Welcome to my site!

Welcome to my site!
I'm Cindy, and I love to cook! And, I love to eat... hence the size of my rear end! I come from a long line of cooks. My great great Grandmother was a cook in the original Harvey Houses. My grandmother Julia was an awesome cook, and my mom was incredible. I owe my skills to these great women. Especially my Mom who said this to me about making gravy... "Cindy Lynn, wallpaper paste is wallpaper paste & gravy is gravy. Never the two shall meet!" Shall we say my first experience at making gravy left a little bit to be desired! Thank the high heavens my cooking skills have improved since then! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fudgy Brownies

Most of the time, when our family has a craving for fudgy brownies, we resort to the packaged mix brands. They always turn out yummy, with minimal work. So, why bother making them from scratch? Well, sometimes taking the extra time to make them from scratch is worth it! And, when I do take the extra time, this is the recipe I use. It is from the Taste of Summer cookbook, by Diane Rossen Worthington. She calls for the butter and chocolate to be melted over a double boiler. I take the easy way out and use the microwave, and semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of unsweetened chocolate. The brownies turn out just as fudgy and delish either way. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


1 ½ sticks of butter, unsalted
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate)
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (or ¼ cup orange liqueur)
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Optional – 1 cup chopped almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
Powdered sugar for garnish


Grease 9 x 13 baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350.
Place the butter and chocolate into a microwavable bowl or measuring cup. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Set aside and allow to cool. (Or you can use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and butter.)
Place the eggs in a medium mixing bowl and beat in the sugar until the mixture is thick and a pale lemon color.

Stir in the vanilla (or orange liqueur if you prefer) and the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Mix until color is uniform.

Carefully mix the flour, baking powder, and salt into the chocolate mixture. Add the nuts if desired.
Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick tester comes out slightly fudgy, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool and slice into brownies. Sprinkle powdered sugar on the brownies if you like.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

This is probably one of the most decadent and richest desserts I've ever made - or eaten. I make it one time per year... for Mardi Gras. I found it on the Internet about 10 years ago. It is "to die for."
Sometimes I am not able to find the type of bread called for in this recipe. Yesterday was a case in point. So, I substituted a loaf of Sheepherders Bread, and added a little extra sugar. It was perfect!

I usually cut this recipe in half, for a smaller crowd. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Delish!


1 loaf Brioche, Challah, or other sweet bread
4 ounces butter, melted
16 ounces white chocolate, chunked
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
8 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Cut the brioche loaf into 1 inch dice. Place in a 2 quart baking dish. Drizzle with melted butter. Toss chunked white chocolate with bread cubes.

3. Combine milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla bean and bring to a boil over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Whisk eggs until smooth. Add hot milk mixture to eggs slowly, stirring constantly. Do not whisk, or custard will have a great deal of foam on the surface. Skim foam from custard. Strain custard over bread and chocolate. Let stand for 10 minutes to allow custard to soak into bread.

4. Place baking dish in another larger pan. Pour hot water into larger dish to reach 1 inch up side of dish.

5. Bake the bread pudding for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until custard is set and brioche is golden.

6. Serve warm with a dollop of whip cream.

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hours 0 minutes

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Muffuletta Salad

It usually comes in a sandwich — but Emeril Lagasse takes this classic taste to a bowl. Try his recipe for muffuletta salad. It may be a salad — but it’s big enough to serve as a meal. I am serving it tonight at our Mardi Gras dinner as a salad before the Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.


6 cups water
2 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 pound small shell pasta
1/2 pound of salami, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 pound provolone cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 pound of mortadella (ham), cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 pound boiled ham, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
20 pitted jumbo black olives, sliced
20 large green olives with pimiento (no pits), sliced
1/4 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp. Fresh ground black pepper

1. Combine water and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook uncovered. Stir occasionally, until tender, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again.

2. In a larger mixing bowl combine pasta, salami, provolone, mortadella ham, boiled ham, olives, onion, celery, parsley and thyme. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, garlic, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Then, gradually whisk in the olive oil.

3. Pour over salad mixture and add remaining teaspoon of salt. Toss to mix well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least eight hours before serving.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Famous Lemon Cake

Well, it's famous in our family anyway! This my sons FAVORITE and I mean absolutely FAVORITE cake. In fact, it's just about the only cake he will eat. He requests it every year for his birthday, and even tries to get his Dad to request it on HIS birthday. It is pretty tasty, if I don't mind saying so myself!

Cake Ingredients:

1pkg lemon cake mix
1pkg instant lemon pudding
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease cake pan. (I use a bundt pan. But, have prepared in a 9 x 13 pan as well.)

2. Place the cake ingredients into your mixer. Mix on cake setting for approximately two minutes. I watch the color of the mixture. When it turns a creamy yellow color, I know it's done.

3. Turn cake mixture into greased pan. Bake for 45 minutes. Test for doneness. (If you use a different type of pan, refer to baking directions on cake mix box.)

4. Let cool in bundt pan for about 15 minutes. Use a knife to release sides of center of cake. Turn out onto cake plate.

5. Pierce top of cake several times with a fork, or skewar. Pour glaze (recipe to follow) over top of cake.

Glaze Ingredients:

Powdered Sugar
Lemon Juice

I usually use about 1 pound of powdered sugar, and add just enough lemon juice to make a very thick glaze. Since you will be glazing the cake while it is still warm, if you make the glaze to runny, it will slide off the cake.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hot and Sour Soup

I really enjoy a good bowl of Hot and Sour soup. The only problem is finding what I consider “good”. Sometimes the consistency is almost syrupy. And that I don’t find appealing. I enjoy this soup when it is really spicy and very tangy. So, I add a lot of chili-garlic sauce and vinegar. I’ve toned it down a bit for those with milder palates. If you prefer to make this vegetarian, you would leave out the pork, add more tofu, and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. I believe it would be just as tasty.


2 lbs ground pork
14 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into small chunks
1 white onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
2 quarts chicken broth
1 quart water
2 cups dried black fungus
2 – 15oz cans Straw Mushrooms (drained and rinsed)
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
**¼ cup white vinegar (I like to use the white wine vinegar, but distilled white vinegar will work too)
**¼ cup Chili-Garlic Sauce


1. Put dried fungus into a bowl; add cold water to cover and let sit for about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse before adding to the soup.

2. Fry the pork in a large pot until browned. If there is too much residual grease, drain some of the fat. Add the onions and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

3. Add the chicken broth and water; bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat. Add the black fungus (after it has been drained and rinsed), straw mushrooms, and bamboo shoots; cook for 30 minutes.

5. Add the vinegar, chili sauce and tofu; continue cooking for another 15 minutes.

**Give the soup a taste and add more vinegar and chili-garlic sauce to your liking. I use a ½ cup of each. But, as I mentioned in the introduction – I really like it spicy and tangy! If you get too much vinegar and chili garlic sauce in it, you can always add extra chicken broth to tone it down.
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