Love my New Breville Pizza Maker! Special Price from Williams-Sonoma

Looking for a last minute Christmas gift - Williams-Sonoma has a great price on the Breville Crispy Pizza oven.  It's my favorite new toy.  Watch for a video soon.

Nutella Cookies

Nutella Cookies

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup Nutella
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tap. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

Sift together flour cocoa, salt and baking soda, stir to combine and set aside.
Cream butter until light and creamy, 2-3 minutes.  Add sugar and Nutella and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to blend well.  Add vanilla and mix in.
Add flour mixture and blend well on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice.
Fold in chocolate chips and hazelnuts and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Allow to cool for a minute or two before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Note:  cookies will be soft when baked but will crisp up as they cool. Makes a LOT of cookies!

Warm Chocolate Cakes

This is a recipe I have been making for years.  I have seen it referred to as Warm Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Lava Cake, Chocolate Fondant and even Italian Souffle!  

It's a great dinner party dessert since you can make it the day before and hold it in the refrigerator or even freeze it.  Just be sure to allow it to return to room temperature before baking!

Warm Chocolate Cakes

6 oz. butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons flour
Additional butter for greasing molds
Additional flour and cocoa for molds

Butter 6 6oz. molds and coat with flour mixed with cocoa powder.*
In a heavy pan, heat butter and chocolate together over very low heat until the chocolate is almost completely melted.  While that’s heating beat together the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a whisk or electric beater until light and thick.

Beat together the melted chocolate and butter; it should be quite warm. Pour in the egg mixture, then quickly beat in the flour, just until combined.

Divide the batter among the molds.  (At this point you can refrigerate the desserts until you are ready to eat, for up to several hours; bring them back to room temperature before baking.)
Preheat the oven to 375°.  Bake the molds on a tray for about 10 minutes; the center will still be quite soft, but the sides will be set.

Invert each mold onto a plate and let sit for about 10 seconds. Unmold by lifting up one corner of the mold; the cake will fall out onto the plate. Serve immediately with a little whipped cream and a few raspberries, if desired.

*Be sure to butter the molds well.  I always use flour mixed with cocoa, in about equal parts for anything chocolate.  It prevents the finished product having a white coating!


Betty Visits a Gourmet Eatery-The Truck Stop in Chester, New Jersey

Even the most avid cook likes a day off now and then and so it was with great interest that I watched a new "eatery" being created in The Streets of Chester shopping mall which is part of my morning walk route.

Chef Tommy Mongiello noticed my friend, Barbara, and me peeking in the door one morning and invited us in to show us what was going on.  We were so impressed by the concept that I asked Tommy If we could do a video - and here is the result!

           Chef Tommy Mongiello and Betty Bannerman Busciglio tour THE TRUCK STOP

  • 222bigmastiff 
    Great job uncle Tommy!!! Keep up the good work. Love Sophia.
  • 222bigmastiff 
     Great job Chef Tommy!!! The food looks delicious!!!! Much success in the future and keep on trucking!!!
  • johnsoutside 
    Fantastic video Betty, thanks for showing us around the truck stop. Hope you can do more of these videos, they really are superb. My only question is, how do you Americans live over 30 without heart surgery? Lots of love to you dearest Betty, greetings from Germany.
  • weeknightingale 
    Great video! I always enjoy going out with a tour of such places with recipe demos! Great idea for a food court. Better than actually visiting trucks like in Portland, Oregon.
  • FitAnge S 
    Very interesting. Looks like a great one stop place to eat.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

We were out for dinner recently and Rick ordered a Dulce de Leche cheesecake for dessert - a cheesecake flavor we had never had before.  I had something different but had to try Rick's because it looked so good.  It was and I knew it was a recipe I had to make.  I researched at least a dozen recipes but none were exactly what I was looking for, so I went back to my old faithful basic cheesecake recipe and added a little of this and a little of that until I had just what I was looking for.  I hope you will like it as much as we do.


10 ounces shortbread cookies, such as Lorna Doone
¼ cup toasted pecans
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup dulce de leche from a 13.4 ounce can
2 tablespoons flour
Pinch of salt
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 tablespoons good vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature

Dulce de leche

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Wrap the outside of a 9” spring form pan with foil.
Finely chop the cookies, nuts brown sugar and salt in a food processor.  Add the melted butter and pulse until mixture comes together.  Press firmly and evenly into the cake pan and bake until set - about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  Lower the oven temperature to 325°
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, duce de leche, flour and a pinch of salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle frequently until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Make sure there are no lumps of cheese left.  Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
Add the vanilla and beat until blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended.  Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
Bake in a roasting pan filled with water to reach a depth of 1 inch at 325° for about 1 hour or until the center barely jiggles.  Remove from the water bath and set on a rack to cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours.
Warm the remaining dulce de leche for about 30 seconds in the microwave then drizzle over the top of the chilled cheesecake.  Spread evenly and chill until ready to serve.

The following instructions for making your own dulce de leche come from Carnation:

STOVETOP: Pour 1 can (14 oz) CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk into top of double-boiler pan; cover. Place over boiling water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40 to 50 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Remove from heat. Beat until smooth.

OVEN: Preheat oven to 425° F. Pour 1 can (14 oz.) CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk into 9-inch pie plate. Cover with aluminum foil; place in shallow pan (pan should be larger than pie plate). Fill pan with hot water. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until thick and light caramel-colored. Pour milk into small mixer bowl; beat until smooth.

MICROWAVE: Pour 1 can (14 oz.) CARNATION Sweetened Condensed Milk into large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on MEDIUM (50%) power for 4 minutes, stirring halfway through heating time. Reduce power to MEDIUM-LOW (30%) power; cook for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring with wire whisk every few minutes, until thick and light caramel-colored. 


Meringue "Bones" - a fun treat for Halloween

2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tarter until foamy. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time beating well after each addition.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a small tip (or use a sturdy plastic bag, cutting off the tip of one corner) and pipe onto parchment lined cookie sheets as demonstrated.

Bake in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes, turn the heat off and leave in the oven until cool.

The two most critical factors in making meringue are to have your mixing bowl and beater scrupulously clean and to add the sugar slowly. The slightest trace of grease will prevent the mixture from thickening properly as will adding the sugar too quickly.

Watch the video demonstration:

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream (Slide Dish)

One of the first times I had dinner at the home of my husband-to-be, his mother served a cucumber salad with sour cream.  I had never heard of eating sour cream and really couldn't imagine why anyone would want to!  It took quite a while, but eventually I did try it - more out of politeness than anything else - and I was amazed to find it was delicious.  Today, I wouldn't think of serving steak or roast beef without this great side dish.

1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2  medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup sour cream

Combine the cucumber, onion and salt.  Fold in sour cream, cover and chill for at least an hour.  Stir before serving.


Flan-Spanish Caramel Custard Dessert

Flan De Leche Acaramelado
Spanish Caramel Custard

2 cups half and half or milk
¼ teaspoon salt
6 eggs
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 275F.

Heat half and half but do not let it boil.  In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs with 6 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla until light and foamy.  Gradually add half and half to egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Set aside.  In a skillet, place the ½ cup of sugar and cook over moderate heat until a golden caramel is obtained.  Do not stir the sugar, simply swirl it around the pan as it begins to melt.  Divide caramel among 6 custard cups and allow to set for a few minutes.  Strain the custard mixture into a pyrex jug and then divide the mixture among the lined custard cups.  Place the cups in a shallow baking dish and fill the dish with hot water to come halfway up the custard cups.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until custard is set.

Remove the cups to a rack to cool, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.

To serve, run a knife around the edge, shake lightly, and invert onto a shallow serving dish.

 A helpful hint:  to clean the caramel out of the baking dishes and pan in which you cooked the sugar, simply fill them with very hot water and allow to sit until the caramel dissolves.  It may take a second "treatment" with hot water to dissolve entirely.

Read about the Tampa restaurants where we first had flan....50 years ago!

(Rick was raised in New Jersey, but he spent many Summers visiting his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in Tampa, Florida, particularly the Cuban-Spanish-Italian section: Ybor City.  The Garcia family owned the Las Novedades and the Valdes family owned the Spanish Park. Both restaurants are long gone.)



My shopping spree at NJ's Bridge Kitchenware

Here is a photo of my haul from Bridge Kitchenware's sale for the incredible sum of $60!

Next sale will be on Labor Day weekend. Check their website at for details. 

The values are amazing - French quiche pans for $2.00. More photos to come.

Betty's Shrimp and Avocado Salad is being featured on the homepage today!

May I share this nice note from
"Hi Betty! 
I hope you're having a great day! I just wanted to let you know that your recipe for Betty's Shrimp and Avocado Salad is being featured on the homepage today! So be sure to check it out and share with friends, family and fans and if you ever have any questions, feel free to let me know! 

PS. I love the new introduction you have for your video"

        Click on the ifood logo on the right to visit the site.

Chocolate Soufflés

For some reason the mere mention of the word soufflé can strike fear into the hearts of even the most experienced chefs - never mind home cooks!
Actually, all you need is a recipe, some time, be willing to pay attention to detail and some willing candidates to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Don't wait for an important dinner party to give this a try - give your family an amazing treat.

Chocolate Soufflés

For the pastry cream:

¾ cup milk
⅓ cup superfine sugar*
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour

Put the milk and two-thirds of the sugar in a small pan and slowly bring to a boil.  Put the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl and whisk until light and thickened then beat in the flour.  Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Return to the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.  Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool slightly.

For the soufflés:

½ cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
4 ounces chocolate - you may use semisweet or bittersweet - finely chopped
5 egg whites
2 tablespoons superfine sugar*

*If you can’t find superfine sugar, simply whiz regular sugar in a food processor  briefly.

Preheat the oven to 400º and put a baking sheet in to heat.  Butter and coat with sugar two 4” soufflé dishes (you may also use 4 smaller dishes).  Fold the cocoa and chopped chocolate into the pastry cream.

Beat the egg whites until foamy then gradually add the 2 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form.  Fold ⅓ of the egg whites into the pastry cream then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites using a rubber spatula.

Divide the mixture between the soufflé dishes to the top, smoothing gently.  Transfer to the baking sheet and cook for 10 to 14 minutes until risen.  Remove from the oven, place on a serving plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar.  Serve immediately.

Note:  You may make the pastry cream a day ahead and bring to room temperature before proceeding.  The soufflé dishes may be filled and covered and can wait for 30 minutes before baking.


How to Peel a Tomato

Why would you ever want to peel a tomato?  Well, in certain dishes you don't want the skin, which can sometimes be a little tough and sometimes you just want to be a little more elegant.  It only takes a minute or two for this extra step and for a special dish it's well worth the time.

Here's how:

Betty's Chinese(y) Chicken Meatballs

The inspiration for this appetizer came when I was looking through a very old cookbook and found a recipe which called for finely chopped cooked chicken along with a few other ingredients. After combining, the recipe said to cook the meatballs for 20 minutes. Already cooked chicken cooked for another 20 minutes didn't sound very appetizing but I liked the idea. So after a few tries, I came up with these:

Chinese(y) Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (optional)

Preheat oven to 375°.
Combine all ingredients except chicken in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Place chicken in a medium-sized bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and shape into 1-inch balls. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet with raised sides. 

Bake 15 to 20 minutes until slightly browned.
In a medium skillet, warm your favorite prepared sauce - orange/ginger, Thai chili sauce etc. Add meatballs and toss to coat.
The meatballs may be frozen before adding to sauce.

Makes about 3 dozen meatballs depending on size.

Hint: You may find it easier to shape the meatballs if you rinse your hands in cold water occasionally.


Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I recently saw a picture of this salad in a restaurant review in the New York Times. No recipe was given, but they did give a list of the ingredients. It looked and sounded so delicious that I had to give it a try. Here is the result:

8 large cooked shrimp
½ an avocado, diced
2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
1 red tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1 yellow tomato, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper 

Dice 6 of the shrimp, reserving two for garnish.

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, reserving a few pieces of the tomatoes for garnish, and toss to combine. Place ring molds on two plates and fill each with half the mixture, packing down slightly. Remove the rings carefully and garnish the top with the whole shrimp. Scatter the reserved pieces of tomato around the salads.

Serves 2 as an appetizer or a light lunch.


Peking Chicken Salad

Many, many years ago we were on a business trip to San Francisco and had dinner in a wonderful Chinese restaurant. The first course was a salad composed of iceberg lettuce, crisp noodles and chicken with a dressing that was very rich and slightly spicy. I have never had it before (or since), but it was a delicious dish. When we got home, I experimented until I came up with a close approximation of a dish we had enjoyed so much. Here is the recipe and I hope you will like it as much as we do:

Peking Chicken Salad

1 poached chicken breast (recipe follows)
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1 - 1½ cups fried Chinese noodles
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (toast in fry pan until they turn brown and start to pop)
1 or 2 finely julienned scallions


¼ cup duck sauce
¼ cup plum sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili oil (or to taste)

Poached Chicken Breast:

In a pot just large enough to hold chicken breast, bring to a boil water to cover chicken, add 3-4 slices fresh ginger and 3-4 scallions. Add chicken and let water return to a boil, cover and turn off heat. Let sit for 20 minutes WITHOUT REMOVING COVER. Allow chicken to cool in the water. Remove chicken skin, remove meat from bones and shred.

To serve:

Place shredded lettuce in a wide shallow bowl, add noodles, leaving a rim of lettuce showing; add chicken in center of noodles, leaving a rim of noodles showing. Place julienne scallions on top of chicken and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over all. Add dressing and toss.


Comment from YouTube:

This looks absolutely delicious! I also love the new opening!

Betty defends British food!

UK Master Chef Hosts

So here is another one of my pet peeves: complaints about British food.

I have just watched a series on BBC America called UK Master Chefs - The Professionals.

I don't think I have ever seen the equal of the food prepared by the chefs on this show. The competitors were brilliant - especially when they had to go into the kitchens of Michelin starred restaurants and prepare some of their signature dishes.

Perhaps Heston Blumenthal goes a bit over the top when his seafood appetizer is accompanied by a conch shell and earphones so you can hear the sounds of the sea while eating and do you really need to be sprayed by a "woodsy" mist to fully appreciate a deconstructed Black Forest Torte???? Maybe not, but his food is amazing.

So no more denigrating British food please! And if you have access to the BBC America, do watch some of their food programs.

Here is one episode (more on YouTube if you don't have the BBCA channel).

Note: Will not play on Apple IPAD

Gray's Breakfast Sandwich

We visited our family in Vermont recently - a visit made even more special since our grandson, Gray, was home from college in Los Angeles. On the day we were leaving, he got up really early to make us his special breakfast sandwich. If you are a growing boy who surfs, rides a bicycle 4 miles each way to school every day, snowboards and is otherwise very active, you could probably eat this once or twice a week.

The rest of us will just have to enjoy it as on occasional special treat!

Gray's Breakfast Sandwich

Two servings
Two bagels, sliced
6 slices very sharp cheddar cheese, or enough to cover one half of a bagel
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
6 slices ripe avocado

Place both halves on the bagel on a baking sheets and toast until done and cheese has melted.

Meantime, cook the eggs in the same skillet you cooked the bacon in, having drained the excess fat, in egg rings until just done. You may flip them over towards the end of cooking if desired.

Place the bagel halves on a serving dish, top the cheese half with the egg, bacon and avocado slices. Top with remaining bagel halves and enjoy!

If you want to zip this up a little, try adding a little hot sauce to the eggs before cooking or add a little salsa when you are assembling the sandwiches.

FitAnge S has made a comment on Gray's Breakfast Sandwich 

Yum that looks delicious. Great combination and great for low carb dieting with exception of the bread roll. Thanks for sharing