Here’s a blue ribbon winner from the Fair….Sweet Sesame Crusted Shrimp with Asian Ginger Garlic Sauce

You know I love the Fair.  Lil and I spend a ton of time there during the 11 days volunteering, seeing friends, eating and having fun competing in the food contests in Coolidge Hall.  We both were very lucky this year and did well in the competitions and are so grateful for our good fortune!

If you think that the competition is not tough at the Fair you are mistaken.  There are women and a few men who compete in the food competitions in Coolidge Hall that have enough ribbons to make a giant blanket and probably paper one wall of their house–my friends Jannine Fisk, Donna Marie Ryan, Susan Laurence, Deb Stewart, Sheryl James are included in that group and so many more.  I didn’t even know these ladies a few years ago but they accepted me in to their circle of “Fair Weather Friends” and my life, and Lily’s,  has been enriched by them in so many ways since I joined their ranks in 2007.  Going to the Fair, seeing our friends and lots of friendly competition make us look forward to the first week in October every year.

There are competitions every weeknight and weekend days throughout the Fair.  The week started off this year with Fleishmann’s Yeast “Bake for the Cure” which I was thrilled to place third (  On Tuesday, Pillsbury Pie Crust Championship came an went without any ribbons for me but my friend Susan Laurence brought home the blue ribbon and I was thrilled–her pie was a lovely creation loaded with strawberries and just gorgeous, topped with chocolate curls–maybe I can pry the recipe out of her?

Wednesday rolled around and it was time for one of my favorite contests, Make it With Malto-O-Meal Cereal Contest.  As you know, I love to both cook and bake and this is my chance to give up the rolling pin for the night and cook.  Malt O Meal is a low cost cereal sold at some grocery stores and discount chains and the varieties offered mimic some of the most popular brand name cereal in the aisles today.  They have their own version of frosted flakes and that is what I chose for my creation.  I decided to do a crusted shrimp but I knew that the sweetness of the cereal needed to be tamed.   I added some panko breadcrumbs and toasted sesame seeds and created a delicious appetizer that the judges liked enough to award me the blue ribbon!

Here’s the recipe and a few pictures—the ribbon comes with a nice little cash prize as well and I am still very excited to have won!

Sweet Sesame Crusted Shrimp with Asian Ginger Garlic Sauce

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoons honey
1 clove minced garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoon chopped scallions for garnish

Whisk together ginger root, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar honey and garlic in a bowl.  Set aside for 30 minutes.  Strain sauce through a fine sieve and serve with shrimp.

2 cup Malt O Meal Frosted Flakes
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup sesame seeds
12 large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 egg white
1/4 cup canola oil

In the bowl of a food processor, process Malt-O-Meal cereal, panko crumbs and salt.  Add sesame seeds, pulse once to combine and pour prepared mixture in to a shallow dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together shrimp and egg white. Crust shrimp, four to six at a time, in crumbs and press crumbs on to shrimp to adhere if necessary. Set aside when coated and repeat procedure with remaining shrimp.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Cook shrimp, six at a time in a single layer in pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove shrimp from oil and drain on a flattened brown paper bag. Repeat with remaining shrimp and serve with Asian Ginger Garlic Sauce.  Garnish with chopped scallions.

My visit to the Steve Connolly Seafood kitchens in Boston.

Let me tell you, I am one lucky girl.  I get to do fun things and cook with great people and chefs that not everyone gets to do–and believe me, I appreciate the opportunities!

A little while back, I got the chance to tour the Steve Connolly Seafood facility in Boston–what an impressive operation–and even better than that the chefs cooked three delicious recipes that they shared with me to give to you right now.  The show with these recipes will air again this Friday at 4:30 and then again Sunday at 11:30 am on Cape Ann TV and then next week, another show with a new recipe and more of our tour.

These recipes are easy to make at home using readily available ingredients and fairly simple techniques. Trust me– you want to make these recipes and they will be a HUGE hit with your friends and family!  I took lots of photos on our visit so that you can see how the finished dishes should look.

Please let me know if you make these recipes and how they came out–and as always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

And a HUGE thank you to Chef Michael and Chef Carlos for interrupting their busy schedules and sharing their delicious recipes with all of us and to David Coombs and his staff for showing us around–thanks a million to all of you!


Lobster Meat, fresh

Diced ¾ inch……………………….1 cup

Honeydew Melon, ripe

Diced ¾ inch……………………….1/2 cup

Cantaloupe, ripe

Diced ¾ inch…………………..…..1/2 cup

Mango, ripe

Diced ¾ inch…………………..…..1/2 cup

Ginger , minced………………..………1 tsp

Orange zest, fine julienne………..……… 1 TBSP

Cilantro leaves…………………..……..1 TBSP

Mache or Baby  Spinach…………….3 oz.


Orange Juice…………………………1 oz.

Rice wine vinegar…………………..1 TBSP.

Canola or Peanut oil……………….1/2 cup

Sriracha sauce………………………..1/2 tsp.

Sea salt and black pepper…………to taste

For dressing:

Place orange juice, vinegar, Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper in a stainless steel bowl. With a wisk, blend in the oil until emulsified.

For the salad:

Toss the Mache or Spinach leaves with a little dressing and place on a platter. Put Lobster, Fruit, Ginger, Orange zest, and Cilantro in a stainless steel bowl. Add rest of the dressing, and toss  until coated. Put the Lobster Salad over the Greens, and garnish with edible flowers.   Serves 2

And here is another gorgeous and easy recipe–you can use halibut as Chef Carlos did or he said you can use any other firm fleshed white fish–just watch the cooking time if it is on the thinner side.

Nova Scotia Halibut with Roasted Corn and Tomato Salsa

2 Halibut portions skls/bnls…………………….2  each,  9 oz.

Olive oil………………………………………………….2 TBSP

For Chive sauce:

Unsalted Butter…………….….4 TBSP

Shallots, minced……………….2 TBSP

White Wine, dry…..……….….2 TBSP

Chives, chopped……………….2 TBSP

Sea salt and Black Pepper….to taste


Corn, shucked …………………………….…….2 ears

Olive Oil……………………………………………2 tsp

Plum Tomatoes, peeled & seeded………..2

Chives, chopped……………………………..…2 TBSP

Sea salt and Black pepper………………… taste

For the Salsa:

Slice off the corn from the cobs and break up the kernels.

Dice tomato into  ½ inch pieces and put in stainless steel bowl with chives.

Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan until hot, and add corn, tossing and pan

roast until lightly caramelized, and add to bowl with tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper and mix together. Reserve.

Wipe pan clean for next step.

For the Halibut: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Season Halibut with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan until hot and place Halibut in pan flesh side down and pan sear until nicely browned. With a non stick spatula, turn Halibut over gently onto skin side, cover fish with foil, place pan in oven, turning temperature down to 350 degrees and cook 10 minutes until just done. Do not overcook.Remove fish to warm plate and cover with foil. Return pan to stovetop, add 2 TBSP butter and shallots and sauté until transparent. Add wine and reduce by half, add remaining butter, and swirl in the pan. Add chives at end, correct seasoning and set pan aside off the burner.


Place large spoonful of Corn Salsa to one side of plate. Place Halibut on plate leaning on the salsa, spoon butter sauce over the fish, and garnish with fresh chives. Serves 2

Another Saucy Mama party pizza recipe and a giveaway–and I know that everyone likes a giveaway!

Here’s the second recipe using some terrific products from Barhyte “Saucy Mama.”   I created this recipe as part of a food blogger recipe contest.  I needed to make a recipe that was a crowd pleaser, easy to make and delicious and I hope this pizza fills that bill.

If you would like to try some “Saucy Mama” products be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post or at the end of my previous pizza post:

and here’s today’s yummy and spicy recipe~

Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Party Pizza

1 1/4 cups Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle Marinade, divided
10-12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 oz softened cream cheese
1-1 pound homemade or store bought pizza dough
Cornmeal for dusting peel
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
2 scallions thinly sliced, white and light green part only
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 fresh avocado, sliced
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Move oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and place a pizza stone or overturned large baking sheet on the rack.

Combine 1 cup Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle Marinade and shrimp in a small bowl and set aside.

In small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup Saucy Mama Lime Chipotle Marinade and cream cheese and stir until smooth (add a few more tablespoon marinade if you like your pizza extra spicy)

Stretch the dough on a pizza peel or the back side of a baking sheet that has been well dusted with cornmeal.  Spread cream cheese mixture on the dough, leaving 1” dough uncovered to form the crust.  Layer on sliced pepper and chopped scallions and one cup of the cheese.  Slide pizza into the oven on the hot stone and bake for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add marinated shrimp the pizza, gently tapping off any excess marinade before placing the shrimp on the partially cooked pizza.  Sprinkle on remaining cheese and continue to bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes until crust is golden brown and shrimp is cooked through.

When cooked, remove pizza from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Add sliced avocado and sprinkle on chopped cilantro.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and slice into wedges or squares to feed your guests.


Here’s a fun new party pizza recipe

Last night I was given the task of coming up with a recipe for a product that was sent to me in the mail.  This is a fairly new company and they asked me to try their product and come up with an easy recipe that would be perfect to share at a party–and what says party like pizza?

You can buy the Saucy Mama products on line at this site:

but in a pinch you could use the sweet vidalia onion salad dressings that I have seen locally in the grocery stores.  This is just one of the products that they sent me–they have a HUGE selection of excellent marinades, mustard, gourmet olives and more on their site.  If you would like to win a couple of products, just leave a comment here after my post and I will randomly choose a winner and mail (or drop off,  depending where you live) a selection for you to try.

So, here is the recipe I created using their Saucy Mama Sweet Onion Marinade:

Cheese Lover’s Saucy Mama Chicken Party Pizza

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in to bite sized pieces
1-12 oz bottle Saucy Mama Sweet Onion Marinade
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-homemade or prepared one pound ball pizza dough
3-4 small sliced canned or leftover cooked potatoes
1-small onion, sliced in to rings
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded fontina, mild cheddar or jack cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Move oven rack to the bottom third of the oven and insert a pizza stone or overturned large baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combined sliced chicken and 1cup Saucy Mama Sweet Onion Marinade and set aside.  In another small bowl, combine 1/2 cup Saucy Mama Sweet Onion Marinade, dried thyme and cream cheese.  Mix together until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil, garlic and leeks and aaute until leeks are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In the meantime, stretch pizza dough on a pizza peel or back side of another large baking sheet that has been floured or sprinkled with cornmeal.  Spread Saucy Mama Sweet Onion Marinade and cream cheese mixture on to dough to  cover, leaving  1” uncovered to form the outer crust.  Top mixture with cooked leeks and top leaks with a single layer of sliced potatoes. Add the onions in a single layer.

Sprinkle on mozzarella cheese.  Drain chicken from Sweet Onion Marinade and place on pizza in a single layer.  Top chicken with shredded fontina and season with salt and pepper.

Slide pizza on to preheated pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is golden brown and chicken is cooked through.  Remove from oven and  sprinkle on grated parmesan and chopped chives.  Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing in to small squares or slices to feed  your guests.   Enjoy!

Chocolate…and more chocolate

Today seems like a good day for a nice cookie recipe.  These are a prize winning recipe of mine entered at the Topsfield Fair and they are easy to make and delicious!  Use the best chocolate you can find but don’t go out of your way–what they sell at the grocery store will make a wonderful cookie.  You might even have the ingredients in your cabinet already so if you make them, let me know what you think.

Speaking of the Fair, the exhibitor’s handbook is available on line and the cooking contests are all lined up and here’s the link to the pdf of the contest–come on down and join the fun–you might walk away with a ribbon and bragging rights!

Triple Darks

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon espresso powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 oz 60% cacao chocolate, broken into pieces (you can use chips, Ghirardelli and other make these)
1 cup salted butter
3 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 4 large baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder and salt and set aside.

In a microwave safe dish, melt butter and 60% cacao chocolate.  Stir until smooth and allow to cool slightly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended and lighter in color.  Gradually mix in flour mixture and then chocolate mixture and finally chopped semisweet chocolate.

Using a  scoop onto prepared baking sheets, 9 to a sheet.  Bake 15-17 minutes in preheated oven until cookies are flat and surfaces are cracked.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins…..WHAT??

You should see the reactions I get……”Yum! These are great muffins! So moist, so delicious….but what are those little green specs? ”

And when I tell them it is zucchini they really don’t know what to say.  It’s either “can I have the recipe?” or “I don’t like zucchini but I like these!”   My Mom’s friend Butch loved these muffins last time I made them but made  a point of telling me that next time I made them to be sure NOT to tell him there was zucchini in them and “ruin” it for him–but to be sure to bring some by.

Make no mistake–these are not “health food” muffins–they have their share of sugar, chocolate and white flour but if you are looking for a treat with a full four cups of zucchini in them this is the way to go.  I was thinking some walnuts would be delicious too but I have a lot of “no nuts” people in my life so I went with extra chocolate bits.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 cups grated zucchini

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 muffins tin cups with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together granulated sugar, brown sugar, melted butter and canola oil until well mixed.  Add eggs, one at a time until combined.  Stir in vanilla and grated zucchini and mix well.

Mixing by hand, add the flour mixture and milk alternately in two batches and stir until nearly combined with a few flour streaks visible.  Add all but 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips and finish stirring until just combined.

Scoop in to prepared cups (I used a large ice cream scoop) and fill cups almost to the top.  Sprinkle a few of the remaining chocolate chips on top of the batter.

Bake for 18-24 minutes until just cooked through, rotating the baking pans half way through the cooking time if your oven heats unevenly like mine does.   Insert a toothpick into the center of one of the middle muffins and if it comes out nearly clean they are done.  Do not over bake.

Allow to cool completely in the pan.   The strange white looking things in my muffins are store brand chocolate chips that turned light in color when I baked them–I will NOT be buying those again.

If you want to call these cupcakes, make a nice chocolate buttercream and frost them or just pipe a large swirl of icing right on the top.  Makes 24 muffins.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask and if you make this recipe let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Saco River Boys Seafood Chowder from Clark Dexter and some crackers to go with it.

It was one of those rare cool days a few weeks ago (believe me, I am not complaining) that I was lucky enough to go back in to the kitchen of Chef Clark Dexter while he whipped up another one of his specialties “Saco River Boys Seafood Chowder.”  Clark and a large group of his friends make a yearly “man’s trip” to the Saco River for a canoe trip (no girls allowed) and Clark is in charge of all things culinary–clearly, he has smart friends for putting him in charge–and we are all fortunate that he is sharing this wonderful recipe with us.

I have had a lot of seafood chowder in my life and much like Gail “The Chowder Lady” Mathews’ clam chowder, it is one of the best chowders I have ever tasted.  Rich and decadent and full of lobster, shrimp and whole steamers I was in heaven.  We topped it off my my own recipe of homemade oyster crackers and it was a meal fit for royalty, or a large group of men in canoes, or both.

So, without further delay, here are both recipes–and thank you again Clark for welcoming me back in to your kitchen!



1 1/2 lb. Small Soft Shell Clams (Steamers) (soak in cold water for ½ hr.)
1 ½ cups water
3/4 lb. 16-20 Shrimp (shelled and cut in half)
3/4 lb Sea Scallops (cut med. To small)
3/4 lb Fresh Lobster Meat (cut med. To small)
½ cup Salt Pork (diced small)
½ Stick of Butter
1 Med. Onion (sliced)
2 Med Potatoes (cubed and cooked until soft then cooled in cold water, drained and set aside)
1 cups of flour
16 Oz. Of Clam Juice
24 Oz.  Milk
12Oz.  Light Cream
White Pepper

(1) Put salt pork in a pan on med. To low heat and render until salt pork is nice and brown. Strain pork scraps from liquid and set aside pork scraps. Add butter and onions to salt pork liquid and cook until onions are  soft. Add flour to this to make your roux (roux is equal parts of fat and flour cooked). Cook this while stirring for about three min. to set the roux.

(2) Put clams in a pan with water and cooked covered until clams open. Remove clams from the liquid and shell and clean. Add 16 oz. Of clam juice to this liquid, add shrimp and scallops and cook until just firm. Remove shrimp and scallops and set aside. Bring this liquid to a boil and add roux, Whip for about two min. this makes your base.

(3) Stir in milk and cream while cooking on low heat. Add potatoes, clams, lobster meat, shrimp and scallops, heat until nice and warm. Chop half of the pork scraps that you had set aside (very small) and add with a little white pepper.

(4) Serve with Laurie Lufkin’s home made oyster crackers. ENJOY

Homemade Oyster Crackers

2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
½ cup lukewarm water
½ teaspoon sugar
1 2/3 cup cake flour
1 ½ cup all purpose flour, plus more for rolling surface
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling if desired
¼ cup cold shortening, cut in to cubes
¼ cup cold butter, cut in to cubes
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine yeast, water and sugar.  Stir to combine and set aside until mixture is frothy and yeast is activated.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine cake flour, all purpose flour and salt.  Process for one minute to mix and aerate.  Add shortening and butter and pulse until small crumbs form.  With processor running, pour yeast mixture through feed tube.  Process until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead in a little addition flour if dough is sticky.  Roll out the dough as thin as possible into a rectangle.  Fold in the long sides of the dough to the center and repeat with the ends to form a smaller rectangle.  Roll out thin again and repeat this procedure two more times.  Roll out one final time to a 9” x 11” rectangle. Brush top of dough very lightly with milk and sprinkle very lightly with additional salt if desired.  With a pastry cutter or knife, cut crackers in to ½” – 1” squares as desired.  Place crackers 1” apart on prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.  Slide parchment off of baking sheet and allow to cool.  Serve with seafood chowder.  These can be made days ahead if necessary as they keep well stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

The most simple indoor or outdoor Cod dish recipe….and sides to go with it…

How about a lovely recipe for cod?  That gorgeous fish caught right off Gloucester?   This is a good one because it will work with pretty much any firm fleshed white fish–have done it with striper also.

The day we shot this episode of Inspired Cooking, All About Cod, it was about 100 degrees (no exaggeration) and humid.  So we got all set up to film outside and grill the fish and veggies on my grill but something was awry.  I couldn’t get the grill to work.  I tried, my camera guy tried, but not being one to mess with propane (and realizing the AC was on the house and it would be much cooler) we took the show inside and got set up.  So, the long and the short of this story is that you can do this recipe both outside or inside if you have a grill pan.  I have a cast iron grill pan that I love and grills/sears fish perfectly–if you don’t have one, consider picking one up–they are terrific!

Grilled Cod with a parsley lemon crust:

2-3 cups panko bread crumbs

1 lemon, zested and juiced

3-4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

2-3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing fish

2-3 pounds fresh Gloucester Cod loin (the thick part from the head end of the fish–save the smaller tail pieces for chowder or to fry up with a little seasoned flour and cornmeal crumb–they freeze well!), cut in to 6-8 oz portions

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine crumbs, lemon zest and juice, parsley and olive oil, just enough to make the crumbs stick together.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush cod with a generous coating of olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and set aside

Preheat outdoor grill to medium or indoor grill pan to medium high.  If you are inside, turn on your broiler to low and move the oven rack to the middle position.  Place your cast iron or other grill pan on the burner to heat.  If using cast iron and you are unsure if the pan is seasoned enough, rub it with a paper towel soaked with olive oil just to ensure the fish doesn’t stick.  if you are outside, it wouldn’t hurt to brush the grates of your outdoor grill with a little oil as well,  just to be sure.

Cook fish in preheated pan about 4-5 minutes until browned on one side.  The thing with fish is when it is ready to flip it will tell you so by loosening its grip on the pan or the grill grate.  Just don’t mess with it.  Let the heat of the pan/grill do what it needs to do.  When you are ready to flip, grab tongs and a fish turner/ metal spatula and flip the fish.

Remove the pan from the stove (if indoors).  With your hand press as many crumbs as you like on to the fish to coat the top.  If you are outdoors, close the cover of the grill and give the fish a few more minutes too cook through (about 3-4) and for the crumbs to crisp.  If indoors, place the entire pan in the oven under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until crumbs are browned and fish is cooked through–do not leave the stove–the crumbs can go from gorgeous to burned very quickly.

And that’s it for the fish.

But wait, there’s more……….the fish is so simple I wanted to serve two easy sides to go with it.  For the asparagus, simply trim the spears of the woody end, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake or grill for 8-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus, shaking the pan once to flip them around.  That’s it!

Now, for the delicious tomato salad.  Grab some tomatoes from your back yard or the Farmer’s Market and cut them in half if they are small or in bite sized pieces if larger, about two cups.   In a small bowl, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, a few tablespoons of balsamic or flavored vinegar, whatever fresh herbs you have on hand (I had a little oregano, basil and parsley) and chop them up to make one to two tablespoons chopped.  Add in some crumbled blue or goat cheese (or whatever you have on hand) stir, season with salt and pepper, and voila!  You have the perfect summer meal!

As always, feel free to leave ma a comment with questions and let me know how this comes out if you make it.  Thanks and enjoy.

Lily’s Secret Strawberry Pie

Happy Memorial Monday all. Hope you have had a glorious day filled with remembering those who have served and are serving our Country.

I was hoping to have a recipe for you from a new episode of Inspired Cooking today but due to technical difficulties, the new show will air next week. In the meantime, Lily and I thought you might enjoy this recipe, Lily’s Secret Strawberry Pie–the perfect recipe to use the native strawberries that are so terrific right now!

We made the video a few weeks ago for Kiwi Magazine’s Next Young Chef contest (which explains the brand names next to the ingredients) and fingers crossed that she does well and wins one of the big prizes! Here is the recipe and video.

Be sure to leave a comment on the youtube page or here and let Lily know what you think!

And here is the recipe:

Lily’s Secret Strawberry Pie

For the crust:

25 chocolate wafers cookies
1/4 Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter
3 oz Endangered Species All Natural Milk chocolate, finely chopped

Combine cookies, Organic sugar and melted butter in the food processor. Process until fine crumbs form. Press into 9” pie plate. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, sprinkle on chopped milk chocolate and bake for 2 more minutes until chocolate is softened. Remove crust from oven. Using a pastry brush, paint melted chocolate over the bottom of crust. Place crust in refrigerator until cooled and chocolate is hardened.

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups light cream
¼ cup cornstarch
1/2 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic granulated sugar
2 large organic eggs plus one egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Nielson-Massey vanilla extract
Pinch salt

In a large microwave safe bowl, whisk together heavy cream, light cream and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt.

In the microwave on 100% power, cook custard mixture for 11-13 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave, pausing to stir the custard at 5 minutes and every one minute thereafter until thickened. Refrigerate until cooled.

To assemble pie:
6-8 large strawberries, thinly sliced, plus one strawberry for the top of the pie
1 oz shaved Endangered Species Milk chocolate, shaved

When ready to assemble pie, spread sliced strawberries over chocolate coating on pie crust. Spoon custard over strawberries and spread until level. Sprinkle shaved chocolate over the custard and top with remaining strawberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sweet & Tart Raspberry Lemonades

No, I didn’t fall in a hole……I have just been a little more wacky busy than normal lately and I promise I will make it up to you with some great recipes and some new Inspired Cooking shows!

Here is a recipe I created for a contest that is sponsored by Paula Deen and Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  Because it is a contest, there is some product promotion (so please excuse that as it is not my regular m.o.) and enjoy the recipe and the video!

And here is the recipe–these are perfect for a party this weekend!

Looking for a delicious, gorgeous and crowd pleasing dessert in a few easy steps? Grab the Philly Cream cheese and get started! These little pink cuties will be a hit at any event from the PTO bake sale to your best friend’s baby shower and a breeze to make. Enjoy!

* Prep time: 10 minutes
* |
* Cook time: 25 minutes
* |
* Total time: 35 minutes
* |
* Servings: 24

* 1 17.5 oz package sugar cookie mix
* 1 stick salted butter, melted
* 1 cup(s) of plus one tablespoon frozen pink lemonade concentrate, defrosted
* 2 tbsp. of cornstarch
* 2 8 oz. packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1 cup(s) of plus one tablespoon granulated sugar
* 1 -3 drops liquid red food coloring
* 1/2 cup(s) of seedless raspberry preserves
* 48 fresh raspberries
* 24 small mint leaves


1. Position oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place a paper baking cup in each of 24 regular sized muffin cups.
3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or with an electric mixer in a large bowl, process or beat sugar cookie mix and melted butter until a dough forms, scraping sides of bowl as necessary.
4. Place a heaping tablespoon of dough mixture in to prepared muffin cups and press lightly to cover bottom of liner.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes.
6. In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together lemonade concentrate and cornstarch until smooth and set aside.
7. Add softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese, egg yolk, granulated sugar and pink lemonade concentrate mixture to bowl and process or beat until smooth and creamy.
8. Add desired amount of food coloring and process again until completely combined.
9. Place one teaspoon of raspberry preserves in the center of each of the partially baked cookie crusts.
10. Using a quarter cup measure, scoop 3 tablespoons of cream cheese mixture in to each of the prepared muffin cups to cover raspberry preserves.
11. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until centers are set. Remove from oven and place in refrigerator immediately to cool for 20 minutes.
12. After 20-30 minutes (or as soon as cool), remove from and top with two fresh raspberries and one mint leaf in the center and enjoy!

New Spring Recipes Coming Soon! But in the meantime, how about a vote for my Gorton’s “Taste of Mexico Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Salad?”

Good Afternoon all!

I am taping another episode of Inspired Cooking tomorrow so will have new recipes to share with you soon.   However, in the meantime, would you please go and vote for my “Taste of Mexico Tortilla Crusted Tilapia Salad?”  I need all of the votes I can get!

Here is a link to the recipe so you can vote:

and here is a link to the terrific article from last week’s Cape Ann Beacon. Thank you so much Jane Dooley for doing such a great job with the article and to Dave Sokol for the wonderful photographs.  It was a blast doing the article and the photos with them and they left happy with the tilapia salad for lunch and a container full of brownies!

Thank you Cape Ann and everyone all over the country for your continued support!

Spring Vegetable Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese Sauce from the Home & Garden Show

Here is the recipe my girl Lily and I made yesterday at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Home & Garden Show.  If you were not able to make to the show for a sample, and you make the pasta, let me know what you think.

You can add whatever veggies you like to this excellent pasta dish and I upped the nutritional value and the fiber by using a “pasta plus” instead of a traditional pasta.  You will find the “pasta plus” next to the traditional pasta in the grocery store and comes in a yellow box.

Thank you to Sharon Lowe for this gorgeous photograph!

Spring Vegetable Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese Sauce

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and broken in to bit sized pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 cup leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
6-8 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1-14 to 16 oz box rotini pasta (traditional, pasta “plus” or whole wheat will work), cooked, drained and tossed with a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and place asparagus in a single layer in the pan.  Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil and shake pan to coat asparagus with oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste an bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes.  When still bright green and partially cooked, removed from oven and set aside.

In the meantime, melt remaining two tablespoons oil with butter and add leeks and minced garlic in large skillet.  Cook over medium heat until leeks are cooked through and translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add wine and broth and stir, scraping any browned bits off of the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium, add crumbled goat cheese and stir until cheese melts and a creamy sauce forms.  Stir in cooked pasta and asparagus and toss with sauce.  Remove pan from heat and stir in halved tomatoes, lemon zest and dill.  Re-season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serve 6-8

Another visit to Ryan and Wood Distilleries…..and a recipe to go with it!

How can you not have a good time when visiting a distillery, huh?  You get intoxicated in the best possible way walking in the door by the aromas and it is fantastic.  Bob Ryan gave me the rundown on how to make rum from the molasses to the barreling and it was again so interesting.  So here is the recipe I came up with to use his delicious product in my kitchen for more than just making a cocktail–which is currently on my agenda!

Folly Cove Rum Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Rum Salsa

For the pork:

1 large navel orange, zested and juiced
1/2 cup Folly Cove Rum
1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
1 1 to 1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin, cleaned

In large zip top bag combine orange juice and zest, Folly Cove Rum, soy sauce, honey, cumin, garlic and cayenne pepper.  Drop in pork tenderloin and allow to marinate at least 6 hours but preferably over night.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees or outdoor grill to medium high.  Remove pork from marinade and pat dry.   If grilling indoors, preheat grill pan to nearly smoking.  Sear pork on all sides and finish in oven for 11-15 minutes until cooked to medium.  If cooking on an outside gas grill, sear both sides and the reduce the heat to cook the pork completely to the desired temperature.

Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing in to 1/2″ rounds.  Top with Rum Pineapple Salsa and enjoy!

For the Rum Pineapple Salsa:

2 cups diced fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons diced onion
1/2 chop diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons Folly Cove Rum
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce (to taste)
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to serve with Folly Cove Rum marinated pork.

Enjoy!  Serves 2-3 people

Cooking a little healthier for the New Year? Here are two new recipes from Inpsired Cooking

To start off the New Year in style, I decided to dedicate my first show of 2010 to healthy foods.  Now, don’t panic–you know I love my butter etc but these two recipes are so delicious that you won’t miss the bad stuff just this once!  Regular programming will resume next time!  Inspired Cooking airs on Cape Ann TV on Tuesday nights at 8:30, Friday afternoons at 4:30 and Sunday mornings at 11:30.  Hope you will tune in!

Here is the video:  youtube=

Hearty Fire Roasted Tomato & Chicken Soup

3 large chicken breasts, diced (about 2-2 ½ pounds)
4 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
4 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium peppers, diced
8 cups fat free chicken broth
3-14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2-14.5 oz cans Fire Roasted diced tomatoes
1-10 oz can tomatoes with diced chilies
1-14.5 oz box high fiber white or whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Reduced fat sour cream (optional)
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish (optional)

On the stove top in a large Dutch oven, combine chicken, 2 teaspoons cumin and 2 teaspoons chili powder over chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper.  Brown chicken and then saute until cooked through.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, combine garlic, onions and 2 tablespoon olive oil.  Cook slowly over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  Add green peppers and 2 teaspoons cumin and cook until peppers are softened, about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add diced tomatoes.  With an immersion or conventional blender, puree vegetable mixture until no large chunks are present (you can omit this step if you like a chunky soup).  Return puree to the pan and add chicken broth, fire roasted tomatoes and tomatoes with green chilies and stir to combine.  Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

While soup is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions.  When finished, drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with freshly ground pepper and set aside.

After soup is simmered, add diced chicken, pasta and fresh cilantro.  Simmer until hot again.  Dish into bowls and top with sour cream and fresh cilantro springs, if desired.

How about some banana bread to go with that soup?

Here’s the video: youtube=

Healthy Banana Bread (really!)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

5 very ripe bananas, peeled

1 large egg

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons decorating sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, whole wheat flour, cinnamon and baking soda and set aside.

In large bowl with a potato masher or hand mixer combine bananas, egg, applesauce and vanilla extract until mostly smooth (leave a little chunky if you want to).  Gently fold in dry ingredients until just combined and you don’t see any flour streaks.

*at this point, feel free to add nuts, dried cranberries, raisins or whatever you like, if desired, about a cup

Pour mixture in to prepared pan, smooth top and sprinkle with decorators sugar.

Bake 50-60 minutes until tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.    Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely in a wire rack.

Need a party appetizer for Christmas? Try Creamy Mushroom Marsala Bites

I made this recipe up because I love chicken Marsala and wanted to get the same flavors in an appetizer-but without the chicken.  I have entered this recipe into a contest on and if you want to go and vote for my recipe, please go right ahead.  You can vote daily until the end of the year.  You do have to be a Mixing Bowl member so if you feel like signing up to a great recipe site, go right ahead!  I highly recommend the site as a great resource for all types of recipes.  And if you make these, please let me know what you think.

These gorgeous little bites are a hit at parties–but be sure to eat them in one bite or you will have a mess on your hands–literally!

Servings:         6

Prep time:       20 minutes

Cook time:      5 minutes

Total time:       30 minutes


4 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 oz. proscuitto, finely chopped
4 oz sliced button mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 oz. sliced baby Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
30 mini phyllo shells
1/3 cup Marsala wine
¼ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup cottage cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped, plus more for garnish (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter. Add shallots and saute until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add chopped proscuitto and brown slightly, about 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add chopped mushrooms and toss with butter mixture. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture is nearly dry, about 10-12 minutes.

In the meantime, place phyllo shells on a baking sheet and bake 3-5 minutes until crisp. Remove from oven set aside.

Add the Marsala to the mushrooms, stir and cook again until pan is again dry. Add heavy cream and cottage cheese and cook again until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat and stir in chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Fill shells with a scant tablespoon of mushroom mixture. Top with a fresh chive segment if desired and serve immediately. Mixture also keeps tightly covered in the refrigerator for a week. Simply fill phyllo with mushroom mixture and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until heated through. Enjoy!

And here is the direct link so you can vote if you want to: