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Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Serves: 4 
4 medium portabella caps 
4 cups Ritz cracker crumbs 
1 large onions, minced 
1 stick of butter 
4 tbsp. parsley, chopped 
2 tbsp. garlic, fresh minced 
1/4 cup white wine, any will do 
to taste salt & pepper 
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated

Over medium heat, saute onions & garlic with 2 tbsp. of butter. Cook for 2 minutes, add white wine and cook down for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the butter, melt, then pull off the heat, add breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley and seasoning to taste. Remove the stem and wash mushrooms with cold water, pat dry. Add stuffing and bake uncovered in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until stuffing begins to brown. by: Tamara Philips

Chicken Pot Pie

Serves: 4 
1/2 pound chicken breast (boneless, skinless) 
1 qt (32 oz)chicken broth 
1 large onion 
2 oz flour 
2 oz butter 
1 cup frozen peas & carrots 
1 cup mushrooms 
1 tsp. chopped garlic 
to taste salt & pepper 
3 oz white wine (any will do) 
2 frozen pie crust 10"

Melt butter over medium heat, add onions & mushroms, cook for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic & wine, cook for another 3 minutes. Add flour and mix well, let the mixture(roux)cook for about 7 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring often. Add chicken, broth, and seasoning. Cook another 7 minutes. After it has simmered, taste and add salt and pepepr for personal preference. Take it off the heat and add peas and carrots.

Divide mixture into 4 (10 ounce) heat proof crocks (like the ones used for French onion soup.) Let the pie crust thaw a little, and cut a round shape about an inch bigger than the mouth of the crock. (roll out the remains of the dough with a rolling pin and a toss of flour for the other cutouts.) Place the cutout on top of the dish and crimp the edges with your fingers, or just fold it around the lip of the bowl, whatever floats your boat. Brush the top with some egg white and bake about 20 mintes at 375-400 degrees or until the crust becomes golden brown. Don't forget to put the crocks onto a baking pan, just in case the pie begins to bubble over. You can also transfer the whole bit right into a casserole dish and top it with a whole pie crust. If you plan to make these for the next day or to freeze them, make sure you cool down the soup before you top it with crust. Bake chilled pot pie at 350-375 degrees for 30-40 min. by: Jodi Robinson

Sweetened Dates

Serves: 6 
2 cups dry pitted dates 
2 cups water 
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom 
1 cup walnuts 
1 cup blanched peeled almonds 
2/3 cup honey (more or less, as needed)

Soak the dates in some warm water, for about half an hour. While they soak, spread nuts onto a baking pan and toast in the oven for about 7 minutes at 375 degrees. Shaking pan once to avoid uneven browning. Once toasted, throw them into the food processor and give em' a couple spins. You're looking for very small pieces, but not ground to a powder. Pour them into a bowl and add spices. Drain the dates, pat as dry as possible with paper towels, and add the honey. Stir to coat. Drop the dates into the nut mixture a handful at a time and toss together. Press the chopped nuts onto the dates and carefully arrange onto a serving dish. Taken & revised from Oswald Rivera's book "The Pharaoh's Feast."

Grilled Flatbread Sandwich

Serves: 4 
19 oz. pizza dough ball 
1/2 cup olive oil 
1/4 shredded parmesan 
1 tsp. italian seasoning 
3 tbsp. pizza sauce 
1 cup shredded mozzarella

2 cups mesculin greens and your favorite dressing.

Flatten out your dough with your hands or with a rolling pin. Having a bit of flour for the counter and the pin is always helpful. Roll it out any size you like, top it and toss it onto a flat pan (cookie sheet works) with a bit of non-stick spray on the bottom. Just be sure to slide it off after its cooked onto a surface you don't mind cutting on. 450 for about 12 minutes (preheated oven only-don't get lazy on this's the one thing that will make or break the pizza.) Or once again, till the crust is golden brown and the top is bubbling nicely. Viola! Toss up your salad and lay it on your pie. It's really saves on having 2 dishes rolled in one. If you get your crust to be really thin, you can actually just fold it up like a taco! Pizza can get as weird and wonderful as you'd like.

Lobster Bisque

Let me give it to you straight…I like anything made in one pot, in less than an hour. You can use fresh lobster if you'd like, but it would probably run you the same price and you may encounter moral dilemmas as well, up to you. This is the KIS method (keep it simple). If you want to make a full lobster stock be my guest, that's a different story and can be substituted equally for ½ the cream. If you happen to be serving guests you really don't like much, then use less lobster meat and more veggies! Can I get an Amen?

½ lb. lobster meat (frozen is great) you can use shrimp too. 
Lobster base… I don't know how much…follow the directions for about 1 ½ qts., silly. 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 
12 shallots, thinly sliced, yes you can use onion, and no it won't taste the same. 
1 good stalk of celery, small dice. 
2 tablespoons flour 
7 cups heavy cream 
½ shot of Sherry, you know what a shot is…I know you do… 
½ cup white wine-whatever you have in the ol' wine cellar, or if you're like me…fridge. 
Dash of hot pepper sauce

Use a heavy bottomed stock pot. Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots until translucent, about 3 minutes, add celery, cook for 2 minutes. Add flour to make the roux , cook on low heat for 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture.

Add the white wine, it should instantly thicken up, whisk it well, add a cup or so of cream, whisk again…this will keep the bisque from having lumps. Pour in the rest of the cream and add the lobster base. Now simmer (lightly bubbling surface) for about 20 minutes or so, stirring every so often. This is to cook out the flour taste and to meld the flavors. I like to use flour for this recipe because the consistency is much smoother than straight cream, which takes a while to reduce, but by all means, if you have more time, then go for it, just use less base and no flour.

Throw in your lobster meat & simmer another 10 minutes or so. Now TASTE it! Does it need more salt? Go for it!! Pepper?? Go for it!!…I like white pepper, or cracked black. Too thick? Add water or milk! Everyone's preferences are different, print this recipe, get the paper dirty, use it, and adjust to your preferences.

Lastly, take it off the heat, mix in your sherry and pepper sauce (not too much, you want to taste the lobster.) If you've reserved some lobster meat, then you can drop some in the soup plate after its ladled in. Fancy huh? A bit of fresh parsley and you're set. Oyster crackers?….no no…that's lobster chowder…that's milk…this is cream, cream doesn't like crackers, cream is too snobbish and uppity for crackers, use some fresh bread if you must, maybe some crusty French baguette? And remember, if it ain't cream…then it ain't bisque!

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