Wednesday, June 30, 2010



Today marks four months into my third of the way there!!! Thanks to all my followers, it has been really fun. I have to admit the first month was a bit tough, but it has become a great time of every day.

I know it isn't Friday, but I thought today deserved a fabulous summer cocktail!!! Berries are everywhere and you can certainly combine various berries in this cocktail, but I love the taste of raspberries in champagne!!!!!
2 lime wedges
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup good vodka
1/4 cup chilled champagne
4 teaspoons of sugar (and extra to dip your glasses)
sprig of mint for garnish
Wet the rim of two tumblers with lime juice from the wedges. Dip the rims in sugar. You can certainly leave this step out if you don't like the sugar taste...seriously though!!!
In a cocktail shaker add lime wedges, raspberries, vodka and sugar. Using a muddler or end of a wooden spoon, smash the mixture in the shaker. Add ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. Divide this mixture between the two glasses, don't strain it. Top with champagne..and CHEERS!!!!
Thanks again!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I really like scallops prepared this husband not so I generally order them out unless I am having a party for more than 2...Make sure you remove the little muscle of the scallop when you slice them. You can usually remove with your hands but you might need a knife..they are tough and you don't really want to eat them.

Romesco sauce is a traditional Spanish sauce with lots of great flavors in WINE, red peppers, garlic, olive oil and almonds. This sauce goes really well with grilled fish and roasted vegetables too. The sauce ends up in a food processor so don't spend a lot of time perfectly chopping the ingredients.

Romesco Sauce

1/4 cup white wine
4 sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (jar) chopped
1/4 cup almonds
4 tbl olive oil

Combine and bring to a boil: wine, tomatoes and garlic in a sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer until wine is reduced. Remove and let cool When cool, put tomato mixture into processor or blender. Add peppers, almonds and oil and pulse until pureed. Place in a small bowl, taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but serve at room temperature. Can be made even two days ahead.


24 thin slices of prosciutto (can be cut from about 8 regular size slices)
12 scallops cut in half horizontally
olive oil
fresh thyme leaves for garnish

Preheat broiler

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Wrap 1 slice of prosciutto around the center of each scallop and make sure it is sealed. You can prepare the scallops up to 3 hours ahead of time and chill until ready to broil.

Brush the scallops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until the scallops are opaque in the center and the prosciutto gets crispy. Turn the scallops halfway through the 2 minute per side broiling.

Arrange scallops on a serving platter and top each with some room temperature romesco sauce and a few thyme leaves.

Again, don't through the leftover romesco sauce away!!!!!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010


SUMMER, SAND and SMOOTHIES!!!! I'll be blogging a few of these recipes in these HOT days of Summer.....nothing more refreshing and good for you..... DON'T FORGET vodka is always an optional (not in this house) ingredient!!!!!

Combine in a blender:

1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
3 tbl frozen acai puree (in most supermarkets - frozen foods)
2 tbl flaxseed meal
1 tbl honey
1-1/2 cups crushed ice

Makes 2
Per serving: 140 calories, 1 gram fat, 8 grams fiber....add the vodka and who cares about all that stuff!!!!!


Sunday, June 27, 2010


We had a weekend guest, great time, and I did not blog yesterday... so I thought I should blog twice today and how could I end a weekend without a cocktail blog......!!!!!
Sangria is a wonderfully easy cocktail to make for any gathering. My family makes sangria's for baby showers, holidays and backyard barbeques. It tastes great with any menu.
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup Grand Marnier
One 750 ML bottle Viognier
1 mango chopped
2 peaches cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup mint leaves
This recipe makes about 4 cocktails
In a sauce pan cook the sugar with the water until the sugar dissolves. Pour the syrup in a pitcher and refrigerate until cold. This takes about a half hour. Stir in the Grand Marnier, Viognier, mango, peaches and mint.
Always fun to serve in a funky colored wine glass and even better if the glasses are chilled!


Yes, this is actually my picture!!!!! Yesterday, we couldn't decide what we wanted for breakfast....eggs over, scrambled, not poached....and I thought about a nice tomato and cheese frittata..never had tried to make was delicious.
You can choose your filings much like an omelette - sausage, bacon, pancetta ...vegetables....CHEESE! I had some great fontina cheese, cherry tomatoes and I added a red pepper. This recipe serves about 5.
9-10 eggs
2 tbl heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl unsalted butter
4 ounces shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced red pepper
Preheat broiler
In a medium ovenproof saute pan heat olive oil and butter. Add vegetables. If using a meat product, saute that first until cook. Remove from the pan and add vegetables with an additional tbl of butter. Cook the vegetables until soft.
Whisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables (and meat should be returned to pan). Mix and top with the shredded cheese. Cover and cook over low-medium heat until the frittata is almost set. Uncover and place pan under the broiler until cheese is melted, the eggs are set and it is golden brown. Let rest for about 2-3 minutes.
Cut into wedges and serve with a nice artisan toast and a small bowl of mixed fruit. Fabulous and very easy. Happy Sunday.

Friday, June 25, 2010


What an amazing day I am already having!!!! I was searching for my usual Friday cocktail to blog and getting a headache..which might have something to do with my night out last I decided to forget the blog for a second and check out what was happening to all my facebook friends this morning....
I opened facebook and there was a message waiting for me. It was a note from my Uncle John with this recipe attached!!!!! So great!!!! It was such a great surprise not only because it looked sooooo delicious, but I loved that Uncle John thought of me and my blog. Thank you Uncle!!!
Anyone who doesn't know Uncle John needs to know he is Italian through and through so definitely try this. So here it is:
1-1/4 cup dried cannellini beans (or great northern)
8 ounces mild Italian sausage, casing removed
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
4 tbl tomato paste
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1/3 cups chopped onion
1/3 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped garlic
3/4 cup small pasta, farfilline, dry
Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Cover the beans with water at least two inches higher than the beans.
In a non-reactive heavy sauce pan or soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and stir until all the vegetables are glazed with oil. Add garlic and cook, stirring about 2 minutes or until the vegetables are softened but not brown.
Crumble the sausage and add to the pan. Cook stirring and breaking the sausage apart about 4 minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked.
Drain the beans and add to the pan with the chicken broth and tomato paste and stir well. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally. Cook about 45 minutes then add the pasta and cook an additional 30 minutes or until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Makes about 12 cups.
To spice it up a bit you can substitute hot Italian sausage either by completely replacing the mild or some portion thereof. You can also add 1/2 tbl of chopped fennel.
Love, Uncle John
Thank you very much, Love Julie

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Do Not make the face you are making at the thought of a kinda fried chicken and YOGURT! Yogurt does add a ton of flavor to dishes without overpowering them or "over-calorizing" them. That is not to say I am blogging a DIET dish...not exactly, but not bad. A single boneless breast has about 350 calories, so depending on what accompanies the chicken, it is a pretty healthy dish. And again, no one can have too many go-to chicken recipes. Seriously, it's only YOGURT!
4 boneless preferably skin-on chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1 (6 ounce) container of low-fat Greek yogurt
1 piece (about an inch long) of fresh ginger roughly chopped
1/2 cup Dijon (or grainy) mustard (less for less spice)
1/4 cup olive oil, plus some for sauteing
1/2 lemon juiced
1-1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper (more if you like spice)
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 pats of butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a blender or food processor, combine garlic, yogurt, ginger, mustard, nutmeg, cumin, turmeric and lemon juice. While blending, slowly add olive oil until smooth and making a paste. Pour mixture into a shallow bowl.
On a large dinner plate, combine, panko breadcrumbs, salt, red pepper and black pepper.
Soak the chicken breasts in the yogurt mixture, drain (reserve some for baking) and coat with breadcrumb mixture. If you have the time, let set in the refrigerator for about an hour so the coating will stick to the chicken. In a saute pan, heat 2 tbl olive oil. Cook chicken only until coating is golden on both sides and remove.
In a 13 X 9 pan, place sauteed chicken, skin side up, on the bottom with a pat of butter on each. Cover with foil and bake about 20 minutes. Remove foil and brush lightly with yogurt mixture and cook for about 10 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chicken, may be more or less time). Let rest for a few minutes and serve with your favorite sides.
Go Yogurt!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Alright, I have blogged enough sweets for a to my favorite snack...SALT! I love salted nuts, but even I will say sometimes they get a bit boring.....NO MORE!

Planters have outdone themselves in these almond and cashew flavors.....they beg a nice cold beer...isn't that what summer is all about. These cashews and almonds are skinless and have great flavors.

For almond lovers the flavors are:
Cracked Pepper & Onion
Sea Salt & Olive Oil (my favorite)
Chili Lime

For cashew lovers the flavors are:
Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper (my other favorite)

These are VERY hard to stop eating and their natural ingredients make them a much better snack for your health. Six ounce bags are in your grocery for about $5.00

Visit the Planters website for more delicious information!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


So I have been very busy trying to get my yard in shape so I can go to Maine to get THAT yard in shape...aaauuugggh!
The humidity is unbearable, but that is the Midwest...and I have to cover up head to toe to ward off rashes from plants that obviously hate me and gnats that love to bite me....doesn't this sound like the perfect day?
These super easy frozen pops are soo refreshing...gotta have them.
You'll need a rubber muffin pan or rubber frozen ice pop tray. Rubber is the key because you can just bend the pans to get these to literally POP out. You will also need wooden sticks or plastic spoons.
1 (15 ounce) can unpeeled apricot halves in light syrup, drained
2 (6 ounce) cartons of French vanilla or vanilla low fat yogurt
3 tbl honey
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract
2/3 cup finely crushed shortbread cookies (about 10)
In a food processor, mix drained apricots, yogurt, honey, lemon juice and vanilla until smooth. Add cookies and pulse until combined.
Pour or spoon mixture into nine 3-4 ounce plastic freezer ice pop molds or seven to eight 3-5 ounce plastic muffin cups. Cover each with a piece of foil. Using a sharp knife, make a slit in the top of the foil and insert a wooden stick or plastic spoon. The foil will hold the sticks or spoons upright.
Freeze for 4 hours or until firm. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving and POP them out of their molds!!!
So refreshing!

Monday, June 21, 2010


I am trying to be good to all you "sweet-toothed" people following my blog....even though I am not much of a sweets fan. I do like crisps and cobblers with some nice ice cream!!!! When blueberries are in season there is nothing better!
6 cups fresh cleaned blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/4 cups flour
2/3 cups brown sugar
10 tbl cold unsalted butter divided
heavy cream
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a bowl toss the blueberries with the sugar then transfer to a 13 X 9 baking dish. Combine flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the butter to the flour mixture a few tablespoons at a time and slice using two table knives. The mixture should look coarse and crumbled. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the blueberries and bake until berries are bubbling and topping is brown. Cool for about 15 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature with some heavy cream poured on top and a big scoop of ice cream!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010


Every summer it seems we get introduced to yet another new cocktail. We've had mojitos, and if we date ourselves we could go back to Tom Collins', Tequila Sunrises, Cosmos.....the list goes on. Sometimes when someone mentions a specific summer cocktail, it can bring us back and remind us of "the summer when I...."

As I sit typing, it is only 10am, nearly 80 degrees with 90% humidity...gonna be a HOT one today!!!!!! So staying hydrated while enjoying a refreshing cocktail on this Friday afternoon is the priority. So we need something fresh, snappy and sippable!!!!

So let's try a nice Basil Citrus Fizz!

First you need to make a basil-lemon simple syrup.
Heat to a boil one cup of sugar and one cup of water in a small saucepan. When sugar is dissolved add torn leaves from two large basil leaves and the zest of two lemons. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes. Strain and let cool completely.
In a martini shaker with ice, combine 1 oz basil lemon simple syrup, 1-1/2 oz good vodka, 3 oz fresh grapefruit juice. Stir in 3 oz club soda. Pour into a cold martini glass and garnish with a twist of lemon. You could add a sprig of basil too!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


My summer beach pal, Kathy, asked me to blog oysters rockefeller. A very important requirement for oysters is to eat them only in the months that end in "R" or if you happen to be in a place where they live i.e., Washington State, New England and many foreign cities where the waters are always cold. The other months of the year could pose a problem because the waters they live in get warm and it gets a bit questionable as to their freshness and may even make you sick.
If you have ever been to a raw bar and watched the oyster "shucker" at work, you know it isn't a very easy deal. So when you buy your oysters, ask your fish monger the shuck them for you. If they won't, I explain how to shuck them below, but add extra time to your recipe.
There are any number of ingredients you can add to the "stuffing" so experiment if you like oysters. Here is what I think is the basic stuffing. If you choose fresh spinach add it with parsley. If you choose cooked spinach, you just need to warm it up so add it with the hot sauce and pepper.
24 oysters
2 slices bacon
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 large shallots minced
2 tbl fresh minced Italian parsley
3 tbl unsalted butter
2 cups fresh chopped spinach or 1-1/2 cups frozen thawed cooked spinach
1/4 cup Pernod or other anise liqueur
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus 2 tbl
3 tbl olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Dashes of hot sauce
pepper to taste
rock salt
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Thoroughly wash the oysters. If you have an oyster knife or a blunt tipped knife pry open the shells. You may want to wear an oven mitt or glove to hold the oysters. Remove oyster from the shell and dry. Discard the top shell and rinse the bottom shell. Place the oyster in the clean bottom shell. You can also briefly poach the oysters in their shells so they open a bit and then remove the oysters. Set aside clean oysters in their bottom shells.
In a saute pan cook bacon until crisp and drain and set aside. Crumble the bacon into small pieces. Empty the pan of juices and wipe clean. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add garlic and shallot and cook for 2 minutes. Add parsley and cook 2 minutes. (If using fresh spinach add here).
Add Pernod to the pan and deglaze. Add hot sauce, pepper to taste and 2 tbl panko breadcrumbs (here is where you add cooked spinach). Cook until Pernod is reduced and mixture well combined. Let cool a bit.
Meantime combine 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil in a bowl.
Spoon a tsp of the bacon, spinach filling on top of each oyster. Sprinkle the breadcrumb and paremesan cheese mixture on top of that.
Line a baking sheet with a good amount of rock salt. This helps flavor and keeps oysters from tipping over. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until edges start to curl. Serve warm.
Garnish serving platter with lemon wedges which is wonderful to squeeze on top of the oysters.
Thanks for asking Kathy!!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


If you never heard of or have never seen a WHOOPIE PIE, I was with you until I started dating a North Easterner!!!! They are indigenous to the Northeast - especially Maine and Amish regions in Pennsylvania.
The name, according to lore, comes from Amish schoolchildren who would open their lunchboxes and find these treats and shout "whoopie!" I am sure North Easterners have their own claim to fame on the name and the invention.
The Whoopie Pie is really not a pie at all. It is two plump, round usually chocolate cakes that sandwich a white WAD of sweet, sometimes marshmallow, frosting. They are kind of like Hostess Ding Dongs without the hard chocolate outside.
My husband used to talk about them all the time and how he got them in his lunchbox. My first encounter with them was in Maine and you find them everywhere. They are usually wrapped in plastic and in baskets near cash registers in gas stations, small grocers and many local restaurants.
There is a cook book out that suggests altering the fillings to include salted caramel, bacon-chive goat cheese, and even a ganache filling which would certainly be sacrilegious to the original 13 colonies!!!
When you travel throughout the Northeast these are a must try!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My good friend Ellen sent me this recipe and you have to try it. That's Ellen on the right above with some of her family. She was gracious enough to share this recipe with me and now I to you.
It's PIZZA!!!! Her only tip was to use Italian Roma tomatoes because they have a little less juice. Might be a good idea to scoop a bit of the juice out before placing on the pizza. If you like more garlic - GO FOR IT - I would!
1 Boboli Pizza Crust
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (optional)
1/2 cup thinly sliced Roma tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Mix together all ingredients except onion and tomato. Spread the mixture on the Boboli crust. Add onion and tomato slices. Bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees until it starts to brown and crust is hot and cooked throughout. Let it cool a bit and slice in wedges.
I appreciate the recipe and would love more recipes from all of you!!!
Thanks Ellen!

Monday, June 14, 2010


You can't have too many "go-to" chicken recipes. Depending on what kind of chicken I have in the freezer, I make this with chicken pieces with the bone-in and sometimes with boneless chicken breasts. Bone-in chicken delivers more flavor but boneless is wonderful in this robust flavored dish!!!!
Ingredients:(serves about 4)
1 chicken roaster cut into pieces or 4 boneless breasts
1/2 cup flour
8 tbl olive oil
3 large chopped shallots
2 tbl minced garlic
1 red pepper cut into thin strips
1 green pepper cut into thin strips
1/2 cup dry vermouth
15-20 oz Crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 cup oil cured black or kalamata olives halved
1 tbl fresh chopped basil
1 bay leaf
Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Combine flour, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture.
Heat olive oil in a saute pan and add chicken pieces skin side down and brown on both sides and remove and set aside. Pour off most of the cooking liquid except for about 3 tablespoons. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook about a minute. Add peppers and cook until barely tender. Add vermouth and turn heat to high and cook until liquid reduces by half.
Place chicken back in the pan, and spoon most of the pepper-onion mixture on top of the chicken pieces. Add tomatoes, basil and bay leaf. Cover the pan and turn heat to low and cook basting frequently for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken and put in a 200 degree oven while you cook the sauce. Take out the bay leaf and turn heat to high. Cook sauce stirring constantly until thickened - about 10 minutes. Stir in the olives and cook for another couple minutes. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
This dish is great with pasta, potatoes or even a nice rice dish. This chicken makes great leftovers....the flavors are wonderful!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Yes, Mom and Anne, we are going here on your visit. Breathtaking views I could sit here all day watching the Atlantic waves crashing on the shore. Looking out the floor to ceiling windows, you can watch people walk the Marginal Way, the gulls swoop down for their catch and relax to the rhythm of the waves in the cove.
The restaurant just won the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chefs in the Northeast 2010. Those chefs are Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier. Their cuisine is fabulous. I either succumb to the lobster roll or convince my husband to order just about every appetizer on the menu..... delicious!!!!
MC's is also onE of USA Today's Top Ten restaurants with a VIEW!!! It is just amazing.
so again...if you go there...GO THERE!

Friday, June 11, 2010


At a little watering hole we very OCCASIONALLY visit, the bartender is always whipping up concoctions to try. This one hit the spot. Now there are many ingredients so you should print this and ask your bartender to make you one. If you have ALL the ingredients, Lindsey Lohan I'm talkin' to you, then go for it at home!!!!
2 oz Black Cherry Effin Vodka
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1 oz sweet and sour.
Shake and pour into a martini glass
Then Mix:
1/2 oz Chambord
1/4 oz Blue Curacao
Shake this mixture as well and carefully pour into the same glass but from the side so it gently floats on the top of the glass. Garnish with a cherry!
It is delicious...Happy Friday
Thanks Rick!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The competition was heavy. Mr. Samuelsson was up against some of the countries best chefs: Executive chef at Spiaggia in Chicago (Obama's favorite hangout) Rick Moonen and Suser Lee to name a few of the top 12 chefs.

Born in Ethiopia, his mother died of tuberculosis when he was three. His birth name was Kassahun Tsegie. He and his sister were put up for adoption and a family in Sweden named Samuelsson adopted them. They changed their names to Marcus and Linda.

His adoptive grandmother loved to cook and it rubbed off. He attended the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden.

He came to the United States in 1991 as an apprentice at Aquavit restaurant in New York. By 24 years of age, he became executive chef.

Shortly after, he was the youngest chef to receive a 3 star restaurant review from the New York Times. In 2003 he was named Best Chef in New York City by the James Beard Foundation.

Last November, he served as guest chef for the first state dinner in Barack Obama's presidency.

And of course, he once competed on Iron Chef America against Bobby Flay and LOST. It was battle "corn".

Important to note that chefs competing for the title of Top Chef Master, win money throughout the competition for the charity of their choice. Marcus won $105,000 for his charity, UNICEF Tap Project which provides clean water to children all over the globe, notably in his native Ethiopia.

Today he owns:

Aquavit in New York City
C-House Restaurant in the Affinia Hotel in Chicago

So if you go there.....GO THERE!

Congratulations to Mr. Samuelsson

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


While it seemed FREEZING COLD here yesterday it is beautiful, breezy and sunny today! So hopefully summer is here..and when summer arrives, the soup pot goes away and the salad recipes emerge.

Now I was never really one for beets until I had an amazing roasted beet salad in Portland Oregon at the Red Star Tavern. They only served it in season and I couldn't wait for summer to show up. Well, living in Portland makes everyone wait for summer to show up!

I like to use a combination of golden yellow and orange beets, but if the original purple are all you can find they are delicious as well. This salad may seem like a lot of steps but it is worth every minute. If you would like to use your favorite vinaigrette instead of the recipe here - go for it - any one will be fabulous.

With the candied walnuts and chunks of goat cheese, this is a more upscale "out to impress" salad. I personally don't like arugula, so I choose a variety of lettuces I like. I like to add a large slice of carrot and cucumber as a nice side garnish. You can add olives as well...lots of possibilities.


3/4 lb assorted beets, cleaned
2 tbl olive oil
2 tbl sherry vinegar

Combine beets with oil and vinegar. Wrap in tin foil and bake for an hour at 425 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool. Turn the oven heat to 350 degrees


1 lb walnuts
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbl whole milk
1 tsp vanilla

While beets cool, spread walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees until they start to brown. Remove from oven. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, cinnamon, salt and milk. Cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes until the mixture thickens and softly boils. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add walnuts and stir to combine. Spread walnuts on waxed paper and spread with a fork so the walnuts are separated. Let cool.

6 tbl olive oil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbl finely chopped tarragon

Mix all ingredients except salt and pepper. Taste and season.

3 oz goat cheese
Variety of mixed greens

When beets cool, peel and cut into wedges. Break goat cheese into small chunks. Place lettuces in a large serving bowl. Add beets, walnuts and cheese. Pour dressing on top and lightly toss. Garnish each plate with carrot and cucmber slice or olives...your choice.

Light, refreshing and so full of flavors!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


You know I am not much for dessert, but I do love cheesecake.....I love anything with cheese!!!!! This is very easy, but has to be refrigerated for about 3 hours after cooking so plan ahead. It can certainly be made a day ahead. Add a few fresh raspberries on the side as a garnish.

To lighten it up you can substitute low fat graham crackers and low fat cream cheese for the real thing. Though I always say if you are eating dessert...GO FOR IT!


9 graham crackers
4 tbl unsalted butter (melted)
2 tbl sugar
dash of cinnamon
butter for greasing pan

16 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 eggs
1 large or 2 small lemons zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust: Grease the bottom of a 9 x 9 pan with butter. Place a piece of parchment paper into the pan and press down at the corners and bottom. Blend the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until the texture of bread crumbs. Add melted butter and blend until smooth. Pour into the lined pan and pat down until evenly spread into the pan. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden and remove and set aside.

Filling: Blend cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar until smooth. Pour batter onto cooled crust and cover with raspberries.
Bake 35 minutes until center is a bit jiggly. Remove from the oven and completely cool on the counter and then refrigerate for 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan by pulling up the parchment paper and slice into squares. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

This is a beautiful presentation and is an easy "make-ahead" dessert!

Monday, June 7, 2010


I love olives and capers in pasta. I eat pasta puttanesca, pizza puttanesca, chicken puttanesca..okay stop me!!!!!
Story goes this racy, robust sauce was named for the Italian ladies of the night (the puttane). It is quick and easy and CHEAP. It is pretty zesty so make sure you are serving it to the right crowd. Pour a nice earthy red wine to compliment the sauce. If you are making this when good tomatoes are no where to be found, open a can of San Marzano diced tomatoes and drain most of the liquid out. Also if you think 3/4 cup kalamata olives are too much flavor, mix with some traditional black olives.
8 tbl good olive oil
3 large shallots diced
2 large garlic cloves minced
2 cups Roma tomatoes (small diced)
3/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tbl drained capers
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh oregano chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
grated parmesan cheese
1 lb linguini, penne or pasta of your choice
Heat 4 tbl olive oil in a saute pan. Add shallots and garlic and cook until tender. Add tomatoes, olives, raisins, capers, white wine, red pepper flakes and oregano and cook until the tomatoes are broken down and sauce is thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
In a large serving bowl, pour in sauce, pasta and pasta water. Gently toss and add basil. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and don't hold back on the parmesan cheese.
This is a meal in itself, but if you think you need another dish go with a light fresh salad to offset the BIG flavor of this sauce.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Many of my blog fans will be in Las Vegas this week, so I HAD to blog the great Hugo's Cellar in old downtown Las Vegas. My husband found this place many many years ago and tries to get there any time he is in Las Vegas. I have been many times.
As you enter Hugo's, you descend a flight of stairs down to the "cellar". Women are given a beautiful fresh red rose. It has a very romantic atmosphere..great for anniversaries or first dates.
We love the salads made table side. You choose from an array of ingredients and the waiter tosses them with your choice of dressing and serves it right to that!!!!!!
The veal chop is fabulous and their tournedos with twin filets topped with foie gras and artichoke hearts under a perfect bearrnaise sauce melts in your mouth. In fact all the prime steaks are wonderful. They serve a Mediterranean twist on shrimp scampi by adding peppers and sun dried tomatoes....YUMMY!
They are renowned for their 24 ounce prime rib...yes 24 ounce and for an extra $30 you can add king crab legs to that....carry me OUT!
For you dessert freaks...all meals come with chocolate covered fruit.
On Fremont Street in old downtown Las Vegas....Get There!!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


When Dave was a youngster, his Mom always made homemade pizza on Friday night, as a good Catholic no meat, so on Saturdays she made hot dogs, beans and BROWN BREAD....which Dave loved
The hot dogs were whole beef, the beans were Boston baked and the BREAD was B & M out of a can......Dave thought this was awesome.
Shopping for the ingredients is quick and dogs, B & M Boston Baked beans, and really the B & M Brown bread comes in a CAN like soup..So as a test Dave recreated this meal in Maine for many West Coasters..and you Steve...remember???
Crazlie popped the bread out of the can and then heated the bread in the oven...for at least 30 minutes 350 degrees.
I thought it would be horrible.... and the jury is still out........ but Dave misses his Mom for all those "creative" meals and has a wonderful memory from his LOVE IT
You decide?????

Friday, June 4, 2010


Summer is here!!!!!! So are the endless array of summer cocktails. The Mai Tai has been around between 60-70 years depending on who you believe was the inventor.
Trader Vic's Restaurant in Oakland claims they invented it in 1944. Trader Vic's offers Polynesian-Style cuisine and claims a Polynesian guest helped name the concoction.
However, Don the Beachcomer's claims to have originally created it in 1933.
The Mai Tai became so popular in the 50's and 60's that almost all the "tiki-themed" restaurants and bars served them.
Of course the Mai Tai was very popular in Elvis Presley's movie "Blue Hawaii".
Today, you can travel to any tropical location and find a version of this recipe on their menu.
2 parts light rum
1 part dark rum
2 oz fresh pineapple juice
2 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz Cointreau or any orange liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
A pineapple wedge, cherry, sprig of mint and maybe a tropical umbrella as garnish
Mix all ingredients and serve over ice and garnish. Be careful they are soooo tasty you may over-indulge.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Let's face it...we can ALL make dried out chicken..that's easy...but to keep chicken moist during baking takes a little finesse. It's all in the marinade and the basting. The marinade I make is similar to a brining method where the chicken soaks for an hour or two (even longer if you have time). However, don't rinse your marinade off as you would brining mixtures.
To my BFF from NY - these ingredients should ALWAYS be on hand in your pantry and refrigerator!!!!!!!!
This is such an easy dish to make for two people. You can marinade it in the morning and just throw it in the oven when you get home from work. It needs very little maintenance while cooking and you can make a side dish during that time.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 bone-in chicken breasts
3 tbl olive oil
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
5 cranks of a pepper mill
1 tbl Herbs de Provence
1 tbl lemon juice
1 tbl orange juice
2 tbl soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbl dijon mustard
dash of worcestershire sauce
dash of cayenne pepper (optional for spice)
Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in a large ziploc storage bag. Zip it shut and mix the bag with your hands so all ingredients are incorporated. Open the bag and add the chicken. Close the bag and put it in a shallow bowl making sure the chicken is skin side down and mostly covered with marinade.
Refrigerate all day but at least an hour. Transfer the chicken (skin side down for the first half hour then turn over for remainng 1/2 hour) and marinade to a small pyrex baking dish and bake in your preheated oven for an hour...basting periodically. It will be juicy every time.
For side dishes, I serve either corn on the cob, baked potatoes (these can bake in the oven right alongside the chicken, mixed vegetables or rice.....all of which take no longer to prepare than the chicken cooks.
Love this marinade

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Flew all day and then the drive from h--l!!!! Too tired to blog my pj's watching hockey...Had a great time in Maine can't wait to go back..thanks's the way life should be...worth a visit worth a lifetime!!!!!!

See you all tomorrow

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Cheese and Potatoes....Cheese and Potatoes.....!!!!!!!!!
Au gratin potatoes pair perfectly with steaks, baked fish and a juicy roast chicken. There are an endless variety of twists to au gratins. After the basic recipe that I blog here, I have added three simple twists to making specialty au gratin dishes.
Russet potatoes are best for baking, sweet potatoes can be a nice option....but smaller ones like baby red and yukon are better for boiling. Skin on or skin off the choose.
Just about any cheese will work if you can shred it like cheddar or crumble it like bleu or goat cheese.
2 lb medium russet potatoes thinly sliced
1/2 cup Vidalia onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 tbl olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese shredded
1/4 cup Fontina cheese shredded
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for about 5 minutes and drain. In a saute pan with olive oil cook onion and garlic until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in milk and cook until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.
In a greased 3 quart casserole pot, ceramic or glass works best, layer half the potatoes. (A large cast iron skillet woks as well.). Pour half the sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle half the cheese on top of the sauce. Repeat with remaining potatoes, sauce. Reserve extra cheese to add during baking.
Bake covered for about 30 minutes and then uncover and add remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes more until potatoes are tender and the top is golden. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Twists!!! Use the same basic recipe above but add these special twists.
1. Granny Smith and Smoked Cheddar Gratin: Slice 2 large Granny Smith apples. Place them on top of the layer of potatoes and substitute smoked cheddar or gouda for the original recipe cheeses. Add a couple of teaspoons of fresh thyme to the sauce.
2. Seafood and Goat Cheese Gratin: Layer thin sliced smoked salmon or whitefish to the first layer of potatoes. Substitute goat cheese for original recipe cheeses. Add a tablespoon of tarragon to the sauce. Serve with a side of vegetables and this makes a meal.
3. Mushroom and Bleu Cheese Gratin: Cook 3 cups of sliced cremini mushrooms with onion and garlic. Add some fresh sage to the sauce. Substitute bleu cheese for original recipe cheeses.
Love these