"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, November 29, 2013

Stuffed Tomatoes

This side dish is inexpensive, quick to prepare and always a favorite.

4 large tomatoes
Dash salt
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cub half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons soft bread crumbs
3/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

Cut tomatoes in half; scoop out and discard pulp, leaving a thin shell.  Sprinkle lightly with salt; invert on paper towels to drain for 15 minutes.


In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms in butter until most of liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with flour; stir in cream.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from the heat.  Stir in bread crumbs, parsley and 1/3 cup of cheese.  Spoon into tomato cups; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Place in a greased 13-in x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yield:  8 servings

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mosaic Salad

This pretty salad combines garden-fresh ingredients to create a colorful side dish.  TIP:  I like to chill it a few hours to blend the flavors.

1 medium cucumber, sliced
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon salt

Arrange the cucumber, squash and tomatoes on a large serving platter.

In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients; shake well, drizzle over salad. 

Yield:  6-8 servings.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cream Cheese Cookie Cups

Need a quick dessert?  Try these yummy cookie bites. 

1 tube (18 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Cut cookie dough in half (save one portion for another use).  With floured hands, press about 1 tablespoon of dough onto the bottom and up the sides of each of 12 ungreased miniature muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Using the end of a wooden spoon handle, reshape the puffed cookie cups.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until blended.  Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar.  Spoon into cookie cups.  Store in the refrigerator.

Yield:  1 dozen.  Prep:  15 min.  Bake:  10 min. + cooling

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Honey Fruit Salad

Though fresh fruit steals the show in this medley, the subtle honey sauce makes it an especially sweet treat.

2 medium firm bananas, chopped
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
5 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

In a large bowl, combine the bananas, and berries.

 In a small bowel, combine the honey, lemon juice and poppy seeds.

Pour over fruit and toss to coat.  

Prep/Total Time:  10 min.  Yield:  8 servings