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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Food Safety Tips Prevent Illness In your Kitchen No Swine Flu Here!

With the Swine Flu running around the world it does bring attention to how we handle cleanliness. I have decided along time ago to make an effort to protect my family from the flu and food borne illnesses. My guess is that it came to me the day my first child was born.

For years I have used bleach to keep the restaurant sanitized as well as my home. Needless to say I have lost count of how many articles of clothing I have ruined due to the bleach spattering out of control while trying to clean.

It is very important to make sure you keep your cutting boards clean and sanitized! I watched a show the other day and was horrified on how new and old cutting boards grew bacteria from chicken even after they were washed. The boards were rubbed with raw chicken, let set a few minutes, then washed with hot water and soap. After that samples were taken with a swab for several days after. Even on the new board there was significant bacteria growth!

The older wood cutting boards did show less bacteria growth due to the wood soaking in the moisture and bacteria away from the surface. That creeped me out knowing that the inside of the board was filled with who knows what!

To keep your cutting boards and work areas safe here are a few tips to protect you and your family from unwanted bacteria.
  • Wash all cutting boards with hot water, soap and then sanitize.
  • If wood boards have deep knife cuts replace or sand down the surface.
  • Do use separate boards for raw meats and vegetables.
  • You can put most plastic boards in the dishwasher, but they still need sanitizing.


You can sanitize kitchen utensils and cutting boards with bleach diluted with water or white vinegar and water. I keep vinegar and water in a plastic spray bottle on the counter next to the sink at all times. I prefer the vinegar over the bleach (it doesn't ruin clothing, wash rags, towels etc.).

For every one cup of water I add 2 tablespoons White Vinegar. This is also environmentally safe! Safe to use around children and pets!

You can take your cleaned boards, spray them down with sanitizer and let them sit for a while, then rinse.

Happy Cooking :)

Torch Lake Prep said...
Thanks for the tips. I too have ruined many a thing due to bleach. I like the spray bottle w/vinegar mix idea.
April 29, 2009 4:04 PM

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Smocks - A New Twist To Cooking Aprons For Mothers Day!

Check out these adorable Smocks!

I found these cute little cooking aprons while buzzing around the Internet.

A new twist to cooking aprons, we've come along way baby! Check out the Smock site:



Village Greek Salad

Village Greek Salad is a Greek Salad without the lettuce! It's a great summer dish to serve anytime lunch, dinner or for a cocktail party!

For my friend Lisa Handrahan Segars who brought to my attention that the recipe was missing from my site. We used to have this at parties all the time when I lived in Florida! Boy do I miss those fun times!

  • 1/2 Red Onion (sliced with the grain into 1/4 inch strips).
  • 2 Cucumbers or 1 English Cucumber - halved length wise and sliced.
  • 2 Large Tomatoes (cut into inch size pieces) or halved Cherry Tomatoes about 1 1/2 Cup.
  • 1 1/2 Cup Feta Cheese sliced into 1 inch squares.
  • 1/2 Cup Greek Kalamata Olives.
  • 1 Handful Pepperoncini Peppers (remove stems and cut into 3 rds).
  • Baguette Bread sliced 1/2 inch thick.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano (place in palm and crush with hands to release flavor)

Add all ingredients into a large serving bowl. Season with Salt, Pepper, Granulated Garlic. Take your Dried Oregano in the palm of your hand, rub and crush while sprinkling over bowl to get the flavors going. Drizzle all over the top the Red Wine Vinegar and Olive Oil. Toss and serve spooning onto bread slices.

This is one of those recipes that I do not measure! I just grab what I need according to how many people! This recipe should be enough to feed six people as an hourdouve'.

You will find it is a hit and will need to have more on hand, it always goes fast!


Seven Minute Frosting

Seven Minute Frosting recipe makes enough to frost one 10 and one 12 inch tier. If you want to pipe on decorations you will need and additional batch.

Makes about 8 cups.


  • 1 3/4 C Sugar
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
  • 6 Large Egg Whites (at room temperature)
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Heat 1 1/2 C sugar, the water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Increase heat; bring to a boil. Wash down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

Cook until it registers 235 on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 C sugar; reduce speed to medium low.

Pour the hot syrup into the egg white mixture in a slow, steady stream. Increase speed to medium high; beat until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.

Beat in vanilla; use immediately.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wine Pick Of The Day! ChaloneVineyard

A friend brought over a bottle of Chalone Vineyard Pinot Blanc for our pasta dinner the other night. I do have to say I was very pleased with this wine. I prefer a more dry white wine and this hit all the notes. Not too fruity. My old daily standby and reasonable bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay all of a sudden became very fruity after drinking the Chalone Pinot Blanc.

Chalone Vineyard 2004 Pinot Blanc, California, Chalone Appellation - Estate Grown - 134 French Oak Barrels - 39,648 Bottles Produced (we had #437).

The vineyard has well drained soils rich in limestone; limited rainfall and low crop levels, produces wines with a full bouquet and unique hedonistic flavors.

Visit: http://www.chalonevineyard.com/


Kim T. said...
I'm always looking for a good wine. Thanks for the tip.
April 23, 2009 3:39 PM

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Scottsdale Culinary Festival supports the arts with great chefs

The Scottsdale League for the Arts presents the 31st annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival April 14th through19th. This event draws over 40,000 visitors including chefs and food lovers from around the nation. Guests can experience great food and wine, explore some of Phoenix and Scottsdale’s best event destinations, and support the Scottsdale League for the Arts all at the same time.

To read the complete article click this link to the story: http://www.examiner.com/x-4203-Phoenix-Farmers-Markets-Examiner~y2009m4d13-Scottsdale-Culinary-Festival-supports-the-arts-with-great-chefs


Grilled Chicken Greek Salad

This Grilled Chicken Greek Salad is a crowd pleaser! You can prepare this ahead of time keep refrigerated and enjoy your guests without having to spend all your time in the kitchen.

This recipe is dedicated to my dear friend Christy Simpson who happen to run into me at the market the other day. About four years ago I had a birthday party for my daughter. I served the Grilled Chicken Greek Salad and the Greek Oil and Vinegar dressing. She had asked me for the recipe because she remembered it and commented on how much she loved it! Christy, here it is!

  • Baby mixed greens - one healthy handful per person
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast - 1/4 pound per person (2-3 servings per breast if large)
  • Cherry tomatoes (four to five per person) Cut in half
  • Red Onion - sliced (1/2 onion for 4 - 6 people, medium salad, whole onion for large)
  • Pepperoncini Peppers
  • Greek Kalamatia Olives
  • Cucumber - sliced
  • Good Feta Cheese - crumbled
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Course Sea Salt - regular salt is also fine
  • Granulated Garlic

Pound chicken breast with a mallet to tenderize. Season with Salt, Pepper and Granulated Garlic. Grill on prepared grill or pan with olive oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan cover and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Slice Chicken into strips.

Wash, dry and place baby greens on decorative serving platter or large bowl.

Add the onion, cucumber slices, tomatoes, kalamatia olives and pepperoncini's. Top with the crumbled Feta Cheese.

Place the sliced Grilled Chicken across the top. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Top with our Homemade Greek Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing: http://karenbcookingmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2009/04/homemade-healthy-greek-oil-vineager.html


Homemade Healthy Greek Oil & Vineager Salad Dressing

Homemade Healthy Greek Oil & Vinegar Salad Dressing is easy to make. You can adjust the recipe to your taste sweet or not. It is great over salads, drizzled on Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Caprese type salads also!

This recipe is dedicated to my dear friend Christy Simpson who happen to run into me at the market the other day. About four years ago I had a birthday party for my daughter. I served the Grilled Chicken Greek Salad and this Greek Oil and Vinegar dressing. She had asked me for the recipe because she remembered it and commented on how much she loved it! Christy, here it is!


  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic if you prefer
  • 1/4 teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Course Sea Salt - regular salt is fine also
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Granulated Garlic (not garlic salt)
  • 1 Cup water
  • 2 tablespoons HOT water

I make this in a Cup and half size crystal picture. It is large enough to let a gravy spoon touch the bottom to stir the dressing with each use. The picture is pretty and can be set on the counter and or right on the table for serving. This also prevents extra unnecessary clean up.

Add all the spices into the container, then add the two tablespoons HOT water, stir and let set for about five minutes for all the herbs to absorb the water and rehydrate to release their flavors.

Add the 1/2 Cup Olive Oil, whisk with the small wire whisk or fork so the herbs infuse with the oil.

Then add the Vinegar, stir, then add the remaining 1 Cup water, whisk.

Sweet Option: If you would like the dressing a little sweet add one teaspoon sugar with the spices and hot water. If you are watching calories skip the sugar, it's great with out it.

Balsamic option: Use a little less Balsamic vinegar than the Red Wine vinegar, add a little more olive oil. Balsamic has a heaver taste and there for you can use less.

Ready to serve!

Use the gravy spoon push down to the bottom and pull upwards to mix the oil, vinegar and herbs all together for each serving.

This olive oil and vinegar dressing goes great with my Grilled Chicken Greek Salad: http://karenbcookingmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2009/04/grilled-chicken-greek-salad.html

If anyone ever has any questions on any of these recipes please feel free to ask! As I said I tend to not measure things anymore so you can adjust your recipe as you go! Add other things, and share in the comment space provided below, I would love to hear from you!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring Sparkling White Wine Sangria

Make this Sparkling White Wine Sangria to quench you thirst on a hot Spring or Summer day! This is great for parties and cookouts. Get your fun glassware out and have a great time!


  • 1 Cup KARO Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 Orange, sliced
  • 1 Lemon, sliced
  • 1 Lime, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 Bottle of your favorite dry white wine, chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Bottle (12 ounces) club soda, chilled
  • Additional fresh fruit for garnish I suggest red and white grapes, small bunches left on stem.

In large glass or clear picture combine corn syrup, orange, lemon, lime slices and liqueur. Let stand 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in wine and lemon juice.


Just before serving, add soda and ice cubes. Garnish glass ware with extra fruit for a fun little treat!

Makes about 6 (8 ounce) servings.

Prep Time: 15 minutes plus standing and chilling.


Check out Tweens Teens Moms Fashion Etc. at: http://ttmfashion.blogspot.com/ for other fun stuff to read and do!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Food Network Cooking Tips: Sauce Thickener

Food Network's Cooking Tip I found this week is:

To thicken your sauce when you are in a hurry just take two tablespoons room temperature butter and one tablespoon flour. Combine in a ramekin or small bowl, using a fork mash together until smooth
Add to hot sauce and stir with a whisk! This makes your sauce taste better and gives it a nice glossy appearance!
Happy Spring!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Left Over Ham Recipe: Navy Bean & Ham Soup

Navy Bean & Ham Soup:

  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/3 C. diced celery
  • 1/3 C. diced onion
  • 1/3 C. diced carrots
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 cans (16 oz.) white navy beans
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 5 C. water
  • 1 Can Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 C diced Ham

Saute celery, onions and carrots for about five minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and you left over Ham, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash some of the soup to help thicken. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.

This is a quick easy version of Navy Bean and Ham soup! You can make the longer version with the dried beans just cook according to the package but, add these ingredients.

Serves 6 - 8.

Left Over Ham Recipe: Split Pea & Ham Soup

What to do with all that left over ham?

Make Split Pea and Ham Soup!


  • Package of Split Pea's from Supermarket (rinsed)
  • 2 Quarts Water
  • Ham Diced
  • 1 Small Onion Diced
  • 1 can diced Tomato's
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 2 Garlic Cloves Diced
  • 2 Bay Leaves

Sautee onions and Carrots in olive oil until Onions are opaque or almost see through. Add Garlic sautee for one minute. Add Ham, Tomatoes, Split Pea's and Water. Season with Salt and Pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until peas are nice and tender.

You can add some heavy cream before serving to make it a creamy soup also!

Split Pea and Ham soup is wonderful for a chilly Spring Day!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cinnamon French Toast

Easy Cinnamon French Toast is great for Sunday morning breakfast or brunch! I make this easy recipe and have for a long time. The kids love it!

Recipe makes four slices. You can easily double or triple this recipe, do not double the salt!

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/3 C Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Tiny pinch of Salt
  • 4 slices Whole Wheat Bread (thick cut French bread, or white will work also)
  • For the Holidays I add a dash of Nutmeg!

Like I stated in my profile, I tend not to measure things, you can get the feel for it after you have made this more than once. You may like more Cinnamon or Vanilla :)

Whisk 2 Eggs in a small bowl, add milk, Cinnamon, Vanilla and Salt.

Dip the Whole Wheat bread on both sides, place in preheated, oiled skillet or griddle. Cook over medium high heat until browned on both sides. Serve with Butter, Syrup and some whip cream! Or sprinkle with Powdered Sugar.

You can make this up ahead of time, place in a zip lock freezer bags and keep in the freezer for school days! Just remove from freezer and pop into your toaster! Top with butter and syrup.


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cinnamon Pizza Bread Dessert

We stumbled across this idea while making our homemade pizza's for family movie night! Through trial and error we have perfected these tasty little tidbits! The kids love them and can make them with you!

Cinnamon Pizza Bread:


  • Frozen Dinner Roll Dough Balls
  • Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Pizza Stone or Cookie Sheet

Remove dough from freezer, spray sheet or cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place dough onto sheet and cover with plastic wrap or damp paper towels.

Let rolls rise for 3-5 hours, until double in size. It depends on the temperature of your kitchen.

Preheat oven to 450.

Mix Cinnamon and sugar: 1 C sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon, add more cinnamon if you like. Save extra mixture in air tight container.

Flour counter top or large cutting board. Flour rolling pin. Place one dough ball on board and roll, you will need to push down firmly to get it to roll out flat into a 5 x 5 circle. A little bit bigger than the size of a pita bread.

Move to a pizza board sprinkled with cornmeal or off to the side of your work area that has been flowered to prevent sticking.

Brush tops of rolled dough with butter, sprinkle heavily with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake on pizza stone for the best results, or on a cookie sheet for 10-13 minutes until browned not burnt.

Cut into wedges.


Wine Pick Of The Day! Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Napa Valley

Wine Pick Of The Day:

Robert Mondavi, Chardonnay, 2006, Napa Valley: This very nice Chardonnay from grapes grown in the Los Carneros region, the Southern tip of Napa Valley. Silky smooth oak barrel taste, not thin. Very nice. Goes well with fish, we had it with Cod.

Price Point: Under $15.00

Pair with Karen's Lemon Baked Cod Recipe: http://karenbcookingmadeeasy.blogspot.com/2009/04/lemon-baked-cod.html

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tip Of The Day: Butterfly Shrimp

Next time you prepare shrimp.....
After you have cleaned your shrimp remove the tails. Then with a sharp small pairing knife, make a slice right down the back from the head to the tail end. Cut at least 1/2 way through the thickness of the shrimp.

When you marinate and cook the shrimp they open up wide and are now able to absorb more of the flavors in your dish and taste better as well as look fancy! Same cooking method, cook just until pink on each side.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lemon Baked Cod

Lemon Baked Cod is so easy to make and the kids love it too!

  • Fresh Cod Filet's
  • Weber Zesty Lemon Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Whole Lemon - Sliced Medium to Thin

(If you don't have the Zesty Lemon here are the ingredients in it so you can add your own: onion, garlic, salt, bell pepper, lemon peel, paprika, rosemary, dill, parsley)

Rinse your Cod Filet's.

Line a baking sheet with foil and then parchment paper on top of the foil. Enough foil to be able to wrap your fish. The parchment paper prevents the foil from touching the fish and tainting the flavor. You don't need as much paper as foil just enough for the bottom.

Place Cod on paper, lightly season with salt, pepper and Zesty Lemon Seasoning.

Squeeze the juice from the lemon slices over fish and then place lemon on the top of Fillet.

Close the foil sides first then the ends. Do not smash the foil down you want a pocket like space between the fish and the foil.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Just until fork tender. I remove the fish after 15 minutes if it's not a thick fillet and let sit for a few minutes covered while I prepare the plates.

Wine option: You can add a 1/4 - 1/2 C good white wine to the fish before baking. Remember to add a wine you would drink!

Mix it up, use some chicken broth and add some capers or pesto too! We add that to Salmon, Cod is a very buttery fish all on it's own!



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