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Be-Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs w PaprikaBy now you are probably aware that Angostura bitters is my new “go to” food ingredient. I’m in love with the flavor boost it adds to so many foods. I can’t get enough of it. Angostura bitters is an umami of sorts, something like soy sauce or anchovy paste. The flavor is entirely different, but the flavor enhancement it provides is similar. A flavor you can’t quite identify, but you know the dish tastes fabulous — way more interesting than without it.

So, here’s a springtime tradition that takes on a new twist with the addition of Angostura bitters. Similar to my Classic Quiche, bitters brings out the best in eggs – a true flavor enhancer.

Print This Recipe
Be-Deviled Eggs
Prep time: 15 minutes (starting with chilled hard-cooked eggs)
Makes 24 servings 

6       Tbsp. mayonnaise
2       Tbsp. grated pecorino-Romano or other tangy cheese
1        tsp. Angostura aromatic bitters
1        tsp. mustard powder or Dijon mustard (optional)
1/8    tsp. cayenne pepper
12      hard cooked eggs, peeled and halved lengthwise
2        Tbsp. finely diced celery
1        Tbsp. finely chopped green onion
          Salt to taste
          Paprika (optional garnish)

        In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, grated cheese, Angostura bitters, mustard (if using), and cayenne pepper.
        In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, celery and onion. Mash with a fork until crumbly. Stir in mayonnaise mixture. Season with salt to taste, and add more cayenne pepper if desired.
        Spoon into egg-white halves. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition per serving (without mustard):  65.8 calories, 5.5 g fat (1.2 g fat, sat),  95.7mg chol, 3.4g pro, 0.4g carb,  57.4mg sodium, 0g fiber

Try Rosie’s Deviled Potato Eggs  from this time last year!  Be-Deviled Eggs with bitters is an original recipe by Rita Held.
Deviled Eggs

Posted in Appetizers, Rita's Kitchen | 6 Responses

Lentil Burgers with Tangy Dressing

GardenBurgers INational Nutrition Month is zipping by, so perhaps this is a good time to try a different kind of “healthy” burger.  Lentils, together with onion, mushrooms and a splash of soy sauce—all held together with bulgur wheat—make a flavorful combination for these out-of-the-ordinary veggie burgers.  A lentil falafel of sorts.

Lentils and split peas are among my favorite foods.  They are tasty and fast to prepare.  And they are super versatile — think summer salads, winter soups and stews. And lentils are nutritious with a healthy dose of protein, fiber, vitamin B1 and iron.

A bit of lentil background info from the Happy Herbivore blog:  “Technically, lentils are considered a grain legume known as a pulse, which means they are harvested for their seeds. Lentils are small little lens shaped seeds, and come in many different colors. From red to brown to green to black.”

Print This Recipe
Lentil Burgers with Tangy Dressing
Makes 6 burgers (approx 3-1/4 oz. each) or 12 smaller patties
Prep time about 45 minutes

1-1/4  cups water
1/2     cup brown lentils
1/3     cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2     cup bulgur
3        Tbsp. soy sauce
2/3     cup finely chopped crimini or baby bella mushrooms
1/4     cup frozen corn, thawed
4–6   Tbsp. plain dry breadcrumbs

Tangy Dressing  (may be made several days in advance; keep refrigerated)
2/3    cup regular or light mayonnaise
3       Tbsp. Nakano seasoned rice vinegar—roasted garlic or red pepper
1        Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Bring water, lentils and onion to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until lentils are soft. Remove pan from heat; stir in bulgur and soy sauce. Let stand uncovered 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Stir in mushrooms and corn. Add breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time to desired consistency. Mixture should be thick, yet moist.

Form into burgers by pressing mixture firmly together. Lightly coat the palms of your hands with salad oil to make this easier.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat; coat lightly with salad oil or olive oil. Cook burgers 4-5 minutes per side or until heated through. Meanwhile, whisk together mayonnaise, seasoned rice vinegar and mustard. Serve burgers in pita bread with lettuce and dressing.

Per serving (burgers): 120 calories, 7g protein, 24g carb, 5g fiber, 1g fat, (0g sat. fa), 0mg chol, 350mg sodium
Per serving (2 Tbsp. dressing):
160 calories, 0g protein, 1g carb, 0g fiber, 17g fat (2.5g sat. fat), 10mg chol, 270mg sodium

Recipe and photos by Rita Held

Garden Burgers II

Posted in Entrees, Rita's Kitchen, Vegetarian | 7 Responses

Marinara Simmered Meatballs with Raisins

Meatballs with RaisinsI used to decide between browning meatballs in a skillet or in the oven, then fussed over keeping them round, not flat on one side – as if a flat-sided meatball isn’t ok. Then I was at a potluck with chef colleague Linda Carucci who served her favorite meatballs that she never fries or bakes. What? She always cooks them in the sauce. Simply use a lean ground beef or turkey (I prefer the lean turkey, not white turkey meat which can be too dry), then simmer in a marinara sauce. For this recipe I added raisins, in southern Italian style for a sweet surprise with tangy tomatoes.  You can use your favorite meatball recipe –meatball recipes tend to be personal– and just add a handful of raisins. Some pine nuts too if you want to be more Italian. The best part is no browning or baking and no extra pans to wash! Serve on top of spaghetti or tuck in a sandwich roll.
Print This Recipe

Marinara Simmered Meatballs with Raisins

Makes 4-5 servings
Prep time: 10  minutes   Cook time: 25 minutes

1-1/4  pounds lean ground turkey or beef
1/2     cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
1/4     cup grated Parmesan cheese
3         tablespoons finely minced onion
2         tablespoons chopped parsley
1-2     slices firm white bread, crumbled (1 cup)
1         egg
1/4     teaspoon garlic powder
1/4     teaspoon ground black pepper
1         jar (24 oz.) prepared marinara sauce *Or Linda’s Ten-Minute Tomato Sauce

Combine all ingredients except marinara in a bowl. Mix well with a spoon or hands.

Shape meat into 1-1/2-inch balls, to make 16 meatballs.

Heat marinara sauce in a medium  (about 4 quart-size) saucepan. Place meatballs in the sauce; they should be in a single layer and mostly covered with sauce. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat 20-25 minutes or until done, gently turning meatballs once or twice so they cook evenly.

Serve with pasta or on a French roll sandwich.

Original recipe by Rosemary Mark for Sun-Maid. Photography and styling by Kelly Burgoyne.

*Linda’s Ten-Minute Tomato Sauce
From Linda’s book Cooking School Secrets from Real World Cooks

28 ounces Pomi or S&W brand peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes with their juices
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 sprig basil
1 clove garlic, smashed gently with the side of a chef knife and peeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fine, freshly ground black pepper

Puree the tomatoes and their juices in a food mill, blender, or food processor, just until there are no chunks. 

In a non-reactive 6-quart Dutch oven or saucepan, bring the tomatoes to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and cook at a steady simmer, uncovered, until the puree has thickened to a sauce consistency (thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon and retain the track of your finger after you drag your finger across the spoon), 3 to 5 minutes. 

Slowly stir in the olive oil. Add the basil, garlic, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add meatballs and cook as above.
You can find Linda teaching at Ramekins in Sonoma and Draeger’s Cooking School.

Posted in Entrees, Rosie's Kitchen | 4 Responses

Cornbread (or muffins) with Bitters

Cornbread with BittersIt’s wintertime and the baking is easy. It certainly appeals to Rosie and me, which is why this is our third-in-a-row recipe using muffin tins — or an 8×8 baking pan!  See Rosie’s pepper jack popovers and my bran muffins.
This cornbread recipe is my go-to favorite, for corn muffins too.  Lightly sweetened, low fat, rather crunchy.  Angostura bitters adds a distinctive, rich flavor.  Similar to the biscuits I developed, Angostura bitters brings depth that takes this cornbread beyond routine.  Use a cornbread mix if you like; just stir Angostura into the liquid ingredients.  That’s what makes the difference here.

Print This Recipe
Cornbread with Cranberries & Angostura Bitters 

Makes 9 cornbread servings, or 12-15 muffins
Prep time: 10-12 minutes    Bake time: 25–30 minutes

1-1/3  cup all-purpose flour
1-1/3  cup cornmeal, medium-grind
4        Tbsp. sugar
2        tsp. baking powder
1        tsp. baking soda
1/2     teaspoon salt
1/2     cup (rounded) dried cranberries
1-1/2  cup buttermilk,* room temperature
3        large eggs, room temperature
3        Tbsp. butter, melted (4 Tbsp. for muffins)
2       tsp. Angostura aromatic bitters or Angostura orange bitters

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients with a wire whisk (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt). Stir in cranberries, breaking up berries with your fingers, if needed.

In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, butter and Angostura. Add to flour mixture, stirring gently until moistened. Pour into pan; let rest 5 minutes. Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

* Kitchen Notes: 

  • No buttermilk on hand? Powdered cream of tartar is a good buttermilk substitute. For this recipe, whisk 2-1/4 tsp cream of tartar into the dry ingredients; use whole milk instead of buttermilk. OR… Stir 4-1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice into whole milk; let stand 10 minutes for milk to curdle. A bit of acidity will be apparent in the cornbread flavor.
  • If you’re short on time to let buttermilk and eggs come to room temperature, immerse unbroken eggs in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes; microwave buttermilk on medium power for 1 minute. Or, vigorously whisk melted butter into cold buttermilk, then whisk in eggs and Angostura.
  • Brands of cornmeal vary; some are more flour-y than others which affects the texture of the cornbread.
  • If using Jiffy cornbread mix, use two boxes and follow package directions.
  • Use 1/3 cup sugar if you like cornbread on the sweeter side. Don’t have cranberries on hand? Use raisins or currants, or chop up other dried fruits.
  • If using a glass 8×8 baking dish, bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until tests done.
  • Recipe makes 15 muffins. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes. Muffins will be lighter than cornbread made in a 8×8 pan. If you want more moist muffins, use 4 tablespoons butter.

Nutrition information per serving (9) for cornbread: 259 calories, 6.6g fat (3.2g sat fat), 73.8mg chol, 7.2g protein, 43.3g carb, 2.3g fiber, 451mg sodium
                                                          Recipe and photos by Rita Held for Angostura USA

Corn Muffins with Angostura bitters

corn muffins

Posted in Breads, Rita's Kitchen | 4 Responses

Quick Pepper Jack Popovers

Pepper Jack Popovers

When Safeway held their 8th annual Art of Dairy contest last year – an art contest for high school students -  I was asked to create Lucerne dairy recipes to support the contest.  I thought of recipes that would appeal to teenagers, like Quick Double-Cheesy Pizza or Creamy Tomato Penne Pasta Bake, and  these peppery-hot cheesy popovers. Popovers take just 10 minutes to stir together. They are similar to a cream puff pastry but without the creamy filling. Pepper Jack cheese makes these popovers a savory variation to serve in place of dinner rolls, or for a spicy snack, or with a hot bowl of soup like Rita’s Sherried Mushroom Soup on a rainy day. Maybe if we cook for rainy weather we’ll get some moisture here in California!

Print This Recipe
Pepper Jack Popovers  

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 popovers

1        cup all-purpose flour
6        ounces (1-1/2 cups) Lucerne Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
1/2     teaspoon salt
Pinch  cayenne pepper
1        cup milk
2        eggs
3        tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine flour, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl.  Stir in milk and eggs until mixture is well blended.

Divide butter between 12 muffin cups (scant teaspoon per muffin cup). Place pan in preheated oven for 3-5 minutes until hot and butter is melted. (This helps the popovers puff up). Remove pan from oven and tip  to coat bottoms and sides of muffin cups with butter. Or use a brush to evenly butter muffin cups.

Pour 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup while pan is still hot. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese evenly over batter-filled cups.

Bake 25-30 minutes until popovers are puffed and well browned. Remove from oven and let stand 1 minute. Run a table knife around edges and lift popovers out of pan. Serve hot.

Kitchen Notes:
- No need to use a special popover pan. A regular muffin pan works fine.
- Popovers need to be baked thoroughly so the center is cooked and the outside is crispy.
- If the pan is dark metal the popovers may bake a darker brown.
- The popovers freeze super well in a zip-top bag. Reheat in oven or toaster oven until thawed and hot.

 Recipe by Rosemary Mark. Photo by Safeway.

Posted in Breads, Rosie's Kitchen | 7 Responses

Uber Cranberry-Nut Bran Muffins

Cranberry Nut Bran MuffinsUber! Yes, super healthy and tasty. Every fall or winter I make a double batch of these muffins. I love the light molasses flavor with a bit of cranberry tang. The muffins have no added fat and are an excellent source of fiber—approximately 4.5g per muffin. The total fat per muffin is 3.3g which comes from the buttermilk, egg, nuts and whole wheat flour. And these muffins freeze well. I wrap them individually and place in large freezer bags, keeping 2-3 muffins in the fridge. On cold winter mornings, I pop one in the toaster oven for a few minutes, then savor the crisp exterior and soft inside.  My inspiration for this recipe came years ago from local colleague and prolific cookbook author, Lou Seibert Pappas.

Print This Recipe
Cranberry-Nut Bran Muffins

Makes 15 medium muffins

1-3/4  cups wheat bran
1         cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1         cup whole wheat flour
1/2      cup packed brown sugar
1-1/2   teaspoons baking soda
1/2      teaspoon salt
1/2      teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2        cups low fat buttermilk
1/4     cup molasses
1         large egg

1-1/4  cups (6 oz.) frozen cranberries* or blueberries (do not thaw)
1/2     cup chopped dates or other dried fruit* (currants, dried plums, figs)
1/2     cup toasted walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, chopped

- Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease muffin pans.
- In a large bowl, combine bran, flours, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Blend thoroughly with a wire whisk, breaking up clumps of sugar with your fingers if needed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses and egg; set aside.
- Prepare and measure fruit and nuts. Stir into flour mixture.
- Add buttermilk mixture and stir until just blended.
- Drop batter into each muffin cup, filling to the brim.  Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes our clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove muffins to a rack to cool, or serve warm.

* Kitchen Notes:
Dried fruit:  Use more or less dried fruit, adjusting the frozen berries accordingly. The total should be about 2 cups fruit.  If using more dried fruit than cranberries, add a bit more buttermilk or muffins will be dry.  I use scissors to cut up large dried fruit.

Cranberries:  If using all frozen cranberries (no dried fruit) use 2/3 cup brown sugar. Large cranberries may measure 1-1/2 cups; just keep it close to 6 oz.
Buttermilk: This can be higher fat; it doesn’t matter. Low-fat cultured buttermilk varies from 2.5g to 4g fat per 1/2 cup.  Be sure to add perhaps 1/4 cup more buttermilk if using more than 1/2 cup dried fruit; this also depends on how dry the dried fruit is.
                                      Original recipe by Lou Pappas and adapted by Rita.  Photos by Rita.

Cranberry Muffins out of the oven

Posted in Breads, Rita's Kitchen | 7 Responses

Merry Pepperminty Espressos

peppermint espresso

Peppermint ice cream makes a festive dessert or afternoon treat in a hurry.  Just brew hot coffee, even instant espresso will do just fine, and top with a scoop of sweet peppermint ice cream. Peppermint ice cream is usually available seasonally, so look for it now and enjoy. And there are lots more recipes here like Holiday Drum Cake, Peppermint Ornaments and Pink Peppermint Soda  that I developed for Dreyer’s Ice Cream.

Need a cute kids dessert or party treat?  Make these cute cones with pink peppermint or strawberry ice cream for Santas, and mint chocolate chip for Christmas trees. Use cookie sprinkles, frosting and whipped cream for decorating.  Scoop and frost ahead then freeze, or set up a make-your-own activity for family and guests.  See my tips in the instructions below, and try your own creative decorations.  Serve right away of course, as these frosty treats won’t wait!

Styled beautifully for photography.

Styled beautifully for photography.

Styled in my kitchen for the idea development.

Styled in my kitchen for the idea development.

 Merry Christmas!

Peppermint Ice Cream Espressos

Makes 2

2        servings brewed espresso, about 1/4 cup each
2        tablespoons Kahlua or Amaretto
Dreyer’s SLOW CHURNED® LIGHT Peppermint Ice Cream
Whipped cream
Pour 1/4 cup hot or cool espresso into demitasse cups or aperitif glasses. Add 1 tablespoon Kahlua or Amaretto to each.
Add a small scoop (about 1/4 cup) of peppermint ice cream to espressos. Pipe whipped cream on top and serve immediately.

Peppermint Santas and Christmas Trees

Dreyer’s SLOW CHURNED® LIGHT Peppermint Ice Cream for Santas
Dreyer’s SLOW CHURNED® LIGHT Mint Chip Ice Cream for trees
Flat bottom ice cream cones
Whipped cream in a spray can or pastry bag
Cake decorating frosting tubes
Red candy decorations

Fill bottom of cone with a small amount of ice cream. Place a large scoop, then consecutively smaller scoops towards top of cone. Smooth edges of scoops with a table knife if desired.  Set cone in freezer while scooping others. (A popover pan or cone caddy works well for holding cones.)
For Santa’s face use frosting and decorating tubes to pipe a beard, eyes, and nose on cone.  Pipe whipped cream or frosting around cone edge and top of ice cream.
For Christmas tree pipe frosting in a garland around ice cream and place candies for ornaments. Pipe whipped cream or frosting around cone edge and top.
Freeze until ready to serve.

Recipes by Rosemary Mark. Photos Eskite Photography; Styling Kim Konecny Kissling

Posted in Desserts, Rita's Kitchen | 3 Responses

Mashed Potatoes or…

 … mashed cauliflower!


A low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, garlic mashed cauliflower is tasty and can be made a day ahead. Nice and easy for a family dinner, Thanksgiving or otherwise.  Just place in a microwavable serving dish, cover and refrigerate. When it’s dinner time, heat in the microwave.  Serve with a sprinkle of shredded Cheddar or Monterey jack cheese, chives or sliced green onion, diced ham or pancetta.

mashed cauliflower

Print This Recipe
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Makes about 2 cups  (double recipe if you want) 

1-1/2    lb. head fresh cauliflower
     2     cloves garlic, peeled
   1/4    cup Greek-style plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream
     2    tablespoons butter

Remove leaves and bottom end from cauliflower; rinse cauliflower. Coarsely chop cauliflower, including the stems, or break apart by hand.

Place in microwavable bowl with whole garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon water; cover.

Microwave on high 6 to 8 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.

Puree hot cauliflower and garlic with butter and yogurt in food processor. *

Season with salt, and fresh-ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

* Kitchen Tips:
- Cauliflower and garlic may be steamed on the stovetop; drain the water before mashing.
- A potato masher or electric beater work well. For a smooth creamy consistency, a food processor or immersion blender is recommended.

                                                  Cauliflower and cousins at the farmers market
farmers market cauliflower

Posted in Rita's Kitchen, Sides and Sauces | 2 Responses

Pumpkin pie gets a flavor boost

Pumpkin PieGive your pumpkin pie a dee-lish flavor boost with Angostura orange bitters. It’s the perfect pumpkin partner because the flavor complements and enhances the pie ingredients. This is now my go-to pumpkin pie — a bit less sugar, a splash of vanilla, and orange bitters. Yumm. Thanksgiving, here we come!

Print This Recipe

Pumpkin Pie with Orange Bitters

Prep time: 10 minutes    Bake time: 50-60 minutes
2/3   cup sugar*
1/2    teaspoon salt
1        teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2    teaspoon ground ginger
          Dash each ground nutmeg and cloves*
2        large eggs
1        can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
2        teaspoons Angostura orange bitters*
1/4    teaspoon vanilla extract*
1        can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
1        unbaked 9” deep-dish pie shell (4-cup volume)    

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, mix sugar with salt and spices. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin, orange bitters, vanilla, and sugar mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into pie crust; bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool pie on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

* Kitchen Notes:
-  Ingredients with asterisks are my personal variations to the Libby’s canned pumpkin label recipe. Use the label recipe as is, or your own favorite recipe. The real game changer is Angostura orange bitters.

-  Try adding fresh orange zest along with the orange bitters. 

Nutrition information per serving (8):  303 calories, 13g fat (4.94g sat fat), 60mg chol, 7g protein, 40g carb, 315mg sodium, 2.2g fiber

PumpkinPie whole RH Nov2013


Posted in Desserts, Rita's Kitchen | 2 Responses

Halloween pumpkins my way

Halloween pumpkin

Cut oddball triangles wherever you want, then use an apple corer to poke holes any witch place!


Posted in Rita's Kitchen | 2 Responses
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