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Appetizers anyone can make

Appetizers anyone can make
Figs stuffed with parmesan and wrapped in bacon

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Marshmallows for sale ? Hmmm.....

Hey everyone, well wow, it's been so busy- I said I was back and haven't blogged a bit yet.
        I am considering selling some of my baked goods here, what do you think? 

In particular, I am considering starting with selling some homemade coconut marshmallows, they are quite yummy, and they even work with a flame to them, like at the campfire, in a s'more too (that's a graham cracker, chocolate bar, and melted marshmallow).  I thought I might even pre-brulee them, or toast them if you will and sell them here. 

If that appeals to any of you out there, let me know....I think it would be a fun addition to my blog.


Have an amazing day !

Chef Christy Salmans

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm back

Hey everyone, well it's been a long year, moved to LA, trying new recipes, a lot to share.  And my store is back, please find some great buys, often with no shipping costs, and some hard to find kitchen and cooking essentials.

I'll put up some new pics and recipes soon.  This summer made some mango ripple ice cream and some bing cherry ice cream-it's hot here.

Talk with you all soon,
 Chef Christy 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New California Law/Amazon/Commission Junction just put me out of business :(

Well, S#(&  !!,

Due to california new sales tax law, amazon has ended all CA affiliates, bummer & Apparently Commission Junction is a scam :(

I was happy to have found some unique finds for your ease in finding/purchasing, and all that is now wasted energy.

So much for my stores,  I will try and find new legitimate sources and continue to blog until then.

Thanks for your support,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream using Coffee Cans

Homemade Ice Cream using Coffee Cans, and no ice cream maker is needed.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutesIngredients:

•1 1-pound coffee can with lid

•1 3-pound coffee can with lid

•1 pint of half and half (milk can be used instead)

•1 egg, beaten (optional)

•1/2 cup sugar

•1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, or 1/4 cup of strawberries


Add all of the above ingredients to the 1 pound coffee can; mix well. Put the lid on the coffee can and secure with duct tape. Place the 1 pound coffee can into the 3 pound coffee can. Surround with crushed ice and rock salt and place the lid onto the 3 pound coffee can.

Have your kids sit on the ground and roll back and forth 3 to 4 feet apart. Roll for 8 to 10 minutes. (The kids can kick the can back and forth as well.)

Check to see if the ice cream is hard; if it isn't, replace the lid, add more ice and rock salt. Roll for another 8 mins.

Remove the lid to the 1 pound can and serve in bowls.

Serves 4-6 people.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Authentic Italian Restaurant I love in Newport Beach, CA

Found an Authentic Italian Restaurant I love in Newport Beach, California, USA
Wow, this place was so delicious.  Actually, I've been driving by this little restaurant for years, and found them online and thought we'd give it a try, so glad we did.  It is a small quaint restaurant located at the address shown below.   They have 3 locatioins, but we went to the one in Newport Beach. From what I understand they can get pretty busy, so for the ease of trying it, I suggest you go early for dinner.

They make their own pasta and you can tell, it's done perfectly. The place has comfortable seating, and friendly staff and front of house.

The day we went was Sunday at about 5pm.  My husband and I hadn't eaten all day, so we thought we'd experiment and try a few different things.  We orderred 3 appetizers and 2 entrees.

The appetizers we tried were:
18month aged prochuitto served with arugula and olives with warm bread;
caprese salad with fresh mozorrella;
butternut squash ravioli,

and our entrees were
Tortelli Carni- a toretelli stuffed with braised beef in a cream sauce;
and my husband tried the
Penne Funghi E Salsicce-pasta with sausage, porchini mushrooms, arugula cream sauce.

You start your meal with a nice herbed olive oil along with warm bread when you arrive. The herb mix is delicious and we had seconds.

18month aged prochuitto served with arugula and olives with warm bread-
Their 18mo old aged prochuitto is the best prochuitto I've ever eaten, tasty and surprised me that it went so well with the arugula.

Caprese salad with fresh mozorrella-Mozarella is made fresh, you can taste the difference, perhaps could use a little more salt, but yummy Served with nice roma tomatoes, and basil.  Nice refreshing fresh salad.

Butternut squash ravioli- this was served with fried sage leaves in browed butter.  DO Not pass on these, oh my.  I had put mine aside viewing it as a garnish, and was convinced to give it a try, and so so glad I did, they almost taste like an herbed bacon.  Fried sage leaves, hmm, who knew?  The pasta was made fresh and delicious but it was a little sweet for my taste. When I make butternut squash ravioli I tend to go more savory. However, it was still good, and when I added some of the herb mixture from the table it was really good.

 Last night, I tried these at home with sage leaves from my herb garden, and had the same success my first try, I'm so happy.  And now I have some sage browned butter for a dish tonight to play with.

  I served them on top of a vegetable salad of iceberg lettuce, avocado, roma tomatoes, and zucchini, and served with artichoke and parmesan in phyllo, and teriyaki chicken leg. 


entrees were
Tortelli Carni- a toretelli stuffed with braised beef in a cream sauce-probably that I orderred too much food, and the portions are nice, but I was getting full by the time my main course arrived.  It is a rich dish, but good braised beef flavor in a delicious sauce with homemade pasta tortellinis.

and my husband tried the
Penne Funghi E Salsicce-pasta with sausage, porchini mushrooms, arugula cream sauce.  He loved his entree as well, he has eaten a lot of differnt types of sausages, bratwursts, etc, and really liked their sausages, saying it tasted homemade as well.  The porchini mushrooms added to both of our entrees flavor making it a meal to remember and a restaurant I am anxious to try a second time. 

If you live in Orange County, California, I urge you to not miss this gem as I did for so long-it's worth the trip.  Oh, and the best part, ok 2nd to the food, is their prices are good and reasonable.  So enjoy.

As a note to the restaurant-As a foodie, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of having tried some delicious new foods, got my mind thinking creatively for my home cooking, and I have a new restaurant, thanks for a delicious meal.


The below information between the lines was taken from their site.  I hope they don't mind as this will easily be a glowing review.
Cucina ALESSÁ - Newport Beach

6700 W. Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Tel: (949) 645-2148

Open hours:
Sun-Thursday 11:00AM - 10PM
Fri-Sat 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM

Breakfast will be served on
weekends at 8:00 AM

Other questions please call
Alessandro Pirozzi
Tel: 949-680-8010

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lime Cream Pie with walnut crust and candied lime and peel

Lime Cream Pie 
                       with walnut crust and candied lime and zest

Ingredients for crust :

1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup walnuts

Ingredients for topping:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 tsp lime peel, zested
2 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Directions for topping:
Mix all topping ingredients in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Pour onto the 1/2 baked crust and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Making the Crust
Cut the butter into smaller cubes. Add to the flour and powdered sugar in a clean bowl.

Start to work with your hands or a pastry blender. You are looking for the butter to spread out into the flour and sugar mixture and start to form a ball of dough. It will seem too dry at first, do not add water. Keep mixing until almost together.

Add the walnuts. You can chop them ahead of time, but I find just breaking them up with my hands as I knead it works fine.
Once the nuts are in, it really starts to form a nice ball.

Spray 9" spring form pan with non stick spray or grease the pan with margarine. Take your ball of crust dough, and press over bottom. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. When done, add the topping and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes, let cool in pan for about an hour on a cooling rack.

Then mix up some whipping cream, approximately 1 1/2 cups with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 tbsp of lime juice.  When nice and whipped, stir in some lime zest.
Add to the top of the crust and filling you have already created.  Let firm up in the refrigerator for several hours-3-4 hours if possible.  Remove the ring from the spring form pan,  and place the *sugared lime pieces on top.

*Take some lime slices, very thin, or lime supremes, and some of the zest, roll around in some granulated sugar and put in the refrigerator until pie is set.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie

 Serve cut fancy
or rustic, your choice

Ingredients for filling: 
1 1/3 pound of ground beef (I like the 15% fat beef)
1/2 sweet onion-chopped
1 shallot-chopped
4 ounce can of diced green chilies
2-15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
8 ounce can of garbanzo beans
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp salt
1/4-1/2  tsp pepper
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp dill
l 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp onion flake
1 tbsp oregano leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1-2 sereno chilies diced (optional-if you like it hot)
olive oil

Ingredients for the topping:
1 3/8 cup flour
5/8 cup of corn meal
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar

First, prepare the filling.  It's basically a chili recipe but a little different.  Since it is topped with a corn bread mixture, I have lessened the beans to adjust so that there is not too much starch.

Start by heating up your dutch oven or saucepan, add some olive oil, and saute the onions, and shallots.  When caramelized after a couple of minutes, add the ground beef.  Stir and turn until brown, add the other ingredients for the filling.  Bring to a low boil, and turn down heat, and simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  The longer you simmer, the more development of flavor.

Then cool for 20 minutes.  Fill up your baking dish about 2/3 of the way with the filling.   I then put into the refrigerator covered with cling wrap.  My husband works varying hours so I often prepare ahead, and cook later when he arrives home.

Next prepare your topping.  I would recommend if making everything ahead of time, that you wait until the last minute to put the topping on the filling, just before placing in the oven.  The topping will stay nice in the refrigerator for hours after the topping is mixed.

Start by soaking the cornmeal in the milk for about 15 minutes, this will take out some of the hard crystals in the cornmeal.  Next mix up the rest of the ingredients for the cornbread topping.  This is an easy mix, you can do so by hand.  Cover with cling wrap and put into the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Spoon out the cornbread topping onto the chili base prepared earlier.  Try to spread it out
some what evenly as you spoon it out.  It should fill it perfectly. 

Bake at 400 degrees F for 35 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes. 

You can use a ring mold to cut it and make it pretty, or it is also very good just served rustic.  It was yummy.


Vegetable souffles

Souffles-5 kinds

 Parmesan and Sharp Cheddar Souffle
 Cauliflower and Cheddar Souffle
 Mixed Summer Squash, and Cheddar Souffle
 2 Souffles-1 zucchini, and 1 corn off the cob

Cheese Souffle 
This can be made me many kinds of additions:
Vegetable Souffles-Zucchini, Corn, Mushroom, Cauliflower, whatever you like
1/4c (1/2 cube) margarine or butter
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
dash of red pepper-opt
l cup milk
l cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs, separated into the yolks and whites
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
    Heat oven to 350 degrees F. butter ( or use a good spray) a 4 cup souffle dish or 1 quart casserole, even 4 smaller souffles can be made.  Make a 4 inch band of alum foil and butter one side and place, buttered side in, around the dish, securing at the top.  (this will keep in the mix as it rises.)  Next you'll make the rue.  Heat margarine in 2qt saucepan over low to med heat until melted. Stir in the flour, salt, mustard and red pepper.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly (maybe a min or two)- then remove from heat and add the milk.  A whisk works best. Return to the heat and boil and stir l minute.  You'll see it start to thicken, stir in the cheese until melted, remove from the heat.  Beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon colored, about 3 minutes, stir into the cheese mixture.  **
Clean out the bowl so no yolks are remaining.  Then dry and add egg whites and cream of tartar to bowl and beat on high speed until stiff but not dry.    Take about a 1/4 of the egg whites and add to the cheese and egg yolk mixture to lighten it up.  Then carefully transfer cheese mix to a bowl for folding. Then add the whites.  You are trying to keep the air in it.  Folding is a way of mixing that you take a spatula or large spoon into the center of the bowl and stir to side of bowl & lift it up and mix over to the top of the mix, spin bowl a little and do again until completely mixed.  When you're through, carefully pour into your prepared dishes. Bake uncovered until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean.  I usually don't test mine so they don't deflate, cook 50-55 minutes-yummy, and serve immediately.  You'll want to look in on it, but try to resist at least the first 20-30 minutes, the oven remaining a constant temp. is crucial.  (I have this with Thanksgiving dinner often)
** This is a super versatile recipe.  You can change it for your own preferences.  I like cheddar cheese, it has enough flavor to hold up-any cheese should be ok.  Also I often add grated raw zucchini just before the egg white are added or fresh corn off the cob etc.  They cook well and taste great.  Note-they will rise up higher without the vegetables added, especially those containing a lot of moisture like zucchini but the taste is awesome and the texture is very nice.
** Do Ahead TIP : This can be made ahead of time.  Don't do the egg white and cream of tartar until the last min. but the cheese mixture and veg can be done ahead and refrigerated.  Simply remove from fridge about l5 min to bring to room temperature and you're good to go./ Let me know how they turned out for you.

Chicken Pot Pie

 Chicken Pot Pie

-3-4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs ( or any leftover roasted chicken or poultry.)
-l/2 head of garlic (or several cloves)-this is optional if you like garlic-roasted-explain later
-carrots, peeled and chopped into bite size pieces
-celery cut into bite size pieces
-onion cut into bite size pieces ( I like sweet onion)
-Green giant frozen baby peas
-homemade crust or-(my quick version is ready made crust by Pillsbury-roll out kind-great every time and easy )  I do prefer homemade crust, I'll put that recipe up another time, but this recipe has a lot of steps, so I often use the already made kind for this recipe.
-l/4 cup of margarine or butter
-1/4 cup of flour
-1-2cups of milk ( I usually use the 2% we have on hand)
if you want a white sauce-use milk,for a chicken stock- use chicken bullion-l cube or 1 tsp per cup of water.
-salt, pepper, (optional-garlic powder, dill, rosemary-maybe 1/2 tsp of each)
-1 egg

ok now, each of these steps can be done differently, but this is my best recipe. I watched a test kitchen show I love and then tried it this way, much better.
If your crust is frozen, (it freezes fine), defrost at room temperature for a few hours, if refrigerated, ready to go.
Chicken is much better when not cooked in the liquid.
Roast chicken in the oven. If skinless, boneless chicken thighs, 375 for 30-40 minutes should be good, until the juices run clear and not red-ish. When done, cut into bite size pieces. If  leftover chicken etc. just cut up and you're ready with that ingredient.

Garlic can be roasted at 375, but I suggest my usual for it.350 degrees for 35 minutes. Take the head of garlic, cut off the top leaving each clove with an open top side. On top, 1 tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. (again, dill and garlic powder are a nice add). When done, grab with a paper towel from bottom end and gently pop the garlic out. I have pics of garlic heads and cloves in my recipe pics.

Clean and cut your vegetables into bite size pieces.
Then saute them in a fry pan until almost done-stick a fork in one and eat it, if almost done. stop, that part is ready.
Meanwhile take out the frozen pea package to the counter to soften a little, these will go in no cooking first.  Fresh peas are very good too. 

Next we make the sauce or gravy. In a pinch- Franco American canned gravy is ok but here is another good way.
Melt the butter and add the flour, (making a rue), stir and cook 1 minute. Add the milk or the stock liquid and whisk or stir until no lumps and it thickens. At this stage you can add salt, pepper, garlic powder, dill, rosemary.

ok, now we're ready to assemble. Not necessary, but I prefer to non-stick spray my pie pan, then unroll l of the pieces of dough. Place in bottom of pan (if you want a bottom crust). Place a little bit of the sauce in the bottom, Then scatter a little bit of each of the ingredients so that all served get some of each of the items. cover with remaining sauce. Then place the top crust on.  To be pretty, pinch the dough every inch or so between your fingers. Then slit the top a couple of times to let it vent. You can refrigerator at this state and cook later in the eve.-do it all the time.  Baste with an egg wash on the crust for extra nice browning (optional). Stir the egg a little, then brush on the crust. Then cook at 425 for 45-50 min. until crust is golden brown. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes
 Served with baked chicken and baked asparagus

 2  large potatoes, salt, pepper, rosemary, olive oil, butter
 Wash potatoes and slice lengthwise in thirds.  No need to peel them, the best nutrients are in the skin of vegetables often.
 Cut the 2 smaller ends into 2 and the centers into 3 strips. Place onto a baking pan.
You now have perfect large wedge cut fries for roasting if you prefer.

chop into chunks,    salt,                     pepper,                   rosemary,           olive oil, and      2-3 tbsp butter.
Baked for 35-45 minutes  at 350 degrees F until brown and crisp outside and soft inside.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why buy Kosher salt if you're not Jewish? or Popcorn salt if you don't eat popcorn?

Why buy Kosher salt if you're not Jewish?  and 
     Why buy Popcorn salt if you don't eat popcorn?

    Well this was a new one for me that I learned on accident.  I have been buying Kosher salt for years for the difference in taste and the larger crystals of salt that add some interest to some recipes. 

I recently purchased some popcorn salt by mistake.  I haven't actually ever bought it before, and was trying to just buy regular morton's table salt. 

Well, for starters, it is much, much smaller crystals that regular salt.  Don't do what I did and put it into your usual salt shaker as it will almost pour out-oops.  Luckily it wasn't done over what I was cooking so nothing was ruined. 

Courser larger crystals of salt in the Kosher salt are nice for adding on top of dishes last minute as they are being served where you want to taste the salt a bit. 

Regular table salt I use in quite a few recipes, disolves well, etc.

Popcorn salt is super fine powdered salt.  It adhears well to popcorn, fries, etc., and sticks well to the dishes.

NOTE:  A teaspoon of table salt contains more salt than a tablespoon of Kosher or sea salt.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Store now has 1000's of new items !

Store now has 1000's of new items !
Check it out, every spice, rare herbs and vegetables, vegan, kosher, ethnic specialties, and ready made treats.  You can get it all here.
I included some of my favorite cookbooks that I have used
and abused over the years with kitchen splatters-oops. 

Strawberry Ice Cream

 Strawberry Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups cream
2 1/2 cups milk ( I use 2% fat)
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 pint strawberries-remove tops, and slice and chop into small pieces- 2 cups
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions Mix the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a fork to squish the berries, and allow the berries to macerate for 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and milk. Add the maserated strawberry mixture. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions.

Pork Botana, soft and crunchy tacos

 Pork Botana Tacos, with pork shoulder
 I served the pork as homemade tacos including lime, Roma tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar cheese and a new way to make your tortillas both soft and crunchy and lower calorie at the same time.
Playing with garam masala spice again. :)/ Also found a new way to have fried shells without the frying.
I am making my usual pork botana, but added garam masala, smells yummy.
Botana is basically a braised pork and then it is baked on high heat for a few to crisp up some of the edges. I'm serving with lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and lime as pork tacos.
  • 4-5 pound pork shoulder (can be made with pork loin, but shoulder holds up to the oven baking at the end better. Besides, you remove the extra fat at the end anyway, so why not get some of the flavor
  • 1-lime
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • lettuce
  • cheddar cheese-1-2 cups 
  • tortillas-a new way to make your tortillas
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4-7 cups of chicken broth-enough to cover roast in liquid (Note: some stock powers contain msg)2 tbsp onion flake
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • l tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garam marsala
  • 1-4 ounce can of diced green peppers
 This is a large spice ball. I use it for bay leaves and other whole spices.  That way you get the flavor and don't have to fish them out of the broth.
Add 4 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs and herb ball, all the pork, and enough extra stock to almost cover the pork. Cover and bring to a lower boil, simmer.  Simmer for 3-3 1/2 hours until meat easily pulls apart. 
Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the braising liquid         Discard the fat.
onto a baking pan.  Use a fork the pull the meat apart a little, and
remove the fat.
  Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees, and bake for 25 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, prepare and place the tortillas in the oven to crisp.

I found a new way to "fry" my tortillas. For years it's been, what do we want, soft
tacos or crisp? and had to decide. This is cool as it's both.

Brush both sides of your tortilla (flour shown), and place into a taco holder (oven safe holder) and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.  They end up soft taco like on the bottom, and crispy along the tops, a super nice compromise, gets you both tastes.
Cheddar Cheese,    Limes,           Roma Tomatoes,  Sour Cream with Pepper and Dill

 Lettuce or cabbage adds a nice green too.  
Pork Botana                                                                                 Finished Botana tacos.
Taco Bar