Monday, June 6, 2016

Farm To Feast Dinner - Taliesin

I just love this time of year in Wisconsin!  So many fun things going on all summer long.  Like yesterday, we went to a Farm to Feast Dinner at the Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin.  Taliesin is an 800 acre estate located in Spring Green.  The property has seven buildings that span decades of Wrights career, 1887-1959.  A guided walking tour was provided.  Our guide Jill filled us in about the property, buildings and shared with us a little history about Frank Lloyd Wright.  The property is still used for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.  There are only about 25 students and they live and study right on the property.  It was fascinating and now I want to go back and take the tour of the Wright's main house.

After the tour we got to listen to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra string quartet while enjoying some delicious appetizers along with some local wine and beer.  What a wonderful event!  The weather was perfect, the Taliesin setting for the dinner was beautiful,  spending time with friends, Tony and Margaret, is always great and the food was amazing.  The featured Chef was Michael Pruett from Cento, one of our favorite restaurants in Madison.  He was one of the reasons we got tickets for this event because we knew we'd be in for a treat.  He did not disappoint!

Margaret, Tony, Dawn (me) and Kevin

Jill (tour guide)

Salumi & Cheese

Buratta & Tomato
Mini BBQ Pork Sliders
Cured Salmon Cones
Chef Pruett 

The meal was paired with wines from Botham Vineyards and beers from WI Brewing Company,  Vintage Brewing Company and One Barrel Brewery.

Wine Poached Beets, Goat Cheese, Hazelnut Soil

Ricotta Agnolotti, Pea, Mint & Summer Truffle
Pistachio Crusted Lamb, Carrot Puree, Roasted Vegetables, Bordelaise Sauce
(Batch Bakery) Cherry & Franipane Galettes (pictured) & Blueberry lemon Cream Cheese Galettes and Sassy Cow Ice Cream 
Thanks to Madison Magazine, the Sponsors, Chef Pruett and all the volunteers!   It was a perfect Wisconsin Summer Day!
One more shout out, thanks to Badger Bus for the transportation to Spring Green!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ahi Poke Napoleon

What is Ahi Poke?  It's a raw (sushi grade) tuna salad served as an appetizer.   I ordered this appetizer at Tommy Bahama Restaurant in Florida, it was so good!  I wanted to try and make it at home and was so excited to find the recipe on Tommy Bahama's website.  Check it out here, and I also came across a youtube video, here.  So now that I had the recipe, I went shopping for the ahi tuna.  I tried Whole Foods first.  The seafood guy was so nice and helpful.  I didn't really know what I was looking for but told him what I was making.  He let me know that I needed sushi grade tuna and where I could get it (Seafood Center) as they didn't have any at the moment.  He did say that he can always get it in if he had a couple days notice.  
  We went to the Seafood Center and they had a beautiful piece of ahi tuna.  It's pricey, $34.99 per lb but you only need 1/2 lbs for 8 servings.  I got 1/4 lb and made two generous portions but for an appetizer size, it would make 4 servings.
It was fun to make a restaurant dish at home.  Especially because we don't have a Tommy Bahama restaurant in Wisconsin!  Delicious, we enjoyed every bite!

*  I followed the recipe for the tuna and dressing but made my own guacamole.  I also didn't use all the dressing, you just want to use enough dressing to lightly dress the tuna.  Find the recipe here and the YouTube video here.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tuna Stuffed Avocado

I'm getting a lot of inspiration from FaceBook lately as all these food pictures and videos are popping up.  This recipe comes from The Stay At Home Chef.
I got all excited when I realized I had every ingredient to make this for lunch today.  It only took a about ten minutes to make, so easy and healthy.  I love tuna but I usually load it with mayo and make it into a cheesy grilled tuna melt.  I won't be giving up my tuna melts but these delicious stuffed avocados will be making an appearance often! 
This recipe is easily made for one, two or more.  Today I just made one avocado so I used one can of tuna and a little of each ingredient.  For a light lunch I could see just eating one of the halves BUT I had no one to share these with today so I ate the whole thing!  YUM!
  • Ingredients:
  • 4 avocados, halved and pitted
  • 4-5 oz. can solid white tuna (albacore packed in water), drained
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  1. Scoop out some of the avocado, leave just enough to make a bowl out of the avocado.  Place the scooped avocado into a bowl, mash. 
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and cilantro to the mixing bowl.  Pour lime juice over and add tuna.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.   Light toss all together until everything is mixed.
  3. Scoop the tuna into the avocado bowls. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hasselback Chicken

My Aunt Mary reminded me this weekend that I haven't blogged in a long time.  Thanks Aunt Mary, it's nice knowing someone is following my blog!  It's not that I've stopped trying new recipes and I admit I don't cook as much as I used too but I've found something else to keep me busy.....

My Granddaughter, Reagan.  For her first year I got to watch her three days a week.  She's now 13 months old and started day care.  On those days that I get to pick her up from day care I need something quick and easy to make for dinner and this Hasselback Chicken is perfect.  
I saw the recipe from Tip Hero on my cousin Tami's Facebook page.  She said it was delicious so I had to give it a try.  We liked it as is but next time I will saute some shallot or green onion to give it a little more flavor.  It was a perfect recipe for two but can easily be doubled/tripled.  You can find the recipe and video here.  

splash of olive oil
4 heaping cups fresh spinach (about 4 oz)
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese or asiago cheese, shredded
Smoked Paprika (Penzeys Spices)
1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degree.
2.  In a sauté pan heat olive oil and cook the spinach, 3 to 5 minutes, until it is slightly wilted.
3.  Stir in the ricotta until combined.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
4.  Slice slits along the chicken breasts, 3/4 of the way through the chicken.  (be careful not to cut chicken all the way through)
5.  Stuff all of the spinach mixture into the cuts.
6.  Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the white cheddar on top. Then sprinkle the paprika, adding color and flavor.
7.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the juices are clear.  (don't overcook)


Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier

Margaret, Jenni, Dawn and Gail
My friend Margaret invited myself and our friend Jenny to go to Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier for a tasting. Margaret had to choose gift boxes for her husband's company holiday party to give to all the employees and asked us to come along to help decide.  We were in for a real treat.   Katharine, who works at Gail's had us sample 16 flavors and 3 more holiday flavors.  She cut every chocolate into fourths, thank goodness, as it was a lot of chocolate.  I'm not complaining, I enjoyed every one, I was in chocolate heaven!  As Katharine was describing them to us I would take a taste and let the chocolate melt in my mouth and taste exactly what she described.  Some of the flavors were familiar, like vanilla, espresso and blueberry, but some unusual, Lemongrass with ginger, sweet curry with saffron and one with a little heat, cinnamon/cayenne.  My favorite, if I had to pick one, would be the Salted Caramel. It's sweet and salty and melts in your mouth.  Did I say I love chocolate, well, after today's tasting I don't think any chocolate will do. Thanks to Gail for the best chocolate I've ever had, to Katharine for our tasting, we had so much fun talking with you and to Margaret, I'm so glad you're my friend (and not just because you gave me chocolate!), we always have fun together.  Oh, I can't forget Jenni, thanks for being my best foodie friend.  Thanks girls for a great afternoon!

If you can’t make it to Gail's shop on Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI, you can find her online.

Gail and Katharine


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Italian Turkey Meatloaf

This meatloaf isn't a typical meatloaf but it has become my favorite.  Made with turkey meat, stuffed with cheese, basil and marinara sauce.  It's loaded with flavor.  

I like to serve with roasted vegetables (zucchini, red pepper, onion and mushrooms).  


1.25 lbs. ground turkey (I use Jennie-O Lean Ground Turkey) 
2  garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup marinara sauce 
4 oz. asiago cheese, diced
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup basil, chopped 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

After cooked 1 hour add:
3/4 cup marinara sauce
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced (I like Bel Gioioso Brand)

Mix everything together and form into a loaf on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 for around 1 hour.  Remove from oven and spoon marinara over top and place fresh mozzarella slices over it bake additional 15 minutes.  Garnish with fresh basil.

Recipe adapted from Proud Italian Cook