Paganini's Pantry (163)

Thursday, 23 January 2014 14:15

Chocolate Brownie Pops

Chocolate Brownie Pops
Makes 20 brownie pops
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
12 oz. semi sweet chocolate, melted & room temperature
½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 lg. eggs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted chocolate, melted butter until incorporated.  Add sugar and extract and mix until incorporated. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until incorporated.
Pour into a buttered and floured baking dish and bake until firm. 
To make pops:
3 cups semisweet chocolate
Variety of sprinkles
20 lollipop sticks
1 large piece of foam (to place cooling dipped brownie pops)
Remove outer crust of the brownies and set aside. Place brownie in a large bowl. Break up brownie to soften and roll a small amount into quarter-sized balls. Place a lollipop stick in each ball and press around base to hold steady. Place on a parchment  lined cookie sheet and freeze until firm.
Over a double boiler, melt chocolate. Dip frozen brownie balls into the melted chocolate, evenly coating. Spin lightly to remove drips and then sprinkle with decorations of your choice.
Stick the sticks into a piece of foam to hold in place while you wait for them to set and place in refrigerator. 
Thursday, 16 January 2014 19:17

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Makes 10-12 servings


3 Tbsp. olive oil                                                       

1 lg. onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice

2 lg. zucchini, rinsed and cut into 1/4 inch dice

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (optional)

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups canned tomato chunks

5 qt. vegetable stock

2 cups quinoa

1 lb. fresh spinach, stems trimmed, leaves cut into thin strips

1 lg. can (1 lb. 3 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, potatoes and cook, stirring frequently for 10 minutes, add the wine. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes longer. Pour in the stock and then add the quinoa, spinach, and beans. Simmer the soup uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.


Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in large bowls with parmesan cheese.

Friday, 10 January 2014 06:35

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake


Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Makes 1 loaf

8 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ cup All Purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

Zest and juice of two lemons

¼ cup poppy seeds


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the 9x 5 loaf pan and set aside.

Using a kitchen stand mixer cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and lemon juice and mix until combined.

Sift together dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture, be careful not to overmix once the flour is added.

Fold in the lemon zest and poppy seeds. Pour or scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake until center of loaf feels spongy or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 35-45 minutes.



1 cup powdered sugar

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Stir together until combined. Drizzle over pound cake.


Thursday, 02 January 2014 10:06

Grilled Chicken with Orange Mustard Glaze

Grilled Chicken with Orange Mustard Glaze


Serves 4

4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled, grated
Place chicken in a plastic freezer bag with the other ingredients and allow chicken to marinate for 1-2 hours. 
Remove chicken from marinade and place on a preheated grill on direct medium heat. Grill until center of chicken registers 165 degrees F.
Take raw marinade and place in a small sauce pot. Cook marinate until boiling (212 degrees F) and allow to boil for 6 minutes.  Use fully cooked marinade as finishing sauce for chicken.
Sesame Green Beans
1 1/2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Put up a pot of water and allow to boil.   Get ready a large bowl of water with 1 cup of ice cubes in it.  Place green beans into the boiling water for 2-3minutes only.  Immediately place them into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain from water completely. 
Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat.  Add 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil to pan.  Allow to heat.   Add beans and crushed red pepper flakes and quickly sauté for 3 minutes.  Remove beans from pan and toss in a bowl with sesame seeds and salt and pepper to taste.
Friday, 27 December 2013 06:55

Paganini's Pantry: Marinated Olives


1 lemon, juice & zest

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
2 bay leaves 
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups mixed olives 



Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan with lemon juice and zest, garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and crushed red pepper. Remove from the heat and poor over olives and toss well. Place olives in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013 19:12

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffles

Yields: 20 truffles


8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped small

3 oz. heavy cream

4-6 drops peppermint oil


For Shell:

10 oz. dark chocolate, melted and tempered

Crushed starlight peppermint candies


Heat cream and chocolate in a small saucepan, stir with a rubber spatula until chocolate is melted.  Be careful not to scorch chocolate.  Remove pan from heat and add oil and incorporate.


To make hand rolled truffles:

Pour chocolate mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheet or a large plate. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least one hour.

Scoop cold chocolate mixture into truffles using a #100 ice cream scoop or small teaspoons.  Chill chocolate truffle balls until extremely firm. Dip truffles directly into tempered melted chocolate and set on parchment paper to set.  While chocolate is still wet, place small piece on top.


To make in shells:

Melt and temper dark chocolate and line shells with chocolate.  Pipe in cooled chocolate filling.  Chill until filling is set.  Fill remaining cavity of shell mold with melted tempered chocolate.  Chill in refrigerator until firm.  Pop out of shell.  Place a small dollop of melted chocolate on top and top with a small piece of peppermint candy. 


Store truffles in airtight containers, in single layers, between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Truffles can be refrigerated for up to a week; frozen for up to a month.

Friday, 13 December 2013 07:21

Ricotta Lemon Biscotti

*recipe by Loretta Paganini




1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 (4 oz.) old fashion Miceli's ricotta cheese 
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 ¼ cups unsifted flour


1. Combine all ingredients except flour. Beat with mixer until well blended. Beat in flour.

2. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.

3. On a well-floured surface, knead one dough portion into a smooth ball. roll ball into a long cigar shape, approximately ½” in diameter. Cut cigar into 2” pieces and form each piece into an “S” shape. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Repeat process with second portion of dough.

4. Place in preheated 375°F oven 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned at edges. Cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Decorate with Lemon Glaze. Store tightly covered.

Lemon Glaze:

With a mixer, beat 4 cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice. (Add additional amounts of lemon juice for a thinner consistency if desired.) Glaze can be divided and tined with food coloring. (Makes 1 1/3 cups).

Monday, 02 December 2013 13:12

Puff Pastry Baked Brie Bundles


Yields 16 bundles

2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight
1 egg
1Tablespoon water

1 cup(8oz) soft brie cheese, without the rind
2/3 cup cranberry chutney, recipe follows
¼ cup toasted almond slices (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Take each sheet of puff pastry and slice into 8 equally sized squares.
In a small bowl mix together egg and water to make an egg wash and set aside
Place a Tablespoon of brie and 2 teaspoons of chutney in the center of each square.  Place a few almond slices as well if desired.  Brush edges of each square with egg wash and fold each corner up into the center to close.
Place puff pastry bundles 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush outside of bundles with egg wash.  Bake in oven until a golden brown on the outside, approximately 15 minutes.
Serve warm with additional chutney if desired.

1/2  cup dried or fresh cranberries
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 Tablespooon orange zest
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
In a medium sized sauce pan, combine all ingredients and cook until apples are tender.  Adjust flavors to taste.

Monday, 09 December 2013 13:11

Warm Butternut Salad

Warm Butternut Salad

Serves 8


1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 Butternut squash

1/4 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto

1 Tbsp. fresh sage, minced

1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic

6 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed

2 cups fresh Arugula, washed

1 cup parmesan cheese flakes

1 cup walnuts, toasted

Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400°.


Cut butternut squash in half and place on a baking sheet.  Remove seeds and sprinkle with salt and 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Allow squash to roast until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into medium dice and set aside.


Reduce oven temperature to 350°, place prosciutto on a baking sheet and allow to bake until crisp.  Remove and set aside to cool.


In a sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp. oil and garlic. Add mushrooms and sage and sauté until mushrooms are cooked.  Set aside.


Toss arugula and spinach in a large bowl with most of the dressing (reserving some dressing to drizzle onto the finished salad).


Plate the lettuce and arrange the other salad components on top.  Drizzle with remaining dressing.



Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette


1 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper


Whisk ingredients together adding oil last to create an emulsion.  Adjust seasonings to taste.

Thursday, 21 November 2013 10:51

Pumpkin French Toast

Pumpkin French Toast
By Chef Christian Nagy
Makes 12 slices


8 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon clove

1/3 cup milk

3 Tablespoons butter

1 loaf challah bread


Maple syrup and powdered sugar for garnish


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and milk until thoroughly combined.  Dunk thick slices of challah bread into the mixing bowl allow the bread to soak up the pumpkin mixture.


Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat.  Add butter and allow to melt.  Add slices of bread and cook until a golden brown crisp on the outside.  Serve with syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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