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bridal shower sweets

burlap and book pages

The last post about Marissa’s bridal shower is “the dessert post” … you know – just saving the best for last!

shower table

Before I share the recipes that Raina used for her cookie trio, I want to tell you about the iced Vietnamese coffee that we served, along with iced chai tea, milk and chocolate milk, at the Milk & Cookies dessert station.

press cold brew

Vietnamese coffee is a blend of cold brew coffee and sweetened condensed milk. I used a 50/50 ratio of Press Coffee Roasters Cold Brew and sweetened condensed milk. I mixed them together the night before and served it over ice. So Good!

lemon glazed blueberry lemon bread

On the lunch buffet table, along with the salad, savory tart and bruschetta, we served my Lemon Glazed Blueberry Bread. It was an extra loaf I had baked for a cooking class the week before. Barb stored it in her freezer, defrosted it in the fridge and then glazed it just before serving.


Now for Raina’s scrumptious cookies!

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May 21, 2015   No Comments

mini cupcakes for a baptism

Sunday was baptism day for Peggy’s grandson, Cruz. Cruz is the cutest baby boy there ever was! I swear, he is a little chub of pure joy and his grandma is head over heals in love! I don’t blame her one little bit!

Cruz Baptism

Darling Cruz being held by his godfather, along with his godmother, proud daddy Stevo (Peggy’s son) and beautiful mommy Keegan.


The baptism was held during the 10:30 mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and the lunch was at Cruz’s great-uncle’s home.

Peggy was responsible for dessert and she did herself proud! She made the most adorable and delicious little lemon cupcakes with lemon curd, lemon frosting and lemon sugar. I held myself back and only had two. It was a test of control and strength!

Peggys cupcakes

I just noticed that the cupcake liners match her dress. What did I tell you? Adorable!

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January 19, 2015   1 Comment

yes, I do bake… every now and then…

lemon glazed blueberry lemon bread

We all know that I don’t bake.

Yet I did, voluntarily, on Sunday.

Weird, I know!

frys ad

It all had to do with the blueberries that were on sale at Fry’s.

I bought them, only because they were on sale, then I didn’t know what to do with them … so I baked. The result was pretty darn fantastic! (Oh, I bought the pork loin on sale too… that recipe will follow soon.)


I used Meyer lemons, because I have them, but regular Lisbon lemons would be just as delicious.

2 varieties

If you need either, and you are in my neighborhood … contact me and you can pick as many as your heart desires.

expesive lemons

I do not charge $46 (plus $10 for shipping) for 3 pounds like they do on Food52/Provisions!!! In fact, I don’t charge anything, they are free for the picking. Meyer or Lisbon! And yes, both are organic!


Before we get to the recipe, a few notes:

lemon glazed blueberry bread

I love to use a longer and thinner loaf pan for breads. There are more slices and they are a nicer size. A 12″ long by 4 1/2″ wide by 2 1/2″ deep loaf pan is my favorite size to use.


When you use a glaze on baked goods, the glaze drips. Many recipes call for you to place the baked item on a rack – over waxed paper or such.

pastry scraper

Don’t bother, just place on a rack – on a clean counter. It is much easier to pick up the excess glaze drips with a pastry scraper and drizzle over the bread a second or even a third time this way.

drizzle the drips

When making the glaze, start with the juice from 1/2 a lemon and add more as needed. Powdered sugar soaks up liquid like a sponge, so start with a little and add more as needed, instead of adding too much liquid at the start and having to add more and more sugar to get the consistency you want.

lemon juice [

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January 12, 2015   6 Comments

salad color

easter egg radishes

If you can find Easter egg radishes and colorful heirloom cherry tomatoes at your grocery store or farmer’s market, this perfect colorful summer salad!

heirloom tomatoes

If not, I’m sorry for you but it will still taste fantastic without the “fancy” vegetables.

IMG_1713 copy

Isn’t it pretty?

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July 12, 2014   No Comments

colorful summer salad and a tomato tip

tomato halves

I’ve seen this cool tip for cutting a bunch of cherry tomatoes at one time all over the internet and on Pinterest. I’ve used it for sometime now, but keep forgetting to share it with you. It not only comes in handy for this salad but is especially fabulous for THIS RECIPE and any other recipes calling for roasted cherry tomatoes.

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and then thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepper jelly
3 pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, diced
1 cup chopped pecans


In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, toss to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

coat salmon

Spread the pepper jelly on the flesh side of the salmon. Heat a grill or broiler to high.

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June 30, 2014   4 Comments

a recipe request – from Tokyo

My dear friend and former neighbor, Lori, sent me a recipe request all the way from Tokyo, Japan. Here is a condensed version of her email.

“Last night we took friends to our favorite restaurant here – Ivy Place. They have a drink that blows me away-it is lemongrass lemonade. Everyone was wondering, “How do you think they make this?!?” I said the only person in the world besides this restaurant who could possibly figure it out is Miss Linda! Ever heard of lemongrass lemonade? Here is a picture of what they serve.

Ivy Place Lemongrass Lemonade

It seriously is the most delicious, refreshing drink I have ever had (and I am a lemonade freak-so all the better). In all your spare time, 🙂 can you help us with this mystery and how to make this concoction? You may get a better idea though if you could just jump on a plane and get over here already!”

Now I’m pretty good at deciphering recipes and recreating them at home … once I’ve TASTED them! But to try to recreate something I’ve never tried – that’s a serious challenge! Quite honestly, it’s impossible. I can only make a guess, and not even an educated guess, as to what the bartender or mixologist at Ivy Place in Tokyo uses to make their Lemongrass Lemonade.

herb garden

Otherwise, it wasn’t difficult to come up with a recipe. I have lemongrass growing in my exceedingly overgrown herb garden. I am going to clean all that excessive oregano and rosemary out of there and start over, soon, very soon … maybe this weekend!

At the end of the post you’ll find directions on trimming garden lemongrass. If you don’t have lemongrass growing in your yard and you aren’t close enough to come over and get some of mine, you can often find it with the herbs in the grocery store.

One thing I did figure out after I made several attempts, Ivy Place makes the drink differently then I do! I can see that from the fact that their drink is clear and garnished with mint and mine is yellow and garnished with lemongrass. The yellow in my drink comes from the use of lemon zest. I don’t want to leave that out because the oils in the peel give you the most intense lemon flavor. I like my lemonade to be really lemony!

All that being said – Lori, here is my version of Lemongrass Lemonade. I’ve named it after you. Please make a batch, taste it and then give me some feedback about what you think and what might be added or taken away to make it most like the concoction that Ivy Place serves.

One last thought – Lori claims that this makes a seriously tasty cocktail when you add vodka. Strangely enough – I believe her!

Loris Lemongrass Lemonade

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May 30, 2014   4 Comments

Father’s Day breakfast

ricotta pancakes

Yesterday morning, Connor pitched in to help me make a simple Father’s Day breakfast for his dad.

I was already working on an early afternoon dinner for 8, so I didn’t want it to be some big elaborate morning meal. These pancakes are about as light and fluffy as it gets.

Plus, with the two of us working together, it was a breeze to get on the table in less than 20 minutes.

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June 17, 2013   3 Comments

Poached Peaches with Streusel

ripe on the tree

When we left for Hawaii on May 22, the peaches on my tree looked as if they would be ripe any day.

Connor would be coming home on the weekends while we were away and Marissa was home one short weekend for the wedding shower of her college roommate, Paige.

marissa and paige

The wedding is in August and Marissa is a bridesmaid.

I told both the kids and my dad to keep and eye on the peaches and to please please please pick and eat them. I hated the thought of the luscious fruit going to waste.

If not picked, they’d either fall off the tree and rot, or more likely, the bugs would get to them as soon as they ripened. The idea of it made my stomach actually ache.

the perfect peach

When we arrived home on June 3rd, surprisingly there were still peaches on the tree! My dad said that they were always hard as rocks when he checked and I never did remember to ask the kids if they had any.

box of peaches

The little fruit flies, gnats, or whatever those nasty little bugs are, had already been to work on more than 2 dozen of the peaches, but I was able to pick a decent boxful! Joy!

I made a delicious Peachy-Chicken entree one night (coming soon to a post near you) and today I am using the last of the peaches for this dessert.

It’s a partially-make-ahead dish. I’m starting it today and we will be enjoying it on Sunday for Father’s Day.

Of course, I had to make one serving from start to finish so I could photograph and post it for you today.

The things I do and the sacrifices I make for you people!

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June 14, 2013   3 Comments

Cinco de Mayo dessert

I wanted to let you know that there is a new heading in the Complete Recipe Index under the “Holidays” tab – Cinco de Mayo. It was called to my attention yesterday that it was missing. It is there now, with more than 35 dishes listed, the following recipe included.

pinterest chips

I found this creative dessert on Pinterest. Over the years, I’ve made fruit pizza for many parties and cooking classes. You know – the recipe where you make a sugar cookie crust, top that with a frosting and then arrange cut fruit and berries on top.

This is a fun take on that. Instead of sugar cookie crust, we have sugar cookie “tortilla” chips. The frosting is colored to look like guacamole. And the fruit is chopped to imitate salsa.

Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

extract, oil, and emulsion

You’ll notice that the recipe calls for pure lemon oil or lemon bakery emulsion instead of lemon extract. (I didn’t have lemon bakery emulsion, but wanted you to see a bottle of it, hence the almond in its place.)

What is the difference between the three?

An extract is flavoring dissolved in alcohol, while an emulsion is flavoring suspended in water with an emulsifier. Pure essential oils are more pure and clear-tasting and stronger in flavor when placed in a batter than an extract.

Bakery emulsions keep the incorporated flavors more stable while your mixture goes through temperature changes, and they combine more easily with other emulsions (such as butter, sugar, and egg) than extracts do. When extracts hit the heat and the alcohol evaporates, so does a bit of the flavor.

Not that extracts are bad. Extracts are perfect for everyday baking where the flavor is playing a supporting role rather than a starring one. Such as vanilla in a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The oils and emulsions are what you want to use when you want that specific flavor to really shine through and to give intense flavors to things like candies, frosting, and fillings.

That’s it for the flavorings lesson today… on the the recipe…

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May 3, 2013   1 Comment

Herb Crêpes Eggs Benedict Florentine

crepe eggs benedict florentine

I admit it, this recipe looks VERY intimidating. It is long. There are many components. It looks complicated. But I PROMISE it is not hard to do. In fact, it is a wonderful special occasion entertaining dish. For a crowd, no less!

How is that possible, you ask?

It is because none of the components are difficult and all but one can be done 1 or 2 days in advance. So in reality, it comes together quickly and seamlessly at the end.

Even the final, last minute component, the Hollandaise sauce, is foolproof. I know, you may be ready to quit reading right now… Hollandaise Sauce – Absolutely Not!

But really it is foolproof! No stove is involved! All you need is a blender. You’re still skeptical? This sauce comes from Chef Tyler Florence. It works perfectly and is easy as can be, I may never make traditional Hollandaise sauce again!

too small

As I was beginning to make the crêpes in my usual crêpe-pan, I decided that they were too small, so I switched to a larger skillet. This was a personal choice, if you don’t have a medium size skillet (about 10-inches across the top) a smaller regular crêpe-pan is fine. Above you can see the two pans I’m talking about, and below the difference in the crêpe sizes.


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April 3, 2013   1 Comment