Toffee Torte

Toffee Torte

We have had this recipe for over 43 years...not sure where it originally came from but it was the very first dessert I made for Peter when he came to Chicago one weekend after we were dating.   Its very easy to make and very impressive looking. INGREDIENTS: 2 dozen lady fingers  1 Tablespoon of plain gelatin 1 package of vanilla pudding - not instant 9 ounces of frozen, chopped chocolate coffee toffee bars 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract  4 cup of prepared dessert topping Springform pan INSTRUCTIONS: Start by softening the gelatin in 1/2 cup of cold water. Prepare pudding according to directions Add gelatin mixture to pudding when hot and stir until dissolved. Stir in 1/14 cups of toffee pieces and vanilla extract and stir. Chill until thickening begins. Take out of refrigerator and fold in 2 cups of prepared dessert topping (cool whip)  On the bottom of your springform pan that you have lined with ladyfingers as in the photo - start to add in pudding mixture and layer with additional ladyfingers so you have a couple layers of the pudding mixture and of more ladyfingers. Chill overnight or for several hours - Then top with extra cool whip and chopped toffee bits  We have two of the best tasting toffee's available on our site that you can add the larger pieces - tucked into top of the cake for added taste!  
Chicago Style Italian Beef sandwich

Chicago Style Italian Beef sandwich

For as long as I can remember growing up in the Chicago area - our family loved and still enjoy Johnnie's Italian Beef Sandwiches!  They opened in Elmwood Park, Illinois in 1961 and although not the original owners - the new owners still crank out fabulous beef sandwiches daily. Many years ago - as I have made them at home for over 40 years - a beef stand owner gave my mother this recipe. I had moved to Michigan after Peter and I married in 1981 and I really missed this iconic beef stand, so I did the next best thing and learned to make them myself!  This is for a 6 pound top round - which after slicing thin will serve a large crowd!  It is really this easy..... Ingredients: Top Round Roast - 6 pounds 4 cans of beef onion soup 6 cans of water 8 beef bouillon cubes 1 green pepper cut up 4 stalks of celery 2 onions cut up Paprika Oregano Garlic Powder Crushed Red pepper Giardiniera peppers for top (optional)  salt and pepper - if needed Instructions: Place roast on rack over a large pan.  In the bottom of the pan add all the ingredients listed above. Cook 20 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. When juice at bottom of pan is cool - strain and keep it in a container.  Refrigerate.  When meat is cool slice thin with a meat slicer - or have your local butcher slice for you!  Mine always does it to perfection.  When ready to eat - take the amount of beef you need and place in some juice in pan.  Warm on stovetop. Serve on a crusty, French bread roll and top with hot peppers if you desire!
Creamy Caramel Flan

Creamy Caramel Flan

Whether you call it Crème Caramel, Flan or Caramela - this recipe is an extremely popular dessert that is actually traced back to ancient Rome.  The Spaniards brought it to the America's where it became a delicacy.  The Mexican Culture had a strong influence in making it a common dessert found in many restaurants.  Now you can duplicate it at home very easily with this recipe.  This is a lighter more creamy version then found in some restaurants - but so good! Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of Sugar - for the bottom 1 quart - of half and half and whole milk mixture (I typically make it with all 1/2 and 1/2) 7 eggs 1 cup of sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons of Vanilla Instructions: Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Take the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and place it in a pan on stove top. Our small copper pot works so well with sugar melting.  Use low heat and let the sugar melt to a liquid on stovetop. (if you have never melted sugar before know that first it gets hard, but then as it heats up it liquifies).  Once melted pour the liquid into the bottom of a casserole baking dish. Let harden while you prepare the crème.  In a separate pan on stovetop scald your milk mixture - or straight 1/2 and 1/2 whichever you use.  To scald milk properly heat the saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently. The milk is scalded when small bubbles appear around the outside of the saucepan, or the temperature registers 180 to 185 degrees F. In a bowl while your milk is scalding - with a hand beater or mix master beat the 7 eggs, 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla.  Take a small amount of the scalded milk and slowly add it to the egg mixture stirring constantly.  Then add in the rest of the scalded milk and stir together.   Slowly pour your liquid mixture into the casserole dish with the sugar on the bottom.  The sugar will have firmed up - then you know its good to pour your liquid in.   Place your casserole dish in a larger baking tray with a water bath.  Bake at 350 until it is set - which  takes about 1 1/2 hours.  Some ovens may be less.  It will be set on top.  When finished cooking remove the casserole from the water bath and then refrigerate.  I like to make it the night before if possible.   When chilled, invert the casserole dish onto a much larger serving dish - as the sugar will spill all over onto the dessert and the bottom of the dish.  Enjoy!  Every time we make this dessert it does not last long.... We started making variations of this recipe by using our Bacanha organic syrups in place of the vanilla.....they are so perfect in baking. Look for them under sweet spot on our website. 
Cheese Ball Recipe - Crowd pleaser!

Cheese Ball Recipe - Crowd pleaser!

Happy National Cheese Ball Day! This recipe was given to me years and years ago from Pete's Mom - Josephine Corrado.  It is a real crowd pleaser and so easy to make! Our children always looked for it on every holiday or gathering. Serve with your favorite crackers - we have some beautiful artisan crackers on our site and so many fabulous charcuterie boards to serve this on. Ingredients:  All at room temperature to mix easily 1- 8 ounce cream cheese 1 stick of butter - we use salted butter 1 small size - 3 ounce or so of Blue Cheese 1 small tub of Sharp cheddar cheese 1 tub of Win Schulers original cheddar cheese spread (or something similar) Mix these softened cheeses and butter together well.  Roll into a ball - it will be quite sticky on your hands.  Then roll into either ground walnuts or ground pecans and place on a dish with saran wrap and refrigerate until it is firm.  Enjoy!   
Julia Syracuse's Calzone Recipe

Julia Syracuse's Calzone Recipe

Calzones are an Italian food of origin and are traditionally made for the Easter holiday - although they are great anytime! They originated in Naples, Italy as an easy, standing-in-the-street way of eating pizza.  Different regions of Italy now have different ingredients and techniques to make Calzone but here is my mother's version given to me many years ago. Ingredients: 5 pounds of Flour 3 packages of Yeast 6 cups of Warm water 1 cup of good Olive oil warmed slightly on stovetop - (we have some fabulous ones to choose from) Handful of black pepper 4 pounds of Ricotta cheese - if it is really wet drain well 5 pounds of Italian sausage - you can mix hot and mild or if you only have mild you can add a handful of hot pepper flakes.  1 stick of Pepperoni - chopped in small pieces Eggs - as many as it takes - up to 11 eggs.  I used 10 eggs for this recipe as they were large. 2 large handfuls of grated cheese - Pecorino Romano is good to use. 1/4 pound of regular Prosciutto Block of Asiago cheese - chopped into small pieces Block of sharp Provolone cheese - chopped into small pieces Large handful of Italian Parsley - chopped fine Instructions: Start by mixing your Flour, water and yeast, warmed olive oil and pepper in a large pot or bowl and knead like you are making bread. Let rise. Take your sausage out of the casing and break it up in a large frying pan and brown on stove top.  When slightly cooled put in a large mixing bowl and add in the Ricotta cheese, pepperoni, grated cheese, prosciutto and the asiago and provolone along with the chopped parsley. Then add in the eggs one at a time and mix well until you have a consistency that holds together. When dough is ready take a piece (I got 10 calzones out of this recipe) and roll it out on a floured board to make a large round circle.  Fill the bottom half with filling and then fold the top half over and seal it with a little cold water and use a fork to press against edges.  Place on baking sheets. Brush the top with a beaten egg and place in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes rotating so as not to burn the tops.  If you have a really hot oven I would lower the temperature to 375 degrees.   When they are done let cool completely - then you can wrap in foil and freeze or place in refrigerator until you are ready to rewarm and eat.  I like to rewarm them and get them hot for like 30 minutes at 350 - then I always let them rest for ten minutes or so before cutting so they do not fall apart when you cut the slices.  Enjoy and Happy Easter - or Buona Pasqua!    
Classic Lobster Newburg Recipe

Classic Lobster Newburg Recipe

Its National Lobster Newburg day today and we are celebrating by sharing this lovely recipe.¬† ¬†We have fabulous lobster in a tin from Scout lobster and you can serve this recipe plated with puff pastry on our Lobster Board with our Lobster tea towels!¬† This is a great brunch recipe to share with friends and family. Ingredients:3 egg yolks, beatenFresh parsley, finely chopped, for serving¬ľ cup butter or margarine2 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into chunks (fresh, frozen, or canned)3 tablespoons dry sherry¬†¬ĺ cup heavy cream¬Ĺ teaspoon salt1 pinch ground nutmeg OR ground chili powderPuff pastry shells or toast, for servingDirections:Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Dice the parsley. Preheat a large pan to medium heat - we have some beautiful pans online to create this recipe in. Melt butter and add in lobster meat, and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the dry sherry and cook for an additional minute. Remove lobster meat, gradually add in the cream, and whisk until the sauce thickens. Do not let the sauce come to a boil. Remove a tablespoon of sauce from the pan and add it to beaten egg yolks, stirring it in quickly. This helps temper the eggs to ensure they don't curdle or scramble once added to the hot pan. Reduce heat to low and add the egg yolks to the pan with the sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the salt, spices, and lobster meat to the pan. If your sauce splits at this point, add 1 tablespoon of cream and whisk to bind it again. Cook over low heat for 1-2 minutes more, until the lobster is heated through. Remove from heat.Serve classic lobster Newburg inside baked puff pastry shells or on top of toast. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Lobster Newburg is best eaten immediately. Recipe from the Tasting Table!
Concetta Frain's Irish Soda Bread in honor of St Patrick's Day!

Concetta Frain's Irish Soda Bread in honor of St Patrick's Day!

My sister Concetta is a great cook - and a fabulous baker!  The nieces and nephews nicknamed her Auntie Sugar for all the fabulous desserts she has made for them over the years.  She has cooked with so many of the unique products we feature on Seasonandstir.com and we love when she sends us photos! Sunday dinners at my parent's house - always had Concetta in charge of dessert which made everyone happy! Today she shared with us a recipe for Irish Soda Bread - a tribute to the Irish people in our family and beyond, that are happily celebrating St Patrick's Day today. This is a great recipe to try out - perfect for today's celebrations.                                      INGREDIENTS: 4 1/2 Cups of Flour 1 1/4 cup Sugar 2 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder Dash of salt 1 teaspoon Baking Soda 1/2 cup Butter melted 2 1/2 cups Raisins 2 cups buttermilk 1/2 cup of Heavy Cream 1 Large Egg DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 2. To make 1 large loaf, use a 10-12 inch cast iron pan or ovenproof skillet with a 2 inch or better side or to make 2 loaves use 2 smaller cast iron skillets, oven proof pans or 2 cake pans. 3. Cut a big enough circle of parchment paper out to line both the bottom of the pan and the sides of your pan (s). 4. Whisk the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl until blended, add the butter and raisins and stir well. 5. Add buttermilk, heavy cream and egg to the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated - do not over mix! 6. Pour mixture into pan(s) and cook for one hour or until toothpick or skewer inserted comes out dry.  For smaller loaves, check after 45 minutes, however, most likely it will take an hour to bake.  Once a wooden skewer comes out not "wet" it is done.   Cool a bit then flip out of the pan - peel off parchment paper and allow to bread to cool on a cooling rack, that is unless you want to dig in and eat while it is warm!  Which is delicious! * You can also sprinkle the top with decorating sugar as in photo below.
Alina Capo Noll's Delicious Olive Tapenade Recipe

Alina Capo Noll's Delicious Olive Tapenade Recipe

This recipe was given to us by our friend Alina Noll. She is truly such a kind and caring human being.  Peter and I had the luxury of spending a fabulous evening of dinner and drinks with Alina and her husband Bill, in London a few years ago. We knew then - the appreciation of gourmet food was mutual. Alina whips up fabulous meals for her friends and family often - she has such a talent for cooking AND Interior Design! I can tell you with complete assurance this Olive appetizer is amazing - Alina really knows what she is doing in the kitchen! I had the pleasure of tasting this at a recent get together - and Alina kindly shared the recipe with us - so you can make it too!  Such a great appetizer when entertaining - and it looks so lovely on your charcuterie boards! Ingredients:   2 cups of Mixture of Olives (choose your favorites) 1/3 to 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil - we have some fabulous olive oils - from Italy, Spain, Marrakesh and beyond.  A pinch of red pepper flakes Garlic cloves to taste - minced fine 1/2 cup of pine nuts Directions: Alina utilizes the small prep food processor for this recipe - such a great, handy kitchen tool! Throw the ingredients into the processor -  your olives (reserve a few for the top), pour in the olive oil as needed, the red pepper flakes and the minced garlic and pine nuts.   Pulverize until smooth - as in the photo.  She then puts some olives on top that she utilizes for decoration.  Enjoy! Season and Stir has some Moroccan purple olives that have a taste all of their own - and would work exceptionally well in this recipe!
Season and Stir's Bran Muffin recipe

Season and Stir's Bran Muffin recipe

We have been making these delicious Bran Muffins for around 40 years and we still love the taste of these.  They are a great source of fiber - but are not dry like many bran muffin recipes are.   This recipe was originally given to us by Peter's Mom Josephine, who is a fabulous baker!  They are a perfect treat when having a brunch or guests staying with you.  Even people that do not like the taste of bran will love these muffins! This recipe makes a large batch that keeps up to two weeks in refrigerator or can be frozen for a great breakfast treat! We butter the muffin trays - instead of using paper cups but either works.  Ingredients:  Part 1: 2 cups of 100% Kellogg's All Bran Cereal 2 cups of boiling water  Part 2:  3 cups of sugar 1 cup of butter or margarine softened 4 eggs slightly beaten 2 tablespoons of dark molasses Part 3: 4 cups of 40% Kellogg's All Bran Cereal 5 cups of flour 1 teaspoon of salt 3 tablespoons of baking soda Part 4:  1 quart of buttermilk Directions: Mix the 2 cups of 100% all bran with the boiling water - from Part 1.  Shut heat and let stand. From Part 2 - mix all ingredients from part 2 with a hand mixer or stand in large bowl. From Part 3 - mix all these dry ingredients together in a separate large bowl with a wooden spoon.  We have some beautiful wooden kitchen utensils on the site as well as some lovely copper measuring cups and spoons. From Part 4 - Mix Part 1 (the 100% all bran and boiling water mixture) and Part 3 (the dry ingredients).  Then add a quart of buttermilk and and stir until combined.  Next add in Part 2 which are all your wet ingredients and mix well making sure all flour is combined.  Bake in buttered muffin tins at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  These muffins go so well with a cup of coffee or tea - see our catalogue of some excellent brews.