Torta de Palmito (Heart of Palm Casserole)

This is a Marquart Family favorite, present at all holidays and celebrations. A popular dish in Brazil, not many American's have ever had the chance to try it. Enjoy! 

By my mom, Elisa Marquart

1 can of hearts of palm, sliced
1 can of petite diced tomato

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of olive oil
2 eggs
12 tbsp all purpose flower
1/2 cup graded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp baking powder
Salt and pepper
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup green olives, pitted and chopped


Blend the following in a blender:
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 eggs
12 tbsp all purpose flower
1/2 cup graded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp baking powder
Salt to taste
Saute onion, garlic and parsley in olive oil. Once cooked for a bit, add tomato, hearts of palm, green olives and salt and pepper and saute until thickened.
In a greased baking pan (with some depth because it doubles in size), pour some of the batter mix to cover the base, then add the filling evenly and pour the remaining batter on top.
Bake at 375 F, for 45 minutes until golden brown. 



Jimmie's Coq Au Vin

The Ingredients:

Select a medium size chicken, preferably free-range and organically and humanely raised. The gaminess of a free-ranged bird adds to the depth of the flavor in the final plating. Request all the innards and the neck from your butcher.

A selection of fingerling potatoes, new potatoes, small round potatoes; all multi-colored. Select enough potatoes to fill the bottom of your baking dish. The bird will rest on these while baking.

A dozen medium size shallots, peeled.

2 Lg. purple onions, peeled and quartered.

If available, 4 Meyer lemons peeled. You might also want to have a couple of lemons quartered, on hand for adding to the dish.

2 cups of chicken stock or chicken broth. 

A bottle of red wine, usually a Merlot.

A large bundle of fresh rosemary.

A large bundle of sage and a bundle of thyme.

Olive oil. In the past I have used rosemary infused olive oil. I prefer a very savory palate.

Fresh cracked black pepper.

Coarse sea salt.


Preparation and Cooking:

Preheat your oven to 375', and lower the temperature to 350' when you put the bird in the oven to begin cooking. The bird will take about 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on the chicken's weight and the specifics of your individual oven. At home I cook in a 1930s gas Chambers Oven. A meat thermometer is your friend.

Rinse your potatoes and lightly rub with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place in the bottom of your baking dish. I use a 12" wide x 3"deep round French pottery vessel. Depth in your cooking container is important. 

Rub the chicken with the olive oil on all sides. You should check the wing areas for any remaining pin feathers. Pluck them out.

Place 6 of the shallots inside of the chicken's cavity. Put the peels from the 4 lemons, plus herb sprigs inside and truss your bird with kitchen twine. Now liberally sprinkle the coarse pepper and salt on the bird's exterior skin. Lay the trussed bird on top of your potatoes.

Place the bird's innards amongst the potatoes. Place your remaining shallots, lemons, and quartered onions around the bird. Pour enough chicken broth and red wine to cover the potatoes and other vegetables. The more wine, the more flavor at plating. Sprinkle pepper and salt on top of the veggies. Lay a selection of herbs on top of the veggies. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Check the bird and add broth and wine to keep the veggies covered. Do not pour the broth or wine on the bird. Bake for another 15 minutes and check the chicken with a meat thermometer. You should now be at the hour mark. From here you will have to determine how long to continue cooking. Uncover the bird for the final 30 minutes of baking. The skin will crisp.

Set the entire dish out of the oven and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes. Quarter your chicken, and fill a shallow bowl or soup plate with the vegetables and cover with the broth. I love to serve this dish with a rustic bread. The broth is great for dipping.

Voila' bon appetite!

J. Jo's Better Than Sex Risotto!

Mushroom Risotto

Serves 6


7 T olive oil

1 1/2 lbs Portobello mushrooms diced in 1 inch cubes

4 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted *

3 cloves of garlic

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 heaped T chopped fresh basil or flat leaf parsley

juice of 1 lemon

1quart of chicken stock

8 T butter

1 medium onion

1 1/2 c risotto rice

5 T extra dry vermouth

1 1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Heat 4 T of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed saute pan until smoking.  Add fresh mushrooms and saute, stirring constantly for about 15-20 minutes or until the mushrooms have become very dark  Remove and keep warm

Wipe clean the saute pan.  Drain the porcini muchrooms retaining their juices, rinse, and squeeze dry. Heat another T of olive oil in the pan and gently saute the garlic and porcini.  When the garlic begins to color, carefully pour in half of the strained porcini juices and simmer until reduced to 1 T.  Add the rest of the cooked mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine the flavors.  Add the herbs and lemon juice.  Keep warm

Melt 6 T of the butter and the remaining olive oil in another large heavy bottomed saute pan and gently saute the onion until soft about 15-10 minutes.  Add the rice off of the heat and stir until the rice becomes totally coated, this only takes a minute.  Return to the heat , add the remaining porcini juices and 2 ladlefulls of HOT chicken stock or just enough to cover the rice and simmer, stirring until the rice has absorbed nearly all of the liquid. Continue to add more  hot stock as the previous addition is absorbed.  After 20 minutes nearly all of the stock will have been absorbed by the rice, each grain will have a creamy coating but will remain al dente.  (sometimes it takes a bit longer...and takes a little more stock)

Add the remaining 2 T of butter in small pieces ( you can leave this out if you wish), the  mushrooms, vermouth, and 1C of parmesan .  Be careful not to over stir and do not over do the Parmesan or it will be gummy.

*Dried porcini must be reconstituted before use. Soak them in warm to hot water which will be dark brown and intensely flavored, pass this through cheesecloth or a filter several times to get rid of any grit  Rinse the porcini themselves after soaking to get rid of any remaining grit, then pat dry.


Maggie's Flan

Tell us about yourself and your favorite recipe: "Simply Fabulous, Always Fun" thats me!!

Single mother of 2 who loves to cook for special occasions.

One of my favorite recipes that my family & friends love is MY flan.  Here is the recipe.  Simple but delicious!!

1 can condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

2 eggs

1 small cream cheese

2 T sugar

1 t vanilla

Mix all in a blender.  Make the "caramelo".  Cover a baking dish with the caramelo sauce; pour flan mixture over it, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 "a bano de maria" (bain-marie / double boiler) for 1 hour 15 min.  Let cool, refrigerate until cold and flip over.  DELICIOUS!!

In case you need the recipe for the caramel sauce:

1 cup sugar - low heat - let it melt - careful because it will burn


KC's East Texas Chicken Dumpling

Chicken and Dumplings

1 batch buttermilk biscuit dough (recipe below)

1 whole chicken, quartered

(neck and innards removed and discarded)

2 bay leaves

1 carrot cut into thirds

Salt & pepper


Extra flour


Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

8 tablespoons ice cold butter

3/4 cup buttermilk


Place chicken in a large stock pot with enough water to cover it over medium/high heat. Salt water. Add bay leaves and carrot portions. Boil chicken until cooked through (should fall off the bone). While chicken cooks, make dumplings using the biscuits recipe.

Dumplings: Slice butter and put on a plate in the freezer. Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or a fork. Add the buttermilk and continue to cut the dough together. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently bring together.  Knead a little longer than you normally would for biscuits.  Gently press the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Dust with extra flour.  Cut into strips and then into small squares.

Once chicken is done, remove chicken and reserve cooking water. Discard bay leaves and carrot.  Debone chicken and finger shred the meat.  Set aside. Bring cooking water to a boil and add dumplings a few at a time. Add chicken back into pot with dumplings. Salt and pepper to taste. (Use plenty of pepper, should be able to see it clearly when it is done.) add milk for consistency. (Final consistency should be like a thick stew not too soupy.)


Melva's French Toast With Chocolate Syrup

Melva says:

Before popping the eggs in the oven I prepare the meats and the French Toast.  I use the French Bread sliced thick and soaked in a mixture of whipped eggs, cream, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.

The first thing I prepare is our infamous family tradition chocolate syrup.  This is a light milk chocolate or darker if I'm in the mood, with a pinch of cinnamon. 

What you will need for the chocolate syrup:

2 Cups of sugar

½ Cup of flour

1/3 Cup of Hershey’s Cocoa (no sugar, baking cocoa) Use ½ Cup if you want it darker.

½  Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Stir the dry ingredients very well getting all the lumps out

Add ½ Cup of water and stir well

Add 2 Cups of whole milk and stir well.

Set the pan on Medium Heat.  Stir occasionally for Five Minutes while it is getting hot.

After 5 minutes you will need to stir constantly for the next 5 minutes or so.  (It will start to stick to the bottom of the pan like when you are cooking a pudding)  Once it is creamy (not thick) remove from heat add 1 tsp. of vanilla and a tsp. of butter.  

They also love fresh fruits so I make fresh pineapple, mango, strawberries and kiwi  and anything in season fruit salad and of course some Mimosa’s when we’re celebrating. 


Melva Hess' Baked Eggs With Grand Marnier!

From Melva Hess:

This is so exciting I can hardly believe it!

I use a Teflon coated muffin pan which holds one egg perfectly but I also use large eggs.  I oil the muffin pans generously and they lift out easy with a spoon and great presentation on a pretty dish.  I just sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper and drizzle ½ tsp. of Grand Marnier over the top.  It takes about 10 minutes on 350 degrees.  Just until the whites set.  

Our men our meat eaters so I usually cook bacon and sausage on the side.