Saturday Morning “Donuts”

I woke up on Saturday morning with this ridiculous urge for donuts – homemade donuts. Fresh, hot and right out of the oil. I couldn’t resist the urge and dug up an old recipe for some Zeppole, that are known as italian donuts.

I love this recipe because there is no rolling and they go straight from your saucepan to the hot oil without the mess of a rolling pin or a floured board. The result is a light, airy donut, zeppole, whatever you want to call it. To me and my family they are just fabulous. Unfortunately for my husband, he was golfing Saturday morning and there was only one left when he got home. Maybe next Saturday he will be around to enjoy some straight out of the oil…

Saturday Morning Donuts

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cottonseed or vegetable oil for frying*
Cinnamon Sugar (1/4 cup sugar plus 1 T cinnamon) or Powdered sugar for Dusting

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan (non-stick), combine sugar, salt, butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling: butter will melt. Quickly add flour all at once; beat with wooden spoon until flour is moistened. Cook over medium heat, beating vigorously until dough forms a ball and leaves side of pan. Remove from heat.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating with electric mixer at medium speed after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth, shiny and satiny and forms strands that break apart. It should hold its shape when beater is slowly raised. Beat in vanilla. Dough should be fairly stiff, but sticky.

In electric skillet or large, heavy skillet, heat 1 to 2-inches of oil to 375°F (185°C) on deep frying thermometer. Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot oil, frying in batches. Turn the donuts once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

Chocolate Rosemary Shortbread

I love a delicious cookie that I can whip up in a snap. Even more important with recipes like this is knowing that I will always have the ingredients on hand. Such is the case with my favorite shortbread recipe. Not only is it easy, but the recipe is incredibly versatile. In this version I combined chocolate and rosemary, however you could also switch it up by omitting the rosemary all together or using white chocolate. Some orange zest would be amazing as well. Ooooh, I may try that one nex time.

Chocolate Rosemary Shortbread
adapted from Melissa D’Arrabian

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened to room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, very finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cream the butter with sugar using a handheld mixer. Mix in the rosemary, salt, and flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle in the chocolate chips, and stir by hand until well-distributed. Gather the dough into a ball. Cook’s Note: If the dough begins to soften or feel greasy, chill the dough for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle of 1/2-inch thickness and cut into rectangles about 1/2-inch by 2-inch. Place the dough on a cold ungreased baking sheet. Prick the top with a fork. Bake the shortbread for 25 minutes, or until the dough starts to turn a golden color. Remove the shortbread from the baking sheet and let cool completely on a rack.

Roasted Salmon with Pea Puree in a Light Lemon Sauce

I am very lucky in most aspects of my life and for that I am truly grateful. I have a great husband, great kids (most of the time ;-)) and my parents are still alive. For all the things that truly matter in the world – health and happiness, I feel truly blessed.

I am however, very unlucky in one respect. I am allergic to crab, lobster and most white fish. The horror – it is awful. I grew up eating crab, lobster, halibut and this allergy didn’t develop until later in life. Since I love crab and lobster, whenever I would go out to dinner with my husband I would order it and we would inevitably end up in the emergency room since I felt like I was going to have a baby or pass a kidney stone. My husband’s aunt was up for a trip several years ago and she mentioned that one of her daughters developed an allergy to crab and shellfish in her 20’s and evidently I had done the same. So, it turns out I wasn’t allergic to expensive restaurants, but instead the shellfish I kept eating. It is such a bummer…

I am OK with salmon, which I love, but I am constantly trying to come up with new and innovative ways to make it. Enter my roasted salmon with pea puree in a light lemon sauce. It is FABULOUS! I also have to say that the colors on the plate, I think, look pretty dynamite. An added bonus is that it is really pretty easy to make since the pea puree doesn’t need to be cooked and roasting salmon couldn’t be easier. Try it out – it’s healthy, delicious and easy to make. I like to serve mine with some pasta to help mop up some of the delicious sauce and pea puree. Enjoy!

Roasted Salmon with Pea Puree in a Light Lemon Sauce


Lemon Sauce:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 lemon, zested
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Pea Puree:
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Olive Oil Spray
4 (4 to 6-ounce) pieces salmon
Approximately 1 T. Dry Rub (recipe here)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make the Lemon Sauce, warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, and broth. Bring to a simmer. Add sour cream and stir to incorporate. Keep warm, covered, over low heat.

To make the Pea Puree, combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and puree. With the machine running, add the olive oil and chicken broth in a steady drizzle. Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan. Set aside.

To make the Salmon, place the fish in a roasting dish. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with dry rub. Roast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until medium-rare. This could be longer or shorter depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble the dish, add the tablespoon chopped mint to the Lemon Brodetto and divide between 4 shallow dishes. Place a salmon piece atop the lemon broth and place a large spoonful of Pea Puree into the center of the salmon. Serve immediately.

My Son’s Favorite Cookie

Growing up my mom stayed at home and I have many fond memories of walking into a house that smelled of fresh baked cookies. There was a sense of peace I got everytime I walked into the house after school that I will never forget.

Several decades later I like to do the same for my boys. My youngest sons favorite is the standard chocolate chip cookie with both chocolate chips and M&M’s. However, my oldest son enjoys the Almond Roca cookies that I am going to share with you. Not only are these delicious, but they are easy, quick and only have a handful of ingredients.

Almond Roca Cookies

1 sleeve of graham crackers (you may not use all of them)
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate, but use whatever variety you like
1/2 cup chopped, toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9″x9″ with non-stick cooking spray and line the pan with graham crackers. Set aside.

In a sauce pan melt the butter and brown sugar on medium heat and cook until the butter and brown sugar have melted together and the mixture is bubbly. This should take around 7 minutes. When mixture is bubbly pour over graham crackers and put in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

When you remove the cookies, the mixture you should be bubbly. As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait a few minutes and spread the chocolate evenly over the butter/brown sugar mixture and sprinkle with almonds.

A Really Good Cocktail

I wouldn’t consider myself a big drinker. I enjoy a nice glass of wine and the occasional cocktail when I go out. I have my usual favorite – citron vodka with soda and lime. I appreciate how alcohol can take the edge off, but don’t want all the extra calories that accompany so many mixed drinks so my citron & soda suits me just fine.

I have however found a new indulgence. I was perusing the aisles at my liquor store when I came across these little bottles of Kahlua Mudslides. Now let me backup…for those of you who are lucky enough to purchase liquor in regular stores, I am SOOOOOO jealous! However, in Washington the state controls the liquor, not to mention the prices so we are SOL and must purchase our hard alcohol (and anything containing hard alcohol) in liquor stores. Sorry for the digression, but as I said, I came across this pack of mudslides and decided to get them as a fun cocktail for our annual winter trip with friends. Oh my gosh, they were SO good. The problem was we went through the four-pack in no time at all and were left without any more Mudslides and a long night ahead of us. Being the crafty gals that my friends and I are we quickly found a recipe for mudslides and concocted a pitcher of our own mudslides that I must say were pretty darn delicious. I hope you enjoy them. Although they aren’t light on calories, as an occasional indulgence, they are worth it and very spectacular!

1 part vodka
1 part irish cream (here is my link to my own homemade version of Irish Cream)
1 part Kahlua
1 part milk or cream (we used milk and it was great)

MIx all the ingredients together and chill. Serve straight up or on ice.