Candy Bar Topped Brownies (from Bon Appetit)

This is a decadent brownie, and really rich so you might need a tall glass of milk when you dive into these babies.  We made these twice: once for my ...

Montana Inspired Dinner: Standing Rib Roast with Madeira Sauce and Herbed Yorkshire Puddings (from Cooking Light)

Kevin and I were going to go to Yellowstone National Park in Montana with a couple of friends and the group wanted to meet before our trip to finalize our ...

Cherry Clafoutis-The Revenge!!

Ok, so this is an update to the cherry clafoutis that we made in July of 2014.  We had left-over cherries and wanted to make another sinfully delicious clafloutis, but ...

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Candy Bar Topped Brownies (from Bon Appetit)

This is a decadent brownie, and really rich so you might need a tall glass of milk when you dive into these babies.  We made these twice: once for my department Thanksgiving potluck and a second time for a potluck dinner at a friend’s place.  Both times people raved about how pretty and good they were; who doesn’t love a good brownie?  Yes, there we dressed the plate up with a couple of orchid flowers from the garden, both of which are edible.  The weirdest phenomenon happened when we brought the plate with the flowers: people would only eat the pieces around the flower.  This is a lesson learned for me:  if you decorate your food with flowers, you may, at some point, have to remove the flowers so that people would eat the food!  P.S., The brownies has espresso which adds a depth of flavor, but if you don’t like the coffee taste, just omit it.



  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 3.5- to 4.5-ounce caramel-filled milk chocolate bars (such as Ghirardelli) or cappuccino-filled milk chocolate bars (such as Perugina), squares separated


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with foil. Butter foil. Combine 3/4 cup butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in heavy large saucepan; stir over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove chocolate mixture from heat. Add sugar and vanilla and whisk until well blended. Add eggs and whisk until well blended. Whisk in flour. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  2. Press milk chocolate squares lightly into batter (do not submerge), evenly spacing 24 chocolate squares (4 across the short side and 6 across the long side). Reserve remaining chocolates for another use.
  3. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 27 minutes. Cool slightly in pan on rack, about 30 minutes. Cut so that each brownie has 1 chocolate square and serve.

Montana Inspired Dinner: Standing Rib Roast with Madeira Sauce and Herbed Yorkshire Puddings (from Cooking Light)


Kevin and I were going to go to Yellowstone National Park in Montana with a couple of friends and the group wanted to meet before our trip to finalize our plans.  Kevin and I decided to host a dinner at our place and ,putting my foot in my mouth, at the last minute I said that it would be “Montana Inspired”; of course we don’t know what the heck that meant!!  After doing some research and realizing that buffalo, elk, and antelope aren’t as easily available plus we were grasping at straws, we decided that we would make a standing rib roast.  It was either that or hamburgers.

At this point I have to admit something that you should never do, but we tend to always do: we tried out this recipe for the first time on our guest, not knowing how it would come out!  Kevin and I have never had Yorkshire puddings before, hec, we didn’t even know what it would look like (turns out it looks like a pop-over which is a type of bread)!!  However this turned out to be a truly amazing meal, I can even go so far as to say that it was a show stopper!!  This recipe is long, but don’t fret, it includes a gravy (the sauce), the meat, and the bread (the Yorkshire pudding) all that you to add to make this a complete meal is a salad or some roasted vegetables.  We paired this with homemade macaroni and cheese as well as a summery peach, feta, and field greens salad.

This recipe calls for a 5 pound rib roast which is huge and we were only feeding five so we decided to half the size of the meat, but kept everything else the same.




1 (5-pound) French-cut rib-eye roast, trimmed
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


1 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Madeira wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
5 large egg whites
2 large eggs



  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
    To prepare roast, rub roast on all sides with garlic. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place roast, fat side up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Insert meat thermometer into thickest portion of roast. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300° (do not remove roast from oven); bake an additional 1 1/2 hours or until thermometer registers 145° (medium) or desired degree of doneness. Place roast on a platter; let stand while finishing sauce and Yorkshire puddings. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons drippings from pan for puddings; set aside.
  2. P1060272
    To prepare sauce, wipe the remaining drippings from pan with paper towels, leaving brown bits on the bottom of pan. Combine the water and 2 tablespoons flour in a small bowl. Add Madeira to pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits. Add flour mixture; cook for 1 minuteor until slightly thick. Stir in broth and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook 2 minutes. Keep warm.
  3. Preheat oven to 450°.
  4. To prepare puddings, coat 12 muffin cups with reserved pan drippings. Lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add thyme and remaining ingredients to bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spoon batter into prepared cups, but only fill to 3/4 of the muffin cup. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove puddings from oven); bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden. (serves 10-12 depending on how you slice the meat)


Paula Deen Inspired Stewed Okra and Tomatoes

We were challenged to bring an accompaniment to a seafood étouffée dinner that our friends were cooking one day and the only thing I can think of is something with okra.  Our friends suggested stewed tomatoes with okra and after asking and looking what would best go with étouffée, the resounding answer was stewed tomatoes and okra.  The Paula Deen recipe that I found seemed rather bland so I added a small amount of heat with the ground red peppers, if you’d prefer a milder dish, omit the ground red peppers.  The dish overall went over well and Kevin even said “This is so good that I wouldn’t mind having this weekly!”





  • 3 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 (14 1/2 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14,5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 C sliced fresh or frozen okra
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • black pepper



  1. In a large skillet, melt butter (or heat up canola) over medium high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring frequently until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Pour tomatoes in skillet, add ground red pepper, salt and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture becomes a thick hearty sauce about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Stir in okra and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add black pepper and more salt if needed.

Cherry Clafoutis-The Revenge!!

Ok, so this is an update to the cherry clafoutis that we made in July of 2014.  We had left-over cherries and wanted to make another sinfully delicious clafloutis, but I was disappointed by the over-done-ness of the one we made earlier.   I insisted that we cook the new one in our cast iron skillet, take the temperature down to 375 degrees and cook it only 45 minutes; this time around we had some extra plums so we pitted those, sliced them up and added them in with the cherries.  The result of which was spectacular!! If we make it one more time I may cook it an additional 10 minutes to brown the top a bit more, but otherwise it was even more delicious than the first time!


Here’s a link to the previous post but make the changes I mentioned.



(Mole Style) Chicken Cashew Chili- from Epicurious

     I added “Mole style” because this is more a chicken mole than it is a chili, however, if you know this going in you will not be disappointed!! Expect a chili and you will be let down!!  The puréed ancho chilies does give this recipe a bit of a sweet smokey kick, especially if you leave all the seeds in like I did, if you want a milder version, remove the seeds prior to pureeing.  According to the recipe, you can also “substitute one roasted and peeled red bell pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes when puréeing”.  I love the crunchy texture and nutty the flair with the addition of the cashews and this can be eaten whole, over rice, or even in a burrito!



For chili purée

  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 1/4 cup cashews, raw or roasted
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 whole chicken legs (drums and thighs) plus 1/2 chicken breast (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped coarse
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander sprigs (wash and dry before chopping)
  • a 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup cashews, raw or roasted
  • 1/2 ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained


Make chili purée:
Heat a small heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot and toast chilies, 1 at a time, pressing down with tongs, a few seconds on each side to make more pliable. Wearing rubber gloves, seed and devein chilies. In a blender purée chilies with cashews and broth until smooth.

Cut legs into drumsticks and thigh portions. Remove excess fat from chicken and pat chicken dry.

In a large heavy saucepan heat oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cool onion and garlic, stirring, until softened. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chicken and stir to coat with onion mixture. Stir in chili purée, 2 tablespoons coriander, and tomatoes with juice and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, 45 minutes, or until chicken legs are cooked through.

Remove pan from heat and transfer chicken to a bowl. With 2 forks shred meat, discard bones and skin. Return chicken to pan and stir in cashews, remaining tablespoon coriander, chocolate, and beans. Cook chili over moderate heat, stirring, until heated through and chocolate is melted. Chili may be made 2 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, before being chilled, covered.

“Family Favorite Frito Taco Pie”- A Take On My Childhood Favorite!

Another summer pool party, another appetizer to make!  This time I wanted to make something that I had as a kid when my aunt would force her boyfriend to take my sister and I to the public pool in Oklahoma City.  We would swim for a bit  or jump off the diving boards even though I didn’t know how to swim and my aunt’s boyfriend would be just out of reach to force me to swim to him.  For lunch we would get something known as a Frito Pie and I thought everyone knew of the glorious, salty goodness that is a Frito Pie, but apparently not so let me describe it for you:  It is a bowl filled with Frito Original Corn Chips, then covered in chili, shredded cheese, and then maybe onions and jalapeño’s; not for the feint of heart!!  As Kevin and I scoured the internet for something similar to bring, we found that this is pretty darn close, and you can cut it into squares for everyone to enjoy; this could be served as a meal since it also rather filling!






1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
8 oz tomato sauce
1 1/4 oz pkg taco seasoning mix
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2.25 oz can sliced ripe olives, drained
8 oz can crescent roll dough
2 Cup coarsely crushed Fritos Corn Chips, divided
1 Cup sour cream
4 oz can chopped green chilies
1 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar Cheese
(optional: Sliced avocado, sour cream, cilantro, sliced scallions)




Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is browned; pour off any accumulated drippings. Stir in tomato sauce, seasoning mix, cumin, oregano, and olives.

Unroll crescent roll dough to cover bottom of ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan, gently patting the perforated seams of dough together. Sprinkle 1 cup of the crushed fritos on top of dough. Spoon on meat mixture.

Stir together sour cream and green chiles; spread over meat mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup remaining fritos over sour cream; top evenly with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until crust is cooked. Serve with optional ingredients, if desired.

Kla-Foo-Whaaaa….?!! Cherry Clafoutis Limousin (from Saveur)


That was my reaction the first time I heard of this dish a long time ago, it is pronounced “Kla-Foo-Tee” and is this wonderful French dessert that is eggy, custardy and heavenly; the taste is akin to a very fluffy soufflé with a flan taste!  We were on Twitter when some followers of ours, @motoridersd and @brandiego mentioned it and it triggered some memory and intrigue for us.  We were really excited to try out a new recipe and take advantage of cherry season!!  We didn’t have a cherry pit remover so we left the pits in, which I found makes it a Limousin clafoutis.  According to Wikipedia, “A traditional Limousin clafoutis contains pits of the cherries.  The pits contain amygdalin, the active chemical in almond extract, so during baking a small amount of amygdalin from the pits is released into the clafoutis, adding a complementary note to its flavor.”  We would love to say we did it because of this background knowledge, but in truth we were too lazy to remove the cherry pits with a knife (we didn’t notice a flavor difference with the pits left in).

When Kevin made it he omitted the Kirsch (a cherry flavored liquor) as well as dusting the final product with the powdered sugar, we were just too excited to do that step and the picture suffered.  In our oven, the dish wouldn’t set in the time allotted so we added a few more minutes, which caused the top to possibly over-brown, but this didn’t affect the taste at all.  When we make this dish again, we will include the kirsch and do a follow-up post on whether it would have made for a better dessert.  On a side note, we found that a drizzle of a good honey on top seemed to enhance the flavors of this dish!!  Overall, it is a delicious dish that is actually relatively low in calories due to the low amount of flour so you won’t feel so bad when you go get seconds!



1 tbsp. unsalted butter,softened
1 ¼ cups milk
6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. kirsch
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
Kosher salt, to taste
¾ cup flour
3 cups black cherries, pitted or unpitted
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting




1. Heat oven to 425°. Grease a 9″ cast-iron skillet or baking dish with butter; set aside. Combine milk, sugar, kirsch, vanilla, eggs, and salt in a blender. Blend for a few seconds to mix ingredients, then add flour and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.

2. Pour batter into buttered skillet, then distribute cherries evenly over top. Bake until a skewer inserted into batter comes out clean and a golden brown crust has formed on top and bottom of clafoutis, about 30 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Serves 8.


Paula Deen’s Dr. Pepper Pecans

I have to admit, both Kevin and I are terrible at thinking up appetizers to bring to a party that isn’t just cheese, fruit, and crackers.  Should it be hot or should it be cold; should we bring homemade dip with chips or something something fancy?  Is there a theme and does whatever we look at match that theme?  This was a summer swim party in Dover, FL so we decided to bring the down-home to the party; I was hesitant at about the pecans because I was unsure how the end result would taste, but I fret for naught, this went over really well!!  We ended up cooking this a little longer since it would not cook down by half on our stove in the time cited, in the second batch we cooked the liquid lower/longer so that when the pecans were cooked in the syrup, the nuts would keep a crisper texture.



  •   1 Cup Dr. Pepper
  •   1 Cup Pecan Halves
  •   1 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  •   salt

P1090992 P1090991


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the Dr. Pepper and butter to a boil over medium high heat.  Simmer until the liquid reduces by half, roughly 15-25 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pecans and continue to cook until the liquid becomes a sticky glaze, 3-4 minutes.  Add a big pinch of salt, stir and transfer to the nuts to the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake, stirring once or twice, until toasted, about 10 minutes.


Turkey, Boccoli & Bok Choy (from Step By Step Cook’s Encyclopedia)

Yes, I can make stir-fry without a recipe, but I am one of those that add a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  I don’t really measure so I would not be able to adequately tell you how much of each ingredient to add.  Notice the peculiar white strips in the photo, that is regular bok choy cut into strips, I could not find baby bok choy but this will work too.  For a nutty flavor dark sesame oil may be used and for a bit of flare sprinkle the dish with some toasted sesame seed.



  •   1 pound turkey cutlets cut into strips
  •   1 Cup jasmine rice
  •   1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  •   1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
  •   2 to 3 heads baby bok choy, washed and then cut the leaves in the heads crosswise off the base and quarter the base
  •   1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  •   1/4 Cup chicken stock or chicken broth
  •   salt


  •   1 tablespoon soy sauce
  •   1 tablespoon honey
  •   2 garlic cloves

IMG_3586 IMG_3587


  1. Make marinade: combine marinade ingredients in a medium bowl, add turkey, and toss to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  2. Cook rice according to package instructions.  Keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat a wok, or large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.   Add oil and heat for 1 minute; add turkey and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until turkey is cooked through.  Remove turkey, set aside and keep warm.
  4. To same skillet or wok, add broccoli, boo choy, and red pepper and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add chicken stock or broth and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender, but still firm.
  6. Return turkey to skillet or wok and cook briefly to reheat.
  7. Serve immediately with rice.