American Classics

Corned Beef Hash

June 29, 2011

Corned Beef Hash

Corned Beef Hash is a breakfast tradition, especially with a freshly poached egg on top.  You can purchase cooked corned beef or use leftovers. 


6 Tablespoons Butter

 1 Large Chopped Onion

3 Cups Chopped Lean Cooked Corned Beef

3 Cups Cooked Potatoes

1 Red Bell Pepper

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Parsley

In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until tender.  Stir often.  Stir in the corned beef, potatoes, red pepper and pepper until well combined. Cook for 15 minutes and press the hash down firmly with a spatula until the bottom of the hash has browned.  With the spatula, turn the hash over one small section at a time.  Cook for another 10 minutes and, again, press down with the spatula and cook until the second side has browned.  When finished cooking remove from the stove and sprinkle with parsley.  Serves 4

Cherry Jam

June 27, 2011

Cherry Jam

Who can resist homemade cherry jam? 


5 Half Pint Canning Jars & Lids

2 Pounds Dark Sweet Cherries

5 Cups Sugar

¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

3 Ounces Liquid Fruit Pectin

Prepare the jars and lids by washing in hot soapy water.  The jars must be heated before canning to prevent breakages.  Submerge them in enough cool water to cover.  Heat to boiling.  Remove the pot from the heat and cover it.  Leave the jars in the hot water for at least 10 minutes.  Place the lids and bands in a saucepan with enough water to cover.  Bring to a simmer.  Remove the pan from the heat, cover it and keep hot until ready to use.  Remove the jars and lids one at a time as needed.

Remove the pits from the cherries and finely chop enough cherries to equal 3 cups.  In a heavy nonreactive 8 quart saucepan combine cherries, sugar and lemon juice.  Heat to boiling over a high heat.  Stir constantly.  Stir in pectin.  Cook until mixture comes to a rolling boil.  Boil 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and with a spoon skim off any foam.  Quickly ladle hot jam into hot jars to within ¼ inch of the tops.  Wipe the jar rims and thread clean.  Cover quickly with the lids and screw the bands on securely, but not too tightly.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Cool jars and test for airtight seal.  Makes five 8 ounce jars.

Blackberry Cheesecake

June 26, 2011

Blackberry Cheesecake

I love cheesecake.  Growing up I would go blackberry picking in my neighborhood.  There was always some area with overgrown blackberry bushes. Picking up my childhood sandbox bucket I would set myself to the task of bringing home a bucketful of blackberries.  Not many would make it home and the evidence would be all over my face. 


40 Crushed Vanilla Wafers

6 Tablespoons Melted Butter

16 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

¾ Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Creamed Cottage Cheese

¼ Cup Cherry Brandy

3 Eggs

4 Cups Fresh Blackberries

1 Tablespoon Cherry Brandy

1 Tablespoon Sugar

In a medium bowl stir together crushed vanilla wafers and butter.  Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 inch spring form pan and set aside.  In a large bowl stir together cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar, flour and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low until smooth and set aside.  Place the cottage cheese in a food processor and blend until smooth.  Sit into the cream cheese mixture.  Next, stir in the ¼ cup cherry brandy.  Beat in the eggs on low speed until combined.  Don’t over mix as you don’t want to incorporate too much air into the batter.  Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Pour half of the cheese cake mixture into the crust lined pan.  Spread 1 cup of the blackberries on top.  Top with the remaining cheese cake mixture and ½ cup of the blackberries.  Place in a shallow baking pan in the preheated oven.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until center appears almost set.  Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Loosen the sides and cool completely.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.  To serve cut the cheesecake into wedges and top each with the blackberries.  Serves 10

Prime Rib Roast “Au Jus”

June 25, 2011

Prime Rib Roast “Au Jus”

Prime Rib Roast or Standing Rib Roast is a cut of beef from the rib section.  The entire rib section comprises ribs six through twelve of the cow, but can comprise anywhere from two to seven ribs.  A slice of Prime Rib Roast will include portions of the “eye” of the rib as well as the outer, fat marbled muscle known as the “lip” or “cap.”  The traditional preparation for this roast is to rub the outside with salt and seasonings and slow-roast with dry heat.  In the U.S., it is common for bbq purists to apply smoke to the uncooked rib roast at low heat for 2 to 3 hours before dry roasting.  In England, Yorkshire Pudding is frequently served as a side dish with prime rib. 


3 ½ Teaspoons Sea Salt

1 ½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 Cloves Roasted Garlic

4 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary

1 Prime Rib Roast of Beef (4 to 6 Bones)

2 ½ Cups Red Wine

2 ½ Cups Beef Stock

Preheat the oven to 450° F.  Place the garlic cloves in a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork until mostly smooth.  Add softened butter, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the rosemary and thyme, and stir to blend.  Pat the mixture evenly over the top and sides of the roast.  Season the roast all over with the remaining 2 ½ teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Place the roast in a roasting pan and add 1 ½ cups red wine and ½ cup beef stock to the bottom of the pan.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350° F and continue to roast to the desired degree of doneness.  Roast 18 minutes per pound for rare and 22 minutes per pound for medium.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before carving. 

To make the au jus, place the roasting pan on the stove burners over medium-high heat.  Add 1 cup of the red wine and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add 2 cups beef stock and season with salt and pepper.  Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the wine is reduced by half.  Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the solids before serving.  Degrease if necessary.  Servings 4 to 8 depending on how hungry you are!

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Favorite Taco Salad

June 21, 2011

Favorite Taco Salad

There are many variations of the taco salad.  Often served as a fried flour tortilla shell stuffed with shredded lettuce and topped with diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, guacamole and taco sauce.  The salad is topped with taco meat which is often times ground beef or seasoned shredded chicken.  The salad also may have a base of refried beans on the shell before the lettuce is added.  Here is my recipe for taco salad.



¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice

½ Cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro

1 Teaspoon Sugar

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

¼ Teaspoon Ground Cumin

½ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

½ Cup Olive Oil


1 Chopped Medium Onion

4 Finely Chopped Garlic Cloves

2 Fresh & Finely Chopped Serrano Chiles

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 ½ Pounds Ground Sirloin

8 Ounces Tomato Sauce

½ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper


1 Large Avocado

1 Thinly Sliced Head Iceberg Lettuce

1 Chopped Large Tomato

1 ½ Cups Grated Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese

6 Ounces Sliced & Pitted Black Olives

15 to 19 Ounces of Black Beans (Drained & Rinsed)

To make the dressing: whisk together the lime juice, cilantro, sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Next add the oil in a stream while whisking.  Whisk until emulsified. 

To cook the beef: in a large heavy skillet cook the onion, garlic, chilies, chili powder and cumin the oil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally and cook for 6 minutes until the onion is softened. Next add the beef and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally and break up any lumps.  Cook until meat is no longer pink and then spoon off any excess fat from the skillet.  Add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper to the beef and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

Assemble the salad: peel and pit the avocado and then cut into ½ inch pieces.  Spread the lettuce over bottom of a shallow 4 quart dish.  Spoon beef mixture evenly over the lettuce and continue making layers with tomatoes, cheese, beans, avocado and olives.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve.  Serves 6

Basic Yellow Cake

June 19, 2011

Basic Yellow Cake

I love this recipe.  It is incredibly versatile.  If you want to add fruit or flavorings to the cake you can.  Use whatever frosting that you wish.  Dress this cake up or dress it down. You can use this recipe for layer cakes, cupcakes, loaf cakes or specialty pan cakes.  It suits all occasions from everyday to a special occasion. 


3 Cups Sifted Cake Flour

2 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder

½ Teaspoons Salt

1 ¾ Cups Sugar

2/3 Cup Softened Butter

2 Eggs

1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 ¼ Cups Milk

Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease tow 8 inch round cake pans.  Line prepared cake pans with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light.  Next, add the eggs and vanilla to the creamed butter and sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.  Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk.  Beat well after each addition.  Continue beating for one minute.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared cake pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until inserted wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool layers, in the pans, on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans and cool completely.  Fill and frost as you like. For a list of frosting click to the right of this page.  Serves 12

Beantown Baked Beans

June 17, 2011

Beantown Baked Beans

This recipe is so easy.  All you need is simmering time!


1 Pound Dried Navy Beans

2 Chopped Onions

1 Cup Water

½ Pound Diced Bacon

½ Cup Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup Ketchup

¼ Cup Molasses

5 Cloves Crushed Garlic

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

1 ½ Teaspoons Dry Mustard

¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Soak the beans in enough water to cover plus three inches over night.  Drain the beans and place in a large pot.  Bring to a boil for 15 minutes.  Turn heat down to simmer and add onions, water, bacon, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, garlic, salt, dry mustard & black pepper.  Cover and simmer for 8 to 10 hours.  After cooking for some time add water as needed.  Serve hot as a side dish.  Serves 6

Blueberry Pie

June 15, 2011

Blueberry Pie

What is better than Blueberry Pie?  Answer: Two Blueberry Pies!


2 Rolled Out Rounds of Basic Pie Dough

4 Cups Blueberries

1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice

¾ Cups Sugar

3 Tablespoons Cornstarch

½ Teaspoon Finely Grated Lemon Zest

¼ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

2 Tablespoons Cold Butter

Fold 1 dough round in half and carefully transfer it to a 9 inch pie dish.  Unfold and ease the round into the pan without stretching it.  Pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  Using kitchen scissors ( I can’t live without kitchen scissors), trim the edges of the dough, leaving ¾ inch of an overhang.  Set the dough lined pie dish aside, along with the other dough in a cool place until you are ready to use it.  Place the blueberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat evenly.  In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon.  Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss to distribute evenly.  Immediately transfer to the dough lined pie dish.  Cut the butter into small pieces and dot the top of the blueberry mixture with the butter. 

Fold the reserved dough round in half and carefully position it over half of the filled pie.  Unfold and trim the edge neatly, leaving 1 inch of overhang.  Next fold the edge of the top round under the edge of the bottom round and crimp the edges to seal.  Using a small, sharp knife, cut an asterisk 4 to 5 inches across in the center of the top to allow the steam to escape during baking.  You may also use a pie bird if you like.  Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes until the dough is firm.  Meanwhile position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375° F.  Bake the pie, with a baking sheet underneath to catch drips, for 50 to 60 minutes until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 1 to 2 hours to completely set.  Serve at room temperature.  Makes one 9 inch pie.  Serves 8

Double Pie Crust


2 ½  Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

2/3 Cup Shortening

8 Tablespoons Cold Water

In a bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.  Roll out to fit a 9 inch or 10 inch pie plate top and bottom. Transfer pastry to pie plate.  Trim pastry to ½ inch beyond the edge of the plate; flute the edges.  Fill shell according to recipe directions and top with the second round.  Crimp the edges and bake according to recipe directions.

Blueberry Crumble Pie

June 14, 2011

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Summer was created for blueberries and what a great way to honor summer than to make a blueberry pie!  This recipe is made with a crisp and crunch crumb topping which is the perfect match for a juicy berry pie filling. 


1 Basic Pie Dough

¾ Cup Plus 5 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2/3 Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar

1/3 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoon Sugar

2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

1 Stick (8 Tablespoons) Cold Unsalted Butter

5 Cups Blueberries

Put your oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400° F. 

Roll out the dough and transfer to a 9 inch pie pan.  Refrigerate until firm.  Line the chilled piecrust with a piece of aluminum foil.  Fill with dried bean, pie weights or uncooked rice.  Bake for 15 minutes until the pie crust dries out. Carefully remove the weights and the foil.  Reduce the heat to 350° F and continue to bake for another 5 minutes until the crust is lightly browned on the edges and dry looking on the bottom.  Transfer the pie crust to a wire rack. 

Increase the heat to 375° F.  In a large bowl, stir together the ¾ cup of flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and salt.  Cut the butter into ¾ inch pieces and scatter the pieces on top and toss around with a fork or your fingers to coat with the flour mixture.  Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the ingredients together until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs that are the size of large peas.  Set the topping aside. 

In a separate large bowl, combine the blueberries, the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 4 tablespoons of the flour.  Gently stir to coat the blueberries evenly.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar over the bottom of the prebaked pie crust.  Pour the filling into the crust, spreading it evenly.  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the blueberry filling.  Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling just begins to bubble.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Serve at room temperature.  The pie is best served the day it is baked.  Makes one 9 inch pie.  Serves 12

Single Pie Crust


1 ¼ Cups Unbleached Flour

½ Teaspoon Salt

1/3 Cup Shortening

4 Tablespoons Cold Water

In a bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in shortening until crumbly.  Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.  Roll out to fit a 9 inch or 10 inch pie plate.  Transfer pastry to pie plate.  Trim pastry to ½ inch beyond the edge of the plate; flute the edges.  Fill or bake shell according to recipe directions.

Roasted Pork

June 12, 2011

Roasted Pork

So easy to make and makes a fabulous Sunday dinner.  Any leftovers that you have are great for making Cuban Pork Sandwiches!


5 Peeled & Pressed Large Garlic Cloves

5 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Rosemary

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 ½ Pound Boneless (Well Trimmed) Pork Loin Roast

Preheat your oven to 400° F.  Combine the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub the garlic mixture all over the pork before placing, fat side down, in a roasting pan.  Roast the pork for 30 minutes and then turn the pork over fat side up.  Roast for another 25 minutes or until the pork reads 155° F (insert a thermometer into center of the pork).  Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Pour any juices from the roasting pan into a small saucepan.  Set over low heat to keep warm.  Cut the pork crosswise into 1/3 inch thick slices.  Arrange pork slices on a platter and pour the pan juices over the top.  Serves 8

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