Spinach & Brie Chicken with Tomato Orzo


Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 thin chicken cutlets - 1 1/2 pounds total
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 package - 10 oz. frozen leaf spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
4 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 8 slices
1 cup orzo
2 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Set a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Dividing evenly, spread one side of each cutlet with mustard; top with spinach, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Starting at short end, roll chicken up tightly, and arrange, seam side down, on sheet.

Season rolled chicken with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until tops are lightly browned and chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook orzo in boiling water until al dente. Drain well; return to pot. Add tomatoes, parsley, butter, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve stuffed chicken with orzo.

Pork Chops with Apple-Raisin Relish


2 tart green apples - 3/4 pound - peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons raisins or dried currants
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger pinch of cayenne pepper
4 pork loin chops, each about 1/2 inch thick (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil


In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, sugar, raisins, vinegar, ginger, and cayenne over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; simmer, partially covered, until apples are soft, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pork Chops
Season chops with salt and pepper
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat
Add the pork chops, and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side
Serve with apple-raisin relish

Banana Cupcakes


Makes 12

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas)
1 whole banana, for garnish
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla.

Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix).

Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Spread tops with Honey - Cinnamon Frosting

Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake

Honey - Cinnamon Frosting


1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat confectioners' sugar, unsalted butter, honey, and ground cinnamon until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes

Mini Turkey Burgers


Serves 4

2 slices white sandwich bread, (about 1 ounce each)
1 pound (93 percent lean) ground turkey
2 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 small onion, coarsely grated
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
12 party-size rolls
Lettuce, sliced tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard, for serving (optional)


In a food processor, pulse bread until fine crumbs form. Transfer to a medium bowl; add turkey, cheese, and onion. Season with salt and pepper, and mix gently just until combined. Form twelve 2-inch patties (about 3 tablespoons each).

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook patties until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Serve on rolls with lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard, if desired.

Chocolate Cake


Makes 4

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, for molds
Cocoa powder, for molds
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar, for serving


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Butter four 4-ounce ramekins and lightly dust the inside of each ramekin with cocoa powder, tilting to coat; tap out any excess and set aside.

Heat butter and chocolate in heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water until chocolate is almost completely melted.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and sugar until light and thick.

Slowly add butter mixture to mixer; add flour and mix until well combined. Divide batter between prepared ramekins. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until sides are set and center is soft, 7 to 10 minutes.

Invert each mold onto a plate and let stand for about 10 seconds. Gently tap the tops of molds and carefully lift to remove. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired; serve immediately.

Chicken and Biscuits


Serves 4

1/3 cup whole-wheat flour, spooned and leveled
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk
5 carrots, thinly sliced
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 box (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together whole-wheat flour, 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg white, 3 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 cup milk; add to flour mixture, and stir until moistened. Drop four 1/4-cup scoops of dough onto a baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or large heavy pot, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, and onions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender, 7 to 10 minutes.

Sprinkle vegetables with remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; stir in remaining 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, and thyme.

Simmer until liquid is thickened, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve chicken stew with biscuits.

Mini Eclairs with Strawberries & Cream

These airy eclairs are simple to make, thanks to choux (cream-puff) pastry, which can be mixed, piped, and frozen ahead and baked on the day of the dinner. The ethereal whipped cream inside is infused with fresh vanilla bean. Macerating the strawberries with mint and a bit of sugar heightens the berries' sunny flavor. Artful pastry paper cradles each eclair for a decorative touch.


1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
Vanilla Ice Cream
Macerated Berries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Bring milk, water, butter, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, and stir in flour. Return to heat, and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed to cool slightly, about 1 minute. With machine running, add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip.

Pipe twenty 2 1/2-inch-long eclairs onto each sheet.

Bake until eclairs rise and are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Split eclairs in half lengthwise using a serrated knife.

Pipe vanilla cream onto eclair bottoms.

Spoon macerated berries on top of cream, and sandwich with eclair tops.

Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Serve immediately.

Bake the mini eclairs the day you plan on serving them.

Pizza with Pecorino, Arugula & Tomatoes

Serves 1
Olive oil, for baking sheet and for serving (optional for serving)
1 cup grape tomatoes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 individual pizza shells from 1 pound Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough, fresh or frozen
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3 cups baby arugula
3 ounces shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, for serving


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Turn a large baking sheet upside down; rub with oil. Using your hands, crush tomatoes into a pulp in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Spread crushed tomatoes on pizza shells; sprinkle with red-pepper flakes. Bake until crusts are golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

In a bowl, toss arugula with Pecorino; top pizzas with salad. Drizzle with vinegar and, if desired, oil.

Cheesecake with Raspberry


Makes 32

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
1 container (6 ounces) fresh raspberries
2 pounds (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Stir together crackers, butter, and 3 tablespoons sugar; press 1 tablespoon into bottom of each cup. Bake until set and beginning to color at edges, about 10 minutes. Transfer tins to rack to cool.

Puree raspberries in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Press through a fine sieve; discard solids. Whisk in 2 tablespoons sugar.

With mixer on medium-high, beat cream cheese until fluffy. On low, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a slow stream. Mix in salt and vanilla until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each (do not overmix) and scraping bowl.

Spoon 3 tablespoons filling over crust in each cup. Drop two dots of raspberry puree about 1 inch apart in cupcake. Drag the tip of a toothpick or wooden skewer down through centers of dots to create a heart.

To bake, set tins in oven in roasting pans filled halfway with hot water; bake until set, about 34 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool completely. Refrigerate in tins, uncovered, at least 4 hours; remove from tins. Refrigerate in air-tight containers up to 5 days.



Serves 10

  • 4 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 can (14.9 ounces) Irish stout beer
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 boxes (10 ounces each) frozen baby peas, thawed

    Preheat oven to 350.

    In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, toss beef with flour; stir in tomato paste. Add potatoes, onions, broth, beer, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

    Transfer pot to oven, and cook, covered, until meat is fork-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in peas, and season with salt and pepper.

    Cheddar-Topped Shepherd's Pie


  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar (6 ounces)


    Preheat oven to 450.

    Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.

    Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper.

    Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula. Using a fork, make decorative peaks; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    Up-Side-Down Peach Cake


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups sliced, pitted and peeled peaches
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk


    1. Place 1/4 cup butter in an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Warm in a 350 degrees F oven about 5 minutes or until butter is melted. (Be sure to watch carefully to avoid overbrowning the butter). Remove pan from oven. Add brown sugar, stirring until sugar is completely moistened. Spread sugar mixture evenly in pan. Arrange peach slices evenly over brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

    2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat in granulated sugar until well combined. Add egg and vanilla, beating until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to beaten butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter evenly over the peaches in the pan.

    3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Loosen cake from sides of pan; invert onto a large serving plate. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

    Carrot Vichssoise


    2 cups chopped, peeled white potatoes
    1 leek, white part only, sliced
    1 1/4 cups sliced carrots
    3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
    1 teaspoon salt Dash of white pepper
    1 cup heavy cream
    Shredded raw carrot (for garnish)


    In a large soup pot over medium heat, add potatoes, leek, carrots, and vegetable or chicken broth.

    Increase heat and bring just to a boil.

    Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

    Remove from heat and let cool 10 to 15 minutes.

    In a food processor or blender, puree mixture until smooth.


    The soup can be made 1 to 2 days in advance up until this stage. Refrigerate until ready to finish.

    To serve, stir in white pepper, salt, and cream. Serve in chilled bowls with a topping of shredded raw carrot.

    Makes 4 to 6 servings.

    Rhubarb Muffin


    2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
    2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    1 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
    3/4 cup diced fresh or frozen rhubarb


    1/2 cup chopped pecans
    1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 tablespoon cold butter


    In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in strawberries and rhubarb. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
    In a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter.
    Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.


    Wine is regarded as a gift to the civilized world. Obviously, there is etiquette related to it and if one claims to have sound knowledge of wines and their tastes then he/she should be familiar with wine etiquettes as well. There is more than enough to learn about wines and wine etiquettes is an integral part of it. Most people, however, wish to have knowledge of basic wine etiquettes and tips to enjoy their wine more. So, here are some of the wine etiquettes that a wine lover should know.

    Etiquettes in a Wine Tasting Room

    White wines are generally tasted in the beginning, in a winery tasting room. This is followed by reds, which in turn are followed by dessert wines. Again, in each of these categories, light bodied wines are tasted before fuller-bodied one. One can eat crackers or drink water in between to cleanse the palate after drinking each wine. You need not finish every glass of wine that has been offered to taste. Extra wine can be disposed off in jars provided.

    Wine Etiquettes in a Restaurant

    Generally, wine that has to be ordered in a restaurant should go with the food you have ordered. If the food ordered is too varied then you can consider the option of ordering by the glass or purchasing splits. You can avail of the services and advice of the waiters and sommeliers but for that you need to ask specific questions. When the wine is poured in your glass, you swirl it and only then do you smell it and then taste it. This is done to make sure that the wine is not spoiled.

    Corkage Etiquettes

    Many restaurants allow patrons to bring their own wine. However, it is best to call the restaurant to know if corkage is allowed. Also, ask about the fee for it. The fee might be waived, if you purchase an additional bottle from the restaurant; but it is best to confirm first. The wine that you bring to a restaurant should be rare and unique and definitely not in the list of the wines offered by the restaurant. Proper wine etiquette requires that you should offer the sommelier/waiter a taste after he opens and pours the contents.

    Dinner Party Etiquettes, when you are The Host

    You should let the wine breathe at room temperature before pouring it for your guests. Also, ensure discreetly that that the wine is unspoiled and sound. Do this away from the company. Also, sample a small sip before pouring it. When serving more than one wines, serve them in logical procession. If the wine that you are serving is old, there might be significant amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. It is very embarrassing if the last person receives an unacceptable amount of solids in his/her glass. To avoid this, it is better to refrain from pouring the last half glass.

    You might need to decant a wine to expose it to oxygen or to remove the sediments. You should be very cautious with this process as older wines might fade away if left in the decanter for a long time.

    With these few tips in mind you are ready for most of the occasion where you might need a good knowledge of wine etiquettes.