Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Blizzard in the City and Vegetable Soup

We all know, on cold, snowy days, how we love a nice, hot, nourishing bowl of soup.
As anyone knows we got dealt a blizzard this holiday season in N.Y. and parts a bit north.
Here is an easy vegefruitian soup that is healthy, nutritious and will warm the cockles of all of our hearts.
I'll call it Blizzard Vegetable Soup, in honor of the blizzard of 2010 .


1 Tbs. Olive oil
1 onion diced
5 garlic cloves, sliced
3 ribs of celery with tops, diced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
8 fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 head of cabbage sliced
2 Idaho potatoes, large dice
3 carrots peeled and sliced
2 yellow carrots or 5 carrots in all
3 parsnips peeled and sliced
1- 6 oz can of tomato paste
water to cover soup, about 5 cups
grated parmesan cheese to add at the table



In a 5 quart pot over medium heat saute the onion, garlic, celery and herbs, salt, pepper and the pinch of red pepper flakes until softened.
Stir in the cabbage and cook until wilted. Add all of the remaining ingredients up to and including the tomato paste. Stir to combine. Put in water to cover, stir. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer.
Cook for  about 20 minutes until vegetables are fork tender but do not fall apart.
Serve with grated parmesan at the table.

Recipe, photos and writing by Karen Pickus 2010

Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts

Love these tiny cabbages especially this way, this time of year.
First you cut one container of the "chou"( little cabbages) in half.  Measure one cup of already shelled and roasted chestnuts. You can buy these already prepared in a jar.

In a large saute pan simmer the sprouts in 1 cup of chicken stock and a pinch of salt over medium high heat until color becomes bright green.

 Add the chestnuts and 2 Tbs. maple syrup. Continue cooking until the stock reduces and vegetables are tender. Finish with 1/2-1 Tbs. butter, roll around to coat vegetables. Correct the seasoning with coarse grain sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. The sprouts are done when they are tender and  coated nicely with the glaze.

Recipe, writing and photos, by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

I made several pumpkin pies over the last few weeks. I experimented with sugar pumpkins, kakai pumpkins, butternut squash and even sweet potatoes. I used the same formula each time, and the subtle differences were only because of the vegetable used. I like a silky and spicy deep dish pie. This recipe renders my required results. For the filling I roast the the pumpkin at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, until the pumpkin is tender. Then I mash the pumpkin.

I put two cups of pumpkin in a bowl or a food processor. Then I add
1 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt, 5 eggs, 1 tsp. each, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and a half tsp. of clove. 

 Then I whirl in a cup of cream, until the mixture is smooth. I pour the mixture into an unbaked pieshell and place the pie in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. The crust should be nutty brown and the top of the pie should be shiny and set.

Sweet Potato

Recipe, writing and photos by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Well Seasoned Venison Chop

The Venison Chops
 I had some well deserved time off from GMA and decided to spend it away from the big A, so off I went. Some friends were hunting there for the week so I engaged in some wild game cookery and much needed R and R. Not bad for a food obsessed in need of rest person. My idea of a great time.

                          This is my friend the hunter preparing the chops.

Here I am cooking the chops. Well seasoned liberally with coarse grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauteed over high heat in a cast iron skillet in olive oil and a pat of butter, medium rare.


These chops were by far the best meat I have ever tasted, hands down, Amen.

Writing recipe and photos by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pepitas and Pumpkin Seeds

I saw my friend the dirt farmer and all around food enthusiast this week. Charles, formerly known as the "King of Pop". He showed me these seeds that live inside these green and orange pumpkins. First I was taken by the crunch, he had toasted them to perfection, then I was delighted by the pumpkins themselves, rounded to a perfect promise, lovely green and orange orbs. And then I learned they come into the world this way, no shell just sensational seed. The pumpkins are called Kakai. I made pies with them that I will blog about soon. He gave me some pumpkins. Here I will show you how to roast the seeds. I thank my friend for many things... on the list I add Kakai  Pumpkin Seeds.

First you cut pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds.

 Lay them in one layer on a sheet pan. Set the oven to 375.

 Roast for 30 minutes until seeds begin to pop and are dry and somewhat crispy. They will crisp up to a crunch as they cool.

Recipes, Writing and Photos by Karen Pickus 2010
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bread Pudding Pre Thanksgiving

I wanted to give propper thanks for all the bread crusts from the stuffing I made for Emeril's Segment on Monday.
One must ponder how to use perfectly good Pullman Bread crusts.
What to do... what to do. Aha....
I am going to an early evening movie at my Buds house and I wanted to bring something warm and wonderful. So here ti's. xo

The night before.
First I crack 5 eggs whisk well, add 2 cups of milk, 1 Tbs. Van Extract and 1 and 1/2 cups of light brown sugar. Then I add 10 cups of  fresh bread crusts and or bread cubes to the apparail, mix well.

Cover with plastic, close to the mixture and refrigerate overnight.

Then I add 6 oz semi sweet chocolate chunks and 3 oz Mexican Chocolate and mix well.
Place in a 9x11 inch oven proof dish.

Combine 1Tbs. Cocoa, 1 Tbs. granulated sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon and sprinkle over pudding.

Melt 2 Tbs. butter, drizzle over the top.
Place in a 350 degree preheated oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until top is golden and crunchy
Let cool but serve warm as is or with unsweetened whipped cream.

Recipe, photos and writing by Karen Pickus
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

King of Pop

My friend Charles raised some of his corn strictly for popping and man is it good. Not only is it beautiful yellow, white and blue but he has tirelessly dried it removed it from the cobs and filled the jars in an appealing way. I was enchanted by his description of the process and decided to take photos of the event. I took these pictures in his home in early spring.

Writing and Photos by Karen Pickus
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Marble Cake

Here is the cake I made for the end of year party for my daughter's twelfth grade class, my friends gave at their beautiful home. Marble cake has special significance for me ... It was the cake my Mom made through the years on our birthdays. I love it and I hadn't made it in some time. My friend who made the food for the party, Chef Bobo, the kids' chef at their school, wanted me to make it because I made it for a school event some years back and he really liked it. So I thought, this will be the last cake I make for a high school event for my daughter. Let it be marble!
I made my lemon cake recipe... I omitted the lemon altogether.
I then made the simple syrup without the lemon and used that to moisten the cake. I made two 14 inch cakes. Each layer was a double recipe.  I used 6 Tbs. cocoa with 1and1/2 cups of batter for each of the two cakes. I swirled this amount into each layer. I baked them for about 40- 50 minutes. I let them cool, then sliced them diagonally in half and had a total of 4 layers.
I made ganache with 3 Lbs. semisweet chocolate and 3 cups of cream. I spread the ganache evenly between the layers and on the top and sides of the cake. I covered the cake with milk chocolate curls, dusted it with confectioners sugar, and there you have it! I got a standing ovation for the cake that evening. So glad they all liked it!

Recipe, text and photos by Karen Pickus
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Maria's Best Wishes Lunch

 The GMA Food Team Margo, Maria, Anthony and KMP outside  Restaurant Sfoglia

 Maria has left GMA. She is embarking on a  new and exciting journey. We thought it was befitting to take her out for a goodbye lunch. We have all often bonded and enjoyed lunches together during our tenure together.  We not only worked very hard and well together. We became friends in the process. I hope our paths cross again, but in the mean time best wishes and luck must suffice. Maria possesses some fine organizational skills, and one of the things I loved most about working with Maria, was that she made it her business to work ahead and always kept me informed of what was coming up. This made it possible for me to plan the rest of my life. Thanks don't begin to describe my gratitude. xoxox You will be surely missed!

Here are some of the delicious treats we shared.

The bread was outstanding and the pithy olives robust!
The red wine was an excellent Cortino.

These are some briny, and tender clams in a rich tomato broth.
The salad was excellent, mizuma with wild boar proscuitto, and bits of goat cheese, loved it!

This was a radicchio Caesar salad, bountiful and biting!


These were sauteed diver scallops with escarole and an excellent celery root puree. This dish was stellar!


An excellent but bittersweet afternoon!

Text and photos, except the one at the top of the four of us, by Karen Pickus
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

B. Smith at GMA, Thursday April 29

Today the lovely B. Smith graced our studio. The segment  she did was part of a mother's day whip: small segments with big ideas for mother's day. I set up the food for the segment.

 The lovely and gracious Ju Ju, made my daughter Marjolaine, feel most welcome, and B. Smith before the segment. B. Smith's french toast with strawberries and mint, is in the foreground that I made for the segment.

Photos and Text by Karen Pickus
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beanie and the Jets

Robert Downie Jr. and Marjolaine in the Jumbotron! in Times Square!
Photo Captured by Rita our lovely and amazing green room coordinator! Thanks Rita
When Beanie Came to GMA this Thursday specifically to meet Robert Downey Jr. she was thrilled to get his autograph.

 What a morning she had. My illustrious cohorts at work helped make her morning what it was for her and I want to thank them by showing off how lucky I am and she too for having these folks in our lives.

Beanie and the Jets : Joe, Darren and Brian

Photos and Text by Karen Pickus
Courtesy Karen Pickus 2010

Finished Slaw

Finished Slaw
Ready to eat!