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.


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

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)


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


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


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!!!!


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

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


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.

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.


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


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.



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


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.


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


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


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)


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.


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


1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

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.


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


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.


4 green or red Holland or bell peppers
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

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!!!!!


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


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.


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)


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.


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


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.