Friday, February 29, 2008

Fantastic Homemade Pesto Made More Affordable

I had to share my affordable and super tasty pesto sauce recipe made with walnuts vs. expensive pine nuts due to the amazing responses I received for my 'great grilled cheese sandwiches' that had pesto and goat cheese. Use this pesto over pasta, as bread spreads, to kick up your garlic bread, and as dollops over grilled steak or chicken...uses are limitless! Enjoy!...

  • 1-1/2 cups of fresh basil (I can usually grab a package for $2.00 at my local Latino grocery store) - Just rinse really well.

  • 3-4 large garlic cloves-minced

  • 1/2 cup water-or less

  • 3/4 cup olive oil -or less (I happen to have spanish olive oil which provides a little extra taste similar to that of extra virgin olive oil.)

  • 1 cup walnuts

  • 1-1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese (it doesn't have to be parmegiano reggiano which is super expensive - but do not use that stuff from the green can people - oh you know exactly what I am talking about) - And grating it yourself also saves on money. I can usually get a decent brand for $5-6 dollars a good sized wedge that lasts me a month from the cheese section at the large grocery store- and I use slivers of it over salads, and any pasta dishes.

  • Kosher or sea salt & freshly cracked pepper

  • ***Equipment needed:

  • Blender or Food Processor (I have made pesto in both successfully), cutting board, paper towels or clean hand towels

  1. This pesto is a creamy pesto which normally does not separate - Adding water also 'extends' the product.

  2. Also note that mature basil plants (in late August - should you grow your own) will create a more-peppery tasting pesto - versus pesto you may make in May - So in fact you may want to use less of the basil if your leaves are extra big - heck just taste them, put them in your mouth and you will see what I mean. Now take a piece of a little-bitty leaf - tastes different doesn't it? OK, now that, that's out of the way - whew! Back to the directions.

  3. ***

  4. Rinsing and washing your basil well, gently shake off any excess water.

  5. Break or pinch with your fingers (hey get the kids, let them do this work) off any stems and place leaves on paper towels or clean hand towels. Roll them up in paper towels to gently squeeze any extra moisture out of leaves.

  6. Mince leaves on cutting board as best as you can and place into blender or food processor. (Minced leaves will leave you with about 3/4 cups of basil which is perfect)

  7. Add your freshly grated cheese, minced garlic, and walnuts to food processor.

  8. Pulse several times.

  9. Add half cup of the olive oil and then it's time turn on blender or food processor to max.

  10. Stop a few times to carefully scrape down any product that may have climbed up the sides.

  11. Add 1/4 cup or more of water. Turn your machine on again, let water get incorporated.

  12. Now taste-test your pesto - add freshly cracked pepper and salt to your liking.

  13. Add the rest of the olive oil and/or water should you wish a slightly thinner pesto" And just pulse a few more times to incorporate.

  14. Pesto lasts for at least 2 weeks in a sealed container in the fridge.

  15. You can also freeze the pesto too - perfect for those of you who have grown too much basil.

  16. Let pesto stand out from the fridge for 10 minutes before using to make spreading it easier.

  17. When adding to pastas, a little goes a long way.
Enjoy! Leah's Pesto-Made Easy And Affordable @ Group Recipes

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Great Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Goat Cheese, Pesto and Grilled Onions - oh Yum!

Here's a recipe for an extra special grilled cheese if you wish for something a little different.

The other night, I wanted to make dinner with what was in my fridge without going crazy with making a huge dinner. We had this fantastic sweet potato soup made with coconut milk which was super silky and smooth (I'll post that recipe soon) but I needed something comforting and ended up making one heck of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Now we have all made grilled cheeses so often, we sometimes forget how nice they can be if we make just a little extra effort. The little extra effort in this grilled cheese is the grilled onions and goat cheese with a small amount of homemade pesto spread on one side of the bread. The photo shown below has a second sandwich in which my boyfriend chose to use cheddar cheese and grilled eggplant and grilled onions.

So how do we make this? Let me tell you how. Though it seems silly to share the 'recipe' on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, I would think everyone would know how to do this one, but you never know...


  • Two slices of multi-grained bread for heartiness
  • 1 tablespoon or less of pesto (we had homemade pesto)
  • 4 slices of grilled onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of mayonnaise and mustard
  • 3 ounces of Monterey cheese
  • 1 ounce of crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  1. Take two slices and open them up so that when placed back together, their ridges match - to help prevent cheese from oozing out when cooking.
  2. On one side of sliced bread, spread pesto all over slice. On other slice, spread mayonnaise and mustard. Ground and sprinkle fresh ground cracked pepper onto slices if you wish and a sprinkle of kosher or sea salt.
  3. Add grilled onions on one side, then sprinkle crumbled goat cheese and put thin slices on monterey cheese on top, close up sandwich and place into warm skillet.
  4. Add butter to skillet and turn on heat to medium low, allowing butter to melt.
  5. Add sandwich to skillet to cook. Grilling sandwich slowly on low heat will allow enough time for cheese to melt without burning your sandwich bread. Flip sandwich and cook the other side.
Serve this great grilled cheese sandwich up with your favorite soup or salad for a complete meal that will knock your socks off!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Top Not Cream of Tomato Soup

Easy to make and oh so satisfying, I made this in advance of oral surgery (yeah, I know, ugh!) when I knew I wouldn't be able to cope the next day. This creamy yet full of needed vitamins soup kept my head afloat, and more. This one is a keeper and of course it goes great with rustic grilled cheese sandwiches and is perfectly great on a cold rainy or wintry day too. This recipe is also handy to have on hand since one usually always has all the ingredients needed in their kitchen...

And remember, tomatoes are super good for you and also help your lungs function properly- so eat your veggies!

  • 2 large cans of whole plum tomatoes in their juices (28 oz sized cans)

  • 2 stalks celery-diced

  • 2 carrots-diced

  • 1 med. onion-diced

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 5 slices of bacon chopped up

  • salt and fresh ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon parsley (optional)

  • 1 cup cream, yes cream - half-n-half is ok to use as well as other substitutes like skimmed milk, but try and use the cream if you can - hey quick no one is looking!

  • freshly ground Parmesan cheese to top it all off once ready to serve

  • Equipment Needed: blender, soup pot with cover

  1. In a large bowl open up cans of tomatoes and put into bowl.

  2. Slice up bacon and place with a little olive oil into the cold soup pot. On medium heat, let bacon slowly crisp up.

  3. While bacon is cooking, with own hands, carefully crush up tomatoes in large bowl - do your best not to squish onto yourself the tomato juices.

  4. Once bacon is done, strain out bacon, but leave fat in.

  5. Take diced up celery, carrots, onion and fresh ground pepper and let sweat in bacon fat till onion is translucent. Mmm getting there already! Sweat vs. sautée which means low to medium heat.

  6. Add garlic, continue sweating (not you, but the vegetables) for two minutes, add "hand-crushed" tomatoes to pot.

  7. Let simmer at least 45 minutes with cover on soup pot.

  8. Taste and add salt as necessary. Let soup cool down considerably before attempting to putting it into blender to liquidfy all soup in order to avoid blender popping its top and making a mess in your kitchen. Using a hand blender is great too and you can do it while it's still hot.

  9. Next add cream while heat is low. It's now ready to serve.

  10. Serve with rustic bread grilled cheeses if you like, sprinkle fresh parsley, the grated cheese, sprinkler with bacon bits and voila - the perfect top notch creamy tomato soup!

Top Notch Creamy Tomato Soup @ Group Recipes

Tomatoes are full of licypene, a known antioxidant and are full of vitamins C, A and K. Some studies are starting to show that they help support lung functions specifically two powerful compounds found in tomatoes-coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid-are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines. These are compounds that not only are formed naturally in the body, but also are the strongest carcinogen in tobacco smoke. By blocking the effects of these nitrosamines, the chances of lung cancer are reduced significantly. Who Knew!?!

Feel free to come by and check out my many other recipes too for happy and healthy eating:Divaliscious Recipes @ Group Recipes

Leah Quinn is a writer specializing on food, health and entertainment and is a multi-media artist living in New York.

Best Blondies Ever with Chocolate Morsels

Blondie Eaters have more fun! I simply had to share our family's tried and true fave blondie recipe which calls for a lot less flour than other recipes mentioned elsewhere. My best blondies recipe include semi-sweet chocolate morsels and are super moist and chewy - perfect for freezing and keep super well (should they last at all) in a sealed container on your counter. Enjoy going Blond...


  • 5 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons Crisco

  • 1 cup light brown packed sugar

  • 2 extra large eggs

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour (yes I know, off and odd amount, but it works! - the extra 2 tablespoons help offset the extra shortening used along with the fat in the chocolate morsels.)

  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

  • ***Optional additional ingredients to add:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or nuts of your choice (try salted peanuts - oh yum!)

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup or more of shredded sweet coconut

  • ***Equipment needed: 8x8x2 greased baking pan, one working oven at 350 degrees, people who are needing their best blondies but bad.


  1. In mixer, cream butter, then add brown sugar and mix till light and creamed.

  2. Add eggs and beat well till light and fluffy - 1 minute.

  3. Add Vanilla extract, mix briefly once more.

  4. Add flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Start mixer slowly at first, then mix till well combined.

  5. Stop mixer and either by hand or slowly with mixer add your preferred additional ingredient chasers (I used just the chocolate morsels today as photo shows)

  6. Pour and spread batter into greased 8x8 pan and bake on middle rack for 30-35 minutes.

  7. Lick bowl and drool, set timer for 30 minutes.

  8. Let blondies cool, then cut into 9 pieces (or less if you dare - lol) and serve 'em up.

  9. Dust with a little confectioner's sugar if you would like for extra decadence at parties. These truly are a fave recipe of our family and we make at least 4 batches just for the holidays and mail them out to our troops!

So enjoy this easy to make spread cookie we know and love as blondies. Let it become one of your family's favorites too! Check out my other recipes too at Divaliscious at

Monday, February 25, 2008

The ABCs of Scallions - Health Cures - Yet Another Reason To Eat Your Veggies

Scallions - it turns out have been used for centuries in cooking and in healing what may ail you. We may call them green onions here at home, but scallions are a very important and affordable green to use in your daily cooking.

We all know that the taste of scallions are bright and crisp, but they are also milder than the onion yet stronger than their nearby cousins chives, which I thought were baby scallions. Well I was wrong...I also found out that scallions have large amounts of vitamins.

Specifically, the green parts of the scallions contain vitamin A while the white part of the scallions contain both vitamins B and C. Hence the reason for this article's title: The ABC's of Scallions.

So now that you know they contain vitamins, which we all need to flourish - how can they cure what ails you? Well I have found several Chinese techniques which have been used for over 2000 years...also a short note, scallions it was discovered, due to their large use in Chinese cooking help explain the low evidence of colon cancer in China due mainly part to the allyl sulfur compounds and bio-flavonoids found in scallions which are part of the allium family - which includes garlic and your onions and leeks. If you are curious check out this article: Onions, Garlic and Scallions Add Big Flavor and Health Benefits at Ask Tony Isaacs: Featuring Luella May

But here are some interesting cures you might like to try. Now remember, nothing compares to going to your doctor when you are in need, but some of these might help you visit your doctor a little less. It is important to note that the Chinese when using these 'curing methods', use the white part of the scallion to help bring out the principal medicine found in the scallions.

Scallions stimulates sweat, aids in urination, calms the nerves and helps in expelling sputum. Who knew?!?

  • For the Common Cold: Simmer 10 white stalks of scallion, 15g preserved black beans, 5 slices of ginger and 3 bowls of water until it reduces to 1 bowl. Cover the
    patient with comforter after taking the soup. The patient would have
    major sweating. The fever and cold would be cured.
  • For Sinus Blockage and itchy throat that might lead to coughing: Make
    noodles with ginger, scallion and sprinkle ground white pepper on top.
    Serve hot. This is effective for inflammation in sinus or trachea.

Eat to Cure and Prevent Illness: It is suggested that you eat at least 2 teaspoons of scallions a day (preferred raw of course) - add them to your soups, salads, garnish them on anything - and you will notice that within a few days that you feel better than you have been in awhile. Make sure you rinse them very well before you cut and dice them up in your cooking - that's imperative!

If you would like to check out a variety of recipe that call for scallions here are some interesting Chinese dishes that contain scallions, click here:

creamy green onion soup recipe

green onion dressing recipes

green onion flat bread recipes

creamy green onion spread recipes

OK, so there's a few recipes for you.... so go out there and get yourself some of these affordable and ever so healthy scallions to help spice up your health!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Rhubarb Bavarian Cream - A Decadant Dessert

Love rhubarb? This easy to make "molded" chilled desert is oh so decadent and so gorgeous you may not want to eat it...but you should since it's made with homemade whipped grab those crazy molds you never use and make this dish to next time you want to make a tasty impression !with a different type of dessert! Our family loves this one - it's a golden recipe we have used for a long time!...

  • ***Chill time is not included above - which may take up 40 minutes to set before adding and folding in your whipped cream.

  • 1 pound rhubarb

  • 1/4 cup cold water

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

  • 1 envelope of gelatin (found next to the Jello at the store)

  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2/3 cups heavy cream

  • ***Equipment needed:

  • 2 quart stock pot, bowl, mold or pretty serving glasses to allow dessert to set once at final stage, spatula, mixer for making whipped cream

  1. Wash rhubarb.

  2. Cut and dice up very small (less than 1/2" slices).

  3. Into a stock pot or soup pot, add diced up rhubarb, water and sugar.

  4. Let cook 10 minutes or until rhubarb is fork tender - like when making boiled potatoes.

  5. To soften gelatin, mix 2 tablespoons of cold water in mug or coffee cup and add gelatin. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Then add to rhubarb and stir.

  6. Remove rhubarb from heat and add lemon juice then stir once more.

  7. Chill in fridge until almost set (it will do a little jiggle but not much)

  8. Put rhubarb mixture into bowl and beat mixture until smooth.

  9. Whip up heavy cream and fold into rhubarb mixture.

  10. Turn into mold or dessert glasses and chill.

  11. To serve, you can place mold for 1 minute in a bowl of hot water then with serving plate placed on top of mold, flip over and serve with whipped cream.

  12. If serving in dessert glasses, or something like martini glasses, simply serve with additional whipped cream.

  13. And for those who want to save on some calories, you can easily fold in low-fat ready whip you find in your grocer's freezer. Throw a sprig of mint on the top of each dollop of additional whipped cream for that "Oh My Factor" - and your family will bow down to you as they gobble up this dessert!

Rhubarb Bavarian Cream @ Group Recipes

Friday, February 22, 2008

Perfect Pecan Lace Cookies

This cookie is fancy as it is molded around a wooden spoon once out of the oven - perfect for showing off at your next party. Fun tasting cookies are perfect for tea parties and for that something extra special at the end of a meal.

  • 1/2 cup butter (butter preferred or Crisco - not lard or margarine)

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2 well beaten eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • 4 tablespoons cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup fine chopped pecans

  • ***Equipment Needed:

  • wooden spoon, working oven on 325 degrees, cookie cooling racks, mix master

  1. Cook one sheet at a time, since you will need to remove them from the cookie sheet as soon as they come out so that you can "mold" these around the end of a wooden spoon before placing them onto your cookie cooling sheets. You can have a second cookie sheet ready to go into the oven if you are so inclined to multi task.

  2. ***OK Ready? here we go.....

  3. Cream butter in mixer then add brown sugar slowly and beat until light.

  4. Add eggs to creamed mixture and beat till all is incorporated.

  5. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix again till combined.

  6. Add nuts and mix once more.

  7. Drop scant (small) teaspoons onto greased baking sheets leaving 4-5 inches between cookies.

  8. With back of greased spoon press down on drops of cookie dough to flatten.

  9. Bake at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes.

  10. ****Now comes the harder part - move quickly once they are out of the oven.

  11. Having cooling cookie sheets nearby, grab a metal spatula and remove one "wafer" then roll it around the end of the wooden spoon, then slide off onto your cooling racks. Repeat with the other baked wafers.

  12. Let cool then serve the crispy treats-

  13. ****Wish to be even naughtier? Of course, I thought so....melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate, and dip one end of the cooled perfect pecan scrolls into the melted chocolate then let sit on wax paper to cool and allow chocolate to become hard. Or sprinkle with a little of powdered sugar for a different look.

  14. Easy to freeze, just place them in a container not a zip lock bags since they are fragile, and separate layers with wax paper to prevent sticking.

Perfect Pecan Scrolls @ Group Recipes

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Crab Cakes a la Leah

My version of darn great crab cakes - Just ate them up - had to take the photo quickly too! Great to make then freeze for parties with simple reheating them in the oven - serve them with my "best homemade tartar sauce" I just posted...

  • This recipe is easy and can be adjusted accordingly - today I used half "italian bread crumbs" from Progresso and half of my bread crumbs I made from my sun-dried tomato bread I had made earlier this month. This is a nice spicy and chunky styled crab cake - so enjoy! You can also make small "balls" of them and deep fry - but I do fine with sauteeing them in the skillet to make it less fattening.

  • ***OK here we go...

  • 1 onion chopped fine

  • 1 green pepper chopped fine

  • 1 red pepper chopped fine

  • 1/2 pound or more of lump crab meat (ok to use more affordable imitation crab meat- sssh I won't tell a soul if you don't, I promise!)

  • Olive oil

  • pepper

  • 1 tablespoon old bay seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon herbs de province

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • Zest and Juice of one lemon

  • 1 cup bread crumbs

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 3 tablespoons white wine (optional - but it did add that extra "something"

  • ***Equipment Needed:

  • Skillet, bowl

  1. Heat up skillet.

  2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter.

  3. To hot skillet, add chopped onions, let sauté for 5 minutes.

  4. Add bell peppers to skillet and cook for another five minutes.

  5. Turn off heat and add white wine and stir

  6. Let cool.

  7. In bowl, add eggs, crab meat, all seasonings, mayonnaise, mustard.

  8. Add cooled down onion and pepper mixture and stir till well combined.

  9. Then add bread crumbs.

  10. Mix once again and let set for 20 minutes if you can wait that long.

  11. Clean out skillet with paper towel and reheat up again.

  12. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter.

  13. Create 3/4 inch high patties of your crab meat mixture and place carefully into hot skillet.

  14. Brown maybe 5 minutes on one side, then turn over and let brown on the other another 5.

  15. Turn down heat if you have to, you may "flatten" crab cake slightly with spatula. Once heated through, place on plate and voila you have just made Leah's crab cakes!

  16. You can easily reheat these in the microwave or even create the patties and freeze for a future party. Try making small "meatballs" and deep fry them if you would like to have them at parties. Which is what I am going to do with the left over mixture.

  17. I was so zealous with the tartar, I over-dolloped the tartar sauce and ate every bit, the hog that I was (am) rofl.

Crab Cakes A La Leah @ Group Recipes

Best Homemade Tartar Sauce

Easy to make and have on hand - try to make your own today...

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup mustard (I like to use half grainy dijon and half deli-styled)

  • 1/2 cup "hamburger" relish (I use Heinze)

  • 1 medium bermuda/spanish onion-minced

  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons

  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mince bermuda or spanish onion (bermuda onions look the prettiest - they are the purple ones) and place into bowl.

  2. Add remaining ingredients.

  3. Stir till combined.

  4. Add salt and pepper accordingly.

  5. Keep in sealed container for up to one month and serve anytime with your favorite fish dishes including my recipe for "Crab Cakes a la Leah"

  6. Ok off, I am to make the crab cakes, I'm starving!

Best Homemade Tarter Sauce @ Group Recipes

Fried Cornmeal Mush/Polenta

Want to have something a little different for breakfast or brunch? Try this naughty dish when you want something corny and crispy and oh so Divaliscious!

Also known as Fried Polenta - Are Your Ready for Brunch? This is theee recipe my grandma has always used, and I do now of course. Want something different instead of pancakes or waffles, then this is it...Serve warm with butter and syrup - add flavor
ed butter for an utterly amazing experience like strawberry-butter, orange-butter or honey-butter. ...

  • This dish is made the night before and allowed to "set up" before frying it up in the morning. It keeps very well in the fridge if wrapped up correctly. You can certainly halve this recipe as this is a double recipe.

  • ***OK Here we go...

  • 2 Cups Cornmeal/Polenta

  • 6 cups Boiling Water

  • 2 teaspoons Salt

  • ***When ready to fry

  • flour for dredging

  • Crisco shortening (the white stuff is what we usually used) or

  • You can use bacon drippings or butter (for an "Oh My factor"!)

  • ***Equipment Needed:

  • Sauce Pot with lid, whisk, loaf pan, plastic wrap, ice cubes and cold water

  1. Boil water.

  2. While waiting for water to boil, add ice cubes and water to loaf pan and set aside so that the loaf pan will get very cold.

  3. Add salt to now boiling water.

  4. Slowly add two cups of corn meal and whisk all the while to prevent any lumps in your "corn meal mush".

  5. Once mixture starts to boil (big bubbles will pop up out of the mixture), turn down heat to a simmer and put lid on top of sauce pan.

  6. Continue to cook for 15 minutes.

  7. Pour out ice cold water and ice cubes from loaf pan.

  8. Add cooked cornmeal mixture to loaf pan let cool for five minutes before wrapping and covering loaf pan with plastic wrap.

  9. Place load pan into fridge with the cooked corn meal in fridge overnight to set.

  10. ****Wake up time - and time to fry....

  11. In large skillet or cast iron skillet, let skillet get hot with preferred shortening of our choice.

  12. Take out loaf pan, remove plastic and cut 1/2" slices of the corn meal mush.

  13. In flat bowl or plate, add 1/2 cup of flour, dredge corn meal mush slices on both sides with flour and shake off any excess and carefully place into hot skillet.

  14. You might have to do this in batches if making it for a crowd.

  15. So heat up the oven to 275 degrees and have a cookie sheet with some paper towels placed on top and into the oven to transfer any cooked corn meal mush until ready to serve.

  16. I have done this so many times for crowds and having the oven on a "keep food warm" heat really helps - the cookie sheet helps keep the slices crisp.

  17. The corn meal mush will take about 7minutes per side.

  18. Be careful that your skillet is not too hot, you don't want a smoky kitchen, but rather you want the corn meal mush to slowly fry.

  19. Using spatula, carefully flip over when one side is done.

  20. This is literally one of my favorite (only a couple times of year) naughty breakfast dishes - the slices are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside - serve with warmed up syrup and your favorite butter along with sausages or bacon makes for an amazing and naughty breakfast!

  21. See comments for alterations for making an interesting savory appetizers that can be reheated for your parties!

  22. Photo shown has corn meal mush fried then cut into half which I do not do. I will place a photo of my own soon. Happy corn meal mushing!

  23. If you want to try these as an appetizer, simply add diced scallions and minced rosemary (1/4 cup each) to corn meal after its cooked. Then on the next day, fry it up then simply reheat in the oven for 5 minutes for your guests to try something entirely different!

Fried Cornmeal Mush @ Group Recipes

Rosemary Corn Scones with Scallions

This is a nice twist for a savory scones - so easy to make, grab those kids and have them do this with you! Perfect for brunches and to have something special when guests come over to dinner.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cold and cut in 1/4 inch slices

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary (you can use less, but I love the taste of rosemary!)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped scallions

  • 1 egg

  • 3/4 cups half and half

  • 1 egg

  • Confectioners' sugar for glaze (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Mix with fork.

  3. Add butter and blend with fingertips or pastry blender until butter is evenly mixed in chunks.

  4. Blend in lemon zest and rosemary and chopped scallions.

  5. Beat egg in small bowl with half and half. Pour into flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon.

  6. Turn out onto floured board and lightly knead.

  7. Lightly roll our dough to form 12-inch circle. Using a biscuit cutter or plain 3-inch cookie cutters, cut out dough.

  8. Transfer to uncoated baking sheet and brush tops with egg.

  9. Re-roll any scraps and cut remaining dough.

  10. Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven, generously sift confectioners' sugar over tops and bake 5 minutes longer.

  11. If not using powdered sugar, simply skip this step and let bake for additional 5 minutes - total baking time is 15 minutes.

  12. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on rack. Serve hot, or at room temperature. Great for freezing as well.

Find this recipe and many more of my recipes at
Rosemary Corn Scones @ Group Recipes

Onion Kulcha Indian Bread

This really is a Naan Bread that has been "filled" with awesome chopped onions and a dash of a little this and a dash of a little that. Nice thing to try when you want something different.

  • ***For Naan Dough:

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1 tablespoon yogurt

  • 1 egg

  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for baking tray)

  • ***While the dough is rising, prepare the filling:

  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped

  • 1small hot chili pepper, minced

  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder

  • Salt to taste

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or clarified butter

  • 2 teaspoons cilantro, minced for garnish

  1. ***To make the dough:

  2. Whisk together the milk, sugar, water, yogurt and egg.

  3. Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a large shallow bowl. Mix well.

  4. Pour the liquid onto the flour and begin to knead.

  5. Continue kneading until you have a soft dough. If you need more liquid, add a few tablespoons of warm water.

  6. Knead for at least 10 minutes, or until you have a soft dough that is not sticky.

  7. Oil the dough, cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place for 1½ - 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

  8. ***While the dough is rising, Make the filling:

  9. Squeeze out all the water from the chopped onions.

  10. If the onions still appear to be watery, add a small boiled grated potato to your filling.

  11. In a mixing bowl combine all the filling to form a lumpy consistency.

  12. Set aside until the dough has risen and is ready to form into kulchas.

  13. ***How to make the Kulchas:

  14. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and lightly oil two baking sheets.

  15. Lightly dust the rolling surface with flour.

  16. Roll the dough into a log and cut it into 8 equal portions. Take one portion of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of your hands, flattening the ball. Place it on the floured surface and roll it out into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.

  17. Add a tablespoon of the filling to the center and bring the sides up and together, pinching them to seal and form a ball.

  18. Flatten lightly. Dust very lightly with flour. Roll again about 5 - 6 inches in diameter.

  19. Dip your fingers in water and moisten the surface of the kulcha very lightly. Sprinkle with a few minced cilantro leaves. Continue until you have made 8 kulchas (four per baking sheet).

  20. Place the kulchas in the oven for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

  21. You can also make these ahead and have them slightly baked, then finish them up on the grill (which I would prefer since they get even crispier)

Onion Kulcha Indian Bread @ Group Recipes

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Banana Nut Coconut Muffins

Rich, light and airy muffins with a great topping of coconuts and walnuts will make people wishing you made two dozen - perfect for freezing, great for quick gifts and things to do with "getting old" bananas. These muffins are airy and not dense like banana bread. Serve right out of the oven with honey-butter, oh my!...

  • 2 cups flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup white sugar

  • 1 jumbo egg (or 1 large egg and 1 extra yolk)

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 medium sized bananas

  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut

  • 2/3 cup walnuts

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ****Equipment Needed:

  • Preheated oven at 400, greased muffin pans, sieve, 2 bowls and wooden spoon.

  • ****Notes: Do not over beat mixture or let stand too long before baking for best results in tall muffins which are crisp on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and make sure your oven rack is placed in the middle of your oven.

  2. Melt butter and set aside to cool down.

  3. Grease muffin pan and do not forget to baste to top of the pan too so that any muffins that may bake up over can be easily removed after baking.

  4. In one bowl, take bananas and using pastry fork or potato masher, mush and mince till well - it looks like mush.

  5. Add milk, eggs and vanilla to bananas.Stir till well combined, using whisk to beat up eggs.

  6. In separate bowl, measure flour and place into sieve over second bowl.

  7. Add salt, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon.

  8. Sieve once more and set aside dry ingredients.

  9. To sifted flour mixture, add walnuts and coconuts. With wooden spoon, mix to that the coconut and walnuts are well combined into the flour mixture.

  10. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.

  11. Stir with wooden spoon, do not beat. Make sure the dry ingredients are well combined.

  12. Immediately place batter into muffin pans 2/3 full.

  13. Sprinkler additional coconut and walnuts on top if you would like.

  14. Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

  15. Let cool for two minutes once out of the oven. Then using a dinner knife, carefully go around the edges, muffins should easily pop out.

  16. Serve immediately or let cool then freeze muffins for instant breakfast compliments. I assure you!

Banana-Nut-n-Coconut Muffins @ Group Recipes

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Butterscotch Coconut Bread

Easy and different bread for brunches works great as a muffin recipe too...and who doesn't love coconut? My people adore this bread, it goes very quickly at my brunches...nice to have around as a snack too. The brown sugar is what makes this bread truly a butterscotch bread....

  • 2 cups flour

  • 1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts - slightly roasted

  • 1 extra large egg

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk

  • 1 tablespoon butter - melted

  • ***For bread topping:

  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

  • ****Equipment Needed:

  • one (1) greased loaf pan (9-1/2x5-1/2 inches), preheated 350 degress oven.

  1. Sift flour, measure then add baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  2. Sift dry ingredients once more.

  3. Add chopped walnuts - if you wanted to dry roast them for 5 minutes, they flavors will have been amazingly enhanced.

  4. Stir chopped walnuts and coconut into flour mixture.

  5. In second bowl, combine egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and melted butter and mix till combined.

  6. Pour wet mixture into dry - stirring till combined - DO NOT beat - thanks...

  7. Add remaining 2 tablespoons each of the chopped walnuts and shredded coconuts, sprinkling them over the top of the dough mixture.

  8. Turn mixture into greased loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.

  9. This freezes really well too and is nice to bring to brunch parties and to your next social.

Butterscotch Coconut Bread @ Group Recipes

Surprise Cheese Muffins From Scratch

This easy cheesy muffin recipe is great served for brunch, lunch and as a dinner side. You can substitute any cheese here of course, I like to use several kinds of cheese for added decadence and that "je ne sais quoi" factor your guests and family will love...

  • 3/4 cup flour

  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1-1/2 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 cup yellow corn meal (not the flour but the cereal grain kind - it is next to the oatmeal in your bakery isle at the store)

  • 1 cup shredded cheese (try cheddar and parmesan or other interesting combinations such as brie and gouda)

  • 1 tablespoon green pepper minced

  • 1 extra large/ jumbo egg

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (shortening) - but make sure its melted

  • 1 teaspoon grated onion

  • additional shortening to grease your muffin pans

  • **Equipment Needed:

  • greased muffin pans, one preheated oven at 400 degrees with rack in the middle, sieve, 2 bowls and wooden spoon, hungry people who just happen to simply adore your homemade "surprise cheese muffins from scratch!"

  1. Another from scratch recipe from me. By this time, you know you need to sift the flour, measure then sift again with the added dry ingredients. OK here we go....

  2. Success of all homemade muffins require that you do not over mix or beat the heck out of your muffin mixture. In fact, you almost want to under mix the ingredients - and do this by hand - do not use a mix master or hand-held mixture- it's ok if it looks lumpy - my thighs are a little lumpy - but do you care? - OK, Don't answer that! Well heck, your guests won't know that your muffin mixture was a little lumpy - but they will truly love you and your fantastic muffins!

  3. ******

  4. Measure out all your ingredients and have ready. And preheat that oven of yours for 400 degrees making sure the rack is in the middle.

  5. Grease up your muffin pan, tell that muffin pan that it is about to make the most delicious muffins it ever has! - Good, can you see your muffin pan smiling now? - wow you greased it up good - and don't forget to grease the top part of the muffin pan (in case the muffin tops slightly stretch out over the muffin mold area of your muffin pan while baking - this will will make it for easier removal)

  6. What did I have in my ice tea this morning!...I am writing so silly today - but you ARE laughing...aren't you?)

  7. Sift flour and measure. Add salt, baking powder, sugar and sift once more. Add corn meal, your shredded cheese and green pepper. Stir till well incorporated.

  8. In second bowl, combine egg, melted shortening - slightly cooled and onion. Mix till combined.

  9. Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients.

  10. Stir just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. (Remember - do not beat)

  11. Fill your greased up and smiling muffin pan 2/3's full.

  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Best served warm. Enjoy!

Surprise Cheese Muffins @ Group Recipes

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chinese Beef with Broccoli Yum!

Want an easy quick dinner. This is a great idea to use with the affordable beef shoulder. Make some great rice and voila - dinner is served!

  • 1/2 lb. beef (shoulder steak)

  • 1 lb. broccoli

  • 1 piece garlic

  • 1 thick slice ginger

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

  • Dash pepper

  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

  • 1 tbsp. wine

  • 1/4 tsp. sugar

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. meat tenderizer

  1. It takes more time to prepare your ingredients than the actually cooking time.

  2. Do make sure all your ingredients are ready prior to starting the cooking process.

  3. Ok Here we go...

  4. Slice beef very thin and mix in all the seasonings.

  5. In separate bowl, combine soy sauce, pepper, cornstarch, wine, sugar, salt and tenderizer.

  6. Let stand 10 minutes or more.

  7. Parboil broccoli in 1 cup water for 1 minute. Save water for later use.

  8. Heat pan with 2 tablespoons oil and throw in garlic and ginger until light brown.

  9. Stir Fry beef until medium rare.

  10. Add broccoli and water and sauce, bring to a boil.

  11. Don't Overcook. Serve it up hot with your favorite rice...enjoy!

Check out my other recipes too at:
Chinese Beef With Broccoli @ Group Recipes

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Quick Quiche Leah

My take on an old favorite includes the use of at least three different cheeses (Brie, Goat, and Parmesan) which really makes a huge difference, along with the crispy bacon and ham along with caramelized onions. It's also light and fluffy! Oh My! I cheat on occasion with a pre-made pastry dough when I am in a hurry. When I have left over ham, along with making the inevitable split pea soup, I usually make one of these quiches...And from the picture, you now know what size of piece of quiche I took...yum, it's still warm and delicious as I take another bite!! And no, you can't have a piece of mine - go on and make your own!

  • I love bacon and ham, and who doesn't love this combined with cheeses...I do not use half-n-half but whole milk...(as if that was going to help with lessoning the calorie count!) lol

  • 5 thick slices on bacon diced

  • 1 cup of diced (Bodacious) Baked Ham that maybe left over in fridge.

  • 1 large onion diced

  • 4 jumbo eggs or 5 large eggs

  • 1-1/2 cups of three cheeses - I use up whatever is left over before it goes into a downward spiral of unidentifiable cheese - This time I chose brie, parmesan freshly grated, fresh mozzarella cut up and crumbled goat cheeses.

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons of flour

  • 2 tablespoons freshly minced green scallions or chives

  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg in addition to

  • 3 or 4 shakes of nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • Salt is really not needed due to the bacon and ham

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pastry shell uncooked and chilled.

  • ***Equipment Needed:

  • Large skillet, one working oven at 350 degrees, several bowls, cookie sheet

  1. Take eggs out of refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

  2. In cold skillet, add olive oil and diced bacon and turn heat onto medium.

  3. With spoon, stir on occasion to let bacon crisp all over, tis better to allow bacon to cook slowly versus too quick and smoke up the house. Less bacon shrinkage too. (who knew?!?)

  4. Remove cooked bacon and put in cut up ham and onions into remaining bacon fat. Cook till onions are translucent and starts to become caramelized.

  5. While ham and onions are cooking, crack eggs and place into one bowl. Whisk eggs till smooth, add milk, salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir till well combined and set aside.

  6. Grate and cut up your cheeses and place into a second bowl. Stir cheese till combined then add flour, stirring till flour coats the cheese.

  7. Return to skillet, and with slotted spoon, drain out caramelized onions and cooked ham. Drain on paper towels and add bacon. Let cool for five minutes.

  8. Mix bacon mixture into cheese mixture and stir till well combined.

  9. Pour this mixture into unbaked pie shell.

  10. Place pie shell onto cookie sheet.

  11. Pour egg mixture into pie shell over the bacon mixture.

  12. Add a couple of shakes of ground nutmeg to top along with freshly minced scallions on top of unbaked quiche.

  13. Carefully, place cookie sheet with quiche sitting on top, into the oven and let bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

  14. Check if done when taking knife and inserting it, the knife comes out clean.

  15. Let quiche sit for 20 minutes before serving allowing it to finish "setting up", serve with fresh mixed salad greens and or warm and toasty soup for a perfect luncheon.

  16. PS, I said to heck with the 20 minutes, and sliced me up a piece immediately - thinking about going for naughty seconds.

Leahs Quick Quiche Lorraine @ Group Recipes

Bodacious Baked Ham

What's an eternity? Two people and a ham. Just Kidding!

This delicious take on baked ham makes for a tasty and moist ham which will please many a party giver and taker. Spicy and sweet its an easy alternative for a Sunday meal, serve with your favorite side dishes and corn bread. We had ours with Cilantro & Carrot Basmati Rice and fresh mixed salad. Yummylicious!

And who doesn't love a really good moist and tender baked ham?

  • 1/2 butt ham (6-7 pounds) - which has sat out of refrigerator for 30 minutes at least. You will want the chill off of the ham.

  • ***For Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

  • 1/2-3/4 cup orange juice

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2-3 tablespoons "jerk seasonings"

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)

  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic syrup (yes condensed balsamic vinegar - available at fine food stores or places like Turcos and Trader Joe's)

  • (Don't have any balsamic vinegar? - Use 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar then)

  • 5 tablespoons duck sauce (or 5 packets of duck sauce from your last time you went for Chinese take out)

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • ***Equipment Needed

  • roasting pan, tin foil (optional for easier cleaning), bowl, spoon, knife, one working oven at 325, one lazy Sunday afternoon with a crowd to feed.

  1. Take cured (pre-cooked) ham out of refrigerator and let chill come off of ham. Remove packaging and rinse under water. Remove any plastic.

  2. You will be cooking your ham 20 minutes per pound, so take notes on the amount of time you will need to bake your ham and when the ham should go into oven.

  3. Place ham onto cutting board.

  4. With knife, make 1/2" or less cuts on the diagonal all over ham. Then going in other opposite direction, make additional cuts so that a "diamond" pattern is now on your ham.

  5. See photo for reference.

  6. Put ham flat side down onto tinfoil that you have lined your roasting pan with.

  7. Place in oven at 325 degrees.

  8. In bowl, add all ingredients for glaze, stir till well combined.

  9. Go about your business for one hour. Yes, go on now...

  10. Return to kitchen and open up oven door.

  11. Carefully, pull out rack that has the ham roasting and spoon glaze all over ham.

  12. At this point, every twenty minutes, you will want to put more glaze on ham until ham has completed its roasting time.

  13. You can up and increase the heat in the oven, to crisp up glaze should you think the ham needs it for the last twenty minutes.

  14. Take ham out of oven and let rest 20 minutes.

  15. Call peeps to table and place ham up on its side onto a serving platter. Call up your favorite carver and slice up that ham!

  16. The crispy "diamonds" are now absolutely decadently Divaliscious!

Bodacious Baked Ham @ Group Recipes

Pickled Potato Salad

We all have our own versions of potato salads, this one surprised me in how it was made by my man the other day...all in one pot with the added twist of pickles made for a very colorful potato salad that was zesty and tasty - perfect for BBQs and a way to sneak your kids into eating their vegetables. Very easy - and very good. Enjoy!

  • 4-5 potatoes

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 large carrots

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1 large crisp dill pickle

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (light version just fine)

  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard

  • salt and pepper

  • splash of vinegar

  • ***Equipment needed:

  • one large bowl, small bowl, one large pot, one working stove top, and one working microwave, spoon and several forks to share this great pickled potato salad with.

  1. Put water into pot and place carrots, eggs in their shells, potatoes into pot.

  2. Make sure the water covers the eggs and potatoes at least by an inch.

  3. Turn on water and let come to a boil.

  4. Add salt and splash of vinegar, place lid on top of pot.

  5. Let cook for 15 minutes until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

  6. Remove from heat and carefully transfer pot to kitchen sink.

  7. Add cold water to replace all hot water in pot.

  8. This will aid to cool down your ingredients quickly.

  9. In second bowl add one cup of frozen peas and microwave for 2 minutes, then place lightly cooked peas into bowl for potato salad.

  10. Using strainer or slotted spoon, take out vegetables.

  11. Cut carrots and place into bowl.

  12. Peel potatoes and cut them, then place into bowl along with carrots and peas.

  13. Crack egg shells, and cut them up and place into bowl.

  14. Take dill pickle, and dice up and well, you guessed it, place into bowl.

  15. Add salt and pepper to taste along with mayonnaise.

  16. With spoon, fold mayonnaise into ingredients.

  17. Put in refrigerator to chill and have fun at your next gathering.

  18. This pickled potato salad is even better the next day, so it's perfect to make ahead that is if there is anything left over for the next day.

Pickled Potato Salad @ Group Recipes

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cilantro - The Mega Benefits of Eating This Herb

Recently I noticed I began to use cilantro at unprecedented levels in my cooking and had decided to look cilantro up on the web, even though I only recently started to cook and use it in my cooking and garden four years ago but never to the extent of my recent usage amounts. I wasn't going to search as to why I had been craving this herb, but what were its supposed effects, if any on our bodies. I was shocked to learn how great cilantro actually is for us and to our overall health.

It was only until now that I was curious what the herb was all about. And why the heck was I started to naturally crave this herb? I had to get to the bottom of this but promptly! I knew I had used it plenty of times in my Oh So Famous Salsa. But I needed to know what did cilantro do, if anything to us and our bodies. With the research I found, this article was created and I just had to share.

Who knew That
Cilantro Was This Good!?!
Want a cure all for viral and bacterial infections and more? Well read on…albeit maybe novel, the ability to use cilantro greatly increases our ability to clear up recurring infections, both viral and bacterial especially when eaten with omega-3 enriched foods such as nuts. But there are many other wonderful side effects of eating Cilantro. Who knew?

Why Fresh?
Although we all like to use fresh herbs if we can get them, it seems that there are more benefits than first thought, especially when us foodies started to first go all hog-wild on the "got-to-be-fresh-happy" with the use of non-dried herbs in our cooking. So many of us grew up with dried herbs, and for many more, dried herbs that would stay in our cupboards for years. I know I am not alone here. That by the time we reached (some sort of ) adulthood, we wished to cook no more "out-of-the-box", but back to the real deal, thankfully to food network stations everywhere telling us the importance of a dishes success depends on the use of the freshest of herbs.

This trend in "using fresh herbs as a must" is so true that McCormick, this past fall, placed out one page magazine advertisements in several magazines and even created a website to assist visitors in checking out just how old their herbs were in their cupboards. If you think I am kidding, go one and take the McCormick Herb Test as seen on their site - yes they created one just for this purpose! But do note anything from the McCormick's Baltimore factory is over 15 years old! Yuck! I had four or five in my cabinets that were promptly tossed. Yeah I know, who knew!

Using Cilantro In Your Cooking
Cilantro has a mild peppery taste, flat leaves and is similar looking to flat-leafed parsley. It is a family member of the carrot family - and as you can tell from its looks, the tops of this wonderful herb resemble that of a carrot top.

Cilantro is great as an edible garnish. If you mince it and sprinkle any dish you have before you, literally, including your breakfast eggs, you will receive its curing and healing attributes of the cilantro herb.

But I have recently resurrected its’ importance in being a main point in my daily diet. After a little research, I learned that cilantro seems to have some very interesting (and affordable) super health benefits and can be seen as a major cleaner of the body in ridding heavy metals such as mercury, lead and aluminum from one's body.

Yes, there’s more people, cilantro is also a blood cleaner. And heck why not eat what you love and detox your body simultaneously?

I was researching the health benefits of cilantro and scallions when I came across this amazing article that reveals the resources of its studies along with the amazing beneficial healthy results. If you are interested in seeing the article in full, click here. The article in posted on the website. I definitely recommend it.

It seems that for years there have been drugs available to help rid the body of the heavy metals called, “Chelation therapy” [which] using chemical agents like EDTA has long been used to help remove heavy metals” but it seems as if cilantro is one of the affordable natural substances than can remove these metals naturally.

So what do you do to get this herb to assist in your healing?
Best eaten raw, but you knew that already! Some suggestions include using cilantro pesto (recipe below) over pasta, spread onto toasted Italian bread, a dollop over your cooked meat, etc. you get the idea here people! You can also add this peppery herb to cooking, from any and all rice dishes, and pastas to meat dishes.

This herb is also very affordable in fresh bunches at your grocery store. My local store has them at $1.00 for (2) two nice-sized bunches. A small handful (2 teaspoons minced) used in your salads every day for two to three weeks which is the recommended amount to have its curing properties work on your issues it seems, will have you feeling better than you have been in a long while.

Do wash your cilantro very well though. The best way is to fill a large bowl with cold water, and gently put the tops in tops down into the bowl. Stirring the end of the bunch of cilantro, swishing it around will help loosed any soil that may be on it. You can then shake dry and place it in a bad, much the same you would do wish washed lettuce.

Want To Grow Cilantro?
Cilantro is super easy to grow from seed, - which is the coriander seed – hey who knew?!? But be sure to cut your plant often like parsley, for constant fresh growth. Likes sun, and the cilantro is a simple herb that also helps to keep the bugs away. Another natural remedy! A great plant for kids to try as one of their first herbs due to its quick growing in the garden and low-maintenance gardening requirements. Cilantro also does fairly well in a extra sunny kitchen window.

A friend of mine has a great cilantro “pesto” though his is very hot, there are many variations I see on the web. The main point it that you will increase your ability to heal yourself from viral and bacterial infections – especially re-occurring ones with adding 2-3 teaspoons of fresh cilantro with your diet every day for two to three weeks.

I have started this trend of uping my cilantro amounts now for a week, and my head seems clear and my body feels great. Now I know why from this research. I will let you all know how fantastic I feel in two weeks on this.

Here’s one recipe for Cilantro Pesto.

Cilantro Pesto

1 clove garlic
1 cup almonds, cashews, or other nuts
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
Put the cilantro and olive oil in blender and process until the cilantro is chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and process to a lumpy paste. (You may need to add a touch of hot water and scrape the sides of the blender.) You can change the consistency by altering the amount of olive oil and lemon juice, but keep the 3:1 ratio of oil to juice. (It freezes well, so you can make several batches at once.)

Personal Cilantro Recipes I have created and use:

One Pot Cilantro Chicken and Rice

Hot Cilantro Pesto

  • 2 bunches fresh cilantro
  • 1 head of garlic - yes a complete head
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (6-8 lemons)
  • Cardomon - freshly ground
  • 2 or more Hot peppers, dried scotch bonnets or green chilies
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Place all ingredients into your food processor and ground till it becomes a pulp consistency.
  • Use if you dare as a condiment to anything - it really makes a plain dish pop with glee.

Cilantro Salad Dressing
  • 8 oz ranch dressing
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tbl rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese, Parmesan or combination of cheddar & jack
  • 1 jalapeño, no seeds

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender
  2. Blend until smooth

Cilantro Cold Slaw
  • For the salad:
  • 2 large granny smith apples, julienned
  • 1 large red bell pepper, stem, seeds and membrane
  • removed and julienned
  • 1 large green bell pepper, stem, seeds and membrane
  • removed and julienned
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, stem seeds and membrane
  • removed and julienned
  • 1 small head of green cabbage, julienned thin
  • 1 small head of red cabbage, julienned thin
  • 4 yellow fresh corn tortillas julienned thin and fried
  • 4 red fresh corn tortillas julienned thin and fried
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, whole
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped fine
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Salt to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients except tortillas into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add dressing and tortillas and mix lightly being careful not to break
  3. up the tortillas too small.

Kick in the Pants Soup
  • 14 oz. can chicken broth (I prefer organic, non-fat, low or no sodium)
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 4 oz. can chopped mild green chiles (do not drain)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • tortilla chips (optional)

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat.
  2. Stir in tomato and green chiles.
  3. Return to boil.
  4. Remove from the heat.
  5. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  6. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  7. Add tortilla chips to taste. (optional)
There are many more interesting and delightful recipes out there on the web, these are just a few of course. Do get out there and check them out to try today!

Happy Healing Healthily in a Hurry!

As a side silly note though, there is one spice tin I keep simply for its name, shape of its tin and for the nostalgic purpose in reminding me of my mother’s kitchen cabinets which had more spices than any neighbor and was more organized than any kitchen cabinet I knew of then. And yes, she was a great cook and known outside the family for her parties full of fantastic homemade food. And for these reasons why I probably write so much on food besides cooking up a storm any chance I get. But I am loving my cilantro but hard, an herb she never got to learn to try. I will make sure my friends and family do not have the same experience but instead learn and more importantly add this oh-so affordable herb to their everyday diet for better health!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Quick Candied Walnuts

Quick Candied Walnuts

This alternative quick and easy candied walnut recipe is doesn't require a candy thermometer - and has less sugar and naughty ingredients than other recipes...Made this many times for topping salads and my sweet potato soup or pumpkin soups and even desserts such as ice cream and cupcakes/cakes. - Add a dash of cayenne pepper for added pop for savory dishes.

Photo shown is from my "Pineappled Chicken" Recipe that I used some of the candied walnuts and fresh scallions to top the dish with - oh so Divaliscious Delicious!


  • 1 cup walnuts - unsalted

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon or less of salt.

  • ****Equipment needed:

  • Skillet (non-stick might make it easier - though unnecessary), cookie sheet


  1. In skillet, add butter and let melt on medium.

  2. Add walnuts, and with spoon, stir so that all walnuts are coated.

  3. Add sugar and salt and stir once again coating each walnut with the sprinkled sugar and salt.

  4. Add the optional dash of cayenne pepper if you wanted an extra pop in our candied walnuts.

  5. Pour out onto your cookie sheet, allowing for a little space between walnuts so they don't candy up on you in a huge clump.

  6. Pop cookie sheet with walnuts into oven and let bake at 350 for 5 minutes.

  7. Check once again stirring and turning over walnuts, put back into oven for another 3-5 minutes. Make sure not to burn your nuts.

  8. Take out walnuts and let cool completely before adding to your salads and soups. Enjoy!

  9. Photo shown is my dish of "pineappled chicken" with candied walnuts placed on top along with scallions.

Quick Candied Walnuts @ Group Recipes

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Chicken el Capitan

This one made time and time again at my parties, and is such a great crowd pleaser, perfect for stretching out the chicken when serving for more than 4 people and might be on a tight budget.

This chicken is ever so tender, juicy and the seasonings add a distinctly “adult” flavor.

Serve with rice and of course, and have little bowls filled with the extra condiments that allow your guests to pick and choose their toppings for one heck of a delectable and sensational looking entrée. Double the recipe if making for a crowd.

  • 4 pound chicken all cut up – or your choice of cut up chicken parts with skins still on
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups carrots – sliced
  • 1 large onion – sliced
  • 4 shallots – sliced
  • ½ cup green sweet pepper – sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1-1/2 cup stewed tomatoes or canned (whole plum tomatoes are great – 2 cans)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine (drinkable)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped
  • 8 peppercorns
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon, thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ***For Braising Chicken
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ****For Condiment Choices
  • Serve these in accessible little bowls with spoons so that your guests can choose their toppings
  • 1 cup real bacon bits
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup yellow currants mixed with 1/2 cup raisins
  • ****Equipment Needed:
  • Large casserole dish (My mom and I both use a deep Le Cruset skillet with lid which goes from stove top to oven ), heavy skillet for braising chicken if using casserole dish.

  1. Rinse and pat dry your chicken which has been cut up into eight pieces (legs separated from thighs, etc)
  2. Dredge lightly in seasoned flour (salt & pepper added) and shake off any excess.
  3. In deep skillet on medium high heat, heat olive oil first, and then add butter.
  4. Once butter is melted and starts to bubble, add chicken pieces skin down first.
  5. You are only browning the chicken, not cooking it, so you want a nice caramelized look to your chicken skins. Flip chicken accordingly, and brown on the other side. As chicken pieces are browned, remove and set aside on separate plate for now.
  6. Add anymore remaining chicken pieces to your skillet and do the same browning process until all chicken has been braised.
  7. Add a little of the butter if you need to and add onions and shallots, sweat them for 5 minutes.
  8. Or you could have made the bacon bits first and used the bacon fat, yum - to braise chicken in.
  9. Add garlic and green pepper and cook until soft.
  10. Add stock or water, wine, tomatoes and all seasonings. Stir mixture.
  11. Add chicken to skillet and cover.
  12. Transfer to oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until chicken is extra tender.
  13. Serve with hot rice, and condiments.
See many more of my recipes:

Chicken El Capitan @ Group Recipes

Succulent Oyster Bisque - Perfect for Valentine's Day

Want to umm, heat things up between your sweetie and you for Valentine's Day? This succulent bisque is easier than you think. Great to serve for a first date or even at a dinner party -heck just for yourself too! Enjoy it, the Divaliscious way!

  • 1 pint oysters (about 2 dozen- shelled with their liquor reserved!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 onion - sliced
  • 1 stalk celery - diced
  • 1 sprig of parsley - chopped
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Dash of Mace
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup cream (optional)
  • Paprika (optional - but makes it really look nice when serving)
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Equipment needed:
  • Two sauce pots, bowl, whisk, sieve, someone to open oysters for you if using fresh oysters (preferred) oh and one (1) sexy looking hunk sitting at your table waiting to be fed for his soon-to-be-needed strength!

  1. This is a two parter - but it's easy, I promise!
  2. If using fresh oysters, clean and pick over oysters, reserving their liquor (not yours, you may drink your glass of white wine)
  3. Separate soft portions from the hard muscle (look over at hunk and wink)
  4. Finely chop any hard parts of the oyster.
  5. Set aside soft parts of oysters-they don't come into play just yet.
  6. In one sauce pan, add the chopped hard parts of the oysters, their liquor, water, onion, celery, parsley, bay leaf and mace.
  7. Bring to a boil.
  8. While that is coming up to a boil, in second pot you are going to make a white sauce.
  9. Add butter and melt in second pan on top of stove.
  10. Stir in flour in with butter, let cook one or two minutes.
  11. Add 1 cup of the 3 cups of required milk and whisk till smooth.
  12. Add remaining 2 cups of milk. Heat till it boils and gets thick. - Whisking often creates an extra smooth texture (think no lumps)
  13. Take second or maybe by this time 4th sip of wine, look over at Hunk and tell him you are almost ready!
  14. With sieve and one of the bowls, Take first pot that had the "hard parts" of the oyster mixture with onions, etc and pour into sieve - press through.
  15. Take "cleaned up" mixture and return to pot.
  16. Take sip of wine. Don't be nervous of the hunk sitting at table with big sloppy grin on his face. (And I am not talking about the four-legged kitchen helpers some of you have)
  17. Add your "white sauce" to your oyster stock, stir till combined.
  18. Just before serving, add remaining soft portions of oysters, dash of Tabasco sauce and add optional cream if you wanted to go all out.
  19. Heat through for three minutes.
  20. Sprinkle each serving will a little of the paprika and sprinkle a little of the chopped parsley on top - voila
  21. How you serve this succulent creamy oyster bisque to that hunk of yours, is up to you!
  22. Happy Valentine's Day!

Succulent Oyster Bisque @ Group Recipes

Friday, February 1, 2008

Leah's Loveable Croûtons

Leah’s Lovable Croûtons

With all the homemade bread I make, I sometimes don't get around to having it all eaten - what to do? Make croûtons of course...besides making incredible breadcrumbs for your next chicken bake, why don't you have handy homemade croûtons for your fantastic salads and sensational soups too - they too deserve top billing - in this case topped with your homemade croûtons!

Quick and easy and baked in the oven vs. fried up in a pan. Keeps for three weeks in a covered container should they last that long...

  • Stale bread, homemade bread, unused Italian bread - use a rustic bread of any sorts, don't have any? Use at least a multi-grained bread for added interest over plain old white bread - wonder bread will not work here kids!
  • Let bread out for a few days, at least one day if using fresh bread.
  • (I used my sun-dried tomato bread that was left over from last weekend that maybe some of you saw the recipe and topped my last bowl of Top Notch Tomato Soup with them today) - wow oh wow!
  • Dashes and several shakes of all the following herbs:
  • garlic powder, freshly ground pepper, red chili flakes, dried mustard, celery salt and a good amount of herbs de province (by this time you know it's a favorite of mine) and a little salt.
  • Olive Oil
  • ****Equipment Needed:
  • Bowl, spoon, cookie sheet, one working oven at 350 degrees

  1. Slice up your stale bread, up into crouton sized bites and place into bowl.
  2. Drizzle slowly a little olive oil over bread cubes. Stir up bread cubes, till coated with the olive oil.
  3. I usually drizzle, stir, then drizzle a little more and stir again, this way all cubes are lightly "basted" with the olive oil.
  4. You will do the same procedure as above as you add each spice.
  5. If you don't ( I have learned this from experience), one half of your bread cubes will have the seasonings, the other half not)
  6. And by adding the olive oil first, your chosen herbs and spices will stick to your bread cubes.
  7. Add each herb and spice, a shake here a dash there...depending upon your bread you chose for this task, select your herbs accordingly.
  8. My sun-dried tomato bread had lots of garlic, so I didn't need to add much garlic powder for example.
  9. Place and level coated bread cubes on cookie sheet and place in oven.
  10. After five minutes, check on them, using metal spatula or spoon turn over your bread cubes, and bake for another 3-5 minutes.
  11. Let cool, then store in an air-tight container with lid in the refrigerator and enjoy!
Check out this recipe and many more of my recipes by clicking below.

Leahs Loveable Croutons @ Group Recipes