Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkin-palooza with a Dunkin Donuts Gift Card Giveaway.

It's no lie, I'm a nut for Pumpkin. I've said it before and I will probably say it every year when autumn rolls around and the flavor resurfaces. Luckily, Dunkin' Donuts has so many ways to enjoy Pumpkin! In your coffee or as a delicious treat, you can't go wrong. Lucky for you, here's a chance to try something on the house! Dunkin' Donuts has provided one lucky person a $5 gift card to try their favorite autumn craving. 


Fall flavors return to Dunkin’ Donuts 

Just as the leaves are set to turn, the flavors of fall have returned to Dunkin’ Donuts. Dunkin’ Donuts, America’s all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, welcomes the onset of autumn by introducing new seasonal food and beverages and bringing back popular favorites featuring pumpkin and apple flavors. Leading Dunkin’ Donuts’ autumn collection are the new Pumpkin K-Cup®packs. Available for a limited time at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide, this new variety of the brand’s popular K-Cup packs, for use with the Keurig® K-Cup® Brewing Systems, will allow fans to enjoy the taste of Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Coffee in individually-sized portions at home.

For a limited time, you can also find:

·         New Apple Crisp Muffin: A cinnamon flavored muffin with apples, caramel and an apple crisp streusel topping, the Apple Crisp Muffin is perfect for guests seeking a sweet treat.
·         New Pumpkin Cream Cheese: To add a little fall to your bagel, Dunkin’ Donuts’ famous cream cheese is now available in pumpkin flavor.
·         Pumpkin Coffee and Latte: Dunkin’ Donuts celebrates the season by adding the taste of pumpkin to its world-famous coffee and lattes. Available in both hot and iced, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and lattes are the perfect accompaniment for a brisk walk, football games, raking leaves or any favorite fall activity.
·         Pumpkin Packaged Coffee: Available in a special 8 oz. size at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants, pumpkin fans can also brew Dunkin’ Donuts’ Pumpkin Coffee at home this season.
·         Pumpkin Muffin: A fan favorite, the Pumpkin Muffin is a deliciously-spiced autumn delight topped with creamy white icing and sweet streusel crumbs.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ fall harvest isn’t complete today. Fans who are pumped for pumpkin this fall can look forward to even more pumpkin flavored menu items coming to participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants beginning in October. To be the first to know, follow Dunkin’ Donuts on the brand’s official Facebook and Twitter pages over the coming weeks.

“Dunkin’ Donuts’ fall flavors serve as a hallmark of this nostalgic season, and the return of pumpkin and apple food and beverages is something we always look forward to offering our guests,” said Stan Frankenthaler, Executive Chef and Vice President of Product Innovation at Dunkin’ Brands. “This year, we’re excited to bring back some fan favorites, along with a host of new options, so that guests can enjoy the flavors of fall served up fast and fresh at any time of day.”

To learn more about Dunkin’ Donuts, visit or follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (

For a chance to win a $5 gift card to Dunkin' Donuts, like annaDishes on Facebook and leave a comment telling me what you'd like to try on the Dunkin Donuts autumn line-up!

Contest ends 12:00pm (Eastern) on Friday September 28, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

I know that the picture isn't the most beautiful, or dazzling --but, I promise it is a delectable dish. 
(I admittedly really need to work on my food styling, my apologies.) 

When I was about 16, I was lucky enough to spend a month in France with a childhood friend of my Mother. It was my first time in Europe and Connie, her family and friends, were so wonderful to me- it is a time I can remember so vividly with such a feeling of joy. I can still see the flat in Paris and the country house in Darcey. I remember listening to the Wallflowers album on repeat on my Discman, going to see Jim Morrison's grave and being totally bummed that the bust had been stolen, buying mustard in Dijon, being giddy to be able to drink wine and go to Chablis to bottle our own, collecting escargot with her son Benoit, eating wild boar at a village celebration, indulging on the best pizza I have EVER had (an escargot pizza with garlic butter), trying rabbit and frog's legs but refusing black pudding ( I had to draw the line somewhere and I knew it didn't look right). Most of my memories revolve around the scents and flavors, like fresh from the farm goat cheese, anise pastilles, or digging for fresh veggies in the garden.  I recall cooking in their kitchen with such a mouth-watering fondness. I can remember one of the meals I made there was a stuffed mega-zucchini from the backyard garden. I packed it full with some rice, sunflower seeds and other fresh French goodies.  This recipe varies quite a bit from what I made then, but it brings back memories which makes it just as delicious.

You won't need anything fancy or French- unless of course you want to pop on a beret or munch on a baguette while putting this together- but, as always go for the fresh! Oui?


1 lb. Grass Fed Ground Beef
2 Cloves Garlic- Minced
3 Cups Chicken Broth (or water)
1- 1 1 /2 Cup Cooked Organic Farro
1 Can Cannelini Beans
2 Extra Large Zucchini
1 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan 
1/3 Cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs
1 12 oz. Package Mozzarella
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. 

Serves 4-6, depending on if you serve anything on the side. 

Although this recipe contains beef, it can easily be omitted and made vegetarian and you wouldn't miss out on any flavor. You could substitute with diced and sauteed portabellos, which I might have to try next time. 

Additionally, I encourage people to eat grass-fed meat for a myriad of reasons (that I won't get into now, let's save that for another blog post) but you can use any type or ground beef, or turkey for that matter. 

Cook the Farro according to the directions on the package, the brand I used called for 3 cups of liquid on a light boil for 15 minutes to al dente. It took about 20 minutes, cooked in chicken broth, which is optional. Farro is similar in size to an extra large grain of rice, but with a nuttier flavor, packed with fiber and protein. It is likened to barely and spelt and when cooked has a firm, chewy texture. 

In a large skillet, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, saute the minced garlic. Add the ground beef and brown over medium-high heat. Drain off grease and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine the drained and rinsed beans, 2/3 cup of the Parmesan, the breadcrumbs, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to distribute evenly. 

Add beef and 1-1 1/2 cups of the farro and evenly combine the ingredients. You may want to add more Parmesan, feel free!  

While the beef and farro are cooking, half and gut your zucchini.  Leave at least 1/2" wall so the form stands when cooked and stuffed. Cover a baking pan with foil and drizzle a thin layer of olive oil. Rub the inside of the zucchini with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes. Don't over cook, otherwise it will get mushy and won't hold the shape. 

When all ingredients are combined and evenly distributed, fill the zucchini. Stuff in as much as you can, packing it down with your spoon. Once the cheese melts, it will hold it all together.
After filling the zucchini, top with Parmesan then add final layer of sliced mozzarella. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Then turn on broiler, but watch carefully, you don't want it to burn. You are looking for those glorious, golden bubbles to let you know it is ready.

Bon appetit!

Most likely you will have left over filling, so if you have more mouths to feed just up the number of zucchini you will use. If you don't need to serve more, then  you can always freeze use another time.

**A note from Hylton, the stringy cheese hater... He said this dish was "awesome" but he thought I "should use cheddar or something less stringy". I guess he is really a fan of the way cheddar melts but doesn't have a chewy consistency. I thanked him for his contribution and thought I'd pass it on to you. This would definitely work with a nice sharp, white cheddar if you have a melted mozz hater in your house, too. ***

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Raspberry and Grilled Peach Dessert Bruschetta

I see so many recipes bringing sweet into savory, I thought why not turn a savory dish sweet?? One of the most common sweet gone savory items is the glorious peach. Peaches are so versatile and delectable, it's obvious why. Whether in a cobbler or grilled over pork, they are- in my opinion- across the board delicious. 

These bruschetta are light and refreshing, a great summertime party dessert. The cookie is really just a vessel for the topping, delicately sweet with just a hint of the brown butter flavor. (If you don't have time, or don't want to make the cookies from scratch you could always improvise with something similar.) The layering of the creamy mascarpone and the fresh,vibrant fruit gets a sparkling twist with the mint finish. 


1 Cup Butter Softened
1/2 Cup Brown Butter 
2 Cups White Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
5 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Large Ripe Peaches
Olive Oil
1 Clamshell Raspberries
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 Tablespoon Real Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

Makes about 20-24 Bruschetta. 

Check out the link above, to my Brown Butter Banana Bread, if you need help making brown butter. It's super easy. Super yummalicious. Yes, I said yummalicious, don't judge.

Halve the peaches and arrange on a plate with a thin coating of olive oil. Let them sit face down in the olive oil while the cookie dough chills in the refrigerator. 

Recipe for Sugar Cookies adapted from All Recipes.

In a large bowl, combine the 2 sticks of butter and the sugar. Blend until smooth. Add in cooled 1/2 cup brown butter and cream together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time- then the vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder, and stir with a fork to evenly distribute. Slowly add dry mixture to the wet. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight).

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 400 and prep a large cutting board or countertop work space, with flour and roll out to 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Using a glass (about 3" across) or a round cookie cutter, cut the cookie dough- enough for a tray at a time. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and push the back of a spoon into the dough to make a small indentation. This will be used as a well to help keep the topping in place. Bake 6 minutes (could be up to 8 but I prefer them lighter on the bottom) and cool completely. 

**Note**  This cookie recipe makes 4-5 dozen cookies. You won't need nearly that much for the bruschetta, so you can freeze the dough or set aside for something else. It should last about a week in the refrigerator if you choose not to freeze it. If you want to use up the cookie dough and make more bruschetta, double the amount of topping. You should be all set.

For the topping, in a small bowl combine the honey, sugar,vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk and let sit until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat your grill pan to medium-high heat and coat with non-stick spray. Place the peaches face down on the grill. Let sit for about 7 minutes or until the grill marks are apparent, then flip them over for another few minutes. Remove from grill and let cool. When cool to the touch, cut into 1/4" pieces. 

Quarter the raspberries. Make sure to use a sharp knife so that you won't squish the bejeesus out of the berries- because honestly, no one enjoys a squished berry. Put the berries in a medium bowl, put aside.

When peaches are cool enough, combine with the raspberries and top with the liquid. Lightly toss to evenly coat the fruit. Don't stir too roughly as it will bruise the fruit. 

Chiffonade serveral pieces of the mint.

Spread the cookies with a schmear of the mascarpone and dust with a dash of the raw sugar. Take a spoonful of the topping and drain the liquid by lightly pressing the spoon against the wall of your mixing bowl. Place atop the cookie and  sprinkle the mint to finish. You can use leftover mint leaves to garnish your serving dish.


 Be careful not to make these too far in advance if you will be serving them to guests. The moisture from the fruit will soften the cookies. To keep the integrity of the base, serve them as soon as possible after constructing them. You can make all the components a day ahead, just wait to put them together. Note that the fruit will produce more juice so will need to strain well.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lobster and Summer Corn Linguine

Lobster and Summer Corn Linguine is a simple, comfort-food dish you can put together in relatively no time. It is the perfect summer meal with just a few ingredients and tons of flavor. Although the instructions might seem lengthy, they really are simple steps which will yield incredible flavor. It is indulgent in a very light summery way. The richness of the lobster and the light creamy sauce, combined with the sweet, crisp summer corn yields a delightful combination sure please any dinner guest.

A friend recently gifted me some delicious lobster tails and it got me thinking about what to make. Sure, I could go with lobster rolls, which don't get me wrong- are phenomenal, or lobster mac&cheese- but I wanted something new, something I hadn't tried before. 

Some of you might be thinking- corn? in my pasta? Yes, it's worth it. Trust me. My dear Hylton, who *gasp* doesn't like ( I don't know how that's possible) lobster, loved this dish. He went back for seconds that night and ate the leftovers the next day. In our time together his palate has really developed, but every so often I have to encourage (sometimes coerce) him to try a dish- before he says it's gross. Once again, I was right to urge him, he thought it was delectable. 

4 New England Lobster Tails
3 Ears of Fresh Summer Corn
1 Large Shallot- finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic-finely chopped
1 Box Linguine Pasta
White Wine
1/2 and 1/2
Salt and Pepper

(Serves 4-5 as an entree.)

I like to use the bi-colored corn, I think it is a little sweeter and I simply just prefer it a bit to all yellow corn. 

Cut the corn off of the cob. The best way to do this is to break off the stem that may still be attached so that you have a flat bottom on the cob. Stand it upright on a steady cutting board, and with a sharp knife, cut downward to take the kernels off. 

In a large skillet, melt at least a 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the garlic and the shallots. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Once translucent, add the corn and season with salt and pepper and cook about 10 min. Some like fresh corn to be crisp, some like it more tender- so I would recommend tasting it after a few minutes to see what consistency you are looking for.  Add 1/3 cup of the 1/2 &1/2 - let it simmer and reduce.

While you are prepping and cooking the corn, cook the lobster. I chose to bake the lobster tails in the oven. Line a baking pan with foil and drizzle just a splash of olive oil. Preheat to 350 and cook until color is uniformly red. (To be honest, I dropped the ball here and I can't remember exactly how long I had them in the oven. I want to say it was about 15 minutes.)

After the lobster comes out of the oven, put the pasta water on to boil. Don't forget to salt the water. Use one full box of linguine and cook until al dente. 

When the pasta is done, remove from heat and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water. After draining, return the pasta to the pot or a large bowl that will tolerate the heat. Set aside. 

When the lobster has cooled enough that you can handle it, remove the lobster meat from the shell. I used kitchen scissors so that I wouldn't miss a morsel of it! It made it very easy to cut through the inside of the shell and pluck out the tail meat.

Don't toss these little bits, you can nosh on them while you prepare the meal- you know, quality control is very important.

Once you have removed all of the meat from the tails, chop into 1/2 inch sized chunks and set aside. Try not to sneak too many bites, you want to make sure you have plenty for the pasta. It's tough, but I resisted as much as possible.

In your skillet make a roux, which is a combination equal parts of flour and butter. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter then whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour. Slowly add about 3/4 cup of 1/2 &1/2 to the mixture once the roux has thickened, whisking so that is combines well. You will need about 1/4 cup of dry white wine. Make sure you use a wine you would also drink, I used pinot grigio. Once the cream mixture well blended, slowly add the wine and continue whisking so that it will not separate. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You want enough of this sauce to lightly coat your pasta, not  drown in it. It should be thinner and lighter than an Alfredo sauce.

Of course, you can add more cream or wine depending on the flavor and consistency you are looking for. You don't want to reduce it much, you will need about a cup of the sauce to toss in with the pasta, lobster and corn.

Once the sauce has reached a desired consistency and flavor, add the corn and lobster to the pan to combine the flavors. Stir until the ingredients are uniformly heated then add a bit of the starchy pasta water, about two tablespoons, and mix well. (You can add more or less of the water depending on the thickness and consistency of the sauce.)

There should be equal parts corn and lobster. You may end up with extra corn, but fear not- there are so many things you can do with the leftovers. Believe me, it's tasty all on it's own too.

When evenly heated, pour the mixture over the pasta and toss to combine evenly. Serve with a nice, crisp glass of white wine.


Special thanks to Barb Johnson of Rich Chicks for the lobster.