Sunday, August 26, 2018

Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream

So good. The perfect comfort food. Served with a side salad and some crusty Italian bread….what more could you want? This is so creamy and melt in your mouth delicious. Loaded with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and basil.  AMAZING!!!

    Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream

3 cups cavatappi pasta
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth, or more, as needed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup heavy cream, or more, as needed
1/3 cup julienned sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.  Place shrimp onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and gently toss to combine. Place into oven and roast just until pink, firm and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes; set aside. 

To make the tomato basil cream sauce, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.

Gradually whisk in vegetable broth and basil.  Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream, sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes.  

Stir in pasta and shrimp, and gently toss to combine.
Serve immediately.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Crab Linguine in Parmesan Garlic Sauce

This is one of my favorite meals to make for friends who come for dinner. So easy to make and a dish that everyone remembers! Creamy smooth sauce over linguine with just a hint of Old Bay Seasoning over sweet succulent crab! So good.

Crab Linguine in Parmesan Garlic Sauce

1 package of linguine
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, finely minced
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid from pasta
3/4 cup freshly grated parmigianno reggiano
1 lb lump crab meat

Cook pasta as directed on package. Salt water very well and bring to a boil. Before draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside. Place linguine back into hot pot and stir in butter, cream, garlic, salt, pepper and cheese until butter and cheese start to melt and create a sauce. If it is too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it to the consistency you like. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Next add the crab and toss lightly so as not to break up the larger pieces. Pour into a casserole dish and add topping.


1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (2 tsp if you want a kick)
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

Mix ingredients and sprinkle over top of crab linguine. Turn oven on broil and watch carefully until your bread crumbs are crisp and golden.

You can also make this with shrimp, scallops or lobster.

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Maryland Steamed Crabs


What's a Maryland girl serve at her summer holiday parties and cookouts?  If you're from my neck of the woods you already know!  My family and friends will arrive and my table will be set just as you see in the photo. My menu will include Maryland Steamed Crabs and sweet corn on the cob. Some coleslaw and potato salad and maybe some hot crab dip and steamed shrimp on the side. There's always newspaper for the tablecloth of course and lots of paper towels and mallets and melted butter. A meal like no other and a true Maryland tradition! Sweet and succulent tender crabs steamed in Old Bay Seasoning and Beer. Sweet corn Basted in melted butter and sprinkled with more Old Bay!  Oh My!

Maryland Steamed Crabs

36 fresh blue crabs 
 1/2 cup Old Bay Seasoning 
 1/2 cup salt 
 3 cups beer 
 another 1/4 cup Old Bay for topping 

Combine 1/2 cup seafood seasoning, salt, beer, and vinegar in a large stockpot over high heat. If you have a steamer with a basket that's even better. Bring to a strong simmer. Fit a screen over the beer mixture and layer the crabs on the screen. Be sure that the crabs are above the simmering liquid. Cover.Steam crabs until they turn bright orange and all of the blue/green color is gone, 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup seafood seasoning before serving. 

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Monday, June 04, 2018

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Ganache Topping

This is my favorite cheesecake. I love white chocolate everything but especially cheesecake....and with the addition of milk chocolate dripping down the sides.....oh my. Well let's say, you'll never forget it.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with
Ganache Topping

10 ounces graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
Cheesecake Filling

3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces Ghirardelli or any premium white chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt
boiling water

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees while crust is cooling and you make your batter. 

Place the chopped white chocolate into a heat safe bowl and set aside. Bring the 1/2 cup of cream to a simmer over medium heat in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the white chocolate, and allow to stand for one minute. Stir the chocolate gently until melted completely. 

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On medium speed, slowly add the white chocolate mixture. Once combined you can add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed until each egg is incorporated. Once you've added all the eggs, mix in the vanilla and salt and pour into your prepared crust that has cooled in your spring form pan. 

Set the pan onto a couple of heavy duty, large sheets of aluminum foil and smooth them up the sides of the pan to waterproof. Set the cheesecake into a larger roasting pan and then place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling to about one inch. 

Bake at only 325 for the first hour and then reduce heat again down to only 300 degrees and bake for another hour or so or until the center is just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Chocolate Ganache Topping
1 cup chocolate chips (use dark chocolate or milk chocolate)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Raspberries for garnish

Add water to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof glass bowl over the pot and add the chocolate and heavy cream. Slowly stir with a spoon until the chocolate has melted, careful not to incorporate too much air. Once melted, remove from heat. Pour chocolate ganache over cheese cake and allow to drip down sides.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Shepherd’s Pie

For all you meat and potato people out there, this is the ultimate comfort food.  It is traditionally made with lamb but I make it with ground beef.  What is Shepherd's Pie?  It's basically a casserole with meat and veggies, topped with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven until golden.  Some make it without a crust. I make mine with a buttery crust for extra comfort!  When you dig into this rich wonderful dish, you get a spoonful of mashed potatoes, some meat and veggies all in one bite.  How good can it get! 

Shepherd’s Pie


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup very cold butter
2-3 tablespoons of very cold water

Combine flour and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water with fork just until flour is moistened.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into un-greased 9-inch deep dish pie pan; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan. Crimp or flute edge. Set aside.

Unbaked Pie

Potato Topping 

1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons parsley

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

Heat half and half and butter in a small sauce pan until warmed through.  Drain the potatoes very well in a colander and return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.  Set aside.

Meat Filling

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced very small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef 
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen baby peas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and carrots and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. 

Add the ground beef, salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. 

Baked until crust is golden and potatoes have browned lightly.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.  Add the corn, mushrooms and peas to the meat mixture and allow to simmer for five more minutes on low heat.

Spoon the meat mixture into prepared pie crust.  Top with the mashed potatoes. Make sure you spread the potatoes with a rubber spatula all the way to the edges to make a seal. This will prevent the mixture from bubbling over into your potatoes.  You can use the back of a large spoon to create the design I made on top or just smooth them out.  Sprinkle top with parsley.

Place pie pan on a foil lined baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

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