Cheryl’s Cuisine: June 2021

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

When you’re wandering around in the grocery stores, you can’t help but noticing the varieties of fresh fruits.  Right now, my latest addiction is Cotton Candy Grapes.  However, I actually love all fresh fruit.  There’s nothing more refreshing on a summer day than having a big bowl of nature’s goodness on your plate. 

With the beginning of summer entertaining knocking at our door and most Covid restrictions being lifted, it’s time to celebrate!

Street Party Grape Salad:

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1-8 oz. container sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
4 lbs. seedless grapes, assorted varieties and colors
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crushed pecans

Cream together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla.  Fold grapes into cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans on top just before serving; toss.

***

Yum Yum Salad:

1-4 oz. pkg. instant cheesecake pudding mix
1 cup buttermilk
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1-8 oz. container non-dairy whipped topping (such as Cool Whip), thawed
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, halved
2 cups seedless green grapes
2 cups seedless red grapes
1-8 oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
1-8 oz.  can pineapple tidbits, drained
2-3 peaches, peeled and sliced

Combine pudding mix and buttermilk in small mixing bowl. Beat for 2 minutes or until smooth.  Beat cream cheese in large mixing bowl until fluffy.  Stir in pudding mixture until well blended.   Fold in whipped topping.  Fold in raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, oranges and pineapple.  Spoon into large serving bowl and chill.  When serving, top with sliced peaches.  Serves 12.

***

Mozart’s Magic Fruit:

1 1/2 cups cantaloupe balls
1 1/2 cups honeydew balls
1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1-11 oz. can Mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup fresh strawberries, stemmed
1-6 oz. can frozen lemonade, thawed, undiluted
1/4 cup orange marmalade
2 Tbsp. orange-flavored liqueur (like Triple Sec)
Mint leaves

Combine cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple chunks, Mandarin oranges and strawberries in large serving bowl.  In small bowl, combine lemonade, marmalade and liqueur.  Stir well.  Pour over fruit and toss gently.  Cover and chill 2 hours before serving.  Garnish with mint leaves. Serves at least 8.  Note: Serve in small stemmed dessert dishes for brunch.

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It’s the Berries:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved or quartered
1 cup raspberries, rinsed and well-drained
1 cup blackberries, rinsed and well-drained
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and well-drained

In medium saucepan over high heat, combine water, sugar, lemon juice and thyme and boil until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute.  Cool slightly and add vanilla.  In large bowl, combine berries with syrup and mix gently.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours, but NOT overnight. Serve in glass bowls or goblets with syrup spooned over each.

***

Melon Ball Fruit Cup:

1 cup cantaloupe balls
1 cup honeydew balls
1 cup watermelon balls
2 tsp. chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup champagne or ginger ale
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts  (I use pecans)

In large bowl mix fruit and chopped mint.  Refrigerate for several hours.  Spoon into 6 large wineglasses or goblets and divide champagne among glasses, pouring it over the fruit.  Sprinkle each serving with some nuts and garnish with a mint leaf. Serve with a spoon.

***

Berry Slush:

1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen strawberries with juice
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup chipped ice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine frozen strawberries, orange juice, sugar and ice in blender and blend.  Add blueberries and blend BRIEFLY.  If you blend longer, it will turn the drink into an unappealing color.  Pour into glasses and serve.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: May 2021

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

All you need is a box or bag of rice and “Voila!”, you’re on your way to create any part of a meal.  From appetizers to side dishes to main meals to dessert…it’s rice to the rescue!    

The USA Rice Council lauds rice as being not only economical and versatile, but also free of cholesterol, fat and sodium.  

So this month, we’re looking at a variety of uses to perk up your menus for each part of your day.

Fruit Rice Cakes:

6 rice cakes
1/4 cup light cream cheese, softened
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries


Top rice cake with cream cheese, then with fresh fruit.  Serves 6.

***

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms:

20 large fresh mushrooms
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup crumbled bleu cheese
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper

Clean mushrooms with damp paper towel.  Remove stems, finely chop stems and set aside.  Saute’ mushroom caps in butter in skillet.  Add cream; bring to boil.  Reduce heat and add cheese; cook until melted.

Stir in rice, basil and pepper; cook until thoroughly heated.  spoon rice mixture into mushroom caps.  Place mushroom caps in greased shallow baking pan.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain on paper towels.  Makes 20 appetizers.

***

Fajita Rice Salad:

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. beef skirt steak, top round or flank steak
2 cups cooked rice, cooled to room temperature
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1- 2 1/4 oz. can sliced ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup sliced green onions
4 flour tortillas, cut into wedges and fried until crisp
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
3/4 cup picante sauce
1/2 cup sour cream

Combine lime juice, oil, garlic, onion powder, cumin, salt and pepper in shallow baking dish; add beef.  Cover and marinate in refrigerator, stirring occasionally, 4 hours or overnight.  Remove beef from marinade; grill or broil beef as desired, basting with remaining marinade, 10-12 minutes or to desired doneness.  Slice meat diagonally into bite-size pieces or strips.

Combine rice, tomatoes, cheese, olives, and onions in large bowl.  Arrange mixture on shredded lettuce.  Place beef on top.   Serve with crisp tortilla wedges, picante sauce and sour cream.  Serves 4.

***

Chicken with Rice:

4 Tbsp. olive oil
1-3 lb. frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skin removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, and chopped
2 Tbsp. capers
1/4 cup small pimiento-stuffed olives
1 cup prepared tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups rice, uncooked
4 1/2 cups chicken broth

In stockpot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all ingredients, heat oil and brown chicken on all sides.  Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add onion and green pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Add capers, olives, tomato sauce, oregano, pepper flakes and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add the 3 cups of rice and stir mixture well.  Add chicken broth and stir.  Cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  Serves 6.

***

Walnut Risotto with Roasted Asparagus:

5 cups low-salt chicken broth
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/3 cup onions, chopped
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan.  Cover and remove from heat.  Heat 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and saute’ until light golden, about 4 minutes.  Add rice and stir 1 minute.  Add wine and stir until wine evaporates, about 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup hot broth and cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.  Continue adding more broth, 1/2 cupful at a time, until rice is tender and creamy, stirring frequently and allowing most of broth to be absorbed before adding more, about 25 minutes.  

Meanwhile, place asparagus and garlic in shallow baking dish and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Roast until tender, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Mix walnuts and grated Parmesan into risotto.  Season again with salt and pepper.  Arrange roasted asparagus on plate and top with risotto.  Serves 4.

***

Marshmallow Cloud:

2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
1 prepared (6 oz.) chocolate crumb crust
1/4 cup fudge sauce

Combine rice, marshmallows, and milk in 2-quart saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; cool.  Fold in whipped cream.  Spoon into crust.  Chill at least 3 hours. Drizzle with warm fudge sauce before serving. Serves 6.

***

Creamy Rice Pudding:     

1/2 cup raw rice (River white rice)
1 qt. milk
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Cinnamon, sprinkled

Soak rice in a little water until water is absorbed.  Add milk, egg, sugar and salt; cook on low flame, stirring constantly until mixture becomes fairly thick and creamy and rice is cooked.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla.  Stir.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  It will thicken as it cools in refrigerator.

Cheryl’s Cuisine: April 2021

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Did you know that April is National Garlic Month?  What would we ever do without this heavenly herb?   

Years ago, I attended the Pocono Garlic Festival where I decided, YES, there is such a thing as too much garlic, especially when it came to flavoring ice cream.  Tried it, but definitely did not enjoy it.  However, in every day cooking, I cannot imagine living without these heavenly cloves. 

So, in keeping with the celebration of the month, I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes using garlic. 

Creamy Garlic Salad Dressing

1 pint mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s or Duke’s)
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup oil  (I use canola)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. garlic powder (Yes, 1 Tablespoon)
1/4 cup minced white onion

Combine all ingredients.  Makes 1 quart.

***

Bagna Cauda
From the former Villa Virella, Blakeslee

3 oz. sweet butter
5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small can anchovies (drained and chopped fine)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup heavy cream

Put butter, olive oil, anchovies and garlic in sauce pan.  Cook gently for about 15 minutes.  At last minute, blend in cream.  Caution:  DO NOT let mixture boil.  Transfer to copper pot, serve at once with raw vegetables.  Serves 6-8.

***

Crostini Ai Due Formaggi
Also from Villa Verilla

1/4 lb. Fontina cheese, grated
1/4 lb. Swiss cheese, grated
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. dry white vermouth
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 loaves small Italian bread
Oil for deep frying

In small bowl or food processor combine cheeses, egg, milk, vermouth, garlic, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.  Mix very well.  Slice bread and carefully spread mixture to the edges of each slice.  Spread on both sides of bread. Fill pot with vegetable oil half way.   Heat oil and fry crostini until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute. Use tongs for turning.   Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

***

Tomatoz Garlic Shrimp
From Tomatoz, Wilmington, NC

6 oz. cooked fettucine
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. shrimp, cleaned
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped spinach 
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup vegetable or seafood stock
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese

Peel and devein shrimp.  Heat olive oil in heavy saute’ pan.  Add garlic and roast for 2 minutes just until edges turn brown.  Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and spinach.  Deglaze pan with white wine, then add vegetable or seafood stock.  Add pasta and toss to distribute evenly.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle with Romano cheese and chopped parsley.  

***

Rum Runner Shrimp

3 lbs. large shrimp, rinsed and peeled
Salt, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste
1/2 cup light rum
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a bowl, season shrimp with salt and hot sauce.  In smaller bowl, combine rum, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and cumin.  Blend with shrimp,  refrigerate and marinate at least 1 hour.   In small saucepan, combine butter and oil.  When butter begins to foam, add garlic.  Saute’ for 2 minutes.  Set aside.  Transfer shrimp with marinade to shallow baking dish.  Place shrimp in single layer.  Top with garlic sauce and bread crumbs. Broil until done (about 10 minutes).  Garnish with fresh parsley.  Serves 6.

***

Tomato Basil Soup
from Market on the Boulevard, Newport, R.I

4-27 oz. cans peeled and diced tomatoes
16 oz. tomato juice
2 cups white wine
15 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
4 oz. sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
Black pepper
Celery salt

Saute’ onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add garlic and stir 1 minute.  Add wine, basil, tomato juice and sugar.  Let simmer approximately 20 minutes and add diced tomatoes.  Continue to simmer another 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add pepper and celery salt to taste and remove from heat.  Soup should rest at least 1 hour before refrigeration.  This is best served the next day.  Yields: 4 quarts.

***

Petti Di Pollo Romano
One of my favorites from Sardella’s, Newport, R.I

4-8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup dry white wine
6 sprigs parsley
8 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 stick unsalted butter

Pound out chicken breasts and cut in half.  In bowl, mix mozzarella, garlic and parsley and roll mixture into balls, about 2″ round.  Place ball in center of chicken breast and secure with toothpick.  Repeat for other 3 breasts.  In large saute’ pan heat butter.  Flour chicken breasts and pat dry.  When butter melts, place chicken in saute’ pan and brown, turning until all sides are golden brown.  Add wine and reduce.  Place saute’ pan in preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes, until breasts puff.  Serve two pieces of chicken over a bed of your favorite pasta and equally distribute sauce.