Spaghetti and Meatballs All’Amatriciana

I made this recipe for my mom last night. I followed the recipe exactly, but before I made the sauce,I scraped and wiped out the pan to remove the burned pieces. I also used organic, grass-fed hamburger and Nieman Ranch, uncured, apple-wood smoked bacon. I used a nice Sauvignon Blanc for the white wine. After simmering the meatballs for a half an hour the taste was wonderful. Not too spicy (but we love spicy food.) Even my one year granddaughter liked the meatballs. I served it with crusty bread for soaking up the juice and a lemony salad.
Recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs All’Amatriciana


Blueberry Coffee Cake

Today we tried a new recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake, very simple yet yummy. So easy I made it with my 0ne year old granddaughter, Austin on my hip. She wanted to help!!?? Any way this coffeecake, got rave reviews from my friends at work. I think next time, I will add lemon zest to the batter.

For cake

  • 1/4 cup salad oil
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For topping

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup broken walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • Combine salad oil, egg, and milk. Sift together dry ingredients and add them to the milk mixture. Mix well. In another bowl, combine all ingredients for topping.

    Pour cake batter into a greased 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan. Spread blueberries evenly over batter. Top that with the cinnamon nut mixture. Bake in 375°F oven 25 to 30 minutes.

Dining at Ad Hoc Restaurant

Last Thursday, Karen and I had our 1st experience dining at Ad Hoc Restaurant in Yountville. It was amazing…  I could eat here every night and never get tired of it.
We started out with a first course of Grilled Quail Salad. It was served over frise with a wild mushroom ragout, fresh goat cheese, huckleberry sauce and crisp garlic chips. It was delicious. If hadn’t been in a  nice restaurant I would have picked up the quail and sucked the bones. It was that good!!
The main course was a Marinated Skirt Steak, served over golden turnips, rutabaga, swiss chard puree, creamy polenta, fried parsnips topped with herb-pine nut relish.
The next course was a Tome D’ Aquitane Cheese with Wildflower honey and palladin toast.
The Dessert course was a Bourbon Apple Tart served with a Butterscotch sauce and a cinnamon whipped cream.
We paid the corkage fee and brought our own wine, the corkage fee was $20. Then we had a wonderful Sauvignon Blanc with our honey and cheese. We had a nice Riesling with our Dessert. We had a great experience!! I hope I get the Ad Hoc cookbook for Christmas. 

I can’t wait to go back and have their Fried Chicken. Ad Hoc serves it every other Monday. (I have the recipe, here on my blog)

The cost for our dinner was about $170 including tax and tip. Next time I want to try more wines off their very extensive wine list. I can’t recommend this restaurant, enough

Pumpkin Pie with Brown Sugar-Walnut Topping

Today I made this wonderful pie and took it to work. It was a hit. The crust was flaky and the pie itself  was creamy, like a pumpkin mousse. The top was crunchy with the walnuts and sweet. Very tasty. I used European butter for the crust. I really think it makes a difference.


Tonight we had a very unconventional Thanksgiving Dinner. The food was traditional but the atmosphere wasn’t exactly your warm cozy house, with all your family gathered around. We were a group of health care workers, nurses, doctors, housekeepers, getting together to share the holiday. Not our “Real” families but our work family. It was very pleasant. We all said, what we were thankful for and ate a great meal together. Everybody brought something.

We had turkey, stuffing, sweet potaotes, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade rolls, cranberry relish, shrimp salad, rice salad, Brussels sprout salad (just posted the recipe) and Lemon bars and Apple Cranberry pie.
I made the pie from a recipe from Fine Cooking Magazine.  It used a technique, to make the crust,  using your fingers to break up the butter and European Butter instead of regular, unsalted butter. It was a great pie. Of course the Lemon Bars were great.  I will upload the pie recipe tomorrow. Yum…. Whats next?? Any suggestions?

Caramel-Apple Tartlets with Cinnamon-Rum Ice Cream

Caramel-Apple Tartlets with Cinnamon-Rum Ice Cream

Caramel-Apple Tartlets with Cinnamon-Rum Ice Cream

yield: Makes 6 tartlets
This tartlet is complex, but well worth the effort

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel sauce:

* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or other fine sea salt

Crumb topping:

* 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
* 6 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup pecans, toasted
* 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


* 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
* 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
* 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon whiskey
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Cinnamon-Rum Ice Cream

* Special equipment: Six 4 1/2-inch tartlet pans with removable bottom

For crust:
Using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in medium bowl until blended. Beat in egg. Add flour and salt and beat just until incorporated. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Gather each piece into ball, then flatten each slightly. Roll out each dough piece on lightly floured surface to 4- to 41/2-inch round. Press 1 dough round onto bottom and up sides of 41/2-inch-diameter tartlet pan with removable bottom. Pierce crust all over with fork. Repeat with remaining dough rounds. Freeze crusts 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake crusts until golden brown and baked through, about 30 minutes. Cool crusts in pans on rack. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight in pans at room temperature.

For caramel sauce:
Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down pan sides with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add cream, then butter and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until any caramel bits dissolve and sauce is smooth. do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm over medium-low heat until just pourable before using. crumb topping / Blend flour, brown sugar, and salt in processor. Add pecans and blend until coarsely chopped. Add butter and process just until small moist clumps form. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.Rewarm over medium-low heat until just pourable before using.

For crumb topping:
Blend flour, brown sugar, and salt in processor. Add pecans and blend until coarsely chopped. Add butter and process just until small moist clumps form. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

For filling:
Whisk brown sugar and cornstarch in bowl to blend. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apple pieces and sauté until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Add brown sugar mixture; stir until sugar dissolves, then add next 3 ingredients. Simmer until juices are bubbling and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange tartlet pans with crusts on rimmed baking sheet. Spoon 11/2 tablespoons caramel sauce into each tartlet crust. Divide cooled apple filling among crusts. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over each. Bake until apple filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden, 25 to 30 minutes (juices may bubble over rims of pans). Cool 5 minutes, then carefully loosen tartlets from sides of pans with small sharp knife and remove pan sides. Cool tartlets 10 minutes, then place 1 warm tartlet on each of 6 plates. Place scoop of cinnamon ice cream alongside each and serve.

Cinnamon-Rum Ice Cream
yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts


* 6 large egg yolks
* 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
* 1 1/2 cups whole milk
* 3/4 cup sugar
* Pinch of salt
* 2 tablespoons dark rum
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

print a shopping list for this recipe

Whisk egg yolks to blend in medium metal bowl. Pour 1 cup cream into another medium bowl; set fine strainer over bowl with cream. Whisk milk, sugar, pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup cream in heavy medium saucepan; bring to simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Return mixture to same saucepan and stir constantly over medium-low heat until custard thickens slightly and instant-read thermometer inserted into custard registers 160°F to 170°F (do not boil), about 5 minutes. Pour custard through strainer set over bowl with cream. Whisk mixture to blend; then whisk in rum and cinnamon. Chill custard until cold, about 2 hours.

Process custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to container. Cover; freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

The Best Apple Recipe

Last week we went to Apple Hill, near Placerville and brought home a lot of apples. We have been trying different Apple desserts. Earlier this week we tried the Apple Hill Cake. That was great!! No peeling the apples, just put everything in the bowl, stir and bake. Very easy and tasty. See recipe.

Then we tried the Apple Upside down cake from Food and Wine, Thanksgiving Issue. It was good but I am not sure it was worth all the work.

Today we tried Carmel Apple Tartlets ( Bon Appetit May 2009) and they were too die for. I have included the recipe here. Not too sweet. The crust was like a buttery shortbread cookie. One of the best apple desserts I have ever had!