Test Kitchen

Holiday Entertaining

Here are some recipes for the 2021 Holiday Season now that folks are starting to ramp up their celebrations. These are all amazing dishes that you can make in advance and just heat up or put out as guests arrive for a sit-down or standing event.

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are extremely easy to make and they have lasting powers to make it through a cocktail party.  It’s easy to make a big batch before the party, toss in the oven to reheat just before you serve them.  This is one of these dishes you can swap out what you don’t like andContinue Reading

Beef Carpaccio

Giuseppe Cipriani’s started a world famous bar & restaurant, Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. He created not only the Bellini there but a few yers later he introduced the world to Beef Carpaccio.  “Carpaccio” has now become most types of beef, veal, lamb or fish that has been thinly sliced and served as an appetizer.Continue Reading

Italian Beef Stew

When the cold weather comes it’s time to turn to some classic hearty dishes like beef stew. I have had a lot of tasteless versions of this dish but the deep slow cooking of just a bit of hearty read wine and the beef makes for the base of a delicious sauce. The anchovy pasteContinue Reading

Amazing Herbed Shrimp & Couscous for 20

This is a perfect brunch dish for a big crowd. Just make it in the morning and serve either room temperature or chilled. It is full of flavor and screams summer and white wine. Ingredients Four couscous: 4 cups tri-color Israeli (pearl) couscous 5 cups homemade chicken stock or very good quality from your butcherContinue Reading

Tuna Tacos

Friends on the island put together an amazing dinner that kicked off with the best martini I have had in a long time. Almost too good, to be frank. The star of the night was a tuna pizza that was filled with flavor and texture that made it a truly spectacular entrée. No one knowsContinue Reading

Minted Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps

Yes. Don’t be deceived by this innocent-sounding holiday beverage as the schnapps is 100 proof and packs a punch. This is great by a fire on a cold day as it can really warm up a crowd… literally. Ingredients 4 cup of whole milk 10 Andes Creme De Menthe Thins, wrappers removed, separated (6 choppedContinue Reading

Jim Yum Soup

This variation of the wildly popular Thai Tom Yum Soup was driven by the lack of access to Asian specialty stores. We tinkered with this many times and used what was available at local grocery stores, and I think the end result was excellent. Ingredients 2 quarts of homemade chicken stock 1/4 cup soy sauceContinue Reading

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

The bundt cake has a stigma of Grandma’s house specialty. This is a great cake that is very easy to make and serves as something for just about every meal, from dinner dessert to a breakfast treat. Ingredients 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, separated 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and extra to prepare theContinue Reading

The French Biscuit

I love a tasty biscuit, but often find the ones at most bakeries to be bland, dry or just not worth all the carbs and calories. We started off with our original jalapeño & cheddar biscuit, then made some delicious breakfast sandwiches with them that are always a hit. Of course, they also are greatContinue Reading

Turkey or Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided by tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 6 strips of applewood or smoked bacon (your preference) from your butcher, cut into thin strips 12 sprigs of thyme, tied together 1 large shallot, peeled and chopped (1/2 inch) 1 red onion, peeled and chopped (1/2Continue Reading

Braised Beef Tacos

We have our intensely flavored short rib tacos that are out of this world, but they take a little extra effort to make. This cheaper, faster and easier version is also a big hit for parties or casual lunches. Ingredients 4 pound flat iron steak, cubed 1″ 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon rosemaryContinue Reading

Brownie Trifle

If you are having a big group over for a party, there’s a year round dessert guests devour. If you are in a hurry, you can find a good bakery and buy the brownies or make them yourself. Either way, once you layer them with whipped cream and toffee bars, you have a spectacular dessert.Continue Reading

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Tomato season really livens up the menu and when I am serving a 🍅 Tomato & Burrata Salad  there is always left over tomato ends that aren’t good looking enough it make the dish.  I will cut out the core and chop the tomatoes and mix in red onion, basil and put one a mixture ofContinue Reading

Mini Twice Baked, Once Fried Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes were always a big hit at Thanksgiving though the skins were dry and tasteless.  At LPB, we do a twice baked, once fried version and switched to the more flavorful Yukon gold potato from the russet that was a staple growing up.  Forget the sour cream and open up some creme fraiche,Continue Reading

Salted Toffee and M&M Brownies

These brownies are rich and delicious for anytime of the year but perfect for cold weather days.  The base of the recipe comes from Ina Garten’s delicious “outrageous brownies” that were a main staple in her iconic shop, Barefoot Contessa.  Since I have never liked walnuts in brownies we switched them out with mini M&MsContinue Reading

Camembert Spanakopita

Cheese stuffed with cheese is a great twist to the traditional baked brie that is so often served in the holiday season.  First thing, we switch out the brie and stuff it with other cheeses. Then, wrap it in pastry dough, wash with an egg bath and bake until golden brown. And yes, feta isContinue Reading

Grilled Bell Peppers, Red Onions, Jalapeño, and Feta

This is a delicious, simple and flavorful first course or side dish for just about any meal. The grilling of onions and jalapeños mellows their kick and makes for a great dish. Ingredients 3 of each, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, cut in thirds, cored and seeded 1 large red onion, peeled and cutContinue Reading

Mini Wagyu Ground Beef Bites

These mini treats are rich with flavor and adding some deeply golden onions and a touch of Sriracha brandy aioli over a toasted brioche roll make a delicious start to any party. Like any burger the main attraction is the quality of the beef so plan ahead and go to Kow Cattle Company and orderContinue Reading

Roasted Tomato Carpaccio

When I serve our traditional Carpaccio there is always a lot of sauce, arugula and parmesan left-over. Also, there are more than a few guests that either don’t eat raw meat or don’t eat it all. In the winter months when tomatoes are not up to par, I roast Roma tomatoes at a low temperatureContinue Reading

Mini Burger Hors D’oeuvres

We started going down to South Beach in Miami when there were just a handful of hotels and fewer restaurants.  At that time, there was one hotel and one restaurant that really stood out:  The Delano Hotel and Casa Tua Restaurant.  Luckily there were a block apart and we would rarely leave that area backContinue Reading

Curry Pasta Salad

Pasta salads can be served well beyond summer barbecues.  We just switch out the summer veggies such as corn and replace with a taste of winter with a roast butternut squash.  The key is to have a firmly cooked pasta and letting the flavors come together before serving.   Ingredients  1 pound cavatelli pasta 1Continue Reading

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

We make a lot of cookies and always have a full jar of them at the office as we have meetings after meetings that sometimes warrant an energy boost to keep the energy going.  We have our traditional cookies but sometimes we like to intensify the flavor by making them with brown butter. Ingredients 16Continue Reading

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