My Favorite Links for the Week

By Judy Lyness on 01.21.2015

It’s great to be me.  I’m surrounded by wonderfully creative and generous people…who love to laugh and share.  So today I share some of my favorite links of the week by people I know personally and via the web.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Valentina’s Cooking On the Weekend’s Wasabi Glazed Ahi Tuna  had me reeling at its sheer beauty.  But when I read the simplicity and flavor of her recipe I fell in love with it.  You will too.

Wasabi Glazed Tuna

Photo courtesy of Cooking on the Weekends

You can’t go wrong with Dorothy’s of Shockingly Delicious’ Candied Orange Peel.  Don’t over think this one just make it.

Candied orange peel

Photo courtesy of Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious

For the shear magic of Evan Funk’s craftsmanship, please watch Life and Thyme’s video of his pasta making.  Film making at its best–captivating narrative accompanied by mesmerizing visuals.  Poetry in motion.

Life and Thyme Evan Funk

Photo by Antonio Diaz Source:

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Kale Smoothy

By Judy Lyness on 01.15.2015

kale smoothy


It’s that time of year–it starts as a sniffle or an ache and before you know it…you’re sick.  And you’re grumpy.  And nothing tastes good.

I’m no medical doctor but when I was feeling terrible because of the flu I shuffled into the kitchen and whipped up a kale smoothy.  I’m not a smoothy kind of girl.  If I want kale (on that rare occasion) I cook it.  But I didn’t have the energy to cook anything.  So I grabbed random ingredients from the frig and threw them in a blender.  Lo and behold, after drinking this smoothy I actually felt better for about two hours.   Alas, your results my not be the same.  But it’s worth the shot.

Kale Smoothy


  • 1 inch cube fresh ginger peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 blood oranges peeled
  • 3 cups fresh kale
  • 2 tbs honey (more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup coconut water to thin


  1. Place ginger and blood orange sections in blender and puree.
  2. Add kale and blend
  3. Add honey. Taste. Add more if you like it sweeter. Pulse and taste.
  4. With blender going add coconut water until the mixture is thin enough to drink.


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Meatloaf Stuffed with Spinach

By Judy Lyness on 01.11.2015

Meatloaf Stuffed with Spinach

I have spent most of the second have of 2014 working in Branson, Missouri on the television show Branson Famous. Being away from my home for extended periods is not usual for me, nor any television producer for that matter. What was unusual about this job was that instead of staying in a hotel room I shared a house with the rest of the crew.

To be honest, I had my doubts. It’s been a very long time since I had a roommate, let alone five total strangers as roommates. But I’m not one to scoff at a long-term gig, so off I went.

As soon as I arrived my fears were assuaged. The crew, to a person, was respectful of everyone’s privacy and incredibly good at their jobs. I could recommend each and everyone without a pang of doubt. (So if you’re looking for cameramen/women, field producers, production managers hit me up.)Branson Famous CrewOne aspect that I loved about sharing the house was our evening meals. Branson has a ton of restaurants but one can get very tired of pulled pork and barbeque rather quickly. So four or five nights a week someone would cook. Well, mostly, Rudy the cameraman and I would cook. Rudy is a carnivore of the first degree. A methodical magician when it comes to the art of barbequing steak—rib eye, sirloin or any other steak.

Photo by Rudy Gelenter

Photo by Rudy Gelenter

My meals varied. I cooked these lamb skewers with lima bean puree. The lima bean puree was the hit.lamb skewers with lima bean puree

Grilled salmon became a top ten choice.


Grilled SalmonBut one of the crew’s favorites was my meatloaf. meatloaf stuffed with spinachWe ate the meal on TV dinner trays and watched the Gilmore Girl’s.meatloaf stuffed with spinachMeatloaf Stuffed with Spinach

  • 2 lbs ground beef (not lean)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small can thick tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • ½ cup fresh parsley minced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (½ cup for meatloaf mixture, ½ cup to sprinkle on top of loaf)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slightly beat eggs
  2. Place ground beef in large bowl and all ingredients except only add ½ cup parmesan
  3. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated

Spinach Filling

  • 2 bags frozen leaf spinach
  • small container cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • splash of olive
  • oil zest and juice of one lemon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  1. In medium sized sauté pan add a splash of olive oil, garlic and onion.
  2. Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add cherry tomato halves. Cook for about 2 more minutes.
  4. Add frozen spinach and cook while stirring to thaw out spinach. When spinach is thawed out add remaining ingredients and cook for about 4 more minutes. Cool.


  1. Place half of the meatloaf mixture on a half sheet pan or large baking dish. Shape a log that has a pocket that will hold the spinach.
  2. Spread spinach over bottom portion leaving a half inch hem of meatloaf.
  3. Add the remaining meatloaf mixture on top of the spinach by taking a third of the mixture flattening it a bit and placing on top of spinach. Continue until the spinach is covered. Pinch the edges to seal in the spinach.
  4. Sprinkle the remainder of the parmesan over the loaf. If half cup isn’t enough add more.
  5. Bake in 350 oven for 45-60 minutes.
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Chocolate Walnut Cake

By Judy Lyness on 01.09.2015
Chocolate Walnut Cake

Photo courtesy Dorothy of Shockingly Delicious

This is my go to birthday cake.  I’ve been making it for years.  It’s got everything I want in a dessert–crunch from the walnuts, cinnamon, two types of chocolate–Ibarra Mexican chocolate in the cake and bitter sweet for both whipped and melted ganache.

Chocolate Walnut Cake

The cake

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cake crumbs
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 bar Ibarra chocolate coarsely chopped
  • I tbsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

1.  Whip egg yolks with 1/4 cup of sugar until ribbon stage.

2.  In separate bowl whip egg whites until medium peaks are formed

3.  Combine remaining dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.

4.  Fold dry ingredients into yolks.

5.  Fold whites into yolk mixture

5.  Pour into 9 inch spring form pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


  • 1 lbs. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream

1.  Chop chocolate and place in bowl

2.  Heat heavy cream until it almost boils and pour over chocolate. Let stand about 2 or 3 minutes then emulsify the cream and chocolate until smooth.

3. Divide ganache in half.  Place one half in refrigerator and stir every 5 minutes or so until it’s room temperature.  Once the ganache reaches room temperature whip at medium speed until fluffy and it lightens a bit.


1.  Remove cake from spring form pan. Slice cooled cake in half.  Place whipped ganache on bottom half to form a 1 inch layer of filling.  Place other half of cake on top of whipped ganache.

2.  Frost the the cake and place in refrigerator until set.  At least an hour.

3.  Place frosted cake on wire rack.  Pour room temperature ganache on top of cake and gently push ganache over the top so it drips down the sides and coats them thoroughly.

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Beet Napoleons

By Judy Lyness on 12.10.2014

Beet Napoleons The holiday season has officially begun and one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself is some easy, delicious and jaw-dropping recipes that will satisfy even the fussy eaters around.

My first offering are these roasted beet napoleons: Gluten free, minimal work and lovely to look at. (They could be considered vegetarian if your friends eat dairy.) I made these for an EatWith event and Thanksgiving. All were devoured. In fact, one of my guests dipped the beet scraps in the chevre…they are that good.


The most important element is getting beets that are big enough for the circle cutter that you’re using. I use a 2 ½ inch cutter. The other important element is a mandolin or a very sharp knife. I use the latter.

3 Large beets (I like to use different color beets—red, yellow and candy striped)

1 8 oz. log of herbed goat cheese or chevre (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar

  1. Roast beets. It’s okay if they are a little under done. It makes them a bit easier to slice.
  2. Cool beets, peel and thinly slice.
  3. With your circle cookie cutter cut out circles from the beet slices.
  4. In a large sauté pan add the sugar and vinegar. Heat to a boil so that the sugar dissolves
  5. When the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is at a gentle boil add beet slices. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Continue until are slices are done. If you are using different types of beets start with the lightest color. The liquid retains the color of the beets.
  6. Remove beets from liquid and place on paper towels to cool. Place more paper towels on tops to blot all sides of the beets.
  7. This step can be done a day or two in advance. Just make sure there is a good padding of paper towels between the layers. The beets really bleed.


  1. Remove goat cheese from refrigerator about an hour before assembly. This makes the goat cheese easier to spread. If the goat cheese is really dry place in a bowl and mix with a little plain yogurt or sour cream until it’s smooth.
  2. Place beet slices on a work surface. If your slices are thick only use three for each napoleon. If thin use 4 or 5.
  3. Spread a generous tablespoon or on the bottom and middle beet slices. Continue until done.
  4. Stack the cheesed slices on top of one another and crown with a clean beet slice.
  5. With a very sharp knife slice into quarters or sixths.
  6. Garnish with reduced balsamic or fresh herbs.

If you make the napoleons too far in advance the beets will bleed into the cheese.


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Apple Tart with Goat Cheese

By Judy Lyness on 10.22.2014

Apple Tartlet with goat cheese

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing and it’s just the cool enough to turn on the oven and bake something that will fill the house with the flavors of fall. Here’s an easy apple tart with goat cheese.  What I like about these tarts is that they are great at the beginning or end of a meal.

Apple Tart with Goat Cheese Filling

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 5 oz goat cheese (chevre like that comes in a log)
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3 apples peeled and cored.  Sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon course sugar
  1. Roll puff pastry to measure 8″ x 16″ rectangle
  2. Cut out 8 4″ circles.  Place four 4″ circles on a lined baking tray.  Brush with water a half inch border. Cut the remaining circles with a 3 1/2 cutter to form a ring.  Place one ring on each circle.  Score the edge and brush with egg wash.
  3. In a small bowl blend the goat cheese, honey, zest until it is a smooth paste.
  4. Place a quarter of the cheese mixture in the middle of each tart.
  5. Arrange apple slices on top of filling in a decorative manner.
  6. Sprinkle apple slices with coarse sugar.

Bake in 375 oven for 15 – 20 minutes.  The apples should have a nice browned edge.

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Halloween Ideas

By Judy Lyness on 10.14.2014


Halloween is fast approaching.  So here are some great Halloween ideas for you this year.

My personal favorite are these healthy in disguise pumpkins just ready to be decorated.

Halloween jack-o-lanternsNext are these two great ideas–Cake pops and marshmallow mummies.

The CakeGirls just have too many wonderful ideas to post.  Just jump over to their site and bask in the abundance of Halloween ideas.

The CakeGirls HalloweenHere are some of my favorite bloggers and their creative and tasty ideas. First up is this recipe from Cooking on the Weekends.

pumpkin cookies

Photo by Cooking on the Weekend

Or Valentina’s Spooky Spider Truffles.

chocolate spider truffles

Photo by Cooking on the Weekends

Over at Christina’s Cucina there are wonderful cookie decorating ideas.

halloween ideas

Photo by Christina’s Cucina

Or these very scary Witches Digit’s.

Witches digits

Photo by Christina’s Cucina

Dorothy over at Shockingly Delicious has some spooky deviled eggs.

Spider deviled eggs

Photo by Shockingly Delicious

Have a spook-tacular day!!!

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Judy LynessSeptember 9, 2014

Squash Blossoms

Squash Blossoms

Squash blossoms.  Whether they stand alone a single bloom or are attached to a tiny delicate squash they are absolutely wonderful.  In the past I would stuff them with chevre that’s been embellished with chives, thyme and basil dip them in a batter and fry.

I was cleaning out my photos and ran across this video from 2009 of a lovely stranger at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market.  She was kind enough to share her recipe with me…and now you.  Seeing this short clip brought a smile to my face. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.



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