Margarita on the Rocks

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Margarita On The Rocks
Recipe
1 1/2 Ounces GOOD tequila
3/4 Ounce triple sec
1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 Tablespoon simple syrup *
Ice and chilled cocktail glass
Lime slices and salted rim (optional) 
Mix “first 4” ingredients in a cocktail shaker.  In a chilled cocktail glass, salt rim (optional) fill with ice and pour in tequila mixture.  Garnish with lime slices.
 

* Simple syrup, is just that!  In a small sauce pan combine equal parts of sugar and water, bring to a soft boil for 3-4 minutes until sugar has dissolved.  Cool and chill.

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Artichokes with Basil Mayonnaise

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Artichokes with Basil Mayonnaise
Recipe
2 fresh artichokes, tips and leaves trimmed

 

 

 

 

2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, chopped (Basil, Italian parsley and Greek Oregano)
Olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt


 

 

 

 

 

In a medium pot cook artichokes in boiling water with fresh herbs, kosher salt and a drizzle of olive oil for 45 minutes until artichokes are tender.

½ cup mayonnaise
6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
½ glove of garlic, minced
Pinch of salt


In a small bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and chill until ready to serve with the cooked artichokes.


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Thai Shrimp Soup

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Thai Shrimp Soup

This soup is aromatic and full of rich flavors and is perfect for either a family dinner or for entertaining.  Typical Thai cuisine would call for fresh kaffir lime leaves but those are sometimes hard to find in local markets so as a substitute I used fresh lime juice and lime zest.

Recipe

Ingredients

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 (13.6 ounce) cans canned coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
4 stalks lemon grass, bruised and chopped
1 teaspoon fish stock
Zest of 1 lime
3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice from 2 ripe limes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 stalks green onion, sliced

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the shrimp until cooked, about one minute. Drain shrimp, and set aside.

Pour the coconut milk, water, and chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Add the ginger, lemon grass, and lime zest and simmer for 20 minutes.  Strain the coconut milk and discard the spices.

Return the coconut milk to the pot and add the shiitake mushrooms and simmer for an additional 7-8 minutes.

Next, stir in the lime juice, brown sugar, curry powder, green onions.  Add the shrimp to warm and serve.

 

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Spring Centerpiece

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 Spring Centerpiece with Daffodils and Eggs

I enjoy designing seasonal centerpieces that are simple yet fun.

My kids also loved coloring the eggs to help create this Spring time tablescape.

Spring has arrived so I decided to use these pretty daffodils and pastel eggs.  When I want to change the dining table centerpiece I can move these potted daffodils to the entryway, bathrooms or by the kitchen sink.  In a few weeks I will plant these bulbs in the garden to enjoy every year!

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Chocolate Chunk Brownies

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Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Recipe

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate baking bar, broken into chunks


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8×11 baking pan and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl mix together the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder then stir into the butter mixture.  Fold in the chocolate chunks then pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.


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Salsa Verde

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IMG_4624

Salsa Verde

  • 5-6 tomatillos, remove husk and rinse
  • 1 large Anaheim chili, sliced lengthwise
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves (leave skin on while cooking)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

IMG_4582Heat a medium grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatillos, chile, onion and garlic to the dry skillet and char on all sides, turning occasionally, about 7-8 minutes. Peel the garlic then transfer all the charred ingredients to a blender. Add the cumin, lime juice and salt and pepper then process until smooth. Check for seasoning.

IMG_4598Serve with tortilla chips.

IMG_4639

Posted in Appetizers, Recipes, Snacks | Leave a comment

Zucchini Noodles & Chicken Bolognese

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IMG_4642

Chicken Bolognese

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Pinch chili flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the ground chicken and cook until well browned, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme, Italian seasoning and chili flakes and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan. Reduce until the white wine is almost dry or in French cooking terms — reduce to a sec (almost dry). 

Add the tomato sauce and juice and simmer until a thick sauce consistency, about 25 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large zucchinis, spiralized
  • Salt and pepper

In a large sauté pan heat the oil over medium heat, and add the zucchini and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Lobster Thermidor

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Valentine’s Day is just a few days away — try this recipe and your sweetheart will fall in love with this incredible Lobster Thermidor and of course, love you even more!

Lobster Thermidor
 
4 (8-10 ounce lobster tails)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Drizzle of olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and diced small
2 garlic cloves, crushed
6 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup sherry
2 cups heavy cream
2 ounces Dijon mustard
6 ounces parmesan cheese, grated
2 ounces chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
 
Remove lobster meat from the shells and cut into a large dice.  Blanch the lobster shells in boiling water and remove.  In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, mushrooms and garlic and sauté until soft. Add the sherry to deglaze your pan and let reduce by half. Next, add the heavy cream and Dijon mustard. Cook and let reduce. Season with salt and pepper and add the fresh Italian parsley.
 
Place the lobster mixture evenly in the 4 lobster shells.  Top with the cheese and place under the broiler and bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes until golden brown
 
Serve with cooked rice or pasta.  Drizzle with any remaining sauce.

 

Posted in Dinner, Holiday, Recipes, Valentine's Day | Leave a comment

Italian Roasted Red Pepper Soup

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My husband would eat this soup every day if I made it. I’ve been making it for over fifteen years and it tastes just as delicious as the first time.

A couple of years ago for a holiday party I served this soup in espresso cups as an hor d’oeuvre garnished with chives and Parmesan cheese, it was a hit!   Enjoy. 

Italian Roasted Red Pepper Soup

  • 6 Red bell peppers, cored, seeded and halved lengthwise
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Cup chopped onions
  • 1 Cup chopped leeks
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 Small boiling potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 5 Cups chicken stock or canned broth
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Toasted croutons and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lay bell peppers halves, cut side down on the foil.  Broil two inches from the heat until well charred, 8-12 minutes. Transfer to a large plastic bag and seal the bag. Allow the peppers to steam in the bag for 10 minutes. Remove peppers from the bag and slip off and discard the skins. Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside. Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the onions, leeks, salt and black pepper. Sauté over low heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent, 10-15 minutes. Add roasted peppers, potatoes and the stock, bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth or blend in batches in a food processor then return to the pot and heat through. Serve this soup garnished with chives, Parmesan cheese, toasted croutons with a splash of olive oil.


Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Soups | 1 Comment

Crab, Avocado & Tomato Salad

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You could also make this recipe and serve as a dip — just chop the tomato and avocado, follow the recipe and serve with lightly fried tortilla chips.  
 
Crab, Avocado & Tomato Salad
Serves 4

 
Juice from 2 limes
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup sweet onion or red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons blended oil (I use Smart Balance)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound lump crab meat, picked over
2 avocados, peeled and sliced (divided by 4)
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, 4 slices (1/2-inch each)
Garnish: Cilantro, chopped


In a small bowl combine the lime juice,  jalapeno, orange juice, honey, garlic and onion. Whisk in slowly the olive oil and blended oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl add the crab, avocado and 1/2 of the dressing. Check for seasoning.

Place a tomato slice on each plate and top with the avocado and the crab mixture.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and drizzle remaining dressing.



Posted in Salads | 1 Comment