Vanilla Button Cookies - Just for Fun!

These are little vanilla cream cheese button cookies. They're adorable and I had too much fun with these button cookies! My favorite thing was when my children asked if they could help me to make another "button"-) These cookies are perfect for baby shower or birthday party, holiday gifts and just for fun.

Button Cookies 7


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • assorted colors of paste food coloring

Button Cookies 8


In a bowl cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide dough into two parts. Tint each with a different food color. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Button Cookies 9

Remove from refrigerator, one color at a time and on a lightly floured surface, roll dough until just over 1/8" thick.

Cut 2-inch rounds with round cutter. Next on each round, just in from the edge, mark with a smaller round cutter, approximately 1.5 inches diameter, pressing slightly,  but not pushing through. Run a metal spatula underneath the dough, to make sure it is not sticking to the table, sprinkle with flour underneath as necessary.

With top of a small #3 piping tip (or with straw) cut 2 or 4 holes in the centre of each cookie so it resembles a button, make sure to push down to the counter so the small pieces fall out.

Button Cookies 5

Lift dough with metal spatula onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a sil-pat, collect scraps and repeat.

Follow the same method with another color, being sure to clean your work surface between each.
Refrigerate buttons for 15 minutes before baking.

Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.

Transfer to a cooling rack and eat with a perfect cup of tea.

Button Cookies 4


Cranberry-Meringue Tart (Tarte Meringuee Aux Airelles) Beautiful Winter Dessert

Although, we are all waiting for the spring to come, I think there are a few winter recipes that we like to try before the sunny days are here. Today we have 53F outside, but my photographs look like Christmas cards, I guess I can use them next year :-)) probably; I am waiting for the snow - we will see about this. In the meantime, enjoy a slice of the delicious Meringue Tart with cranberries and a cup of coffee, a little treat in February.

This is a winter tart, when cranberries are in season. In a summer this tart can be made with red currant. Both cranberries and red currants are mouth-puckering red berries. Their intense flavor contrasts well with the almond- meringue butter and the crispy, unsweetened tart shell.

Cranberry Tart 1

This recipe comes from one of my favorite book of chef Georges Perrier Le Bec-Fin Recipes

Makes one 10-inch tart


  • I pound Pate Brisee
  • ½ cup finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ pound fresh cranberries, washed and drained
  • Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)

Cranberry Tart 5


On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness to fit a 9 1/2 or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the pastry even with the pan rim. Cover and place in a freezer for 1 hour. 
Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Cranberry Tart 2

Line the pastry shell with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until slightly set, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the tart shell from the oven and remove the weights and foil. Let cool. Reduce the oven to 375°F.

To make the filling, combine the almonds, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Beat the egg whites and the salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat again until almost firm and glossy. Stir in the lemon juice and beat until firm and glossy. Gently fold the almonds mixture and the cranberries into the meringue. Pour the filling into the pre-baked tart shell. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Bake immediately on the lower rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until the filling has set and is no longer runny.

Tip: When cranberries are in season, buy several extra bags and freeze them right in their bag. Than you can make the tart whenever you want. Fold in the cranberries while still frozen.

Cranberry Tart 3


Local Farms and Sauteéd Buffalo Liver with Onions and Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette


Lucky living surrounded by many beautiful farms, my family and I making the farm trips almost each weekend.


We buy many good things from farms:  fresh, local grown fruits and veggies from Shady Brook Farm, artisan cheeses from hormone-free milk, and award winning sweet sausages by Ely Farm. Our favored is incredibly tasty buffalo meat from family-owned Thorpe’s Farm.

Fact:  Bison is a wonderful healthy red meat with all of the flavor and texture of beef. It's rich in protein and high in iron yet is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than skinless chicken or turkey.


Thorpe’s Farm has a huge open barn with animals. For some reason many local cats like to be there as well.  Mr. Thorpe says that every week they are getting new kittens, and he is not sure where they come from :-)

The recipe adapted from Carina Forum

Homemade Cranberry Vinaigrette is a stunning salad dressing: bright, bold and beautiful. You may also serve it over a bed of mixed greens, apple and red onion slices, and pecans or over any salad of your choice. The vinaigrette may be store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  • 1 lbs buffalo liver
  • milk (enough to cover the liver)
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • Salt, ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • cranberries and chopped parsley for garnish
For cranberry vinaigrette:
  • ½ small sweet onion, minced
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4-6 Tbsp honey
  • 1 cup Canola oil or light olive oil
  • 2 cups cranberry, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp poppy seeds (tasted)
  • Salt, ground black pepper



To make the Cranberry Vinaigrette: In a blender or food processor, combine the cranberries, water and vine vinegar, puree. Over a medium bowl, strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer, pushing down on the solids. Return the mixture to a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil in a slow steady stream through the feed tube. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, mix well.

To cook the liver: Wash the liver, slice in 1 inch slices, then lay in shallow pan, cover with cold milk and let set in refrigerator for half hour. Remove liver slices from milk, and place them on paper towel to drain. Then coat the liver slices in a little flour, then season with salt and pepper.

Melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a skillet set a medium heat. Place the liver in the skillet and cook, turning once, until it is brown about 10 minutes. Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in another skillet and sautee onion slices until browned.

Arrange the onion on individual heated plates, add the liver and add some greens if desire. Pour over vinaigrette (or you can serve it on the side) and garnish with parsley and berries.



Peach, Oatmeal and Apricot Jam Cupcakes or Muffins, You decide!

Honestly, I don’t know what the difference between Cupcakes is and Muffins. Do you? I like to hear your thoughts.

Makes: 20

  • 1 ¾ cups self-rising flour
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup peach juice
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 20 canned peach halves or quarters in juice, drained
  • ¼ cup peach or apricot jam
Note: I did not have sour cream so I used yogurt instead (1/2 cup), but not just a yogurt the Passion Fruit Greek Yogurt. It was amazing addition of the passion fruit to the cupcake.



Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 20 standard muffin cups with paper liners.

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the oatmeal and make a well in the center. Melt the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Wisk the combined egg and peach juice into the sour cream. Add both the butter and the egg mixtures to the well in the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

Divide the mixture evenly among the paper liners and place a peach half or quarter, cut side up, on the top of each cake. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cake.

Transfer onto a wire rack to cool. Heat the jam in a small saucepan until melted. Brush a little jam over each cake.



Mussels in White Wine Sauce with Onions and Tomatoes - The appetizer that should be in every cook’s repertoire!

I of the things I admire about French cooking is the fact that inexpensive foods are given the same loving treatment as the luxury items, and frequently turn out to taste even better. Take mussels. Probably the most popular mussel dish is "moules marinieres", a classic French recipe using wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and butter. This dish is easy to make, and tastes divine. The only different thing with my variation is that I added fresh tomatoes to the sauce. I love it this way. See for yourself when you try this recipe.



  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 1/2 lb. mussels, well scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3-5 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

(On the photo: Boston lettuce for my salad that I had with mussels)

Tip: To clean mussels, scrub the shells well under running water. The beard, a fibrous tuft near the hinge, should not be removed until just before cooking. Grasp it close to the shell and pull on it with a firm tug. Today, with so many farm-raised mussels in the market, beards are less fully formed and are easier to remove. Once the mussels have been thoroughly cleaned, remove and discard any shells that are open or broken and that do not close when tapped.



In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Then add the onion, garlic and cook until the onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Turn up the flame to high and add the mussels. Pour in the white wine, bay leaf, fresh parsley, salt, ground pepper and stir for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, cover and cook for 5 minutes until all the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that did not open.
Serve the mussels in large bowl with the broth and baguette slices for dipping.



Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax, Chia and Hemp Seeds - It can't be better than this

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Flax, Chia and Hemp Seeds - It can't be better than this. These are protein-packing cookies, with just enough sweet, and wonderful combination of healthy seeds.
Adapted from Namely Marly

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 3 Tbsp soy milk or water, cold
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp hemp seeds (hemp Seeds can be purchased at most health food stores, I bought my at Vitacost)
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, dairy-free

Tip: Make these cookies gluten-free by using 1 cup brown rice flour and 1/2 cup buckwheat flour.

Fact: Long recognized as an excellent source of nutrition and energy, hemp foods have been used by humans for over 12,000 years all around the world, and continue to be one of the top-rated superfoods.



Heat your oven to 350F.
In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla.
In a separate small bowl combine the ground flax seed, corn starch, and soy milk (or water). The corn starch will want to get kind of clumpy. Stir it up a bit to keep that from happening. Then add the vinegar, let it sit for just a second or two and pour it into the peanut butter mixture. Stir well.
In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir until combined. Add the chia, hemp, and give the dry ingredients another little stir.
Now stir together the dry and the wet ingredients. If the mixture seems a little bit too dry, feel free to add another tablespoon of soy milk (or water). Then add the chocolate chips and stir everything one last time.
Make 1 – 1 1/2 inch balls and placed them and inch or so apart on a baking pan. Bake anywhere from 10 – 12 minutes depending on your desired crunchiness.
Note: The cookies come out of the oven on the puffy side, but just wait a minute or so and they’ll deflate. After they cooled they were the perfect cookies – crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside.


Chocolate Covered Strawberries - Happy Valentine’s Day to Everyone!

Oh how sweet!

Chocolate lovers have always known what medical research has confirmed: chocolate is good for your heart. Chocolate has made people happy for centuries. Of course, in ancient Incan civilization, eating chocolate was part of a deadly act: a “bittersweet” drink of chocolate was used to sanctify the souls of human sacrifices.


Alas, many years passed before chocolate was available as a sweet treat to sanctify the souls of the living. Once brought to Europe, chocolate was greedily hoarded by royalty, who did not want their subjects to be distracted by the passion that chocolate unleashed. It is no wonder that princely heads would roll before the populace was able to indulge. Fortunately, chocolate is now available to everyone. The lucky ones know how it deliciously seduces the mouth and the soul.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This recipe is so easy, it doesn’t really even need a write up.
 Melt the chocolate, dip the strawberries:-)) Simple, fun and luxuriously satisfying.

Happy Valentine’s Day to Everyone!



  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (best quality)
  • 1 pound strawberries with stems, washed and dried very well


Put the semisweet chocolates into heatproof medium bowl. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowl of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth.

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries.

Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.



Salmon Rice Soup with Seaweed

In our home we love salmon soups. I have already two recipes here; it’s Salmon Vegetable Soup with Barley and Coho Salmon and Autumn Vegetables Soup with Turmeric.

If there is a more perfect fish soup than this one, I cannot think of it at the moment. Succulent pink salmon in clear broth with rice and seaweed seasoned with the white vine and served with lemon slice and fresh dill.

Some facts about salmon: Oily fish as salmon are generally very popular as they are healthy and readily available. Salmon is good for the brain and great at helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes; it can also help make your skin look younger. Salmon is a great source of protein, rich in magnesium, zing, selenium, and vitamin A, plus B vitamins, and – most importantly-it is a good source of omega3 fatty acids, with make the blood less “sticky,” thus helping to reduce the risk of blood clots that could cause heart attacks.


  • 2 1/2 quarts fish stock or water
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled, cubed 
  • 2 middle sized carrots, diced
  • 2/3 cup cooked white rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp dry seaweed  
  • 1 lb. skinless boneless wild salmon fillet, cut into 1" cubes 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white vine
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  • salt, chopped dill
  • lemon slices for serving


Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, cook until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, bay leaves and 6 cups fish stock or water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

Add salmon to soup; simmer until just cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add cooked rice, white vine and seaweed and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes.

Divide soup between bowls; garnish with lemon and fresh dill.



Blackberry No-Bake Cheesecake - Pre Valentine's Day Dessert

It's never too early to start your Valentine's Day with beautiful dessert like Blackberry Cheesecake. You may do it day before and surprise your loved one in next morning -)


For the crust:
  • 1 cup graham crackers crumbs
  • 1/2 cup instant oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
  • few drops of vanilla extract
For the filling:
  • 1 envelope powdered gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar (if you like more sweet add more sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups blackberries, washed and drained
  • 1 cup blueberries, washed and drained for serving



To do the crust: Mix together graham crackers crumbs, oatmeal, sugar, salt, coconut oil and vanilla. Press into the base of round spring-form pan, and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 12-15 minutes. Remove from an oven and cool completely at room temperature.


To do the filling: Soak the gelatin in a 1/4 cup cold water (for about 10 minutes), and then put on a fire and warp up, stirring, until dissolved. Mix together cheese, heavy cream, sugar and lemon juice. Puree blackberries in a food processor(a blender will work fine) then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl. Mix the berry mixture with cream cheese mixture.

Start stirring cheese mixture slowly, while pouring the warm gelatin, after ingredients have combined, let it stand for a few minutes until it start thickens.


Now spoon over the mixture evenly into the chilled base, smooth the surface, and refrigerate for about 4-5 hours, but best to leave overnight.

Before you unlock the spring form pan, run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake.
Serve with some blackberries and whip cream if you like.

Tip: You may do variation of cheesecake in cups.



Baked Skate with Lightly Roasted Tomatoes


Skate is a flat seawater fish lives in cold and temperate waters on the bottom of the see where its coloring – a gray or brown back with lighter spots and black dots – camouflages it on the sea bed. Skates lay eggs in rectangular cases with “tassels” in each corner, with when washed up on the beach are known as “mermaids’ purses”. When alive, skates contain little ammonia, but after death they produce a lot more. The smell of ammonia should disappear when the skate is cooked; if it doesn’t, the skate is not fresh.

Skate wing is a fairly inexpensive fish. It may be hard to find as it is not very popular. Try local Farmers market or Fish market. It is a delicious flat fish you may only see in French restaurants.
The Skate have a simple bone structure, so even people nervous of bones can cope with them. The best way of eating most flat fish is pan-fried with a little lemon, parsley and browned butter – stronger flavors will overpower the delicate flavor of these fish. Good rich sauces for this fish include hollandaise, parsley, and lobster sauce.

This is a first time I am cooking the skate. Simple recipe but heavenly delicious! These skate wings are baked with butter. When you bake them watch the edges as they tent to burn. Cover them with foil and the skate will cook quite quickly. I served my skate wings with roasted tomatoes, capers and mustard sauce.


Unusually delicious!

Total Preparation Time: Less than 15 minutes
Actual Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Number of Servings:  2 (only because it’s so good)


  • 2 Skate wings from Madara's Seafood
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp bread crumbs
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, paprika
  • dill, parsley, tarragon (and any kind of herbs of your choice)
  • 1 pound of small tomatoes on vine
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Toss the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon olive oil, season with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake the tomatoes for 20 minutes or until lightly roasted.

Place the skate wings in an oven dish and sprinkle with lemon juice, pepper, salt and the chopped herbs. Drizzle with melted butter. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cook it in the oven at the same time as tomatoes for 20 minutes.


Old-Fashioned Veal Fricassee or Veal Stew with Mushrooms

A Fricassee is a classic dish in which poultry or meat is first seared in fat, and then braised with liquid until cooked. This recipe of Veal Stew with Mushrooms is finished with a little cream – leave it out if you wish.


  • 2 pounds veal, cut into pieces
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • bouguet garni
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 10-12 small white onions, peeled or 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 Tbsp heavy cream
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, to garnish



Wash the veal pieces, and then pat dry with paper towels. Melt half the butter with the oil in a large, heavy flameproof casserole over medium heat. Add the veal pieces and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, or until just golden in color. Sprinkle the veal with the flour, turning the pieces to coat. Cook over low heat for about 4 minutes, turning ones or twice.

Pour in the wine, bring to a boil and add the broth. Push the veal pieces to one side and scrape the base of the casserole, stirring until well blended.

Bring the liquid to a boil, add the bouquet garni and season with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes until the veal is tender.


Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the remaining butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions with lemon juice and cook 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms are golden, stirring. Add the mushrooms and onions to the veal and cook about 10 minutes more. Discard the bouquet garni. Whisk the cream (if using) and adjust the seasoning. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Tip: This dish can be made ahead and kept hot in a warm oven for up to an hour before serving.



French Chocolate Cake - Gateau au Chocolat

French Chocolate Cake - Gateau au Chocolat

This is typical of a French homemade cake - dense, dark and delicious.
The texture is very different from a sponge cake and it is excellent served with cream or a fruit coulis.

Serves:  6

  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar, plus some for sprinkling springform pan 
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract  
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup flour, sifted   
  • pinch of salt
  • confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (optional, I used cocoa powder)
  • 1 lb berries, for fruit coulis, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar, for fruit coulis 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon, for fruit coulis



For fruit coulis: Put the berries (of your choice) in a pan with ½ cup sugar and heat very gently, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. When the mixture comes to a simmer, cook gently for another 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender or a food processor and whiz to a puree, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl. Let this coulis cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming. When cold, stir in the lemon juice.


Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Generously butter a 9_1/2 inch springform pan, then sprinkle the pan with a little sugar and tap out the excess. Set aside 3 tbsp of the sugar, you are going to use it for the egg whites. Place the chocolate, butter and remaining sugar in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat until the chocolate and butter have melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and let the mixture cool slightly.

Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, beating each in well, and then stir in the flour.


In a clean greasefree bowl, using an electric mixer beat the egg whites slowly until they are frothy. Increase the speed, add the salt and continue beating until soft peaks form. Sprinkle over the reserved sugar and beat until the whites are stiff and glossy. Beat one-third of the whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.

Carefully pour the mixture into the pan and tap the pan gently to release any air bubbles.


Bake the cake for about 35-45 minutes until well risen and the top springs back when touched lightly with a fingertip. (If the cake appears to rise unevenly, rotate after 20-25 minutes.) Transfer the cake to a wire rack; remove the side of the pan let cool completely. Remove the pan base. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar and transfer to a serving plate.


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