Maple Flavored Yogurt Fruit Bark

Doesn’t this sound good for breakfast or brunch? I’ve made a chocolate bark before but the idea of using yogurt flavored with maple syrup as the base just sounded real good.

The first snow flakes of winter in southern Michigan… oh and my yogurt fruit bark.

This recipe is slightly adapted from

Maple Flavored Yogurt Fruit Bark

  • 12 oz. Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • fruits of your choice, I used fresh strawberries and kiwis
  • 1/4 cup granola

Line a  1/4 sheet pan (which is 9×13-inches – I did use a 8×11-inch pan) with parchment paper. Combine the maple syrup and yogurt well; spread out over the parchment.

I sliced my strawberries and kiwis into thin slices and cut in half if needed. Place on top of the yogurt and sprinkle with the granola.

Freeze the bark overnight to serve with breakfast the next morning.

When ready to serve, break into pieces. Keep any leftovers in the freezer, but it will not keep long as the fruit will dry out.

Recipe by

Linking to Fiesta Friday #200.

Thandai Shortbread Cookies Dipped in White Chocolate with Pistachios and Rose Petals

This is my 1,000 post in six years – that’s right – 1,000 ! Since it is the holiday season I decided a new cookie would be a great way to remember this special occasion.

Something different from my gingerbread men, spritz  cookies (there are 7 versions) or Mom’s sugar cookies that appear on my Holiday Cookie Table. My Honey Orange Madeleine Santas are pretty cute too as well as my Christmas Oreo Cookies.

I have to admit that a “shrimps” recipe is waiting to be posted and it was a difficult decision as to which one would get the honor of being 1,000. A Chinese shrimp stir-fry is one of my favorite meals but because of the holiday I decided to go for a cookie – an Indian flavored cookie.

First, Thandai, or sardai,  is a sweet and cold Indian drink made from a milk base and traditionally served during the festival of Holi. The author, Amisha Gurbani, has used it in the form of these shortbread cookies instead of in a beverage. Her version is influenced by her Mumbai roots and is made up of 3 nuts; almonds, pistachios and cashews, many fragrant spices such as cardamom, star anise and then rose petals.


I subscribe to the Bake From Scratch Magazine and love all the baked goods and stories that appear in each issue. They have special editions such as this Holiday Cookies issue. One look and I knew I would find a special cookie, the problem would be deciding on which one.  If you’re looking for new and creative ideas for cookies this holiday season get yourself a copy, or better yet make this recipe!

The cookies I usually make are mainly some of America’s favorite holiday cookies. When I bought this magazine I was drawn to this one because I do love shortbread, they are dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled with a rose/pistachio mixture. I also was very interested in making the Thandai powder which provides the Indian twist to these cookies. Just look at the ingredients below and you will understand how heavenly this mix is.

Thandai Shortbread Cookies Dipped in White Chocolate with Pistachios and Rose Petals, Adapted

Thandai Powder:

  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried culinary rose petals
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • seeds from 8 cardamom pods, or you can use the seeds from a jar (see comment)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp. fennel seeds
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fresh nutmeg

Stir together all the ingredients and working in batches, add the mixture to a coffee grinder. Blend until finely ground. As there were some pieces of nuts that did not grind totally I ran them through the grinder again. If need be I removed any as I did not want any “big” pieces in my cookies.

The nuts have oils and could become rancid so I chose to refrigerate the powder in a covered jar.  The author did not give any suggestions. You can make 2 batches of these cookies with this powder recipe.


  • 1-1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. Thandai Powder (from above)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Using your stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes; beat in vanilla.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, Thandai Powder and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating until combined. Turn out dough and divide in half. Shape into 2 disks and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 2 hours. This is an excellent soft dough to work with. You can either refrigerate the dough for up to 1 week or 1 month in the freezer if desired.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll half of the dough to 1/4-inch thickness (no thinner) on a lightly floured surface. Use a 2-1/2-inch fluted round cutter, cut out your cookies and place on baking sheets.

Bake on the lower and middle racks of the oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire racks.

I used only half of the dough and froze the rest so I used just the middle rack to bake my cookies. It only took 6 minutes in my oven, then I turned the pans and baked an additional 6 minutes. So 12 minutes for me – just be watchful as to how they are baking as you just want them to brown lightly around the edges.

White Chocolate:

  • 2 cups high-quality white chocolate morsels (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil

I microwaved half of the recipe at a time as it was easier to work with a smaller amount. Microwave 1 cup chips plus 1 tsp. coconut oil at 30 second intervals. It took about a minute, then I stirred it well to get a smooth texture. Then when that was gone I  made another cup.

Pistachios and Rose Petals:

  • 3/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped (I put it through my nut chopper twice)
  • 1 tbsp. powdered dried rose petals (bought from Scents of Earth)
  • crushed rose petals with your fingers or a mortar and pestle

I changed this part of the recipe due to some confusion with an ingredient. First of all this recipe makes a lot, you could certainly cut the recipe in half and make more if you need it. Combine the pistachios and powdered dried rose petals. Crush some dried rose petals with your fingers or use a mortar and pestle and set them aside.


Place a rack on a parchment lined baking sheet. I prefer to drizzle the chocolate over the bottom 1/3 with a spoon versus dipping, letting any excess drip off.  Sprinkle the pistachio/rose powder mixture onto the chocolate, then add some dried, crushed rose petals. Shake off the excess and place on prepared pan. Freeze until chocolate is set, about 5 minutes. If chocolate begins to thicken while dipping cookies, microwave for 10 to 15 seconds to rewarm (that’s why I only make 1/2 the recipe at a time).

The best thing (besides being delicious) is these cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. These will be a rather elegant addition to my holiday table.  Roses and white chocolate will probably not surprise many people who know me.

Comment: The size of cardamom seeds can vary; whether from a jar or fresh from the pods. Adjust to your taste. I found there are about 12 seeds per pod and 10 pods = 1-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom. The seeds from a jar were twice as big as seeds from cardamom pods. See picture above… I happen to love cardamom so just adjust this spice to your taste – use more or less cardamom seeds.

Recipe by

Linking to Fiesta Friday #200.

The shortbread dough ingredients and my workhorse Kitchen-Aid:

Cookies cut out and ready for baking:

The bare cookies:

The chopped pistachios (left picture) and 1 tbsp. rose petal powder added (right picture):


Picture taken inside:

Pictures taken outside: 


Salmon with a Limoncello Cream Sauce

Salmon is a favorite seafood and I like to eat it all kinds of different ways. From grilling on a cedar plank, poaching, pan frying, salmon cakes, serving with different sauces – the recipes are all good.

I mentioned in a previous post that Limoncello would go great with fish or seafood. After some thought I decided upon salmon and to pan fry it. Sole would be another good choice.

The sauce is rich and a little goes a long way and is not only delicious with fresh fish but would be excellent over shrimp ravioli or how about savory shrimp crepes.

Salmon with a Limoncello Cream Sauce

  • salmon fillets, skin removed is optional
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1-3 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Place the salmon in a shallow dish, add the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Turn the salmon to coat both sides and marinate for about 15 minutes before cooking. Grind 1-3 tbsp. pepper onto the flesh and rub it in. It may sound like a lot of pepper but it really perks up the salmon. Don’t laugh but I have a battery operated  Peugeot pepper grinder!

Heat a non-stick skillet with spray and cook flesh side down until you get a nice crust. Turn and cover the pan and cook until done. The rule of thumb – 10 minutes per inch or however you like your salmon cooked. I do like my salmon cooked – nothing raw for me!

In the meantime make the following sauce.

Limoncello Cream Sauce:

  • 4 tbsp. Limoncello
  • 2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • heavy cream to thicken

Simmer the liqueur and lemon juice; whisk in the butter gradually to combine. Add a little cream to thicken the sauce; season to taste. I like to make the sauce ahead of time and then gently reheat – it will be thicker. Or, just let the sauce cool a little and it will thicken. Pour a little over the salmon or serve on the side.

Recipe by

Beautiful piece of Coho Salmon…

A glass of Pinot Grigio, Southern Green Beans and Roasted Potatoes – perfect meal!

Thanksgiving weekend and once again I am a co-host Judi @ and Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau. Please join us along with Angie @ Fiesta Friday #199

Sausage Gravy over Bakewell Cream Biscuits

My family loves spicy sausage  and we also love biscuits. What a delicious breakfast or brunch  you can have when you combine these two favorites.

Over the years I have been trying various biscuit recipes using different kinds of flour such as all-purpose, self-rising, White Lily Flour, Bisquick and others. You can also vary the liquids like using heavy cream, buttermilk, milk or even beer. Additional ingredients such as cheese, mayonnaise, potato flakes or even chocolate can be added. Baking temperatures and methods of preparation can also be different.

These Bakewell Cream biscuits were baked at a high temperature of 475°F for just 5 minutes. Look at how they rose in that short time. Then I turned off the oven and let them continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes. I might have let them bake another minute or two. The hype about their high rise is true.

Leavening agents play an important part in a biscuits’ ability to rise successfully as well.

Bakewell Cream is a baking powder developed by chemist Byron H. Smith in response to a shortage of cream of tartar in the U.S. during World War II. It is similar to cream of tartar in that it must be mixed with baking soda to create the leavening action. This product is available throughout the U.S. but is popular where it originated and that is the state of Maine.

During WWII food rationing was in effect with other baking items such as eggs, butter and milk.


In terms of rising; using the Bakewell Cream recipe and White Lily Flour recipe produced the highest rise of all the biscuits I have ever made.

In terms of flavor compared to other biscuits, I am not so sure. I never eat a biscuit plain anyways – it is always smothered with butter, honey, syrup or like in this post, sausage gravy.

All I can say is the product works and turns out “tall” biscuits. Living in Michigan I try to buy Michigan products – I would not think of buying Vermont maple syrup when my state makes the best syrup around. So, I am sure cooks from the East and especially Maine give Bakewell Cream nothing but high praise that it makes the best biscuits. Give it a try and see what you think!

Sausage Gravy Over Bakewell Cream Biscuits

  • 4 cups all purpose flour or you can use a pastry flour blend
  • 4 tsp. Bakewell Cream baking powder – not aluminum free (see comment below)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp.) cold butter, cut into small pieces (original Bakewell Cream recipe called for shortening – King Arthur changed it to butter)
  • 1 cup diced extra sharp cheddar like Cabot (optional as I might add next time I make these biscuits)
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk (I used whole milk but 2% would be fine)
  • egg wash of 1 egg plus 1 tbsp. milk or use just milk or melted butter (optional – I added)

Preheat the oven to 475°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients; work in the cold butter until the mixture is crumbly. If desired now is the time to add 1 cup diced sharp cheddar. Add the milk, stirring till everything is moistened.

Turn the dough out and fold it over a few times to combine and spread out the butter. Pat it into a 1/2-inch thick. Cut the biscuits with a 2-inch biscuit cutter (I ended up with 15 biscuits) and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with an egg wash of 1 egg plus 1 tbsp. milk, if desired.

If you want soft sides place the biscuits close together; for crisp crust space them 1″ apart.

Bake for 5 minutes, then turn off the oven. See picture as they doubled in size within 5 minutes. Leave in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes or until they are golden brown. I only left them in for 5 minutes but I will leave them in a little longer next time I make them. The egg wash kind of distracts from whether they have cooked through as they are so nice and golden brown.

I made 15 nice sized biscuits.

Remove and serve with sausage gravy, your favorite jam, honey or just with butter.

Comment: To substitute for 1 tsp. baking powder, use 2/3 tsp. Bakewell Cream and 1/3 tsp. baking soda

Sausage Gravy:

  • 1 lb. Bob Evans Zesty Hot Sausage (use any variety you like as well as unseasoned bulk pork that you season yourself)
  • 1/2 cup onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup flour (Wondra instant flour works great in this recipe)
  • 2-1/2 cups milk (I used whole milk but 2% or even skim would be fine)

Brown the meat until no longer pink along with the onions. Add the garlic during the last minute or two of cooking. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour has been absorbed by the fat, just a couple of minutes.

Slowly stir in the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook until the gravy gets thick – add additional milk if needed. To reheat you will need to add extra milk.

Because the sausage is heavily seasoned I did not need to add salt, pepper or any other seasonings.

Recipe by

Linking to Fiesta Friday and Angie’s 198th party with the two co-hosts Judi @ and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas and Spoons

Ricotta “Vegetable Carpaccio”

This appetizer was served at a recent Zingerman Bakehouse demonstration/participation cooking class and was a favorite with everyone. Baguette slices were lightly toasted, ricotta was generously spread on each piece and topped with veggies which were lightly marinated.

Some of the recipes the students made and others like this recipe the instructor  made, but we all had a taste of this simple but delicious appetizer. There was not only grated Parmigiano Reggianno to finish but the ricotta was fresh, hand-dipped Calabro ricotta. In this recipe the ricotta was the star!

1 and 3 lb. containers of hand dipped Calabro ricotta cheese – so good!


The 1 and 3 lb. “baskets” with holes where the ricotta can drain into a tightly sealed wrapper… there are never problems with “runny’ ricotta.

The Calabro legacy began in the United States in 1948 after the family immigrated from Sicily. They currently have a 55,000 square foot production and distribution center on the east coast to make this special cheese.

Hand dipped ricotta is “Rich and full-bodied with a delicately smooth texture, this artisanal Ricotta is the perfect choice for a multitude of dishes. Our award winning Ricotta is crafted using old-world techniques and our own family recipe developed over 50 years ago. Every curd is hand-scooped and hand-packed from small batch kettles to ensure the utmost quality and high standards you’ve come to expect from Calabro.”

Ricotta Vegetable Carpaccio

  • Italian “basket” hand dipped ricotta by Calabro
  • red radishes, thinly sliced
  • carrots, thinly sliced
  • shallot, red onion or green onions, thinly sliced
  • zucchini, thinly sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil for dressing and drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • shaved or grated Parmigiano Regianno

There are a couple of ways you can serve this. First you need to marinate the veggies with some oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Let sit for a bit; marinate longer if the veggies are thick.

You can spread the ricotta out on a serving plate and then scatter the veggies with all the juices over the ricotta; top with shaved or grated Parmigiano Regianno.  Use flatbread or crackers to dip and serve.

Or, you can make your own bruschetta with a sliced baguette. You can toast the bread lightly if desired, spread a layer of ricotta and then top with some veggies. I happened to buy a Parmesan baguette and it just added to the flavor.  Garnish with grated or shaved Parmigiano Regianno.

Recipe by

Linking to Fiesta Friday #197 and the two co-hosts Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Trupti @ My Culinary Saga

Cuisines of Turkey Demonstration Class

I recently attended a demonstration class at Zingerman’s Bakehouse where Robyn Eckhardt shared her stories and recipes from Turkey’s cultural capital of Istanbul and included many of the diverse regions of Turkey.

The recipes Robyn made from her first cookbook “Istanbul and Beyond: Exploring the Diverse Cuisines of Turkey” included Warming Cinnamon Tea, Cheese Fondue With Corn Flour, Sun-dried Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, Fingerprint Flatbread, Meatballs With Pumpkin and Spice Butter and  Hazelnut Kadayif  Cake. Don’t they all sound so good?

Publisher’s Weekly named her cookbook one of Fall 2017’s Top Ten Cookbooks. She definitely deserved the recognition as her cookbook was well-written and filled with informative stories behind each dish. The recipes are easy to read and in a way most cooks would understand.  If you are interested in exploring the cuisines of Turkey I highly recommend her cookbook – just a delight to read and the recipes are just delicious.

Turkey is one of many countries whose cuisine I have not explored so I thought this would definitely be a good learning experience and take me to a different part of the world. Below are pictures of some of the dishes she made and shared with us – an early dinner! Everything was so good, I am not sure what I will make first or maybe I will try something new from her cookbook. The class included a signed cookbook, one more to add to my collection.

Classes at Zingerman’s include demonstration (instructor does all the cooking – we just get to eat, 2-3 hours); demonstration/participation (instructor demonstrates some recipes and others students get to make, 2-3 hours); full participation (usually a 4 hour class where the students do all of the cooking/baking). They also have weekend long baking classes!

On a different note Robyn spent some of her younger years in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan just like I did – only at different times! Just a few streets down from where my family lived. Small world…

Linking to Fiesta Friday and the two co-hosts Antonia @ and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Espresso Icing

Are you looking for a simple way to use your sourdough starter besides baking bread? Do you like an intense chocolate flavor enhanced by espresso in a cake and in the icing too? Then this recipe  is your answer.

You won’t taste any sour in this cake just the deep, full flavor of chocolate. The espresso is obvious in the icing and personally I loved the pairing with the chocolate.  Probably the best homemade chocolate cake I have ever made or tasted.

The cake is perfect and moist with a delightful chocolate flavor. The icing turned out to be a little thin, so more confectioners’ sugar needs to be added to get the right consistency or cut back on the liquid. A cream cheese icing would be delicious as well if you do not care for a coffee icing. Or if you really like a total chocolate flavor try your favorite ganache.

This recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour and is now my favorite chocolate cake.

I have a number of sourdough recipes – just search “sourdough” and you will find over a dozen bread, pancakes and sweet recipes.

Sourdough Chocolate Cake with Espresso Icing, Adapted

Chocolate Cake:

  • 1 cup “fed” sourdough starter (see comment below)
  • 1 cup milk, (whole, 2% or evaporated – I did use evaporated)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (not Dutch process)
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder
  • 2 large eggs

Combine the starter, milk and flour in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 2-3 hours. It may not bubble but it might expand a bit. Mine bubbled slightly and also expanded slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan.

In another bowl, beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cocoa and espresso powder. The mixture will have a grainy look to it. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined.

Add the chocolate mixture to the starter mixture and stir until smooth. It will be a little hard to mix at first, but the batter will smooth out as you continue to gently combine the ingredients. Be patient…

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (my oven it was 30 minutes), or until it springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake and set on a rack to cool.


  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar (will probably need more to get the right consistency or cut back on the liquid)
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1-1/2 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1 tbsp. hot water

Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the buttermilk. Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water; add to the pan and bring the mixture just to a boil.

The recipe says to immediately pour the warm icing over the cake. I prefer to let it stiffen up a bit and spread it over the cake. I found the icing to be too thin so more sugar needs to be added.


  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. corn syrup

Microwave the chocolate chips, milk and corn syrup until the chips soften; stir until smooth (about 30 seconds). Drizzle over the icing. It looks better if you wait for the icing to harden and then drizzle the chocolate.

Comment: Because this recipe has added leavening (baking power and baking soda) you do not have to feed it just as long as it is healthy and ready to go. Because my starter was not as “active” as I would have liked I did feed it and left it on the counter over night. If it was in “bad shape” I would probably have fed it for a couple of days. It just depends…

Remember that sourdough baking is as much art as it is science. There are different ways to revive, maintain and feed your starter – you just have to figure out what works best for you.

Recipe by

My Rosebud is “fed”, bubbling and ready for this cake! The starter, flour and evaporated milk also bubbled a little and it did expand as well.



Linking to Fiesta Friday #196 and the two co-hosts this week Antonia @ and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook

Brodo di Reggiano (Parmesan Broth) Three Ways

I have always used my Parmesan rinds in soups such as minestrone or added some to a stew. I don’t think I ever made a broth until a few years ago when Liz from spades, spatulas and spoons shared a few posts on her blog on what to do with the rinds of Parmesan. I was so impressed with one post  that I selected her to be featured on Fiesta Friday #92 – and she was!

Not too long ago I attended a demonstration/participation class at Zingerman’s Bakery with the emphasis on Parmigiano Reggiano and how to use it in recipes. Evan Kleiman was a guest instructor and made a broth for us with her secret ingredient “soy sauce” which she added to a soup.

It must be the “in broth” to make as Deb from the Smitten Kitchen has a recipe in her new cookbook very similar to Liz’s.

This “king of cheese” has no waste!

So, I thought I would provide the recipes for all three and let you choose what you want to make and how you want to use them. For convenience I used 10 cups of water to be reduced to 8 for all 3 recipes. It could take 1-2 hours depending on the size of your saucepan and how hard of a simmer you have. I only made Liz’s and Evan’s recipes as shown below.

The broths freeze well – think holidays or maybe Thanksgiving and of course soups!

Evan’s recipe included a tbsp. of soy sauce – it not only changed the color but added a slight flavor difference of the three broths.

Evan's Brodo di Reggiano (Parmesan Broth)

  • 10 smashed garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • tops of 1 leek, well washed
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 lb. Parmegiano Reggiano rinds
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • salt to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer and let it cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It will reduce down to 2 quarts. Strain the broth – it does store well in the freezer.

Recipe by

Liz adds an additional step by cooking the ingredients in olive oil before simmering with the Parmesan rinds. Did you notice there is white wine in Liz’s recipe? This recipe make take longer but it sure did smell good (tasted good too).

Liz's Brodo di Reggiano ( Parmesan Broth)

Liz’s Broth:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 parsley sprigs
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. Parmigiano Reggiano rinds
  • 10 cups water (I added 2 extra cups)
  • salt to taste

Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, parsley and peppercorns. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the white wine and simmer until it is reduced by half. Add the rinds and 10 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for about 1-1/2 to 2 hours; stirring occasionally. Because of the cheese still on the rinds it tends to stick. Strain and adjust seasonings.

Recipe by

The third recipe comes from Deb at the Smitten Kitchen. I just received her new cookbook and one of the recipes included a Parmesan broth. It is very similar to Liz’s recipe in terms of ingredients. I did not make Deb’s broth.

Deb's Brodo di Parmigiano (Parmesan Broth)

Smitten Kitchen’s recipe:

  • 12 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano rinds
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 large onion, quartered or roughly chopped
  • 4 unpeeled garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 2 tsp. peppercorns
  • large handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer, partially covered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until reduced to 8 cups. Strain the broth and adjust the seasonings if needed.

Recipe by

Evan’s ingredients…


Liz’s ingredients…

Both broths will cook for about 1-2 hours on a low simmer…

The finished broths…

Linking to Fiesta Friday #195 and the two co-hosts Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sandhya @ Indfused

Lavender Loaf Cake With Pistachios, Lime and Lemon

I frequently see recipes I want to make and I will print the recipe and put it in a file to make later. However, there are a few times when I run across a recipe that I want to make right now. Chef Ronit’s lavender loaf cake is one of those recipes.


Funny though, I did want to make this right away but the bananas I bought were still a little green and then took forever to ripen. Then in the meantime I used some of the limes I had and as a result used more lemon in this cake and a little less lime. The cake was delicious anyways even with these changes.

I have been following Chef Ronit for some time now and love the creativity in her kitchen.  Currently she is a private chef but her emphasis on her blog is to promote daily cooking from scratch in a home setting.  In addition she has professional experience as a culinary journalist (I love the way she writes) and was the head chef in a couple of restaurants.

Why did this recipe draw my attention? First of all lavender is a favorite herb that I have been growing and using in my cooking for over 30 years. I love the flower itself for its aroma and beautiful color and then most of all what it can add to recipes. Yes, it can be very potent and needs to be added with caution as a little does go a long way. I grew Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ as shown below. “Munsted” is another good culinary lavender to grow.

If you can’t grow it there are lots of lavender farms and of course there is always the internet to get quality lavender buds.

Second, I do enjoy all kinds of nuts whether just to snack on them, as an ingredient in a recipe or just as a garnish. Pistachios are at the top of the list!

Third, citrus flavors such as lime and lemon give so much of a boost to recipes.

Fourth, dried lavender buds can keep their wonderful flavor for a few years. Just store them in a dark place like your pantry. A covered ceramic jar works great as it also keeps the “color” in the lavender buds especially if you plan to use them as a garnish.  These buds are from 2016 before I moved…

So, there you have four good reasons to make this cake – you will not be disappointed.

Lavender Loaf Cake With Pistachios, Lime and Lemon, Adapted

Loaf Cake:

  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lavender honey (1 tbsp. dried lavender buds plus 3/4-1 cup mild honey); heat honey, add lavender, remove from heat, cover for 24 hours at room temperature, then remove buds
  • 2 x-large eggs
  • 2-4 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lime zest
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, unsalted and coarsely chopped
  • lavender sugar (blend 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tbsp. lavender buds)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 340°F or 170°C. This temperature is correct – do not raise to 350°F.  I use  a baking spray that contains flour to prepare the 5×10-inch pan for baking.  Keep the pan in the refrigerator until you are ready to add the ingredients.

In a spice grinder, mix the lavender buds and 1/4 cup sugar. I actually have a grinder just for lavender.

Make the lavender honey by heating 3/4-1 cup of mild honey such as clover. Add 1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers and allow to steep for 24 hours at room temperature, covered. Reheat and remove buds through a strainer.

In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, sugar, honey, eggs, lime and lemon juice, lime zest and vegetable oil. Add the pistachios and lavender sugar. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan to finish cooling on a rack. Glaze once the cake is cool.


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • lime or lemon juice

Add the powdered sugar to a small bowl and gradually add lime juice until you get a thick glaze. Pour over the cooled cake. Double the recipe for a more complete covering.


  • lavender buds (optional)
  • lime zests kept in ice water for 5 minutes and drained (optional)

Add to the glaze before it dries.

Recipe by


Linking to Angie’s blog party and the two co-hosts Monika @ Everyday Healthy Recipes and Sandhya @ Indfused

Paradiso Reserve Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza

Can a pizza taste any better than this? Paradiso Reserve is a new favorite cheese that I first used in Beer Biscuits. I so enjoyed the flavor that I wanted to use it again but this time on a pizza. Pairing it with caramelized onions and prosciutto made for an off the chart pizza!

This recipe comes from the site of Beemster Paradiso Cheeses. I changed the temperature, the manner in preparing the dough, cooked the onions longer and added fresh basil.

Paradiso Reserve Cheese, Caramelized Onion and Prosciutto Pizza, Adapted

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 16 oz. fresh pizza dough (I bought it but you can certainly make your favorite dough)
  • flour for dusting
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • fresh sage, minced
  • fresh basil, minced
  • 2 cups Paradiso Reserve, shredded
  • 3 oz. prosciutto, trimmed and torn in pieces
  • micro greens to garnish (if you would like to grow your own go here)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Peel and slice the onion into thin slices. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the onions for about 25 minutes, stirring until soft and golden – do not brown.

Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Gently press the dough out onto the baking sheet using your fingertips. If the dough is sticky use a little flour on your fingers – the dough will almost fill a sheet pan.

Mix together the oil, garlic, basil and sage in a bowl; brush evenly over the dough.

Top the dough with the cheese and onions. Tear the prosciutto into pieces and scatter over the onions. Bake for 25 minutes + or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Garnish with micro greens and serve. The cooking time and temperature can vary depending on  your dough, just adjust.

Recipe by

Linking to Fiesta Friday and the two co-hosts Petra @ Food Eat Love and Vanitha @ Curry and Vanilla

Prior to baking and a beautiful, flavorful pizza with a crispy crust!

Micro greens are perfect for this pizza. I am not a big fan of greens on a pizza but these little guys I like to add to everything.

Served with salad and a creamy basil dressing