Monday, October 16, 2017


This recipe came to me via my friend, Debby Vis, which she got from her "America's Test Kitchen-6 Ingredient Recipes" cookbook. I have been a fan of Christopher Kimball's "Cooks Illustrated" for many years so was delighted to try this easy chicken dish. It's a simplified version of the Italian classic Chicken Saltimbocca, but was a snap to put together. It took me under 30 minutes to prepare and cook this meal. I did make it an 8 ingredient dish, but it was still very easy to put together! I added basil pesto inside the chicken breasts and topped with pomegranate seeds from my own pomegranate tree. Both ingredients are optional.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 thin slices prosciutto
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Fresh sage (This recipe calls for chopping the sage, but I prefer leaving the leaves whole and frying them with the chicken.)
1 Lemon (I also added a little lemon zest to the cooked chicken breasts.)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Basil Pesto, optional
Pomegranate seeds, also optional, but they do add a nice pop to the dish!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim chicken, rinse and pat dry. Season with salt/pepper. If you are using the basil pesto, cut a slit along the fat end of the chicken breast and put 2+ tsp. basil pesto into the slice. Slightly overlap 2 slices of prosciutto on cutting board and lay 1 chicken breast in center; fold prosciutto over chicken. Repeat with remaining prosciutto and chicken. 

Heat oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Place chicken in skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 6-8 minutes. I deviated from the recipe here, too, by adding the whole sage leaves (about 1/3 cup of leaves) into the pan as I was browning the chicken. The sage then becomes nicely fried and sticks to the chicken.

Transfer chicken to rimmed baking sheet and bake until it registers 160 degrees, 10-12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter and cover to keep warm.

If you are following the original recipe, mince 2 tsp. sage and squeeze juice from a lemon into a bowl. Melt butter in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally, until butter is browned and has a nutty aroma, about 1 1/2 minutes. Off heat, stir in sage, pinch of salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Drizzle sauce over chicken and serve. If you are making this dish as I did, still make this brown butter as it is a wonderful sauce, which pulls the dish together.

I served the Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Butternut Squash, which had a unique addition, thanks to Debby's husband, Steve's creative cookery.
What is that mystery ingredient?
Debby served me this wonderful chicken dish the other day along with the Butternut Squash and a Tomato Caprese salad. The squash had a unique flavor that I could not identify. After questioning, she told me her husband Steve added a big tablespoon of vanilla ice cream to the squash after mashing. The rich, sweetness of the ice cream was the perfect addition. Thank you, Steve! I would have never thought of that!

Peel the squash. Cube into 1 inch pieces. Cook in salted water until very tender. Drain. Add 4 Tbsp. butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and the surprisingly delicious vanilla ice cream (one fat tablespoon)!

To complete this meal, I made a salad of sliced cherry tomato, black olive, feta cheese, and chives, drizzled with a white balsamic vinegar. I made this meal for my friend Paula Schaper.
Paula seems pretty excited to drop that
ice cream into the Butternut Squash!
Cooking with friends is so much fun!

I have a very exciting blog in mind for next time.
Last night I used, for the first time, my beautiful tagine, which was a special gift from other good friends,
Dennis and Diana Makes.
I think you will like this
Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Green Olives!
Tune in again soon...

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Looking for a rich and decadent dessert? Try this one...a grown-up version of your favorite childhood sandwich!


For the Ice Cream-

1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup unsalted natural peanut butter (I used salted.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup good quality strawberry jam (or whatever jam flavor you prefer)

Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. milk with the cornstarch. Whisk and set aside. Whisk the peanut butter and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the remaining milk with the heavy cream and sugar in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the milk mixture to a low boil. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil over high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Pour into the bowl with the peanut butter and whisk until smooth. Set the bowl in the ice bath to cool, about 20 minutes, whisking occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight. I like to do this step the day before churning so always chill it overnight. Pour chilled ice cream base into your ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions. This batch took about 20 minutes. Spoon a small layer of jam into a freezer-safe container and lightly spoon a layer of ice cream on top. Continue to alternate layers of jam and ice cream until the container is full. Gently swirl the layers with a spoon, careful not to muddy the ice cream. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Makes 1 generous quart.

The texture of this ice cream was perfect. I found the recipe online, but don't remember exactly the source. Really fun combination of flavors!

And now for the cookies-


1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped honey roasted peanuts for topping

1/3 cup peanut butter
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 cup strawberry jam (or whatever your favorite is!)

Start by making the dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In another medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing well between additions. Fold in the peanut butter until fully incorporated.

Scoop 24 1 inch balls of dough onto the baking sheets at least 2" apart. Press the balls down slightly; they should be about 1 1/2" in diameter. Sprinkle the tops with chopped peanuts. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until the edges are light golden brown and tops are slightly cracked; rotate the baking sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to let cool completely.

While the cookies are baking, make the filling.

In a bowl, using a hand mixer, whip the peanut butter with the butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and salt at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes until chilled.

Spoon 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the filling on the underside of 12 cookies. Spread 1 tsp. of jam on the underside of the remaining cookies. Sandwich the halves together and serve.

These cookies are ridiculously good. This recipe came from Food and Wine Magazine and they got it courtesy of Chef Tiffany MacIssac, Owner of Washington D.C.'s Buttercream Bakeshop. I'd like to visit that bakery!

I'm going to share one more ice cream recipe with you today. This was my own creation and my first attempt at making a recipe for ice cream. And, I just happened to have some goats milk on hand! Most ice cream calls for 1 or more eggs, but since the recipe above was eggless I decided to make this one eggless, too.
I served with empanadas from our local bakery.

2 1/2 cups goats milk
8 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup sugar plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup strawberry jam

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

Gently heat the sliced strawberries with 2 Tbsp. sugar until sugar is dissolved. Put the berries in a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until ready to churn.

I basically used the technique above using these ingredients. Stirring continuously, heat the goats milk, cream cheese half and half, salt, and sugar until the cheese melts and mixture comes to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and add the cornstarch mixture and 1/2 cup strawberry jam. Return to high heat and bring once more to a boil. Pour into a bowl and cool quickly in the ice water bath for about 20 minutes. Then place in fridge overnight to completely chill before churning. Once you have chilled the ice cream base, pour into your ice cream maker. As it begins to churn add the fresh strawberries that have been cooked down a bit in the sugar. Churn until the desired consistency is reached; about 20 minutes. Place in freezer for a few hours to firm up.

I will admit the texture of this ice cream was not perfect, but the flavor was delicious. I think the cream cheese made the texture a little icy. Maybe next time add 2 eggs to the ice cream base to create a custard with the cream cheese.

All for today!
Fall is just around the corner.
Days in southern Arizona will begin cooling off.
Time to do more cooking!
Tune in again soon, for another episode of:

Monday, August 28, 2017


Last night I made a Salami Pizza using my new pizza pan. Because of the perforated pan I think the pizza cooked more evenly and the bottom crust was perfectly browned. I had made this pizza dough a few weeks ago and froze 2 of the 3 portions. The dough did not rise as much after being frozen, but was still delicious and made a beautifully thin crusted pizza.
A few days ago I made a really rich tomato sauce so putting this pizza together was fast and easy. Of course you can use sauce in a jar, but it is more fun and much better to make your own!
Recipe for the dough is from Giada De Laurentis. I love most of her recipes and this one is no exception.
1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees), plus extra as needed
1 packet active dry yeast (I Tbsp.)
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
Olive oil for drizzling

Put the water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and stir until dissolved. In a large bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, also 1 Tbsp. at a time. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. With floured hands, knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 10-12 minutes. That is a lot of kneading, but I believe that is why this dough is so tender and yummy. Drizzle the inside of a clean bowl with olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl, roll it around to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or kitchen towel. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place (not easy in Ireland!), until the dough has doubled in size; about 2 hours.

Using a fist, punch down the dough in the center and cut it into 3 equal-sized pieces. Form the dough pieces into 3 balls and put in oiled bowls. Cover each bowl loosely and let rest for another hour. Remove the dough and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate up to 1 day, or freeze as I did for a couple weeks, or use straight away.
Using your fingers gently spread the dough out on a pizza pan or cookie sheet. As you can see my dough did not quite reach the edges of the pan, but that is no problem.
Drizzle with red sauce and then add whatever toppings you like. 68% of Americans prefer meat toppings and pepperoni is the most popular choice, but experiment with different veg: eggplant, roasted red pepper, cauliflower.
Pizza ready to bake.

I topped with Salami Milano and Coppa Salami, freshly grated Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses. Salami Milano is a cured sausage consisting of fermented air-dried pork or beef. I used pork. Coppa or Capocolla is a traditional Italian and Corsican sausage made from the dry-cured muscle running from the neck to the pig shoulder.

To cook your pizza pie, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook for about 20 minutes depending on your preference of crispy or doughy crust. Let rest a couple minutes, then slice, and EAT!
Each man, woman and child in America eats an average of
46 slices of pizza per year. My husband, Jerry, loves pizza! 
That's all for today. We are leaving Ireland in less than 2 weeks returning to the land of sun and warmth in beautiful Arizona. This year has been a challenge cooking in Spiddal, Co. Galway, Ireland as we are doing renovations on our house and I have had no kitchen for the last 3 1/2 months. I am cooking on our old stove which has been set up in the garage. Not the most convenient, but a fun challenge!


Saturday, July 29, 2017


I love the versatility, tenderness and gentle flavor of Pork. Our Il Secondo, or main course, for this year's Easter Feast was a stuffed Pork Tenderloin. The theme for this year's dinner was: To Tuscany with Love. Although in Italy lamb is the traditional meat served at Easter Dinner, after doing a bunch of research I learned that pork is a close second favorite. I just made this recipe again while here in Ireland. The Pork here is so delicate. Pigs are raised with love; not GMO! Notice the difference in size! I will intersperse tips from both recipes.

Dried fruits of any kind pair nicely with pork. I have never used prunes alone, but they were delicious after marinating in a lovely Italian red wine for 2 days! Their texture breaks down and you can almost spread them inside the Pork. To marinate prunes just add prunes to a glass container and cover with red wine. Cover container and leave on your counter for a couple days.
I also used this wine for the Red Wine Reduction that I served with the Pork. It was fabulous wine, which always makes for better cooking.

I decided to brine the Pork for 6 hours to ensure moist and tender meat. You can put almost any herb or spice into a brine as long as it contains salt and sugar. This is the ratio I used:

1 1/2 cups Kosher Salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic
3 star anise
Black Pepper corn
It probably was not necessary to brine these succulent little Pork Tenderloins,
but I did anyway. Because they were so small I only brined for 3 hours.
Don't soak the pork overnight as it will absorb too much salt. After 6 hours thoroughly rinse and dry the pork before proceeding.

The Red Wine Reduction can be made a few days ahead, kept in the fridge and reheated before serving.

2+ cups good red wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Salt/Pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a saucepan until bubbly. Add shallot, garlic and cook until just translucent. Do not brown. Add wine and turn to high heat to reduce by half. Add second tablespoon of butter. Season with salt/pepper. Add more butter to make a richer sauce. Strain pressing solids through a fine mesh strainer.

Begin by removing as much silver skin and sinew as possible. This takes a little time, but is well worth the effort as pork will be more tender.
With your sharpest knife cut the pork along the long side being careful not to cut all the way through. Open like a book to lay flat.
I used: rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme and a little sage; 4 cloves garlic, salt and pepper. Blend thoroughly in a mini-max and add enough oil to make a spreadable paste.
These are beautiful Pork Tenderloins from Mr. Feeney,
our local butcher in Spiddal, Co Galway, IRE.
Spread the paste inside the meat and then add a generous amount of marinated prunes. Just push in as many as fit.
These are the Irish Pork Tenderloins stuffed with herbs and prunes.

And here are the much larger Pork Tenderloins from Nogales, AZ.
Next, roll the pork up and tie the roast. For Easter I used Caul Fat to wrap the Pork which meant no need to tie and the fat kept the Pork incredibly juicy. Caul Fat, also known as Lace Fat is the fatty membrane encasing the internal organs of an animal. Pork is often used to wrap pates or sausages, but in this case I used beef Caul Fat.
Very happy my meat is ready to rest before getting browned and then roasted.
I left out on the counter for about 2 hours until beginning the cooking.

I couldn't get the Caul Fat here in Ireland, but these baby Tenderloins did not look
like they would need it. I just covered the Tenderloins with a little more herb paste
and drizzled with the leftover wine from the marinated prunes.
Brown the Pork on all sides in a very hot skillet with about 2 Tbsp. EVOO and 1 Tbsp. Butter. Get the pan smoking hot and then brown on all sides scraping up any bits. I did not brown the Tenderloins.

Put the Pork in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes. Check temperature with an internal meat thermometer. For Easter I had 3 very large Tenderloins roasting so total cooking time was 1 hour 15 minutes. The time will vary depending on size of meat (3 of the Irish Tenderloins equal 1 of the large U.S. Tenderloins) and how many pieces you are cooking at once. The internal temp should be 145 degrees as the meat will keep cooking after you take it out. Dry pork is not good. The Irish Tenderloin took much less time, but keep checking temp as it should also be done (medium rare) at 145 degrees. I cooked my Tenderloins for about 25 minutes.

As with so many recipes there are endless variations.
I hope this recipe inspires you to stuff your own Pork!
Tune in again soon for another episode of:
Thank you for following my blog!
Sunrise from our bedroom window
overlooking Galway Bay.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


My husband, Jerry is on a serious banana kick. He buys at least 2 bunches a week and sometimes can't keep up with them before they get too ripe. With 2 overly ripe bananas I decided to make Banana Nut Muffins. I found this recipe online and they came out perfectly! The "muffin tops" were very generous and the muffins had a wonderful light texture; not at all dense like some banana bread or muffins.
Jerry is about to dig into one of these freshly baked muffins!
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup White Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
3/4 cup Milk
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup (2 medium) Mashed Bananas
1 cup Chopped Walnuts, divided
Muffins ready to pop into the oven.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. This initial high temp helps the muffins to rise. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners. In a large bowl toss together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl whisk oil, white and brown sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla and banana. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir gently with a rubber spatula. When ingredients just come together fold in 2/3 cup chopped walnuts. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Top with 1/3 cup chopped walnuts. Bake 5 minutes at 425. Reduce heat to 375 and bake another 12-15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
So easy and so delicious!

Saturday, June 24, 2017


Nettles may be Ireland's most prolific weed. They are everywhere and if you like to garden, like me, sooner or later no matter how careful you are, you will be stung. Because I am such a sensitive creature I tend to get a very nasty lingering bright red painful, burning itch and sometimes the skin that has been touched even swells. Not nice!

But I just learned recently that the Irish have used nettles to make soup for years. When food was scarce they were a nice change from potato soup, but just as crubeens , which are pigs feet (Go to: if you want to make pigs feet yourself) are not so popular today, nettle soup is no longer a staple. I have mentioned the soup to a couple Irish friends and they get this wistful, far-off look remembering a nourishing and delicious dish from their past.

I garnished with a full-fat Irish plain yogurt.
I made up the recipe and since making the soup have done some research to learn that often milk or cream is added. I thought this soup was perfect without it. There is something very satisfying about going into your back yard and gathering ingredients for dinner. I also learned that nettles are very good for you; high in iron, calcium, potassium, and also vitamins A and C.

5 potatoes
3 leeks, white and light green part only
2 very big (gloved) handfuls nettles
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Qt. chicken stock (you could also use water or vegetable stock)
Crème fraiche, yogurt or sour cream for garnish
Parsley, chives or chive blossoms for garnish (My parsley has gone to seed so I did not use. I also did not want to add anything to alter the true nettle flavor so just used plain yogurt for garnish.)

I think next time I would add a clove or 2 of garlic. Again, I did not want to use it this time as I wanted to really taste the nettles. Some recipes also call for herbs: lemon thyme, marjoram...variations are endless. I even found recipes with oats or rice.

Pick the nettles carefully wearing gloves. Choose young leaves. Wash and remove leaves from the stem. I am not sure where you would 'source' nettles if you don't have acres of them growing in your back yard as I do here in Ireland, but you might get them at a Farmer's Market. Peel and dice potatoes.

Wash leeks thoroughly. Dirt collects in the leek layers so you may have to slice down the middle to get all the dirt out. Chop the leeks. Cook potatoes and leeks with salt and pepper in the butter for 10-12 minutes until potatoes are gently browned. Add chicken stock (vegetable stock or water) and bring to boil. Carefully drop in nettles.

Lower heat, cover and steam for about 30-40 minutes. As the nettles cook they lose their stinging quality. Cool completely and blend in a blender until smooth. Taste and correct seasoning.
I could not decide on garnish design so tried a couple different ones.

The soup is reminiscent of asparagus and spinach, but definitely has its own special flavor. The soup also has a bit of a spicy bite! Rich, quite thick and extremely delicious! I think Nettle Soup will become a staple in our Irish home!

Here's a ditty that impoverished Irish mothers would sing to their children when serving this soup:

"She fed them on potatoes and a soup made out of nettles
and a lump of hairy bacon that she boiled up in a kettle."

All for today from Spiddal, Co. Galway, Ireland!
You'll hear from me again soon!

Saturday, May 6, 2017


I'm going to share 2 recipes with you today, both from our Easter Feast. First, our Intermezzo course, a very simple Italian Granita. I like to serve Granita when doing a big, fancy dinner. It acts as a palate cleanser and gives folks a chance to rest a bit between courses.
1 Honeydew melon, seeded, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine
Zest of 1 lime
12 large mint leaves
Heat water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir sugar into the hot water until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large blender puree the melon, zest, wine and syrup (sugar water). At this point I put the puree in the fridge overnight and froze next day. When ready to freeze, pour puree into a large baking pan (I used a 9" square metal pan which is the perfect size.) and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture with a fork about every 20 minutes until you have a nice grainy texture with fairly small crystals; about 3 hours. 

My favorite course at Easter dinner this year was the Il Primo.

I served these raviolis in brown butter and garnished with fried sage leaves. The pasta recipe is from the cooking class my husband and I took when we were in Tuscany last summer. The only difference is, in the class we hand-rolled the pasta, and cut into fettucine. This rustic pasta is called STRANGLE THE PRIEST. There are lots of interpretations for the name of this pasta, but my favorite is this one: On Sunday's women in villages across Tuscany would make a weeks worth of pasta for the parish priests. Sometimes their own husbands would feel neglected as the women toiled over mounds of pasta for the priests.  The men would become enraged and were ready to STRANGLE THE PRIEST!
Making pasta is fun!

My husband, Jerry, very happy with his result!
2 cups flour
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
Water (to moisten)
Chef Marta starts incorporating the egg to make the pasta.
Marta's is perfect, but she has made this a few times!

Mound flour on a board or directly on your counter. Make a large well and drop the 2 eggs into it. Stir the eggs with a fork and as you stir gradually start incorporating the flour into the egg. Add water as needed to keep dough soft and together. Knead until smooth and elastic; about 5 minutes. The dough should feel very smooth and silky. Let dough sit for 10 minutes. Cut the dough into 2 portions and press on the dough to thin it down enough to fit into your pasta machine. Start rolling it out on the widest setting and keep folding and rolling until you are down to the #8 setting. Continue folding each time you run the pasta through. When finished you will almost be able to see through the pasta. Cut into ravioli shape. Add about 1 Tbsp. of the cheese filling. Top with a second ravioli. Moisten your fingers and crimp the edges together thoroughly so the raviolis don't lose their filling while cooking. I also pressed a fork around the edges of the raviolis to ensure the filling stayed inside. Cover a large cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Top with a fairly thick coating of flour. Rest the raviolis on top of the flour uncovered for about 2 hours.
To cook:
Add raviolis to gently boiling water that has about 1 tsp. of salt and a splash of olive oil. Cook until just al dente; about 5-7 minutes. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon.
To make brown butter:
Heat a stick of butter in a frying pan over medium high heat until the butter becomes brown and bubbly.
To fry sage leaves:
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop in sage leaves and fry, turning once. Drain on a paper towel.

3/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan
2/3 cup Asiago
2/3 cup Pecorino Romano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt/Pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together. As with most recipes there are endless variations to the filling (add garlic, herbs, different cheeses, etc.), but I wanted to keep fairly simple since it was only the first course of a big meal!

If you don't have a pasta machine try making this pasta as we did in Italy, simply by rolling it out with a rolling pin. It will be a little inconsistent and not as thin as using a machine, but that is the charm!