Making Baked Stuffed Clams with Clark Dexter…YUM!

Here it is, friends!

A new episode of Inspired Cooking airs on Cape Ann TV tonight at 8:30 and the show features one of my favorite guests the talented Clark Dexter!  Clark is a legend in the restaurant industry around here and is food can’t be beat.  Clark makes food that brings me back to my childhood–great memories of eating at The Hearthside in Essex for special occasions and enjoying every second of it!

Although this recipe is not exactly like the stuffed clams that Clark served at the restaurant he said it is pretty darned close.  So go and get some clams and treat yourself and your family to some excellent baked stuffed clams!

BAKED STUFFED CLAMS recipe by Clark Dexter

6 Cherrystone Clams
12 oz. Water
(2) 6 ½ oz. Canned Chopped Clams drained, reserve liquid
1 Med. Shallot – Chopped fine
6 Tbls. Butter
6 Tbls. Flour
2 Tbls. Fresh Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbls. Bread Crumbs
1 Tbls. Sherry Wine
1 Dash Tabasco Sauce
½ tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 tsp. White Pepper

Wash Cherrystone clams and put them in 12 oz. of water.

Bring this to a boil and cook until clams open. Remove clams and retain the water and the shells that the clams were cooked in.

Remove clams from shells and grind or coarsely chop.

Sauté shallots in butter until soft about 3 minutes.
Add flour to make your roux and cook about 3 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the liquid the clams were cooked in.

Next add the roux, cook until thick, then add the clams.
If the mixture seems too thick, add a little of the clam juice from reserved canned clam juice.

Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.


2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
1 cup of milk crackers
¼ lb. Butter
1 clove of finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp. Italian seasoning which consists of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil.
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large frying pan. Add onions, garlic and celery to pan and sauté until soft ( about three minutes). Add seasonings and parmesan cheese. Cook about one minute.
Turn off heat, add bread and cracker crumbs.

With a tablespoon, put clam mixture into clam shells, not over-flowing the shell.

Now top with crumbs.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes on a baking sheet until the clams are golden brown. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.

*You can make the clams up ahead of time and refrigerate for up to three days.  They also freeze very well and can be kept frozen for up to three months.    If frozen, it’s best to thaw before cooking.*

This is my plate of clams…..I dug in the minute I could!

Thank you again Clark for sharing your recipes with us and I look forward to shooting another episode soon!

Lily’s Springtime Shortbread Cookies video from how2heroes!

Here’s the link to Lily’s awesome and easy Springtime shortbread cookies video that she did with how2heros last week.  They came to our house and shot her cooking in my Mom’s kitchen and she had a ball.  Because I don’t know how to imbed the video unless it is on youtube, all I can provide you with is the link so here goes:

The recipe is on the same page and it would be a great rainy day project for today!  Enjoy and if you watch, please leave a comment and I will be sure to share them with my girl–I am very proud of her!

A pot of corn chowder for Lily

As it often happens, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ends with my girl sniffling and blowing her nose, wrapped on the couch in quilts and this year was no exception.  When I asked her what she would like for dinner she said corn chowder so I figured the least I could do to make her feel better is whip up a batch.  So here is the end result:

Corn Chowder for Lily

8 cups chicken broth
3 pounds potatoes, washed and diced
8 oz bacon, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 cup all purpose flour
4-15 oz cans corn, drained
2-15.25 oz cans creamed corn
1/2 gallon 2% or whole milk
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup Wondra flour (optional)
White pepper to taste
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, bring diced potatoes to boil in chicken stock.  Allow to cook until fork tender but not soft.  Be sure to check doneness after about 7 minutes.

Set yourself up a colander with a bowl or pan underneath to catch the chicken broth when you drain the potatoes.  Drain potatoes and set them and the cooking broth aside.

In the Dutch oven render the bacon over medium low heat until the meat is crispy.  Remove the meaty bits with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

Increase heat to medium and add the onion, celery and thyme and season with a bit of salt and pepper.  Sprinkle in the flour and allow vegetables to cook down until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add drained corn to pan and stir to combine.  Cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the reserved chicken broth and the creamed corn to the pot and bring to a simmer.  Add the milk (you don’t have to add all of it) and the heavy cream.

At this point you can slowly whisk in the Wondra flour by sprinkling it slowly in to the liquid, whisking constantly.  The Wondra flour will give the chowder a lovely “velvety” consistency–I learned this little trick from Gail “ The Chowder Lady” Matthews.

Bring the chowder to serving temperature, add some white pepper if you want to and re-season with salt and pepper and use the crispy bacon as garnish in individual bowls or just put it back into the pot and stir.

And look at that–Lily is feeling better–I think the soup helped!

Making Salmon and Dilled Potato Pie with Jerry from Cape Ann Pies–YUM!

Hi Everyone–I’m back after a whirlwind couple of weeks–cookoff madness but more on that later. I went to the world headquarters of Cape Ann Pies on Rockport last week to visit with all around nice guy and amazing baker/cook Jerry Ryan.

Apologies right off the bat here for lack of pictures in this post but my pics and myself are separated at this very moment and I cannot access them. Will add the pics tomorrow but wanted to get this recipe out for today as the show is airing on Cape Ann TV tonight at 8:30. Watch the show–Jerry is full of helpful hints to make pie making much easier and take the mystery out of making your own crust.

When I tell you that the afternoon slipped by like it was five minutes, I am not exaggerating. Jerry and I could have talked about pie crust, baking and quick breads until sunset for sure. He is very knowledgable about baking and cooking general and I advise you to make this savory salmon pie asap. His crust recipe is here too–a bonus for all of us–and we are so lucky to have him and his Cape Ann Pies in our community.

Salmon and dilled potato pie

This recipe is for a 10” deep dish pie. Serves at least 8 if you slice it into 8 generous slices.

Pie Dough — top and bottom crusts

White flour 2 cups, gently sweeped (11 ounces)

Salt 1 tsp

Sugar, white granulated ¼ cup (about 2 ounces)

Butter, cubed, chilled 8 ounces (two sticks)

Water, chilled 5 ounces (maybe. Depends on many factors)

 Filling—for a deep 10” glass pie plate.

Salmon– 1.5 lbs fish

Potatoes, red, par boiled and cubed 12 ounces (about 1.5 cups)

White onion, rough chopped

Half a medium sized onion

Celery, rough chopped About 1.5 cups

Carrots, peeled, rough chopped About 1 cup

Garlic, minced 1 tablespoon

Thyme 1 teaspoon

Dill 1 teaspoon

Salt 1 teaspoon (maybe more to suit your taste)

Pepper ½ teaspoon

Olive oil 2 tablespoons (at least)

Water 2 cups

Chicken stock 12 -14 ounces

Whole pepper corns 4

Bay leaf 1 or 2

Make the pie dough crusts first if you’d like. Or not. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and dump it on a clean surface. With the tips of your fingers, press the pieces of butter down and away, creating flakes. Do this over and Over until your fingers hurt. Touch the butter as little as possible. Once the butter is mixed in and you’ve got flakes and small bits of butter/flour, it’s time to add water.

Create a depression in the center of the dough pile and add the water to this depression. Now you’ve got a pool. Mix the dry ingredients a little at a time to this very cold water. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if you need to bring the dough together. Mix just enough so the dough and hold together relatively well. It’s ok if there’s some dry flour.

Cut the ball of dough in to two halves and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Make the Filling Bring water, bay leaf, crushed whole pepper corns, (and a wedge of lemon if you’d like) to a simmer. Add salmon for maybe 2 minutes at a simmer. Remove and dry. Save 1 cup fish water for the filling.

Add olive oil to another pan. Heat the oil. Add carrots, celery. Let them cook awhile till you can smell them. Add the garlic and the dill, thyme, salt, pepper. Let cook until everything is soft. Don’t burn the garlic.

Add the potatoes and keep cooking. Add the chicken stock, 1 cup fish stock and the salmon. Mix it all together and cook. Add more liquid if you’d like. Cook and then cool completely before filling pie.

Prepare Pie

Take out the dough and roll a top and bottom crust. Place one dough in the pie plate (best to use glass) and fill this with the fish and dilled potato filling. Cover with the second crust and crimp and make it look nice. Brush with egg white.

Place in pre-heated 350 oven for one hour. Check the bottom of the pie to make sure it’s browned. Add more cooking time if necessary. Maybe lower the oven temp 25 degrees and more to lowest rack. Remove. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

This was one of the most delicious savory pies I have ever tasted in my whole life and I had to restrain myself from eating more than one piece…..

Seafood Throwdown at the Rockport Harvest Festival

When Heather Atwood from Food for Thought and the Gloucester Daily Times called me early in the week and told me that they were looking for a competitor for the Seafood Throw down because one of the hotel chefs was unable to compete, it took me about 5 minutes and a little convincing from Heather to say “what the heck, I’ll do it!”  In the last few months I have been involved in two live cook offs, one in Newport, RI and one in Chicago (more on that another time) and sent recipes to cooking contests at least once or twice a week–you could say that competition is in my blood I guess.   I was told that I could bring an assistant, someone to help me out with the cooking and chaos and together we would hope to create the winning dish.  Who would be available and willing to subject themselves to this type of competition at the last minute?

When I told my 9 year old Lily that I was doing a Throwdown in Rockport on Saturday the first thing she asked me was, “who is going to be your assistant” and that answered my question right there—I pointed right at her.  She leaped up from her chair and gave me a giant hug and the smile on her face was priceless.  Lily loves  to cook!

Here’s Lil before the action got underway posting with the shredded money scarecrow in front of the bank.

The fun thing about these Throwdowns is the mystery seafood.  Although Lily is allergic to all seafood–fish and shellfish–I figured that she could deal with other elements of the dish so that was the plan.  And as for plans, we talked about what we could make with a fillet, a fish steak, lobster, mussels and even steamers and we felt pretty good about our strategy.  I was assured that because I had not gone to culinary school and have absolutely no formal training I would not have to contend with a whole fish–whatever the secret ingredient was, it would be ready to cook.   We packed the car with ingredients, equipment including my Cuisinart, pans, bowls, tongs, spatulas, you name it……we were ready!  And also a list for the grocery store to grab perishables on the way.

We arrived at the big tent on T wharf and since we had a few hours before the competition, Lil and I enjoyed the Rockport Harvest Festival for a while.  Even though it was really really blustery people seemed in good spirits and there were lots of people in town enjoying the festivities.   And then, it was time to cook.  The classic comment from Lily was “look Mom, I’m getting my game face on!” with a big growl after it……..

Here is Heather Atwood and Sandy Farrel introducing the competitors–it was me and Lil against Chef Steve Ryan from the Emerson Inn ( in Rockport and his chef brother.  But we were undaunted–we had a plan for almost anything and we were sticking to it……..remember that……..a plan for ALMOST anything…….

and the secret seafood is…..JONAH CRAB!  Ooops…we didn’t have a plan for that.  As a matter of fact I had never cooked a crab in my entire life.  And I rarely eat them, as delicious as they are.

But we forged on.  With a few little tips from our judges and our audience we got the crabs going.  Whenever I watch a cooking challenge show on TV I get nervous if the contestants don’t get their protein on quickly–these things take time to cook and deal with.  With the crabs in the pot I had time to think………..until one tried to escape!

So I put a pile of pans on top of the baking sheet and that was the end of that!

We got some claws and whole crabs cooked and in the meantime, Lily was working on the grilled sweet potatoes.  It was a very important job and she did it beautifully.  I also cleaned and stemmed the rainbow chard and got it ready to cook.

Lily was the most wonderful assistant possible.  However, we were at a distinct disadvantage—Lily is allergic to all seafood and therefore couldn’t help me pick the meat out of the crabs.  So I got down to it.  And cracked shells, and picked meat and cracked more and picked more—I wasn’t making much progress but it gave me time to think about what i was going to do with this meat–and I decided to make crab cake but needed a heck of a lot more meat to do so.

And then our great friend Jannine and her husband Dan showed up at the back of the tent to cheer us on—and asked me if I needed help.  Since Lil was allergic it was determined that because I had a disadvantage that Jannine could come in an pick the crabs for me–and thank goodness for her!  I now owe her big time!  She picked enough for me to make six gorgeous cakes.

I had Lily prepping ingredients for the cakes, zesting lemons, chopping herbs etc.  We didn’t want to do too much to the crab because like with most delicate seafood, you don’t want to mask its natural flavor.  Luckily, I had brought eggs, panko crumbs and herbs from my garden with me and we went for it.  Remember–I said we were prepared for everything!

I formed the cakes gently (the secret to good crab cakes), heated some olive oil and placed them in the pan.  I gave them time to brown, held my breath and flipped them over—and voila!  Gorgeous!

I whipped up a sauce in the food processor (yes, I dragged it all the way down there) using more herbs and olive oil etc., heated the honey glaze for the beautiful grilled sweet potatoes that Lily had made and seasoned the chard that had been cooking with the shallots and garlic.

We were ready to plate–and await our fate.  But win, lose or drawn it was an amazing day—and I could not be more proud of my girl Lily for her skill and help and more thankful to my friend Jannine for pitching in to help when I needed her (desperately) and being a great friend!  And this is the plate we came up with:

Yes, I should have put a lemon wedge or something in the middle of the plate because the blank space looks funny, but I was pretty darned proud of our efforts.  The judges, two wonderful men from Rockport, Bill Lee and Bob Smith, with vast experience in both cooking and eating local seafood were the judges.  And I must say, before we go any farther, how terrific our competition was–Chef Steve and his brother, also a local culinary professional, produced a gorgeous plate, using the meat of the crabs and the shells and bodies to make a stock and produced a gorgeous plate–they also made a crab cake and a crabmeat stuffed crab shell–but because I was cooking I didn’t get a picture of it!  The were wonderful, friendly generous guys who were as honored to be there as we were and I would say had as much fun as we did–and they had a great time with Lily too, not taking themselves or the competition too seriously for sure–they were terrific competitors!

Anyway,  it all came down to the judging–and this is what happened–thank you to my friend Donna Ardizzoni for the great video!

I am so proud of my girl,  grateful to my friend Jannine and so happy to have been part of the ThrowDown!

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!

Yep, I’m still alive and doing lots of fun cooking stuff…….

And it rained and it rained….for the Beringer Wines Great Steak Challenge in Newport, RI on Sunday, August 19th. But we didn’t let a little rain dampen our fun or competitive spirit–it was great! The cook off was held during the Newport Wine Festival down town and it was so much fun–those Beringer Wine people know how to throw a great cook off, even in the rain.

The event began with a lovely waterside “meet & greet” the night before at the hotel that they arranged for us with copious amounts of wine and lovely snacks. As it was a regional cook off (the winner goes to Napa to compete against the other regional winners) so it was fun to meet other cooking friends from New England, one who lives as close as Sturbridge.

Anyway, the day of the cook off, it rained, and it rained and then it rained some more but when it’s go time, you have to go, rain or shine. There is a law in RI that grills cannot be under any covering such as a tent or awning so we were grilling in the rain whether we liked it or not. There were 10 contestants divided in to two heats and I was grilling in the second heat. Bless my first heat friends–they grilled in the pouring rain. However, the true spirit of sportsmanship was displayed with my friend and fellow competitor Lisa held the umbrella for my other new friend Veronica while she grilled:

Here I am, observing my competition before my heat:

And then it is my turn to cook. Thankfully, the rain had let up a little. I got my ingredients ready to go and then it was time to cook!

The steak is seasoned and on the grill with beautiful sliced tomatoes that had been brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper:

and then I put the ingredients together to build a panini and used the panini press to grill it on both sides:

While the sandwich was grilling, I made a nice garnish from rosemary, fresh tomatoes and olives and voila, a Grilled Mediterranean Steak Panini–YUM!

So the judges loved my sandwich–I scored 5 out of 5 for my food but unfortunately, my wine pairing was a little off. I paired the sandwich with Beringer Merlot and only got 3 out of 5 points for the pairing. I am very very proud of my efforts and came in third–not too shabby for a girl who usually cooks seafood! And congratulations to my friend Lisa Keys from CT that came in first and will be traveling to Napa in a few weeks to represent New England and compete for $15,000 in the finals!

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.

And the Grand Prize Winner is…….Lily!

I must say I am about as proud as a Mom could be.  A while back, Lily and I entered her recipe and video in to Kiwi Magazine’s “Next Great Young Chef” contest and we just got the ok to disclose the results–she is the Grand Prize Winner!

Her recipe is called “Monkey Business Chocolate Rice Pudding” and is excellent.

Here is the winning video:

Check out the video and let us know what you think.

The prize is a nice hefty check and a feature in the October 2010 issue of Kiwi Magazine.  Kiwi is a kids/parenting magazine full of helpful tips, articles and recipes and Lily can hardly wait for the photo session and interview.

I think Lily has a future in cooking on TV!

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.

Guess Who’s Going to the cook off in Chicago?

Me!  Thank you all so much for your votes and encouragement.  I am so grateful for your support and I am going to start practicing this week to make sure I get it executed perfectly in 45 minutes.

The cook off will be Saturday, September 25th on the main stage of Chicago Gourmet 2010, a food and wine festival a Millennium Park downtown and it is a good thing I can cook in front of a crowd because this is a big deal.  I had no idea when I got involved in this that we would be cooking during the festival but I am excited to do so.

Thank you all again so much for your votes–the support of the GMG community is the BEST!  And in case you want to try what I hope is going to be the winning recipe, here it is:

Creamy Seaside Shells with Pan Seared Scallops and Seasonal Vegetables

Paired with Pinot Grigio


Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with seafood, particularly when prepared with a delicate sauce, fresh garden vegetables, herbs and zesty citrus. Delicious served warm or cold.


  1. 1 to 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed & broken into bite sized pieces
  2. 1 small yellow (summer) squash, cut in 1/2 lengthwise & thinly sliced
  3. 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  4. 1 pound medium shell pasta
  5. 3 tablespoons butter
  6. 1 1/2 cups leeks, thinly sliced
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1 1/2 pounds large sea scallops, patted dry & sprinkled lightly with salt & pepper to taste
  1. 1 cup Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio
  2. 3/4 cup chicken broth
  3. 8 oz goat cheese, broken in to small chunks
  4. 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  5. 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  6. Zest of one lemon
  7. Salt & pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and place asparagus and squash in a single layer in the pan. Drizzle with 2 TBSP oil, season with salt & pepper and bake for 7 minutes. Cook shells in salted water until al dente. Drain, pour into a large bowl, toss with 1 TBSP oil, season with salt and pepper and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile melt 3 TBSP oil with butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat, 5-10 minutes or until cooked. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon. Increase heat to high and sear scallops on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan, cover and set aside. Add Pinot Grigio and broth, scraping browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Return leeks and garlic to pan and whisk to combine. Slowly add goat cheese, and whisk until a creamy sauce forms. Stir in all vegetables and combine with pasta. Stir in dill and zest. Serve topped with 3-4 scallops per bowl.

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