Archive for the ‘Friday Recipe Features’ Category

This week’s recipe feature comes from my mom, Martha. Erin and I are so lucky to have such wonderful moms who love to share their many recipes with us!

base_mediaThis elegant and light variation on a cheesecake has always been a family favorite – often taking the place of a birthday cake. The refreshing lemony taste lends itself to a springtime celebration, an Easter brunch or as an exclamation to end a dinner party. The recipe comes from the first “Taste of Aloha” Cookbook.


  • 1 – 9 inch graham cracker crust [store bought or any recipe – use packaged graham cracker crumbs]
  •  12 ounces cream cheese, softenedimages_53
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • Grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon


  • 1 cup sour creamimages_54
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • grated peel and juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth with electric mixer.
  3. Add eggs, sugar, grated peel and juice of 1/2 the lemon.
  4. Beat until ingredients are well blended.images_55
  5. Pour into crust and bake for 35 minutes. Cool.
  6. Combine sour cream, sugar and the other grated peel and juice of the other 1/2 of the lemon.
  7. Spread topping over pie.
  8. Bake an additional 5 minutes.

Let cool and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.


My mom and dad at one of their favorite restaurants- Plantation Gardens on Kauai.

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Today’s recipe again comes from my mom Martha in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Her recipe for “In Sickness and in Health Custard” is sure to be enjoyed by all- under the weather or completely healthy!

mail_3_2I like to call this “In Sickness and in Health Custard” because believe it or not, this familiar phrase not only applies to traditional wedding vows, but extends to family and friends especially when they are under the weather! In the past few days I have had two dear friends succumb to a bad flu, unable to tolerate or to entertain the thought of food. Wanting to help out in some way, I made them each a nutritious and tasty baked custard that has been a cure all in my family for over 50 years, since I was very young. The familiar ingredients are almost always on hand and the no nonsense preparation make it a fast and easy way to deliver first aid on the double! The delicate taste and silky,smooth consistency immediately promote the feeling of returning strength and well being. 


  • 3 cups of 2% or whole milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract [or almond extract]
  • Nutmeg to sprinkle on top


  1. To make this, you will need: 1 round quart size baking dish about 3 – 4 inches deep and 1 large pan or square casserole for the custard dish to sit in while baking
  2. Break the eggs into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together well.
  3. In a one quart saucepan, heat the milk,sugar and salt until hot, mixing well. Do not boil or burn.
  4. Pour milk mixture into eggs and mix well.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Pour into baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle nutmeg on top if desired.
  8.  Carefully place baking dish in larger baking pan or dish and fill with an inch or more of water. This is called a water bath.
  9. Carefully place everything in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Custard is cooked when a knife inserted into custard comes out clean. Another 5 minutes or so may be needed.
  10. Remove custard carefully from hot water bath using pot holders and let cool on rack or stove top.
  11. Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.

To make a more festive dessert, use 1 teaspoon of almond extract instead of vanilla and top with fresh fruit – blueberries or raspberries are good as well as mandarin oranges.

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Today’s recipe feature for Popovers comes straight from my mom, Martha’s (aka Auntie Martha) kitchen in Williamstown, MA. 

mail_12Greetings from Williamstown, Massachusetts where we have had a VERY cold and snowy winter so far. Last Sundaymorning we awoke to another 6 inches of snow and in anticipation of several hours of chopping wood, shoveling and roofraking –     [ yes! Roof raking keeps the snow from piling up on your roof and overhangs!] I decided to start the day with Popovers, piping hot, puffed high, light and crisp with butter, homemade raspberry jam and a juicy grapefruit half. And of course mugs of aromatic, hot Lion Coffee from Hawaii. The popovers were so delicious! I am not going to divulge how many we each ate but suffice to say it was more than one! I use a Chicago Metallic 6 cup Popover Pan and the recipe that comes with the pan. My pan was purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond but I’m sure Target or Walmart carry it as well.


  • 1 6 cup popover pan
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter cut into 6 even pieces
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted  


  1. Lightly oil the popover pan cups [a bit of oil on a napkin or paper towel will do].  
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and set rack in middle of the oven.
  3. Preheat popover pan for about 2 minutes.mail_2_2
  4. Blend flour, salt, eggs, milk and 1 tbsp of melted butter until mixture is thick and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. This can be mixed in a blender, food processor, electric mixer, or with a hand mixer.
  5. Batter should be used at room temperature.
  6. Place one small piece of butter in each cup and place back in preheated oven until butter is bubbly, about 1 minute.
  7. Fill each cup half full with batter and bake for 20 minutes.   [ I actually filled them a bit more than half because it seemed that I had extra batter but don’t fill them more than that!]
  8. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking for 20 minutes.               

Note: I actually baked them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes and then 300 for 15 minutes.

Makes 6 incredibly high and puffed up popovers!

Popovers are best right from the oven. Serve with butter, jam or maple syrup.


My Mom and I at the Princeville Hotel on Kauai

My mom is my #1 inspiration in all of the cooking and baking that I do- I have been lucky to have had so many wonderful recipes passed down to me. She is a constant source of expertise for the many questions that I often come across while shopping for ingredients or putting something together in the kitchen.  I am forever grateful for everything that she has taught me in the kitchen and for giving me something to aspire to be exactly like- her! 🙂

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Our featured chef for today is my wonderful mom, Joan Shaw (Auntie Joan). 

Auntie Joan and Auntie Martha

Auntie Joan and Auntie Martha

For as long as I can remember, she has always been a fantastic cook, and over the years many of her yummy recipes have come from the Taste of Aloha cookbook series.  She made this pupu (appetizer) for a dinner party we went to around Christmas with some great friends of ours who happen to be quite the foodies as well.  Everyone LOVED the dish, and it was so easy to prepare and traveled so well to the party, that I thought I would share it.  This particular recipe comes from the cookbook Another Taste of Aloha, written by the Junior League of Honolulu.



  • 1 Pound wheel of Brie Cheese (Costco sells the perfect size wheel for nothing compared to what you usually buy a wedge for in your typical grocery store).
  • 3 Tbsp. parsley, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, minced and drained (My mom told me today that they now sell sliced sun-dried tomatoes, making it that much less work for you.)
  • 1 Tbsp. oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped


Chill Brie well before handling.  Remove rind from top and place cheese on a serving platter.  Combine remaining ingredients and spread on top of Brie.  For optimum flavor, allow cheese to stand for 30-60 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Note: This may be prepared up to 6 hours ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  Bring cheese to room temperature before serving.

Because we were on our way to a party, my mom mixed all of the toppings together, put them in a Tupperware container, and then assembled the dish once we had arrived.  Our hosts had a cheese assortment out as well, and we discovered that although the Brie was delicious with the crackers we had brought, we preferred the toast points they had made. 

Toast points: diagonally slice a french baugette into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick or less), spread flat on a cookie sheet, brush lightly with butter, and place under a low heat broiler or in your oven until light brown and crisp.

Oh, did I mention that our friends that we were having dinner with, their daughter Erin Cafaro just recently won a

Me, Erin Cafaro, my sister Sarah, and dad Rick

Me, Erin Cafaro, my sister Sarah, and dad Rick

gold medal in womens rowing in Beijing!  It was very, very cool to actually hold an Olympic gold medal.

All three cookbooks by the Honolulu Junior League are a must have in my opinion.  You can find them HERE

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Really easy and very addicting!mail_3

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound shredded sharp cheddar, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
Optional: Paprika for coating (use good quality or else it can get bitter)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter in a mixing bowl or Cuisinart until light and fluffy.  And the cheese and mix until well blended.  Add the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne (a little at a time) and mix to form a dough.  You may need to knead a little by hand if you’re having trouble. 
  3. Divide dough into two halves and shape each into a long tube (about 1.5 inches in diameter).  
  4. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or until dough is firm.  
  5. Roll the dough in the paprika to coat and cut into very thin slices (should look like a half dollar).   
  6. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 11-15 minutes (depending on thickness).  You want them to just begin to crisp and almost brown before removing.  The crackers will crisp further outside oven.  
  7. Season with additional salt, if desired.

About the Chef:

Today’s recipe feature came from Jennifer, another old co-worker and friend of mine. Jennifer is a wonderful cook and baker, is a vegetarian, and has so many yummy recipes to share. We will look forward to receiving and posting more of her recipes on EZ Home Cooking! 

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I was really excited when my friend Ashley agreed to share the recipe for her Pecan Toffee Cookies on EZ Home Cooking. These cookies are so delicious and just melt in your mouth! I could not resist having a few as soon as they had cooled and come out of the oven.

Here is the recipe for Ashley’s crowd-pleasing cookies that will have everyone coming back for seconds!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Bake time: 14-16 minutes

Oven temperature: 375 degrees

Makes- About 5 dozen or more


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1.5 cups butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups heath bar chips
  • 2.5 cups pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. This prevents the cookies from sticking to the sheets.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flours and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Cream together butter and sugars, until fluffy. At eggs and vanilla and continue to cream together.
  5. Gradually add flour mixture and beat until everything is mixed together. 
  6. Stir in pecans and heath bar chips.
  7. Using tablespoons, drop cookies onto parchment paper and using a spoon moistened with water, gently press down and flatten cookies.
  8. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until cookies darken. Immediately transfer to cooling racks as soon as cookies come out of the oven.
Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!


mailAbout the Chef:

Ashley is a good friend of mine from my old job. Now that we live close to each other, we plan to cook lots of fabulous food together! Ashley is a wonderful cook and has lots of great recipes- I especially remember some bruschetta she made with brie and brown sugar and apples. And, after our cookie extravaganza, she was heading home to make a Turkey Pot Pie! 

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Erin and Zoe are excited to announce that starting today, every Friday we will be featuring special recipes from our friends, families, and readers. We would love to hear from you- please feel free to send us your favorite recipe to be featured on EZ Home Cooking.

Happy Friday!

Erin and Zoe


To send your recipes to us to be included in our Friday Features, you can email us at ezhomecooking@gmail.com

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