Clark Terry – Beer ‘n’ Beans

The venerable Clark Terry left this planet on Feb. 21, 2015. Although I never had the honor of meeting him, I loved his music and his amazing contributions to not only Jazz but to music education worldwide. He will be greatly missed. The music world is all the better for having had his presence for so long. Thank you, Maestro Terry.

Joonji by Clark Terry and Chico O’Farrill from the CD Best of Jazz Trumpet

Clark Terry (December 14, 1920 – February 21, 2015)
Clark Terry’s career in jazz spanned more than seventy years. He was a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, composer, writer, trumpet/flugelhorn designer, teacher and NEA Jazz Master. He performed for eight U.S. Presidents, and was a Jazz Ambassador for State Department tours in the Middle East and Africa. More than fifty jazz festivals featured him at sea and on land in all seven continents. Many have been named in his honor.

He was one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, with more than nine-hundred recordings. Clark’s discography reads like a “Who’s Who In Jazz,” with personnel that includes greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves.

Clark Terry’s Comments
Terry’s Beer ’n’ Beans is a variation of the New Orleans standard he picked up from Billy Stryhorn. “Billy didn’t care about what kind of beer covered the beans,” he laughs. “He just liked the idea of using beer. All I know is that soaking and cooking the beans in beer gives them a different taste.”

Beer ’n’ Beans
Recipe from “Jazz Cooks, Portraits and Recipes of the Greats”
by Bob Young and Al Stankus
Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course with rice

2 cups kidney or pinto beans, washed and sorted through to remove any debris
Approx. 2 (12-ounce) bottles beer
1 or 2 meaty ham bones, or two smoked sausages (cut into pieces), or 3 or 4 turkey wings, or any kind of smoked meat that you prefer (or any combination that suits your taste)
1 onion, quartered (optional)
1 potato, quartered (optional)
Salt and Pepper

Place the beans in a large pot and cover completely with beer. Soak the beans at room temperature overnight, adding more beer as needed. When ready to cook, place the beans and beer in the large pot over low heat. Add the meat, onion and potato (if using), salt and pepper. Add more beer or a mix of beer and water, if needed, to cover the beans. Cover the pot and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the beans from sticking to the bottom.

You can find Mr. Terry’s music pretty much everywhere on the internet and in music stores, but here are a few links to get you started:

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Jane Ira Bloom – Cut-Time Capellini

I don’t know about you, but my food always tastes better when I play music while cooking!

Luminous Bridges from the CD Mental Weather

Jane Ira Bloom– Jazz Soprano Saxophonist and Composer
Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom is a firm believer in the link between playing jazz and cooking.
She began as a pianist and drummer, later switching to the alto saxophone, and eventually settling on the soprano saxophone as her primary instrument. She first began playing the saxophone seriously while at Yale University, from which she received a liberal arts degree and a master’s degree in music (1977). She is noted for her use of live electronics, using a foot pedal to trigger various electronic effects that alter the sound of her saxophone, at times creating the illusion of an orchestra of soprano saxophones. Bloom is a core faculty member at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Jane’s Official Site:

Jane Ira Bloom’s Comments
“I like to throw together a quick pasta dish like this when I’m in a hurry to get to a gig and want to carbo-load for some high-energy improvisation.” she says. “The secret to the sauce is fresh ingredients cooked in cut-time. But like all great soon, it all depends on how you choose to balance the different ingredients based on how you feel that day. I’ve made variations of this pasta with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh tomatoes, and it’s never tasted the same twice. This recipe can be looked at as the head of the tune, or the basis for your own pasta improv.”

Cut-Time Capellini
Recipe from “Jazz Cooks, Portraits and Recipes of the Greats”
by Bob Young and Al Stankus
Serves 2
4 T pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
4 anchovy filets
1/2 red, sweet pepper, cored and thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
3/4 fresh parsley, chopped
3 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 pound capellini/thin spaghetti
Freshly grated Romano cheese

Toast pine nuts in 325º F oven for 5 minutes. Set aside. Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and anchovies; stir, breaking up anchovies and making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. The anchovies will dissolve. Add the red pepper and fennel and sauté approx. 7 minutes, or until both soften. Stir in the pine nuts, 1/2 cup of the parsley, and the balsamic vinegar; cook for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook capellini according to package directions for al dente. Drain and place capellini in a large serving dish; add the sauce and mix gently. Garnish with remaining parsley and freshly grated Romano cheese to taste.

Some places where you can find Jane Ira Bloom’s music:

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Tito Puente – Ensalada de Bacalao

This song will get your feet moving in the kitchen!

A Gozar Timbero, from Tito Puente’s Dance Mania CD

TitoPuente_BacalaoSalad_1000x500Tito Puente – Timbalero, Bandleader, Composer, Innovator
Ernest “Tito” Anthony Puente was born in 1923 in New York City to native Puerto Rican parents. He was the oldest of two children.  His mother called him “Ernestito” which means “Little Ernest”, which was later shortened to “Tito”. His mother saw his musical potential and enrolled him in piano classes. “I was always banging on boxes and walls and windows,” he recalls. “I was seven years old.” Eventually he attended the Juilliard School of Music from 1945-47 on the GI bill. He would write a piece that would start off as jazz and then add a Latin beat to it. He recorded over 100 albums during his 60 years in the business and won 10 Grammy awards. He often joked that he was profiting off of Santana’s hit recording of “Oye Como Va”, which he had written. He said, “I get a nice royalty check.” He appeared in several films, usually as himself.

Comments About the Recipe
On his trips to Puerto Rico, Tito Puente loved to eat Ensalada de Bacalao made with dried salt cod and onions. “In New York it was something my mother made around the Christmas holidays and during the summer. It’s really a typical Puerto Rican dish.”

Ensalada de Bacalao
Recipe from “Jazz Cooks, Portraits and Recipes of the Greats”
by Bob Young and Al Stankus
Serves 6

1 pound dried salt codfish
2 large onions, thinly sliced
4 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
2-3 Avocados, cut into cubes
1 cup olive oil
1/2 vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the codfish overnight in water that amply covers the fish, draining the water and adding fresh water a couple of times. When ready to cook, drain the codfish again, then place it in a large pan of boiling water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in fresh, cold water. Let cool, then peel off the skin. Remove any bones and, using a fork, shred the codfish.

Set the shredded codfish on a large platter and  cover with the onions and tomatoes. Ina small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the oil and vinegar. Season with the sale and pepper, then shake well and pour over the fish.

Chill for an hour or 2. Serve cold.

You can find Tito Puente’s music just about everywhere, but here are a few links to get you started:

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Kat Parra – Vietnamese Green Mango Salad

Dieziocho Anyos from Las Aventuras de Pasión!

Kat Parra and Barbara Rose at our Cooking Class at the Little Black Duck Restaurant, Hanoi, Vietnam

We just returned from an amazing three week trip to Southeast Asia. While in Hanoi, Vietnam, my mom and I had dinner at an amazing restaurant called Little Black Duck. It is owned by the nicest woman named Hong. Our meal was probably one of the best we ate during our entire trip. We loved the food so much we asked Hong if we could take a cooking class from her. She quickly agreed and we set the date for our last day in Hanoi before coming back to the states. We started the day by taking a trip to the outside market where the ingredients are bought each day. An amazing onslaught of sights, smells and sounds!


We learned to cook three different dishes during our class. Here is one of them, one of my favorite dishes from SE Asia!

Vietnamese Green Mango Salad
Recipe from Little Black Duck Restaurant, Hanoi, Vietnam

1 Green Mango
1 Carrot
1/4 onion
1 Cucumber
1 Red Chili pepper
1/4 cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts
1 Tbsp. Dried Shallots
1/4 tsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds
100g. Boiled Pork Fillet
100g. Boiled Shrimp
Mixed Fresh Herbs (Cilantro, Mint, Vietnamese Mint, etc.)

Make the Salad Sauce First (see below)

Peel and clean fruit, vegetables and herbs. Remove undesired parts and place in a colander and allow excess water run off.
Julienne the mango, cucumber (remove seeds), carrot and chili, making sure to slice each one very thin. Place these ingredients into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of salad sauce. Set aside.

Dice the cooked shrimp and the pork meat. Put into a separate bowl. Add 1/4 cup salad sauce (see recipe below) and let it marinade for awhile.

Chop herbs into small pieces and set aside.

Drain the excess liquid (salad sauce) from both the vegetable and meat bowls.
Add the meat and herbs into the vegetable bowl. Add another 1/4 cup of salad sauce, or enough to coat the salad. Drain any excess liquid out of the salad.
Just before serving add the dried shallots and chopped peanuts.
Serve on a plate topped with sesame seeds and sliced chili.

Salad Sauce
200ml. Rice Vinegar
200g White Sugar
1 Red Chili pepper
1/4 Fresh Pineapple
1/4 tsp. Salt

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend well.

Here is a picture of Hong and Dui, the chef who was so patient and a wonderful teacher!

You can find more of my music on iTunes and


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James Moody – Vegetable Stir-Fry

Oh, Maestro Moody, you really know how to get the spirit moving with
your playing!

Stardust from Moody’s Mood For Love

James Moody – Saxophone and Flute Player
James Moody (March 26, 1925 – December 9, 2010) was an American jazz saxophone and flute player. He was best known for his hit “Moody’s Mood for Love,” an improvisation based on “I’m in the Mood for Love”; in performance, he often sang Eddie Jefferson’s vocalese lyrics for the tune, which Jefferson had fitted to Moody’s famous solo.

James Moody’s Comments
“Anytime you eat right,” says tenor saxophonist James Moody, “it helps everything. Of course it helps your music because your brain and body work better. You’re healthier.”

Vegetable Stir-Fry with Brown Rice
From Jazz Cooks: Portraits and Recipes of the Greats
by Bob Young

Serves 2
3 cups water
1 cup brown rice, washed and rinsed
6 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
Few drops of Bragg`s amino acid liquid (available in health food stores) or soy sauce
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
3 scallions (green onions), chopped
1 bunch broccoli, florets only
1 zucchini, cut into ovals or cut into strips
10 mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in a mixture of 1 cup chicken broth and 3 tablespoons Bragg`s amino acid liquid or soy sauce
5 leaves bok choy (Chinese cabbage), cut into 1-inch pieces

To prepare the rice, in a medium-sized saucepan, over high heat, combine the water, rice, 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, and the drops of amino acid liquid (or soy sauce) and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce to a simmer, stir once and cook, uncovered, until all the liquid is absorbed, about 1 1/2 hours. To stir-fry the vegetables, just before the rice is cooked, in a large skillet or a wok, over medium high heat, warm the remaining oil. Add garlic and scallions and saute 15 seconds. Add the broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, the bell peppers and cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, for 15 seconds. Add the bok choy and stir fry for about 30 seconds, until leaves wilt; other vegetables will and should be al dente.

James Moody’s music can be found pretty much anywhere, but here is a link to get you started!

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Monica Marquis – Greens ‘N Beans

Listen to this great song of Monica’s while you cook!

You’ve Had an Effect on Me, an original song from Monica’s CD, “This Is Me”

Monica Marquis – Greens N' Beans
Monica Marquis – Soul/Jazz Singer, Pianist, and Songwriter
Monica Marquis is a soul/jazz singer, pianist, and songwriter from San Jose, CA. She has performed in venues and events around the SF Bay Area for many years to devoted fans, and is known not just for her beautiful voice, but for her catchy original compositions off her 2 LP albums. Her music reflects her diverse influences ranging from Latin Jazz to R&B, Soul, and Prog-Rock. Having performed in the San Jose Jazz Festival, the KGO Cure-A-Thon, and numerous other showcases throughout her career, Monica holds her own among many of the Bay Area’s most notable solo artists who have shared the same stages.

Monica’s Comments
This is a Sicilian dish handed down for generations from my Italian relatives on my dad’s side of the family. It reminds me of the many times we sat around the dinner table as a family eating this delicious, yet healthy, dish, always having some good jazz playing in the background. My Italian grandmother and her 3 sisters, (who were big music fans), all lived well into their 90s, and my jazz-buff dad is active and vibrant at age 85. I truly believe that music and Greens ‘n Beans are some sort of fountain of youth! I will forever be grateful to my dad for inspiring me to become a musician after taking me to see many live jazz shows when I was growing up. In fact, dad and I still go to jazz shows together, and sometimes we even dance the jitterbug! (I’m amazed he still has so much energy!) So, want to live a long, and youthful life? Then eat your Greens ‘n Beans, and go see live jazz… OFTEN!

Beans ‘N Greens Recipe
This easy recipe feeds approximately 4-5 people, and can either be a served as a vegan/vegetarian main-dish or as a great side dish. Consider this a hearty soup or stew, something you’ll eat on a cold night in a soup bowl. It’s really delicious!

You’ll need:
3 bags of frozen spinach
2 cans of white canellini beans (drained)
½ cup of olive oil
1-2 large cloves of fresh garlic
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups water

Coat the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan with olive oil, heat on med-high until bubbly, then reduce heat to med-low.   Press garlic (using a garlic press) into bubbly oil and swish it around in the oil so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.   Do this for at least 2 min, then add 2 cups of water. Bring this to a boil and add the frozen spinach. Cover pan with a lid, put heat on medium, and let simmer till the spinach gets unthawed, soft, and well cooked while still keeping its deep green color.   Then add the drained cannellini beans and simmer on low for another 15 min. (Total cooking time is 30 min.) Stir in salt and pepper to taste, and it’s ready to serve.   This tastes great with fresh French bread, btw. Dip it in… super yummy!

You can find Monica’s music here:
Monica’s Official Website:
CD Baby:

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Laurie Antonioli – Persimmon Pudding

Here is a one of Laurie’s songs to get you in the mood for baking!

Both Sides Now from Laurie’s latest CD, “Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light – The Music of Joni Mitchell”

Laurie Antonioli – Persimmon Pudding

Laurie Antonioli – Jazz Vocalist and Chair of the Vocal Program at the California Jazz Conservatory
A Bay Area native, Antonioli started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager in the early 1970s, inspired by the era’s definitive singer/songwriters. She went on the road in Europe for almost a year in the early 1980’s with saxophonist and singer Pony Poindexter, and in 1985 made her first recording with pianist George Cables, entitled “Soul Eyes.” From there Laurie spent some years off the scene raising her daughter, working around the Bay Area with various bands and then in 2002 headed back to Europe to teach for 4 years in Graz, Austria. In 2004 she released “Foreign Affair” a bracing blend of post-bop jazz and Balkan music created with players from Serbia, Albania, Germany, and the U.S. In 2005, her long-running partnership with Richie Beirach culminated in the release of “The Duo Session,” a critically acclaimed album featuring Miles Davis jazz standards and Antonioli’s lyrics set to the pianist’s compositions.  In the summer of 2006, she returned to the Bay Area to run the Vocal program at the recently accredited California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley (formerly the Jazzschool).  Laurie has a Bay Area band that recorded “American Dreams” in 2010, a project encompassing unlikely jazz fare like the cowboy lament “Dreary Black Hills” and “America the Beautiful” as well as her collaborations with Austrian pianist/composer Fritz Pauer, the longtime accompanist of trumpet legend Art Farmer. Antonioli’s latest project “Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light – The Music of Joni Mitchell” has gained widespread critical acclaim and is making many of 2014’s “Best Of” lists.

Laurie’s Comments
I’ve been making this wonderful holiday desert for over 20 years now and all my friends and family have come to expect it.  In fact, I just Fed Ex’d my daughter, who lives in Los Angeles, her Thanksgiving Persimmon Pudding.  It’s not really a pudding, it’s a steamed cake and must steam for a couple of hours as directed in the recipe.  You can serve it with whipped cream, ice cream or just plain.  It’s moist and yummy and is just the best.  Make sure you get the right kind of persimmons – the larger, soft ones.  Let them ripen until the pulp is quite soft and can be worked into the batter.  Enjoy, and expect to be making this again each year – it’s that good!!  Persimmons are only available in November and December so this is truly a holiday treat.

Persimmon Pudding
1 cup persimmon pulp, mashed
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 egg, well beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup milk

Mix all ingredients well and pour into well buttered heat-proof ceramic mold/bowl./  Place in pot (with steamer) cover and steam 2 hours. Before steaming cover top tightly with foil.  This pudding turns dark when done and should test done like a cake. Be careful not to over cook- it should be moist.

Serve with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

Can be re-heated 330° 10 minutes in oven, uncovered.

You can purchase Laurie’s music here:
Laurie Antonioli Music Store

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Happy Hanukah! – Bimuelos (Hanukah Fritters)

Some festive Hanukah music to keep your feet moving while cooking!

Hanukía (arranged by Murray Low) from my Dos Amantes CD.

Kat Parra – Hanukah Fritters

Since no one submitted a recipe this week, and Hannukah begins at sundown Tuesday night, I thought I’d post a traditional Sephardic recipe I found. Full disclosure: this is not my recipe. I am copying it from the “Sephardic Flavors” cookbook, written by Joyce Goldstein. But these “bimuelos” or as she calls them Frittelle de Hanukkah (Hanukah Fritters) are scrumptious! If you want to celebrate Hanukah a little differently, or add another fried dish to your already delicious latkes, then this is the dessert for you!

Frittelle de Hanukkah (Hanukah Fritters)
2 envelopes (2 1/2 tsp. each) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup lukewarm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tb. Anise seeds
1 tsp. salt
2 Tb. vegetable oil, plus oil for deep frying
Grated zest of 2 oranges
1 cup raisins (optional)

For the Glaze:
3 Tb. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fragrant honey, warmed

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, anise seeds and salt. Add the yeast mixture, 2 Tb. oil, and the orange zest, and mix with a wooden spoon or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, 5 – 8 minutes. Knead in the raisins, shape the dough into a ball with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and flatten it into a square or rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Let rest for 15 – 20 minutes, then cut into 36 diamonds or triangles.

Pour vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches into a deep saucepan and heat to 350 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer. Drop a handful of the cutouts into the hot oil and fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a wire skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Arrange on a serving platter and keep warm. Fry the remaining cutouts.

When all the fritters are fried, make the glaze by stirring the lemon juice into the warmed honey. Drizzle the honey over the fritters and serve warm. Yum!

You can also find my music on iTunes and

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Natalie Cressman – Büche de Noël

Here’s one of Natalie’s songs to listen to while you make this amazing holiday treat!

Turn the Sea, Title track from Natalie’s CD, Turn the Sea

Natalie Cressman – Büche de Noël

Natalie Cressman – Jazz Trombonist, Composer and Vocalist
Raised in an eclectic musical household, Natalie Cressman has only continued to diversify and expand her musical universe. Still in her early 20s, the trombonist/composer/vocalist has assimilated the full range of her sonic influences into a startlingly mature, strikingly original voice that melds the sophistication of modern jazz with captivating storytelling and intoxicating melodies reminiscent of indie rock’s most distinctive songwriters. Cressman has spent much of the last four years touring the jam band circuit with Phish’s Trey Anastasio, while also performing with jazz luminaries Nicholas Payton, Wycliffe Gordon, and Peter Apfelbaum. Those varied experiences are reflected on her gorgeous second release, Turn the Sea. Anastasio calls the album “a beacon of light in an increasingly cold and mechanized era of music. Natalie is standing on the precipice of an incredible life in music, and if this album is any indication of where she’s headed, then I’ll be listening every step of the way.”

Natalie’s Comments
I make this yule log cake every year for my family’s Christmas gathering. It is a very elaborate recipe, but the end result is exquisite and my sister and I enjoy spending the time together while making it! It’s always a huge hit with my extended family, and the variety of flavors and textures is really what makes this cake special. We filmed us making the cake for my video blog, Natalie’s Bakery, and recorded a version of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” while the meringues were baking.

Büche de Noel Recipe

Basic Chiffon Cake:
1c + 2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c vegetable oil
5 egg yolks
3/4 c water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp lemon zest
5 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Directions: Preheat oven to 325˚ F. Line a 12 x 7 jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Sift flour and baking powder in large bowl, add salt and 1 1/4 c of the sugar and whisk to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, and zest. Make a well in flour mixture, add wet ingredients, and whisk together until smooth. Place egg whites in a large mixing bowl and beat until frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat until the whites hold soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the whites hold firm, shiny peaks. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture in thirds. Pour batter into pan, smooth the top with a spatula, bake for 45 minutes.

1 1/4 c butter, cut into tbsp.
1 c + 2 tbsp sugar
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c coffee, brewed double strength.

Directions: Pour two inches of water in a saucepan and bring into simmer. Combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in the top of a double boiler, then place bowl over the saucepan and whisk until whites are hot, about 5 minutes. Remove and mix for another 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and holds glossy peaks. Add the butter 1 tbsp at a time, then add coffee and mix until incorporated.

Meringue Mushrooms
1/2 c + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp flour
2 egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
1/3 c granulated sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 175˚ F. Sift powdered sugar and flour in a small bowl. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in medium sized bowl. Beat until the whites hold soft peaks, then add sugar and continue beating, until smooth and stiff. Gently fold in flour-sugar mixture so as not to deflate the meringue. Pipe little mushroom caps and stems using a pastry bag or ziploc. To make a cap, squeeze the bag to reach desired round cap size, then stop and pull away quickly. To make a stem, make a kiss shape, pulling up directly. Place baking sheet in oven and keep oven door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon. Bake for four hours, till meringues are dry.

Coffee Syrup
1/2 cup coffee brewed double strength
1/3 cup granulated sugar

Directions: Dissolve sugar in coffee in small saucepan and bring to simmer. Let cool completely.

Almond Ganache Bark
1 c sliced almonds, toasted for 5 min at 350˚ F
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 c heavy cream

Directions: Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat to just under a boil. Pour over chocolate to melt and stir until combined. Add the almonds and mix gently. Set aside.

Pistachio Moss
1/4 cup pistachios, ground in food processor
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Assembly: Unmold cake on a piece of parchment paper, peel off parchment, then moisten cake with coffee syrup. Spread buttercream in an even layer, leaving a 1 inch strip on the long sides. Roll the cake, using parchment to gently lift up cake. Refrigerate the rolled cake for 2 hours. Cut a thick diagonal slice off each end of the log. Smooth ganache along the log, then choose prettiest slice and place it on the log to create a cut “bough”. Frost sides of the bough with ganache. Transfer cake to serving plate. Assemble mushrooms, using tip of a paring knife to whittle a hole under the cap where the stem will fit. Use ganache as glue, attaching stem to cap. finish decorating with the mushrooms, moss, and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Here is the video Natalie made with her family. It’s very sweet to see how a family that cooks together can also play beautiful music together! 🙂

Links to buy Natalie’s music:

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Kat Parra – Grandma’s Holiday Jello

Here is a song I thought might work well while making this recipe!

Feed My Desire written by Kat Parra, featuring Jovino Santos Neto (from the Azucar de Amor CD)

KatParra – Holiday Jello

Kat Parra – Latin World Jazz Vocalist
Since it’s the holidays I thought I would share this special family recipe with you all. We have been making this holiday jello since I can remember and, even though it’s not the prettiest food item on the table, it is certainly one of the tastiest!

This is my family’s famous (or infamous, as the case may be!) holiday jello we make for each Thanksgiving dinner. We pass the recipe around from year to year because no one is ever able to get the jello to completely set. It is a recipe my Grandmother (successfully) made each year and it was passed on to us after she passed away. We have to carry on the tradition, even though it has become kind of the joke at the Thanksgiving table. Nevertheless, we continue to make it because it is so delicious. It really doesn’t matter if it completely sets. We all just love the flavor so much! I’m posting it now because it would work any time of the year and you might want to try it for your holiday celebration. Enjoy!

Grandma’s Holiday Jello (cue music!)
1 envelope Knox gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 package of frozen strawberries
1 cup crushed pineapple (save the juice!)
1 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbls. lemon juice
3 mashed bananas
1/2 pint whipping cream (for vegans you can whip a can of pre-chilled cocunt cream)
1/3 cup mayonnaise (vegans can use Vegannaise)
1 cup sugar (I usually only use 3/4 cup)

Drain juice from the fruit to make 1 cup. Bring liquid to a boil. Add sugar and stir. Add gelatin that has been dissolved in 1/4 cup of cold water. Stir until completely dissolved.

In a metal bowl, add fruit (bananas, strawberries and pineapple) to the juice/geleatin mixture. Let set in the refrigerator until almost hard. Whip the cream and fold in the mayonnaise to the whip cream. Fold into the jello, pour into a jello mold, or a pretty dish, and chill overnight. ,

Good luck if you want to unmold the jello! It rarely sets well enough to unmold. I just put it into a pretty bowl to set and then serve from there. The jello notoriously never sets completely, but it tastes so good that it doesn’t matter. (and honestly, the one time it completely set, it didn’t taste as good!)

You can also find my music on iTunes and

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