Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!!

Today has been such a wonderful year, Michael and I have changed jobs, we have departed on wonderful adventures, friends have gotten married, babies are being born, all very exciting stuff.

I hope that this following year will bring even  more exciting things to everyone.
Stay healthy, be happy, and Happy New Year!

Francesca and Michael

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Ham Pot Pie!

We hope that you are staying warm, have people you love close by, and love in your heart. We have prepared for you a wonderfully simple and delicious shitake mushroom and Christmas ham pot pie. You can make one gigantic one or you can make 5 or 6 small ones!!

Merry Christmas!

*you can make your own pate brisee, we have recipes for that, but don’t feel any shame in using frozen pie dough!

Ingredients: serves 6

2 large carrots
1 turnip
1 yellow onion
1 cup diced red and purple potatoes
5 medium shitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
Pre-cooked glazed ham (2 cups worth)
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
¾ cups flour
2 chicken bullion cubes
5 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt plus a pinch
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 egg
2 packs frozen pie dough


Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees, and dicing all of the vegetables and ham into small pieces, leave pie dough out so it softens.

Place the potatoes and turnips on a sheet tray and sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and bake 10 minutes, until partially cooked but not completely raw.

In a medium sauce pan heat 5 cups of chicken stock, then dissolve the bullion cubes in the stock.

In a large sauce pan melt butter. Once butter is melted add onion, garlic, and rosemary. Cook until onion is translucent.

Reduce heat to low, add flour and salt to the butter and whisk constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. After two minutes add chicken stock, stirring constantly until completely thickened. Add salt, then take the mix off the heat and add in all of your vegetables and ham and fold in.

Spoon mix into the bowl or bowls you will be baking in. Mix the egg in bowl, and brush the outer edge of the baking dish. Place pie dough over the top with at least ½ and inch over the edge, then pinch the dough where it meets the baking dish so that it adheres. Brush the top with of the dough with egg, and using a really sharp knife make four small slits.

Place in oven and bake 45 min to an hour, or at least until the dough is golden brown.

Let them cool at least 10 minutes, otherwise you may sear your tongue!

Enjoy, Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Cookie Bonanza!

Christmas is 4 days away!! Oh my goodness. Everyone has been fighting the flu, but that won’t keep us down, I have been doing some power shopping, some good deal hunting, tons of Christmas crafting, not to mention way too much eating.

Every year the Quintano family has a tree trimming party where everyone gets together and decorates the tree. It started before I was born when my parents would invite all of our friends who did not have family out in LA, so it was a bit of a misfit’s Christmas.

This year for the tree trimming party we made a cookie extravaganza! We made 4 different cookies: Scottish terrier shaped peppermint sugar cookies, Chocolate fudge cookies with currant jelly, luxardo cherry and white chocolate chip shortbread cookies, and orange zest gingerbread cookies.

Each recipe makes about 2 dozen!! Also, it is best to give yourself a few hours, or do it in two days, because dough needs to chill for about 1-2 hours.

*You will need plastic wrap and parchment paper.


Peppermint Cookies:
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
4 candy canes
4 drops red food coloring

Chocolate Fudge Cookies:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter
4 eggs
Pinch salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons rum
Currant jelly
Powdered sugar

White Chocolate Chip and Cherry Shortbread Cookie:
1 cup butter room temperature
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
½ Teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped luxardo cherries

Orange Zest Gingerbread Cookies:
2 cup flour
2 Teaspoon ground ginger
½ Teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ Teaspoon ground clove
¼ Teaspoon baking soda
¼ Teaspoon salt
½ cup butter room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
1 egg
¼ cup orange zest
Cinnamon candy

Peppermint cookies:

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium sized bowl.

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla extract, food coloring, and then smash up candy canes and add those as well.

Slowly add flour while mixing, or add a little at a time.

Once the dough is mixed pat into a 9 inch wide disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, let the dough sit out of the freezer for 10 minutes. Flour a flat surface and roll the dough out at about a ¼ inch thick. Cut shapes, and lay on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and put in freezer for 10 minutes.

Bake 12 minutes.

Chocolate Fudge Cookie:

In a large bowl mix egg, salt, and both sugars.

Fill a sauce pan half way with water and boil the water. Once the water is boiling, place a heat proof bowl on the sauce pan and melt chocolate and butter.

Pour chocolate and rum into the egg and sugar mix and stir. Add flour and continue to stir.

Chill covered for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a spoon, make balls that are about 1 ½ Tablespoons of chocolate dough. Space about 2 inches apart because they will spread. Bake 12 minutes.

When you pull the cookies out of the oven, using the back of the spoon, make a nice indent in the middle of the cookie, and spoon in a teaspoon of currant jelly. Next using a mesh strainer, sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar.

White Chocolate Chip and Cherry Shortbread Cookie:

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla extract until just combined.

Add flour, salt, white chocolate chips, and cherries.

Shape into two logs, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Take logs out of plastic wrap and using a very sharp serrated knife cut the log into ½ inch slices.

Bake 1 ½ inches apart for about 16-20 minutes, or until a little golden.


In a medium bowl, mix together flour, spices, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until smooth, then add orange zest, molasses, and egg.

Slowly add flour a little bit at a time and mix together.

Pat dough into 9 inch disk and wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on floured surface, and then place in freezer and freeze for 20 minutes.

Cut shapes, place on parchment paper covered baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.

Once they cool, decorate with a drop of icing and a cinnamon candy.

Enjoy all of these cookies just as much as we did!!!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Peppermint Craisin Chocolate Bark

Christmas is 12 days away so technically the song the 12 days of Christmas could start being played now. For the 1st day of Christmas we have made for you a super simple chocolate bark with dried cranberries and peppermint. This bark has a magnificent texture of chewiness and crunch, not to mention the wonderful flavors. Gift this to someone or eat all to yourself!

*You can use candy canes or you will frequently see little peppermint pieces that are little red and green pieces, those are the ones we used.

Ingredients: makes 24 pieces

8 oz semisweet chocolate
8 oz milk chocolate
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped up peppermint


Start by chopping up your dried cranberries and peppermint and set aside.

On a baking sheet put a large piece of parchment paper.

To melt the chocolate fill a sauce pan with water and get a bowl that you can put over the sauce pan completely without getting it in the water. Boil the water and put the bowl over it, put the chocolate in and using a spatula stir while the chocolate melts. Melt all the way until it is completely smooth.

Pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper, and using the spatula even out into a rectangle about 9x11 inches. Immediately top with cranberries and peppermint.

Place in the refrigerator and cool for an hour, then break into 24 pieces.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Pear Jam and Butter Scone

Today is my love Michael’s birthday. It doesn’t feel like the holidays until we have celebrated his birthday. So this is a post by me (Francesca) for my true love, Michael, to kick off winter holidays and to give him a delicious breakfast the morning of his birthday.

I have prepared simple butter scones with cinnamon pear jam. What is great about this jam is that it perfectly invokes the holidays, and is a great gift to give people.  Make the jam in advance, have it around, and scones make on a whim. They are amazing!

Ingredients:  serves 8
Butter Scones:

1 ¾ cups flour
4 Tablespoons sugar 
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder 
½ Teaspoon salt 
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs, beaten with 
¼ cup milk


4 Bosc Pears
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Start by making the jam. Peel and dice the pears and place in large sauce pan. Using a masher, mash up the pear bits until it is almost like a puree. Turn the heat until medium high, and stir while bringing to a boil. Boil for about 3 minutes. Add sugar, stir until dissolved, and reduce heat to low so that you can simmer. Add cinnamon, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

In order to properly jar, follow the canning procedures we have used in earlier jamming posts.

To make the scones, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Dice the butter into small pieces, and chill.

Mix together all of your dry ingredients, but 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Next mix in the butter, coating all the pieces with the flour mix. Using two forks, break the butter up into the flour mix until they are in small pieces, but not until it is completely mixed. You leave some bigger pieces, because in the oven it creates great moisture and flakiness.

In a small bowl mix together eggs and milk. Pout the wet mix into the dry mix, stirring together until just mixed together.

Grease a baking sheet, and place the dough (it will be very wet) on to the middle of the tray and make into a 10” wide disk. Use the last Tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle on dough.

Carefully cut the dough into 8 pieces, leaving them in place. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Recut the pieces and separate ½ and inch away from each other and place back in oven to bake until golden brown, about 5 more minutes.

Let cool slightly and eat!!

I love you Michael!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winter is Coming!!! 2013/2014!!

Winter is almost upon us! Though it technically does not start until the 21st...who cares about that! It starts the beginning of December when we want it to!

It is my best friend Casey's birthday, Michael's bday, our friend Rory's bday, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years...oh my!!!!

We will be making tasty treats, rich decadent dishes, small plates, everything your little heart desires!