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 27, 2010

Tamarind Martini

Found this recipe in my Cooking Light 2009 cookbook and also online at myrecipes.com. Here's what the website said: Very yummy and refreshing. Tamarind, a common ingredient in Indian, Thai, and Mexican cuisines, adds an acidic, slightly tart flavor to food. The pulp is sold in cakes at ethnic markets and some large supermarkets. Use a fork or your hands to break up the paste and separate it from the seeds before straining. If you make these martinis ahead, be sure to shake the drink in a martini shaker or stir it with the crushed ice just before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)


2 1/2 cups boiling water
4 ounces unsweetened tamarind pulp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup vodka
1 cup fresh lime juice
Crushed ice
Sugar (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)


1. Combine 2 1/2 cups boiling water and tamarind in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Break tamarind into small pieces; let stand 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, reserving liquid; discard solids.

2. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe dish; microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring once. Cool. Combine tamarind liquid, sugar syrup, vodka, and juice in a pitcher, stirring well. Add crushed ice; stir or shake well. Garnish rims of 8 martini glasses with sugar, if desired. Strain chilled martini mixture into prepared glasses; garnish with lime wedges, if desired.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lentil Soup with Fresh Cilantro

Sorry, no photo today. But trust me – this is a fabulous soup and if you like lentils, you’re going to LOVE It!

This recipe is from one of Lindsay Wagner's cookbooks. It is SO delicious, you won't know what hit you!

Here is Ms. Wagners description of the recipe, “In the high desert beyond Los Angeles is a small Benedictine monastery where the monks run a guesthouse. Carmin, who prepares food for monks and guest alike, makes this tasty and easy to prepare soup. The long cooking time makes it creamy.”


11 cups of water
¼ tsp ground cumin
2 cups lentils, washed and cleaned
1 tsp salt
1 onion finely chopped
1/8 tsp pepper
2 tomatoes, diced
1 Tbls. Coarsely chopped cilantro


Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the lentils, salt, onion, cumin, and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 2 ½ hours.

Add the tomatoes and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Add the cilantro and cook for 15 additional minutes. Serve with warm torillas.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wild River Bloody Mary Mix

Something about this gorgeous Oregon morning made me start thinking about having delicious Bloody Mary. Just sounded delightful. While we had some bottled Bloody Mary mix in the fridge, I wanted something just a little bit different. I found this recipe at AllRecipes.com. Completely easy to make and thirst quenching to boot. Enjoy!


1 (46 fluid ounce) bottle tomato juice
1 1/2 tablespoons celery salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (this is my addition, not a part of the original recipe.)


In a large jar or bottle, combine the tomato juice, celery salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Secure the lid and shake, or stir to mix until well blended.

Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Shrimp Creole - Emeril Lagasse

This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse. I made it tonight for our Mardi Gras celebration. It was FANTASTIC. I've made one minor adjustment - I used canned diced tomatoes, rather than the fresh that Emeril called for. His recipe listed 2 lbs peeled, seeded & chopped tomatoes. I substituted the 3 cans of tomatoes. Try this recipe! I'm pretty sure you're going to love it!


4 ounces (1 stick) butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 cup chopped celery
Salt and cayenne
2 bay leaves
3 cans diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
Dash of hot sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup water
2 1/2 pounds of large shrimp, peeled, tail-off, and deveined
Essence, recipe follows
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 cups cooked long-grain white rice


In a large saucepan (one gallon), over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the onions, peppers, and celery to the pan. Season the vegetables with salt and cayenne. Saute the vegetables until they are wilted, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in the bay leaves, tomatoes, and garlic. Season with salt and cayenne. Bring the mixture up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes. If the mixture becomes too dry add some water.

Season the mixture with the Worcestershire Sauce and hot sauce. Whisk the flour and water together. Add the flour mixture to the tomato mixture and continue to cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Season the shrimp with Essence. Add the shrimp to the mixture and continue to cook for about 4 to 6 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and curl up. Stir in the green onions and parsley.

Check the seasoning and add more salt and cayenne if needed. Serve the Shrimp Creole spooned over the rice.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Friday, February 12, 2010

Mardi Gras Recipes

In the past I've posted a few recipes that are perfect for a Mardi Gras celebration. Since the "big day" is only a couple of days away - here are the links to my recipes. (And a new recipe will be posted tomorrow for Shrimp Creole; an Emeril Lagasse recipe. Mmm Mmm Good!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Italian Rolled Flank Steak (Braciole)

Some of the recipes that I found for a traditional braciole (pronounced bra`zhule) included hard boiled eggs. I have taken several recipes and combined them to make my version of this hearty and tasty Italian treat. When I took the photos I was making 3 braciole for a larger party. In that case I didn’t bake the braciole in the same skillet that I used to fry them. I purchased a large foil pan. Clean up was a breeze!


1 flank steak
½ cup bread crumbs ( I use Progresso Italian Bread crumbs)
½ cup parmesan cheese
Handful of finely chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
Handful of finely sliced fresh basil
Olive oil
Cooking twine for tying the steak
Large jar of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Classico Tomato Basil)
½ white onion chopped
½ cup red wine


Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley & basil in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil into the bowl and stir to combine until mixture holds together like moist sand in your hand. In other words you don’t want the mixture to be dripping with olive oil, but it needs to hold together enough to stay stuffed in the meat.

Lay the flank steak out flat. Place the stuffing on top of the flank steak and pat down to cover entire surface. Roll the flank steak, like rolling up a sleeping bag, starting at the short end. Tie tightly with string.

Heat a heavy skillet that is oven safe, on the stove. Drizzle olive oil in the pan. Fry the rolled steak 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.
Drizzle a bit more olive oil in pan, sauté onions for about five minutes. Add the wine to deglaze pan. When it starts to bubble, add the pasta sauce. Add rolled steak and juices back to pan. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 2 – 2 ½ hours.

Remove from oven and let stand for 20 – 30 minutes before slicing in delicious rounds of tastiness. Serve with scoop of sauce on top.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Baked Ziti

It’s kind of like lasagna – but a bit easier to make.


1 lb box of ziti, or penne pasta
2 lb container ricotta cheese
1 – 1 ½ lb grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs, beaten
¼ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp garlic salt
Generous handful of finely sliced fresh basil leaves
Large jar of your favorite pasta sauce. I use Classico Tomato Basil. You may want some extra sauce to ladle over the ziti once it has baked.


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

In a bowl mix ricotta cheese with parmesan, garlic powder, eggs, basil & garlic salt.

Spray a 13 x 9 pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of the pan and swirl around to evenly coat the pan.

Layer ½ the pasta in the pan; layer ½ of the mozzarella cheese on top of it; evenly spread the ricotta mixture over the cheese; place almost all of the rest of the mozzarella on top of that – reserve enough to sprinkle on the top of the dish when finished. Place the remaining pasta on top of the cheese and then cover with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top. (Order: sauce, pasta, cheese, ricotta, cheese, pasta, sauce, cheese)

Cover with foil and place into 350 oven to bake until bubbly – approximately 35 – 45 minutes. Remove foil after about 30 minutes so that the cheese on top can brown.

Note: Can be made and put together and then refrigerated until ready to bake. Typically, I make this the day before I’m going to bake and serve it. If baked after being in the fridge – it will take about an hour to cook through. Suggestion, remove from fridge 1 – 2 hours before cooking so that it won’t take so long to heat through.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Chicken in Sour Cream & Mushroom Sauce

This is inspired by Julia Childs chicken with mushroom sauce which I blogged about here. I didn’t feel like taking the time to bake and go through the process to make the breasts more in her style. I think this is an acceptable substitute when you want to experience this tasty dish in less time.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb sliced mushrooms
2 Tbls. finely chopped shallots
2 Tbls. Butter
½ cup very dry sherry
Fat Free Sour Cream, 3 heaping soup spoons full (can use regular or low fat sour cream too)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts; season on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a nonstick skillet, drizzle olive oil in it. Saut̩ chicken breasts until completely cooked Рapproximately 6 minutes on both sides.

Remove chicken breasts from skillet to a plate; keep warm. Add butter to skillet; melt. Add shallots and saute for a couple of minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until cooked.

Add sherry and cook until bubbling and alcohol has been cooked out. I light mine with a match to cook the alcohol out. Add the sour cream and stir until well combined and creamy.

Serve chicken breast with a generous serving of the mushroom cream sauce on top.

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