Tag Archives: cheese

Make Time to Take Tea (and Stilton Cucumber Sandwiches)

Porcelain Web 720 from Scarlett Killaly on Vimeo.

Don’t ask me how I came across this video. I think it was while on a search for tea party china, or serving dishes. Kind of a random find, but I am glad I took two minutes out to watch it because I enjoyed the artistic reminder that we all need to make time in our busy lives to take tea.




hosted by 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro Cooks!

This month, in honor of the recent conclusion of the Olympic games, our 5 Star Makeover group is making time for tea in a  virtual English tea party. Keeping tradition in mind, our instructions were to  create savory and/or sweet little bites to accompany the  tea. Assorted finger sandwiches, scones, Devonshire cream, jams, and tea breads are familiar treats served during this pre-dinner (typically between 3-5pm) snack.

Cucumber sandwiches are the first things that popped into my mind (and stayed there ) when I got started on this tea post, so that’s what I stayed with.  I have changed them up a bit straying from tradition and swapping the crustless white bread for savory Stilton biscuits. The biscuits are something I really love all on their own. The dough is super easy to make in the food processor. The slice and bake “logs” my be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week before baking, or in the freezer for one month.  If you haven’t already thought about this, they are really perfect with a glass of wine. Cheese and cracker all in one bite!

I have filled the biscuits with my version of a Benedictine spread (popular in the south), which is a cucumber/onion infused cream cheese. A slice of English cucumber adds a little bit of extra crunch. Simple and not too fussy; pretty much what we are looking for in an afternoon tea snack. I hope you will take tea with us all of us on Friday and enjoy the treats.

You will find a roundup of the recipes on Lazaro Cooks! and 5 Star Foodie, and can always check out what our 5 Star Makeover Group is cooking by following our Pinterest page.

Stilton Cucumber Sandwiches

3/4 pound Stilton cheese
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a baking sheet.

Place cheese and melted butter in bowl of food processor and pulse until well blended.  Add the poppy seeds and flour and process until the ball of dough forms.

Shape the dough into two logs, each about 10-inches long. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Slice the dough into rounds about one-quarter inch thick. Place the rounds on the baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, until browned on the bottom.  Cool the biscuits on a rack before serving.
Makes 50  biscuits

Benedictine Spread:
1 large cucumber
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon creme fraiche

Peel cucumber and grate over a cheese cloth, catching cucumber liquid into a small bowl. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the cucumber liquid; discarding remaining liquid and cucumber pulp.  Combine with remaining ingredients in food processor.

Stilton biscuits
Benedictine spread
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced

Spoon 1/2 teaspoon Benedictine Spread on the bottom side of 1 Stilton Biscuit. Place 1-2 slices of English cucumber on spread and top with a second biscuit (bottom side down). Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Makes 25 Sandwiches


Grilled Bruschetta with Asparagus and Parmesan Recipe

When  Jaden Hair of  Steamy Kitchen offered a guest spot on her site, you can image how excited I was!

I’ve shared a recipe for Grilled Bruschetta with Asparagus and Parmesan from my new book, Friends at the Table: The Ultimate Supper Club Cookbook.

Jaden is also giving away a copy to one lucky winner!

Continue reading the post over at Steamy Kitchen and enter to win




Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad Recipe and a Dinner Party on the Lake




My cooking classes are on hiatus until fall, and in the meantime I have been enjoying time with my family here in the Adirondacks at our annual gathering during  the month of July.
There’s not a whole heck of a lot going on up here, but that’s exactly what I love about it and look forward to returning to each year. I’ve been doing a lot of hiking, kayaking, and just sitting on the dock listening to the loons.
While we are up here I also look forward to catching up with friends (who also return to this place each year) from neighboring homes around the lake.
Last night we had the opportunity to do just that.  We attended a dinner party hosted by two gentlemen in their beautifully restored historic home on Mountain Lake.
The theme was casual gourmet barbecue that focused on fresh local ingredients. We all prepared something to contribute to the meal, and served everything buffet style. I love this style of entertaining, as it  makes the guests feel right at home and comfortable, and also frees up the hosts’ time so they can spend time visiting with their friends.

We started the evening with wine and some fine New York dairy cheeses and artisan sausages, along with a savory pastry hors d’oeuvre. I don’t know about you, but when you have some really good cheese on the table and a glass of wine, it’s hard to think about moving on to eat anything else. If we had stopped there, it would have been okay with me.
But we did continue on, and  the buffet table was set with gourmet burgers filled with blue cheese and mushrooms, and some amazing homemade bratwurst from the grill, along with some fresh  salads.

Dessert had been assigned to one of our friends who also happens to be a pastry chef, so when that is the case, you always save room…and boy was I glad I did! He brought a lovely coconut cake and bread pudding, both of which were delicious!
We enjoyed such a nice evening talking and laughing. It was the kind of evening you just want to do over~great food, fun people, and a beautiful setting.


I was assigned to bring a salad, and after a visit to   a nearby farmer’s market, I decided to make a salad with a blend of everything I picked up.. I knew I wouldn’t find quinoa up here in the mountains, so I brought some along with other hard to find items in my travel kitchen box.

Here is a look at the salad and a recipe for you:


                               Farmer’s Market Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette


Zest and juice of 3 lemons

1 tablespoon minced shallots

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 cups basil leaves, cut into chiffonade

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk lemon zest/juice and next 7 ingredients together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside until ready to toss salad.


2 cups quinoa

4 cups water

3 small zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

3 ears fresh corn kernels, cooked

2 large tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

5 ounces baby arugula, sliced into a chiffonade

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Heat water to boil. Add quinoa, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes until done. Transfer quinoa to a large bowl to cool. Meanwhile, heat grill to medium high. Brush both sides of zucchini with oilve oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill 3 minutes per side and transfer to a cutting board. Cut grilled zucchini into 1/2-inch slices and add to bowl with cooled quinoa. Add remaining salad ingredients to bowl and toss with salad dressing.

8 servings