Monday, May 28, 2012

Aunt Mary's Scratch Semolina Pasta

My Aunt (great-aunt actually) is a wonderful woman. Originally from Southern Italy (the 'heel of the boot'!) she makes fantastic Tomato Sauce and homemade pasta. This is her recipe (well according to her it is NOT her recipe it is just 'the way we did things...there is no recipe') She is a beautiful, wonderful, amazingly strong woman with a huge heart. We all love her so much we could burst!
Here is her Semolina Pasta.

....semolia makes a difference

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups semolina flour

1 pinch salt

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

Thoroughly sift together all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and pinch of salt. On a clean surface, make a mountain out of flour mixture then make a deep well in center. Break the eggs into the well and add olive oil. Whisk eggs very gently with a fork, gradually incorporating flour from the sides of the well. When mixture becomes too thick to mix with a fork, begin kneading with your hands.

Knead dough for 8 to 12 minutes, until it is smooth and supple. Dust dough and work surface with semolina or flour as needed to keep dough from becoming sticky. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Roll out dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin to desired thickness. Cut into your favorite style of noodle or stuff with your favorite filling to make ravioli. Bring water to a boil in a large pot, then add 4 tbl salt. Cook pasta until tender 3-5 minutes

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Good-for-you Truffles

Now....don't run scared. I made these healthy, yet delicious, truffles and they got thumbs up from 3 of the kids. The special, good for you ingredient is....drumroll....prunes! Don't freak out! They are soft and sweet and very good for you!  The one thumb down kid said they tasted too "raisiny".  Whatever...I thought they were a nice change of pace.

 Good-for -you Truffles

1 cup prunes(dried plums) pitted and processed(or finely chopped)
2 tbl brandy (or extract)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2  plus 3 tbl cup agave nectar
pinch of nutmeg
3 tbl butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate chopped
2 oz chocolate chopped
1 tbl vanilla
1/2 cup finely ground nuts (I like pecans)
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

combine brandy and prunes...set aside.
in a saucepan, bring cream, agave, butter, and nutmeg to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate and vanilla.  Whisk till smooth. Stir into prunes.
Freeze mixture about 20-30 minutes. Combine ground nuts and crumbs in a bowl set aside.  Roll prune mixture into 1" balls then roll in nut/crumb mixture to coat. chill balls until firm.
these will keep 2 weeks.


It has been such a super busy few weeks..I am seriously barely functional. BUT today or Monday I plan on trying a few experiments in the kitchen...if they work will be the first (well second..the kids have to taste the experiments - it is in their job description!) to know!
Look for a new recipe or two in the next few days....a new HEALTHY recipe even. Hey you never know!
Here is a glimpse at WHY I am exhausted and why the last
few weeks have been so busy:

College Graduation
BS in Special Education, BS in Elementary Education, and a BS in Early Childhood..PLUS Kapa Delta PI Education HONOR society and Cum Laude...PLUS Deans List!!!

Touring colleges with child #3!!!

SPORTS Middle School
Meeting KATRINA (oldest son's girlfriend)

PLUS Concerts, Sectionals for sports, more concerts, Music Festival...etc etc etc  whew!

At the Music Festival
National Honor Society Induction My niece Emily and my son Jacob

Music fest (son Jacob, nieces Rach and Abby..Emily was also here just not in the photo)

Noah (tall guy in the purple) singing in his spring concert.
Middle school prom -Noah, Rebehka,Anna and Austin

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Personal Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes

We recently had a dinner at our church and I was in charge of bringing a cheesecake. So I made one and topped it with fresh raspberries, no problem. Then I made a Chocolate Peanutbutter Cheesecake as well.....and then....well I decided the kids might like little cheesecakes so I made these lovely little bits of heaven. The cheescakes were a hit and made a beautiful display on the dessert table.

Looking for the recipe for the larger cheesecake?  Click HERE

Personal Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

For the crust:
1½ cups chocolate wafer crumbs
4 tbsp. butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar
For the topping:1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam , melted
For the filling:4 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and line cupcake pans with foil liners. In a small bowl, combine the  crumbs, melted butter, and sugar, and stir until crumbs are thoroughly moistened. Press one tablespoon of the graham mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  I use a small glass to press it down firmly. Bake for 5 minutes, until just set and transfer to a cooling rack.

To make the cheesecake, beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Blend in the sugar until smooth.  Mix in the salt and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Spoon 3 or so  tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture over the crust in each cupcake liner.  Dot a ½ teaspoon of the melted jam in a few dots over the cheesecake filling.  Use a toothpick lightly swirl the jam through the cheesecake.
Bake until the filling is set, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for at least several hours before serving.

TIP: I often top mine with homemade whipped cream and a single fresh rasberry..very pretty! See photo below...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Butternut Squash Casserole

Not sure why I am posting this Fall recipe now...except that I am craving some creamy squash and I don't have any. So rather than pout and throw a hissy of some sort I decided to 'cook virtually' by posting this recipe and then drooling over it. is very good...even if it is NOT Fall.

Butternut Squash Casserole

2 lbs. fresh butternut squash
1 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp. butter
¾ cup coconut milk (or heavy cream)
1 egg
¼ cup Pecans, toasted, and chopped finely
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. salt


½ cup Pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. flour, all-purpose
¼ tsp. ginger, ground
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp.  butter, melted
1 tsp. molasses

Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, then halve lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard seeds. Carefully, cut into chunks.

Toss with oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to a large baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper and spread out in a single layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until just tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool. Reduce oven to 350°F. Butter a one quart casserole dish; set aside. Whisk the coconut milk, egg, nuts, ginger, cinnamon and salt in small mixing bowl; set aside.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, transfer to a large bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add to the squash to egg/milk mixture and whisk. Pour mixture into prepared dish.

In a small bowl, blend together Topping: the chopped nuts, brown sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over squash mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
Tip: You can add some unsweetened coconut to the topping if you would like, or make the recipe with sweet potatoes instead. Also most any nut will work...but in this I love pecans!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sneak Peek!

This Ladies and Gentlemen....this is the cover image for the cookbook Lavetta Beshears and I have coming out later this year.  I am so in love with it I can't begin to tell you.  I keep calling it up on the computer and gazing at it. 
CRACKed Pots in the Kitchen ~ a collection of gastronomical delights and hilarious insights
will soon be available at We are also hoping to have it available in a Kindle version!
We are working very hard on this project and the vast distance between our kitchens does not make the process any easier...but it is coming together beautifully and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor.  These are recipes we love to cook, our families love to eat, and we wanted to share.  We are two very different people, with different styles but we embrace the phrase "What makes you different, makes you beautiful!" and we let our diversity in writing styles and photography shine through in the pages of recipes, tips and stories. What we don't differ in is our passion for food, our love of family and friends, and the joy we find in teaching and sharing what we love.
Stay tuned for further updates on our progress and details of when and how you can get your own copy of our unique labor of love!

Lavetta wrote about our upcoming book in her column 'Not Enough Salt' can find her article HERE.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I have not forgotten you~

Hello everyone...I have been super busy working on the upcoming cookbook and have been neglecting you all! I am so SOrry...promise and upcoming post VERY VERY soon.  Maybe tonight or tomorrow...maybe!  Otherwise folks it will be next week since my week is jam packed - seriously! Wednesday- Track meet, Thursday - SChool's SPring Concert, Friday- head to the college for my oldest's GRADUATION..and we will not be returning until late Sunday. Whew.
Anyway...I promise to try but I am making no promises to succeed!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cherry Wine Sauce

This sauce is a delicious addition to your beef or pork tenderloin....super quick and easy, yet has a upscale refined look and taste.

Cherry Wine Sauce

1 cup of Port wine
1 cup of frozen pitted sweet dark cherries
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tbl sugar
1 tea corn starch
1 tbl stone ground mustard
2 tea water

In a saucepan combine wine, raisins, cherries and sugar.  bring to a boil and reduce. Mashing cherries with a potato masher or the back of a fork as it boils. In a small bowl whick water, cornstarch and mustard. Add to cherry wine mixture and simmer until thickened. If mixture gets too thick add a touch more port.  Serve hot .