Cheesy as it may sound, some matches are made in heaven. Like cheese and wine… that’s cheesy enough, right? Sauternes and foie gras…  Lobster and drawn butter…  Another winning combination: chocolate and raspberries. They work together to awe your palate in a tantalizing way. And that is the match I offer today delivered in the shape of Raspberry & Chocolate Brownies. I found this recipe in a book I bought after Karen from Karen’s Kitchen Stories delicately twisted my arm. Amazing what we do to please a fellow food blogger. Yeap, going against my nature and unshakable will power, I purchased a cookbook. How could I not? Karen said it was her favorite cookie book, and she knows her way around baking. Obviously, I had no choice.  Anyway, the book is called quite simply Simply Sensational Cookies, and I have three words to say about it: you need it.

Raspberry Chocolate Brownies

(reprinted with permission from Nancy Baggett’s Simply Sensational Cookies)

Nancy’s thoughts on the recipe: I tried teaming up raspberries and chocolate in brownie recipes several times in the past, but they weren’t nearly as fruity or fudgy as these beauties. They are dark, as rich as candy, and burst with berry and chocolate flavor.

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 cups (about 11 ounces) coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate, divided
1⁄2 cup good-quality unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted after measuring
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1⁄4 cup very finely chopped freeze-dried raspberries (see comments)
1⁄4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
1⁄2 teaspoon raspberry extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose white flour

Heat the oven to 350 F and position a rack in the center of it. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil; let the foil slightly overhang on the two opposite sides. Grease the foil or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large microwave-safe bowl with the microwave on medium power, melt the butter and 1 cup chopped chocolate, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate mostly melts. Stir until completely melted. Vigorously stir the cocoa, sugar, and salt into the chocolate mixture until smoothly incorporated, free of lumps, and cooled to warm. Vigorously stir in the eggs, then the chopped raspberries, raspberry preserves, and raspberry extract. Stir in the flour until the batter is smooth and shiny. Lightly fold in the remaining 1 cup chopped chocolate. Put the batter in the pan, spreading evenly to the edges.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are just pulling away from the pan sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean except for the bottom 3⁄4 inch, which should still look moist and gooey. Transfer to a wire rack until cooled to room temperature.  Refrigerate the brownie slab for at least 45 minutes so it will cut more neatly. Using the overhanging foil as handles, lift the slab onto a cutting board. Peel off and discard the foil. Using a large sharp knife, cut the brownie crosswise and lengthwise into quarters to yield 16 bars; or cut as desired. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the blade of buildup between cuts. Let the brownies warm up  to room temperature before serving.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: Nancy suggests that if you object to the seeds in the freeze-dried raspberries, you can pulverize them in a food processor and sieve out the seeds.  I did not do that, and thought the brownies turned out perfect, with some little chunks of raspberries peeking through them.  If you prefer a smoother texture, you can get rid of the seeds.

I really love this cookbook! It is divided in the following chapters: Extra-Easy Cookies, Drop Cookies, Hand-Shaped Cookies, Rolled Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Slice & Bake Cookies, Biscotti, Semisweet Crisps, Savory Cocktail Cookies, Cookies-in-Jars Mixes, No-Bake Cookies, Semi-Homemade Cookies… and a few more general chapters on techniques and finishing touches.  Each recipe starts with quick general notes. For instance, for the  brownies I shared today she added: Fairly Easy One-Bowl, one-spoon mixing. Gourmet taste with easy technique.  Exactly right. My only modification of the recipe was to omit the raspberry extract, because I did not know if what they had available at the store was good enough quality. I often hear that extracts can ruin a recipe unless you get the very best.  For my taste, the brownies were perfect, they had a distinct raspberry flavor thanks to the use of freeze-dried fruit and the preserves. She suggests a chocolate ganache to top them, but I decided to keep them simple. They were very rich, definitely can stand on their own without gilding the lily.  Fantastic recipe, two thumbs up!

Raspberry Brownies1

Nancy, thank you for giving me permission to publish your recipe!  I gave a Kindle copy of  your book to one of my nieces in Brazil, the one who got all the good baking genes in the family, and she fell in love with it too… And of course, thanks Karen for bringing this cookbook into my radar…

To order your copy of Simply Sensational Cookies, click here.
(No, I am not going to make a single penny out of your purchase, I recommend it because it is a great book).


ONE YEAR AGO: Scary Good Pork Burgers

TWO YEARS AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

THREE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

FIVE YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

SIX YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers


After more than 6 years in the blogosphere, I often ask myself which types of recipes are “blog-worthy?” If you get a T-bone steak, season it with salt and slap in on the grill, is it worth writing a post about? Well, maybe it is if you come up with a twist on how to cook it to perfection, but… that would be a stretch. I prefer to share recipes that have some element of surprise in the ingredients and/or method of cooking. This one is a good example. Simple grilled chicken thighs, but involving a vinegar-based marinade that is also used in the initial stage of cooking before the meat hits the grill. The original recipe, known as Cornell Chicken, has been around for a while. You can read about its interesting development here. I noticed this variation in a cooking forum after many members raved about it. I made it twice in two weeks, trying to perfect it to our liking, which in the case of chicken thighs means a yin-yang kind of deal: meat falling off the bone plus crispy skin. I haven’t arrived there yet, but the recipe is great even in its original form. After all, what is perfection to me might not be the same for you. Give this recipe a try, it’s totally worth it. Unless of course, you are a vegetarian. In this case, skip this post. I will have something to please you soon enough…


Herb Grilled Chicken

(adapted from  The Creekside Cook)

½ cup fresh, whole sage leaves
¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
⅛ cup fresh oregano leaves
⅛ cup fresh thyme leaves
½ cup olive oil
1 cup of cider vinegar
1 egg
1 + ½ tablespoons kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
8 to 10 chicken thighs

Strip any stems from all of the herbs, and chop them well – they should equal about a half cup total when they are all chopped. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, egg, salt and pepper. The egg is to keep the mixture emulsified, and though it is often left out of the original recipe, it works better with it. Whisk in the chopped herbs.

Trim the excess skin and fat from the chicken thighs, and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken in a large ziplock bag with the marinade.  A couple of times a day, flip the bag over and move everything around a little to make sure all the thighs are getting marinated.

After 24 – 48 hours, take the chicken out of the fridge. Arrange the thighs in a large saute pan or dutch oven – it is best if they can all lay flat, but if you don’t have a big enough pan for that, get it as close as you can. Pour over the marinade, and set the burner at medium. Watch carefully, and when it starts to boil, turn it down to barely simmering. After 10 minutes, turn each piece carefully, and cook another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Get your grill heated up, and be sure to oil the grates. Once the grill is well heated, place the chicken, skin side down, on the grates. You may have some flare up because the oil is going to drip down some, but a spray bottle of water kept handy will take care of those. Don’t turn the chicken until you can pick it up off the gates without tearing the skin – when it is ready to turn, it will come up easily. This will take around 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your grill. Brush the marinade over the upper side a couple of times during cooking. Turn and grill the second side for another 5 to 8 minutes. If you like, check the internal temperature, which should be about 165 F. Let it rest around 5 minutes before serving.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: I made the recipe the first time exactly as written. The flavor was great, and the crispy skin just the way we like it. The apple cider vinegar is the key ingredient, acting as a tenderizer but also imparting subtle acidity. I heard from people who made this recipe several times that leaving in the marinade for 48 is a good idea, but do not go longer than that. I loved the copper color of the skin as it crisped up on the grill…


PlatedDinner is served!  Grilled chicken thighs, cauliflower mash, and a fresh salad…
Grab a fork, and dig in! 

As I  mentioned in the beginning of the post, I wanted to get a slightly more tender texture in the meat. So, the second time around I opted to sous-vide the meat in the marinade using water displacement instead of a vacuum-seal, and cooked it as described in this previous post. It all seemed to be going great, but disaster hit:  I was careless while grilling the pieces skin side down, and…. the thighs were charred to death. Black. Burned skin.  I was able to save some pieces for our dinner, but let’s say the looks were definitely not blog-worthy…  Oh, well. Lesson learned. Here’s the plan: repeat this recipe one more time using my favorite method, which is low and slow, then blasting it on a hot oven, or as I intend to do it, on the hot grill. Watching over it as a hawk. A hawk, I tell you!

Red Tailed HawkReady to grill?
(image from this source)

ONE YEAR AGO: Star-Shaped Chocolate Brioche Bread

TWO YEARS AGO: Blueberry-Banana Bread 

THREE YEARS AGO: Into the Light Again

FOUR YEARS AGO: Five Grain Sourdough Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Nano-Kitchen

SIX YEARS AGO: Kaiser Rolls


Here I am to invite my readers for a virtual tour of our kitchen, following the party started by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial many years ago.  It is such a fun series of posts, lots of bloggers (including Celia herself) participate every single month, which I find quite amazing. I am more of a “every couple of months” kind of person. I like to start my tour with gifts, and I’ve got a few to show you…

From our friend Cindy, who came to visit and make macarons in the Bewitching Kitchen….  Yes, French macarons, which shall be on the blog soon. In fact, we had a great cooking weekend, with a surprise tour through Brazilian cooking. Stay tuned!


Cindy brought us three types of artisan chocolates from a small company in Nashville…  My favorite was the Salt & Pepper Buttermilk White, different from anything I’ve ever tasted, sweet and tangy, absolutely delicious. Phil’s favorite was the one with coffee bean, although we both also loved the chili and cinnamon. Coffee and chocolate. Cannot get much better than that, right? Thank you, Cindy, not only for the chocolates, but for driving all the way to The Little Apple to cook with me…

From Kristy (who blogs over at Eat, Play, Love), who came with her whole family for a short but fun visit on their way to Colorado…


A cutting board with a knife-friendly surface and beautiful design of olive branches… It is so beautiful, I have a hard time using it as a cutting board. Instead I place cheeses on top of it, for a stunning look. August was super busy in our kitchen, with so many distinguished guests!  I am sure most of my readers know Kristy’s blog and have seen her beautiful family cooking together. You absolutely MUST read their series of Chopped in which the girls compete against the boys. We had a blast with them, made small pizzas on the grill, and a breakfast of blueberry pancakes next morning before their departure.


Mr. N, Miss A, and their proud Daddy after breakfast. And here we are in the photo below, with Kristy and I in exercise clothes, because I asked her to help me out with the infamous Crane Pose which has eluded me for over 6 years.  One day I’ll get there. One day… (sigh). By the way, Miss A can do pull-ups in the bar like nobody’s business!  Very impressive! And she goes from Crane Pose to head stand as if it’s a natural movement for human beings. Don’t try that at home, folks…

BackyardShotPlease disregard my oddly twisted leg position. Not sure what happened there. Must have been something wrong with the alignment of the stars..

On with with the gifts…

From one of our graduate students….


The most amazing black caviar!  His Mom came for a visit and brought it from a special store in Pennsylvania where she lives. Phil and I shared it, fighting over the last bit. I made bread for the occasion. This stuff is pure gold. Black gold…  So smooth and mild!

From Phil, a surprise gift…


This cup was made by a British artist called Mary Rose Young. Years ago I found two matching cups at a Pier 1 store and brought them home. They became our special cups for the weekend cappuccino. Sure enough, yours truly, the one with fast careless fingers, broke one of them. Major bummer.  I searched everywhere for a replacement, with no luck.  One day Phil gets something in the mail and much to my amazement it was one of Mary Rose’s cups. He managed to find it on ebay.  He is the ultimate ebay-detective…  Ok, they are not matchy-matchy, but close enough. In fact, I think they make a beautiful pair… Compatible but unique, each in their own colorful way. I love her work!  You can check her pottery with a click here.


In our kitchen….


A new, kind of fancy  bread toy for me…  After reading rave reviews about it on a discussion group for artisan bread baking, I had one of those attacks of impulse buy and got this bread cloche at amazon.com.  The lure of Amazon Prime free shipping is hard to resist, particularly for an item that is so heavy. I love the red color, but that probably goes without saying…  ;-)

In our kitchen….


My first production using the bread cloche.  I made one of the recipes that came with it, a Black Olive Rosemary Rye Bread.  Simple formula, commercial yeast.  Perfect to cut in small squares, toast, and enjoy with that tasty caviar as you maybe noticed in the caviar photo above.

In our kitchen….


We are not brave enough to make sushi at home, it’s something we reserve for eating out, but whenever Phil finds great quality salmon for sale, he plays sushi-chef and we pretend we are in Tokyo.

In our kitchen….


This was one tricky ingredient to find.  I needed to use in a particular recipe that shall be blogged about soon. 99% of what you find in stores contains seeds, and it is more like a jam, not preserves. I was about to give up and order online, but finally found this gem at our town’s Hy-Vee.

In our kitchen….


We are quite fond of Wasa bread, but this type quickly became my favorite. Not easy to find, so whenever I spot it at the store, I grab a couple of boxes.  Light, crispy, great flavor, much milder than all other Wasa versions.

In our kitchen….


Small containers of chicken and vegetable broth.  I like the fact that they hold just 8oz, so for many recipes that’s all you’ll need. Open, use, call it a day. I must say though, that I get into intense eye-rolling mode every time I see the term “bone broth”, as if Paleo-afficionados “invented” it.  What’s wrong with calling them beef stock, or chicken stock like every single cook has done for decades? Noooo, let’s pretend it’s a totally different entity (triple sigh).

In our kitchen….


These are very small, appetizer type plates, I found them at Marshall’s.  They have a nice pattern and of course the bright yellow is impossible to resist…

In our kitchen….

FarmersMarketSmall tomatoes from the farmer’s market, yellow and red, juicy and sweet….

In our kitchen….
Drum roll please, these are FROM OUR BACKYARD!


I can hardly believe these tomatoes are from our own garden!  Thanks to Phil, who brought 4 small plants home in early June, and patiently took care of them.  I stayed as far away as possible to avoid doing them any harm. Aren’t they gorgeous?  And we also got great results with Serrano peppers…


And now, let’s hear it from the three furry friends who keep the Bewitching Kitchen (and its surroundings) as a very lively place… Well, maybe not always lively, as you can see in these shots.



Mom and Dad went for a trip to this strange place called Colorado and off to the kennel we went. It took forever, but one day they showed up and finally brought us back home. There is nothing better than a nice snooze in our comfy beds to celebrate life coming back to normal.   You can bet we are having wonderful dreams!


Now, of course,  our brother Oscar has his own interpretation of what a nice sleep involves.
We think he is a bit nuts.


You may think I’m nuts, but “I” am the Chosen One, the One Who Bonds with Daddy. So there!


Well, “I” am bonding with my Mom, even if it seems I’m asleep…
Note from Mom: this was really quite sweet.  I had to work from home one morning a couple of  weeks ago, and Buck’s routine was all changed. Instead of being outside with Oscar, he stayed in. The Real Chosen One, I suppose…  He had no problem adjusting to the change. Laid by my side and snored away happily for more than one hour!


Ok, I admit it. I’m not really bonding in this shot.
I am more photobombing, a skill I’ve been perfecting for years now.

Buck 1 x 0 Daddy, the photographer.

And to close this post, a couple of videos.

First we have Buck and his absolute passion for the hose and anything to do with water.  I would like you to notice in the background of the video, at the lower level of the backyard, a doghouse.  More on that after the video.

Anyway, while Buck is having all that fun, Oscar simply cannot get far enough from the action. He absolutely despises water, hoses, baths. Once the hose is shutdown, he peeks out, as if saying “is it safe to come out now?”  Priceless….


But he has his chance to get excited too. Twice a week we go jogging before lunch. The dogs somehow realize  it is “the day”, and start going nuts even before I do anything like changing into my running outfit or grabbing their leashes. I believe they do read minds, you know?

Well, that’s all for now, folks!  I hope you enjoyed the little tour of our kitchen, and please stop by Celia’s blog where you can get a virtual tour of many kitchens around the world…   See you next time!

ONE YEAR AGO: Sour Cherry Sorbet: A Labor of Love

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen – September 2013

THREE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Sorbet at Summer’s End

FOUR YEARS AGO: When three is better than two  (four years with Buck!)

FIVE YEARS AGO: Grating Tomatoes (and loving it!)

SIX YEARS AGO: A Peachy Salad for a Sunny Day


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will probably be a bit surprised to see another Secret Recipe Club feature just one week after the last one.  Here’s the reason: some months have five Mondays, but there are only four groups of blogs (A through D) in the club. So in some months a Monday would be empty of virtual fun, and that is sad.  The moderators then had this brilliant idea of coming up with a special theme for these extra Mondays in which all groups participate. Since football season is starting, the theme for today’s Reveal Day is “Tailgating“. Now, I must say I’m not too wild about tailgating, probably because I did not grow up in the US. But, nothing makes me miss a party, and I loved coming up with a recipe appropriate for the occasion. I was assigned the blog Dancing Veggies, hosted by Amanda, a member of Group A. One of the things I got a kick out of stalking her blog is the way she chooses pretty creative, unexpected names for her posts.  For instance, what do you think a post called “Heart Racing” would be about? A bowl of chili? a hot Indian curry?  Nah. It’s about Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies!  :-) How about a post called “Meet me at Midnight?” Caviar on toast and a shot of vodka?  A platter of oysters on the half shell?  No, not really. That one is about German Chocolate Brownies…  For this tailgating event, my contribution is a plate of cookies, and since Fall is knocking at the door (stiff upper lip ON), my cookies include the P word. Talk about someone who dances with the music… that’s me, baby, all the way! And speaking of dancing to the music, Amanda just explained to me the meaning behind her posts titles: they are all song titles, the “dancing” part of her blog, Dancing Veggies.  Too awesome for words!

Pumpkin Choc Chip Cookies2

(slightly modified from Dancing Veggies)

makes about 30 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed pumpkin
1 + 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 cup mini dark choc chips
1/4 to 1/2 cup white choc chips

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes, until slightly fluffy. Add in the egg, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for a few more minutes before adding in the mashed pumpkin.

In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat until just mixed. Spoon the dough onto cookie sheets in walnut sized portions. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a golden orange shade. Cool on a rack.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  My main modification of the recipe was to use a mixture of white and dark chocolate chips. I am very fond of white chocolate and had just a little bit left in a bag, so I decided to put them to good use.  I left the amounts pretty flexible in the recipe, because Phil loves a cookie that is loaded with chips, so see how much your dough can take and go for maximal pleasure.  I think dried cranberries would work great too, by the way. The texture of the cookies is on the chewy side due to the pumpkin puree, which by the way, I used canned.  As usual, no one will be able to taste the pumpkin, it just gives them a mysterious flavor.  The nutmeg and cinnamon of course complement it all beautifully.  A perfect Fall cookie (stiff upper lip threatening to fail).

have a cookie

You cannot have summer back, but you can always have a cookie!

Amanda, I had a lot of fun browsing your collection of recipes, in fact your zucchini fritters were insistently calling my name, but I thought that maybe those would be hard to enjoy at tailgating with the dipping sauce and all. So I stuck with cookies, easy to grab and run away to the stadium not to miss the kick-off. As usual, everyone can check the collection of tailgating recipes by poking the cute blue frog at the end of the post.

ONE YEAR AGO:  One Million Page Views!

TWO YEARS AGO: Tlayuda, a Mexican Pizza

THREE YEARS AGO: Paradise Revisited

FOUR YEARS AGO: Feijoada, the Ultimate Brazilian Feast

FIVE YEARS AGO: Vegetable Milhojas

SIX YEARS AGO: Italian Bread


This is pretty much a non-recipe, but a few details made this preparation so delicious, I must share. First of all, you’ll need to use the best juicy large tomatoes you can find. We got heirloom tomatoes that turned out perfect. Slice them thick, no skinny slices. Same goes for the eggplant slices, and once you grill them, 2 minutes per side and you are done. This will preserve some of the eggplant texture, it won’t go all mushy on you.  I often make the mistake of over-grilling eggplant. It gets bitter and limp. No bueno city.

Eggplant Stacks

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1/4 cup olive oil
juice of half a lemon
Herbes de Provence to taste
salt and pepper to taste
2 big Heirloom tomatoes
1 medium eggplant
4 slices of mozzarella cheese

Make the dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper. Whisk well to emulsify.

Cut the eggplant in thick slices and brush each side with some of the dressing.  Reserve.  Slice the tomatoes, place over a platter and brush each slice very slightly with the dressing.  Reserve.

Grill the eggplant two minutes per side on a very hot grill. While hot from the grill, assemble the stacks, starting with a thick tomato slice, then a slice of hot eggplant on top. Add a slice of mozzarella, continue stacking the veggies. Top with a thin mozzarella slice, and drizzle any dressing leftover on top.  Add a tad more salt and serve.


to print the non-recipe, click here

Comments: Sometimes simplicity is all you need in life. I didn’t anticipate making a post about this dish, but considering how much we both loved it, I had to share.  Resist the idea of melting the mozzarella on top by running the dish under a broiler or something.  It’s all a play with contrasting temperature and texture. The tomato will be just barely warm from cozying up with the grilled eggplant, and that will intensify its taste in a delightful way. I said it once, but will say it again, do not grill the eggplant to death. Assemble the stacks, bring them to the table, and pair them with any main dish you feel like it. I suppose two of these stacks could work well as a light meal. If you have some bread with it, even better. Some leaves of fresh basil in between the layers would be a nice touch, which unfortunately I thought about only a couple of hours later.  Such is life…

I hope you’ll give this a try before summer is over…  (typing this last phrase just about sent me into a crying fit. I am such a sensitive creature…)

ONE YEAR AGO: The Couscous that Wasn’t

TWO YEARS AGO: Apple-Cinnamon Bread

THREE YEARS AGO: Blueberry Galette

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, August 2011

FIVE YEARS AGO: Journey to a New Home

SIX YEARS AGO: Friday Night Dinner


August is bit too close to the end of the summer, so the dark clouds start to contaminate my mood, as I notice the forecast showing less and less days over 90 F and more and more below 80 F, which is the divisive line between life worth living and misery.  Meteorological troubles aside, the fourth Monday of the month brings with it Reveal Day for  The Secret Recipe Club! This month I was paired with Lynsey Lou’s, a blog I’ve already been following  for a while, so of course the assignment made me super excited… it was like getting a dear colleague from work on the Secret Santa drawing…  Lynsey has been married to Spencer since 2008, and is convinced that the way to a man’s heart involves food. They both have fond memories of a particular  batch of brownies taken to his frat house when they started dating. Too cute! If I remember correctly, Ina Garten has a similar experience with her husband of many many years, Jeffrey. Great relationships might very well start around the table. Or around a lab bench, I suppose.  ;-)   One of the lines I loved the most in Lynsey’s About page was this one:

Cooking, like many other things, is a learning experience that comes with a lot of trial and error.

I feel exactly the same way, and like her, love to expand my horizons trying recipes from different cuisines whenever possible. So many recipes appealed to me this month, it was tough to settle on one.  Some of my final contenders are here: White Chocolate Coconut Cookies, Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Ganache (sigh), White Chocolate Toffee Crunch Cookies, and her Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (you gotta stop and check the recipe, perfect to start the day with freshly baked rolls without having to wake up at 4am).  Since so often I lean towards sweets in the Secret Recipe Club, I forced myself to do something different this time.  So, without further ado, I present you with Turkey Chorizo Burgers with Green Chile Mayo.  A mouthful of a name for a fantastic recipe that Phil and I absolutely loved!

Turkey Chorizo Burger

(slightly modified from Lynsey Lou’s blog)

for the burgers:
8 Oz fresh chorizo, casings removed
1-1 1/2 Pounds ground turkey
2 Tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
4 slices Jack cheese
hamburger buns (optional)

for the dressing:
1 Poblano chile
3/4 cup yogurt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Make the chile dressing: Heat oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the cleaned chile on the prepared baking sheet and place in oven.  Roast for approximately 15 minutes, until skin is charred and blistered.  Rotating during the roasting process.  Place the roasted pepper in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

Remove the pepper from the bowl and remove the skin, stem and seeds.  Finely chop the pepper.  In a food processor, combine the chile, yogurt, olive oil, and lime juice and process until the mixture is smooth.  Season, to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Heat grill to medium. In a large bowl combine turkey, chorizo, Worcestershire sauce, salt and cayenne pepper.  Gently mix the ingredients together, being careful to not overwork the meat.  Divide the meat evenly into 4 pieces, approximately 8 ounces each.  Gently form each section of meat into 1-inch thick patties.

Place the prepared patties on the grill and cook to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Once burgers are cooked to desired doneness, transfer to a plate and top with cheese.

Spread a generous helping of green chile mayonnaise on the top and bottom of hamburger buns, if using.  Place the burger patties on bottom portion of each bun.  Top with lettuce, spinach or arugula and top with the top portion of the bun.  Serve immediately. If not using buns, assemble the burgers using appropriate substitutions (we went with grilled eggplant slices). Spoon the dressing on top, and serve with your favorite toppings.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  The main modification I made from Lynsey’s original was to skip the mayo and use yogurt and olive oil instead for the dressing. We are both very fond of turkey burgers, but this poblano-infused dressing totally stole the show! Poblano peppers are delicious in their natural form, but roasting improves their flavor and texture quite a bit. Once you process the roasted pepper with the yogurt, you are in for a very special treat…  I found myself sampling a teaspoon here, another there while the burgers were outside on the grill.  Really superb.

These days we almost never have bread with our burgers, so don’t be shocked by the absence of bread from our spread of goodies….  We like our burgers served over hearty lettuce leaves, but this time I grilled thick slices of eggplant and that worked even better.


Adding chorizo to ground turkey works great to give a little extra fat and a boost of flavor.  Grilled corn on the cob, avocado, and tomato slices were perfect as side dishes for our meal.

Turkey BUrger Sally

And, of course, I was a super happy camper next day, look at my lunch!


Who said leftovers have to be boring?

Well, folks, that’s all for this Reveal Day… Lynsey, I hope you also had a ton of fun stalking your assigned blog. As usual, I invite my readers to browse the collection of goodies, the result of the hard work of my virtual friends from Group D of The Secret Recipe Club. Just poke the alien-looking frog at the end of the post and have fun!

ONE YEAR AGO: Taco Salad

TWO YEARS AGO: Semolina Sourdough Boule 

THREE YEARS AGO: Forgive me, for I have sinned

FOUR YEARS AGOCracked Wheat Sandwich Bread

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Au Revoir, my Bewitching Kitchen

SIX YEARS AGO:  French Bread


Apricots Bowl
This year has been the year of the apricot for us. We bought them at each opportunity. Now, I realize that it is the type of fruit that goes down in flavor very quickly once it is picked, so maybe the apricots we have access to are not as fantastic as those found right in California or Washington.  Still, some were spectacularly juicy and tender.  In this post I am sharing not one, not two, but three recipes using not only the fruit but – are you ready for this? – their pits! Yes, and that recipe in particular will blow your mind, I promise. Maybe you won’t be able to make it this year, as the season is over, but next year start buying apricots as early as you can, and freeze the pits. Once you get 20  or so of them, you’ll be ready to make THE most amazing ice cream of your existence.  I promise.


I found this recipe over at Mike’s blog, and made it almost immediately. Vanilla, ginger, and apricots? No need to say anything else. I am not too fond of compotes and jams, but I am so glad I tried this recipe. You should too…

Apricot Compote

(from The Iron You)

1 lb firm ripe apricots, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large skillet combine apricots, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and vanilla extract.

Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until apricots are glazed and syrupy, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.

Serve apricot compote with yogurt or ice cream.


to print the apricot compote recipe, click here


This was absolutely delicious, not too sweet, very simple to prepare, the flavor of lime, ginger, and vanilla playing nicely with the fruit. Great recipe!  By the way, if you don’t have coconut palm sugar, use brown sugar or honey. I don’t normally have breakfast, but must say that a small bowl of this compote served with yogurt and a sprinkle of cereal was a nice way to start a particular Saturday morning…. Big thank you to Mike for sharing his recipe!

Apricot Compote Served


We make sorbets quite often during the summer. All credit must got to Phil, as he is the one who comes up with fruit combinations and plays with the right proportions to get the best flavor.  This batch combined apricots and passion fruit. Refreshing, light, a perfect ending to a summer evening…

Apricot PF sorbet

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1.5 lb. fresh apricots
1/2 lb. passion fruit pulp
1 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 ripe banana, cut in pieces
1 Tablespoon vodka (optional, but improves consistency)

Split the apricots in half, remove the pits, and cut each half into chunks. Combine the apricot and water in a saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Place the cooked apricots to the bowl of a food processor, add the banana, then puree the mixture until completely smooth. Add the passion fruit and vodka, process briefly to combine. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar if necessary.  Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.


to print the sorbet recipe, click here

The sorbet will stand on its own, but a superb way to indulge in it is by pairing it with….


Noyau (also spelled in its plural form, noyaux), the amazing, one and only ice cream made with apricot pits! Sometimes also called nougat ice cream, although it’s not the most appropriate name for it. The recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs, Pastry Studio.  Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet read my little review about Gayle’s book, please take a look here, and order your copy. She is a natural teacher when it comes to all things baking.  But, anyway, her description of this ice cream, the way each summer she makes sure to prepare a batch using apricot pits carefully collected, made me crave for it.  Wondering about the taste, apparently so unique.  Well, this ice cream turned Phil into a compulsive collector of apricot pits. The moment he tasted the first spoonful, he told me we better never EVER run out of it.  Yeap, folks. That great.  So, without further ado, here it is…

Nougat Ice Cream

(from Pastry Studio)

20 apricot pits (see my comments)
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C milk
2 1/4 C heavy cream
4 egg yolks

Break open apricot pits with a hammer to remove the small almond-like kernels inside. You may want to use a cloth to keep the bits from flying. Crush the kernels with a mortar and pestle or chop into small pieces.

Place the sugar, milk, cream and kernels in a saucepan and heat right up to a good simmer but just before it boils. Cover and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes to an hour, tasting periodically to check for strength. It should taste of almond, but not bitter.

When you have the desired flavor, heat the milk mixture a bit and pour some of it into the yolks, whisking constantly to temper the mixture. Pour the yolks and cream back into the pan and cook slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a clean container and cool, stirring occasionally. Chill thoroughly.

Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze. Pour into a clean container, cover the surface of the ice cream with a piece of plastic wrap, be sure the container lid is tight and place in your freezer to firm up.


to print the noyau recipe, click here

Comments:  In case I did not make it clear enough, let me state I am absolutely in love with this ice cream! Head over hills, spoons over bowls. Make it. Save those kernels, and make it. To break the pits, we found that once frozen they broke very easily with a nutcracker, so we did not have to use a hammer.  Full disclosure: Phil broke them, I watched. But the pits freshly taken from the fruit resisted the nutcracker, so they were sent for time-out into the freezer for proper attitude adjustment.  Here is what they will look like once removed from the fruit. You can save those at room temperature for a few days, no problem.

The smell is reminiscent of almonds, with a “je ne sais quoi” in the background. That “je ne sais quoi” will be prominent in the flavor of the ice cream… I am dreaming as I type this paragraph… magic flavor indeed!

You must dice the kernels to optimize the infusion of the cream… and after simmering to develop the flavor (I did it for 45 minutes), simply strain the pits out, and freeze the base of the ice cream…   That’s all there is to it!


Gayle, thank you so much for bringing this recipe to our kitchen!  It is amazing to think that at my age I would be tasting for the first time something so delicious… a wonderful gastronomic experience indeed!


Well, I hope you enjoyed this triple post on apricots. The season is of course over, but we have about 30 pits saved in the freezer to make one more batch of this ice cream soon.  We will savor one spoonful at a time, to try and stretch this delicacy as long as possible in time…

Before I leave you, let me share a link about the “danger” of noyau, linked to the presence of trace amounts of cyanide in the stone fruit pit. As you can see, no need to avoid this delicacy….


ONE YEAR AGO: Up Close and Personal with Kale

TWO YEARS AGOBlack Berry Cherry Sorbet

THREE YEARS AGO: Asparagus Pesto

FOUR YEARS AGO: Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine

FIVE YEARS AGO: Under the spell of lemongrass

SIX YEARS AGO: Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!