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Laurel Run Cooking School Recipes


Marcia's Featured Recipe

Pecan Ginger Dip
Enjoy this zesty dip filled with crunchy texture and vibrant flavors. It is a favorite at our cooking classes at Laurel Run.

1/3 cup finely minced green onions

½ cups finely cut broccoli florets

1-8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup sour cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) crystallized ginger, finely chopped

½ cup finely chopped pecans

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Chill for a few hours to blend flavors. Serve with any
choice of crackers. (May be made the day ahead).

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Cheese and Walnut Torte

This attractive torte can be frozen for entertaining.

8 ounces cream cheese

½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ cup basil pesto

½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

1. Beat the cheese, butter and olive oil together until they are well blended and fluffy. Add the pesto and mix well. Taste for salt and adjust. Stir in the walnuts;
blend well.

There are many ways to present this spread: Pack it into a decorative dish such as a ramekin. Mold it into a small round and place it on a decorative plate. You an line a cake pan or springform pan with dampened cheesecloth, leaving enough extra to fold over the top. Spread cheese into the pan, bring in edges of cheese cloth to cover the sides. Cover with saran wrap. Set the torte in the refrigerator at least an hour to firm it up. When ready to serve, fold the cheesecloth back, then turn the torte onto a serving plate, and remove cheesecloth. Invert the torte onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Decorate with herbs or flowers. Serve with
assorted crackers. Serves 10

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Marinated Warm Olives with Orange and Fennel, and Garlic

This simple appetizer is quick to put together and holds well in the refrigerator for weeks. Just reheat gently until warm in the microwave or on the stove.

1 jar of Picholine olives and 1 jar Nicoise olives, drained

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons orange or tangerine oil

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently for 10 minutes. Remove form heat and allow to steep. Serve warm with toothpicks and bread slices for dipping.

Marcia's Featured Recipe


This attractive torte can be frozen for entertaining. If goat cheese doesn’t suit your tastes, use all cream cheese in place of it.

8 ounces cream cheese

3-3.5 oz. logs of goat cheese (or 12 oz.)

½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)

1 cup basil pesto (see below)

1 cup drained, minced Sun Dried Tomatoes

1. Beat the cheeses and butter together until they are well blended and fluffy.

Line an 8 inch cake pan, torte pan, or empty container as desired with dampened cheesecloth, leaving enough extra to fold over the top. Layer 1/3 of the cheese mixture in the bottom and spread half of the pesto over it. Repeat. Spread the remaining cheese on top and cover with the tomatoes.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and fold the cheesecloth over it. Set the torte in the refrigerator at least an hour to firm it up.

When ready to serve, fold the cheesecloth back, then turn the torte onto a serving plate, and remove cheesecloth. Invert the torte onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Serve with assorted crackers. Serve 15-20

Cook’s Tip: Buy dry ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes and reconstitute them in hot water until soft. Squeeze out the water and add a little olive oil. This is much less expensive then buying oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes and the color is brighter.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

This dip has all the flavors of a Caesar salad. We served this on the Appetizer Buffet at our daughter's recent home wedding reception. Serve it with pieces of romaine lettuce and 'crudites' (fresh veggies). I  now thin it with a little milk for a wonderful creamy Caesar dressing.

1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 anchovy fillet, mashed

Small romaine leaves
Assorted fresh vegetables

Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Season dip with salt and pepper.

Serve with lettuce and vegetables.


Marcia's Featured Recipe


Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Mayonnaise

1 large can of roasted red pepper (28 ounce)

½ cup or more of good quality mayonnaise

4-5 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste in the mortar and pestle

coarse salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt, cayenne, and pepper to taste

Chop and drain peppers in a colander. (excess liquid wil make the dip watery)

Meanwhile, peel garlic and add to a mortar and pestle. Add ½ tsp. coarse salt and mash into a thick paste.

Place in the bowl of a food processor and blend the drained peppers and garlic until smooth.

Transfer to a bowl and add mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice. Season to taste with cayenne, salt and pepper.

Serve with crudites or toasted pita triangles. *

* Toasted Pita Triangles

Cut pita bread into 8 wedges. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 350 degrees until crisp.


Marcia's Featured Recipe

Roasted Mushrooms with Rosemary and Garlic

These savory mushrooms are used as an appetizer, but don’t stop there! Use the same recipe and saute them on the stove in a heavy pan with a lid. Serve as a side dish with steak or chicken. We have served several pounds  of mushrooms prepared this way at our Open Houses and for off site cooking demonstrations. It has always been very popular.

2 pounds large button mushrooms, about 1 ½ inches in diameter

4 tablespoons butter (½ stick)

3 cloves garlic finely minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried, crumbled

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper

fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut stems off mushrooms flush with the caps, leaving caps whole. Reserve the mushroom stems for another use. Pile mushroom caps in a 12 x 7 ½ x 2 baking dish. Set aside.

In medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Pour over mushroom caps, tossing to coat. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. To serve, arrange mushrooms and sauce in a serving dish. Garnish with fresh rosemary if available. Serve with toothpicks.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Polenta with Mushrooms 

2 cups polenta (stone ground corn meal)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, divided (see directions

10 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup minced onion

pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (rosemary and chives are very good)

salt and pepper

4 ounces fontina cheese or 1/2 cup heavy cream

chunk of Parmesan cheese

Saute the mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Add the cayenne and cognac or brandy; cook until evaporated. Add fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Add the fontina cheese and allow to melt or the heavy cream, allowing it to thicken somewhat. Stir and adjust seasoning.

Cook 1 recipe of polenta according to package directions. While warm, spread out on a wooden cutting board (or a plastic one) to a thickness of  3/4-1 inch. Top with warm mushroom mixture. Grate parmesan cheese over top. Allow diners to cut squares of polenta.


Fontina Cheese Also called Fontina Val d'Aosta after the Italian valley from which it comes, this is one of Italy's great cheeses. Semifirm yet creamy, fontina is a cow's-milk cheese with about 45 percent milk fat. It has a dark golden brown rind with a pale yellow interior dotted with tiny holes. The mild, nutty flavor, and the fact that it melts easily and smoothly, make fontina perfect for almost any use. Besides Italy, fontinas are made in other countries including Denmark, France and the United States. Many of these fontinas, especially when young, tend to be blander and softer than the Italian original.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Grilled Monterey Jack, Corn and Chipotle Quesadillas

Makes 2 to 4 servings

4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed or 1 cup canned, drained
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Special equipment: a well-seasoned ridged grill pan

1. Stir together cheese, corn, mayonnaise, scallions, cilantro, and chiles in a small bowl.

Lightly brush 1 tortilla with some of oil. Turn tortilla over and spread 1/2 cup filling over half, then fold other half over to form a half-moon. Assemble 3 more quesadillas in same manner.

Heat lightly oiled grill pan over moderate heat until hot, then cook quesadillas, 2 at a time, turning over once, until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Mint pesto
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons (packed) feta cheese
2 tablespoons (packed) Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped jalapeño chile
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, process until mixture is smooth. Add mint leaves and lemon juice; process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Gradually add oil and process until mint pesto is smooth and creamy. (Can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Goat Cheese, Pesto Torte with Sundried tomatoes

This attractive torte can be frozen for entertaining. If goat cheese doesn’t suit your tastes, use all cream cheese in place of it.

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup basil pesto

2-5.5 oz. logs of goat cheese 1 cup drained, minced Sun Dried Tomatoes

½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)

1. Beat the cheeses and butter together until they are well blended and fluffy.

Line an 8 inch cake pan, torte pan, or empty container as desired with dampened cheesecloth, leaving enough extra to fold over the top. Layer 1/3 of the cheese mixture in the bottom and spread half of the pesto over it. Repeat. Spread the remaining cheese on top and cover with the tomatoes.

Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top and fold the cheesecloth over it. Set the torte in the refrigerator at least an hour to firm it up.

When ready to serve, fold the cheesecloth back, then turn the torte onto a serving plate, and remove cheesecloth. Invert the torte onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Serve with assorted crackers. Serve 15-20

Cook’s Tip: Buy dry ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes and reconstitute them in hot water until soft. Squeeze out the water and add a little olive oil. This is much less expensive then buying oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes and the color is brighter.


Pesto is a flavorful mixture of basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil ground into a thick paste. The word pesto comes from the Italian verb, pestare, "to pound or grind". This classic, fresh-tasting sauce originated in Genoa, Italy, and although used on a variety of dishes, it is a favorite with pasta. The following recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of pesto. Pesto freezes well.

4 cups basil leaves, coarsely chopped

½ to 1 cup pine nuts (walnuts can be used, also)

2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1cup Parmesan cheese

½- 3/4 cup olive oil

salt to taste

1. In food processor, place basil, pine nuts, garlic, and a few pinches of salt, and a few tablespoons olive oil in mixing bowl. Process until mixed.

Add cheese and most of remaining oil and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust with a little salt, cheese or oil.

When freezing pesto, omit the garlic and add some fresh chopped when you're ready to use. Adding a little fresh chopped parsley will give it a fresher, greener taste. Cook’s Tip: If the basil flavor is too strong for your tastes, try using half parsley in place of the basil.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Crunchy Bugs

Serving Size: 18

1-cup semisweet chocolate chips

1-cup peanut butter chips

2 cups rice chow mein noodles plus extra

1/2cup chopped peanuts

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Miniature chocolate chips or candy "eyes"

Place chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in a microwave safe bowl. Place in microwave and cook on high for 1 minute. Stir chips with a spatula. Return to microwave and continue to cook and stir every 30 seconds or until mixture is melted and smooth.

To the melted chocolate, add the marshmallows. Then add marshmallow the peanuts and chow mein noodles. Stir lightly. (It's a good idea to break up the noodles before mixing.)

Scoops bug bodies onto a tray lined with parchment or wax paper. Poke additional noodles into the sides to resemble legs. You can also use noodles to form antennas. Place chocolate chips or candy "eyes" in place.

Store at room temperature until ready to serve.


Per serving (excluding unknown items): 149 Calories; 9g Fat (48% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 1mg Cholesterol; 28mg Sodium


Deviled Mice

Serving Size: 20

10 large eggs

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Red cabbage leaves for garnish

To complete the mice bodies...

Boiled spaghetti noodles (for tails), cut in half

Pimento stuffed olives (for eyes nose)

Rosemary leaves for whiskers, optional

Carrot slices, cut into rounds then quartered

To hard cook the eggs...Place eggs in a saucepan and fill with water until eggs are covered. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully drain off hot water into the sink. Cover the eggs with cold water and set aside for 5 minutes. Gently crack the eggs against a hard surface, then carefully peel off the shells.

Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Gently scoop out the yolks and put them in a small bowl. Mash with a fork until crumbly. Add mayonnaise, paprika and blend.

Carefully fill the empty egg whites with yolk mixture and place yolk side down on a plate arranged with red cabbage leaves. These are the mice bodies.

To finish the mice bodies...tuck a spaghetti noodles under the mouse to look like a tail. Make eyes and a nose out of pieces of the pimento. Use smaller carrot pieces for ears. Insert rosemary leaves around the nose for whiskers, if desired. Use a sharp knife to cut a slit into the egg to make inserting the eyes and nose easier.


Per serving (excluding unknown items): 59 Calories; 5g Fat (80% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 0g Carbohydrate; 93mg Cholesterol; 49mg Sodium


Dipped & Decorated Marshmallows

Serving Size: 20

1 12-oz. pkg. Semisweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons shortening

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 cup Halloween sprinkles

20 Large marshmallows or pretzel sticks

In a double boiler, melt chocolate with shortening or microwave 2 to 3 minutes on medium; stir until smooth. Do not overheat. Chocolate should be lukewarm. Drop pretzels or marshmallows into chocolate mixture one at a time. Remove with a fork, raining excess chocolate. Dip pretzel or marshmallow into nuts; spread flat on a plate. Lay on waxed paper-lined flat pan. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour. When ready to serve, remove from paper.

Per serving (excluding unknown items): 70 Calories; 5g Fat (61% calories from fat); 0g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium


Ghostly Dessert Cups

Serving Size: 12

3 1/2 cups cold milk

2 packages Jello chocolate pudding, instant variety (4 serving size)

1 12-ounce tub Cool Whip Lite(r) thawed

1 package Oreos(r) (about 16 ounce), crushed

Miniature chocolate chips

Pour cold milk into a large bowl; add pudding mixes. Beat with a wire whisk for 2 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the Cool Whip(r) and half of the cookie crumbs. Spoon 2 tablespoon cookie crumbs and the 1/2 cup pudding into 15 individual cups. Top with remaining crumbs.

Put the remaining Cool Whip(r) into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Squeeze it onto the top of the cups to make it look like a ghost standing up. Make the eyes with mini chocolate chips. BOO!


Per serving (excluding unknown items): 1 Calories; less than one gram Fat (46% calories from fat); 0g Protein; 0g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium



Hairball With Nachos

Serving Size: 8


For the "Hairball"...

3 whole avocados

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon onion, minced

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 1/2 cups alfalfa sprouts

To make the "hairball"...Peel avocados, cut them in halves and remove pits. Toss with lemon juice in a ceramic bowl. Mash with a fork until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, blend well, and adjust seasoning to taste. Mixture should be thick and not too runny. Refrigerate until ready to serve but not for more a few hours. When ready to serve, place on a platter and shape into a mound or ball with your clean hand. Take the alfalfa sprouts and press into the outside of the ball to make it look hairy.

Arrange green chips and/or blue chips around the "hairball" and dig in.


Per serving: 93 Calories; 9g Fat (76% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 140mg Sodium



Pizza Snakes (These were a huge hit)

Serving Size: 16

2 11-oz. Tube Refrigerated breadstick dough

1 cup thick pizza sauce

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 small can sliced black olives smallest size

Slivers of red pepper or pimento

Preheat oven to 350¡. Remove breadsticks from packaging and separate.

Using a rolling motion, lightly roll each breadstick to a length of about 12 inches. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, shaping each in a wavy pattern.

Spoon or squirt pizza sauce over breadstick in zig zags or stripes. Sprinkle with cheeses. Place two sliced black olives for the eyes and a forked tongue cut from the pepper or pimento into the head of the snake.

Place cookie sheet on center rack of preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffy and golden.


Per serving (excluding unknown items): 54 Calories; 4g Fat (70% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; 9mg Cholesterol; 219mg Sodium



Plasma Punch

Serving Size: 30

40 ounces frozen strawberries thawed

1 12-ounce can frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed

1 12-ounce can frozen raspberry juice concentrate, thawed

1 quart strawberry frozen yogurt

2 pints raspberry sorbet

2 liters sparkling mineral water, chilled

2 liters gingerale, chilled

Note: Scoop the sorbet and yogurt ahead of time and freeze scoops on a cookie sheet

To make the a blender or food processor, puree half the slightly thawed strawberries with cranberry concentrate. Pour the puree into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining berries and raspberry concentrate; mix well. Place scoops of yogurt and sorbet into a punch bowl along with ice ring or "cold hands." Add mineral water and gingerale just before serving so soda keeps it's fizz.

Per serving (excluding unknown items): 29 Calories; less than one gram Fat (1% calories from fat); 0g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium



Serving Size: 12

4 28-ounce can pork and beans

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 small onion, diced

1/4 cup molasses

1 1/3 tablespoons mustard powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Salt to taste

8 knockwurst or hot dogs

Mix the pork and beans, brown sugar, molasses and seasonings in a medium size Dutch oven or saucepan with a lid.

To prepare the "snouts," slice knockwurst or hot dogs into 1/2" slices. Using a straw, poke two holes through the slices to resemble nostrils. Place on top of beans pushing down slightly but do not submerge.

Place over medium heat and cook until warm but not boiling.

For the best presentation, place the cover over the pot and make sure your guests are looking when you reveal the contents. Voila!

Per serving (excluding unknown items): 154 Calories; 2g Fat (8% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 33g Carbohydrate; 6mg Cholesterol; 356mg Sodium


Serving Size: 12

For the eyeballs...

2 pound lean ground turkey

4 large egg whites

4 cloves garlic minced

2 large lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1 pint fresh soft breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 jars olives with pimentos

2 pounds spaghetti or ziti,cooked

2- 24 ounce jar spaghetti sauce your choice

Extra Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Curly parsley

To make the eyeballs...Preheat the oven to 350¡. Place all the ingredients for the eyeballs in a large bowl and mix very well. Use a spoon or well washed hands. Gather up enough of the meat mixture to roll into a ball, about the size of a ping pong ball. Roll it between your hands into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and insert an olive, pimento side up to it stares at you! Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until lightly browned.

Prepare spaghetti or ziti according to package directions. Drain.

Warm spaghetti sauce in a saucepan on the stove.

To make your Spaghetti and Eyeballs look spooky...first, arrange the cooked noodles in a large serving dish. Ladle the sauce over the top and sprinkle with the extra cheese. Place the eyeballs, in pairs over the top of the sauce and garnish with parsley eyelashs.

Serve right away. Here's looking at you, kid!


Per serving (excluding unknown items): 75 Calories; 3g Fat (36% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 3mg Cholesterol; 303mg Sodium


Serving Size: 16

For the soup...

1   50-ounce can tomato soup

4 1/2 cups milk

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or more if necessary

For the web...

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons milk

3 drops green food coloring

To make the soup...combine soup and milk using a wire whisk. Blend until smooth. Place over medium heat. When soup is hot, not boiling, add garlic and onion powder, ground pepper and Parmesan. Remove from heat.

To make web...while soup is warming, combine sour cream and milk, blending until smooth. Add green food coloring to mixture and blend well. Place this mixture in a squeeze bottle or into a plastic sandwich bag, cutting one of the corners of the bag so you can squeeze out the mixture in a stream.

Make the spider web just before you are ready to serve the soup. Starting from the outside of the bowl or pot, swirl the sour cream mixture inward to the center of the bowl, creating a spiral. Then take a toothpick and, starting in the center, drag the toothpick through the soup to the outer edge. Repeat several times to create a spider web design.

Per serving (excluding unknown items): 67 Calories; 4g Fat (53% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 5g Carbohydrate; 13mg Cholesterol; 94mg Sodium

Brittle Bones

1/4 cup egg whites (about 2 large), at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons finely grated chopped chocolate, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a large and very clean mixing bowl, using a very clean and dry beater,
beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.  Gradually add half of the
sugar and beat until "soft peaks" forms, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  A soft
peak is when the beaten egg white is kinda stiff but doesn't stand up
straight in the bowl.  It bends.

Turn the beater to high and continue beating, gradually adding the remaining
sugar and vanilla until a "stiff peak" forms.  Stiff peaks is when the
batter looks really stiff and shiny and stands up straight like a little
mountain peak.

Using a rubber spatula, gently mix in the chopped chocolate.

Ask for help putting the meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
Pipe out shapes of bones, fingers and wishbones on a baking sheet that is
covered with parchment paper.

Place the tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Check and see if the
bones feel dry to the touch.  If not, put back in the oven for 10 minutes at
a time until they feel very dry.

Let cool on the baking sheet.  Remove the bones and place in a cauldron or
heap in a pile on a plate.

Here's an idea...make half of the bones without chocolate.  then add the
chopped chocolate to the remaining batter


Marcia's Featured Recipe

Tuscan Beans with Crostini

The creamy texture and mild flavor of cannellini, or white kidney beans, are perfect for the strongly herbal rosemary, thyme and sage. Finely diced red onion lends a zesty crunch to the white bean puree. In the summer you can add diced red tomato and basil to the red onion.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage

pinch of hot pepper flakes

2-15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained

1 teaspoon tomato paste, optional (adds color and some flavor)

kosher salt to taste

2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced

freshly ground black pepper

several slices of French bread, cut ½ inch thick, toasted on both sides (about 18 for 6 servings)

extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Grill or toast breads on both sides.  Place the olive oil, butter, garlic, herbs, and hot pepper flakes in a medium saute pan. Cook over low heat for several minutes or until herbs and garlic are fragrant.  Add the beans, tomato paste, and salt to taste. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, crush the beans into a coarse puree. Add about 1/4 cup of water if texture seems dry.  Place bean mixture in a bowl or martini glass. Place on a platter or a tray. Place the red onion in a separate bowl near the beans with a bottle of olive oil nearby. Arrange the slices of bread around the beans.  To serve, spread bean puree on crostini, top with a few red onions and a drizzle of the olive oil. Serves 4-6.


Bagna Cauda

Bagna Cauda ( BAHN-yah KOW-dah) is a specialty of Piedmont, Italy. This sauce made of olive oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies is served warm as an appetizer with raw vegetables for dipping. Cauda is the Piedmontese word for hot, as in heat, which is the essential feature of this sauce. In Piedmont, table burners fed by candle keep the bagna cauda at the right temperature, but any dish that can keep it will do the trick. At Laurel Run Cooking School, we like to serve it over crostini.

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons butter

10 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced very thin

5 anchovy fillets, chopped fine


1-28 ounce can roasted peppers, drained and cut into large dice

1 loaf of crusty bread, sliced into ½" slices

Place the diced  red peppers in a heat proof serving dish, cover with foil and place in a warm oven (200 degrees) until ready to serve.

Choose a pot that will be able to hold a bowl in a double boiler fashion. Add water about 2 inches of water and bring to a lively simmer. Put the oil and butter into a bowl that will fit on the pot and set over the water. Heat the butter until it is thoroughly liquified and just barely begins to foam. Add the garlic and saute. (It must not take on any color.) Add the chopped anchovies and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon while using the back of it to mash the anchovies until they dissolve into a paste. Add salt and stir. When ready to serve, Pour mixture over roasted peppers. Bring to the table in the warm serving dish. (A warming apparatus works well also). Serve with crusty bread or crostini.

Penne with Vodka and Spicy Cream Sauce

I have been making this recipe since 1996. It has become a family favorite and one I serve when I need something quick for dinner. A crisp salad, crusty bread, and a glass of Sangiovese rounds out this meatless entree. This recipe is from a favorite cookbook of mine : "Trattoria" by Patricia Wells. (Trattoria rhymes with pizzeria.)

Patricia Wells writes, "There is something wonderfully satisfying about thick tubes of pasta, such as penne, sauced with a mixture of lightly spiced tomatoes and cream. The addition of vodka makes a very intriguing dish. I’m sure only one out of a thousand people would guess that vodka is the secret ingredient. The recipe comes from La Vecchia Betolla, a lively, elbows-on-the-table trattoria in Florence, where you squeeze onto rough wooden benches and ultimately share in conversation with your neighbors, always close at hand."

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 plump fresh garlic cloves

½ teaspoon crushed red peppers (hot pepper flakes) or to taste

sea salt

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 pound dried pasta, such as penne

 2 tablespoons of vodka

 ½ cup heavy cream

1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

     In an un-heated skillet large enough to hold the pasta later on, combine the oil, garlic, crushed red peppers, and a pinch of salt, stirring to   coat with oil. Cook over moderate heat just until garlic begins to turn golden, but does not brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes directly to the pan. Stir to blend, and simmer, uncovered, until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 3 Tbsp. salt and the penne, stirring to prevent pasta from sticking. Cook until tender but firm to bite. Drain thoroughly.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Toss.

Add the vodka, toss again, then add the cream and toss. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and let rest for 1-2 minutes to absorb the sauce.

Add the parsley and toss again. Transfer to a warmed shallow soup bowls and serve immediately. (Traditionally, cheese is not served with this dish.)


Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

Yields 6 servings

Spaghetti alla puttanesca, or "whore’s pasta", is said to have originally been a favorite dish of Italian prostitutes, who could prepare it quickly when they had only a few moments in the kitchen. Today it is found in trattorias throughout Italy, although it is particularly popular in Rome. When preparing this pasta, don’t skimp on the fresh parsley, for it adds great fresh flavor as well as brilliant color.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 anchovy fillets, minced

3 plump garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1-28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree

15 salt cured black olives or ripe olives, halved

 2 Tbsp. capers, drained and rinsed

 1 pound spaghetti

½- 1 cup flat leaf parsley, snipped with scissors

In an unheated skillet large enough to hold pasta later on, combine the oil, anchovies, garlic, crushed red peppers, and a pinch of salt, stirring to coat with oil. Cook over moderate heat until garlic turns golden, but not brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, olives, and capers. Stir to blend. Simmer uncovered, until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add 3 Tbsp. salt and the spaghetti, stirring to prevent it from sticking. Cook until tender but firm to bite. Drain thoroughly.

Add the drained pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Toss, cover and let rest off heat 1-2 minutes to allow pasta to absorb the sauce. Add parsley and toss again. Serve. (Traditionally, cheese is not served with this dish.)

Marcia's Featured Recipe

We use this recipe at all of our open houses.
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
about 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (not salad dressing such as Miracle Whip)
a dash of garlic powder or salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
Mix ingredients together. Add a little more mayonnaise if needed to make it 'bind' together. Spread on any sliced bread and bake or broil until bubbly

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Warm Goat and Cream Cheese with Rosemary Oil & Garlic

Keep a bottle of our Boyajian Rosemary Oil on hand along with a log of goat cheese in the freezer and you have a quick appetizer.

1-5.5 oz log goat cheese & 1-8 oz package cream cheese

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (or more to taste) Boyajian Rosemary Oil

salt and fresh ground pepper

Cream the cream cheese and goat cheese together. Spread in an attractive heat-proof serving dish. Sprinkle with garlic and drizzle with Rosemary Oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm the cheeses and release the flavor of the garlic. Serve with crackers. A fresh sprig of rosemary makes lovely garnish.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Cranberry-Orange Pecan Log ...a 4-ingredient recipe!

1-8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

½ cup dried cranberries, chopped

1/2 teaspoon of Boyajian orange (or more to taste

½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped coarsely

In a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese until soft. Add the cranberries and orange oil. Blend. On a piece of saran wrap, form the cheese into a log about 1 ½" in diameter. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. When ready to serve, place the pecans on a plate and roll the log in the pecans. Serve with crackers.

The cheese log freezes well and can be made ahead.

BOYAJIAN ORANGE OIL is an all natural essence, cold pressed from the rind of the fruit. It takes approximately 220 oranges to fill a 5-ounce bottles of Boyajian Orange oil. This powerful oil brings true orange flavor to your cooking and baking creations. Add the Orange Oil to pound cakes, cookies & more.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Braised Asian Chicken Wings

These chicken wings have always been well received, and are a nice change from fiery buffalo wings. Served hot or cold, they pack nicely for a picnic.

24 chicken wings, halved, tips removed

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup sherry

½ cup water

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Ginger People minced ginger or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender. Uncover and simmer 15 minutes longer, basting as needed.

* Use the bottled ginger with the same quality flavor but a stable shelf life in the refrigerator.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Parmesan Cheese Twists

Twisted puff pastry strips laced with Parmesan cheese and herbs are easy to make for dinner to accompany a steak and Caesar's salad. Make ahead and freeze; remove directly from freezer to oven to bake.

½ pkg. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves or Italian seasoning, crushed

Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 400E°F. Mix egg and water. Mix cheese, parsley and oregano. Unfold pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14"x10" rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise. Brush both halves with egg mixture. Top 1 rectangle with cheese mixture. Place remaining rectangle over cheese-topped rectangle, egg-side down. Roll gently with rolling pin to seal. Cut crosswise into 28 (1/2") strips. Twist strips and place 2" apart on a Silpat Baking Mat or greased baking sheet, pressing down ends. Brush with egg mixture. Bake 10 min. or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 28 appetizers. Make Ahead Tip: twist strips. Place on baking sheet and brush with egg mixture. Freeze. When frozen, store in plastic bag for up to 1 month. To bake, preheat oven to 400EF. Place frozen strips on greased baking sheet. Bake 15 min. or until golden.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Olive Tapenade

4 oz. chopped black olives or 8 oz. whole green olives

1--2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus 2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 anchovy filet

2 tablespoons drained capers

2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except olive oil as best as possible. Slowly pour

olive oil thru pour spout with processor running until correct consistency.

Marcia's Featured Recipe

Laurel Run’s Creamy Coffee Punch

2 ounces instant coffee

2 quarts (8 cups) hot water

2 1/4 cups sugar

2 quarts half and half

1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey vanilla

1 quart ginger ale, chilled

1 pint heavy cream, whipped

½ gallon French vanilla ice cream

fresh grated nutmeg

Dissolve instant coffee in hot water; cool. Add sugar and half and half, mixing well. Chill. When ready to

serve pour coffee mixture into a punch bowl. Add chilled ginger ale, whipped cream and ice cream.

(Let some of the ice cream chunks remain). Grate a light dusting of fresh nutmeg top before serving.

Makes 60-4 ounce servings

Marcia's Featured Recipe

1-12 ounces bag fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw if frozen) 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored ½ large red pepper, cut into chunks ½ medium red onion, cut into chunks ¾ cup sugar 1/3 cup apple juice 3 tablespoons cilantro 2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper (for more heat, add seeds too) 1 teaspoon grated lime zest 1. Put the cranberries, apple, red pepper and onion in a food processor and pluse until chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend flavors. 2. Serve with tortilla chips. HOMEMADE TORTILLA CHIPS Spray or brush corn tortillas with olive or vegetable oil. Cut into 8 pie-shaped wedges. Sprinkle with salt. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees until crisp and slightly golden.