Lemon Pistachio Cake With Special Topping

I have, over the past gazillion years, done a lot of baking. This one is a cheater though, so bear with me on this. (I don’t always cheat). It is one of the tastier cakes with the special topping and I know you will make it….over and over again.

  • 1 Betty Crocker lemon cake mix
  • 1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding
  • approximately 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee cream (50/50)
  • 1/2 cup Crisco oil
  • 3 eggs

Beat this together in your electric mixer until completely smooth. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Pour this into a well oiled 8″x 11″ cake pan and place in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness with a cake tester. Then remove from oven and let completely cool down.


  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp, whipping cream
  • 1 lemon, grated for zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped toasted pistachios

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth, being careful not to over mix as this will curdle the icing, and ice the cake. Sprinkle the cake with the pistachios.

Serve right away or cover and place in the fridge. I put toothpicks in the 4 corners and covered with plastic wrap. It is such a darned tasty and moist cake to serve your family, company or for a celebration. We did this for Don’s Father’s Day dinner at Kelly’s.

Yup! Now say “damn I can do this”.


Scallops and Shrimp Seafood Pasta

When a friend of our daughter (and us) came for a visit, Don  put this together. Word of caution: you better love garlic.

  • 1 lb. scallops
  • kosher salt
  • 12 oz. really good quality wide noodles
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 12 large raw shrimp, fresh or frozen, peeled and deveined
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 oz. butter
  • 1/3 cup white wine (or seafood stock, if you prefer)
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Scallops: soak for 10 minutes in a brine solution (3 tbsp kosher salt in 2 cups of water) remove after 10 minutes and place on a rack to dry.

Pasta: Place a large pot of salted water on and bring to the boil. Add the pasta and set the timer for 7 minutes before the pasta is ready.

Sauce: To ensure the scallops are dry, pat them with a paper towel. When the timer goes off, put a large cast iron skillet on high heat and add the olive oil.

When the pan and oil are very hot, add the scallops and sear them for 1 1/2 minutes before you add the shrimp, garlic and parsley.

Cook a further 2 minutes, turn the scallops and shrimp and cook a further   1- 1 1/2 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan, turn the heat down and just keep hot. Be sure not to overcook the seafo

Add the butter and stir to melt. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly.

To Serve: Drain the pasta, reserving a cup or so of the pasta water. Add the pasta directly to the sauce in the pan. Stir gently to incorporate all the ingredients together. Add some of the pasta water if desired, and top with the lemon wedges. Okay, you have to count out the scallops and shrimp so everyone gets the same amount. Lesson learned too late, I assure you.

Serve immediately in individual pasta dishes, as this is best piping hot. Be sure to have a slice of crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.


Forestiere Cobb Salad

The warmer weather  is coming soon and this will get you thinking how to have a wonderful, light meal. This could be one of the best.

  • 1 lb. Black Forest ham, julienned
  • 2 avocados, halved, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut crosswise and then into 1/2 inch wide slices (8 cups approx.)
  • 6 bacon slices, cooked until crisp, drained and finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 oz. goat cheese (3/4 cup)
  • 2 bunch watercress, stems removed
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, each one cut in 8 pieces

In a large, but pretty bowl, spread the romaine lettuce over the bottom and now sprinkle on the bacon. Carefully, layer each item carefully out so that each layer is one item.


  • 3 tbsp. Fig Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 cup really good quality olive oil

Whisk all the ingredients together to ensure all is blended and pour over the salad. Toss lightly and serve with warm Brioche buns and a glass of chilled white wine.

If lucky enough to be on the deck, enjoy, enjoy enjoy.

Trout And Asparagus in Puff Pastry

I love trout and this is a really tasty dish to serve. It is so easy to put together you will probably mark this as a favourite of your household.

  • 1 trout fillet about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs.
  • 1 pound asparagus (the thinner stalks are best), remove the tips
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lightly beaten egg, for the glaze

Skin and bone the trout and set aside. Heat the oven to 450 degrees

Cut the ends off the asparagus and peel the stalks.

Stir together the creme fraiche*, dill and lemon zest, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Lay out 1 sheet of puff pastry and roll it large enough to place the trout.

Brush the edges 1 1/2 inches of both sheets of pastry with the egg wash. Lay the out  the trout like inside a picture frame and place the asparagus on top of the trout (like pencils). Lay the top sheet of pastry over like a very large ravioli and press the edges together with the tines of a fork.

Make a couple of slits on the top to allow steam to escape and brush the entire pastry with the egg wash and bake for about 20 minutes, until it becomes puffed and golden in colour.

Remove from the oven and let stand for about 5 minutes before slicing to plate. This is also delicious at room temperature.

Did I say tasty? OMG! Is it ever.


*Note: To make creme fraiche use 1 cup whipping cream and 3 tbsp. sour cream. Stir together until well combined.

Really Simple Hors d’ Oeurves For Entertaining

Christmas is a short time from now and with all the hustle-bustle going on in your house, here is one of the easiest and tastiest bites to offer your family and guests.

  • 8 slices of paper thin prosciutto (1 slice per person actually)
  • 8 fresh but ripe figs, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp. of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena*
  • 2 oz. Asiago cheese, shaved into strips using your vegetable peeler

On individual plates, arrange the prosciutto, 2 fig halves (drizzle the Balsamic vinegar over) and a strip or two of the cheese. Add a couple of your best crackers and you will have an easy-peasy bite.

This will, of course, go with any other tidbits you have. Also, have napkins, clean glasses to serve your beverages of choice in, lit candles and enjoy the company at hand.

Note: * The label reads Vinaigre Balsamique de Modene


Long Ago Cookies

OMG! I was going through my recipe box and found this. It is eons old but oh so good. Give it a try and your family will think you won the lottery (of cookies).

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. good vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or chopped pecans (your choice)


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, continuing to keep the texture very light.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (except for the fruit/nuts) slowly until well blended. Add the vanilla and beat until all is combined. Now add the nuts or cranberries and fold in.

On  parchment lined cookie sheets, drop by teaspoonfuls and then with a fork dipped in flour, lightly press each one to slightly flatten.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes. They should be golden brown. Remove to a rack to completely cool down.

Pumpkin Muffins With a Fantastic Topping

I made this certain recipe for the first time this year and, I have to tell you my family LOVED it so much, I had to make it twice to make sure there was enough for our company this past weekend. I do have a pumpkin muffin as well on this site, but this one is truly special.

  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 – can of E.D. Smith pure pumpkin. You will use only 15 oz. (you can use the remaining pumpkin in the recipe that follows).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and be sure to spray well your mini muffin tins.

In a medium bowl gently whisk together all the dry ingredients and set aside.

In your electric mixer mix the butter and sugar until just blended and add the eggs, beating really well until light and fluffy. When truly light and fluffy, add the pumpkin beating until well combined and making sure to scrape down the sides as you go.

On a really low speed, add the dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon into the mini muffins tins, making sure to fill to the top of the muffin pan.

Now for the good part:


  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 5 tbsp. melted butter
  • 5 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix well to ensure it is well combined and then divide evenly the topping on each muffin. Bake for 35-38 minutes, testing with a toothpick to ensure doneness and remove to a rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Run a paring knife around each muffin and carefully remove to a rack to continue cooling. Enjoy! You will and you will make them again and again.

Asparagus/Brie Soup

This a wonderful tasting and just yummy soup to make and you will devour it.

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 8-9 oz, asparagus, pared and blanched, cut in thirds
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Pinot Grigio (or similar) white wine
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup brie cheese, rind removed

In a frypan, melt the butter and saute the asparagus until tender. Stir in the flour, reduce the heat and cook for about 3 minutes.

Now add all the liquids (broth, wine and cream) and increase the temperature to medium and bring to a boil. Once starting to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender and puree well. Put through a strainer back into the pot and reheat. Now stir in the Brie and simmer for 5 minutes (until melted).

This is one soup that should be served hot so be careful. Oh, by the way, the rest of the wine is for you to enjoy with your soup. See? No waste. Lucky you.

Pork Chops In A Beautiful Honey-Garlic Sauce

For some strange reason, throughout my life, I have really avoided pork chops UNTIL NOW. Don made these last night and Boy oh Boy are they fabulous. True.

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If not using a frypan that can go into the oven, grease a 9″ x  13″ baking dish.

Season the chops with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown pork chops 3 to 4 minutes each side and  transfer to the prepared pan.



  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • dash cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Whisk the honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and butter together in a bowl and pour over the chops.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for approximately 5 minutes to allow the chops to soak up some of the sauce.

Add a 1/4 tsp. corn starch  mixed in a 1/4 cup of water to the remaining sauce and stir until it thickens.

Serve the chops with a stir-fry vegetable side dish and add the extra sauce.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins

These are really very delightful and not the same old-same old muffins we always seem to fall back on. Enjoy!

  • 1 3/4 cups flour ( sifted)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 – 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tin. In a large bowl combine the first 4 ingredients. In another bowl cream the butter and cream cheese with a mixer until fully blended and add one egg at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the cream, vanilla and jam. Mix with the dry ingredients until moist but still lumpy.

Mix the last 4 ingredients and sprinkle over he top of each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes and cool a couple of minutes before removing from the muffin tin.

Make a

Homemade Cinnamon Buns

Let me begin with a comment from the photographer of my cookbook “These are the best cinnamon buns I have ever had”. Thanks Jonathan.

  • 1 cup warm milk (approx. 110 degrees)
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. quick-rising yeast
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (3 oz.) pkg softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
    1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Place ingredients in a bread machine in the same order the manufacturer recommends. Select the dough cycle and press start. After the dough has doubled in size, turn out on a floured surface. let dough rest for about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough out to a 16 x 21 inch rectangle. Spread the dough with the softened 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the surface.

Roll up and slice into 12 buns. Place the buns on a 9 x 13 inch baking pan that was buttered. Cover and let rise until almost double. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake until a golden brown.

While baking, beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, icing sugar (sifted) vanilla and salt. Spread the frosting on warm buns before plating and serving.

When guests tell you they taste just like the ones in the mall – just smile!

Schwarties Hash Brown

All credit for this recipe is from The Best of Bridge group. We have used this for years and as we are celebrating, with our kids and grandkids, our 30th Wedding Anniversary, I wanted to use it again. The  2020 Covid 19 year took a toll on everyone for sure.


  • 2 lbs. Frozen Hash Browns
  • 1 500 ml carton sour cream
  • 2 tins cream of mushroom soup (Campbell’s)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • light sprinkle of onion powder
  • parmesan cheese (or asiago)

Thaw the potatoes slightly for easier mixing. First mix the listed 6 ingredients and place in a 9″ x 13″ basking dish. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.

This will serve 8-10 people. Double it if there are more. I think I will.

Serving can be Brunch, Lunch or Dinner. Depends on you. But be sure to say “Thank you Ladies