1 11 oz. pkg. vanilla wafers
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bourbon
3 tbsp. light corn syrup

These travel well, taste great and are wonderful during the holidays. Good hostess gift, and no cooking!

Put a few of the wafers into and electric blender. Cover and blend 5 to 10 seconds at med. speed to make fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into large bowl. Repeat with remaining wafers. Add the 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, the nuts, cocoa and salt to crumbs; mix well. Add bourbon and corn syrup and stir with a fork until ingredients are moistened; then mix with hands until thoroughly combined. (Mixture will be very stiff.) Put about 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar on a pie plate or wax paper. Shape bourbon mixture into balls, using 1 tbsp. for each. Roll balls in confectioners sugar and place in a single layer in a plastic container or on a baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Bourbon Balls keep well for several days. Makes 36 balls, if they last that long.

Per bourbon ball: 93 calories, 1 gram protein, 2 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 1000 grams good
.



November 2003
Macaroni, Ham and Cheese Casserole

4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
2 cups cubed, cooked ham*
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese
1 tbsp. grated onion
2 tbsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 cup thickly sliced mushrooms, sautéed

Crumb topping:
3 to 4 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly. I use a Cure 81 ham and save the rest for my Mom’s Ham Salad.

Melt butter. Add flour. Cook and stir until frothy, then add milk. Whisk until creamy. Add salt and cayenne. Simmer 2 minutes. Combine rest of ingredients in a lightly greased casserole. To make crumb topping, melt butter. Add bread crumbs and cheese. Combine and spread on top of casserole. Bake at 375° for 30 to 40 minutes until bubbly. Serves 4-6

I added the Jarlsberg & mushrooms to a good basic recipe. The grated onion is optional, I don’t always include it. This and a salad made a satisfying meal on a cold night.

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October 2003
Aunt Lydia's Cheesecake
2 lbs. cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 lb. melted butter
1 pint sour cream

My Uncle Joe Catalano first made this for the family. And since Aunt Lydia was very special to me - it’s especially nice to have it.

In a large bowl or food processor, mix cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add sugar; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add lemon juice and vanilla.

Combine cornstarch and flour and add to the cheese ingredients. Make sure melted butter has cooled - then add and mix well. Fold in sour cream and pour into a 9” buttered and sugared spring form pan.

Bake in 325° oven for one hour. Turn oven off and leave in for 2 more hours. Best 24 hours later!

Who knew Uncle Joe baked?

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September 2003
Helen Biondo’s Famous Ham Salad
A chunk of ham from a left over baked ham,
or buy a Cure 81 ham
Sharp cheddar cheese
Proportions: 3 parts ham to 1 part cheese
Sweet pickle relish to taste
Dressing Mixture:
Mayonnaise
Grainy mustard (not yellow mustard)
Fresh ground pepper to taste


Mom was famous for several dishes, but this one remains is the most versatile. She would mix this up, spread on toasted english muffins and top with crisp bacon. Served with a big plate of scrambled eggs, it was our favorite brunch.

Process ham in a food processor to a coarse chop and empty into a large mixing bowl. Process cheddar to the same consistency and empty into same mixing bowl. Combine until cheese is evenly distributed. Add some pickle relish, a few tablespoons at a time. Just enough to add the taste. Now comes the eyeballing. Plop some mayo on top of the mixture, swirl in some mustard, and grind some pepper on that. Swirl it all together until the mayo, mustard and pepper are combined. Then mix thoroughly into the ham and cheese. Best to do this twice then to over do it the first time.

This is a great spread - in a wrap or just with crackers. Trust me on this one. Thanks, Mom!

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August 2003
My Vinaigrette
1 cup salad oil (safflower)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar*
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. basil leaves, dried
1/8 cup chopped parsley, fresh
1 clove garlic, minced
I like Spanish sherry vinegar in this recipe

I’ve been calling this “my” vinaigrette for so long I forget if I really made it up! Probably not. No matter, it’s good.

Process.
Refrigerate overnight.

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July 2003
Barbara's Summer Sauce
2 Cups fresh basil leaves or 1 pkg. frozen spinach
(cooked & squeezed dry)
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan, locatelli or asiago cheese
1/4 cup pignoli nuts
1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup virgin olive oil + or -
1/2 to 1 large can Redpak crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: anchovies, garlic
For garnish: capers and pitted slivered oil-cured olives


This sauce changes every time you make it because the quantities are really all to taste. It is robust and colorful.
In a food processor combine basil, cheese, nuts, sun-dried tomatoes and ground pepper and optional ingredients. Process until coarsely chopped then add olive oil in a stream to make a spread-like consistency. Add tomatoes (half at a time until you like the look and taste) and process till well combined. Correct seasonings.

The recipe lends itself to variations, try any ingredients you think will work.

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June 03
Broccoli Salad
2 bunches of broccoli
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup mayo
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. white vinegar


Recipe from Pam Masterson, my childhood friend, a wonderful cook and the most welcoming hostess I know. This dish is a real crowd pleaser.

Trim broccoli into florettes. Mix mayo, sugar and vinegar. Mix with broccoli and onion. Marinate 2 to 3 hours. Add the rest of the ingredients just before serving. Serves 4 to 6

The broccoli must marinate for the allotted time to allow vinaigrette to begin breaking down and tenderizing it.

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May 2003
Blue Cheese and Walnut Potato Salad
2 lbs. red potatoes
1/4 lb. (1/2 cup) blue cheese
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1 tsp. celery seed
1 cup chopped scallions (some green too)
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled

My friend Will Tanner first served this to us at the beach. He is a great cook and never fails to impress us with his menus.


Boil potatoes until just tender. Skin and slice. Combine rest of ingredients and gently mix into warm potatoes. Can be served warm or room temperature. Serves 8

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April 2003
Salsa Mexicana
2 tbsp. finely diced white onion
8 ripe tomatoes (1 lb.)
2 serrano chilis
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lime juice

Adam, Bethanie and I used to devour a bowl of this before dinner, sipping on Blue Kamikazes.


Chop all vegetable to an even dice - mix with cilantro, sugar, salt, and lime juice. Makes about 2 cups

Chill to let flavors combine. We never waited even one minute!


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