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, May 31, 2015

Apple, Gorgonzala & Pecans in Endive Cups

I got this idea from perusing all the delicious choices on Pinterest.  This was a wonderful choice as a light appetizer for our recent “dinner and a movie” with friends.  Very flavorful and satisfying.  Quick to make – and delightful to eat. The apple is tangy and the combination of that with the "bite" from the delicious gorgonzola and sweet & spicy pecans is ideal.  Enjoy!
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into ¼” dices
4 oz. crumbly Gorgonzola cheese
2 ½ oz. Sweet & Spicy Pecans – chopped (From Trader Joe’s.  They come in a 5 ounce bag.  Use approximately half the bag – or a little more or less – depending on your liking.)
2 Heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 ½ Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼ teaspoon Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
3 Belgian Endives
Place the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper into a bowl.  Mix well to thoroughly combine.
Add the apple dices to the mayonnaise mixture and stir well.  Crumble the gorgonzola over the apples and add the chopped pecans.  Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
You could prefill the individual Endive cups and arrange on a plate or platter.  Or you could place into a bowl and arrange the Endive cups around it, allowing everyone to serve them. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes

Got this recipe from my dear friend Jamie!  I’ve had the recipe for a while; I think we did a recipe exchange one Christmas.  However, I’ve never tried it before.  So, this weekend I dusted off my collection of goodie recipes and found this gem.  Gave it a try and we loved them!  Exceptionally easy to make – and with baking only 15 minutes – very little work in the kitchen.  The payoff is these incredibly creamy, delicious and decadent individual cheesecakes.  I can think of several other combinations and ideas for these little cupcake sized cheesecakes – and I’m sure I’ll share those recipes with you too!  Enjoy!
12 paper muffin cup liners
12 Nilla Vanilla Wafers
12 oz. Cream Cheese, softenen
2 eggs
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 small Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Heat oven to 350.  Line regular sized muffin tins with paper baking cups.  Place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup – flat side down.
Beat softened cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until fluffy.  (I used my Kitchen Aid for this.  Perfect!)  Add the vanilla and beat in one egg at a time.
Fill cups three-fourths full.  Top each with one of the peanut butter cups.
Bake for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. 
Note: as I type this I’m wondering what it would have been like if I had used full sized peanut butter cups, instead of the small ones?  Additionally, I did make these the day before I served them at a party.  I just kept them in the fridge until we were ready to serve.  They held up perfectly.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Braided Ham & Cheese

I came up with this combination last summer and it was well received.  I’ve been trying to come up with a catchy title, but this seems to be as good as it gets.  Unless I go the way of “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince” and call it the Appetizer Formerly Known as “to be named”.  Well, with a catchy name or not – it’s a yummy treat that is easy to make and perfect for appetizers and cocktails on the deck.  Enjoy!
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
3 oz Chevre Goat Cheese with herbs, room temperature
3 heaping tablespoons sour cream
8 - 10 pieces of shaved ham lunchmeat
6 large green olives with pimento, rough chopped
3 mushrooms, rough chopped
2 handfuls of grated mozzarella cheese
Chopped Fresh Rosemary
Mix the goat cheese with the sour cream.  Stir until well combine and smooth.
Lightly flour a cutting board; unfold the puff pastry.  Roll it out slightly, but you want to still be able to faintly see the creases from where it was folded. 
Cut diagonal cuts in the pastry, as shown below, leaving the middle panel intact.  These will be the “braids”.

Spread the goat cheese mixture down the middle panel of the puff pastry.  Loosely fold the ham and place down the middle, leaving hills and valleys.  Scatter the olives and mushrooms over the ham.  Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over that.  Sprinkle fresh rosemary over the cheese.
With the diagonal cuts facing toward you, start folding the pieces of pastry over the top of the middle panel – alternating sides - effectively braiding the pastry.
When all the cuts have been braided, place on a cookie sheet and paint with egg wash.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Note: Truthfully, you could use any combination of meats & cheeses in this braid.  I just happened to have ham and mozzarella on hand and loved those two with the green olives.  But, you could get creative and make this a couple of different ways. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jalapeno Lemon Drop

I love Lemon Drops – especially when the weather gets warm they are so refreshing!  We recently saw a recipe for Jalapeno Lemon Drops, which called for Jalapeno infused Vodka.  I wanted one so badly, but didn’t have Jalapeno infused Vodka – nor did I want to take the week or two necessary to make my own.  SO, I had the brilliant idea to make Jalapeno Simple Syrup and use THAT in the my normal lemon drop recipe.  It turned out amazing!!  I think you’re going to LOVE this one.  Just the right amount of spicy combined with the perfect lemony sweetness.  So amazing!
3 oz. Vodka (good quality top shelf preferred)
1 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz jalapeno simple syrup (recipe follows)
1 oz orange juice


Shake all in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour into two frozen martini glasses. Garnish with a jalapeno slice, or lemon twist. YUM!

Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 jalapeno, seeded and rough chopped
In a small blender, like a Bullet, add sugar and jalapeno.  Whirl until the jalapeno is finely chopped and sugar has turned green.  Add a little bit of the water to help it combine.
Place the sugar mixture with the remaining water in a saucepan.  Bring to boil and cook until sugar dissolved.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  Strain through a mesh sieve to separate chunks and fiber of jalapeno.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Roasted Cauliflower

My niece Erin introduced me to Roasted Cauliflower last Thanksgiving.  It was delightful and I wondered why I had never tried to roast cauliflower before.  This is super easy and quick.  It’s very delicious and good for you!
1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
Good Quality Olive Oil
Black Truffle Salt
Preheat oven to 400°.
Wash and cut cauliflower into florets; place into a bowl.  Drizzle Olive Oil over the cauliflower and toss to coat.  Sprinkle Truffle Salt over and toss well to coat.
Turn out onto a baking sheet; I like to use the kind with an edge to prevent spills in the oven and I use a Silpat to keep the cauliflower from sticking to the baking sheet – plus it makes for easier clean up.
Place baking sheet in oven and bake for about 20 minutes.  Start checking the cauliflower at about the 15 minute mark to be sure it’s not burning.  Take it out when it looks good to you. 
You can garnish with some fresh chives or parsley, if desired.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any when I took the picture above.  They don’t really add much in the way of flavor – it’s just more for visual appeal.
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