Monday, August 30, 2010

Peach Crisp...for adults!

The other day I went to the farmers market, and they had "seconds" on peaches.  They were a dollar a pound!!!  I guess they are having a tough peach year, due to the lack of rain.  So most are small, and bruised.  I thought it would be perfect for a dessert.  The Disaronno was a perfect addition to the flavor of the peaches.  If you don't have Disaronno, you can use any almond flavor, or leave it out.  It truly was a perfect summer dessert.
Peach Crisp
8 medium peaches, peeled and sliced
1 cup water
3 tbls cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 tbls butter
3 tbls Disaronno
Preheat oven to 375.  Bake for 20 min (or until crisp is golden brown) Place peaches, water, cornstarch, butter and sugar into a pan.  Heat on medium and cook until the sauce is thickened.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and Disarrono.  Place in a buttered 8X8 pan.

6 tbls butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbls flour
1-1.5 cups of oats
Once butter is melted combine with sugar and let them get happy with one another.  Then you can add oats and flour, stir and sprinkle over the peaches.

Mary Proulx

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Proscuitto and Parmesan Pasta

As you can tell I am a huge fan of one course meals.  I love having a one pot meal that has the protein, starch and vegetable.  It makes it so much easier and cost effective for people on a budget.  This meal has it all and you don't have to have any sides (unless you wish).
Prosciutto and Parmesan Pasta
1 lb pasta
1/2 cup Italian parsley (cut it up into small pieces)
3 tbls. green onions (cut in small slices)
1 tbls. butter
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan (or more, the more the better)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch thin asparagus (cut in half, and steamed)
4 oz. prosciutto (cut into small strips)

In a large pan, melt butter and add green onions and saute for a few minutes then add prosciutto strips. Cook pasta until el dente. Steam asparagus until el dente (keep an eye on this, because it cooks very quick). In the large pan with the green onions and prosciutto add the pasta, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, parsley, cooked asparagus, and S+P to taste stir and serve.
I absolutely love parmesan cheese!!!  It is so salty, and flavorful.  My step sister in law, Christin, first introduced me to a dish similar to this.  That was around the time when I first became a huge fan of prosciutto.  I added asparagus to make it more like a complete meal, and the more parmesan the better!  Also by adding more parsely and green onions, it gives this dish more flavor.  I love getting a bite with all of the ingredients, because it so flavorful that you really don't need anything else.  This dish is also great as a leftover for lunch!
Mary Proulx

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blueberry Scones with a Lemon Glaze:)

On our way back from Maine, Mark stopped to get some coffee at Starbucks, and he also grabbed both of us a blueberry scone.  He asked me if this is something that I would try to make for him someday.  Well, it is the perfect season to make these scones with fresh blueberries, so of course I would!  I love the flavor of lemon and blueberry together, and I really wanted to be able to taste both ingredients, so I added a total of 2 lemons zested.  
Blueberry Scones
2 cups flour
1 tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbls sugar
5 tbls unsalted butter (cold and cut in chunks)
1 cup heavy cream (and more for brushing on top of scones)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 whole lemon (for the zest)

Preheat the oven to 400.  Sift together the dry ingredients ( flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar). Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour (the mixture should look like coarse crumbs). Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate (as in any pastry, do not overwork the dough). Fold the blueberries into the batter. Be careful not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.  Gently fold in the lemon zest.
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Cut into rectangle shapes. Place the scones on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon2 cups powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 tbls unsalted butter
Heat all the ingredients on medium heat, until slightly boiling.  Cool for 3-5 min and coat the scones.  I placed the cooled scones on a cooling rack, with a cookie sheet underneath to catch the glaze (makes for a quicker and neater cleanup).
Scones are not meant to be sweet, so by adding a glaze if give them a hint of something sweet and it also doesn't make them so dry. The lemon glaze was so perfect on top, it was flavorful, warm and sticky!  Mark and I ate them, while we drank tea and watched the 300. It was perfect!  hahhahaha  

Mark said, and I quote, "these were the best things that I have eaten all summer." That coming from a guy who would rather eat savory than anything else.  I was certainly glad that I was able to make these for him, and that they exceeded his expectations!!
Focaccina da tè!
Mary Proulx

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Pasta

If you haven't guessed it already, I love summer and I love summer vegetables.  This dish is so fresh and delicious that you don't have to feel guilty about eating it (if you every feel guilty eating food). It is quick easy and affordable.  Basil, fresh tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and fresh mozzarella are some of my favorite flavors, and thankfully they all go really well together!  Walla, a perfect meal!  I hope you try it, because soon it will become one of your favorite dishes too!
Summer Pasta
1 lb pasta
1 quart (or two pints) mixed colored cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
6 oz. fresh mozzarella balls (cherry sized, cut into fourths)
S+P to taste

Put 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar into a pan and let it reduce in size (10 min), then add olive oil with the cherry tomatoes.  Cook for another 4-5 minutes.  You want the cherry tomatoes to get a little soft and juicy, but not to over cook them.  Place pan aside to let cool.  Cook pasta until el dente.  Rinse under cold water, once tomatoes are cooled for 10 mins. or so add the pasta, and the rest of the ingredients.  If the pasta seems too dry, add more olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar.  I serve the meal cold, and thinly slice Marks famous charcoal grilled chicken on top (I keep that warm).

Chicken Marinade
4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper

Place washed chicken and the rest of the ingredients into a Ziploc paper bag and mix together.  Leave in the refrigerator over night.   The key to this chicken is the charcoal grill, and to then slice it extremely thin!!  By slicing it thin you get more flavor in every bite (and as my dad likes to say: "its all surface area").
I absolutely LOVE balsamic vinegar, and when it is paired with fresh mozzarella, basil, and cherry tomatoes it is simply heaven.  This is a meal that I could never get sick of.  The warm, moist and flavorful chicken on top adds a different texture that really compliments the dish.

Amy and Andrew made a delicious salad fresh from their garden.  The best part of the salad was the hint of fresh dill and basil added to it.  Not to mention Amy's homemade honey mustard dressing!  Yummmmmmm!

 Fino a Amico, (to friends)
Mary Proulx

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blueberry and Peach Cobbler:)

Our dear friend Andrew Lasher is going to be leaving for Iraq in a few weeks, so we had him and his wife Amy over for a dinner before he leaves.  For dessert I really wanted to do something with the fresh blueberries and peaches that I just picked.  I decided to make a blueberry and peach cobbler with some fresh lemon zest.  All of the flavors worked so well together, and everyone LOVED it!  I am definitely going to make this dish again and again!  

Blueberry and Peach Cobbler

  • 2 1/2 tbls unsalted butter, divided into chunks
  • 2 pounds fresh (or frozen peaches), peeled, pitted, and sliced into cubes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbls cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1tbls lemon zest
In a medium saucepan, combine the peaches with the sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and peaches have softened, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, blueberries, and vanilla extract. Transfer to an 8x11 inch baking dish, and sprinkle the lemon zest on the top.  


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

  • 6 tbls sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbls cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tbls cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp almond extract 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, 4 tablespoons of the sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs ( I use my hands.  As they say your hands are your best tool in the kitchen). Add the milk and cream and stir just to combine (with spoon, don't overwork the dough, otherwise it works the flour too much).  Once everything is encorportated sprinkle lemon zest, and almond extract all over dough, and stir slowly.  Sprinkle topping all over the fruit filling, I pull it apart and place chunks here and there on the filling.  Sprinkle the topping with the remaining sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes

The fresh blueberries and peaches worked really well together.  I was obsessed with the topping.  The almond extract with the fresh lemon zest was an insane combination to go with the fruit.  Every bite was pure heaven, and when the vanilla bean ice cream melted it made it even more perfect.  This dessert was so full of flavor, that it left you wanted to eat the whole pan!  

Good luck Lasher!  We will miss your company and energy at all of our gatherings!  Much love!

Mary Proulx

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eli's Maine Dinner

Ahhhhhh, Maine!  Vacationland, the way life should be!  I am so fortunate that my brother Eli and his girlfriend Ginny live in the beautiful state of Maine! Every time we visit, Eli makes a traditional Maine dish of some sort.  My favorite is his clam chowder!  The key to his clam chowder, is that he keeps it as rich and flavorful as possible.  If you want an awesome clam chowder, follow this recipe, and what ever you do, do not try to make this low fat!!!!  It takes a lot for me to get full, but one large dish of this, and the deal is done!  It is so rich and creamy, that it's almost like a seafood cloud in your mouth.  

Ginny, The Dadio, Eli, and me!

Clam Chowder
5 medium potatoes
1 white onion
3 celery stalks                                  
1 lb bacon
1/2 stick butter
1 cup flour (or there abouts)
3 lbs steamers (shells on) steam and take shells off...
6.5 oz clams with juice
1 bay leaf
32 oz heavy cream
1 cup white wine
clam juice (it comes in glass jar)
3 cups fresh lobster stalk (or seafood stalk)
1 tbl old bay seasoning (or more...flavor to taste)
dash of parsley, basil, thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Dice potatoes, celery, and onion into small pieces. Dice bacon into small cubes, and lightly brown in pan (not so it's crispy).  Add 1/2 stick of butter and melt (add s+p).  Add flour to make a rue with the butter and bacon, completely cook out the flavor of the flour (2-5 min).  You'll know when it's done when it browns (lightly) and it coats the spoon.  Add celery, and onion stir for 10-15 min.  Add lobster stalk, stir for 5 min then add potatoes.  Add, the rest of the ingredients and cook until the potatoes are fully cooked, around 20-30 min.

The key to this recipe is to be patience and to keep layering flavors!  My brother doesn't follow a recipe book, so he (like myself) adds what he thinks will go well together.  When in doubt taste it, and add what you think it needs more of.  And whatever you do DON'T use milk, or a light cream!

Steam in a large pot until red!  Serve with butter (and lemon)!!!!  Enjoy!!!!

Thanks Eli and Ginny for all the fun times and the greatest memories (and of course the food)!!
I love you both!
Mary Proulx

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mmmm Mmmmm Macaroons!

Two weekends ago, my dad came up for the weekend to watch Marks debut triathlon.  He (like me) always needs something sweet after he eats.  I was so busy that day trying to get everything clean, and making dinner that I totally forgot about dessert.  Growing up, my dad (and still does) use to tell us tons of great stories, and one involved the first time he had a macaroon.  I, unlike my dad, am a horrible story teller (as you can tell from my random messages I leave) so I will spare is a just had to be there moment.   I have never made macaroons before, and they seemed pretty hard to make, but I had all of the ingredients so I thought I would give them a try. I couldn't believe how quick and easy they were (not to mention delicious).  I will DEFINITELY make these again for the dadio, and myself!  After Marks triathlon, I handed out some to all our friends and they loved them as well, so I gave myself a huge pat on the back.

14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut                               
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk                                 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325
Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture, using a spatula.  Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper, I made mine pretty big, so whatever size you want them to be. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve (and store in an airtight container, if they last that long).

These macaroons were so gooey and moist, I loved them!  They were perfectly sweetened, and not too overwhelming.  The hint of vanilla was a perfect addition.  I may try almond extract the next time I make them, I feel like that could taste really good.  

We ate them so fast, that I am not really sure how long they last. But, I would recommend putting them in an air tight container, and maybe in the refrigerator if you don't plan on eating them all at once (like we did).  


Mary Proulx

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mexican Lasagna!

I've been making this dish for a few years now, and Mark and I really love it.  I first came across this recipe in the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, but every time I make it I do something a little different.  When I use a recipe that I like, I usually make the recipe twice and then it is in my memory for good...and that is when I improvise and it becomes more fun!  The best part about this dish is that you can add whatever you are craving.  You could even throw in leftover veggies from the night before.  This was the first time that I put a red bell pepper and used fresh corn off the cob, and that made it more of a sweet dish, which was really pleasant.  Next time I think I'll add some taco spices to make it more savory.

Mexican Lasagna
1 rotisserie chicken ( ground chicken, or ground turkey)-I've used them all and they are all good!
1 cup sour cream
1 red bell pepper (diced up small)
6-7oz.  jar of diced chillies or jalapenos
1 cup salsa
1 can black olives (cut a few times)
3 ears of corn (cooked then using a knife cut along the edge to release kernels)
      (or 2 cups frozen corn)
1 family sized bag of sharp cheddar cheese
10 burrito sized flour (or corn) tortillas (cut into 6 triangles)

Preheat oven to 375.
If you don't use rotisserie chicken, make sure to cook whatever you use thoroughly.  Mix all the ingredients (except cheese and tortillas) in a large bowl.  Layer a 9x13 inch baking dish with enough pieces of tortillas cover the bottom, layer the top of that with some cheddar cheese, then the chicken mixture.  Repeat until you are out of ingredients (like you are making a traditional lasagna).  Make sure the top layer is just the tortillas with the rest of the cheese!!!

Bake for 25-30 minutes (all the ingredients are already cooked, so you just want to marry all the ingredients together).  Make sure the cheese is not browning, because it will lose all it's flavor.  When in doubt put tinfoil on top so it doesn't burn.

My friend Liz works at a summer camp all summer, so as her welcome home dinner I made this!  She loved it!  We had our traditional red wine, while Mark had a Margarita.  We serve it with avocado and salsa!  

This dish is quick, and fun to make!  And there is always leftovers, so last night I took the night off from cooking.

godere messicano questa notte!

Mary Proulx

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mary Ruel's Chicken Curry Salad

For my bridal shower, we had a potluck lunch.  I always love potluck gatherings, because it's always fun to try lots of different foods made by other people.  My great aunt, Mary Ruel, made her chicken curry salad.  It was such a HUGE hit.  All my girlfriends that came asked for the recipe.  The best part of this dish, is all the flavors and textures that it has.  The heat from the curry, the sweetness and snap from the grapes, and the crunch from the pecans give this dish layers of goodness.  I choose to use rotisserie chicken because it has so much flavor and it is so moist (and it is easier).  I've done it with grilled chicken breast before, but it can be very fickle so the safest and best bet is to use a rotisserie chicken.  I am honored to share this delicious dish with you, and I hope you enjoy it and share it at your next potluck!!!

Chicken Curry Salad
1 store rotisserie chicken
2 lbs of grapes (cut them in half)
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 -3/4 cup mayo
S+P to taste
Curry, it depends on how potent it is.  I get mine a a local organic store (so it is always fresh).  Mark and I like it a little spicy, so we generally add a lot!

The best way to serve this is by putting spoonfuls on a large romaine lettuce leafs, wrapping it up and eating it just like that.  Or you can eat it on top of chopped up lettuce.

We served this batch on fresh foccacia bread from the Keene Fresh Salad Co. The only problem was that the bread was so thick that we couldn't really taste the salad!

 miscela di spezie indiana alzare,

Mary Proulx

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fried Green Tomato and Polenta Sandwiches!

One of my favorite things in the summer time is fried green tomatoes!  My favorite part about them, is that they are sweet, and sour you can't get better than that!  I went blueberry picking the other day (yes, I go a lot), and they also have veggies for sale.  I was able to go to their garden and pick the tomatoes that I wanted.  Man, if you don't live in NH I'm sorry.  I love polenta, and I thought that it would make a fun sandwich paired with fried green tomatoes.  This is completely my recipe, so let me know what you think.

4 cups water
1 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, then add the remaining water, corn meal and salt.  Stir constantly until thickened.  Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bread pan, and cool in refrigerator until firm or over night.  Once cooled, cut into 1-1 1/2  inch slices, then place on panini press
until crispy (with cooking spray).

Fried Green Tomatoes
2 large green tomatoes
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup bread crumbs ( I use Italian)
1/2 cup corn meal
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2-3 eggs

Cut tomatoes into 1 inch slices.  In a bowl whisk eggs.  In another bowl add all the dry ingredients, and mix it well.   Dip tomato in egg batter (coat both sides), and then into the dry ingredients (coat both sides), grill until crisp on a panini press (with cooking spray to crisp them).

* if you don't have a panini grill, you can make both of these in a regular pan but make sure for use either butter or olive oil to brown them up.

Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches
Place one fried green tomato in between two fried polenta's with slice of fresh mozzarella and a few slices of fresh basil (with a little mayo, or a dash of wasabi sauce).  Place these of the panini press again, until the mozzarella is melted.

These were sooooooo good!  The texture of both the polenta and the fried green tomatoes were the same, crispy on the outside but had a warm gooey center that burst in your mouth after every bite.  The fresh mozzarella adds a creamy texture that simply melts in your mouth.  I will definitely make these again this summer.

Now is the time for green tomatoes, so make sure you try them!!!

Buon appetito friends,

Mary Proulx

Ps.  I'm going home, so the rest of the week I will be cooking from my parents....My favorite place in the ENTIRE WORLD!!!!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Best Cinnamon Rolls!!!!!

I have been making these cinnamon rolls for a few years now, and they are so delicious.  Besides just the normal filling, I add lime zest and it adds such a delicate touch.  Also, the frosting has fresh lime juice in it that makes the rolls gooey and simply perfect.  I am such a fan of all citrus zests in foods.  They add such a fresh bite, and zest has been known to help prevent skin I add zest to lots of things!!!  I guarantee that if you make these, you will be making them all the time.  I make them on the weekends when I have guests, special occasions, or when I am craving them.  Also a great tip is to 1/2 bake them the night before (because it does take some time to make these).  Then you can have fresh baked rolls in the morning!!!  and it is a GREAT way for your guests to wake up and smell citrusy cinnamon rolls!!!

Lime Cinnamon Rolls

  • DOUGH:
  • 1  package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4  cup  warm water 
  • 3/4  cup  reduced-fat sour cream (room temp)
  • 1/3  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten (room temp)        
  • 2 1/3  cups  all-purpose flour, divided

  • 1 cup  packed brown sugar
  • 2  whole grated lime rinds
  • 2-3 tbls cinnamon
    • 4  tablespoons  butter, melted, divided

  • GLAZE:
  • 1-2  cups  powdered sugar
  • 2   whole  limes juiced

  • To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.  
    • Combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl, stirring until well blended (it doesn't need a lot of mixing). Gradually stir yeast mixture into sour cream mixture.  Add flour to mixture, stirring to form a soft dough.

    Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly tacky).  The dough is very soft and it is a lot of fun to knead!!
    Place dough in a large bowl coated with butter,  turning to coat top. Cover ( I use plastic wrap)  and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
    To prepare filling, combine brown sugar, rind, and cinnamon. Divide dough into two equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, roll dough into a large rectangle shape; brush with butter. Sprinkle half of filling over dough. Beginning with a long side, roll up jelly-roll fashion; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends of roll) I use butter to also help seal the roll. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Cut each roll into 12 (1-inch) slices. Place slices in a 13 x 9–inch baking pan coated with butter. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
    Preheat oven to 350°.
    •  Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  If you prepare it the night before bake them for 15 minutes and then 10 minutes the next day.  

    To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.
    I couldn't help myself before I took the picture, they are just soooooo good!  The lime makes them so fresh, and it adds a lightness to the cinnamon rolls.  This recipe is perfect, because they are not so sicky can eat more than one roll.  I had 5!  

    • Semplicemente delizioso, 

    Mary Proulx

Friday, August 6, 2010

Arugula Pesto Pasta

My dad is here for the weekend, so while they watch Boston vs. New York I'm writing up our meal.  My dad loves pesto, so I thought I would surprise him with this meal.  I also made macaroon's for dessert.  Growing up (and now) my dad's always has the best stories, and one of them involves macaroons, so I had to make him them (I will share this recipe another day, I don't want to be writing all night).  It was my first attempt, and they were wicked good!!!  I've heard of pesto's using arugula, but I was skeptical, I really love the taste of the original basil pesto.  I actually really loved it!  The arugula adds a real peppery flavor to the pesto, and adds a big bite to your meal.  I found this recipe in the Everyday Rachael Ray magazine, and it looked delicious.

Arugula Pesto

6oz. arugula
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nut
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic
2/3-3/4 cup olive oil
salt to your liking

Using a food processor, puree all the above ingredients.

I used fusilli pasta, which was perfect because the arugula pesto really stuck to it.  I put asparagus, crispy bacon, and more parmesan cheese (to me you can never have enough parmesan cheese).  The peppery taste of the arugula with the bacon and asparagus really worked well together.  The cherry wood smoked bacon added an extra layer of flavor to the meal.

Ciao amico's,

Mary Proulx