Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My blog has reached the halfway point...6 months...6 months to go!! So it's finally time to toast with my favorite wine KENDALL-JACKSON CHARDONNAY!!!!
Okay, I'm back now....
For a little history lesson, Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson wines was born in 1930. In 1974, he and his family bought an 80 acre pear and walnut orchard. He converted it into a vineyard and started selling grapes to local wineries. In 1982, he produced his first bottle of wine under the Kendall-Jackson label. In 1983, Kendall-Jackson won the first Platinum Award ever presented by the American Wine Competition.
Jess, his wife Barbara and his family still run the business today. For nearly three decades it has been an American favorite - MINE ALWAYS!
For you calorie counters, KJ packs 104 calories in a 5 oz serving, 0 calories from fat and 2% of your daily serving of carbs.
The winery suggests the following food pairings with Kendall -Jackson Chardonnay:
Cheese/Nuts: Asiago, Havarti and Almonds
Meat/Fowl: Veal, Chicken and Pork
Seafood: Halibut, Shrimp and Crab
Veggies/Fruit: Apple, Mango, Squash and Potato
Herbs: Tarragon, Sesame and Basil
Sauces: Cream Sauces and Pestos

Monday, August 30, 2010


When I find myself cooking for ONE, I consistently go for the can of tuna. Then I look in the pantry and start grabbing other things I can mix with the tuna. I always buy water-packed tuna so I can regulate the oil in the dish. When I make this just for one, I use the whole can of tuna, but cut the other ingredients by half or make the whole thing and save some for the next day.

1 can water-packed albacore tuna, drained
1 (14 oz) jar of artichoke hearts drained and cut in half
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1 large shallot finely chopped
1/3 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 tbl olive oil
3 tbl creme fraiche or sour cream
3 tbl fresh lemon juice
3 tbl coarsely chopped fresh basil
fesh pepper
9 oz package of orzo pasta

Cook orzo according to package directions. Meanwhile in a saute pan heat oil over medium high heat and add the shallot, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Cook until onion is very soft. Take the pan off the heat and add the vermouth. Put the pan back on the heat and scrape the pan to get all the bits of shallot. Add the artichokes and peppers and stir. Cook until tender about 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and gently add the tuna.
In a bowl, toss the creme fraiche and lemon juice with the hot orzo. Add the artichoke mixture, 2 tbl of basil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon into bowls and garnish with remaining basil.

As always I use parmesan cheese on top of this dish. So fast!!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I am a fan of all food on sticks...yes even I have been known to have a corn dog...although I only eat the breading! I think the flavors of the meat, sauces and just having someone else man the grill is fabulous!!!! As an added bonus, you can put all kinds of skewers together ahead of time and guests seem to think you worked tirelessly getting it all together. You can always use store bought marinades but this is so easy and cheaper to make.


4 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-2 inch chunks

1 tbl plus a tsp of fresh minced rosemary

3 tbl olive oil

2 tsp dark brown sugar (light is okay if that's what you have)

1 tsp red pepper flake, more if you like

1 cup orange marmalade

1/4 cup rice vinegar


fresh cracked pepper

vegetable oil or cooking spray for the grill

metal skewers

Mix together 1 tbl rosemary, brown sugar, red pepper, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper. Put the chicken in a shallow pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Add the rosemary mixture and coat all the chicken.

In a pan warm the marmalade, vinegar and remaining tsp of rosemary over low heat just to get warm. Se aside and keep warm.

Skewer the chicken pieces. If you want to add vegetables to the skewers go for it!. Clean your grill and either oil it or spray with cooking spray so the chicken doesn't stick. Cook over medium high heat (covered grill) for about 4 minutes until you get grill marks. Turn to the other side and grill until they are almost done. Don't overcook the chicken as it will dry out fast on a grill!

Put half the marmalade in a bowl and put on the chicken at the last minute, turning once and adding more marmalade. Remove from the grill and serve with extra marmalade for dipping.

I serve this with rice or couscous...red potatoes would be good too....


Saturday, August 28, 2010


The title says it all!!! My favorites..cheese, broccoli and pasta.. The goat cheese and the sweet shallots are a perfect combination. Plus, it calls for WINE!!! Is it dinner yet?


2 boneless skinless chicken breasts halved (or 4 cutlets)

2-3 cups broccoli florets (depending on how much you like)

6 oz goat cheese at room temperature, crumbled

3 tbl olive oil

1 cup dry white wine

3 tbs minced shallots

2 tbs chopped fresh basil


fresh cracked pepper

red pepper flakes

1 lb fettuccine noodles

Pour a glass for yourself while the meal is being prepared.

In a saucepan combine wine and shallots. Over high heat reduce liquid by half (about 5-6 minutes). Whisk in crumbled goat cheese and mix until smooth - my mouth is watering! Season with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and pinch of red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

If you are using chicken breasts (not cutlets) pound the chicken to about 3/4 inch thickness and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbl olive oil over medium-high heat and add chicken. Saute until chicken gets a little brown and is just cooked through - don't over cook the chicken! Remove the chicken and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining tbl of olive oil and the broccoli and saute until broccoli is bright green, hot and still crunchy. Cut the chicken into strips.

In a serving bowl combine the pasta, goat cheese sauce, broccoli and chicken with it's juices. If it seems dry add some pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and serve in warm bowls topped with basil.

Okay, yes I am a parmesan cheese freak so I add some of that too....your choice!


Friday, August 27, 2010


So sophisticated like a Brandy Alexander but kicked up a notch (who's says that????) with mango vodka.

If you cannot find mango vodka, simply make your own. In a jar combine 2 cups of good vodka with 2 cups of diced mango. Cover and refrigerate overnight up to four days. Strain the mixture and discard the mangoes. Easy enough!

This can be done with other fruits to make flavored vodkas. If you have't noticed the flavored vodka world is expanding fast to include, root beer, bubblegum and ice tea falvors....hmmmmm???


3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

3 cups unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup fresh lime juice plus 2 tsp lime zest for garnish

dash f fresh nutmeg for garnish

2 cups mango vodka

In a small pan heat water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Let cool for about 20 minutes.

In a pitcher combine coconut milk, lime juice and syrup. Pour in the vodka!!!! Fill the pitcher with ice and stir until chilled. Strain into martini glasses and sprinkle with lime zest and nutmeg.

MANGO VODKA....Who Knew!?


Thursday, August 26, 2010


As you know by now, I am not much of a dessert lover. However, when berries are in season, there is nothing better to add to the end of a meal than a nice concoction mixing the wonderful varieties together. If you don't like blueberries, yes Mother I am talking about you, then just substitute more of the others. This makes about 4-6 servings depending on how large you make them so just make sure in the end you have about 7 cups of mixed berries.
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh blackberries
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
For the Sauce:
Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scrape out the seeds and put them in a small pan. Add the sugar and about 1/4 cup of water. Simmer syrup over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and cook about 7 minutes then strain and let cool and refrigerate until completely chilled.
Rinse all your berries and let them dry. Cut the strawberries in quarters so all berries are about the same size. Just before serving combine all the berries in a serving bowl and add enough vanilla syrup to lightly coat them. Toss gently.
You can add a small scoop of french vanilla ice cream if you like!!!!!!!!
So simple and elegant!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I don't eat much beef, but when I do I love a good beef tenderloin with a crust of great herbs, mustard sauce and RARE just like the picture above. I know many of you like your beef more well done so when you are roasting, use an instant read thermometer to measure doneness. 120 degrees is rare, 125-130 is medium rare, 135 for medium, +135 is hockey-puck or shoe leather! Rare to Medium takes between 40-50 minutes.
One 2-1/2 to 3 lb beef tenderloin roast, fat trimmed
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl fresh finely chopped rosemary
1-1/2 tbl ground fennel seed
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup creme fraiche
2 tbl dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in the center of the oven
Combine olive oil, rosemary, fennel, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Stir to make a paste. Pat the tenderloin dry and rub the paste over the surface of the meat. (You can season the beef and refrigerate up to 4 hours in advance)
Put the roast on a rack on a baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast to your desired doneness. Meanwhile, whisk together creme fraiche, mustard and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the roast to a cutting board and try to reserve juices. Let it rest about 10-15 minutes. Carve and serve with juices on top. Pass the mustard sauce for your guests to portion as they desire.
Serve with mashed potatoes and asparagus as the sauce is delicious over these sides too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I found this recipe and it looked so easy and delicious, I had to try it. My husband is not an avocado fan, so I don't make them often, but we are having some weekend guests and I plan to make these before our big lobster and clam FEAST!!

6 oz lump crabmeat (cleaned and checked)
2 avocados
8 slices of thin good white, wheat or grain bread
5 tbl extra vigin olive oil
1 tbl chopped fresh mint
2 tsp fresh lime juice
cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Cut crust off of bread and cut each slice into four squares and place on the baking sheet. Lightly brush top of bread with olive oil. Toast in the oven for about 15 minutes until lightly golden and crispy.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, mash avocados with salt and cayenne to taste - just a pinch or two. In another bowl stir crabmeat with mint and lime juice and a bit of salt.

Spread the mashed avocado mixture on top of each piece of toast and top with crab mixture and serve.

So sophisticated and could these be EASIER?????

Monday, August 23, 2010


Driving down our beach town roads, I saw trees already changing color while the wind howled all around. The surf is WAY UP, the clouds have settled in and I think I might even be cold....so sad as summer nears its end...it has been a great one.

I am hoping for some clearing and the skies to once again give way to magnificent sunshine...they say by Thursday.....

But for today, I need to blog something WARM and I cannot believe I have forgotten this gem until now. I have blogged my butternut squash tortellini, but never the lasagna. This is a great side dish or main course as a vegetarian option.

Preparing the squash/ingredients: (preheat oven to 400 degrees)
2 large butternut squash
3 tbl olive oil
1 tbl chopped fresh sage
3 tbl fennel seed, ground in a spice grinder or mortar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Using a peeler, remove the squash shell. Trim top and bottom and cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Coarsely chop the squash into 1/2 in cubes. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Toss squash cubes with oil, sage and spices (above). Spread the squash on a single layer on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until browning. Stir the mixture once or twice. Remove the squash from the oven and let cool a bit.

Puree the squash in a food processor then mix with:
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble the lasagna. In a large pot of salted boiling water cook lasagna sheets (about 24 sheets..I always cook a few more in case they break). Drain the sheets and spread them on wax paper or baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil on them.

Preparing the sauce/ingredients:
2 quarts whole milk
6 tbl unsalted butter
1 tbl minced fresh sage
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg

In a large saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over medium heat. Melt the butter in a pot or microwave. Add the sage and garlic to the butter then add flour and stir. Add 3 cups of the warm milk to the flour and whisk to remove any flour-lumps. Bring to a boil and whisk continuously while adding the rest of the milk. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Adjust the heat and cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes (I seem to need to cook this longer to thicken so don't worry about timing). You will want the sauce to be like a gravy and stick to the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.

Other ingredients:
1-1/2 lb grated mozzarella
2 cups fresh grated parmesan
4 tbl butter

ASSEMBLY: (preheat oven to 375 degrees)

Grease a 13 X 9 pan with butter. Spoon the sauce into the bottom of the pan and coast the whole thing. Add a single layer of lasagna noddles. Spread some squash mixture over the lasagna noddles making sure you get and even spread over whole pan. Sprinkle this with a layer of mozzarella/parmesan cheese. Repeat this until you reach about 1/4 inch from the top of the pan. Finish with cheese and sauce on top. Bake on center rack for one hour with tin foil on the top of the pan. Remove the foil and dot the top with about 4 tbl of butter cut into small chunks. Bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes longer until it starts to get brown and is bubbling. Let it rest before serving for about 10 minutes.

So rich and creamy

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Off to Boston for a family "thing", so I am borrowing a wonderful recipe from my good friend Teresa...hope she doesn't mind. She made it last night and it sounds wonderful. She probably had most of the ingredients IN HER PANTRY!!!!....the vegetables may have taken her to the market.

In no exact measurements chop together:

Fresh tomatoes, one large serano pepper, and some kalamata olives. Add corn cut from a freshly cooked cob and simmer all together with olive oil, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar (go easy on this ingredient), fresh ground pepper, and fresh basil. Simmer about 15 minutes.

Then use a potato masher to mash the ingredients to your likeness and continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes. She serves it over her favorite whole wheat pasta - you choose.

I might even add some feta cheese crumbles, this cheese goes so well with the olives and pepper.



Sorry this didn't get posted yesterday, I was having some technical difficulty.

This margarita maker is now on sale at Amazon for $205. To make even larger batches there is a heavy duty machine upgrade...haha!!!! Several people I know have these machines and LOVE them!

Who invented the Margarita you ask??????

Legend has it that in 1938, showgirl Margorie King visited Rosarita Beach in Mexico. She asked bartender, Danny Herrera to pour her a tequila drink because she was allergic to everything else on the menu. Happy to oblige, he splashed some tequila over shaved ice and topped it off with a lemon and triple sec......

There is another account however, that pins the drink on Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, who loved to throw together random drinks for her guests when she entertained. One day she combined tequila, Cointreau and lime juice during a fiesta at her holiday escape home in Acapulco. The story goes that her guests were bewitched and the drink caught on like wildfire in the States.

So next time you are enjoying a margarita in your backyard with your Margaritaville Machine or at your favorite watering hole....you have a little story to share!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I could not end Anne's Margarita Week without the BEST OF BOSTON Ultimate Margarita!
The best Margarita in Boston is served up at Audubon Circle, located at 838 Beacon Street. Visit them there or here... http://www.auduboncircle.us/
As Boston Magazine says, "Unlike at other watering holes around town, this bar's margaritas are made without artificial mixes, syrups and OBNOXIOUS glassware. Instead, bartenders shake up freshly squeezed lime juice, Hornitos Reposado tequila, guava juice, a hint of cilantro and just enough ice cubes to give it a chill, but not water it down.
Poured into a salt rimmed lowball glass and garnished with lime and orange slices.
The foamy concoction comes with only one caveat......it might go down a little too easy!!!"
Happy Friday
Miss all of my family!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Yes, you read this correctly..Margarita Cupcakes.....
Could be the strangest thing I have blogged to date but seemed far too interesting to omit.
The recipe comes from the website advertising Margarita Texas Mix and actually sounds delicious even though I am not a cupcake fan...oh hell..there's alcohol in the recipe so of course I would LOVE them!
9 oz of Margarita Texas Mix
3 oz clear tequila
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
1 box white cake mix
3 large egg whites
3 tbl canola oil
1 tbl sangria
Lime Buttercream Icing
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
5-6 cups powdered sugar
2 tbl fresh lime juice
1 tsp grated lime zest
pinch of salt
Lime slices for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 and place paper cupcake liners in 2 cupcake baking pans (makes 24)
CUPCAKES: Whisk together margarita mix, tequila and Grand Marnier in a bowl. Measure out and reserve 1-1/4 cups for this recipe.
In a large bowl blend cake mix, egg whites, oil, 1 tbl of lime zest and reserved margarita mix. Blend on low for about 30 seconds then on high for 2 minutes. The batter will still be a bit lumpy.
Spoon batter 3/4 full into 24 cupcake tins. Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpicks come out clean. Remove to a rack and completely cool.
Place butter in a bowl and beat until it's fluffy. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar, salt, lime juice and 1 tbl lime zest. Mix until creamy. You may want to add more powdered sugar to make it creamy and good for frosting. Ice the cupcakes and garnish with a lime slice.
I know...REALLY!!!!!????

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Recently, USA Today had a feature of the top places in the country for margaritas. Here are some of their favorites:

San Francisco, CA
USA Today says they have the best margaritas in the country. "The tequila selection is incredible. Bartender, Julio Bermejo is one of the country's most respected experts on the subject"

Aspen, CO
Jimmy's is stuck in a fancy mall in Aspen. It has a great selection of tequilas and agave spirits (105 in all).

Washington, DC
Jose Andres, a chef seen frequently on Top Chef, serves up a traditional margarita but kicks it up a notch with a topping of salt-air foam.

Los Angeles, CA
This places sounds great...they serve tequilas ON TAP. If you take a seat in their bronze and leather chairs you can enjoy TEQUILA FLIGHTS!

Bellagio, Las Vegas
Experts say to order the classic margarita at this swank spot. These bartenders know their stuff.

Chicago, IL
Drink master, Adam Segar makes very fresh cocktails and their margaritas are seasonally based with fresh ingredients.

Fort Worth, TX
You know what they say "don't mess with Texas". Located in the Stockyards District, their margaritas are just as creative as their food. So, with the elk sausage and wild boar enjoy a jalapeno cucumber margarita.

New York, NY
This is an excellent Mexican restaurant with three locations in NY and on opening in Chicago. The wonderful margaritas range from traditional to Tres Citricos, made with orange and habanero chile. Or try the mentirosa featuring "tric tequila", a sake based blend that has a smoother finish than regular tequila.

So, if you GO THERE.....Go THERE!
Miss you already family

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


If you have had the pleasure of dining and drinking at a Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville then you know they have every kind of concoction of Margarita imaginable.....from the currently popular Pomegranate Margarita..to the Uptown Top Shelf which incorporates a bit of Cointreau...thru the Pink Cadillac Margarita...to the award winning biggest margarita the "Big Rita" that set a record on May 18, 2001!!!!!!!

The perfect margarita at Jimmy Buffets is your choice in volume of:

Margaritaville Gold Tequila
Margaritaville Silver Tequila
Triple Sec
Orange Curacao
lime juice

Mix the tequila, light on the triple sec, light on the curacao and lighter still on the lime juice....shake on ice...serve...

Happy Day Two of Margarita Week!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Yes, we are still on VACATION! One more day with Mom and Anne ..it will be so sad when they leave...so Anne decided I should have a MARGARITA week blog. So here we go!


1 oz Patron Silver
1/4 oz Patron Citronge
Fresh pomegranate juice
dash of fresh lemon juice
Slice of an orange

Pour Patron Silver and Patron Citronge over ice. Add fresh pomegranate juice to taste. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with an orange twist.

As the Ad says ....SIMPLY PERFECT!


Yesterday was a big Budweiser Day......see you later today!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


The motto at Jackie's Too in Ogunquit is,
" If he can't be on the sea bed, a lobster belongs in a place like Jackie's Too"
Every year for the past ten, my family has come to Maine. For my husband, the trips to Maine go back generations. We always take a ride out to Ogunquit and more specifically Perkins Cove and dine at Jackie's Too. So far we have dined with our kids, my Mom and sister!!! Fabulous!
The outdoor seating lies up against the rocks, the only thing keeping the surf from the restaurant. And the motto is true, the lobster rolls at Jackie's are hard to beat. The specialty drinks are pretty tough to beat too.
Ultimately, the view is the most spectacular.
So if you go THERE...GO THERE!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I had heard something about a "special" bun for hot dogs you could only get in New England...so my husband always said...........but about 14 years ago........can't believe it's been that long......I started visiting New England and YES they have their own BUN!!!

A top sliced bun that has flat sides is buttered, grilled and holds the hot dog better so it doesn't fall apart like some side cut buns. It is the same bun used for the traditional Maine lobster roll.

I must admit I love them.....no not with hot dogs...but the lobster really does stay in the roll better and the buttery grilled taste is divine...

So if you come here....get one..or a dozen!



YES my Mom and sister stopped at the liquor store and bought all these ingredients so we can enjoy one or two on the deck today!!!!

Inspiration for new cocktails comes from unexpected places! Take this Leland Palmer by Damon Boelte, bar manager at Prime Meats in Brooklyn.

He says, "I was in LA visiting and in the morning enjoying my favorite hangover drink, the Arnold Palmer, while watching an episode of Twin Peaks (loved that show) where Leland Palmer almost whacks Agent Cooper with a golf club. Sometimes things just make sense...it's definitely better than a golf club to the head."


1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup hot water

3 cups freshly brewed tea, cooled

3/4 cup gin (I use vodka)

3/4 cup Limoncello (I use a gallon)

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 cup cold club soda


lemon slices for garnish

Stir honey and hot water in a bowl until honey dissolves. Cool completely. Combine honey mix, tea, gin or vodka, limoncello, lemon juice and grapefruit juice in a pitcher. Add club soda and stir.

Fill six tall glasses or mason jars with ice. Divide and add lemon slices to each cocktail.

Happy Friday!



When your spouse or significant other calls and says..."I was just asking my co-workers if they wanted to "STOP BY"...aauugghh...love the people...hate the pressure!!!!!
As we all know, a "stop by" needs to involve more than just the one cocktail that they are "supposedly" stopping by for......seriously...
The perfect go-to dish is PESTO...ingredients you could easily have or grab at a local market ..doesn't have to simmer, boil, bake...ready to go over pasta. I always keep refrigerated dinner rolls or frozen ciabatta rolls on hand....not fresh but they will do...
Ingredients: (this makes about a cup)
1-1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts*
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pine nuts should be put in a pan and toasted a bit on the stove until they start turning brown...let cool.
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. Add the oil and blend to a coarse puree. Season with salt and pepper. Cook some pasta and add the pesto....takes no longer to make than the pasta takes to cook....


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We have all tried recipes for fried chicken. From great recipes handed down for generations to tossing chicken pieces in a bag with "Shake n' Bake". If you are a Food Network junkie like me you have seen endless fried chicken competitions, visits by network chefs to famous fried chicken haunts and even famous chefs competing against very popular local chefs who serve fried chicken.

The toughest thing about making fried chicken is we all have a different perspectives on the breading...too thick...too thin...too much flour...too much grease....

So since most of my followers are from New England, Chicago and the Pacific Northwest...here are the best places for fried chicken for 2010 as determined by Bon Appetit Magazine. In no particular order:

Trina's Starlite Lounge
Somerville, Massachussetts
3 Beacon Street
This comfort spot serves the best and meanest version of fried chicken and waffles north of Harlem. The chicken is served with a hot pepper syrup.

Big Jones
Chicago, Illinois
5347 N. Clark Street
If its Tuesday, you will find fried chicken junkies at this Andersonville hangout. The chicken is served with beans, mashed potatoes and cornbread. Chickens are from the local Gunthorp Farms.

Pine State Biscuits
Portland, Oregon
2640 SE Belmont Street
Purists will certainly debate whether boneless fried chicken is really proper fried chicken at all. But if taste alone is the deciding factor then the "Reggie" boneless fried chicken, bacon and cheese with gravy on a biscuit certainly qualifies....no calories there.

Others that made the list:

Huckleberry in Santa Monica, CA
Little Skillet in San Francisco, CA
Pies 'n' Thighs in Brooklyn, NY
Fearing's in Dallas, TX
Cork Market & Tasting Room in DC
Resurrection Ale House in Philadelphia, PA
Bar Symon in Avon Lake, OH

So if you go...go to these!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I love a perfectly grilled (medium-rare for me) hamburger. The traditional ketchup, mustard, relish, lettuce and tomato toppings while delicious become slightly mundane. Restaurants around the country are playing with burger toppings. They are also mixing up the meat that makes up the burger. Some beef only, some beef and pork, some with beef and sausage..not to mention the turkey, fish and veggie burgers...but those are for another blog OR NOT!

These three burgers come from three great chefs and I love all of them. My favorite is the blackened burger with grilled onion salad and pico de gallo....love as the juices drip down the sides of my mouth...YES!

Cook and drain some applewood smoked bacon. Keep warm
Make a great sauce of mayo with a bit of ketchup, rice vinegar, maple syrup and a bit of salt.
While you grill your ground sirloin burger, cook a fried egg. When you flip your burger, add the bacon, fried egg and American cheese. When the cheese melts, put the burger on the bottom of the bun. Top with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. Spread sauce on the top of the bun and add to the big burger. Let rest for a minute and EAT!

Cook some bacon, drain and keep warm
Peel, core and grate a granny smith apple, pat out the excess water. Add a bit of lemon zest, lemon juice, mayo, maple syrup, thin sliced celery and crumbled bleu cheese.
Cook your burger.
On the bottom of the bun layer a piece of lettuce, add burger, then bacon and the apple slaw...add the top of the bun....Love this... SO different and refreshing!

Brush slices of red onion with olive oil and grill both sides. Mix some olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, sat and pepper and brush over the grilled onions and keep warm. Grill your burger (spice it up with a mix of ground beef and minced sausage mix) . Place onion salad on the bottom of the bun, add burger and top with your favorite pico de gallo and add the top of the bun. This is fabulous. I could eat a bowl of the onion salad by itself...so good.

So next bbq...kick it up a bit!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Such a simple salad with a very simple dressing but takes you away from the typical "lettuce" salad. Now that tomatoes couldn't taste better...USE THEM IN EVERYTHING...haha!!! The tomato season seems so short I really do love to incorporate fresh ones into just about anything I make and salads are a perfect fit.


10 medium tomatoes sliced to 1/4 inch
3 large ripe mangoes peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch
2 large ripe avocados peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch
3 large shallots sliced thin
2 cups fresh basil thinly sliced
1/4 cup + 1 tbl red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl combine red wine vinegar with the olive oil and season with salt. Add the sliced shallots and 1 cup of the basil and toss well.

Arrange the tomatoes on a platter with the mangoes and avocados. Drizzle with the dressing and garnish with the extra basil.

This makes about 10 servings so adjust your ingredients accordingly.

It is so refreshing served at a summer bbq and takes about 15 minutes to make!


I love deviled eggs...who doesn't! This recipe combines all the wonderful tastes of deviled eggs but adds a little flair with the nice crunch of the toast. It makes a perfect hors d'oeuvre for any party, not just a brunch.


1 dozen large eggs (I use organic)
2 tbl white vinegar
1/2 pound sliced white sandwich bread
1 cp mayonnaise
1 tbl yellow or dijon mustard
paprika for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a large saucepan cover the eggs with water and add the vinegar. Bring to a rapid boil. Cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Drain and cool under running cold water.

Quarter the bread slices and layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about 6 minutes turning once until browned.

Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise. Coarsely chop half the egg whites and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining whites and all the yolks in a food processor. Add the mayonnaise and mustard and pulse until smooth. Add this mixture to the chopped egg whites. Season with salt and pepper.

Top each toast point with the egg spread and dust lightly with paprika. Arrange on a platter and serve. You could serve the spread in a bowl surrounded by the toast points and have your guests make their own.

How easy is this....thanks to Katie Lee



YES it's catch up time for me...took a little hiatus to spend time with my kids and lots and lots of family and friends.

We all had a great time and I am now looking forward to a fun visit with more family.

As promised I am going to post a few recipes tonight to catch up. A big fireworks show too tonight so I have to hurry....

The Raspberry French 75 cocktail comes from the book titled "Market-Fresh Mixology". Great book incorporating luscious tasting drinks with a lot of fresh ingredients. This makes just a single cocktail so of course start multiplying this recipe!!!


5 fresh sage leaves
5 fresh raspberries
1-1/2 ounces gin or vodka
fresh sour mix (see below)
sparkling wine

Muddle 4 of the sage leaves and 4 of the raspberries and sour mix in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add gin or vodka and shake well. Add some sparking wine. Gently shake the cocktail and strain into a champagne flute. Garnish with the remaining sage leaf and raspberry.

Sour Mix: first make a simple syrup (heat 1 part water and 1 part sugar until the water boils and the sugar dissolves). Let cool. Combine 1 cup of the simple syrup with the juice of 8 lemons. Stir well. If you don't want to go through this step, you can buy sour mix at most groceries and liquor stores. You can refrigerate the remaining sour mix.

Wonderful flavor

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Sorry no time to blog...be back with three entries tomorrow night! ENJOY!

Friday, August 6, 2010


With my kids.....having fun....at the beach...bouy bell and fog horn...life is very good

See you tomorrow

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Today is a special day on Year of the Blog. We have a guest blogger! Since my mom is cooking away in the kitchen this morning I, Rachel am going to blog for her. One of my dearest friends, Elana and I are sitting in the York Beach Maine house trying to think of something to blog. For those of you who don't know... Elana and I met in Scotland when we studied abroad and just clicked right from day one. We had many amazing adventures and helped each other learn and grow so much throughout the whole experience. Elana is here this week with me in Maine and it is the first time we have seen each other since that trip almost 2 years ago...

So back to the food. Elana has a special party dip that is always a huge favorite. Buffalo Chicken Dip is today's recipe... and here's how you do it.

1 large can of canned chicken (next to the canned tuna)

1/2 Franks Red Hot sauce (pepper sauce)

1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese

1/2 cup of bleu cheese or ranch salad dressing

add all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk together, then pour mixture into a slow cooker on medium heat. Cook for about 30-45 min.

Serve hot with tortilla chips and fresh veggies!!
I hope everyone is having a great summer! Love, Rachel and Elana

As my Mom would say...ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Another great recipe from Grace Parisi. This salad is another terrific use of salmon. It's light with the lemon and capers and an all in one meal with salmon, tomatoes and bread. No need for any side dishes..only a nice glass oif white wine.
5 tbl olive oil
2 pints grape tomatoes halved
2 large garlic cloves
2 tbl capers chopped
loaf of ciabatta bread cut into chunks
1 lemon halved and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 lbs salmon, skinned and cut into large chunks
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
On a baking sheet toss the ciabatta chunks with 2 tbl olive oil and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes until the bread is toasted.
In a bowl, mix tomatoes, garlic, capers, lemon, parsley, red pepper and 2 tbl olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the tomato mixture with the bread and roast for about 10-15 minutes until tomatoes begin to soften and blister.
In the same bowl toss the salmon with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Combine salmon with the bread and tomatoes and roast for about 6-8 minutes until salmon is cooked through.
Try to serve immediately! So much wonderful flavor and so simple!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


While this dish traditionally is made with Chinese noodles and other ingredients somewhat hard to find even in American Asian markets, Boston chef Joanne Chang substitutes spaghetti noodles and peanut butter. You just need to cook the spaghetti a few minutes longer than package directions to give it the texture of Chinese noodles. Since I am not a big cilantro fan, I substitute parsley.

You can make this dish as spicy as you want by adjusting the amount of red pepper flakes you add.


1 lb spaghetti
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tbl + 1 tsp sugar
6 tbl soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tbl Asian sesame oil
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1-(2 in) piece of ginger peeled and chopped
1 large garlic clove
3 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
lime wedges for garnish

Cook spaghetti according to package directions but a few minutes longer. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well!

In a blender, puree peanut butter, 6 tbl vinegar, 3 tbl sugar, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, red pepper, ginger and garlic. Transfer 1/2 cup of this mixture to noodles and toss.

In another bowl, toss the celery with the cilantro and remaining 2 tbl vinegar and 1 tsp sugar.

Transfer noodles to serving bowls and drizzle with remaining peanut dressing. Top with the celery mixture and garnish with lime wedges.

Only takes as long to make as the noodles to cook!!!

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