New York Cheesecake…old school

New York Cheesecake

  The holidays have come and gone, but N.Y cheesecake is a hit anytime of the year. I attribute my affinity to it to being born in the Bronx. That said, I only make for the holidays, parties or  crowds; a small piece is quite filling! This Christmas I was on the road, multitasking and using an older oven with no light and a temperamental temperature dial - while baking gingerbread cookies at the same time - followed by sauce and meatballs for Lasagna. An all-day cooking frenzy, equipp...

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Chocolate Peppermint Bark

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This is a fun 2-3 ingredient holiday candy you can make rather easily - not to mention changing it up to suit your fancy; almost anything goes...combinations of dried fruit bits, a variety of nuts...you name it! The hardest part of this break-apart slab of melted chocolate, is chopping the chocolate and (later) waiting for the temp. to come down (when tempering). But anyone can do it. I'm using a pound of dark chocolate plus 6 ounces of white chocolate, and a good sized candy cane. That's it. It...

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Three Holiday Drinks

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Whatever your fancy, here are three quick and easy holiday drinks with just a few ingredients. Click the link under each picture to view the recipe. Peppermint Hot Chocolate...a holiday tummy warmer Mulled Apple Cider Sgroppino...toast the New Year ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________  ...

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Easy, Luscious Chocolate Mousse

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I'm lagging behind already this season, in getting my holiday sweets recipes/menu together. But I have been indulging in one of my favorite chocolate comfort foods - Chocolate Mousse...no holiday needed to indulge. Make it whenever you darn well feel like it. I'm talking light and airy, rich and chocolaty - a decadently satisfying treat, not at all complicated to make. It's a trend to modify the % of cacao and add flavors such as espresso, coffee, Kahlua, rum and Gran Marnier. Been there, done t...

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Creamed Corn

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  Creamed corn is the only creamed veggie I like, with exception to potatoes. I wrote this recipe, imagining it like it would be served with my mom's Baked Pork Chops. It's what I grew up on, but don't let me stop you from wowing it - topped with crispy sauteed shallots or crumbled bacon. It's all good, so have at it! It's winter and fresh corn is out of season, so I'm using organic sweet frozen corn (great quality) and it works out beautifully. Check it out, it's easy to make and delici...

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Govadil…a Southern Italian Tradition

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Family tradition is an understatement! Govadil is perhaps the most beloved of all the pastas in my family. This is sentimentality and love attached to its deliciousness. Govadil (pronounced gau-vah-deel or cau-vah-deel) is a traditional Southern Italian pasta my mom and grandma made. By Southern Italian I mean the Puglia (poo-lee-a) region at the boot heel of Italy. No more than a simple flour and water gnocchi-like pasta (no potato or ricotta), topped with Tomato Basil Sauce (above) and garnish...

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Refried Beans…from scratch

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Refried Beans must be Mexico's equivalent to American mashed potatoes. This rib-sticking, must-have side dish at my favorite Mexican restaurant, is a personal favorite (alongside Mexican Rice). I used to buy them in the can, but not anymore. Not a fan of the can and I also prefer organic. These refries have been on my bucket list for a long time - I finally got around to making them, and it was all too easy. All you need are a few simple key flavor components. I’m talking about bacon fat (I sa...

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Fall On The Central California Coast

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We recently visited this beautiful place where we lived and married - hanging out with family, hitting the beach, vineyards, fruit stands, farmers markets, restaurants and shops. Never taken for granted, the Central Coast has it all! Avila Fruit Barn has barn animals for the kids. It also boasts a paradise of produce, homemade fresh pies and cookies, canned goods and gifts galore. Pick (or not) your own pumpkins, or wander about in the homemade ice cream and candy store. The barn has always b...

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Quadruple Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Got chocolate chips? Oh yeah, stocked in my freezer for those chocoholic baking and munching moments. This recipe came together at the 11th hour, a last minute dessert to take to a party. I thought 4 kinds of chocolate chips = a decadent cookie...right? Well hopefully, without being overkill. It's easy to break from tradition every now and then, and mix things up. Mission accomplished here - cookies gobbled with rave reviews; some say even better than my standby Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. Wh...

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Vegetable Fried Rice

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Some Asian recipes can be overwhelming and intimidating to cook at home - whether the multiple ingredients or the many steps. Fried rice is a good place to start; it's a favorite of my husband and also myself. A basic understanding of the ingredients and how flavor, balance and texture work is a prerequisite. I've got most of the staples in my pantry and fridge. More importantly, Tyler Florence's Shrimp and Egg Fried Rice With Napa Cabbage is my guide. I learned about proportions and balance, an...

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