Thursday, September 30, 2010


Onions - love 'em or hate 'em. In my family we have the raw onion lovers and the cooked onion lovers. Unfortunately my husband is on the raw onion side and I am definitely on the cooked onion side. So of course, I make this as an appetizer and invite all my "cooked-onion" friends. This is a twist on a Tyler Florence recipe. I like to add goat cheese to offset the sweetness in the onion and the tartness of the olives. It makes a perfect combination.


3 onions, preferably Vidalia, chopped
3 anchovies, smashed
8 tbl of unsalted butter
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves chopped
1/3 cup pitted Nicoise olives
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
olive oil
parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Heat 4 tbl butter in a large saute pan and add onions, smashed anchovies, thyme and season with salt and pepper. (If you want to avoid anchovies, add more salt, but it is better with the anchovies so go for it!!!) Cook until the onions are super sweet and golden brown about 20 minutes.

Take the baguette and lengthwise shave the rounded top and bottom off so crust is only on the sides. Then cut the baguette in half lengthwise and brush both sides of each with the remaining 4 tbl of butter softened.

Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and top with the onion mixture. Top with olives and crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake until crispy about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cut into small pieces and serve hot.

These are perfect to serve alongside a platter of Italian antipasto meats like prosciutto, sopressata and salami...delicious!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Celebrity Guest Blogger Today!

Ok, so I am not a celebrity... but my mom did let me blog today!! ps. this is Rachel :)

Well bad news to all the aspiring cooks out there... I am not as motivated as my mom in the kitchen. So there will be no new recipe to take home to the family today... sorry. What my mother and I do share in common is our love to try new restaurants.

It has almost been a year since I moved back to Portland. My friend Claire had also left Portland for college and since our arrival back in the city of roses we realized there were A TON of things we never explored growing up here. So began our mission to create a bucket list of Portland events, places, and sights that we wanted to accomplish. The list has been fun and we have always been adding and crossing things off as we go. I am here to share with you a recent completed bucket list adventure....

Pine State Biscuits. Located in the Belmont neighborhood in Portland. Breakfast food extraordinaire. The credit for this discovery goes to Claire. It is a tiny hole in the wall breakfast joint with an AMAZING menu. Pine State got it's humble roots as a food cart and food vendor at the Portland Saturday Market...and as business boomed they opened a small shop in Belmont. The food is out of this WORLD good and since has been talked about and reviewed by the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Diners, Drive-In's & Dives Host, Guy Fieri. The place is amazing. Below is what both Claire and I ordered... The Reggie... fried chicken, bacon, cheese, between two flaky biscuits.. then covered in gravy. How's that for healthy? haha well it eats purrdy good :) I suggest if you are ever in the neighborhood stop by Pine State, but get there before 9am...after that the line is out the door and around the corner till close. Enjoy :)

photo courtsey of

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


According to Anne...there MUST be more soup. Fall and Winter are soup seasons so I will be blogging as many as I have. This is really a very traditional chicken noodle soup at the start, but the addition of a little cream and cooking sherry really adds so much more flavor to the soup. You can add other vegetables, but if you are planning to store some leftover soup there are certain vegetables that won't hold up too well in the stock for long.
This is a great weekend meal because the fragrance of the stock just screams comfort!
For Stock
3 lb fryer chicken whole or cut up
3-1/2 cups of water
3 carrots peeled and cut in half
3 celery ribs cleaned and cut in half
1 large onion peeled and cut in half
3 cloves of garlic peeled and cut in half
4 bay leaves
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tbl whole peppercorns
For Soup
2 cups sliced carrots (coin shaped)
2 cups sliced celery
1/3 cup cooking sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tbl chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
2-1/2 cups uncooked pasta noodles (egg)
grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
a nice crusty baguette
Stock: add all ingredients into a soup pot. Cook until the chicken is tender -about an hour. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool. Strain the rest of the stock reserving the broth. When the chicken is cool, cut up meat into chunks and discard the bones, etc. Set chicken aside.
Soup: Bring stock back to a boil and add carrots and cook about 3 minutes, then add celery and cook 8 minutes. Add the chicken, parsley, sherry and rosemary. Stir to combine and add the cream. Cook for another 5 minutes and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Cook the noodles in a separate pot according to package directions. Add noodles to individual servings so they don't continue to cook in the soup and absorb all the stock.
Serve with grated Parmesan and a nice crusty bread! Keep warm!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Today is the last Mac & Cheese Day and I am ending it with my favorite vegetable - CARROTS! While this may seem a bit odd, it really isn't. Another good choice for a vegetable mac & cheese would be pumpkin, butternut squash and I already blogged cauliflower mac & cheese a while ago. These are very tasty and much more "figure-friendly". This carrot recipe only has 370 calories per serving. The only problem is that I like it so much I eat much more than ONE serving.


3/4 lb carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large navel orange, zested in strips and juiced
1-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
9 oz penne pasta
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tbl fresh chopped tarragon
fresh white pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a saucepan, combine carrots, orange zest strips, juice and broth. Season with salt and white pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the carrots are soft. Discard the zest strips and puree the mixture in a blender.

Cook the pasta according to package directions but only halfway - about 5 minutes, Drain and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Return pasta to the saucepan and add pasta water and carrot puree. Over low-medium heat stir the pasta until the carrot mixture coats all the pasta and sauce thickens a bit. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and stir until cheese it melted and creamy. Stir in tarragon and season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese and bake until golden brown about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes or so and serve.

Hope you liked comfort food Mac & Cheese Days!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Need I say more..LOBSTER!!! This recipe comes from a Manhattan restaurant called Macbar, whose menu has 12 mac & cheese variations.....I HAVE to go there. For some, I am still trying to get the famous lobster mac & cheese recipe from the Blue Sky restaurant in York Beach. I have eaten a ton of it and the chef did say he would give it to me...gotta get over there before I leave!!!


12 oz shell pasta

4 tbl unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

4 cups of milk

12 oz grated Fontina cheese

8 oz Mascarpone

3 tbl lobster or fish broth

3 tbl brandy or cognac

1 tsp Tabasco

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

8 oz cooked lobster meat cut into big chunks

1/3 cup minced chives

2 scallions thinly sliced crosswise

2 oz grated sharp aged white cheddar

kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cook pasta according to package directions BUT only cook halfway, about 3 minutes and drain. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook whisking constantly until smooth about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and cook until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon..about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add half of the Fontina along with the Mascarpone, broth, brandy, Tabasco and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir in half each of the lobster, scallions and chives. Transfer to a 13 x 9 pan and sprinkle remaining Fontina and cheddar on top. Bake until golden and bubbly - about 30 minutes. Let cool about 5 minutes and garnish with remaining lobster, scallions and chives.

So creamy and delicious...!



It's still Mac & Cheese days!!!! This version adds a little more spice and a little more cream than traditional mac & cheese recipes. You can use elbow macaroni as well, but best to use a tube-like shape or shell so the cheese coats the whole piece of good....This is very fast too.


8 oz small shell pasta
7 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese cut into small cubes

6 oz grated cheddar cheese

2 tbl plus 1 tsp flour

1-1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp cayenne (more to taste)

2/3 cup sour cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups half and half

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup grated onion

1 tsp Worcestershire

1-1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions, BUT only cook halfway about 3 minutes. Drain and pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Stir in the cubed cheddar cheese and set aside.

Combine salt, flour, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne in a mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and the eggs and whisk until smooth. Then add the half and half, heavy cream, onion and Worcestershire and whisk until smooth. Pour this mixture over the pasta and stir to combine. Sprinkle the grated cheddar on top.

Bake until the pasta is golden and bubbly..about 30 minutes. Let cool and serve.

Another great twist to tradition!



This cocktail is the NEW sensation all over the country and the internet! Said to have been "invented" at the Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn, the cocktail is a two-shot drink. One shot of Jameson and one shot of pickle juice. Yes, I said pickle juice.

Some bars have started to make their own signature pickle juices to accompany the Jameson. A bartender in Portland, Oregon makes a pickled nectarine juice as his second shot.

One shot Jameson

One shot pickle juice



It's that time of the year to start preparing those cool weather comfort foods...and nothing says comfort like Mac & Cheese. While the original mac & cheese came to America from Italy, there are so many variations on this standard that every culture is in the act.

I am not a fan of Velveeta cheese, but in this recipe it is the ingredient that makes it ultra-creamy..seriously, try it.

8 oz small shell pasta
3 slices of crustless white bread
6 tbl unsalted butter
10 oz grated sharp cheddar (4 cups)
10 oz grated Gruyere cheese
6 oz Velveeta cheese cut into small cubes
1 oz blue cheese crumbled
1/2 tsp paprika
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 cups milk
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Cook pasta according to package instructions BUT only half the time, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Tear up the bread and pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Heat saucepan over medium heat and melt 3 tbl butter. Add the bread crumbs and stir to combine and set aside.

Wipe out the same pan and melt the remaining butter and add paprika, thyme, shallots and bay leaf. Cook until shallots are soft about 5 minutes. Add flour and cayenne and stir until it gets thick. Whisk in the milk and cook stirring frequently until the sauce gets thick and coats the back of a spoon. Toss out the thyme and bay leaf and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in cheddar, half the Gruyere, the Velveeta and the blue cheese. Stir until smooth. Add the pasta and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a 8 x 8 baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining Gruyere and breadcrumbs.
To help with the mess, place the baking dish on a tin foil lined baking sheet and bake until it is golden and bubbly..about 30 minutes. Let cool and serve!

I could eat the whole dish...okay so I have a few times WHAT!!!???

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


YES, you read the title right...Fish Sticks. I have been asked for more halibut dishes and this is surely one everybody will love and moves so much further than my childhood memories of Gorton's fish sticks on Friday nights during lent. The simple egg wash and panko breadcrumbs keeps the breading very light and crunchy.
This dish makes a great appetizer so simple, but is a perfect main course with some great sides. You really need to use a firm fish so halibut is perfect, cod would work as well. I am allergic to dill so I substitute italian parsley.
1-1/2 lbs of 3/4 in halibut cut into 3" x 1" strips
1-1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
3 tbl olive oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-1/2 tbl fresh chopped dill
2 tbl drained capers
2 tbl chopped fresh chives
2 tbl finely chopped dill pickles plus 1 tbl juice from jar
For the sauce: combine mayonnaise, dill, capers, chives, pickles and juice. Season with pepper. Cover and chill.
For the halibut: spread breadcrumbs on a plate and whisk egg in a small bowl. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. In batches, coat fish with egg, then panko and shake off excess. Heat 1-1/2 tbl of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add half the fish sticks and cook until fish is opaque in the middle and the crust is golden brown on all sides. Repeat with remaining oil and fish. Cover and keep warm until all fish is cooked. Serve with tartar sauce.
These are delicious, so very easy and MUCH healthier than your frozen food options!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Another great recipe from a friend of a friend. Thanks Terry and Ellen!!!!! This looks fabulous! Last day of Summer tomorrow and by the way it may be 85 degrees here...YIPPEEEE!!!! One last wonderfully warm moment...then of course the rain comes into town as fast as the Fall colors are appearing.

Everywhere I go I see that a hint!!!!??? This recipe is a super tasty twist on an alfredo sauce. The pumpkin and nutmeg are so flavorful..really adds to the cream and cheese. I think this could also work with a nice roasted pureed butternut squash instead of the pumpkin...but I am sooo going Pumpkin!

16 oz box of penne pasta (or your favorite)
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup canned 100% pumpkin (not pumpkin filling)
sliced zucchini (optional - see note below)
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
sage for garnish

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

In a saucepan, heat over low heat - cream cheese, parmesan cheese, butter and milk until cream cheese and butter are melted, stirring frequently. Add pumpkin and seasonings and stir until cooked and heated through. Taste and season to your taste. Combine drained pasta with pumpkin sauce. Toss to coat and serve with extra parmesan cheese. I would add a garnish of a bit of fresh sage.

Special note: Terry suggests adding sliced zucchini to pasta in the last three minutes of pasta cooking process. Drain both zucchini and pasta and coat with sauce.

So delicious....Thanks again!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Most people I know have their biggest food weaknesses in chocolate and sugar-laden desserts. For me it is SALT-laden foods. I love salt...and I try to never add salt since I think on a daily basis I am always over the prescribed milligrams limits of salt anyway.
But I found these water crackers that are sooooo good. Their most glorious flavor is sea salt and olive oil....seriously sea salt and olive oil..simply perfect. I have tried the new Tollhouse sea salt and olive oil crisps or flatbread crackers.....nothing close to these LU crackers.
They need nothing, no cheese, no other dollops of things on top of them to make them taste good...these are just so simply perfect alone.
Try these at your next cocktail party!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Corn Chowder...yuuummmmmmmmm! I love this stuff. This is the perfect soup to make on a Fall Sunday while you are watching football. Served with a nice crusty bread or small blt sandwiches, or just a tall glass of chardonnay.....yes!

It is so very affordable, if you have an at-home or road trip tailgate party this is an excellent dish that adds a nice new dimension to the bbq'd menu.

It is great to be able to thicken this soup by pureeing half and adding it back. Works great! This serves about 6-8.

8 ears of corn, shucked
1/3 lb pancetta or bacon, chopped
5 tbl unsalted butter
1 tbl thyme, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 large pieces of celery chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 cups milk
1-1/2 lb new potatoes peeled (or not) cut into 1/2" cubes
fresh pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil for garnish
1/2 tsp old bay seasoning for garnish

Standing the cobs in a large bowl on their end, slice the kernels off the cobs and scrape the cob to get all that great corn juice into the bowl. Take 5 of the cobs, break them in half and save, discard the others. Set corn and cobs aside.

In a large pot cook the pancetta until crisp. Reserve 3 tbl of the pancetta on a paper towel to drain and leave the other pancetta in the pan. Add the butter, thyme, garlic, celery, onion and bay leaf. Cover the pot and cook until onion softened, stir occasionally. Add the corn, reserved cobs, milk and potatoes. Cover and bring to boil then reduce to low and simmer about 25 minutes until potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally.
Skim any foam from the surface. Discard the cobs and bay leaf. Transfer 1-1/2 cups of the soup to a blender and puree. Stir puree back into the chowder and season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup garnished with reserved pancetta, basil and dashes of Old Bay seasoning on top.

You can add shrimp or crab to this to "kick it up"!!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I love fish, but it can be a tricky thing. At first I overcooked everything. Then I tried to cook it in the serving sauce. I have found in very few circumstances should you bake fish in a sauce. Swordfish works very well baked in sauces, but for the most part you really should cook the fish and sauce separately.
1 lb Halibut fillet
1 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper
2 tbl olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
15 oz can peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
1 tbl fresh chopped basil
1 tbl capers, drained and rinsed
dash of red pepper flakes
fresh lemon slices
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Coat the fish with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes turning once. (Internal temp should be around 135 degrees).
In a large saute pan heat oil and add garlic for a minute. Then add tomatoes with juice, olives, capers and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes stirring frequently.
Spoon the sauce over the fish and garnish with basil and lemon slice. Very easy and great flavor!
I serve this with some basmati rice and a good chardonnay! I know what you are thinking!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Not that I am wishing summer away, but as they say in New England...The fact of the matter is, it is cooling down and clouding up!!!! So we all have to move on from the summer mojitos and fresh berry cocktails. Fall fruits are showing up in the markets so let's take advantage.

Combining fresh pomegranate with the freshest apple juice you can get, creates a unique drink. The Dusk in Eden is a great alternative to the popular Appletini and you don't have the overly sweet apple flavor. The apple is offset by the fresh pomegranate resulting in a SPECTACULAR Martini!

1-1/2 parts "really good" vodka
1 large slice of pomegranate skin before the seeds
1 part apple juice
dash of simple syrup (water and sugar heated to boiling and cooled)
pomegranate seeds for garnish

Muddle together the pomegranate and syrup in a mixing glass or martini shaker
Add the vodka and apple juice and fill with ice
Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass
Garnish with pomegranate seeds

Wonderful on a nice cool evening wrapped in a blanket!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


This is definitely for my husband and daughter. Every weekend...they want the griddle out for some kind of french toast or pancake DELIGHT.....I am always good with an egg and english muffin..sorry gang...The brown sugar and butter in this recipe create a caramelized crust on the toast.
8 slices of french toast bread (1 inch thick)
fresh raspberries
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp
7 tbl light brown sugar
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 tbl vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
powdered sugar
Good maple syrup
Mix the butter and brown sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla and spices. Melt 3 tbl of the brown sugar-butter mixture in each of two large skillets over medium-high heat. Dip bread slices 1 at a time in the egg mixture and put 4 slices in each skillet. Cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Spread the remaining brown sugar-butter mixture on the tops of each slice. Turn slices over and cook until golden brown. Remove from the pans and sprinkle powdered sugar on the tops of each slice. Add raspberries and serve with maple syrup.
For an even over the top twist to the raspberries with mascarpone cheese...DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


All of you know, I am not a big sweet lover..but these have a twist! Really a twist I can go for.....chopped Butterfingers with the chocolate chips - unbelievable!!!

This recipe calls for "no-stir" peanut butter, which are mostly the organic brands because they don't separate, but if you have chunky peanut butter it will do just fine.

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 cup, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 chopped Butterfinger bar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (This makes two sheets so you can do them one at a time or together. If together put one rack in top third and one bottom third or make one at a time in center rack). Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl beat peanut butter, butter, 1/3 cup sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Then slowly beat in flour mixture. The dough should be a bit crumbly. Stir in the chips and chopped Butterfinger.

Place the remaining sugar in a small bowl. Roll the dough into about 1-1/2 tbl balls. Roll the balls in the sugar bowl and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart. Using a flat bottom glass, press into 1/3 inch thick rounds.

Bake until edges are golden brown about 15 minutes. If you are using both racks, reverse baking sheets halfway through baking process. Let cool....or don't...YUM!!!!

Can anyone say BIG GLASS OF MILK!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


MARIO, is my dear friend from my Portland days and a fun "running buddy". I won't go into the story of the day he wore the wrong pair of spandex shorts for the daily run!!!!!!
He makes a ton of relishes, cans tomatoes and a whole bunch more.....I just want to eat at his house. He has graciously shared this wonderful looking relish for you! I may get him to share more.
The recipe is a modification of his wife, Jayne's family recipe. Mario added green peppers for more flavor and Turmeric for a little mustard color and flavor. This makes about 10 pints or more!
10-12 Large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
6 Sweet Red Peppers
6 Sweet Green Peppers
6 Large Sweet Onions
1/2 cup salt
3 tbl celery seed
3 tbl mustard seed
5 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
1/2 tsp turmeric
Peel and remove seeds from cucumbers. Grind the cucumbers and onion through a coarse blade grinder or slice through the smallest setting on a mandolin. Add the salt, mix well and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, drain the cucumber and onion mixture. Grind the peppers through the same coarse blade grinder or smallest setting on a mandolin. Add this to the cucumber and onion mixture.
Place this mix in a large kettle and add all the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Pack in hot jars to seal in hot water bath. (Follow canning guidelines for relishes - check the internet for these)

Thanks so much Mario, Keep Cooking!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010



The first Monday Night Game and a double header at that. I will spend some of my time in the next 16 weeks blogging perfect football snack food. Tonight I am a bit tired and trying to watch tennis before football so I am going to be quick!!!

1 can of good mixed SALTED nuts

1 tbl melted butter

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 tbl sugar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

In a medium bowl, mix nuts and melted butter making sure all the nuts are coated. In another bowl mix the remaining spices except the sugar. Sprinkle this mixture over the nuts. Spread the nuts on a single layer of a baking sheet. Bake uncovered about 10 minutes until the nuts are toasted. Return the nuts back to the bowl. While they are hot, sprinkle with sugar and toss to coat. Serve warm or you can cool them.

You can even store these in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2-3 weeks.

Have a great football night!


Sunday, September 12, 2010


Week #1 - FINALLY!!! Off to a Patriot Party..Sorry Nancy hoping to kick your Bengals' - - -
Be back tomorrow!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Oh what the .....gorgeous day have to blog another perfect cocktail!

Paul, a great local mixologist at the Blue Sky makes what friends say is the PERFECT Cosmo. This is his hand lighting the Cointreau on fire. The picture is courtesy of Dan, a good friend here for some work and a little fun...thanks Dan!

3 oz Absolut Citron
1 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz mix of lime and cranberry juice
lemon for garnish

Mix all ingredients except lemon in a martini shaker with ice. Shake briefly and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon!!!!!

Happy Saturday Ellen, from Down East!


Friday, September 10, 2010


Have boat AND cocktail will travel!!!! The Sea Breeze among many, many other cocktails is a certified drink of the International Bartenders Association. That means that in bartending competitions, the contestants must add this cocktail to their entries!!!!!
The Sea Breeze is very much a summer drink preferably using fresh grapefruit juice and cranberry juice. I love grapefruit juice and am now I am sitting here typing wishing I had some fresh grapefruit juice!!! Of course I have the other ingredients..seriously!
3 parts cranberry juice
2 parts grapefruit juice, fresh
2 parts vodka (or 3 parts, 4 parts whatever)
grapefruit wedge for garnish
Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and pour over ice.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Stir Fry...great flavors and pretty much a one pot dish...except for making the rice. Speaking of rice there are a lot of them out there so don't cut yourself short on flavor by going with white rice...try basmati, jasmine or brown. If you don't have the fish sauce, you could just use chicken broth. You could add other vegetables to this or substitute the chicken with shrimp!
1 lb boneless chicken tenders cut about 1 inch wide
4 shallots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 cup fresh basil coarsely chopped
1 tbl fish sauce
1 tbl lime juice
1 tbl light brown sugar
2 tbl canola oil
1/2 cup water
pinch of red pepper flake
In a large pan heat oil and add shallots, garlic and red pepper flake. Cook about a minute and add chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Cook chicken about 4-5 minutes.
Combine the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and water. Add mixture to the chicken and cook until the liquid reduces and makes a sauce. Remove from heat and add the basil. Serve over rice.
Another simple recipe!


Yes, I said PANCETTA!!! Love the flavor, so much more than bacon. Pancetta is actually a type of bacon that isn't smoked. Sometimes it may have chunks of pine nuts and fresh cracked pepper.

This dish is very easy and can be made in less than a half hour.


1/4 lb pancetta, diced
1 shallot finely chopped
1 lb asparagus trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 lb puff pastry, thawed
1/2 lb goat cheese (you could use feta as well)
1 egg yolk
fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook the pancetta in a pan until brown and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1 tbl of pancetta grease and add the shallot to that. Cook about 1 minute and add asparagus. Cook about 5 minutes until asparagus is cooked but still crispy. Take the pan off heat and combine pancetta with shallot and asparagus.

Roll out the puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper to about 10 x 14. Transfer the pastry and the parchment to a baking sheet. Put the goat cheese on top of the pastry leaving about an inch on all sides. Sprinkle the asparagus mixture on top. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush the sides with the egg yolk so the pastry gets a nice golden brown. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, let cool and serve warm.

Did I say how much I love PANCETTA!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Tomatoes...GET THEM WHILE YOU CAN...seriously. Pretty soon we will have only the bland ones available. This goes with green beans too..which I will blog tomorrow. It is still somewhat summer-like outside, so nice refreshing side dishes are great!!!
4 large ripe tomatoes sliced
1/2 large cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 lb cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (preferably yellow or orange)
1/2 cup kalamata olives halved
6 oz feta cheese crumbled
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest
4 tsp lemon juice
Combine the crumbled feta and mint in a small bowl and set aside. Season tomato slices with salt and arrange them on a serving platter, slightly overlapping. Toss the cucumbers over the tomatoes. Add the cherry or grape tomatoes on top and then the olives.
Whisk the olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice together. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle this mixture over the salad. Scatter the feta, mint mixture over the dressing and garnish with a mint sprig or two.
So refreshing!


Not laboring on Labor Day....just spending time with back Tuesday!!!!! Take Care All

Monday, September 6, 2010


Too much fun again Sunday...Lifeguards last beach day back later!!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010


So sorry....last summer weekend at the beach! I will be back later....lots of friends and family!!!! Just gorgeous up here!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Here we Maine...waiting for EARL. Michelle wants a great Friday cocktail delivered to her on Beacon Street...what better than the original Hurricane! (and no I am not delivering)
The Hurricane was invented during World War II at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans and was named after the shape of a hurricane lamp. Pat O'Brien's is still open today in New Orleans' famous French Quarters and they sell their original Hurricane cocktail mix at the bar. You can also buy a hurricane cocktail at Pat O'Brien's and walk Bourbon Street with it and take it into other bars up and down the French Quarter. Hurricanes are the drink of choice during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Dave has had a few of these at Pat O'B's!!!!!
Her we go with the original recipe at Pat O'B's!!!!!
4 oz dark rum
4 oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz fresh lemon juice
an orange slice, lime wedge and a maraschino cherry
crushed ice
mix in a shaker...pour in a hurricane glass...serve with a straw!

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Part of making a good impression as a chef, is being prepared! You don't have to make souffles and so many other unbelievably difficult recipes, you just need to have a few tricks up your sleeve.
This basil butter couldn't be easier to make. It can be frozen for 1-2 months and can live in the refrigerator for up to two weeks!!!
Below I will explain how to wrap it up to store. But when you make it you can use it immediately as a spread on cobbed corn, grilled vegetables and dinner rolls. After refrigerated you can cut chunks off and melt it over just-off-the-grill chicken, pork or fish fillets and roasted vegetables.
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
In a bowl combine all ingredients and mash until well combined. YES THAT'S IT!
To store, shape the mixture into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap tightening the ends as if it were a sausage. This recipe can easily be doubled if you have a crowd.
You will be very surprised how much a flavored butter adds to so many dishes. Using a flavored butter really amps up dishes and your reputation as a chef!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Frankly, I have a bit of trouble with whole wheat pastas. Most of us have grown up on great full carbo-loading pasta, so as much as we want to choose more healthy choices it has been hard. The trick I think is to add enough spices and low calorie ingredients for sauces to give it a boost and keep it healthy and gluten free.
On a side note, this recipe comes from a great food magazine, Fine Cooking. I use their recipes often as a base to start a recipe and then I adjust the ingredients to my and my family's taste. So if you are looking for a good starting point in a food magazine start here.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
3/4 lb of whole wheat penne
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise then crosswise to make half moons
4 large cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest plus strips for garnish
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
3 tbl fresh chopped mint
3 tbl fresh chopped basil
3 tbl chopped italian parsley
fresh pepper
Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook stirring occasionally until barely tender and just starting to brown. Add garlic and cook until soft. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest, 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
Add the pasta to the zucchini mixture with parmesan cheese, mint, basil and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss and if too thick add the pasta water. To serve top with lemon strips.
As a side tip, I add a few more ingredients, depending on my pantry. Some are: cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers, drained artichokes, olives.....whatever you have.
Whole Wheat with a KICK!

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