Cooking Class: Morocco

Last night I attended a cooking class at the University of Richmond’s Culinary Arts Center and spent a wonderful evening discovering the flavors of Morocco.  I discovered the recipes were not only easy and quick but healthy and so delicious.  New ingredients I will be using more include:  orange blossom water (a little goes a long way), preserved lemons (only use the skin) and walnut oil (keep in the refrigerator).


Fruit Salad (pictured far right)

2 teaspoons of orange blossom water

3 pounds of assorted fruits (grapes, oranges, melons, strawberries, blueberries…you decide!)

A handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

1/2 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons honey

Mix orange blossom water with honey and orange juice in a large bowl.  Cut fruit into bite sized pieces and toss in the honey, water, juice mixture.  Sprinkle mint on top and serve.

oranges  tomatoes  fruit  Zaakiyj


A Killer Recipe for Valentine’s Day

Happy Almost Valentine’s Day! 

Cover Your Eye‘s Detective Deke Morgan and legal eagle Rachel Wainwright are about to celebrate their first Valentine’s Day together and naturally I can’t help but share a new Killer Recipe to mark the event!  And, of course, I’ve got chocolate on my mind and in my pantry and so am honoring the occasion with these Double Chocolate Heart Cookies. I may have pulled this one together for Deke and Rachel but I hope you and your loved ones enjoy it as well!  Please let me know how it turns out and–if you like it as much as I do–I hope you’ll share it.


Mike’s Chocolate Espresso Cake

Want to wow friends and family with a great dessert that’s easy to make?  Then try Mike’s Chocolate Espresso Cake.  I took it to a holiday dinner this past weekened and it was a huge hit.


2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 cup Cocoa Powder

1-1/2 teaspooon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-1/3 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs plus one yoke

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk

1/2 cup instant espresso powder

6 ounces dark chocolate


6 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 cup whipping cream

I always gather all my ingredients before I begin.  This takes a few minutes but when it comes time to bake  the process is so much easier.

Mix together first five ingredients. I sift them together to make sure they are well blended.  Set aside.

In another bowl, beat together oil and vanilla.  Then add in the eggs one at a time.  In a saucepan, mix instant espresso mixture and dark chocolate into milk and stir until melted and blended.  Alternating espresso/chocolate mixture and flour mixture, beat slowly into egg batter.

Place batter in a parchment-lined springform pan.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.  Let cool and remove from mold.

For the glaze, heat cream gently and mix in chocolate.  I chop the chocolate up so that it melts quickly.  Pour glaze over cake and once it has cooled dust with powered sugar.

Sunday Supper

One of my favorite go-to meals is a roast chicken.  I season with salt, pepper, dried dill and garlic powder before roasting in a 375 degree oven.  I cook until the juices run clear, which is about an hour.

And the best part of a roasted chicken is that you can not only make stock, but can use the bits of extra chicken in soups, enchiladas or as salad toppers.

Tip:  to make the perfect stock, I put the discarded bones in a pot of cold water along with a few sliced onions and carrots.  I turn the stovetop onto simmer and let the stock cook very slowly.  I never let it reach a boil because this will make the stock cloudy.  Slow and steady wins the race with a great stock.

After the stock has simmered for several hours, drain and then let the stock stand in cool place so that the fat rises to the top.  Once you’ve skimmed the fat off the top, the stock is ready to use!




White Chili

The weather was a tad colder yesterday and I was craving something warm to eat.  Not wanting to spend a lot of time in the kitchen I decided to make a batch of White Chili.  I’ve long since lost the original recipe but have committed the basics to memory.   It took me five minutes to put this together and after ten minutes on the stove it was ready to eat.

White Chili

  • 1 Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 can of Great Northern Beans
  • 1 can of Garbonzo Beans
  • 1 can of White Corn
  • 1 or 2 cups of Rotisserie or Roasted Chicken
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Water

Finely chop onion and put in a hot pot with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  When the onion has softened, add salt and cumin to taste.  I must have added a couple of tablespoons of cumin because I love the smoky flavor.  Then add the Great Northern beans, Garbanzo beans, and white corn.  Be sure not to drain the beans or corn but to add all the liquid in the can to the pot.  The extra starch will help thicken the chili.  Add about a can full of water to the mix and then let simmer for about ten minutes.  Shred the rotisserie or roasted chicken and add to the pot.  When the chicken is warmed through it’s ready to eat!

S’more Cookies

I bought all the fixings for s’mores expecting we’d make them over an open fire at the July 4th picnic.  But with temperatures rising well into the 90s, no one felt like loading logs in the fire pit.  Not wanting to waste all my supplies, I ended up making these cookies.  Turned out they were a bigger hit than the s’mores were last year.

S’more Cookies

1 bag of marshmallows

6 chocolate bars

½ box of graham crackers

1 stick of butter, melted

Grind the graham crackers in a food processor and then add the butter.  Press the crumble mixture into the bottom of a greased pan.  Bake the crust for about 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.  Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and then spread over the baked and cooled crust.  Sprinkle marshmallows over the top and place under the broiler for a minute.   Keep a close eye on the marshmallows because they do burn quickly.  Let the cookies cool and then them place in the refrigerator for a hour.  Slice and serve!

S'more Cookies