Archive for Pot Luck

Herb Tips and Tricks


I found this in the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel and found it very helpful!

Herb tips and tricks

We’ve all been there. You spend good money at the grocery store on a fantastic container of fresh herbs. Then a few days later they’re all wilted (before you even get a chance to use them). To give your herbs staying power, follow these tips.

1. Grow your own herbs at home or buy smaller amounts of herbs at the market. Only using what you need creates less waste.

2. To store herbs in the refrigerator, wrap them in a damp paper towel and place in a storage bag unsealed in the crisper drawer.

3. Place your herbs in a glass vase filled with water (as you would fresh flowers), and store them on the countertop. Voilà! Instant centerpiece.

4. To dry herbs, place in a sunny window on a baking sheet and turn every day until dry.

5. Freeze fresh herbs in water or oil in ice cube trays in the freezer. Pop out a cube or two and add to homemade soup.


Loon’s Day’s 2013

Earlier this month we were in Mercer, Wisconsin for their annual Loon’s Day celebration. This brings about 25 people to my sister’s home for brunch and booze. Apple French Toast (see my posting for recipe), Steak and Baguette (see my posting for recipe), Quiche (veggie and meat versions), Sausage Gravy, Sausage, Cheesy Potatoes (I have got to get this recipe from my sister…she is the best!), lot’s of fruit, Bloody Mary’s and Bruce’s Juices (also a recipe needed from my sister).

Fruit Platter from Pearl…Thanks for the bird

Flank Steak and Baguette

WOW….so much fruit…we are healthy!

Apple French Toast

Cheesy Potatoes…Yum…Connie is the Best

Flank Steak Baguette

I saw this recipe on one of Bobby Flay’s grilling shows on Food Network. The original recipe called for sausage instead of Flank Steak. I came up with this recipe as an alternative to the original. I also lightly grilled the 1/2 inch baguette slices on the grill, buttering one side and placing the baguette butter side down. Please see the link at the bottom of this post for Bobby Flay’s recipe.


2 pounds Flank Steak                            

¼ cup Olive Oil

3 Cloves if Garlic
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 large shallots
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey, plus more for drizzling
2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 cups fresh ricotta
2 baguettes, grilled
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Arugula or your favorite leaf lettuce for garnish


Marinate Flank Steak in ¼ cup of Olive Oil, freshly ground pepper, garlic cloves smashed and Red Pepper Flakes for 6-24 hours in a plastic bag.

Heat a charcoal or gas grill to high for direct grilling. Remove Flank Steak from bag (remove any Garlic or Red Pepper Flakes). Grill the flank steak (rare to medium rare) is desired. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing against the grain. Slice into thin slanted pieces.

While the steak is grilling, halve the shallots, leaving the skin on, and toss with a few tablespoons each of the canola oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put them on the grill and cook until charred and slightly softened. Cool slightly, remove the skins and chop.

Heat the remaining canola oil in a sauté pan. Add the chopped shallots, remaining vinegar, honey, thyme and red pepper flakes and simmer, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

Arrange the cut Flank Steak on a platter with a bowl of the fresh ricotta, the shallot relish and toasted bread. Serve the bread topped with a dollop of the ricotta, a few pieces of steak and a spoonful of the relish, drizzled with honey and olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can top with arugula or your favorite leaf lettuce.

To see Bobby Flay’s original recipe go to:

Read more at:

Turkish Spices

Thanks Peter!

My daughter Rebecca’s boyfriend recently went to Turkey for his sister’s wedding and look what he brought back with him. Happy Birthday to me.

This spice ring included the following spices:

SAFFRON, Paprica, Oregano, Cumin, Black Pepper, Coriander, Mixed Pepper, Indian Saffron, Mint, Sumac, Fennel, Curry, Chilli, Rosemary, Black Sesame, Lor Beer (bay leaf). The ring also included a beautiful brass spice grinder. (spelling of the above came directly off the spice packs)

Please check out my posted Paella recipe inspired by receiving the saffron from Turkey. I cannot wait to make my lamb with the mint and rosemary.

I am so curious to try Sumac (Sumac has a tart flavor that is very nice sprinkled on fish, chicken, over salad dressings, rice pilaf, or over raw onions.) Thanks to The Spice House website for this information.

Be inspired and curious!

Herbed Yogurt Sauce


Finally in the State of Wisconsin Spring has finally arrived. We just purchased a new Weber Stainless Steel Grill that attaches to our homes natural gas. We did this because we grill all year long…snow, rain or summer heat.

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day and I needed to grill something healthy and tasty so I decided skinless chicken breasts. The problem with skinless chicken breast is that they can become dry if over cooked on the grill so I found an Herbed Yogurt Sauce in our local paper and turned it into a marinade.

I marinade the chicken breasts with this Herbed Yogurt Sauce for 48 hours in my fridge. I Took out the chicken breasts from the fridge and cleaned off the remaining marinade from the chicken breasts (removing the cucumber and garlic) with my hands. Discard the remaining marinade.

I then marinated and grilled some multi colored peppers and onions on bamboo skewers. I marinated these with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for about 30 minutes to an hour.

We grilled the chicken breasts until they reached 170° internal temperature. I grilled them medium high heat on the grill to get some great grill marks them turned the grill down to finish the cooking process. The skewers were grilled until they also had some great grill marks. Remove veggies from skewers and keep warm.

We served the sliced chicken breasts and veggie skewers in pita bread with a fresh batch of the Herbed Yogurt Sauce. Sprinkle with crumbled Feta Cheese.

Please enjoy!


  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped peeled Cucumber
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried Chives
  • ½ teaspoon dried Dill
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • Salt and Pepper to taste



In a small bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, chives, dill and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chill until ready to serve. Use as a sauce for salads or whatever you would like. Be creative.

For marinade: pour over chicken and marinade for 48 hours.

Healthy Gravy Recipe

Would you like a healthy alternative to the standard fattening gravy!

Purchase your favorite dried beans. I use dried white beans for the color.

Clean the beans as instructed on the package.

Sauté your favorite diced veggies (onion, celery, carrot, leak, parsnip, garlic) in olive oil. Add your favorite dried or fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaf). Add dried beans. Add 2 cups of your favorite white wine. Add water to cover. Remove bay leaf if you used one.

Simmer until beans are fully cooked. This could take 1-2 hours. Follow package instructions.

Let cool for 30 minutes.

Put in a blender and puree.

You can now store 1-2 cup of puree in freezer bags. Mark and date each bag and freeze.

The next time you need gravy, use this as your base.

Thaw. Place in pot and add your favorite vegetable, beef or chicken stock (depending on what type of gravy you need) stirring until you achieve your desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

No one will be able to tell that the gravy is actually beans and veggies. Little fat and so much healthier.


Great Idea!

So you love fresh herbs and you love flowers.

Why not kill two birds with one stone! Fresh parsley to use and enjoy. But don’t stop there: what about fresh cilantro, basil, sage. You got it now….be creative….mix and match.



North Star American Bistro

North Star

I was able to make reservations on-line. We walked in and there were people waiting but they took us immediately. The Bistro was at least 85% full. We were seated in a cozy booth. The waitress was there to take our drink order. The drinks were served quickly and she took our order. She knew all the specials and answered our questions with knowledge of the menu.

This is what I had and it was delicious. The veal was tender and the risotto was cooked perfectly.


Veal Ragu

Braised free range veal, caramelized onion and mushroom risotto. Arugula, parmesan and truffle salad. 19.95 GLUTEN FREE

My husband had one of the specials which was Pecan, Coconut Shrimp and I believe it was 14.95. He must of had at least 10 large encrusted succulent shrimp.

Please visit North Star Bistro in the BROOKFIELD LOCATION: 19115 W. Capitol Ave. #100 (Sendik’s Towne Centre) 262.754.1515


Seasoning Guide

Seasoning Guide

Us e the following suggestions as a guide when working with herbs and spices.  Crush dried or chop/snip fresh herbs to release the essential oils before using. Use three times more fresh herbs than dried.


Allspice meats, egg dishes, poultry brines, soups, vegetables, fruits, desserts
Anise meats, carrots, beets, green beans, mixed vegetable salads, breads, cakes, cookies, pastries
Basil meats, poultry, fish stews, egg dishes, stuffing’s, vegetables, pasta salads and dressings, breads, dips, sauces
Bay Leaf corned beef, spaghetti  sauce, fish, soups, stews, dried bean dishes, gravies, marinades
Caraway meat  loaf,  pot roasts, stews, egg dishes, poultry stuffing, vegetables, salads, breads, dips, spreads
Cayenne (red pepper) Mexican dishes, soups, chili, dips, spreads, snack mixes. I add this to almost anything
Celery (salt, powder/seed) Roasts, stews, egg dishes, stuffing’s, salads, breads, sauces, relishes, spreads, Bloody Mary drinks!
Chili Powder meats, poultry, fish, chili, stews, egg dishes,  vegetables,  dressings croutons, spreads, dips
Cinnamon pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, fruits, salads dressings, breads, French toast, cookies, pastries, desserts, beverages
Cloves pork, lamb, ham,  vegetables, fruit salads and dressings, cakes, cookies, pastries, marinades
Curry Powder beef, pork, poultry, lamb, fish, egg dishes, seafood salads, vegetables, rice, fruit, sauces, salad dressings, dips, cheese spreads
Dill (weed/seed) beef, lamb, poultry, fish, seafood, egg dishes, vegetable salads and dressings, breads, sauces
Garlic beef, pork, poultry, lamb, fish, seafood, soups, stews, egg dishes, vegetables, sauces, dips, snack mixes, popcorn….and anything you can think of! yum
Ginger meats, poultry, vegetables, salad dressings and marinades, fruit, breads, desserts, cookies, pastries
Marjoram meats, poultry, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, vegetables, salads, breads, gravies, sauces
Mint beef, lamb, poultry, fish, vegetables, salads and dressings, stewed fruits, marinades, sauces
Mustard corned beef, egg dishes, macaroni salads, sauerkraut, marinades, sauces, dips, salad dressings, pickles
Nutmeg egg dishes, sauces, desserts, cookies, pastries, breads, fruits
Oregano meats, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, soups, egg dishes, vegetables
Rosemary meat, poultry, fish, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, vegetables, salads, breads
Saffron Poultry, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, rice, breads, cakes
Tarragon Meats, poultry, fish, seafood, casseroles, stews, vegetables, salads and dressings, cheese spreads, gravies, sauces
Thyme Meats, meat loaves, poultry, fish, seafood, stews, casseroles, egg dishes, vegetables, salads, breads, sauces, spreads


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Packer Party….Dessert Stat!

I took the standard carrot cake box mix. Followed the directions but substituted a 4 oz. jar of carrot baby food for the oil. I then added about 3/4 cup brandy soaked raisins, 1 finely chopped carrot and 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple. This made 2 dozen cupcakes.

I then took a can of store bought cream cheese frosting mix and whipped in a cup of heavy whipping cream (beaten separately and added) and juice of 1/2 a lime. Use a pastry bag to apply the frosting.

For garnish, I made some caramel and poured onto a pan lined with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Broke off small pieces and topped each cupcake. I really need to stop watching Cupcake Wars!


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