Wednesday, December 28, 2016

White House Vegetable Tart


      Was a boring weekend and in typical style of Mr. Binns, I was doing nothing but watching the Foodnetwork to inspire myself with some new ideas. I came across the show Barefoot Contessa and decided to watch it as she was visiting the White House and cooking with the chef there. She was also having a luncheon with Mrs. Obama. Well I stopped to watch for two reasons; 1. To see if I could cook whatever the White House chef was making and 2. Because Mrs. Obama is pure class and if she can eat it, it must be good. So I sort of followed the chef's recipe for this delicious vegetable tart, however made it my own. The chef utilized homemade pie crust and did not add tomatoes. I decided to include the red fruit along with utilizing puff pastry instead of pie crust. So here goes; White House Vegetable Tart.


  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 8 ounces Swiss cheese
  • 1 zucchini sliced
  • 1 squash sliced
  • 3 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • Salt/pepper

  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp thyme

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat saute onion in olive oil. Toss in the 1 tsp thyme and garlic and simmer until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

3. Lay the sliced zucchini, squash, and tomato on a tin foiled lined pan. Drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in oven for roughly 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.

5. Layer the puff pastry end to end in a large baking sheet that has been greased.

6. Spread the onion mixture over top and sprinkle half the Swiss cheese on top.

7. Carefully arrange the vegetables according to the picture. One layer zucchini, followed by tomato, then squash, and so forth.

8. Pour over the egg custard mixture and sprinkle over the rest of the Swiss cheese.

9. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through.

     This vegetable dish was fantastic. Fresh, crisp, and very light in it's flavor and texture. Definitely fit for anyone including the First Lady.

Prep Time: 20 minutes.
Cook Time: 30 minutes.
Serves: 5+

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ginger Cinnamon Biscotti



      Here goes another take on an Italian cookie classic. This time I thought why not attempt to create the flavor of the Christmas season? So here goes; Ginger Cinnamon Biscotti.
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Green candy sprinkles

1. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a mixing bowl cream the sugar and butter together.

3. Slowly mix in the eggs one at a time.

4. Mix in the chopped ginger and cinnamon.

5. Now mix in the flour mixture in batches until well incorporated.

6. On a tin foil lined baking sheet form the dough into a long 1/2 inch rectangle.

7. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until the edges are browned.

8. Let cool for 30 minutes, then slice at an angle into 1/2 inch thick cookies.

9. Bake again for another 10 minutes laid out on the same baking sheet.

10. Let cool. Mix powdered sugar and milk to make a thick icing. Drizzle over half each cookie and sprinkle with the green candy sprinkles.
These were so good and tasted just like what you would think Christmas would taste like. Perfect spiciness from the ginger and sweet warmth from the cinnamon.
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30-40 min
Inactive Time: 30 min
Makes: 20+ cookies

Thursday, December 15, 2016

French Dip Sandwich


     This sandwich is not at all from French cuisine, however just a plain old American creation. Interestingly named for the fact that you utilize a crispy loaf of French bread to create this delicious, simple, and packed full of flavor sandwich. What is better than a juicy sandwich that you dip into a wonderful combination of juices created by cooking the beef for this dish. "Jus", which is French for juice, is created by the drippings from the meat you are cooking. "Au jus", simple means "with juice", so when you see a sandwich or any dish for that matter that is accompanied by au jus it means it comes with the juice it is made in or creates from the cooking process. Enjoy! French Dip Sandwich.


  • 1-2 lb beef roast
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • Salt/ pepper
  • French loaf
  • Provolone cheese

1. Salt and pepper the roast. Place in crock pot fat side up.

2. Dice up the onion very finely and toss in.

3. Pour in the beef stock, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir to incorporate and cover the roast.

4. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

5. When finished cooking. Pull apart with a fork. Layer onto a sliced French loaf. Top with provolone cheese and place under the broiler to toast.

6. Use the left over juices to dip your crusty sandwich in.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 hours
Serves: 4+

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


     The quintessential Italian dessert. Just the name causes certain images to appear in your mind. That of red and white checkered table clothes covered in candle light while mandolin music plays softly over head. The taste is so silky with the cheese and the hint of coffee flavoring. Such a popular dessert that it has become a must on any Italian restaurant menu. Many people think this dessert must require a lot of time and care to make, when in actuality it doesn't take much work at all. A few ingredients and you have one of the best desserts out there. Tiramisu.
  • 10 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 4 tbs milk
  • 1 1/2 cup strong coffee cooled
  • 2 tbs coffee liquor, brandy, rum, or Strega.
  • 25-35 lady fingers
  • Coco powder
1. Mix milk, coffee, 2 tbs sugar, and liquor of your choice in a casserole dish until incorporated.

2. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks and 2 tbs sugar together until creamy. Add in the mascarpone cheese.

3. In another bowl whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold cheese mixture into egg whites.

4. Now for the fun part, take each lady finger and dip them in the coffee mixture covering all sides and making sure it starts to soak up. (Hint: don't let them get soggy or they fall apart).
 Layer the lady fingers down in a 9 x 9 inch square baking dish. Once the first layer is down. Spread half the cheese mixture over top.

5. Sprinkle some coco powder. Then begin another layer of lady fingers.

6. Top with remaining cheese mixture and sprinkle with more coco powder. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before serving.
This happens to be one of my favorite desserts of all time. Give it a try. You will love it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 3-4 hours.
Serves: 5+