Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pasta in Bolognese Sauce with White Wine

For this recipe I have combined pasta and homemade sauce; added a layer of goat's milk yogurt cheese with grated Pecorino Romano cheese; and a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano on top for the finish. (I am using goat's milk yogurt cheese and Pecorino (sheep's milk cheese) because I cannot tolerate cow's milk or cheeses.)  Serving size:  4 individual mini lasagna dishes

Bolognese with white wine
1/4  cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1 pound ground beef
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
1 small can of diced tomatoes with juice or (1 home-canned
jar of tomatoes with juice (as seen in photo)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (set
aside for the topping)

*1 box (16 oz.) rotini pasta (or pasta of choice) 
   prepare pasta according to package directions and set
   aside to be added to the sauce when done  

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat
2. Add onions and garlic; saute until tender (about 8 minutes)
3. Add ground beef; saute until the meat is no longer pink
    (breaking up any large clumps). This will take about 10 minutes.
4.  Lower heat to a simmer and add the white wine.  Simmer
     until the wine has evaporated.
5.  Add the crushed and diced tomatoes.  Stir to mix.
6.  Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until sauce thickens
     (About 30 minutes)
7. After sauce has thicken add the cooked pasta and mix together.

Goat's milk yogurt cheese with Pecorino Romano
**this should be made way ahead of time
yogurt cheese maker
2 cups of yogurt
1.  Place 2 cups of the goat's milk yogurt into the wire basket
     of the cheese maker
2.  Place lid on top and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours 
3.  Yogurt cheese is ready with the whey has drained and 
      the yogurt is the consistency of sour cream.
**this should be made way ahead of time
1.  To the yogurt cheese add 1/3 cup grated Pecorino 
     Romano cheese
2.  Mix together.  Set aside until the assembly of the layers.

Assembly of the Ingredients
 (Preheat over to 350 degrees)
1.  You will need 4 mini lasagna dishes.
2.   First place 2 spoon fulls of the meat sauce in each dish
      and spread to cover the bottom of the dish
3.  Add 2 spoon fulls of the yogurt cheese mixture on top of the
     layer of meat sauce; spread this around on the top of meat sauce
     as best you can
4.  Next add another layer of meat sauce to each dish
5.  Take the 1 cup of Pecorino Romano and sprinkle a generous
      amount on top of each individual dish
6.  place each individual dish on a tray (it might bubble over
     in the oven) and bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes or 
     until bubbly.

I hope you enjoy this little twist of traditional lasagna
Enjoy the Weekend


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Wednesday's are not for Dummies

Wednesday seems to be the best day of the week.  It means that Monday is gone (which is always blamed for being horrible) and  Tuesday (the boring day) is over.  Then there is Wednesday.  The day that reminds us there are only 2 more work days til the weekend. 

And I know it doesn’t exactly make your Wednesday better, but it’s the day I write a cookbook review.  Well, this Wednesday post is going to be a little different.  I am still writing a book review, but the book is not a cookbook.  It is a self-help book that has changed my life for the better and I have food discoveries and recipes to round it all out.

This is an embarrassing admission, but I have IBS.  I have struggled and stressed for many years with what is called IBS Syndrome.  Webster’s definition of a syndrome is: “a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality.”  And believe me I have many abnormalities’.  I won’t go into detail, except to say; it was extremely difficult to go out.  I never knew what would trigger the symptoms.  I would always wonder if what I had just eaten would result in an hour long trip to the bathroom.

What changed and put me on the quest to find a solution to this problem?  What put me over the edge to do research and take my health into my own hands?  Well, I had several pretty severe (what I call) attacks and my doctor did not have a solution.  This drove me to desperation.  Searching for information I went to the book store.  This is when “IBS for Dummies" entered my life.  
I read every page; highlighting and copying pages that I felt were significant to me and the struggles I had encountered over the years.  At the end I put myself on a 2 week elimination diet - eliminating foods and adding them back in slowly.  This resulted in finding all my trigger foods (the foods that would send me to the bathroom doubled over with cramps.  And, per instruction from the book, I would and still do start each morning with an 8 oz. glass of -my morning elixir- 30 minutes before I have breakfast.  This was to start a gentle cleansing process in my body (and it works). 

1 quart water
the juice of 1lemon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
contents of one ginger capsule
Put in a container and store in the frig.  Shake before you open.
(It really wakes up your morning and now I can't do without it.)
Then came the cleaning out of the kitchen pantry, the grocery list, and shopping. 

After the two weeks of the elimination diet were up I had found out my trigger foods.  It has been 2 months and what a difference.  I feel like a new person. 

*This is very important: this is not a one size fits all.  There are 3 types of IBS and what works for one person may not work for another.  You must do the research, talk to your doctor, and do your own elimination diet.  This is the only way you can fit your diet to your body.

My triggers are cow's milk, cow's milk products, and anything on the shelves of the grocery store that have cow's milk products as an ingredient.  I cannot have refined processed white flour, white sugar, soda, processed meats, or fried foods.

I have replaced these foods with homemade breads (I grind my own wheat), honey, herbal teas, water, vegan butter, olive oil, & coconut oil.  As for the milk products - I can have almond and coconut milk; goat's milk (I am making goat's milk ice cream and goat's milk yoghurt cheese) and any products made with goat's milk; and sheep's milk cheeses.  of course I can have lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.


It sounds a bit restrictive and yet it has been very easy.  I have discovered new recipes and new foods.  And after all these years I finally have found a formula that fits my body and my health.  I feel great.  It was worth the elimination diet and all the changes I have made.  

Please, if you have IBS and have not found a solution to your symptoms - do some research, talk to your doctor, find your normal.  You will be glad you did.  

I have a 2 recipes for you.  In both I have replaced any cow's milk (and cheeses) with either almond milk or goat's milk yoghurt and cheese.

My favorite Breakfast Smoothie
8 oz. of chocolate almond milk
1 frozen banana
2 tablespoons peanut butter

Place all ingredients into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  
Heaven in a Glass!
Lunch is usually a salad with a vinaigrette dressing
This salad is mixed greens, blanched green beans, edamame, sliced almonds, dried cherries, and chopped tomatoes with a balsamic dressing.

I will share a recipe on Thursday for Rotini in meat and cheese sauce.



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy Hump Day to Everyone!

Happy Hump Day to Everyone!

Ah, Wednesday, the middle of the week.  The day that lets you know that you made it through Monday and you only have a couple of days until the weekend.  The glorious weekend!

This is also the day that I like to review cookbooks.  I have shared before my love of cookbooks; not just for the recipes, but also for the stories.  Almost every cookbook on the shelf has a story to tell.  A story of the author; how the book came to be; about their families; about their journey into cooking; and (if they have one) their blog.

Today’s book and review: 
“What Katie Ate on the weekend . . .”
By Katie Quinn Davies

I must tell you that with, Katie’s cookbooks, I am starting backwards.  This is her second book.  She wrote a best seller, “What Katie Ate”, but alas I do not have that book.  The store was sold out.   What Katie Ate on the weekend. . .” is my first introduction to Katie Quinn Davies.  And a great introduction it is.  Katie started out as a graphic designer. She then moved into food photography, writing, and the story builds from there.
When you open this book you will find beautiful photographs of food, family, and friends.  You are drawn in and then there is discovery of the recipes.  The recipes I have prepared seem to fit these criteria:

*The ingredients are easily accessible
*The recipe is fast and easy to prepare
*And, probably the most important, Taste!
There is one recipe from her book I would like to share today in hopes that you will run out and get this book.  This recipe definitely has all the criteria on the above list.  And it tastes amazing! 


Chorizo and Tomato Tart
(directly from her book)
1 sheet good-quality store bought puff pastry, thawed
1 free-range egg yolk, mixed with a little milk
11/2 good-quality chorizo sausages, thinly sliced 
8-10 tomatoes, sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small handful basil, (plus extra to garnish (optional)
micro herbs and flowers, to garnish (optional)
Serves 4 for a light brunch

*(I used 3 sausages and I did not have the micro herbs on-hand.  I used a chiffonade of basil (sprinkling on top after it came out of the oven).

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lay the pastry sheet on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the egg wash.  Using a small sharp knife, score an 5/8 in. border around the edge of the puff pastry sheet, taking care not to cut right through the pastry.  Prick the center of the pastry sheet a few times with a fork.  Place a folded 8 in. square of parchment paper in the center of the pastry sheet and gently weigh down with a small ovenproof saucepan lid.  Place in the oven to blind-bake for about 20 minutes or until a light golden brown.  

Remove from oven; remove the weight and parchment paper.  Next line the pastry with the sliced tomatoes and the chorizo within the scored border (it is fine if there is overlapping).  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  

Then bake for 25-30 minutes. (You must do this according to the way your oven cooks.  In my oven it only took 20 minutes.  So you must check while baking.)

Meanwhile, place the small handful of basil leaves and the olive oil in a blender.  Blend to a smooth paste, then season to taste.

To serve, drizzle the basil oil over the tart and garnish with extra basil and/or micro herbs and flowers (if using).

This is fantastic and a must try!
 Other recipes from the book to try:
     *Roasted Tomato, Lentil, & Chickpea Soup
     *Grilled Chicken with Lime & Herbs
     *Feta Crostini with Zucchini & Prosciutto

Hope you enjoy this recipe and leaves you wanting to try more of Katie's recipes.  

*Also, check out her fun blog:

Have a Great Day!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Fast Food (in Paris)

 It has been 3 months since my last post and I seemingly shut down for many reasons:

1. The arrival of a new grandchild in May.  I now have 4 wonderful grandchildren.  And the last born (after 3 boys is a girl.  Now, since I was  tomboy growing up; had 3 sons of my own; there is now a little girl (so I have much to learn).
Vann (on right) pre-k graduation

2. Travel: first to West Palm; then, France; and back to West Palm.
West Palm Beach
Paris street and Louvre Museum at dusk
3. And next was an old sports injury that has come back to haunt me.  I had 2 knee blow-outs in one month.  This resulted in a new adventure in pain.  Because of this, I have been granted the gift of a new knee, which I will receive in October (not the sort of present I want to open, but, thankful for medical technology).

4. The last reason I was trying to figure out where I am going in life (but, I won't bore you with details).

5.  Oh, and I almost forgot
Canning - tomatoes, lemon cucumber relish, pickled jalapenos 

*Now, let's get back to what I love doing - food photography, cooking, new recipes, finding new gadgets to use, cookbook finds, and just being in the kitchen.

Fast food in Paris is something people do not think about.  Eating in Paris conjures up the thought of sitting at a  CafĂ©, sipping wine, and eating cheese with a small baguette (I did plenty of this).  And, when you are American and think of  'fast food', images of McDonald's (I did see one McDonald's in Paris, but I was not exactly looking for this) or Taco Bell pops into your head.

In Paris and other cities in France the fast food that is available is called a 'take-away' (and nothing like American fast food).  While in-between visits to beautiful gardens, museums, and train rides we would make a stop at a small (rapid service) restaurant.  These fun little places had quick service and wonderful 'take-away' menu selections for lunch:  toasted baguette sandwiches, fresh salads, and pastas (all made to order).  And let's not forget the pastries.

After you received your order all that was left was to find a near-by park and a bench in which to sit.  (We did have to learn to relax and remember that we were on vacation.)
The 'Fast and Easy' recipe for today is the simple, but wonderful 'take-away' I had almost daily: a toasted baguette filled with goat cheese, tomato slices, and fresh basil.  It's as simple as that.
 Oh, how I miss Paris!   


Happy Thanksgiving

  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Many Blessings and Love to All