Friday, July 31, 2015

“Egg & Spinach Salad with Lemon/Pepper Dressing” & “Raspberry and Peach Crisp” & “Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Mojito” All For “National Culinary Arts” Month

The month of July is over and today is the last day. Wow, July just flew by, but we have one more event to talk about. July is “National Culinary Arts” Month. “National Culinary Arts” promotes awareness of professional cooks, chefs and their contributions to the culinary world of excellence. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. The world of Culinary Arts not only consists of creating delicious dishes, but also the use of kitchen utensils, tools, and equipment that must be associated with preparation of the recipes.  

My “Foodie” experiences started when I was a young girl……I would always watch my mom prepare and cook dinner. My job was always to set the table, quite boring. As I got older I would help my mom prepare the food by prepping
 vegetables or fixing the salad, but that would not due either. I desperately wanted to be taught how to create such mouth watering dishes. So, then I became more curious about cooking and wanted to learn more. That is when my mom started to teach me about how to cook certain recipes. My mother and grandmothers' taught me the basic instructions of cooking and baking. They said that baking was a science and you had to follow the recipe as written. When you cook you can be more creative by adding a little of this or that. Buying the correct tools and equipment are extremely important to create wonderful and tasty recipes.

I received my first cookbook from my mom in 1974. It was the same cookbook that we used at home when I was a young girl. She wrote in it and it said, “Enjoy! Be happy in your kitchen as I am in mine, Love Mom.” For those of you wondering what cookbook it was, “Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook” revised edition 1971. Her copy was from 1948 which was the first printing of the cookbook.  As the years went by and I became a wife and mother I learned how to improve my skills by still watching my mom, plus cooking shows, and reading recipes in cookbooks. This month is the perfect time to try your hand at cooking! Here are some helpful tips for beginning your own Chef’s kitchen and the tools that you need.

Buy basic equipment invest in a good set of sharp knives, my friend Rossella Rago from “Cooking With Nonna” has a fabulous set of knives that I have personally have purchased and use all the time. They are extremely sharp and are a good price. If you are interested click on this link,Cooking With Nonna Knives” and you will not be disappointed. Then there are sturdy pots, pans, and a set of glass baking dishes that will have to add to your kitchen equipment. You will also need measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons. A food processor and an electric mixer will come in handy as you learn the ins and outs of food preparation. You will also need some wooden spoons, a wire whisk, a few spatulas, a vegetable peeler, a pastry brush, a grater, a cutting board, and a strainer just to name a few. The inventory of tools and equipment are countless, but as you learn to advance in your cooking techniques you can always add to your collection. 

Familiarize yourself with cooking terms such as poaching, braising, roasting, grilling, and par boiling. Again these are just some examples that you will need to learn. You can use cookbooks for research and also an online cooking dictionary. “You Tube” is also a good way to learn the correct terms to use for your preparation of special dishes, especially if there are tutorials. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of cooking classes being given in your neighborhood such as in schools or libraries. Look at cookbooks and read them; sometimes they supply you with “Cooking 101” information that would be extremely helpful for you.

But most of all make your cooking and baking experience fun! If you make a mistake, just try again. Every inspiring cook or baker needs assistance, so ask help from your family, friends, and even your children. Chopping, cutting, and dicing are how they learn. So put on your apron and get out your knife and start chopping to create your next flavorful meal as the master chef of your own kitchen.

One of my recipes this week starts out with a very easy and light dish especially on these dog days of summer. “Egg & Spinach Salad with Lemon/Pepper Dressing” But it is not just for summer, you can enjoy this salad with its light lemony flavor all year round.  Then we have a “Raspberry and Peach Crisp” It can be served for breakfast, brunch and for a decadent dessert. I obtained this recipe from, “The Taste of Home” which you can find online. You can substitute any small fruit if you are not fond of peaches and raspberries. This is a perfect Summer time treat and you can create this in 35 minutes. I also have added a recipe for a refreshing cool drink which is a “Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Mojito.” This will be a lovely cocktail that you can add to your meal. I hope that you enjoy your new recipes and I’m sure that your taste buds will be dancing as you taste each dish.

Egg & Spinach Salad with Lemon/Pepper Dressing”

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: Makes 10 (1-cup) servings

1/2 cup of Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of Vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of Lemon pepper seasonings
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2-3 slices crumbed cooked bacon
2-3 chopped hard-cooked eggs
1small red onion sliced thin
2 packages (5-6 oz each) of Spinach leaves
1cup of croutons (optional)

Mix olive oil, vinegar, sugar, and lemon/pepper seasoning in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Toss spinach, mushrooms, crumbled cooked bacon, chopped hard cooked eggs, red onions sliced, and croutons in large bowl. Serve with dressing.

Raspberry and Peach Crisp

Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6 people

5 medium ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 cup of fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup thawed apple juice concentrate

1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of quick cooking oats
1/3 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,
1/4 cup of cold butter
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Combine peaches and raspberries in a greased 2 qt baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger and apple juice concentrate until smooth, drizzle over fruit. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit. Bake, uncovered at 375 ° for 30-35 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbly. You can serve this warm and top with vanilla ice cream or serve cold. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, but I guarantee there may not be any leftovers with this exquisite summer treat!! 

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach combines European raspberries and red peaches from Ardèche in the South of France, which are blended with Grand Marnier’s signature orange essence and premium-quality cognacs sourced from the Cognac region and aged in French oak barrels.

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Mojito

2oz Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup (1:1 water to sugar)
Handful of mint leaves
5 fresh raspberries
Club soda

Muddle mint and raspberries in shaker. Add ingredients except for the club soda and shake. Pour into a Collins glass and top with club soda. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Makes: 1 cocktail

(Please Drink Responsibly!)

Till next time……..

Copyright © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. I love reading the personal stories that accompany your recipes. :-) That's quite interesting how your family believed that cooking is more creative than baking. I myself prefer baking, and while I consider myself to be fairly creative, I also have a scientific/logical mind. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Audra,
      Thanks for your lovely comment. I also prefer baking that is my forte. But cooking is important as well. You have to have the whole package to be a good cook/baker. So glad that you enjoy my stories...Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.
      Dottie :)

  2. Interesting post, Dottie! I remember those days of setting the table and wanting to do more. The salad and all looks delicious! Thanks for the recipes and have a good week!

    1. Hi Pam,
      So glad to see you visiting. Thanks for your comment. Yes, those days are long gone now but I will always have memories of my mom in the kitchen. Glad you liked the recipes....enjoy your week ahead as well...
      Dottie :)

  3. Wow it is nice to read how your mum taught you how to cook and I love the fact that she felt that it was a science...indeed it is! And she is right as for some recipes you need to follow them correctly. Sometimes when I feel lazy I don't and they don't always turn out well. You cannot be creative all the time.
    I love your recipes particularly the peach mojito. I am eating so many peaches at the moment. Can you find many where you are?
    All the best! Ciao!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thanks for your comment...yes, these stories are memories that will never be lost. I can relate with you, I have done the same thing at times and the recipes have never come out the same. Mum's do know best! I know what you mean peaches are all over the stores and markets here as well. August is peach month after all. I will be doing a blog post on peaches within the next few weeks. I love them and so does my family. Have a good week dear friend......
      Ciao x :).

  4. Dear Dottie, I loved cooking with my mom and my dad. They were such good cooks and never really made the same dish exactly the same way twice. There always was a twist, perhaps because of the local fresh ingredients.
    They were the best memories; cooking.
    Love the dish for a nice light and delicious dinner.
    Hope you are feeling a bit better, the weather should be better. hugs, xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Good to hear from you and thank you for your comment. I am glad that I was able to bring back some beautiful memories for you. Yes, cooking and baking was always fun with my parents. My dad used to help bake more than cook. He would do a lot of prepping for my mom, but she was the cook and always used fresh ingredients! Yes, I am feeling better thank you for asking. Have a blessed rest of the week.
      Dottie :)