Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin


Cauliflower Gratin is an awesome fall side dish. Even veggie Haters wont be able to resist. It is also a great dish to serve to the kids. Let me Inspire You!!!!!!!!

Ingredients


1 lg. Head of Cauliflower

1/4 t. salt

2 c. milk

4T. butter

1/2 c. cream

1/3 c. flour

Salt & Pepper

Pinch of two of nutmeg

3/4 c. grated Gruyere
3/4 c. shredded cheddar

Directions

Cut and steam Cauliflower. Place to the side.

Pour milk, 1/2 c. cooking liquid or water and cream into pan, heat slowly (DON'T BOIL). Melt butter in another saucepan, whisk in flour and make a loose paste. Cook roux for 2 min. (until light beige) Remove from heat- stir in another 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return to boil and add spices. Simmer 2-3 mins. Sprinkle salt, 1/8 t. pepper and 1/2 the cheese on florets. Ladle on sauce and top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400 for 25 mins.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pesto with Angelhair Pasta


Angelhair Pasta with Pesto served cold as a pasta salad is super delicious and healthy. This dish is by far the most popular pasta salad on our menu. Pesto is very easy to make. Follow my recipe below



Ingredients

2 tablespoons chopped pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pinchs of pepper


Directions:

Take out your blender or food processor. With the motor running, drop the pine nuts and garlic through the feed chute. Process until finely minced. Add the olive oil and pulse three times. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to the processor bowl. Process until finely minced, scraping down sides. Fold into cooked pasta

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Corn on the Cob ( Mexican style)


Corn on the Cob is a delicious summer time staple. We serve it at many of our backyard barbecues but with a Mexican Flair. It is absolutely unbelievably awesome!!!!! You must try it.Let me inspire you..



Ingredients

4 ears corn, shucked
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grated cotija cheese
salt and pepper to taste
4 wedges lime


Directions
Preheat barbecue on high heat
Grill corn until hot and lightly charred all over, 7 to 10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the grill. Roll the ears in melted butter, then spread evenly with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and serve with a lime wedge.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Blackend Anything is Delicious



So many of us are on diets or watching our weight. We often cater ladies luncheons and they request an elaborate salad with some sort of grilled chicken on top. BORING!! and sometimes tasteless and dry. Blackening is a great alternative to grilled anything. You simply cover one side completely with the seasoning and then sear on a flaming hot skillet. This causes the chicken or fish to cook quickly while locking juices inside.


Ingredients
1 heaping tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder
1 heaping teaspoon onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon leaf thyme
1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano

Directions

Mix all ingredients, shake, and season

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Grilled Salmon


Many of us love to grill fish on the barbecue in the summer. Below is a simple marinade we use at Elegant Affairs. The flavor is absolutely delicious. All you need to do is simply combine the ingredients below, place in baggies with salmon and marinate 2-4 hours. Let me inspire you.

Ingredients

2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
2tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon honey
2tablespoon soy sauce
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large salmon fillet (about 2 lb), cut into 8 pieces

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blueberry Ravioli



When one hears the word ravioli one usually thinks of the kind that is stuffed with creamy Ricotta and topped with Tomato sauce. We had this client once who loved blueberries and wanted us to come up with a creative way to serve them as a dessert. Well, when our culinary team whipped up and served a batch of blueberry ravioli the client was sold. They really are uniquely delicious. Let me inspire you to whip up a batch for your family and friends at your next gathering.

Ingredients


1 egg, beaten
3 cups flour
Water

Blueberry Filling

6 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix fruit and sugar. Fill ravioli immediately before juice is drawn out of fruit.



Mix one egg, 3 cups of flour an enough water to make a dough. Do not overwork dough or you will get tough ravioli.

Roll dough to 1/16 of an inch (as thin as you can get the dough without ripping it). Cut into 3-4 inch circles. In the center of the circle, place a heaping teaspoon of blueberry filling. Moisten the edge of half the circle. Fold the dough in half over the moisten edge and pinch to seal (you can also crimp edges with a fork).

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop about 5 ravioli into the boiling water (careful not to have edges tough or the ravioli will become glued together. Cover and boil for 5 minutes or until they float. Remove ravioli with a slotted spoon an put in a large bowl. Pat with butter and sprinkle with sugar

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Goat Cheese and Chive Stuffed Tomatoes





Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes are a delicious and healthy appetizer that you can whip up minutes before company arrives. They were quite the craze 20 years ago..and now they are making a comeback.Let me inspire you to try stuffing them with chive scented goat cheese.







Ingredients

1 package cherry tomatoes halved and hollowed
1 pkg room temperature cream cheese (8 oz)
1 log room temperature plain goat cheese (6 – 8 oz)
1 clove garlic minced
3/4 tsp lemon zest
small handful fresh chives
salt to taste

Directions

Cut and Hollow out 1 package of cherry tomatoes..
Combine all of the ingredients above in a glass bowl. Place into a pastry bag. Pipe a dollop into each tomato half. Chill and serve...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Grilled Zucchini Poppers



Zucchini Rollers are their name. Culinary Bliss is their game. Grilled zucchini poppers stuffed with either pesto scented ricotta or goat cheese combined with julienne veg and greens then drizzled with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette. YUM!!! Let me inspire you.....

Ingredients
1 green zucchini, thinly sliced brushed with olive oil , aged balsamic and salt and pepper
1 red pepper julienne raw
1 bunch of arugula or greens
5 ounces goat cheese
1 ounce sour cream
Substitue Goat cheese and sourcream for Ricotta
1/2 teaspoon of Basil Pesto
Lemon thyme or Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions
Lightly grill zucchini. On a sheet of plastic wrap lay out zucchini strips. Mix goat cheese and sour cream with pesto and spread a thin layer on top zucchini strips.Lay the peppers and a pich of greens on the end of the strip and roll it up in plastic wrap.. Refrigerate for up to two hours. To serve, slice into 1/4 inch pieces and drizzled top with vinaigrette

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Spinach and Feta Crepes


When one thinks of crepes one often thinks sweet no savory. Crepes are awesome!!! We offer Crepe stations at our parties. Fillings often include Crispy Prosciutto with Basil scented Ricotta, Hoison Duck, and yes Lemon scented Spinach and Feta Crepes. Don't be intimidated by making crepes. If you follow the directions below it will be a snap. Let me inspire you go go out of your comfort zone and make this fabulous dish.

Ingredients

Filling

3 bunches fresh spinach
1 onion, finely chopped
feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 carton ricotta cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 lemon
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

CREPES

125 g all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3 teaspoons butter, melted
oil (for frying)

Directions

Cook Spinach then drain and pat with towels. Take moisture away.
Add finely chopped onion, the Feta, Parmesan,juice of 1/2 Lemon, Ricotta Cheese, Nutmeg and S and P

CREPES
Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Add eggs and a little milk. Beat well. Add the remaining milk and lastly the melted butter. Heat oil in crepe pan (or use spray).
Pour about 3-4 tablespoons of crepe mixture into pan- enough to cover the base of the pan thinly and evenly.
Cook over high heat for about 1 minute until mixture looks as though it is setting on the top and the underneath is lightly browned. Turn crepe over and cook the other side for about 1/2 a minute. Remove from pan and place on piece of waxed paper.
Place wax paper between crepes as you remove each one from the pan.

NEXT
Place even amounts of Spinach mixture in the center of each crepe. Fold crepe , place in Pyrex dish ( sprayed with non stick spray) and cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Feel free to add lemon garlic and oregano scented chicken to this dish.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Scallop and Bacon Kebobs


Everyone loves kabobs in the summer. Most of us stick with chicken or beef kabobs. Scallop and bacon Kabobs are easy to make and a huge crowd pleaser. Let me inspire you to fire up these tasty skewers at your next cook out.

Ingredients

24-30 Sea Scallops
6 Red and Green Peppers cleaned and sliced into 1" x2" pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 slices Bacon ( cooked in pan until half done but still limp)
1 cup Orange juice
3 cloves Garlic, minced
½ cup Pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. Chopped fresh dill

Directions

Season scallops with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set to one side.
Wrap each scallop in half slice of bacon and thread onto the skewers alternating with pepper slices. Place 4-6 bacon-wrapped scallops on each skewer.
Lay skewers in a large, flat glass dish.
In a small bowl combine the orange juice, garlic, maple syrup, mustard and dill.
Pour half the marinade mixture over the scallops, turning to coat on all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hrs
Preheat grill to medium high.
Remove scallops from the dish and discard the marinade the scallops were in.
Grill scallops for 3-4 minutes per side, basting frequently with the remaining marinade, until bacon is crisp and the scallops are just cooked.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Grilled Vegetable Marinades


Grilled Vegetables are colorful, healthy, and delicious. They are easy to make and are the perfect accompaniment to any main protein source. You can grill almost any vegetable. At Elegant Affairs we typically assemble a display of Asparagus, Carrots, Eggplant, Zucchini, Peppers, Portabella Mushrooms, Onions, and Tomatoes. Once grilled you can serve them as an appetizer with sliced bread if not with the main course.. The secret to fabulous grilled veggies is the marinade. Typically, the average host with use a combination of balsamic vinegar, oil , and herbs. Let me inspire you to think out of the box and try these unique marinades. You and your guests will be thrilled!!!!!

Spicy Orange & Cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon onion powder

Asian
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Brown Sugar & Bourbon
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

Lemon & Garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Maple & Wasabi
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon wasabi

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cheesecake Lolipops


Cheese cake Lollipops have become quite the craze. Who doesn't love cheesecake? Transforming this classic dessert into a miniature bit size treat is genius. The look is sophisticated and because the dessert is so tiny people never feel guilty indulging in them. Kids and Adults love these sweet treats!!. Let me inspire you to whip up and serve this fabulous dessert at your next gathering.

Ingredients

1 - 16 oz. cheesecake
22 to 24 lollipop or wooden craft sticks
Small ice cream scoop (1 to 1 1/2 tablespoon size)
1 3/4 to 2 cups Semi-Sweet or Milk Chocolate Morsels
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/2 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

Directions

Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
Cut cheesecake into 22 to 24 small even pieces.
Press pieces of cheesecake, including crust, into an ice cream scoop. Working quickly, shape into 1 1/2" balls. Press one lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Place on prepared baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour.
Microwave semi-sweet morsels and shortening in dry, medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. Morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted.

Place on prepared baking sheet; freeze until ready to serve. Allow to soften for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Yields - 22 to 24 pops

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mediterranean Hummus with Spiced Beef


Most of us have eaten hummus as a snack or appetizer. We serve a non vegetarian variation of hummus at our parties and the crowds go wild. The secret is to add texture and dimension to this spread like snack. Adding Mediterranean spiced beef catapults hummus to a whole new culinary level. Try serving this dish at your next gathering. Your guests will devour it.




Ingredients

1 pint of hummus home made or pre-made ( your choice of flavor)
1/4 pound ground beef
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
Pita bread cut into triangles

Directions

In a small nonstick skillet over medium high heat, add the meat, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, cumin, and salt to taste and cook, stirring, until meat is browned. Spoon on top of the hummus and serve with warm pita triangles

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Skirt Steak Marinades


If you haven't been well acquainted with skirt steak in the past, skirt steak is a great meat to marinate and cook on the grill. It's one of the most flavorful steak cuts, but also one of the tougher ones too, which is why it's so great to marinate.

Skirt steaks are one of mine and my clients' favorite steaks, and they're made even more delicious with the easy-to-make tasty marinades.


Latin Flair Steak Marinade

This marinade is great for those who want a bit of a Latin touch for a fiesta night.

Ingredients

1 Cup Orange Juice

1 Whole Squeezed Lime

1 Tablespoon Chopped Cilantro

1 Packet Goya Sason Seasoning with Saffron

1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Directions

Combine the ingredients below then place in a plastic baggie with the steak for a minimum of 2 hours.



Asian Flair Steak Marinade

An Asian Flair Steak Marinade is fantastic for those of you who are in for a Bruce Lee movie marathon.

Ingredients

1 Cup Soy Sauce

The Juice of one Lemon

1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

2 Tbsp Grated Ginger Root

1 Clove Crushed Garlic

1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

Combine the ingredients below then place in a plastic baggie with the steak for a minimum of 2 hours.



Mediterranean Flair Steak Marinade

When it's South of Italy, South of France, Greece, or Turkey that makes your heart skip a beat, give our Mediterranean Flair Steak Marinade a try for those nights out on your porch.

Ingredients

1 Cup Red Wine

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arugula and Orange Salad


Its no surprise that I love Arugula. I enjoy it so much more than those played out Mesclun greens. Arugula and oranges make a great culinary combo. We serve this salad often as a first course at our "Tuscan" vineyard style weddings. The guests always love it. Let me inspire you to make this delicious salad recipe at home.

Ingredients

Arugula
1 orange peeled and separated
1 red onion, shaved
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup Ricotta Salata cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette
Lemon juice
Pinch of sugar
White wine vinegar
Chopped garlic( 1 clove)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions
Combine arugula, orange, red onions, pine nuts, and cheese . In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, vinegar, chopped garlic and olive oil and salt and pepper.

Toss Salad with dressing and serve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cobb Salad


Cobb Salad is a fantastic tasty treat. It is a dish that one often orders for lunch in a restaurant. Most of us would never consider making it at home.Let me inspire you to make it and serve with dinner or on the buffet at your next gathering. We use the "Cobb salad" concept in many different ways. The photo above shows mini Cobb salad towers with we often present as a table top appetizer at afternoon functions. All of our guests fall in love with it. I urge you to try this at home..






Ingredients
8 slices bacon cooked
3 hard boiled eggs
1 cup cooked chopped chicken
1 head iceberg lettuce chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup Gorgonzola
1 avocado - peeled pitted and diced
3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Salad dressing of choice( creamy) blue cheese, ranch, etc .


Directions

Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken Waldorf Salad



Elegant Affairs operates a cafe in the Nassau County Museum of Art. I set up a lunch meeting there the other day and entertained some clients. I ordered the Chicken Waldorf Salad. Boy was it was awesome!!. This chicken salad is great on a sandwich or scooped onto a bed of greens or in the shape of a stylish tower ( for a seated luncheon plate). Let me inspire you to make this recipe at home. The family will love it!!




Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced
1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper


Directions

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and the lemon juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Mix in the apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce, or on bread

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lemon Oregano Potatoes



I love roasted potatoes. My Aunt Paula married a restaurateur of Greek decent. When I visit my parents in Florida , we often get together. Uncle Simon made these amazing potatoes at a dinner party, I was in heaven. The recipe below is very quick and simple to produce. Serve these potatoes with roasted chicken, pork, beef, or veal.


Ingredients

4 large baking potatoes peeled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock or chicken stock

Directions

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Place the potatoes in an oven proof skillet. Add the oil, garlic, lemon juice,dried oregano, salt and pepper and toss

Add the stock to the skillet, enough to come halfway up the sides of the potatoes. Cover and Boil for 5 minutes.

Take skillet off the stove and place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.

Cauliflower Au Gratin


Enough with the boring side dishes. Green beans, Carrots, and Peas are all great but soooooo ordinary. We often serve Cauliflower Au Gratin as a side dish when presenting a buffet. Cauliflower is healthy and delicious. The recipe below is very simple to produce,just mix and bake... It is that easy!!! Serve this great dish with steak, lamb, fish, or chicken.



Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes..Drain and set aside

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1/2 cup Cheddar, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining cheese and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Steakhouse Menu at Home


Everyone loves the food offered at a New York style steak house. Perfectly seasoned porterhouse steaks, creamed spinach, wedge salad, and mashed potatoes. Why not serve this exact meal at your next gathering? Your guests will be pleasantly surprised by your originality in serving this restaurant favorite in a home setting. Below are some tips on grilling the perfect steak..Good luck and let me know how you make out.

DIRECTIONS

Step 1: Preheat your barbecue to medium high. Rub both sides of the steak with olive oil and generously season with "season salt".


Step 2: Cook the steak on the barbecue until desired temperature, then drizzled the top with melted butter. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving


HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR STEAK IS DONE

The time needed to cook a steak varies depending on its thickness, and how you like it. Dont cut into a steak to see if it's done.

Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F

GENERAL GRILLING GUIDE FOR THINNER CUTS OF STEAK

For steak 1.5cm-thick:
Rare - 1-1 1/2 minutes each side
Medium - 2-3 minutes each side
Well done - 3-4 minutes each side

For steak 2-3cm-thick:
Rare - 2-3 minutes each side
Medium - 4-5 minutes each side
Well done - 5-6 minutes each side

Tongs test
Rare - soft
Medium - slightly firmer and springy
Well done - very firm with no spring

Friday, April 2, 2010

Glazed Ham


Ham is a very popular choice entree for many of our Holidays. Very often people will glaze their ham with the traditional combination of ingredients pineapple, cloves, brown sugar,and honey. I wont deny that the traditional glaze is delicious. However, at Elegant Affairs we try to think out of the box and offer our clients something a little different. Below is a list of some of our favorite marinades.Let me inspire you to try one of them at your next family gathering...

Orange Glaze
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier


Pear Ginger Glaze
1 teaspoon dry ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
canned pear or peach syrup to make a thick paste

Marmalade Glaze
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
add enough pineapple juice to create a thick paste

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tiramisu Parfait


Tiramisu is a typically a delicious creamy coffee infused cake. It is usually time consuming to prepare because you have to take your time placing the lady fingers just so..We found a way around this little dilemma. We serve tiramisu parfaits which encompass all the fabulous flavors with out all the fuss. Let me inspire you to make and serve this yummy dessert at your next gathering.


Ingredients

8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whipped cream ( best to make from scratch )
1 package ladyfingers
1/2 cup brewed strong coffee
1 shot coffee-flavored liqueur
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. Fold in 1 1/3 cups of whipped cream. Mix coffee with liqueur in a separate bowl.Dunk ladyfingers in prepared coffee and liqueur. Cut and place layer of ladyfingers in the bottom of parfait glasses. Spoon half of cheese mixture over ladyfingers. Top with another layer of ladyfingers and remaining cheese mixture. Top with remaining ladyfingers. Spoon remaining whipped cream over top. Sift cocoa over whipped topping and garnish with lady fingers.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Pie


As an Italian American growing up in New York, an Easter did not pass by without "pizza rustica" or Easter pie. Seriously, I could say that it is one of my all time favorite indulgence. Its not quite a pizza, not quite a quiche....its in a class of its own. You absolutely must make this dish and serve it on or around Easter Sunday. It is typically served in pie type slices as an appetizer before dinner. With all my heart, let me inspire you to make this unbelievably delicious treat.

Ingredients ( makes 2 pies)

Crust

3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup Crisco
1/4 cup sugar
6 eggs yolks
1 cup cold water
pinch of salt

Filling

1 dozen hard boiled eggs ( sliced to place on bottom of pie shell)
4 eggs
2 pounds of ricotta cheese
2 cups locatelli grated cheese
1 small shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 pound super sod shredded
1/2 pound shredded salami
1/2 pound shredded pepperoni
1/4 pound shredded prosciutto
1 bunch chopped parsley

Directions

Crust: Place all ingredients in the mixer except the water . Mix the dough while adding the water in slowly.Pulse dough until it comes together in a ball. Cut dough in half evenly so you have enough for both pies. Then cut each half in two so that one half is slightly bigger than the other. The smaller half will be the top crust. Wrap each in plastic wrap and rest dough for an hour in fridge. (If you don't have a food processor, work in butter with a dough cutter or a fork and use your hands to integrate eggs.)

When dough is almost done resting, preheat oven to 350°F.

Make filling: Beat eggs... add cheese and shredded meats and parsley. Mix well..

Grease 2 9" pie shells with crisco and a dusting of flour.Roll out the larger pieces of dough on a floured board until each piece will fill the 9-inch pie shell. Place dough in the bottom of each pie pan. Layer the bottom of the dough with sliced hard boiled eggs. Add cheese/meat filling. Roll out smaller pieces of dough to cover tops. Crimp around edges to seal it. Brush the tops with an egg wash, (beaten eggs). This will give it a sheen when it bakes. Finally, poke holes or slits in the top crust to allow the steam to vent.

Cook in preheated 350°F oven or 45 minutes.

Yield: 2 pie

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Matzoh Ball Perfection


Matzoh Balls are a staple in Jewish cuisine. We typically make gallons of it once a year during Passover. I must say we do make a mean matzoh ball at Elegant Affairs. Below is a recipe that is a combination of our recipe and the recipe of my dear friend's grandmother. Follow the directions carefully because they can be a bit temperamental. Let me inspire you to cook and serve the best matzoh balls ever!!!!

Ingredients

1 cup matzo meal
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons chicken stock
11/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon pepper

water
2 large cans chicken stock
2 carrots diced
2 celery stalks diced
1 large onion dinced

Directions

Place all dry ingredients into a bowl.
In a separate bowl break eggs and add the oil and stock.
Gently mix with a fork until the yolks are broken.
Pour egg mixture into the dry mixture and gently mix with the fork. ( DO NOT OVER MIX, JUST COMBINE)
Place in the fridge and let it sit for 1 hour.

Place a soup pot on the heat, place a tablespoon of oil or so in the bottom of the pot. Add diced onion,celery, and carrots. Once the onion is translucent add and fill pot with 2 parts chicken stock add a 1 part water and bring it to a boil.

Take batter out of fridge and gently remove teaspoon fulls of the batter and roll into 1-2" balls and drop into the water.
When all the balls are in the water leave it to boil until all the balls float to the top, then lower the temperature to a rolling simmer for 40 minutes and your matzo balls will be ready.
DO NOT STIR AT ANY TIME!!!!!!!

Remove from pot gently, one at a time with slotted spoon. Place in soup and serve

Friday, March 26, 2010

Deviled Eggs with smoked Cheddar and Bacon


Deviled eggs are a classic. We often present a deviled egg bar at our events. This station not only offers the traditional deviled egg but a whole variety of delicious savory combinations. Below is the recipe for one of the big "crowd pleasers." Allow me inspire you to go the extra mile at your next shindig and serve this classic hors d'oeuvre three different ways. Some other popular flavor combos include; Gorgonzola and chive, salmon and dill, grilled ham and jalapeno.


Ingredients

12 hard boiled eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 slices of cooked bacon crumbled
2 tablespoons finely shredded smoked Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tbs. minced shallot
1/4 tsp.tabasco
salt and pepper to taste
paprika to sprinkle on top

Directions

Peel the hard-cooked eggs, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash egg yolks and combine with all ingredients above. Fill egg white halves with the yolk mixture finish with paprika and refrigerate
until serving..

Grilled Leg of Lamb


Many people aren't sure how to cook leg of lamb. Ive heard from many that they feel it tastes too "gamey". I would like to share with you an amazing recipe that will turn lamb non-lovers into fans with one single bite. Our culinary team came up with this recipe for leg of lamb and let me tell you it is requested over and over again. Let me inspire you to serve this dish at your next family gathering. You are sure to impress the lot.




MARINATED BUTTERFLIED LEG OF LAMB

Ingredients

1 leg of lamb, boned and butterflied
3 c. greek yogurt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup lime juice
6 cloves of minced garlic
1 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 c. chopped dill
2 tsp. course salt
1/4 tsp. pepper



Directions

Mix all ingredients into yogurt. Marinate for 2 days in refrigerator. Then bring back to room temperature and brush off any excess sauce. Grill on hot barbecue 5 to 8 minutes on each side. To serve, cut into thin slices.

Potato Latkes All Year Round


Potato Latkes are a staple for Passover. However, potato latkes(pancakes) are a fabulous accompaniment that can be served with almost any meal any time of the year. They also make a great snack for the kids. We offer Potato Pancake Bars at many of our brunch type functions. We serve them up with an array of toppings, like smoked salmon mousse, Spicy Mustard with Tasso Ham, Dill scented Creme fraiche and so much more. Below is a recipe I found on the web that is most similar to the way my culinary team prepares them at Elegant Affairs. Let me inspire you to make these delectable potato discs for your friends and family.

Ingredients

1 pound potatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil


Accompaniments: sour cream and applesauce
print a shopping list for this recipe


Directions

PreparationPreheat oven to 250°F.

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carrot Soup



Ingredients

1/2 med. onion chopped
1/2 cup butter
3 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. celery sa
1 tsp. salt
3 cups diced potatoes
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/4 cup water
2 Tbls. flour
1/2 cup heavy cream ( or milk)

Directions

Sauté the onions in butter until onions are clear but not brown.-Add stock, bay leaf, celery salt, salt, potatoes, and carrots to pot.-Simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.-Combine 1/4 cup of water and flour seperately; add to pot.-Add cream.-Simmer for 10 minutes. Don't let it boil, or it will curdle ...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Moussaka A Must Try


Everyone loves Lasagna. Did you every think of mixing it up a notch and serving the Greek version of lasagna? Its called Moussaka and it is one of the most well known traditional Greek dishes. Its a staple in most Greek American households.

This dish typically is made with lamb but I substituted beef to make it a bit more main stream. The combination of the eggplant and the beef with a unique combination of seasoning makes this dish a home run. Let me inspire you to make this dish at your next gathering or for your family dinner.



Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1/2" rounds

3/4 cup crushed tomatoes

1 pound thinly sliced potatoes

Olive oil to sautee

1 cup Parmesan

1 large minced onion

2 cups plain whole yogurt

2 cloves minced garlic

3 eggs beaten

1 pound ground beef

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Brush eggplant rounds with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brown eggplant in a skillet with 2 tablespoons with olive oil
. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in same large skillet and cook onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Then add the beef and brown completely. Add the spices, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.


In a different pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and brown potato slices on both sides. Remove to a paper towel to drain and season with salt and pepper.


In a buttered baking dish, layer potatoes, meat, eggplant and top with Parmesan.


In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, eggs and cream. Season with salt and pepper and pour over casserole.


Let casserole sit for 10 minutes and then bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow casserole to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Honey Barbecue Chicken with a Kick


Just about everyone loves barbecued chicken. If you are trying to be healthy and want to grill boneless chicken cutlets this recipe is for you. This recipe has great flavor and is easy to make.

Let me inspire you to whip up this entree for your family and friends at your next gathering.



Ingredients





6-8 boneless chicken cutlets

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

6 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon red pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon chives



Directions


Par Cook the Chicken in boiling water( 3 minutes). Light BBQ and place on medium heat. Combine all ingredients except chives.Generously baste chicken with mixture, and sprinkle with the chives. Turn once while cooking and cook for four to five minutes on each side.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stuffed Peppers


In the mood for something Healthy. Try serving stuffed peppers for dinner tonight or put them out on the buffet at your next gathering. We serve these colorful beauties at many of our events and the guests respond really well to them. Its not everyday you see these presented as an item on the buffet . If you want to make this dish even healthier substitute beef with chopped turkey. Let me inspire you to make this dish and impress all your friends and family.


Ingredients


4 green or red Holland or bell peppers
Salt
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 lb of lean ground beef
1 1/2 cup of cooked rice
1 cup of canned crushed tomato
1 tsp of dried oregano
2 pinches Fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp of Worcestershire Sauce
Tabasco sauce


Directions
Cut the top off peppers 1 inch from the stem end, and remove seeds. Add several generous pinches of salt to boiling water, then add peppers and boil, using a spoon to keep peppers completely submerged, until brilliant green (or red if red peppers) and their flesh slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Drain, set aside to cool.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 4 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add meat, rice, tomatoes, and oregano, and season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well.


Drizzle remaining 1 tbsp. Oil inside peppers, arrange cut side up in a baking dish, then stuff peppers with filling. Combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl, then spoon over filling. Add 1/4 cup of water to the baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes (or longer, depending on how big the peppers are that you are stuffing), until the internal temperature of the stuffed pepper is 150-160°F.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shepards Pie Made Easy


Shepard's Pie is a classic Irish dish usually made with ground lamb. Around St. Patricks Day, we serve alot of our "beef version" to our corporate and social clients. It is an absolute treat . It is a meal that is usually eaten only once a year. Although Corned Beef and Cabbage is the tradition this time of year, mix it up a little and try making this simple yet delicious recipe for your friends and family. Let me inspire you!!!!!



Ingredients

Mashed Potato Topping

2 pounds potatoes
2 tablespoons of cream cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Meat Mixture

1-2 tablespoon olive oil
1 3/4 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup fresh carrots


1/2 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn
1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef stock
2 teaspoons Worcestershire
2 teaspoons Tomato Paste
2 teaspoons dry thyme

1 teaspoon dry rosemary


Directions

Boil potatoes set aside. Combine cream cheese, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth. Add olive oil to hot pan then add meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add chopped carrot and onion, rosemary and thyme to the meat. Cook carrots and onion with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in stock,Worcestershire and Tomato Paste . Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas and corn.
Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Grecian Shrimp


If you want to serve a shrimp dish that is to die for, you must try this Grecian classic called Shrimp Saganaki. It is a fabulous alternative to the same old Shrimp Scampi so many of you are used to making. Most Greek restaurants will serve this dish as an appetizer. Let me inspire you to make this at home for your friends and family. Make sure you serve it with some delicious crusty bread so you can sop up the sauce. The recipe below serves four people so adjust the amounts if necessary.





Ingredients


1 1/2 pounds of cleaned shrimp with tails on

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ( or 1 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1 small can crushed tomatoes

2/3 cup coarsely grated feta cheese

2/3 cup shredded mozzarella

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1/2 shot ouzo ( or vodka)

Directions


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil until its translucent.. Add the tomato sauce, pepper or pepper flakes, oregano , and ouzo and saute until the sauce thickens . Add the shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes, or until they start to become firm. Transfer to a Pyrex dish
Bake for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 2 to 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fish and Chips


Fish and Chips are a great Treat!!! We serve them in paper cones at our events and the crowds go wild. Let me inspire you to make this for your friends and family at your next get together. Its not everyday one gets to indulge in this yummy classic, so surprise your loved ones and whip it up when they least expect it.




Ingredients

4 potatoes
corn oil
1 lb
fish fillet
2/3 cup
flour
1/2 teaspoon
salt
1/2 teaspoon
baking soda
1 tablespoon
vinegar
2/3 cup
water


Directions

Cut potatoes and deep fry 5 to 7 minutes until golden brown

Cut fish fillets into strips. Pat dry with paper towels.
Mix flour and salt. Mix baking soda and vinegar. Stir vinegar mixture and water into flour mixture; beat until smooth.
Dip fish into batter,Fry about 3 minutes, turning fish once, until brown. Drain on paper towels.
Set oven control to broil. Broil potatoes 6 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. serve with tartar sauce and malt vinegar on the side.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baked Penne and Cheese with Broccoli


Below is another great macaroni and cheese dish. I like to refer to this meal as a baked pasta casserole. It is really easy to make and cost effective for a family of four. Serve it up with a great Caesar salad and garlic bread. Let me inspire you to go out of your comfort zone and try making this for your family or friends at your next get together. We cater lots of house parties on Long Island and in Manhattan. Very often we will serve this dish as a component to the buffet. It will often represent the "starch ". If your entertaining a large group try serving it with a whole roasted Filet Mignon drizzled with Cabernet demi, a delicious potato crusted Tilapia Provencal and a fabulous arugula salad.








Ingredients

1 lb. penne pasta cooked al dente
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. fresh broccoli crowns, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces ( blanched and sauteed with garlic and oil)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon prepared pesto ( optional)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites

salt and pepper to taste

hot pepper flakes to taste ( optional)

1 cup cut Grape tomatoes

Directions


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray Casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Cook penne al dente toss with a little olive oil and set aside. Blanch broccoli, saute with garlic and oil and set aside. Put ricotta in a bowl and mix in pesto( optional but recommended) and set aside. Cut tomatoes toss with a little oil, s&p and Italian seasoning and set aside.
Toss with penne. Add 3/4cup of the Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, eggs and egg whites, and tomatoes to the penne. Mix until well combined. Transfer to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmesan and a little extra shredded mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Creamy 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese


Macaroni and Cheese is a comfort food that is a favorite of kids and adults. I realize that most of you probably buy Kraft mac and cheese or simply add Velveeta to cooked pasta. Don't get me wrong, I love that. Let me inspire you to be a little bit more gourmet. The recipe below is a four cheese mac and cheese. We serve this at our parties as a passed "mini meal" or at kids parties as their main course. Try serving it in mini ramekins instead of in a big baking dish. This presentation is fun and contemporary. If you really want to impress the adults add a tablespoon of truffle oil to the mix prior to baking it and POW BOOM BAM !!!!




Ingredients


8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded provolone cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk

Directions

Cook Pasta in salted water ( al dente). If its a little under cooked that's good.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Lightly grease a Pyrex baking dish.
Spread the Provolone cheese over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with a thin layer of macaroni. Top macaroni with Gouda cheese, another layer of macaroni, a layer of mozzarella and a third layer of macaroni. Top with a layer of Cheddar. Pour the egg over all, followed by the milk.
Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spiked Dessert Milkshakes


After dinner drinks are such a wonderful treat. Imagine combining dessert with a great cocktail. This is what we call, "The best of both worlds." Next time you entertain at home, whip up a batch of these spiked milkshakes , place them on a tray as pass them to your guests. Most of them will not be able to resist. You can serve it in a milkshake glass, a smaller highball glass, or even a shot glass. They will all be so impressed. Just make sure the kids can't get to them.




Ingredients

2 cups chocolate ice cream
3/4 cup whole chocolate milk
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 shots of Vodka
1/2 tsp. instant coffee
1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
whipped cream and sprinkles

Directions

In a blender, process all the ingredients until they are just combined. Pour into a chilled glass. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alphabet Pasta Fagioli


Remember Campbell's Alphabet Soup? I loved eating it as a child. It was always a delicious treat. I don't know one child today who doesn't adore it. Did you ever consider making it from scratch? Pasta Fagioli is not quite a soup but has soup like qualities and makes a fabulous meal. Try making this scrumptious Italian classic with Alphabet pasta. Your children will love it. This dish is ten times healthier than the canned soup and is packed with nutrients and robust flavor.



Ingredients


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 16-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano,
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans drained
Salt and pepper
8 ounces alphabet Pasta cooked
Grated Parmesan


Directions


Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.
Add garlic and sauté until brown
Stir in tomatoes and cook 6 minutes
Add parsley, basil and oregano and simmer until tomatoes soften, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Add beans and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Place pasta in bowl. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Pour sauce over and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle Parmesan on top.

Creamy Cinnamon Scented Rice Pudding


I have awesome memories of visiting my grandmother and eating her cinnamon lemon scented rice pudding. It was so creamy and packed with levels of flavor. The recipe below belongs to her and her sisters. My executive chef chuckles when he reads it because instead of using whole milk etc. she uses canned condensed and evaporated milk. Still he can't deny how delicious it is and how simple it is to make. Let me inspire you to whip up this delicious dessert and serve it to your friends and family. They will love it




Ingredients

1/2 cup Valencia Rice
4/5th cup of water
1 pinch of salt salt
1 piece of lemon rind
1 cinnamon stick
1 can Sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract


Directions

Boil water, place rice in boiling water. Bring to med/low setting, add lemon, cinnamon, salt and continue stirring. Add more water if necessary. You will end up with sticky, soupy rice (not runny). Add the three cans of milk and bring to a boil, then lower heat to med/low and add vanilla extract. Continue to stir until it becomes creamy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pea Soup in a Flash


My mom made pea soup once a year. It was always after Easter. She had to do something with the left over ham. I absolutely loved it. Pea soup made with a ham bone generally takes hours to cook. Below is a short cut to making a yummy pea soup in a flash!!!! Let me inspire you to whip up this creamy delicious soup for your friends or family. I would serve it with potato skins topped with cheddar, bacon sour cream and chives on the side.



Ingredients:


2 Tbsp. Butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 large garlic cloves

1 lb. bag frozen organic peas, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

6 fresh thyme sprigs

1 (14 oz) can chicken stock

1/4 cup half and half

1/2 cup cooked crumbled bacon

1/2 cup cooked smoked ham

1 cup croutons


Directions


Place butter in a soup pot over medium heat; saute onions and garlic with Ham till soft, about 5 minutes. Add peas, salt, pepper and thyme . Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until peas are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs, then use a burr stick or blender to puree soup . Add back into pot and add stock. Cook another 10 minutes..add cream....top with bacon and croutons

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vegetable Soup and Sandwich Combo


I got onto the scale this morning ,big mistake( lol). I can't believe I gained 13 pounds since the summer. I worked so hard, zumba class by zumba class melting the pounds away. I swore, Id never gain it back again. You think it's easy working around food all day? OMG it is tortoreous(lol), but I'm hooked because I love what I do. It's, a cold day in New York and it's winter break so tons of kids are home this week. Its a perfect day to make a hearty vegetable soup, packed with vitamins and nutrients. Serve it to your family for dinner presented in an oversized coffe mug with perhaps a home made panini, pressed sandwich, or classic grilled cheese on the side.

Ingredients


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup diced, peeled carrots
1 cup canned white beans
3/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni



Directions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
Add chopped onion and cook for 4 minutes or until just lightly browned.
Add stock, tomatoes, carrots, beans, celery, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic.
Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 20- 25 minutes
Add macaroni; cover and cook an additional 10 minutes.
Serve hot.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cucumber and Feta Oh Yeah!!!


It is a good idea to serve salad with every meal. Salad is obviously not cooked which means it is packed with nutrients. So it makes perfect sense to make it part of every meal. I want to inspire you to not just think of greens when you think of preparing a salad for your family. At our events we set up a Mediterranean station, which consists of a chef making chicken and lamb pita pockets to order stuffed with lettuce, vegetables and yogurt dill sauce. The crowd goes crazy for this cuisine. A side salad consisting of cucumber feta salad is often presented as a compliment and let me tell you even the kids love it. So tonight Id like you prepare a meal with a Mediterranean flair . It could be home made pita pockets or a roasted chicken seasoned with lemon and oregano. Serve this salad up as a side and wow!!!; you've create a culinary home run.



Ingredients


2 medium cucumbers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Fresh Dill

Directions

Cut cucumbers into 1/2-in. cubes; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Stir in onions. Combine with the cheese, lemon juice, chopped dill, olive oil and pepper. You can substitute the oil for sour cream if you wish . It is a little bit more fattening but delicious..

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake


Strawberry Shortcake has been around forever. Seriously, who doesn't like buttermilk biscuits sweet plump strawberries and homemade whipped cream. This dessert recipe is very easy and quick . You can make your own buttermilk biscuits, as we do at elegant affairs, but in consideration for all of those busy moms that simply don't have the time or patience, I suggest you buy the pop in the oven kind ( pilsbury biscuits). I will insist ,however, that you make your own whipped cream. Cool Whip just won't cut it. You can give each person a biscuit once completed or serve it up "elegant affairs "style. Once we assemble the dessert, we simple take out a small cookie cutter and create strawberry shortcake minis. The choice is yours....Allow me to inspire you create this delectable dessert for your friends and family. Good Luck !!!!!!






INGREDIENTS

1 can (10.2 oz) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups fresh strawberries
1/3 cup sugar


Whipped Cream


1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar


1/4 teaspoon vanilla


DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375°F. Separate dough into 5 biscuits. Dip tops and sides of each biscuit in butter; dip in 1/4 cup sugar. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix strawberries and 1/3 cup sugar. Set aside.
In another small bowl, beat whipping cream and 2 tablespoons sugar with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Assemble and serve

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marvelous Mozzarella at its Best!!!


So many of us love Mozzarella Sticks with Marinara sauce . However, I bet you a million dollars that you have never made it on your own. Its so funny how we always order them in a restaurant ( and they are probably frozen),but never think about making this yummy treat at home. At our events we use a variety of cheese cut into funky shapes and serve them as a pass around hors d'oeuvre. At home, this classic can be served as a snack while watching TV with the family, as a appetizer at a dinner party or get together or as a side to a fabulous pasta meal. Allow me to inspire you to make this delicious treat. It is very easy to prepare and a big crowd pleaser.


Ingredients



1 pound of Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup of flour

1 egg beaten

1 cup of olive oil

1/2 cup of bread crumbs ( seasoned Italian)

4 tbs. parmesan cheese

2 tsp. Italian seasoning

A small batch of Marinara sauce



Directions


Cut cheese into desired shape. Add the parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning to the already seasoned bread crumbs. Roll cheese in flour, then dip in beaten egg, then bread crumb mixture. Heat no more than 2 inches of oil. Fry for 20 to 30 seconds or until golden brown. Serve with your own homemade Marinara sauce.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Best Meatloaf Ever!!!!!!




Doesn't everyone love meatloaf? Its so 1950's. I am sure all of you have a memory of mom serving meatloaf with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and peas. It is very difficult to sell meatloaf as a dish at my events ( for obvious reasons). We do prepare a flat meatloaf, if you will, and then cut small circles out with a cookie cutter to create an hors d'oeuve base. We then pipe a dollop of mash potatoes out on top with a pastry bag and sprinkle with crispy fried onions. In essence we transform the meatloaf into a delicious pass around appetizer. And we certainly do not call it meatloaf. My executive chef Michael Purpura makes his meatloaf from scratch with all natural ingredients. However, I'm going to share my mom's recipe with you, which isn't quite as gourmet. None the less, It is the best meatloaf in all the world. Let me inspire you to try this recipe. If you do not agree with me after eating it and shout" Wow it is the best"...my name isn't Andrea Correale (lol)
Ingredients
1 lb chop meat
2 eggs
1 cup oats
1 tbs. horseradish
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup milk
1 package onion soup mix
Glaze
1 tbs. horseradish
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. spicy mustard
Directions
Combine all ingredients well . Form a loaf and place in pyrex dish. Mix glaze in a seperate bowl. Once you form your loaf, smother the enter top and sides with all of the glaze. Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Pasta A La Cognac....A Creamy Comfort Food


Its a cold and snowy day in New York. My office is closed so I am working from home; and all I can think about is "Ravioli a la Cognac". Why is it when we are snug at home, we often crave comfort food? I first had this dish at a small Italian restaurant in Farmingdale New York. It was so delicious. It is kind of like Penne A la Vodka but with a fabulous unique flavor. We offer it on one of our pasta stations at our parties and the guests always come back for more. They usually say, "OMG ..what 's in this?". So let me inspire you to make this amazing meal at home for your friends and family.




Ingredients


1/4 lb. prosciutto ham, chopped ( or pancetta)

1 lb. penne pasta / or cheese ravioli/ or tortellini

1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. chopped onion

1 tsp. chopped garlic

1 tbsp. parsley flakes

1 tbsp. crushed bay leaves

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/4 c. cognac

1 c. heavy cream

2 c. Parmesan cheese

Directions


1. Saute garlic and onions in olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes, prosciutto, parsley, bay leaves, red pepper, cognac and simmer for about 10 minutes in medium heat.
2. Cook pasta and drain.
3. Add heavy cream to sauce and cook for 2 minutes in low heat.
4. Mix pasta in sauce and add Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Spicy Sweet Saucy Wings


Buffalo Chicken Wings!!! I know you are getting ready to eat them tomorrow while watching the big game. Stray away from the usual buffalo sauce and try these spicy sweet saucy wings..Finger licking good....



Ingredients

3 lb chicken wings
1/2 cup honey and
1/2 cup ketchup tomato
2 Tbs Worcestershire
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Tabasco to taste

Directions


Combine honey, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper and Tabasco .Add wings; toss to coat well. Refrigerate over night .Place wings on a barbecue grill; grill over medium high heat 10 to 15 minutes, turning often and basting with reserved marinade, until wings are cooked. For super saucy wings, reserve or make extra marinade....reduce on low heat on stove top and toss wings again once they are off the grill. Serve with a cilantro lime yogurt sauce.


Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce


Combine 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 lime juiced and zested , 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and 1 clove of minced garlic. Place in refrigerator for one hour before serving

Friday, February 5, 2010

Yummy Balls of Fire


Swedish Meatballs are a party classic,but sooo old school. Do you want to blow everyone away with culinary bliss? Try serving up these little dynamos. I guarantee you, they will tickle everybody's palate. I had a hard time being convinced to begin serving meatballs as an hors'd'oeuvre at our parties. I dont know, I guess I felt it wasn't elegant enough , but, boy was I wrong. This is one tray of appetizers that always returns to the kitchen quickly and empty.


Recipe


3 pounds of chopped meat.

1/3 rd cup of quick oats

1/4 th cup of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of garlic powder

1/8 th cup of onion powder

2 eggs

.

Directions


Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and blend well. Form mealballs. Place on grill.

.

Basting Sauce


6 ounces of beer

1 bottle barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

1/2 a cup of brown sugar.


Blend all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Use this sauce to baste your meatballs and watch them come alive

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Video on Amazing Superbowl Food Ideas

I was on NBC news the other night and did a great segment on entertaining for Superbowl Sunday. I featured, Kobe Beef Franks, Chicken Tacos, A creative spin on heros. Click the link below to watch lots of fun ideas.

Healthy Superbowl foods on Fox News


Don't want to spoil your diet on Superbowl Sunday? Watch this video on healthy Superbowl alternatives
http://video.foxnews.com/v/3998743/healthy-super-bowl-food?playlist_id=87249