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!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Caprese with Burrata

Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese from the Puglia region.  It is made of a mozzarella shell and the insides contain cream and fresh mozzarella.  It should be served at room temperature.  I find it at Trader Joe’s and we absolutely love it.  Here’s a recipe for Caprese with Burrata Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar.  (Serve’s 2)


2 large tomatoes, sliced into three or four thick slices
2 balls of Burrata
Enough fresh Basil leaves to place at least one on each tomato slice
2 Tablespoons good quality aged Balsamic Vinegar (I am using an 18 year old balsamic which is quite syrupy.  If you are using a younger balsamic, you can heat it until it becomes more syrupy.)
Salt & Pepper

Place tomato slices on two salad plates.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on each slice.

Place one or two basil leaves on each slice of tomato.

Place ball of Burrata in the middle on top of the tomato slices.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon of Balsamic over each salad.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Beef Wellington

I decided to make Beef Wellington for New Years Eve last year.  What was I thinking?  A special meal and I put the extra pressure on myself to make something that I had never made before.  I’m not going to lie; this WAS a lot of work.  BUT, it was TOTALLY worth it!  This was absolutely DELICIOUS and worth every minute I took in the preparation.  To be honest, for the most part it wasn’t really difficult – just time consuming.  The part that I found the most difficult was the final assembly. 

This received rave reviews from our guests.  Even the kiddo ate it – mushrooms and all!  That was a total surprise.  I will definitely make this again – but it is certainly a “special occasion” kind of meal.  This is Tyler Florence’s recipe for the Ultimate Beef Wellington.  The link to his recipe is HERE.  I opted to serve it with Bearnaise sauce as opposed to his suggested Green Peppercorn Sauce.


For the Duxelles –

3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef –

1 (3-pound) center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Minced chives, for garnish


To make the Duxelles –
Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

To prepare the Beef –

Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef.

Using a rubber spatula cover the prosciutto evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired.

Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.  Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nonna's Artichokes

I watched Giada de Laurentis make Nonna’s (Grandma’s) Artichokes on her show a couple of months ago.  I had never tried to prepare artichoke’s any different than steaming and serving with butter or mayo.  This recipe looked intriguing and delicious, so I had to give it a try.  Being that it was her Grandmother’s recipe, I followed it exactly!  No “Cindy modifications” here.  You don’t mess with Grandma!  These turned out incredibly tasty!  I’ve already made them twice now.  We absolutely LOVE them!


Butter, for greasing the baking dish
2 large or 3 medium 10-ounce artichokes, trimmed, thorns removed, halved lengthwise and chokes removed. You want to leave a little “bowl” in the artichoke to hold the filling.
1 large lemon, halved
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons anchovy paste
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup medium black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
½ cup grated Parmesan
¾ cup plain breadcrumbs


Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Rub the cut sides of the artichokes with the lemon halves. Squeeze the juice from the lemon halves into the water and add the lemon shells. Add the artichoke halves, cover and cook until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a colander, stem sides facing upwards, to allow any excess water to drain out from the leaves.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic and discard. Remove the pan from the heat and let the oil cool slightly. Whisk in the anchovy paste until smooth. Return the pan to the heat and place the artichokes, cut-side down, in the pan. Cook for 6 minutes. Turn the artichokes over and cook until tender, 6 minutes longer. Remove the artichokes and reserve the pan juices.

Preheat a broiler. Arrange the artichokes, cut-side up, in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, olives and capers. Mix together the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl and sprinkle on top. Spoon the reserved pan juices over the breadcrumbs. Broil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.

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