Friday, October 28, 2011


I'm crackin up over here! 
These little ghosts are causing way too much giggling for someone alone in the house!
But look at them?

The little guy on the left is my favorite - with his 'O' mouth - I wish I could have gotten all the meringues to do that.

I did also try several of them with black eyes and orange eyes but the tiny red dot was the favorite - my daughter said "they're super creepy with red eyes. You have to use the red mom"
Therefore, red eyes it is.

This is a basic meringue recipe.

4 egg whites (at room temperature)
couple pinches of cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Bakers Sugar

1 tube of Writing icing or Cookie icing
piping tools


adjust racks to top and bottom of oven
oven to 225
line two baking sheets with parchment paper
set aside

get the egg whites foamy
add the cream of tartar
add vanilla
slowly add sugar
beat until stiff peaks

pipe onto baking sheets 
(mine are about an inch in diameter and maybe an inch high)
YES - about halfway through my first tray I decided I had lost my mind but was too far gone into the project to quit.

bake about 55 minutes
switch placement of trays halfway through the baking time
(top tray to bottom shelf - bottom tray to top shelf)
turn the oven off but leave the trays in for at least a couple hours
you need the meringues to 'dry out' (basically)

At this point I used a toothpick to carefully apply the creepy eyes.
Whatever color you prefer.
Then I put the trays back in the oven overnight (mostly because that was the only way to keep everyone from popping a little ghost in their mouth every time they walked through the kitchen!)

We did also decide we liked them best with only nose or mouth. But you play with it and see what you like best. Have FUN!

so there you have it.
Mini Meringue Ghosts

Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Roasted Pepper frittata

As far as I'm concerned frittatas are one of the best dishes ever! I love eggs. There is minimal mess. I can put most anything I find in the refrigerator into one of these. They are great the next day for breakfast or lunch. They are usually so pretty. And most important - every time I make one my daughter has some little song she sings whenever she see's the frittata...hilarious!

Today's posting started because a friend of mine saw an old photo I had taken and wanted the recipe, so I go looking and couldn't believe I'd never posted this. I make it all the time. 

Curiouser and curiouser...
(spell check is telling me 'curiouser' is not a word.........moving on...)

The photos below make it seem like this dish is really complicated but it's not. I promise you. After the first time you make it you'll breeze right through every time after. And use whatever ingredients you have handy or that sound good at the moment. You really can't go wrong.
I usually do zucchini with the peppers but I didn't have any today. And I do another variation that has leftover baked potato squares and bacon. DELICIOUS! Will post that recipe somewhere in the near future. But today it's all about these beautiful peppers.

Hear you go.


a dish about 10 inches across and maybe 2 inches deep - or something close to that.

1 each - red, orange, yellow and green pepper (4 total)
1 red onion
4 cloves of garlic
about a 1/4 cup olive oil
12 eggs (for a dish as described above)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
zest and juice from 1 lemon
2 pinches red pepper flakes (more if you like)
1 cup parmesan cheese


oven to 450
chop all the vegetables, onion and garlic

place all the above into a large bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of olive oil 
add a little salt and pepper
then spread all the vegetables onto a sheet tray covered in foil - best if you can get all the vegetables in one layer otherwise most of them will only steam instead of roast.

roast in 450 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes
just until some edges start to blacken
remove and let cool

in the large bowl you just had vegetables in, wipe out any excess olive oil then   
add the 12 eggs

note : crack your eggs on a cutting board or the edge of the sink or anywhere, just don't crack the eggs on the edge of the bowl you are using otherwise you get those tiny pieces of egg shell and sometimes they fall into your dish...not good.

also add all the spices, the zest and all the juice you can squeeze out of one whole lemon
add most of the parmesan cheese - save a little to sprinkle over the top before baking.
add a little salt and pepper

When ready, scoop the vegetables off the baking sheet and place into your baking dish. I don't recommend pouring the veggies in because this will also add the excess olive oil into your finished product.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables - sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake at 375 for around a half hour. You want the center to be fairly firm.
Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Butternut Squash soup

Yesterday on Facebook Cook's Illustrated Magazine posted a recipe for Butternut Squash soup. The timing was perfect since we had just returned from Apple Hill where I had purchased several Butternut squash (more to come on that trip later) And of course husband wanted to know when I would be making the soup so here ya go! 

I followed the recipe almost exactly as printed except for using leeks - I didn't have any so I substituted one small shallot. The original recipe also says to puree the squash in batches in a blender - I hate my regular blender so I used my immersion blender (worked great) This was also the first time I have ever chopped up the squash and microwaved it (microwave???) 
It was very surprising for me that this was the technique recommended. But it made this dinner so much quicker - so much less mess - and it was just as delicious as the recipe in their other cookbook.

Try this. You will not be disappointed.


3 medium sized butternut squash (that's what I had - original recipe calls for about 7 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
1 leek (didn't have a leek - used 1 shallot)
4 cups vegetable broth (Swansons - if you don't have any homemade)
1 or 2 cups water
some fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
pinch cayenne pepper
sour cream for garnish


Peel all the squash - I used a potato peeler.
Chop the squash into big chunks - place all in microwave safe bowl - cover with a clean towel and cook 10 minutes - stir then cover again and cook an additional 6 minutes - check if a knife slides through easily - if not stir again and cook another 6 to 8 minutes - when done carefully remove bowl from microwave and set aside.
In a dutch oven melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. 
Add chopped leeks (or shallots) then dump all the squash in the pot. 
Cook about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. There is going to be what is called 'brown fond' on the bottom. This is fine, you're going to take care of that in a moment. 
Add 2 cups of the vegetable stock - stir and scrape the bottom to loosen the fond. 
Add the rest of the vegetable stock - add a couple sprigs of the thyme, the bay leaf, the cayenne pepper and a cup of water. 
Increase heat to high until a couple of big bubbles burst then reduce heat to medium. 
Simmer another 8 to 10 minutes till soup thickens. 
Remove bay leaf.
Turn stove off - then using an immersion blender puree the squash to desired consistency. Adding water in half cup increments until the soup is as 'soupy' or thick as you like it.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.