Squash Soup


6 cups diced squash (butternut, acorn, hubbard, etc.)
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 small onion roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups chicken stock
enough water to cover vegetables
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, add squash, carrots, celery, onions, bay leaves, parsley, salt, curry powder, ground cayenne, chicken stock, and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low; simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Remove bay leaves. 

In food processor/blender, process soup in batches until smooth.

Return to the pot. Stir in butter and wine (you could use milk or coconut cream if you prefer) and reheat the soup (if using milk or cream, make sure you do not let it boil at this point as it will curdle). Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve garnished with a little sour cream swirl, crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, and a sprig of fresh parsley (or however you like it).

Orzo Salad


1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-light olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) box orzo pasta, cooked and drained
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 (14-oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (6-oz.) can whole pitted black olives, drained
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
Garnish: fresh oregano


In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, chives, salt, and pepper, whisking to combine; set aside.

In a side bowl, combine pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, and feta cheese.

Pour lemon juice mixture over pasta mixture, stirring to combine well.

Cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Garnish with fresh oregano, if desired.

Roasted Peaches


ground cinnamon (or cayenne pepper or Chinese Five-Spice)

honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)
yogurt (or sour cream or ricotta or whipped cream or ice cream)
almonds (or pecans or walnuts)


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut peaches in half and remove pit. Sprinkle peaches with cinnamon (I've been using cayenne this summer because I like the heat). Place peaches on baking pan (I do cut side down, unless I'm adding sweetener before roasting).

Put pan in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Place peaches in bowls and top with a drizzle of honey and a couple spoonfuls of yogurt, almonds, and granola.

This recipe is also linked to...

Food on Friday: Pears and Peaches

Blackberry-Peach Cobbler

For the filling:
3 cups blackberries
1 tablespoon sugar (use more if your fruit is particularly tart)
2 1/2 cups chopped peaches
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For the biscuits:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, plus additional 2 tablespoons sugar for sprinkling
1 cup sour cream


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven.

Mix blackberries and sugar in a medium bowl, add peaches and almond extract.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar until well blended. Fold in sour cream and stir until incorporated.

Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and shape into a log. Cut the log into eight slices, and pat until about an inch thick.

Pour fruit filling into a deep-dish pie pan and arrange biscuits on top. Sprinkle top with remaining sugar, then place the pie pan on a cookie sheet to catch drips.

Bake 25 minutes on lower rack of the oven, until the top is golden.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Taco Salad


1 lb. extra lean ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can of corn niblets
1 can of pinto, kidney or black beans (optional)
1 head of iceberg lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 tomatoes, diced
1 purple onion, chopped (optional)
2 cups cheese, shredded (mozzarella, cheddar, tex-mex, etc)
1 bottle catalina dressing
1 bag tortilla chips, lightly crushed (you could use Doritos or Fritos)
garnish (sour cream, green onions, olives, avacado, guacamole, etc.)


Brown ground beef; drain fat. Toss with dry taco seasoning, corn, and beans (if using), then set aside until cool.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and cheese.

Right before serving, add the beef, tortilla chips, and dressing. Mix well.

Corn and Tomato Summer Salad

For the vinaigrette:
1/2 lemon, juiced, about 1 1/2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata

For the salad:
5 to 6 fingerling potatoes, about 1/3 pound
1 ear fresh corn, unshucked
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3/4 cup hearts of palm, sliced
2 large handfuls baby lettuce or arugula, washed and dried
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (optional)


To make the vinaigrette, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Set aside.

Bring a small pot of salted water to boil. Ready a bowl of ice water to the side. Add the unpeeled fingerling potatoes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until one can be sliced in half easily. Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in the ice bath for 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Remove, pat dry, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the ear of corn, in its husk, in the microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then shuck. Cut the kernels off the cob. Toss the kernels with the sliced potatoes, sliced tomatoes, hearts of palm, lettuce, and basil (if using).

To serve, toss the salad with the vinaigrette, crumble the ricotta salata on top of salad, and season with salt and pepper.

French Toast Casserole


1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp water
peaches (fresh, frozen or canned)
12 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups milk
1 loaf (1 pound) day-old French bread, cubed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, butter, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 

Pour the brown sugar mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish, and tilt the dish to cover the entire bottom. Place peaches in a layer over the sugar coating, then top with cubes of French bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Slowly pour over the bread slices to coat evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. 

Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Bake for approximately 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bread is golden brown. Spoon out portions to serve.

NOTES: To make this a gluten-free, dairy-free breakfast, I used a package of Glutino's Gluten-Free English Muffins and unsweetened coconut milk by So Delicious and it was so very yummy.

This recipe is also linked to...

Food on Friday: Pears and Peaches

Breakfast Strata


12 slices day-old bread, torn/cut into bite size pieces
1 cup diced fresh mushrooms (I used cremini)
1 chopped green bell pepper
2 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped onion (optional)
2 cups cubed cooked ham
12 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp chopped green onion (optional)


Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer half of the torn bread in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the mushrooms and green bell pepper evenly over the bread layer. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Top with remaining bread pieces, then layer with the onion and ham. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Whisk together eggs and milk; pour over the entire pan. Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours. 2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bake covered for 35 minutes, then remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until top is evenly brown.

NOTES: I did this recipe using 16 slices of Udi's Gluten-Free White Bread and a whole ham steak. It was really yummy.

Key Lime S'mores


24 square graham crackers
3/4 cup Key lime curd or pie filling
12 marshmallows


Spread the half of the graham crackers with a thick layer of lime curd (about 2 tablespoons apiece). Toast the marshmallows until they are slightly blackened on the outside and soft inside. Smear the marshmallows on the other half of the graham crackers. Sandwich and eat immediately.

Blueberries and Cream Tart

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup all purpose flour
1 whisked egg white to seal the tart

shell filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup creme fraîche or sour cream or yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water

To make the pastry beat the sugar and butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the yolks, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl. Add the flour and mix until it is just combined. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for one hour.

Roll out the dough and fit it into a 9″ round tart pan. Trim away the excess. Cover the tart shell and put it back in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil. Then fill the tart shell all the way up with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Very carefully remove the foil. Put the shell back in the oven for about 6 minutes, until lightly golden.

With a pastry brush, egg wash the crust with the whisked egg white. Let the shell cool completely.

To make the cream filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the creme fraîche and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth. Fill the tart shell with the creme filling.

Put 3 cups of blueberries in a large bowl.

In a saucepan combine remaining of blueberries with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Whisk together the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and water in a measuring cup or bowl. Bring the berry mixture to a boil and them simmer until the sauce is thickened and really looking like jelly. 

Pour the hot berry mixture over the waiting blueberries and mix gently so that all the fresh berries are covered. Then gently pour the berry mixture into the cream filled tart shell. Let the tart stand for about 30 minutes so that the berry mixture can firm up.

When you are ready to serve gently remove the tart from the pan.