmas creates timeless memories and certain dishes are associated with them.....this recipe brings to mind my sister-in-law, Susan's Linzer Tarts... we all looked forward to her arriving at holiday parties with a decorative Christmas dish covered with her signature cookie! 

Makes 24 cookies

2¾ C all purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 C butter, softened

1 C sugar

1 egg

3 ounces block cream cheese, softened

½ C ground walnuts

1  jar (10 ounces) good quality seedless raspberry jam*

Sift the flour and baking powder together into a small bowl.

Beat the softened butter, sugar, egg, and cream cheese together in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add to the flour mixture. Blend thoroughly, and stir in nuts. Pat into a disk and place in lightly floured wax paper. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Preheat an oven to 350˚F. Roll out the dough until it is 1⁄8-inch thick, cut with cookie cutters, and place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15  minutes. Cool thoroughly. Store the unfilled cookies for up

to 1 week in an air-tight container.

Do not fill the cookies until ready to serve. When serving, place 1 teaspoon of preserves on the bottom cookie, and press the top cookie over it. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. * as an alternative to the jam you can use Nutella® if you decide to use this option than I suggest using hazelnuts in place of the walnuts.

Happy Holidays one and all!  Best Wishes, Mary Elizabeth 

This and other holiday recipes can be found in Country Comfort: Holiday Cookbook

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pasta with Roasted Eggplant, Ricotta Salata & Pine Nuts

This recipe was shared with us from Chef Roland A. Iadanza (West Babylon, NY)

Once you roast the eggplant, cut the ingredients and make a vinaigrette .....voila you have a delicious meal in one bowl! 
Serves 4 -6

2 small Italian eggplants, peeled and cut into cubes
1 TBL Kosher salt
2 TBL extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 egg
1 clove fresh garlic or 1 clove poached garlic, crushed and minced
cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pounds fresh pappardelle  or pasta
1-2 TBL extra virgin olive oil
1 (14 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and cut in quarters
4 thin slices prosciutto, cut into julienne style
¼ cup julienne sun-dried tomato
2 cups baby spinach
¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
½ cup toasted pine nuts * 
4 ounces shaved ricotta salata or Locatteli

Place eggplant into  in a colander over a bowl and  generously salt. Let it drain for about ½ hour. Toss twice. Remove and dry on a  paper towel. Toss with 2 TBL olive oil, roast  at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Stir often to cook evenly. Let it cool.  In a deep bowl whisk together egg, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Continue to whisk vigorously and pour ½ cup olive oil in a slow and steady stream in the center of the bowl. Set this aside.

Bring a large pot of salted* water to a boil and stir in pasta.  Stir occasionally and cook until al dente (about 8 minutes)  * the water should taste like sea water. Drain, toss with 1-2 TBL of olive oil, and set aside.

Place artichoke hearts, roasted eggplant, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes,
and olives in large pasta bowl. Add balsamic vinaigrette and pasta and toss, seasoning
to taste with salt and pepper. Place shaved ricotta salata and pine nuts
on top and serve immediately. Can be served warm or cold.
Mary Elizabeth 

Check the Chef Tip’s Tab to see how to toast nuts and click here to learn how to poach   Garlic and make a perfect  Vinaigrette )

This recipe along with other seasonal favorites can be found in Country Comfort Cookbooks: Harvest

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Quiche Lorraine

I found this recipe many years ago in the NY Times ... a great resource for delectable  recipes!  I've been making it ever since .... especially for brunch  accompanied by a salad.  It's a crowd pleaser ... given that it's so rich and creamy! (a homemade crust ... will make a difference)

4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
ounces Swiss Cheese, grated
4 pieces of bacon, cooked until well done, drain well on paper towels and brake into 1" pieces
1 TBL minced shallots
4 large eggs
¾ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 prepared 9 inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 425
Sprinkle cheeses, bacon & shallots  over bottom of pie crust. Beat eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add cream and mix well. Pour this mixture in pie shell. Bake x 15 minutes @ 425
 Reduce temperature to 300 and bake x 30 minutes.
Enjoy! Mary Elizabeth

This recipe, along with our other family favorites, can be found in Country Comfort Cookbooks: Holidays

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup with Curry

The first day I made this butternut squash soup, it became infamous in our household. From that day on, there has never been a special fall dinner that did not include this soup. Once you have prepared the squash, the remaining steps are quite easy to follow, and the end result will have your guests requesting it for many dinners to come.

4 cups butternut squash cubes or 2 (16 ounce) cans pureed
butternut squash
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons  oil
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
2 large yellow onions, diced
2  tablespoons  curry  
3 tablespoons sugar
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1  cup apple cider
½  cup roasted garlic gloves *  (optional)
Salt and  freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a large pot, sweat the onions in butter and oil. Once the onions
are translucent and soft, add the roasted garlic. Stir in the butternut
squash and apples. Be sure to coat each piece with the onion mixture.

Add the stock and cider and bring to a boil, then lowering to a simmer.
Simmer over a low heat for at least 30 minutes until the squash
is tender when pierced with a fork. Stir carefully to make sure nothing
is stuck to the bottom of the pot. Using a blender, food processor,
or hand-held mixer, puree the soup.

Add the cream, sugar, curry, salt, and pepper to taste. If the soup
is too thick, add more chicken stock, . cup at a time until the desired
consistency is reached.
Enjoy! Mary Elizabeth

This recipe appears in Country Comfort Cookbooks: Harvest
*To learn how to roast garlic see Chef Nicole's tips - garlic.

Friday, November 1, 2013


My friend, Kelly, gave me this recipe, any time she does I know it is going to be  good. It has been my "go to” salad dressing ever since!

1 Tbl  Dijon Mustard
4 Tbls Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp sugar  
½ tsp Kosher Salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1- 2 Tbls fresh chives, snipped
½  cup extra virgin olive oil

In a tall bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the olive oil).  Whisk mixture rapidly while pouring the olive oil into the center of the bowl, in a slow and steady  stream. The mixture will be creamy. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve

Serve with a piece of seared salmon, salad and a crusty piece of bread and you have a complete meal.  
Enjoy! Mary Elizabeth (co-author, Country Comfort Cookbooks)

TIP: making a creamy vinaigrette which will not separate necessitates proper technique - watch our "how to" video.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Greek Salad

  5 cups Torn Green and Red Lettuce, torn 
  1 Large Tomato, coarsely chopped
  ½ cup Cucumber, sliced or diced
  1  Small Red Onion, thinly sliced or chopped
  1 can Black Olives, drained and sliced
  1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled

  1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
   3 Tbl. Red Wine Vinegar  
   2 Tbl. Freshly squeezed Lemon juice
   1 /2 Tsp. dried oregano
   1 Tsp. Sugar
   1 Clove garlic, minced
   ¼ Tsp. freshly cracked black pepper  
   ½ bunch fresh dill, chopped

Toss salad ingredients in a bowl. Prepare dressing by placing the ingredients in a screw top jar and shaking vigorously. Do not add the dressing until immediately before serving.  I like to grill lamb chops to serve alongside the salad. (For a complete meal serve with warm pita bread and yogurt sauce)

Enjoy! Mary Elizabeth

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spinach Salad

All you need is a nice loaf of crusty bread to go with this salad and you have dinner! (how easy was that?!)

½ cup  extra virgin olive oil
½ cup  red wine vinegar
¼ cup  chopped red onion
¼ cup   sugar
1 ½ tsp  paprika
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp  salt
½ tsp  freshly cracked black pepper
10 oz   bag baby spinach
4  slices crisply* cooked bacon broken into bits
2  hard boiled eggs, sliced
8 oz   artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half

Mix all dressing in a jar and shake. Set aside. Immediately before serving, mix all ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Enjoy

for crisp bacon - preheat oven to 400. Place the bacon side by side on a cookie sheet (do not overlap) cook for 15 minutes and drain on paper towels.  Take a cooking scissor and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.