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Tea Time Almond Tea Cake

February 22, 2012

Almond Tea Cake

Almonds and toffee bits combine to give this moist tea cake a winning touch.


Tea Cake:

¾ Cup Sugar

½ Cup Softened Butter

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

¾ Cup Sour Cream

¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder

¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/8 Teaspoon Salt


¼ Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds

¼ Cup Toffee Bits


¼ Cup Powdered Sugar

¼ Teaspoon Almond Extract

2 Teaspoons Milk

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan and set aside. In a large size bowl combine sugar, butter, eggs, almond extract and vanilla. Beat at a medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until creamy. Add all of the remaining tea cake ingredients. Mix well. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons almonds and 2 tablespoons toffee bits over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the streusel filling. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds and toffee bits. Bake for 30 minutes until done. Remove from your oven. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Stir together all of the glaze ingredients in a small size bowl. Drizzle over the cooled tea cake. Serves 8

Tea Time Egg Salad Sandwiches

February 20, 2012

Egg Salad Sandwiches


6 Large Eggs

¼ Cup Mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons Ground Coarse Mustard

½ Cup Chopped Kalamata Olives (Optional)

¼ Cup Crumbled Pancetta

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Dill

1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary

½ Teaspoon Coarse Salt

½ Teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper

8 to 10 Slices Sourdough Bread – Crusts Removed

In a medium size saucepan, bring 8 cups of water to a boil over a high heat. Carefully add the eggs, one at a time. Cook the eggs for 10 minutes. Drain and cover with ice. Allow the eggs to cool for 20 minutes. Peel the eggs and finely chop and place in a medium size bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, olives, pancetta, dill, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Evenly spread the egg mixture over half of the bread slices. Cut into quarters. Serve immediately. Makes 1 ½ cups or 4 to 6 sandwiches.

Southern Style Baked Beans

February 17, 2012

Southern Style Baked Beans


8 Slices Bacon Cut Into 1 Inch Pieces

1 Medium Diced Onion

½ Medium Diced Green Bell Pepper

3 Large Cans (28 Ounces Each) Pork & Beans

¾ Cup BBQ Sauce (Rodeo Barbecue Sauce)

½ Cup Brown Sugar

¼ Cup Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

Adjust your oven rack to the lower middle position. Preheat your oven to 325° F. In a very large pan fry the bacon until it is partially cooked and has released about ½ cup of the drippings. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add the onion and bell pepper to the drippings in the pan and sauté for 5 minutes until tender. Add the beans, bacon and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer. Pour the flavored beans into a greased 9×13 inch oven proof baking pan. Bake uncovered for 2 hours until the beans are bubbly and the sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup. Remove from the oven and let stand to thicken slightly. Serve warm. Serves 18

Victoria’s Tuscan Soup

February 16, 2012

Victoria’s Tuscan Soup

Winter time is such a great time for hearty soups. When I go to the specialty markets on Arthur Avenue I love to pick up dried beans to store away in the pantry for just that perfect weekend day that calls for a nice hearty soup. This is my Tuscan soup that is delicious. Make sure not to over-salt it as the ham will take care of adding the salt to the soup.


15 Ounces Dried Large Italian Beans Soaked Overnight

1 Chopped Onion

1 Chopped Carrot

5 Tablespoons Olive Oil

8 Cloves Chopped Garlic

32 Ounces Chopped Ham

15 Ounces Chicken Broth

10 Ounces Crushed Cherry Tomatoes

20 Ounces Water

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

In a large saucepan, sauté the onions, garlic and carrot in the olive oil until tender. Add the chicken broth, water, soaked beans, pepper, cherry tomatoes and ham. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4 hours until the beans are tender. You may have to add more water depending how much your soup has cooked down. You may need to adjust your cooking time. The beans will be your guide. If you don’t have all day to cook this soup then go for the canned beans. I think the dried beans taste best however. Serves 4

Citrus Cheesecake

February 14, 2012

Citrus Cheesecake

Seriously, who doesn’t love cheesecake? If your sweetheart is not a chocolate lover then try this delicious Citrus Cheesecake out. It is a nice “make ahead” dessert and sure to be a hit.



1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

¼ (1/2 Stick) Melted Butter


4 (8 Ounce) Packages of Softened Cream Cheese

1 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

1 Teaspoon Lemon Peel

1 Teaspoon Lime Peel

1 Teaspoon Orange Peel

4 Eggs

Preheat your oven to 325° F. To make the crust mix together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter in a medium size bowl. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. To press the crumbs into the pan use the bottom of a glass to evenly press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool while you make the filling. To make the filling mix together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla in a medium size bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Blend in the citrus juices and the peels. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until well blended. Pour over the crust and bake at 325° F. for 65 minutes until the center is almost set. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. Cool completely before removing from the pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Overnight is best which makes this a great “make ahead” dessert. Serves 12

Valentine Cupcakes

February 13, 2012

Valentine Cupcakes



1 1/3 Cups Unbleached Flour

¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

¾ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

4 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 ½ Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

¾ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Butter Milk (or Sour Milk)


½ Cup Softened Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar

3 Tablespoons Milk

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease the muffin pan and line with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. In a large size bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and beat well. Pour into the muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 15 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Take a knife and loosen the edges. Let cool completely before removing. Ice and decorate. Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

For the icing: In a large size bowl beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and blended. Beat on high for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Makes 2 1/3 cups.

Lobster Bisque

February 13, 2012

Lobster Bisque

A nice special treat. This soup is great to make for Valentine’s Day.


2 Cups Cooked Lobster Meat

1/3 Cup Dry Sherry

¼ Cup Butter

3 Tablespoons flour

3 Cups Milk

1 Teaspoon Steak Sauce

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Tablespoon Chives

Combine the lobster meat and sherry in a small bowl. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over a low heat melt the butter. Blend in the flour and cook. Stir constantly until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add the milk and stir constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the steak sauce, salt and pepper. Add the lobster and sherry. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Garnish with chives. Makes 4 Cups.

Valentine Cake

February 12, 2012

Valentine Cake

Valentine’s Day begs for chocolate! Surprise your Valentine with this easy, but romantic chocolate cake. Honestly, who can resist?


6 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate

2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate

4 Ounces Butter

3 Tablespoons Instant Espresso (Dissolved In 4 Tablespoons Hot Water)

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

2 Teaspoons Ground Allspice

4 Large Eggs (Room Temperature)

1 1/3 Cups Sugar

¼ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

¼ Teaspoon Salt

½ Cup Cocoa Nibs

½ Cup Unbleached Flour

Preheat your oven to 375° F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring form pan. Melt the chocolates in a small bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir in the coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice and cool to room temperature. To make the cake mix together the eggs, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until creamy. Stir in the cocoa nibs, flour and melted chocolate mixture until nice and smooth. Make sure not to beat. Just stir until everything is nicely blended. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Release the sides of the spring form pan and set the cake on a cake plate. Frost with chocolate ganache and serve with chocolate dipped strawberries.

Serves 6

Victoria’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

February 11, 2012

Victoria’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

This cake is super moist. Don’t be afraid of the mayonnaise ingredient because that is what makes it so moist.


2 Cups Sugar

2 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Salt

2 (1 Ounce Each) Squares Unsweetened Chocolate (Melted & Cooled)

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Cup Mayonnaise

1 Cup Water

3 Eggs

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans. In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In a medium size bowl combine the mayonnaise, water and eggs. With a mixer at low speed add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Beat for 30 seconds. Add the melted chocolate and beat for two minutes. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or fill and frost as desired. If you want to make this a bundt cake then pour the batter into a prepared bundt pan and bake at 350° F for 40 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 25 minutes. Invert from the pan and cool completely. Frost as you like. Serves 12

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

February 10, 2012

Garlic Mashed Potatoes


5 Medium Potatoes (Peeled & Cut Into Eighths)

1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Cup Warm Milk

8 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 Teaspoon Roasted Garlic

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

To roast the garlic preheat your oven to 350° F. Cut ¼ to ½ inch from the top of the garlic bulb to expose the cloves. Remove most of the outer skin from the bulb, leaving the bulb intact and the cloves unpeeled. Place the bulb, cut-side up, on an 8 inch piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper. Wrap in the foil and bake for 50 minutes until softened. Cool slightly. Separate the cloves and press the cloves slightly to squeeze out the softened garlic.

Place the potatoes in a 4 quart saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to cover and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over a high heat and cook for 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, butter and garlic. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6

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