There’s an app for that: Brie en Croute

Brie en Croute after being cut open exposing all that gooey goodness.

Although Brie en Croute is enjoyed year round, I associate it with Christmas and holidays as it just seems so festive. The fillings you can use are limited only by your imagination; everything from a raspberry and almond to a pepper jelly and pecan filling to an olive and garlic compote. The Brie en Croute pictured above has a filling of a Scotch Bonnet pepper jelly and pecans.

Making a Brie en Croute is almost too easy; especially if you purchase your puff pastry. Here’s a video demostrating how to make puff pastry should you decide to make your own. It really isn’t too hard but it is time consuming: puff pastry. It is originally in French but has been overdubbed.

Here’s what I did to make the Scotch Bonnet pepper jelly and pecan Brie en Croute:


1 egg
1 tbsp. water
All-purpose flour
12″ x 12″ sheet of puff pastry or1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed.
¼ cup chopped pecans
½ cup Scotch Bonnet pepper jelly
1  Brie cheese round (approximately 8 ounces)


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Make an egg wash by beating the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork.

Sprinkle the flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface and roll the pastry sheet into a 12 x 12 inch square. Cut the corners off the sheet of puff pastry to form a circle. Next, spread the pecans in the very center of the pastry in the approximate size of the Brie wheel. I like to take the outer container of the Brie and center it in the middle of the pastry and then lightly tap it giving me a guide to the size of the Brie wheel. Spread the jelly on top of the pecans and then place the Brie wheel on top of the jelly. Using a pastry brush, brush some of the egg wash on the outer edge of the pastry and then fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover and seal. Brush a little more egg wash over the seams to help seal.  Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Decorate with the pastry scraps, if desired and finally brush the entire pastry with the egg mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes before cutting and serve with the crackers or crostini.

Brie en Croute before cutting open. Use the scraps of puff pastry to decorate the top of your Brie en Croute.

There’s an app for that: Prosciutto wrapped, cheese stuffed dates

This quick appetizer goes together very quickly. Your guests will be very impressed and think you spent way more time making them than you actually did.


2 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 ounces) mascarpone cheese, a room temperature
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 dates, pitted
8 thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
16 toothpicks or cocktail picks


In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses and basil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Gently pull the dates apart and stuff with about ½ teaspoon of the cheese mixture. Close the dates around the filling. Wrap a piece of prosciutto around each date and secure with a toothpick.

Arrange the stuffed dates on a platter and serve.

Bonus Post! Guacamole!


I’ve been making a lot of things with avocados lately so I have been buying a lot of avocados. I have also been able to work on perfecting my guacamole.

Here’s what I did for my guacamole tonight:


3 ripe avocados
1 tomato, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large jalapeño pepper, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
A few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Juice from one lime


Combine all ingredients in suitable bowl. Mash avocados with a fork and stir together until well combined. Some chunks of avocado should remain

Here is an informative site that explains how to buy avocados. Avocado Central

But Chickens Don’t Have Lips!


Here is a recipe for Chicken Lips that I received from Peter Harman, chef and owner of Martini’s Grille in Burlington, Iowa many years ago. Peter also started a carry out store called Lips To Go and a restaurant in Iowa City, Iowa called Graze.

Here is Peter’s fantastic Chicken Lips:


2 pounds voluptuous chicken breasts
2 pounds flour
1 quart buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons black pepper


Buy fresh boneless chicken breasts, big, jumbo babies, wash thoroughly then place on a cutting board, use a sharp knife to remove any fat or skin. Cut chicken into long strips about as thick as your thumb. Put the flour into a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Pour the buttermilk into a bowl. Make sure the bowls you use are large enough to handle the chicken when it is added. Dip the chicken a few strips at a time into the flour, then buttermilk, then back to the flour. Coat well in each stage. Place them on a platter as they are breaded and reserve until cooking.

Heat frying oil in a large skillet or pot, fry daddy or outdoor cooker to 350 degrees. Fry the lips in batches and place them on a platter lined with paper towels. Dip the lips into the hot lip sauce and put onto a serving platter. Serve immediately with Budweiser Blue Cheese Dressing on the side.

Hot Lip Sauce
1 pound butter
2 cups hot sauce
1 tablespoon granulated garlic

Melt the butter in a pan large enough to hold it, do not allow it to boil. Pour the butter into a blender. Turn blender on to high, hopefully remembering to put the cover on first. Slowly pour in in hot sauce until it is incorporated, the sauce should be bright orange and become emulsified or slightly thick, add garlic and blend for about 30 seconds. This is Hot Lip Sauce.

Peter’s Budweiser Blue Cheese Dressing

1 pint heavy mayonnaise
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large swig of Bud Fat
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 pound Maytag blue cheese crumbles

Put everything except the blue cheese into a large bowl, mix well. Add the blue cheese and lightly stir in. Some recipes are just that simple.

Fried Green Tomatoes

It’s the end of Summer and a killing frost is going to wipe out your garden however your tomato plants still have several little jewels of deliciousness on them. You could pick them and place them in a sunny spot to let ripen, and as a matter of fact you should, but I also recommend taking several of them and making fried green tomatoes.

What’s not to like about fried green tomatoes? My recipe makes them crispy, saucy and very cheesy. Here’s what I do:


1 Cup buttermilk
1 Egg
8 slices green tomato (completely green if possible), approximately ¼-inch thick
1 cup Panko bread crumbs, lightly seasoned with salt, and black or white pepper

1 Cup Marinara
8 oz Fresh Mozzerella Cheese
Fresh shredded Parmesean Cheese
Fresh chopped basil


Preheat oven broiler.

In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg. Heat shortening in a large saute pan over moderate heat.

Meanwhile, dip tomato slices in egg mixture, then Panko bread crumbs. Place tomato slices in pan in a single layer. Do not crowd. Cook over moderate heat until golden brown on bottom. Turn and brown on other side. (Total cooking time is 3 to 4 minutes.) Tomato should be cooked all the way through but not mushy. Exterior should be golden brown.

Remove tomatoes place on wire rack to drain excess oil. Then place slices in single layer on flat baking sheet. Top each tomato with one slice of mozzarella and broil until cheese is melted and just begins to brown.

Place hot marinara on serving plate. Place four tomato slices on top and garnish with fresh chopped basil. Repeat with remaining slices and serve immediately.