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Posts tagged ‘fiesta Friday’

Brussels Sprout And Bacon Frittata For Fiesta Friday #97



I bought the Huckleberry cookbook months ago and never got around to making anything from it, life got in the way and the book sat on my shelf with the other cookbooks I’ve meant to use. I do have a method to my madness I mark the recipes with a bookmark and place them on the top of my book case not in the shelves so I see them constantly and am reminded that this book has a recipe I need to make. Huckleberry has multiple book marks, the food looks gorgeous and sounds delicious and I am tempted to cook my way through the entire book but honestly don’t have time and I certainly can’t eat my way through the book. How many of you have cookbooks you bought (because you love them) but have not made anything from them? I would venture to guess at least of few of you fall into this category along with me.


This recipe for a bacon and brussels sprout frittata immediately jumped out at me. I am a huge fan of eggs and frittata’s in general but adding the sprouts and bacon and cheese just made me happy.

I normally would not publish a recipe in a cookbook unless it has already been widely published online, thats the case with this recipe. It is wonderful, but then all the recipes in Huckleberry Cookbook are great, drool worthy, beautifully written and photographed.

I am bringing this delicious frittata to Fiesta Friday this week, Angie, get some rest you have been burning the candle at both ends, thank goodness she has some help this week with two amazing co hosts Johanne@French Gardener Dishes (who is co-hosting for the first time) and Liz@spades, spatulas & spoons. Thank you Ladies!!

Brussels sprouts and bacon frittata

From Huckleberry Cookbook, serves 6


8 slices thick bacon, chopped

1 tbs olive oil

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 onion chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cups brussels sprouts thinly sliced plus 1 cup leaves from the sprouts

1/2 tsp black pepper


10 eggs

2 tbs creme fraiche

2 tbs grated parmesan

1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

2 tbs unsalted butter

2 tbs grated gruyere

Pre heat oven to 475

In large saute pan over medium high heat saute the bacon in 2 tsp of olive oil and the butter until browned. Add the onions 1/2 tsp salt and the thyme and saute until soft, should take about 1o minutes. Add the sliced brussels sprouts and saute for another 5 minutes longer until soft. Transfer the vegetable mixgture to a bowl and set aside.

Toss the brussels sprout leaves in the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs. creme fruit, parmesan and parsley and set aside.

In a 10 inch cast iron or oven proof saute pan melt 2 tbs butter over medium high heat. Pour the custard into the pan and stir, lightly scrambling the eggs. Slowly add the vegetables to the custard and continue to scramble. When the eggs are about 30% set sprinkle the brussels sprout leaves and sprinkle the gruyere on top. Transfer to the oven for 8-10 minutes. If it is not browned on top place under the broiler for 2 minutes but watch it like a hawk.

Immediately transfer to plate or serving piece by running a spatula around the edges and underneath to free the frittata from the pan. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Mine did not brown on top for some reason, even under the broiler, probably too far from the heat source but it doesn’t matter, the frittata is perfect and delicious albeit a bit pale.




Roasted Vegetable And Manchego Tart For Fiesta Friday #89 And A Sad Anniversary

Roasted vegetable and Manchego tart

Roasted vegetable and Manchego tart

I made breakfast this morning for my Air BNB guests, a breakfast tart, actually 2 of them. One was the Roasted Tomato and Herbed Ricotta Tart and a tart filled with roasted vegetables and topped with a medium soft egg. I thought a nice savory tart filled with roasted vegetables and manchego cheese would be a lovely addition to the party this week. It has been a while since I partied. After Nando passed I was not really in a party mood and am just now getting back to blogging regularly. I hope I am still welcome. This weeks co hosts are no strangers to Fiesta Friday and I am sure to all of you,  Mila and Kaila! Thanks to Angie again for hosting this party I am excited to be back. You can of course join in too, it is always fun and the company and food is spectacular.

On a sad note, today is the one year anniversary of the death of my sweet little Izzy. I still miss her every single day and she is in my thoughts constantly, I love my sweet little cupcake.

Izzy with her cupcake leash

Izzy with her cupcake leash

Roasted Vegetable And Manchego Tart

Makes one 9 inch round or rectangular tart

Vegetables (Note: Use whatever vegetables you like, it’s all good)

1 Italian eggplant cut into bite size pieces (I partially peeled it)

1 large shallot or 2 small peeled and cut into rounds

10 white button mushrooms cleaned and sliced thick

12 cherry tomatoes

6-8 brussels sprouts cleaned and cut in half

1/2 zucchini cleaned and cut into bite size pieces

Olive oil, salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Place vegetables on parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and roast until vegetables are tender, the tomatoes should be slightly caramelized.



Your favorite pie crust recipe, I used my go to Julia Child recipe, it never fails.

Roasted vegetables

approximately 1 cup manchego cheese grated

Blind bake your tart shell at 400 degree’s for approximately 20 minutes, should be a light golden brown. Let cool.

Sprinkle half of the grated manchego on the bottom of the tart shell. Spoon in the vegetables and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the top.

Place tart on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, vegetables and cheese will be bubbling and the tart will be a lovely golden brown.

Serve with a medium boiled egg, what I mean by that is that it’s between soft and hard. To get this degree of doneness boil the egg for 5 minutes, remove from heat and run under cold water to stop the cooking process, peel and place on a piece of the tart. It’s delicious.

Tart with medium egg

Tart with medium egg



Pecan Brittle Ice Cream- Dairy Free For Fiesta Friday #74

Creamy and dairy free

Creamy and dairy free

I made this creamy non dairy ice cream for the latest contest at Food52, they are asking for our best recipe for non dairy frozen treats. This ice cream is so creamy and delicious you would never know it’s non dairy. I made homemade almond cream, same method as making almond milk but using less water so it’s thick and creamy using that for the custard base with a little corn starch to thicken. I wanted something similar to a pralines and cream, I love that flavor. This has to be dairy free so I made a dairy free pecan brittle using vegan butter, brown sugar and dark corn syrup, it hardened nicely almost like toffee, I chopped it finely and added to the ice cream. It really is delicious, you wouldn’t know it’s dairy free.

Since there is a party today, you know Fiesta Friday I thought this would be the perfect summertime treat to cool us all down. Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting the bash and to help her this week is Loretta @ Safari Of The Mind and Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking. You all can join the party, follow the link to Fiesta Friday (Angie) and join the fun.

Pecan Brittle Ice Cream

Makes 1 quart

Almond Cream and quick and easy brittle:

  • 3 1/2 cups raw almonds
  • 3 cups filtered or spring water
  • pinch of salt
  • Quick Pecan Brittle
  • 2 tablespoons dairy free butter (I used earth balance)
  • 1/2 cup loose brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark corn syrup or golden syrup (use 3 if you want softer)
  • 3/4 cups pecans broken into pieces
  • generous pinch of sea salt
pecan brittle

pecan brittle

  1. Soak almonds overnight in spring or filtered water. Drain almonds after soaking, place in food processor with 3 cups water, salt and process. Strain through nut bag, cheese cloth or sieve. Refrigerate until ready to use. The almond cream will be quite thick the consistency of light cream.
  2. I did not use a candy thermometer for the brittle, Melt the butter in a small saucepan add the brown sugar and cook until the sugar is completely melted and its smooth, add the syrup and salt and pecans and cook on medium an additional five minutes stirring continuously. Line a small sheet pan with parchment or silpat and scrape the brittle onto it, spread as best you can, I pressed it flat with a doubled piece of parchment paper. Allow to cool, it will get hard, break into pieces and chop it into small fine pieces. Place in lidded container and store until ready to use.

Custard base and Making the ice cream:

  • 3 cups almond cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Add all the ingredients except for the vanilla into a heavy saucepan. Heat on medium high whisking constantly until custard becomes thickened and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat, add the vanilla. Pour into a heat proof container, cover with plastic wrap directly on the custard. Bring to room temperature and refrigerate over night.
  2. Make the ice cream according to manufacturers directions on your ice cream maker. When it’s sufficiently thick add the crushed/finely chopped brittle. Spoon into freezer container and freeze until it’s scoopable consistency.
Pecan brittle ice cream

Pecan brittle ice cream

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

Happy Valentines Day, Tartlets With Blood Orange Curd, Whipped Cream And Nutella



This combines two wonderful celebrations, Valentines Day and Fiesta Friday. This post has morphed several times with some failed attempts at a cake (cake pan problems) and I have now settled on tartlets with a layer of nutella and filled with blood orange curd. They are delicious and I hope you enjoy!

This Friday, the day before Valentines Day is very special because we are celebrating two occasions, Valentines Day and Fiesta Friday #55, how great is that?  Thank you Angie@The Novice Gardener for hosting you rock,  the co hosts this week are Sue@birgerbird and me, moi, yep I’m a co host this week no link necessary because if you are reading this you are already here!! Very excited to host with my buddy Sue.

I needed to use the blood oranges so I squeezed the juice ahead of making the curd and froze in ice cube trays, I also threw in 2 mandarins. the color is incredible!!!


Look at the color of the blood orange juice

Look at the color of the blood orange juice can you figure out which is the mandarin

Blood Orange Curd

adapted from lemon cream recipe from Tartine Bakery Cookbook

Makes about 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) (It made exactly 16 oz for me)

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (5 oz/155 ml) Juice from Blood Oranges

3 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp orange zest

3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup (8 oz/225 g) unsalted butter

zest of one whole orange (medium size)

Pour water to a depth of about 2 inches into a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a simmer.

Combine the orange juice, whole eggs, yolk, sugar, zest and salt in a stainless steel bowl that will rest securely in the rim of a saucepan over, not touching, the water. (Never let the egg yolks and sugar sit together for more than a moment without stirring; the sugar will cook the yolks and turn them granular.) Place the bowl over the saucepan and continue to whisk until the mixture becomes very thick and registers 180° F on a thermometer. This will take 10 to 12 minutes. If you don’t have or trust your thermometer, don’t worry. It should thicken to the point that your whisk leaves a trail through the curd. NOTE: I don’t use a thermometer, the mixture will thicken and coat the back of the spoon, draw a line on the back of the spoon with your finger, the line will stay intact. It took about 11 minutes for mine to thicken properly.

Remove the bowl from over the water and let cool to 140° F, stirring from time to time to release the heat. Again I didn’t use a thermometer, I poured into the blender, and by the time I cut the butter into tbs size pieces it was just the right temperature.

When the cream is ready, leave it in the bowl if using an immersion blender, or pour it into a countertop blender. With the blender running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, blending after each addition until incorporated before adding the next piece add the additional orange zest and pulse once or twice.. The cream will be quite thick.

Blood Orange Curd

Blood Orange Curd

You can use the cream immediately, or pour it into a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 5 days. To use after refrigeration, if necessary, gently heat in a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water until it has softened, whisking constantly. Note: Your beautiful vibrant, brightly colored blood orange juice will turn a sort of beige color after mixing with the eggs and butter, you can if you wish add a tiny drop of food color to turn it pink, more fitting for valentines day or go au naturale and as you can see I went natural.

Pate Sucree

From Martha Stewarts Pie’s and Tarts

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks or 8 oz) unsalted butter cold cut into small pieces

2 large egg yolks

2-4 tbs heavy cream or ice water

Pulse flour, sugar and salt in food processor until well combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles course meal. Add the egg yolks and drizzle the cream or ice water and pulse until it forms a cohesive dough. If mixture is too dry add cream or water a tsp at a time until it is cohesive. Remove from processor, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

To blind bake the tartlets:

Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s. Roll out or press dough into tartlet pans and refrigerate or put in freezer for 15-30 minutes before baking. Place sheet of parchment in each and fill with pie weights or place another tartlet pan on top and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes you will notice the edges lightly brown. Remove parchment and weights or pan and place back in the oven another 4-6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.



To make your tarts

Spoon some nutella in the tart shell ( I like to do it when the shell is still a little warm so the nutella is easier to spread) place in the refrigerator for about 15 or 20 minutes so the nutella hardens a bit, be generous, don’t skimp on the nutella. Spoon in the curd, top with some whipped cream and chocolate shavings and serve.

Happy Valentines Day to all!!




Pasticiotti For Fiesta Friday #53

Party time

Party time

This is week 2 of the Epic Fiesta Friday First Year Anniversary Party and we are bringing the main course and dessert.   I wanted to bring a very special dessert to the party, so I made Pasticiotti with chocolate filling.  I love these pastries, they are very special to me because it is a recipe that has been passed from generation to generation in my family.  It’s a great party dessert because it’s small, you don’t need a plate and fork, a napkin will suffice and they are pretty neat to eat.  Angie@The Novice Gardener has been working hard on this mega party and thank goodness she has two co hosts to help, so a big thank you to Nancy @Feasting With Friends and Selma @Selma’s Table for always being there to help and doing such a great job of hosting.

Pasticiotti is an Italian pastry, it’s a pastry crust baked in a pustie tin filled with either chocolate or vanilla filling, similar to a pudding. I grew up eating these and always looked forward to my Father bringing home a big box from the local bakery. For years I have gone to Court Street bakery in Brooklyn when I want an Italian pastry, they have been around for over half a century and the pastries are delicious and as close to my childhood memories as I have found. I wanted to try and make my own so I asked my Mother if she had a recipe, she did, it is a very old recipe from my Aunt Dee, Mom said that the recipe was handed down from my Great Grandmother. It was in Italian and measurements were not exact and I am sure it was not originally written using cups, teaspoons and tablespoons. My Aunt who was a great cook took this recipe and made it her own. I was a bit nervous making it, having never tried my hand at anything like this before, it was surprisingly easy and turned out absolutely delicious. The first time I made these I used tartlet pans and they turned out fine. Since then I have purchased pustie tins and they come out even better,  I think its because of the shape of the tin, the pudding is heavy and the crust delicate and the tins are smaller at the bottom becoming larger at the top similar to a brioche mold.There is a distinct flavor in many Italian Pastries and I found out it is from an extract called Fiori Di Sicilia, it is unique in that it is both citrusy and floral.  You can find it at Bakers Catalog (King Arthur Flour)  but you can also add a little orange zest instead and it works just fine. If you do plan to make these invest in pustie tins, they are inexpensive and worth having even if you only make these every now and then, I found mine here. One more very exciting bit of news, this recipe will be featured in The Global Family Reunion cookbook that will be unveiled at the Global Family Reunion event which is being held at the World Fair Grounds in New York in the early summer. The proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will benefit research to help find a cure and treatment for Alzheimers.

Pustie Tins

Pustie Tins

Pasticiotti with Chocolate Filling

Makes:  approximately 18

The pastry crust:
4 cups Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups light brown Brown Sugar (Not packed)

pinch of salt

1 cup (8 oz)  cold leaf lard or vegetable shortening (I used lard because thats what the original recipe used)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup cold whole milk

Beat one egg with a teaspoon of sugar to brush on the pastry before baking

In mixing bowl add the flour, brown sugar,baking powder, and salt, whisk to combine making sure any clumps of brown sugar are incorporated.
In measuring cup add the milk and egg, beat egg and milk together then add the vanilla and stir to incorporate
Measure  or weigh (I like to weigh) your lard and add to dry ingredients, use a pastry cutter to cut the lard into the flour mixture it should resemble crumbs. Add the milk, egg and vanilla and with a fork combine. Working quickly gather the dough into a cohesive disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour even overnight.

Ready for the tops

Ready for the tops

Chocolate Filling:

1 cup flour

2 cups sugar

2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa

pinch of salt

4 cup warm milk or water (the original recipe used water)

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon fiori di sicilia or if you don’t have add 1/2 tsp orange zest (optional)

In medium saucepan add flour,chocolate, sugar, a pinch of salt and whisk to combine. While whisking add the warm milk and keep whisking until its combined and there are no lumps. Turn flame to medium and whisking constantly cook until mixture thickens, add about 1 cup of hot mixture to beaten egg yolks and add back to saucepan. Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until it becomes very thick. Once the filling is very thick remove from heat stir in the vanilla and optional fiori di sicilia or orange zest, pour into a bowl. Lay some plastic wrap directly on top of the filling and let it come to room temperature on the counter top, then refrigerate until cold. Note: I like to make the dough and filling the day before and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Making the Pasticiotti

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Flour work surface,Cut dough in half one half will be bottom crust the other top crust, place half of dough back in refrigerator while working. Have your pustie tins or fluted tartlet pans ready.Either roll or press the dough into the pans it should be approximately 1/4 in thick and should have a small overhang, if dough starts to warm put back in refrigerator. When you have put the dough in the tins, place in refrigerator while you roll out the dough for the tops, roll dough about 1/4 in thick and cut into rounds a little larger than the top of the tin. Take tins from refrigerator fill with the chocolate filling just slightly  below the top of the tin. Place the top on, press making sure the bottom crust and top crust are joined and trim off any excess. Brush with egg wash and place in freezer for a few minutes just to get the pastry cold. Remove from freezer place tins on baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven place on cooling rack and let sit at room temperature for 45 min to an hour or until COMPLETELY COOLED. Gently remove from the tins and refrigerate covered with plastic wrap or in an air tight container 4-6 hours or overnight.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven






My First Ever Sourdough Loaf And I’ll Bring To Fiesta Friday #50


Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

I must tell you I was very nervous about this loaf, but with Ginger’s expert advise and soothing reassurance by jove I did it. A beautiful crusty sourdough loaf. Now the original recipe used whole wheat flour, I got mine out of the fridge and the first thing I noticed was a little bit of a rancid smell, that got tossed so I had to improvise. I used bread flour, barley flour and wheat germ. I think the resulting loaf is wonderful and I hope that Ginger is proud of me.

The loaf is so good I decided to bring it to Fiesta Friday #50, a milestone really, 50 consecutive parties and Angie shows no sign of slowing down. Full speed ahead and we are only 2 weeks away from a full year of Fiesta Friday’s. Amazing isn’t it, so this week the party is hosted by the effervescent and ever present Angie@The Novice Gardener and our lovely co hosts are Selma @Selma’s Table and Sue @birgerbird. Enjoy the bread everyone and I am also bringing some hand churned butter from my CSA to slather on!!

In conclusion, this bread is INCREDIBLE, the crust is crisp, the inside is soft, it has complex flavor because it’s sourdough. This recipe is a keeper and well worth the effort. I am now more comfortable with levain and will be making this loaf on a regular rotation.

Dough after an overnight sit in the fridge

Dough after an overnight sit in the fridge beautiful dough

The recipe calls for 3 cups whole wheat bread flour, since I didn’t have whole wheat flour here is what I used: Next time I make this loaf I am going to weigh the flours and include that in my notes.

3 cups bread flour

1/2 cup barley flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

It’s a very soft dough, you have to work quickly when transferring to the hot pot. I didn’t really have to shape it since the dough is soft it kind of conformed to the shape of my pot nicely.

I did not get a photo of the dough in the pot, it’s hot, you have to work quickly, slashing the top, sprinkle with a little flour, get the lid back on and put back in the oven. Don’t be tempted to lift the lid while baking, leave it be it has to build up steam. I was so tempted to do that but held myself back. Was dying to see what the bread looked like.

crust is so crisp

crust is so crisp

Side Note: The levain I had left after making the bread dough was put in the fridge and will be fed today to make yet another loaf of delicious sour dough bread. I also want to make note that I am decreasing the amount of salt in the recipe to 2 1/2 tsp.  Also, I used an oval 36cm, 4 Qt pot. Smaller would also work.

Big loaf

Big loaf


Orange Angel Food Cupcakes With Chocolate Orange Buttercream For Fiesta Friday #45

Angel Food Cupcake With Chocolate Orange buttercream

Angel Food Cupcake With Chocolate Orange buttercream

Tis the season for Holiday parties, potlucks and scratching my head wondering what to bring. This Sunday is my Block Association pot luck Holiday party and my neighbors  usually request dessert. This year I decided to make angel food cupcakes, light as a feather and flavored with orange, so seasonal right? The frosting is a chocolate orange buttercream and for just a little more orange I spread just a touch of orange marmalade on top of the cupcake before icing.  Because I have two parties I made a double batch and am bringing them to Fiesta Friday #45. Hard to believe this party has been happening 45 weeks, and it’s still going strong thanks to the amazing Angie@the novice gardener and as always there are amazing co hosts helping out and this week we have two fantastic co hosts Michelle@giraffes can bake andMB @Bourbon & Brown Sugar. Thank you for hosting and co hosting and I hope you like these cupcakes.


Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup egg whites at room temperature

1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp orange zest

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup cake flour

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325°. Set 12 jumbo foil muffin cups on a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine the cake flour with the confectioners’ sugar. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites with the salt, orange zest and cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the whites are firm and glossy. Sift the flour mixture over the egg whites in 2 additions, folding gently until incorporated.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling to the top. Bake for 15 minutes (checking on them starting at 13 minutes), shifting the pan from front to back, until the cupcakes are springy and golden. Transfer the cupcakes to a rack to cool. It’s important to use the foil lined they are more substantial and will hold up when the cupcakes start expanding. This recipe is from Grace Parisi and she says’ to set them on a baking sheet rather than in muffin tins.
The Buttercream:

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70%) broken into small pieces

1 tsp orange zest

4 egg whites from large eggs

1/2 cup +2 tbs granulated sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter cut into pieces at room temperature

Place chocolate and orange zest in microwave safe bowl, microwave for 30 seconds, stir and microwave another 30 seconds, it may need another 30 seconds to melt. Stir until all the chocolate is melted set aside to cool.

Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk until the mixture feels hot to touch and the sugar is completely dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the mixer stand. Using the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high until cooled, about 15 minutes.

Add the butter a piece at a time beating continuously until its all added, now add the cooled chocolate and beat until combined. Use immediately.

Spread a thin layer of the marmalade on top of the cupcake, pipe some of the chocolate buttercream in the middle. Enjoy!


More Inspiring Food, Spiced Swiss Chard Cobbler And Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix For Fiesta Friday #39

swiss chard cobbler

swiss chard cobbler

Here are two great recipes chosen at random from the recipes you left for me. Spiced Swiss Chard Cobbler from Three little halves and Strictly Delicious wonderful Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix. Both recipes are amazing. I love swiss chard and this creamy savory cobbler is absolutely delicious, the cornmeal biscuit topping goes perfectly with the spicy filling. The Vanilla Autumn spice mix will get a lot of use this Holiday Season, I love to bake and I love warm fragrant spices so I was so excited that this was the random pick this time. I used the spice mix for simple baked apples, a recipe on Food52. A light and delicious sweet treat that is so very seasonal.

I brought these wonderful dishes to Fiesta Friday, now this week is very special. First of all it is Angie@The novice gardeners birthday, a warm congratulations and Happy Birthday to Angie and secondly, I am co hosting this week with one of my favorite bloggers Sue@birgerbird. This promises to be a great party with lots of delicious food.




Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix

Vanilla Autumn Spice Mix


Baked apples

Baked apples

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday


Fiesta Friday #36, A Block Party Fiasco And An Apology

Triple Chocolate cake

Triple Chocolate cake

First of all the apology, I always cook or bake or prepare something specifically for Fiesta Friday, it is something I look forward to every week. This week however I have my hands full, really full. Work is crazy busy but more than that, my block association (I am president) is having our annual block party tomorrow. Everything has been planned, permits from the city, bouncy rides, music, food etc… People from the neighborhood look forward to this every year. Well, the weather forecast is saying there will be pouring rain tomorrow the day of the event. I am trying to re work all the plans, cancel the music etc… To make a long story short I am really busy. So I apologize for re cycling a recipe of mine for this virtual feast. Next week I will cook or bake something. I promise

As always the party is hosted by the lovely Angie@The Novice Gardener.  The co hosts this week are two of my favorite bloggers Selma@Selma’s Table and Elaine@Foodbod. Thanks Angie and here is my offering. A triple chocolate cake. It really say’s party, dark chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse for filling and milk chocolate ganache. Hope you all enjoy. Wish me luck with the block party.


Triple Chocolate Cake

White Chocolate Mousse

2 tsp powdered gelatin
6 ounces white chocolate chopped
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Dissolve gelatin in 2 tbs of cold water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Place chocolate in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Prepare an ice bath. Place 1/2 cup heavy cream in small saucepan, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatin and stir to dissolve. Pour into food processor with chocolate while the motor is running, process until smooth.
Place in ice bath until mixture is thick and falls from a spoon in ribbons.
Whip remaining heavy cream and gently fold into cooled chocolate mixture. Place in airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Milk Chocolate Ganache

8 oz good quality milk chocolate (I used Valhrona)
1 cup heavy cream

Chop chocolate into very small pieces and place in medium size mixing bowl, bring cream to a boil and pour over chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, stir until smooth and shiny. Cover and refrigerate until it’s spreadable (approximately 1 1/2-2 hours)

The cake

Makes: 2 9 inch round cakes or 24 regular size cupcakes

Recipe from Hersheys

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa (I use hershey’s) the recipe doesn’t specify whether or not to use dutch or natural cocoa since its a hersheys recipe I use what they say to use.
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil (If you want to substitute melted butter for the oil its fine)
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature and lightly beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee (Optional but recommended)
soft butter and flour to prep baking pans or you can use cooking spray
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9″ round baking pans, butter the bottom add a parchment round then butter bottom and sides and flour the pan or you can use cocoa powder instead of flour. If you are making cupcakes place liners in two 12 cup muffin tins. In large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients, flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder and whisk to combine. Now add the wet ingredients milk, oil,eggs and vanilla do not add the boiling water yet. With hand held mixer beat for 2 minutes. Now add the boiling water with optional espresso powder, beat just until combined. Pour into your prepared pans (the batter is quite thin) and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday


Italian Tapas For Fiesta Friday #32



Italian tapas, well it’s not really tapas in the truest sense of the word but it certainly can be eaten on small plates and it’s more of a prelude to the actual meal, I thought caponata, some good cheese and bread would be a nice addition to the party this week. Caponata is a Sicilian dish which is used as a side dish or condiment. I can remember my Mother serving on toasted Italian bread as a starter or appetizer. This is my version of my Mothers recipe, its less sweet and the vegetables are soft but still retain their shape.

Angie@The Novice Gardener is hosting this weeks event, she is always there for us and our co host is Hilda@along the grapevine. I hope everyone enjoys a little bit of Italy or Sicily. Buon Appetito!


4 Italian eggplant washed and cut in half lengthwise. Skin on. (Or use 1 large eggplant)

1 Medium size onion chopped

2 Stalks celery (Use the tender inner stalks) chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

1 Red bell pepper de seeded and chopped

4 Fresh tomato’s chopped (I used 1 very large heirloom tomato and 1 smaller heirloom)

1/4 cup capers rinsed, rough chop

1/4 cup Olives Kalamata or green (I use a little of each) Rough chop the olives

2 tsp – 1 tbs organic brown Sugar (add 2 tsp taste and add more if needed)

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 450, clean the eggplant cut the tops off and cut in half lengthwise. On baking sheet lined with parchment brush a little olive oil on each half, both sides, place your eggplant cut side down and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Chop the eggplant into bite size pieces.
In fry pan on med/high flame coated with olive oil add your chopped onion, cook until translucent. Add chopped celery and red bell pepper, continue cooking until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Add your minced garlic, cook for a minute or so don’t let garlic brown. Add your eggplant,tomato,capers, olives,crushed red pepper, sugar and vinegar continue cooking until mixture is thick. Eggplant will break down but thats ok this will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit overnight. It tastes incredible when it has rested and all the flavors have blended together.

Caponata, bread and cheese

Caponata, bread and cheese

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday