Sunday, August 30, 2009


Hello out there,

I have been working on the blog for some time now and have gotten many comments from you out there.
But I want to make this even better...

Have you tried any of the recipes? How did they come out?

Are there things that I am missing?

Questions you would like me to address?

I would love your feedback.

James (and Auden)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

slice and bake

I have been known to make cookies on a whim, and of late these are in heavy rotation.

The other night I made a batch for us, but did not want to cook the whole batch (there by eating the whole bunch.)

Rather than make them all, I left half the batter and wrapped it up. Squish it into a log and drop onto a large piece of plastic wrap.

Then roll it into a log, and freeze. Then when ever you want fresh cookies...take out the frozen log, slice a few cookies of and bake to order.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cooking with Auden: Sage Honey Cornbread

I have been a fan of corn bread. I vividly remember going to Scotsdale with my dad when I was maybe 12 and getting blue corn bread and thinking it was the coolest thing.

I have often been on the lookout for recipes that are easy and result in a moist bread.

I found this one on Epicurious and love it.

Sage Honey Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal (preferably whole grain, medium grind)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

12 whole fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 400 and place a oven safe skillet in while it warms up.

Mix the dry ingredients. This is Auden's specialty.

Mix the eggs, milk and honey in a separate bowl.
Remove the hot pan and add the butter, stirring until it is melted. Reserve about 2 Tbs and add the rest to the egg milk mixture.

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to just combine.

Meanwhile fry the whole sage leaves in the hot pan with the butter.

Pour the batter over the sage leaves. Bake about 20 - 25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Having just returned from our trip and having not yet restocking my refrigerator, we were a little thin on ingredients last night. Thankfully I had my herbs.

I made two quick bruschettas.

Tomato Parm
some tomatoes (any variety), cut to about 1/2 inch
3 - 5 basil leaves or more, cut into strips
salt and pepper (I used a corse sea salt with herbs)
2 -4 slices Italian bread, toasted

Toss the basil and tomatoes and coat with EVOO. Season with salt and pepper.

Top the bread with the tomatoes and drizzle a little extra oil on top.

Shave the Parm on top.

White Bean and Sage
3 -4 sage leaves, cut into strips
1 can white beans, drained, liquid reserved
salt and pepper
2 -4 slices Italian bread, toasted

Heat the oil in a pan until hot but not smoky. Add the sage and fry for a minute.

Add the beans and season with salt and pepper. Add a little of the liquid to keep from drying out.

Divide the beans over the toast and drizzle with more oil and season with salt and pepper.

Cooking with Auden: hummus

Now that I am more confident in Auden's ability to use small appliances, he can begin to make some of his favorite recipes. As I've mentioned, hummus is one of his favorites and is easy, healthy and great to have on hand.

He can now help load the food processor and help season it.

And, of course, help taste it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mushroom white bean pasta

The other night was our last night in Boston, and wanting to use up what was left decided to make a quick pasta with mushrooms.

Cook pasta and set aside, reserving about a cup of the liquid.
Dice the mushrooms and saute in oil until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

After the mushrooms are cooked, add a couple cloves of garlic. (If you add them too early they will burn before the mushrooms are cooked.)

Then add a can of white beans.

Heat through and add the pasta and a touch of the cooking water, to keep from drying out. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve topped fresh parm.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another trip...another round of pizza

I figured since I made my dad buy a pizza stone for the party the other night I would put it to good use.

One white.
One white with mushroom.

One Red.

One prosciutto.

Lastly, truffle with arugula.


My brother brought a bounty of vegetables from his CSA in NC to my dads house...tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and peppers...perfect for ratatouille. One of my favorite summer dishes, one of the best parts is that it gets better with age. A couple of days in the refrigerator and it tastes much better.

1 medium red onion, diced
2 - 4 cloves garlic, diced
3 - 4 japanese eggplant, sliced
3 - 4 zuchini, sliced
2 - 4 large tomatoes about 3 cups (you can skin or not)
2 peppers diced
salt and pepper
2 - 3 bay leaves
2 - 3 tsp thyme
2 - 3 tsp oregano

Start by preparing all the vegetables.

Saute the onion in oil until tender about 5 min. with a touch of salt over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.
Add the eggplant and peppers, saute another 10 minutes or so until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook for at least another 20 minutes until soft. Serve hot or cold.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Cheese Shop

One of the best parts of visiting my Dad in Wellesley is getting the chance to go to The Cheese Shop. It is a small family run shop that has an amazing selection of cheeses. The owners, and their sons, are wonderful...always more than willing to spend time letting you taste what ever you want.

When ever we are in town we always make a trip there to get a selection of cheese and other goodies to go with.

Last night with the cheeses, I made a simple caprese salad with heirlooms.

2 heirloom tomatoes
1 ball fresh mozzarella
1 small bunch basil
salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes and cheese and layer on a plate.

Rough chop the basil or tear and place on top of the cheese and tomato slices.

Drizzle generously with oil and a touch of Balsamic then season with salt and pepper.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Wine Tasting

We came to Boston over the weekend to visit my dad and help him host a wine tasting.

The menu was simple and was meant as a backdrop to the wine. Providing enough to keep people from being hungry (or drunk) but not a full meal.

We served some simple crustini with a selection of toppings, salad, filo packets, truffle pizza, and seared tuna.
Then cheese and finally a selection of sorbetti and bisotti.

To enrich white beans, i added fresh sage to fettunta and topped with a fried piece of sage.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cooking with Auden: party prep

Tonight we catered a wine tasting party at my dad's house. Last night we started with some prep, which Auden was more than willing to help out. I made a blackberry sorbetto. He was happy to help fill up the blender.

Though he did need some help pressing the buttons.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Warm beet salad

Warm salads are a nice way to change things up. The warmness brings out the flavors in the food in a subtle way.

I stated with roasted beets skinned and chopped them.

To make the dressing, I warmed the oil left over form the roasting and added a couple cloves of sliced garlic.

Added a touch of dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Toss in a can of white beans and then pour over the beets.

Top with Parm.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Frozen Hot Chocolate

As mentioned in the past, we are big fans of hot chocolate. But now that it is summer and a bit hot for hot hot chocolate, I start to make frozen hot chocolate.

It is a great treat, that really isn't that bad in the scheme of things, but definitely suppresses the chocolate urge.

Frozen Hot Chocolate
3 oz chocolates, chopped
2 teaspoons cocao
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups ice

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler.

Once melted stir until smooth, add the cocoa and sugar and continue mixing over heat until combined.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of milk.

Let this cool completely before continuing. (If you are wanting this right away, place the mixture in a bowl set over a ice bath.)

Pour chocolate mixture over 3 cups ice and add the remaining cup of milk.

Blend until smooth.

Truffle "pizza"

One of our favorite dishes at one of our favorite restaurants is Avec's Foccacia. It is basically a flat bread white pizza with truffle oil. I have tried to copy this recipe.

Truffle Pizza
1 prepared pizza dough
truffle oil
course salt
about 4 oz cheese (tellegio, fontina, or robiola)

Roll the dough out a bit thicker than you would for pizza, maybe about a quarter inch think. Brush the top with a little truffle oil.

Bake in 550 oven (on pizza stone) for about 5 - 6 minutes, until the dough has started to cook but nut yet browned. Remove from oven.

Wait a minute so the dough cools, and cut in half so that you can fill the dough. Drizzle with a little truffle oil and spread the cheese over the bottom half. Replace the top and drizzle with a little more oil and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for another 6 -8 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and drizzle a little more oil and cut to serve.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cooking with Auden: Pizza

If there is any chance that he will become a great pizza maker, I have to start him young (as basketball is likely out).

Pizza i have always found to be fun to do with kids. There are enough steps that an extra set of hands are helpful and but not too many. And in most cases its hard to mess it up too bad. Also, its great fun for kids to get to make their own pie.

Here is Auden mixing the water and yeast.

And mixing the dough...always a fun kids activity.

I rolled out the dough, but let him put on the toppings (which is the fun part).

Here he is brushing on the oil.

And of course the best part...

Green Beans with Parmesian

After the spicy long beans from last week and another pile of grean beans I was looking for something simliar but different.

I sauteed the beans with a little oil and a couple cloves of sliced garlic.

Then added a touch a hot sauce and salt and pepper.

To serve top with Parm.