Key Lime Tart's

Every Sunday I go through my kitchen to see what food I have and need to use so that I do not waste anything as well as that I know what recipes I can make from the things that I have. Today (and every other Sunday for the past month) I noticed that I really need to use my mini fillo shells. Look at this yummy recipes that I came across of the manufacturer's website. I love key lime pie so I am sure this will be a hit!

1/2 cup softened cream cheese
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
15 Athens® Mini Fillo Shells (1 box)
2 thin slices of lime, cut into eighths, for garnish

1. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and milk. Mix until light and fluffy. Add lime juice and lime zest. Mix thoroughly. Chill for 1 hour. Spoon or pipe 2 teaspoons of filling into each Fillo Shell. Garnish with sliced lime. Serve immediately.

Yields: 15

Adapted from Athens Foods

MiMi's Cafe

(405) 302-3830

So this is my birthday weekend (ok, technically it’s not until Monday but I like to celebrate for a few days). I really wanted to go somewhere nice but with my son those days are just over so I have to opt for family friendly atmospheres.

We drove past a little cute place called “Mimi’s Café” and I just had to go. In case you do not know I am a huge café person. I was telling my husband just today how I could live on French food forever since it was pretty much coffee and carbohydrates, yummy my favorites. I was so excited when we walked through the door seeing how since we have been here in Oklahoma I have yet to see a café and I do miss my all time favorite one “La Madeline” back in DC so very bad. As soon as we sat down I saw it was not French but New Orleans style cuisine. “Well, that is ok I can work with this” was my first thought. I ordered the Turkey meal (please do not even ask me why). I think I got all excited for Thanksgiving food early.

So, they brought my food out (ugh, gravy all over everything even though I asked for it on the side). Ok, so they bring a new plate out and well it was not bad but it was still cold so I am guessing it came straight from the freezer and was microwaved but not even enough. I was so very disappointed seeing how I had such high hopes. I guess no place will ever be my special “La Madeline” will it?

But on the bright side I ordered a café mocha and it was very tasty and HUGE. Look I even took a picture on my cell for you all to show you how huge it was. It was so big I could not even pick this cup up never mind the waiter spilt half of it all over the plate.

Grade: D (and I am being nice since I liked the Mocha).

Harissa Grilled Wings

20 chicken wings
1/2 cup harissa

1. Rub harissa all over wings and refrigerate over night. Preheat oven to 350 F, in a 9x9 baking pan bake cook wings for 30 minutes or until golden.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Blackberry Buckle

2 cups flour 1/4 cup sugar 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup butter 3/4 cup milk 1 egg 2 cups blackberries 1/2 cup sugar 1/3 cup flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 cup softened butter 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch pan. Blend together first six ingredients; spread in pan. Add blackberries over batter. Combine remaining ingredients; sprinkle over berries. Bake 45-50 minutes. Yields: 8 servings

Elegant Chocolate Torte

After much pondering this year I decided to make an elegant chocolate torte for my husbands 26th birthday this coming Monday. Every year I try to make an even better cake then the last. Last year red velvet won and it was nothing less then fabulous. When I saw this recipe I just knew this was the perfect cake. This dessert is four layers packed with an astounding filling. Do not let the length of this recipe discourage you I promise it is extremely easy to make. FILLING: 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1-3/4 cups milk 1 cup chocolate syrup 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 tablespoon butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract BATTER: 1/2 cup butter, softened 1-1/4 cups sugar 4 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup baking cocoa 3/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1-1/2 cups chocolate syrup 1/2 cup water FROSTING: 2 cups heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup chocolate syrup 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1. For filling, in a small saucepan, combine flour, sugar and salt. Stir in milk and syrup until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature, stirring often. 2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with syrup and water. Beat just until combined. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool. 3. Cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one bottom layer on a serving plate; spread with a third of the filling. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake. In a mixing bowl, beat frosting ingredients until stiff peaks form; spread or pipe over top and sides of cake. Yield: 16 servings Adapted from Taste of Home

Celebration Bread

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast 1 cup warm water 1/3 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 eggs 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 egg yolk 1 tablespoon cold water Black sesame seeds (optional) 1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and 3 cups flour. In a stand mixer with a dough hook beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, stir in enough remaining flour to form soft dough. 2. In a large bowl spray cooking spray to cover inside of the bowl. Place dough in the bowl turning to cover all in oil. Cover and let rise for an hour until doubled in size. 3. Punch dough down and divide into 4 even pieces. Spray cooking spray onto a cookie sheet. Make each dough piece into a 12 inch rope and place parallel net to one another onto the cookie sheet. Beginning on the right side, braid dough by placing the first rope over the second rope, under the third and over the fourth. Repeat three or four time, beginning each on the right side. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. 4. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Beat egg yolk and water, brush over braid. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack and let cool. Yield: 1 loaf Adapted from Taste of Home 2008 Annual Recipes

Steak Sandwiches

One of my favorite restaurants in Bistro Francis in DC (Georgetown). They have an amazing steak sandwich on their menu that I just had to reproduce after we moved. 2 New York strip steaks 1/2 cup Worchester sauce 2 tablespoons garlic, diced 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon butter 2 sub rolls 1.In a medium bowl add Worchester sauce, 1 tablespoon garlic and Italian seasoning, mix. Add steaks and marinate at least 2 hours in refrigerator. In a small bowl mix 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon garlic, mix well and reserve. 2.Place steaks on grill cooking 5-6 minutes or until down. Brush 1 teaspoon butter onto rolls and toast on grill. Place steak onto roll then add dollop of garlic butter onto steak. Yields: 2 servings.

Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

1/2 cup tahini 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup chickpeas 4 sun-dried tomato pieces 1 garlic clove, peeled Juice of 1 lemon 1 teaspoon hot paprika 1 green chili, seeded and chopped Pine nuts, paprika and olive oil to garnish 1.In a food processor combine tahini, water and chickpeas; mix well. Add garlic, tomatoes, lemon juice, paprika and chilies; blend until well mixed. 2.Pour hummus into a small bowl and garnish top with a sprinkle of paprika, pine nuts and olive oil. Yields: 8 servings

Aloo Mutter

4 potatoes 1 cup green peas 1 large onion, chopped 1 large tomato, chopped 2 green chilies, chopped 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder 1 cup oil Salt to taste 1. Wash potatoes and cut them into cubes. In a 9-inch skillet heat the oil and fry chopped onion until the onion turns translucent. Add tomato, turmeric powder, red chili powder, green chilies, Fry it till oil is absorbed. Add potatoes and green peas and mix them well. Fry for 5 minutes. 2. Add 2 cups water and cover mixture. Cook until water is partly absorbed. Yields: 4 servings

Beef Chimichanga's

1 pound ground beef 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 3 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce, divided 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon ground cumin 12 flour tortillas (10 inches) 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies 1 can (4 ounces) chopped jalapeno peppers Oil for deep-fat frying 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese 1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, onion, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic and cumin. 2. Spoon about 1/3 cup of beef mixture off-center on each tortilla. Fold edge nearest filling up and over to cover. Fold in both sides and roll up. Fasten with toothpicks. In a large saucepan, combine the chilies, peppers and remaining tomato sauce; heat through. 3. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1 in. of oil to 375°. Fry the chimichangas for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with sauce. Yield: 1 dozen Adapted from Taste of Home

Beef Nachos

I love fresh homemade tortilla chips. They taste so amazing when they are salty and hot. As you see I like my chips well done but cook yours to your preference. Medium is a good setting to work with when frying if you do not have a deep fryer. 1/2 pound lean ground beef 1/2 tablespoon cumin 6 corn tortillas 1/4 cup salsa 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 1. In a 9-inch skillet add ground beef and cumin, cook thoroughly. Drain ground beef in a strainer to remove extra oil from beef. 2. Meanwhile, heat deep fryer to 375 F. Take tortilla’s, place in a pile and cut in a cross shape making each tortilla into 4 pieces; you should have 24 chips after this. Place chips in deep fryer basket and fry until golden (about 2-3 minutes). 3. On a serving platter add meat in the middle. Place chips around the sides of the platter, sprinkle with cheese and salsa. Yields: 4 servings

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

1/2 cup (4 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic , chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, chopped
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste

1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes, or until tender.

2. In a food processor or blender combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and onion; process until well blended. Add vinegar, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes a, process. Stir in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt to taste.

Traditional Pique-Nique Français

So this Sunday (June 8th) is our second year anniversary (mabrook to us). My dear sweet husband has been plotting on the perfect romantic place to take me for dinner. Fortunately, after I pondered on this idea for awhile my reality kicked in. Hello, I have a ten month old baby who is tremendously fussy and causes a scene at every restaurant we go to. So the thought of going to a nice romantic place terrifies me. After much thought I decided that a classic French picnic would be just perfect for my little family. I am a huge picnic person. I love the comfort of being away from others, eating what I plan for us and still being outside among people and beautiful weather. All this picnic talk makes me think back to when we lived in DC and the magnificent picnics we would take by the Lincoln memorial or in Reston, VA on the lake “sniffle”.


Goat cheese
Grapes (these are a must with the cheese)
Smoked salmon
Sandwiches (croissants with tuna salad and chicken salad)
Sparkling Cider

French food is one of my favorite cuisines; I really should start making it more! Now lets just hope the weather cooperates tomorrow and me for that matter (I have a cold in summer).

Here is some fun French picnic information.

History of the Picnic
Pique-nique . . . the French invented the word. The very first picnics were actually held indoors during the 17th century. Guests were all expected to "pick" a dish to share, hence the term "pique". ("Nique" is most likely just a fun rhyming accompaniment.) Before long, the "picnic" term and concept travelled to England. By the 19th century, the term referred to an outdoor society event in which each guest contributed food or entertainment.

Useful French Picnic Phrases

Encourage the exclusive use of the French language to make a pique-nique truly authentic.

• Piqueniquer - to picnic
• Faire un pique-nique - to have a picnic
• En plein air - in the open air
• Sur l'herbe - on the grass
• La pelouse -- lawn
• Le déjeuner -- lunch
• J'ai faim - I'm hungry
• J'ai soif - I'm thirsty
• Un panier - a basket
• Une nappe - tablecloth
• Une assiette - plate
• Une fourchette - fork
• Une cuillère - spoon
• Un couteau -- knife
• Un verre - glass
• Une tasse - cup
• Passez-moi - Pass me
• S'il vous plaît - Please
• Merci - Thank you
• De Rien/Pas de quoi - You're welcome
• Bon appétit - Enjoy your meal

French picnic information adapted from

Roasted Cornish Hens with Pomegranate-molasses glaze

Pomegranate molasses is a popular Lebanese product however I will let you know that it took a year of searching before I found it. I had given up when I just happened to pass by it in a Lebanese market. I am sure you could substitute it with pomegranate juice and a molasses mix though.

1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup extra -virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Cornish hens, rinsed and patted dry
1 onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, smashed
Cooking spray for the broiler pan
1 lemon cut in half
Butter for brushing on top of cooked hens
Kosher salt and pepper for sprinkling on top of cooked hens

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, oil and pepper. Place each hen in a sealable plastic bag. Divide the marinade, garlic and onions evenly between the two bags. Refrigerate over night, turning occasionally.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray, set aside.

3. Remove hens from the plastic bags, letting excess marinade drip off. Place the hens on the pan, breast side up, and tuck the wing tips under the body. Fill each cavity with half the lemon and onion slices.

4. Transfer to the oven, and roast until the hens are golden and cooked, about an hour, rotate pan half way through. Remove from the oven, brush butter on tops then sprinkle kosher salt and pepper over tops.

Yields: 2 servings

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, The New Classics

Blackberry Jam

5 cups crushed blackberry (do not puree, crush with a potato masher)
7 cups sugar
1 (1 3/4 ounce) package fruit jell pectin

1. Carefully measure out the berries, put them into a 8-quart pot. Measure sugar in a large bowl. Add the pectin to the berries a little at a time, stirring constantly.

2. Cook on high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Add sugar all at once, stirring. Bring mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly, Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and ladle into clean, hot 8 ounce jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top.

3. Wipe the rim of the jar and put canning lids and rings on firmly tight. Place in canner with very hot water, make sure water is 1 inch above jars. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove and set them upright on a towel to set for 12 hours.

Yields: 1 (8 ounce) jar

Clinton Street Baking Company Biscuits

Martha and I must have some sort of connection because I have been craving buttermilk biscuits forever now. I even went to the store this weekend and bought some buttermilk. Well, today on her show she had all breakfast foods. I like Martha LOVE breakfast foods. I have been wanting to share with you all my grandmothers recipe but when she mailed it to me it was just ingredients seeing how she knew it by heart and never had to measure anything out. So that did not work out so well for you or I both. I can not promise these are as good :) but I am sure they are none the less amazing. 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet 2 teaspoons coarse salt 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup vegetable shortening 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) 3 cups buttermilk 1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together shortening and butter. Add flour mixture to shortening mixture and mix together until crumbly. Add buttermilk and stir until just incorporated. 2. Sprinkle a rimmed baking sheet lightly with flour. Turn biscuit dough out onto a 13-by-9 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet and gently press dough to cover. Using a rolling pin, roll surface of dough until evenly distributed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and transfer to a refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes, or until ready to bake, up to 1 day. 3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut biscuit dough using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter and transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet, re rolling scraps one time, if necessary. Bake until golden, about 18 minutes (I personally like browned tops as you see in the above picture so I let the biscuits sit under high broiler until browned) Serve immediately. Yields: about a dozen Adapted from Martha Stewart Living