Rhubarb…..Apple Crumb….Tollhouse Cookie Pie Oh My!!

What do all these have in common…..desserts at the Teliska house over the last week or so.  As we all know, with the kids back to school, the fall schedule in full swing and the cooler weather coming it’s time to do some baking again.  I have a variety of items I can pull from that are both simple and more complex but equally delicious.  I often get asked by my friends what I like to cook the most and my typical answer is I like to bake. I have been baking since I was about 8 years old.  The first homemade cake I made when I about 10 and was for a friend’s father for his birthday.  It was a 2 layer vanilla box cake that I prepared per the box directions, I added some chocolate chips to the batter, drizzled some brandy on the layers hot out of the oven, let it cool and frosted it with a fresh vanilla whipped cream!  Viola!  I was a baking fool from then on.

Circling back to the title reference….rhubarb is a bit more of a complex ingredient to bake with.  It has a very particular taste, woody to cut, bitter if not sweetened enough, watery if a thickening agent is not used, and crunchy if not cooked enough.   I LOVE IT!!!  My all time favorite is Strawberry Rhubard anything.  A pie, a crisp, a muffin, icecream, a bar, a topping…….the list is endless.

Apple CRUMB – again I love anything with a crumb topping on it.  The thicker the better.  So I did some research on how to make a good crumb topping and tried and tested a few of them.  Who would have  thought I have been making it wrong for 25 years!!!!!!  Insert eye roll emoji.  Melted butter is all I can say.  I never melted the darn butter.  I always used a pastry cutter and cut in to pea size balls.  Of course this way is still acceptable but the melted butter…yup that is my new way to go.

The Thursday night kickoff of the NFL Season is just about to start and the fam yells whats for dessert.  What’s for dessert I scream!!! Dry captain crunch cereal, klondike bars from over a year ago, a cutie, some grapes…..nope apparently that was not going to suffice.  Ran to the baking cabinet and much to my surprise was a bag of chocolate chip cookie mix!!! YES…I am admiting the Gourmeli cookie lady has a bagged cookie mix in the cabinet.  I am not ashamed to have it…… it was on sale at Target for .95 cents.  You know those red little sale tags there that you can’t pass up!  Dumped said bag in a bowl, added a stick of softened butter, one egg and spread in a pie tin.  Baked at 350 for half hour.  Cut it up while it was warm, added a scoop of Stewarts vanilla ice-cream, some hershey syrup and a squirt of whipped.  Easy as can be. I think I may have gotten the mother of the year award.  The fam was in amazement and I didn’t even miss the National Anthem before the game.   If it were up to me I would have added some rhubard and a crumb topping for the grand slam!!  Insert eye wink emoji!!!

So there you have it…..a little background on some different desserts that have inspired me over the past couple weeks.  Below is the recipe for strawberry rhubarb crumble with my new foolproof crumb topping on it!


Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

2 pints fresh strawberries (washed and stems removed)
2 large stalks rhubard
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla

Crumb Topping
1 stick salted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon

1.Wash, remove stems and slice fresh strawberries and put in a glass bowl.
2. Rinse and trim ends of rhubard.  Dice in to small pieces much like you would slice a stalk of celery.
3. Add, sugar, flour, cinnamon and vanilla.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13  glass baking dish with non stick spray.
5. Spread strawberry mixture in botton of pan.
6.  Crumb Topping: Melt one stick of butter in a small glass microwave save dish.  Remove and add the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  With a fork combine together until moist and crumble apart with your fingers.
7. Drop crumble pieces on top of  the strawberry mixtrure until all of it is covered.
8. Bake for about a half hour to 45 minutes or until strawberries begin to bubble and topping is nice and brown.
9.  Remove from oven and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Happy Cooking!!


This past week I did a “boost” ad for my Facebook page entitiled Gourmeli’s Taste.  I have since received an abundance of new readers and many new people that have liked the page.  I thought it an opportune time to fill some new peeps in on what The Gourmeli’s Taste brand/blog is all about.   It has a little to do with my style, my flavor and my family.  I chose this tag line with the help of my good friend Tim, because it encompasses what I am as a person, chef, mother,  wife and friend.  I wanted to keep it real and focus on many things that occur in my every day life, not necessarily cooking.  I think the majority of my blogging focuses around cooking and recipes but on occcassion I may throw in an everyday life experience that I want to write about.  “Style” could mean a multitude of things.  Such as ones style in clothing, shoes or cars.  It can also mean a style of cooking that you are accustom to.  “Flavor” also has multiple meanings…flavor as in how one choses to season a dish or make it tasty.  Flavor can also be ones zest for life!  And finally “Family”.  Family is very important to me.  It is a bond that can never be broken.  I enjoy writing about my family whether it a funny anecdote about my kids, a vacation I took with my husband or a blog post about my mother.  They all help me get through the day with much humor, laughter and love.

I hope you enjoy reading my page and viewing my posts.  I am slowly mastering my photgraphic skills with the help of my sister (professional photographer) in my food pics.  I am honing in on my recipe writing skills to make it as easy as possible to find the ingredients and get that dish out on the table for dinner before the kids scream “I am hungry whats for dinner”.

Happy reading, cooking and here’s to your flavor for life!!!



Beef Chuck Short Ribs……Hannford – $5.49/lb.  I was looking for something different this weekend for Sunday dinner and decided to give these a whirl.  I bought a package that weighed about 1.5lbs and was on my way!  I seared them on both sides so they had a nice brown caramelized look then braised them.  They came out delicious!!  Here is the recipe….

1.5 lb package of beef chuck short ribs ( give or take weight)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion – diced
1 tbsp chopped fresh garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 container fresh sliced white mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 cups beef stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
POT/PAN to use:  Cast Iron Dutch Oven – Stovetop

1. Put  olive oil in the bottom of the pan and turn heat to medium high add the short ribs.  Do not crowd the pan or they will steam rather than brown.  You may need to do 2 batches.  Sear  the ribs on each side until browned and remove from pan and place on a plate. 3-5 minutes on each side.
2. Turn heat to medium and add chopped onion and garlic to the pan and sautee until translucent and golden.
3.  Add mushrooms and cook until browned about 5-8 minutes.
4. Turn heat back up to medium high heat and add the white wine and let the alcohol burn off.  Add the beef stock, can of tomatoes, fresh thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
5. Cover and turn heat to low and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours.  Stirring occassionaly.
6.  Sauce will reduce and thicken as it simmers.
7.  Discard thyme and bay leaf and serve.


Over the top comfort food……

It was just one of those days yesterday that I needed an all around comfort food dinner.  I strayed from portion control, lean meat and green veggie, salad with chicken on top to BBQ Ribs, Coleslaw slathered in a creamy dressing along with a 3 cheese MAC and Cheese that was to die for!!  Yup….I had 2 helping of EVERYTHING!!  I washed it all down with an ice cold  Blue Moon and cleaned up the dishes.  The rib pan was a soaker so I let it sit overnight and scrubbed that this morning.  I posted a pic last night before sitting down and diving in and many of you inquired about some of the recipes…..here ya go….enjoy.

Couple note to make mention of:  Don’t be scared of ribs.  These were pork ribs and easy to find in pork section of market.  My slaw was not homemade but made out of a bag and a jar.  I will post my to die for Homemade Waldorf Slaw on another occasion.  My 3 cheese mac and cheese was left over cheese in packages from the deli that I needed to use up and came out delicious.  Don’t stress at dinner.  It doesn’t always have to be all homemade…..use what you have and improvise.  The kiddos were starving and mamma was too…..daddy came in at *dinner half time from work and ate the rest!

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

1 full rack of fresh baby back ribs (Smithfield – plain with no sauce – in the pork section)
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ Sauce (you can make your own – but that is another blog)
Salt and Pepper

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Remove ribs from the package and sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in a large roasting pan lined with foil (the foil will alleviate the overnight soak)
3. Brush some SBR BBQ sauce on them and cover pan with foil.
4. Place in oven and bake for 2 hours.
5. Remove foil from the top of the pan and spread some more SBR BBQ sauce on the top.  Bake for another half hour at 375  degrees so the bbq sauce browns and caramelizes.
6. Remove oven and then remove ribs  from pan and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.  Cut ribs in between the bones and dive in!!!

Cheater Slaw

2 Packages of Slaw Mix
1 Jar of Marie’s Coleslaw Dressing (expensive but worth it)

1. Open packages and put in a large bowl.
2. Add dressing and stir well!
3. Let sit in fridge for an hour or so.  The acidity in the dressing will break down the cabbage in the slaw mix so it is not so bitter tasting.


3 Cheese Mac and Cheese

1lb corkscrew pasta (fusilli)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp garlic powder (chopped fresh garlic can be used)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock in a box
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese you have in fridge other than mozzarella – too stringy when melted)
1/2 cup grated parm cheese


1. Cook cork screw pasta (fussili) per package directions and drain.
2. In deep sized  sauce pan on medium high add 3 tbsp butter and melt.  Add flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper and combine with wire wisk until a roux forms.
3. Slowly add chicken stock and stir until combined. Turn heat down to medium.
4. Add the cream and wisk well.  Sauce should be thickened and creamy.  Turn down heat.
5. Add the cheeses and stir well until melted.  Continue to stir so cheese does not stick to the bottom.
6. Add the drained pasta and stir until combined.  It will look runny but will thicken as it sits.
7. At this point you could sneak in a few veggies like fresh spinach, cooked broccoli or peas!
8. Enjoy!!

* diner half-time defined: Cups of milk run out, forks drop on the floor, dad comes home from work, seconds are handed out!!!

Mediterranean Shrimp

What a gorgeous dish this was to make!  I had the pleasure of teaching one of my clients how to make this dish a couple days ago.   The technique of layering flavors that results in a burst of taste in your mouth with each bite was the topic of this lesson.  Mediterranean dishes tend to have this flavor component and are typically filled with colorful fresh ingredients that are heart healthy and packed with vitamins.  Below is the recipe.  I hope you enjoy making this as much as we did.

A couple tips to note:  If you do not like shrimp you can certainly add cubed boneless chicken breasts instead.  If you don’t like kale you can use baby spinach.  The trick to pulling this dish off is to gather all of the ingredients first so they are all at hand when it comes time to do the layering.  The French Culinary term is: mis en place!  So go “gather up” your mis en place first and then fire away!!

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs peeled and deveined raw jumbo shrimp
1 small onion diced small
1 stalk of celery diced small
2 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry sherry
1/2 cup water
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup coarsley chopped black olives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped green olives
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp capers
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
4 cups fresh kale – stems and rib removed and coarsely chopped
fresh lemon


1. In a large deep skillet or cast iron dutch oven, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Season the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper and add to the skillet and cook.  Let the shrimp cook for 1-2 minutes on first side so they have light brown color.  Flip and brown the other side for 1-2 minutes until light brown in color.  Do not overcook!  Remove from pan and place on a dish off to the side.
2. Add onion, celery, garlic and crushed red pepper to the pan and stir for about 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften and turns translucent.
3. Add the tomato paste and stir until combined.
4. Add the wine while the pan is hot and let the alcohol evaporate while stirring.  Add water.
5. Add the can of tomatoes, oilives, chicken stock, parsley and capers.  Stir to combine.  At this point it will start to thicken.
6. Add the kale to the dish and stir until it starts to cook down.  It may seem like alot but it will cook down the more you stir.
7. Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Stir and let cook for another 5 minutes until shrimp is cooked through.  Do not over cook shrimp.
8. Serve with a wedge of fresh lemon.