Cooks with Passion

Isn't that what it is all about. PASSION. We love to eat. We love to get people together to eat. We love meeting places to eat. We just love eating.
I look forward to making that special thing that makes everyone smile.
Hope you enjoy my favorites.

D e n i s e


Tomato Bisque

A classic.  With a few fresh ingredients it becomes special.  Great with grilled sandwiches or just add some homemade croutons.  YUM!

1 onion, chopped
2 T. butter
4-5 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
2 pkgs. cream cheese
1 1/4 c. milk
2 cans tomato soup
2 cans (16 oz) chopped tomatoes

Saute` onion in butter.  Add garlic towards the end.  (garlic can become bitter if it's saute`d too long)  Add cream cheese and melt down.  Slowly, add all other ingredients, mix well.  Simmer for about 20 mins.  Serve hot.


Balsamic Dressing

This dressing caught my eye while reading in the magazine section at Barnes and Noble.
The walnut oil adds great depth and richness.  I usually 3 -4 times it to get a good jars worth.

1 tsp. dijon mustard
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 T. olive oil
2 T. walnut oil

Whisk together briskly.  Stores in fridge for several weeks.

Brownie Pudding

My husband says this should really be called "crack cocaine"!  To die for!
  I love to serve it hot with vanilla icecream.
A slight variation taken from an Ina Garten cookbook.  She asked for a framboise liqueur which was optional and scraped vanilla seeds which I used vanilla extract in it's place.

2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, at room temp.
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1-2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325*.  Butter a 2 quart (9x12x2 inch)  baking dish.  
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat eggs and sugar for 5-10 mins.  Until very thick and light yellow.  Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
When the eggs and sugar mixture is done, lower speed and add vanilla and cocoa/powder mixture.  Mix only till combined.  With the mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
Pour brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan.   Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour.  The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
Serve with vanilla icecream.


Homemade Croutons

These are super simple and so good!

1 loaf french bread (cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes)
3/4 c. olive oil
herbs, seasonings to your liking
garlic salt & pepper to desire
1/2 c. fresh parmesan

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl combine seasonings, oil, salt, and pepper.
Dump the bread into mixture and mix well.
Pour the bread mixture on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 mins., or until golden. 
Keeps in ziplocks for several days.


Apple Pie en Papillotte

"pie in a bag"

1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. oil
2 TB. cold milk

4 c. peeled, thinly sliced apples
1/2 c. sugar
2 TB. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cold butter

Mix crust ingr. in a food processor.  Press into a 9-inch pie plate; set aside
Combine filling and dump into pie shell.
Mix topping in food processor, and sprinkle on top of pie.
Place pie in a large paper bag.  Seal with staples.  Bake for 90 mins. @350*.
Serve warm with vanilla icecream.

Sweet Potato Pie

This is like dessert!  Perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.

3 c. sweet potatoes
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Cook potatoes in over or in microwave until tender.  Then peel.
Mix remaining ingredients together with potatoes till smooth.
Spread into a 9x9 pan.

Top with:
1c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flour
1c. pecans
1/2 stick butter

Mix topping ingredients with a fork until butter is incorporated.  Cover potato mixture with topping.
Bake @ 400* for 30 mins or until top is golden.