This was the last week to cook with Chef Jacques Pepin. It has been quite a fun 6 months trying so many of his wonderful recipes. Some of the dishes I made included:

Looking back I see that most of the dishes I made were sides. And that is usually what I have the most trouble deciding on with meals. Pepin made it easy. So I decided to say goodbye with just one more.


    Risotto with Vegetables

Which was delicious. So full of vegetables it is almost a meal in itself.

    1 cup of chopped peeled asparagus
    1 cup of frozen peas
    1 cup of julienned mushrooms
    1 cup of diced red (or orange) bell pepper
    2/3 cup chopped fennel

all mixed into a creamy risotto.

Pepin does his risotto a different way than I am used to. Usually one adds some broth a bit at a time and stir, stir, stir, stir until the rice is creamy. But Pepin sautees the cup of Arborio rice in butter and olive oil then adds 2 1/2 cups of the broth cooking only about 12 minutes and only stirring 2 or 3 times while keeping it on covered over medium heat. The last cup of broth is added with ALL the veggies {except the fennel which he added earlier} and cooks uncovered for another 5 minutes. This means of course that you aren’t completely tied to the stove cooking the risotto. And then, right before you serve it – add about 1/4 cup grated Parm. Perfect risotto!! And perfectly DELICIOUS.

The recipe is from Pepin’s Jacques Pepin’s Table on page 163. Also, there is a VIDEO where he makes this risotto along with some other dishes.

Stop by the IHCC webpage for more Au Revoir Chef Pepin Dishes.

My choice this week and I had to go with a shrimp dish.


And this was a good one. Even though I only made 1/4 of the recipe. One meal. But definitely a keeper and repeat. I was pulling out the ingredients and found I only had 4 ounces of orzo. Which is unusual because I usually keep it stocked. And did they have any at the store – NO!! So 1/4 recipe it was.

Shrimp, peas, basil, mint, shrimp, onions, lemon, all topped with feta right before serving. How can one possibly go wrong with that?

The recipe is on page 180 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders which is the book the Eating with Ellie group is working through for the moment. We will probably branch out into other books later. We’d love to have you join us. The recipes are listed on the EwE page. We post every Thursday. And we would add your choices to the rotation in December. Thank about it!

This weeks pick was from Kayte. And it was an interesting dish. Cauliflower, broccoli, and corn were about the only veggies I ate as a child and they are still my favorites. Finding new ways to cook them is always fun. Usually. I have to admit this was NOT one of my faves.


I should have liked this. A tapenade made with almonds, roasted red peppers, garlic, green olives and parsley sounded so good. But for some reason I just didn’t care for it. I added a little salt, but to no avail. I made 1/4 of the recipe and still have some of the tapenade, which I liked, left and I know it will be good with some toasted bread. But not the cauliflower.

Sorry, Kayte.

Check with the others via Eating with Ellie and see if I was the only one.

The recipe is on page 251 of Ellie’s Weeknight Wonders.

It’s reveal day for Secret Recipe Club. The day we trot out the new recipes we have discovered on our ‘assigned’ foodie blog. The day we glorify the fun dishes we have made from someone else’s kitchen. This month I Homesteaded with April over at Angel’s Homestead.

April lives on three acres with her husband and lives by her definition of Homesteading:

    Engaging in a give-and-take relationship with the earth. Growing your own food, cooking from scratch, raising backyard livestock, collecting rainwater, simplifying your life, reducing your impact, and living in harmony with nature.

I discovered not only some easy and delicious recipes but some great ideas for the home as well. Like a great Emergency Substitution Chart when you run out of every day ingredients, Gardening 101 but since this is a COOKING Club…

If you been reading about my SRC adventures you KNOW I cannot make just one dish. I just find too many to decide on less than three. I mean it’s hard enough to narrow down to that let alone JUST ONE! I had decided to cook a roast for Sunday Dinner this month. That is something I don’t do often anymore for just the two of us. I remembered seeing that April had a Crock Pot Beef Roast on the blog so I used that one.


It was nice not having to worry about the cooking. And fragrance of that roast cooking wafted through the house all day.

To go with the roast that night I made her…


So good! I usually just cut the butternut in half, deseed it, and then nuke it adding cinnamon sugar after the fact. THIS was so much better!!! And so simple!!

    1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups, cubed)
    2 tablespoons pure olive oil
    2 tablespoons Organic Coconut Sugar I used Turbinado instead.
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place squash cubes into a large bowl, along with the olive oil, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt and toss together until the squash is well coated.
Spread the squash into one layer on a large foil covered baking sheet that has been lightly greased. Don’t crowd them or the pieces won’t brown.
Roast squash for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on your oven, turning the squash over and rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until the edges are browned and centers are tender.

Not wanting to stop there I made the dinner complete with her Fluffy Dinner Rolls.


If you need some rolls in about an hour or less THESE are the ones you need to make. These were the best rolls I have ever made. And I have made a lot of rolls!!!

It won’t be long before I go back and make her Philly Cheese Steak Pizza, Pecan Pie Muffins, or her Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits.

Thanks April for some great EATS!

You can check out the other Secret Assignments by clicking below

I wish you could enjoy the fragrances that were wafting through my kitchen as this simple chicken dish was cooking. It was the wine that you could detect. It is the wine that gives this dish its depth of flavor. Well, along with the Parmesan cheese and thyme.


We really liked this dish. I just wish I had had some fresh thyme rather than using ground. I didn’t discover my thyme was not ‘worthy’ until after I had put the ingredients together and got ready to cook it. The color would have been really nice. AND after looking at my pictures I wish I had browned the chicken just a tad longer. Ah, well. The potatoes, simmered in the wine and chicken broth take on the thyme flavor really nicely and the sauce is a great addition to the chicken itself. Definitely a repeat here. Thanks, Chaya, nice pick.

I am pretty sure the other’s liked this as much as we did. Check on our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay

It’s MYSTERY BOX CHALLENGE week again with I Heart Cooking Clubs. I love a good challenge. Especially when I can meet the challenge.

This weeks mystery box contents:

    Salmon (fresh, smoked, canned),
    Green Peas (dried, fresh or frozen),
    Parmesan Cheese,

    Apples (Any color/kind),
    Blue Cheese,
    Bread Rolls/Buns, and

I managed to complete the challenge with three of the ingredients, weak, yes, but still…


Gratin of Ziti and Vegetables

I love making dishes with the fruits of our garden and this one had it all – squash, tomatoes, eggplant, corn. I cannot think of a better way to use these all up.

    2 quarts water
    4 ounces ziti or penne
    3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
    1 onion (about 8 ounces), peeled and coarsely chopped
    4 ounces string beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
    1 small eggplant (about 8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/22 cups)
    1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
    1 pattypan (or other type) squash (8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups){ I used zucchini.}
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 ripe tomatoes (about 10 ounces),cut into 12-inch pieces (2 cups)
    2 ears sweet corn (about 1 pound), husked and kernels cut off (1 1/2 cups)
    1/2 cup black olive shavings, preferably from Nyons olives { I used kalamata.} (about 2 dozen olives)


    l slice fine-textured white bread, processed into crumbs in a food processor (2/3 cup)
    1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup minced chives

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cook the sizi in boiling water with salt until al dente. Drain and briefly run ziti under cold water. Cover, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet then add the onion and beans.
Cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add the eggplant and herbes de Provence. Cover and cook, over medium heat for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then add the squash, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook 2 more minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat. Mix in the tomatoes, corn, and olive.
Mix in the cooked pasta and pour the mixture into an 8-cup casserole dish.
In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan, OO and chives. Pour the mix over the pasta and veggies.
(Note: The dish can be prepared to this point, covered, and
refrigerated for up to 8 hours.)
Bake the gratin at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes {mine took about 22 minutes} until nice and brown. Serve immediately


This was very very good. But it was also very very very dry. I went back to the recipe to see if I had left something out, but I followed it correctly. The crumbs on top did not stay well on the dish, but were good mixed in. I will make this again, but it really needs some ‘juice’ of some kind. {Original recipe is on page 102 of Jacques Pepin’s Table.

The other Mystery Box dishes are probably delish. Check them out at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

When it comes to be my turn to pick a recipe for other people I don’t have any easy time of it. Will they like it? Will they have the ingredients? Will I like it? I’m sure it is that way for all of us. I usually end up picking something out of the box for me – like this dish filled with Ricotta of which I am NOT a fan. But I know other people like it.


An eggplant dish filled with ricotta and Parmesan cheese, basil, and cream. And I would like to say I ended up liking it, but I didn’t. I just cannot like ricotta. I have tried. Lots of times, but…..NOPE!!


I would have liked to see thicker slices of eggplant and less ricotta in this layered lasagna like dish. But that’s just me.

I do so hope the other WWDH members liked it. OR least more than I did.

You can find out by visiting our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay. And you can find the recipe on Donna’s website.

Want to join in the fun. The recipes/books/websites are listed on the right. Just cook/bake, blog, and leave a comment. Love to have you.

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