Monday, February 28, 2011

A Virtual Vacation

This is the time of year that really tests us. No longer are we motivated by our new year enthusiasm. No longer are we excited about a prospective snowfall. No longer are we tan. The days of beachy-chic are long gone. There is a glimmer of hope for some of us, who will be leaving on a jet plane for sunnier skies mid-march....while the rest of us are trapped in a blurry tunnel of highways, coffee, and deadlines.

Then Friday comes along, and smiles start appearing. The thought of 50+ hours of freedom is enough to make anyone happy. Add some libations to the mix- and you might as well be on a virtual vacation.

After a nice Sunday walk along the Hudson river, with family, friends and labradors, it was time for a little "VV". We settled down in a friends kitchen, with a picturesque view of the Hudson. I was served one of the most delicious cocktails that I have ever had. I instantly felt as if I were in the carribean, my face being warmed by the sun.

Don't you love those days in February that remind you of the excitement that is coming? Spring is just around the corner, and it is taunting us with promises of blue skies, bird songs and tee shirts. Every time you catch a glimpse of this, it's enough to make you book a flight to the nearest (furthest?) island. The taste is so sweet- yet so bitter when we open our eyes and are reminded of the bare trees, dirty snow and looming cloud cover.

At that moment, (hopefully it is after 5...) make yourself this cocktail- which is now aptly titled "The Virtual Vacation." Close your eyes, and pretend your on the beach.


-Finlandia Mango Vodka

-Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

-Splash of cranberry juice

-A big fat lime

Don't skimp on the freshly squeezed juice- it is the lynch pin of this perfect cocktail.
-Thank you, KVE for this wonderful drink recipe.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tip of the Day

Today's tip of the day:

Do you want perfectly shaped pancakes, without the muss and the fuss?

Try cleaning out a ketchup bottle, once you've used all the ketchup. Pour the pancake batter into the bottle, secure the top, and squeeze the batter onto the frying pan. You can also make fun shapes, that you would not be able to secure with a ladle.

idea courtesy of

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ohhh, Popcorn!

A great American treat.

For me, popcorn conjures up images of baby deer playing with bunnies. World War II women, starting up their own baseball leagues. Visions of Kurt Russell, navigating a quirky family through pirate-infested seas.

It is arguably one of the most popular snacks of the pop-culture americana world. But, like the unsatisfied, demanding group of humans we are, we want to know:


It is pretty good with salt and butter, but who wants to be that vanilla? Don't be so predictable. In today's day and age, it is encouraged (trendy?) to be different.

Show your colors. Cut that hair. Pierce that lip. Ditch the butter- ditch the salt! Oh, you're craaaaazy.

Start out with your favorite brand of popcorn. You may prefer Orville Redenbacher- that works. I prefer the individual kernels that you pop on the stove. Call me old fashioned. Once you have your fluffy golden goodness in a bowl, jazz it up.

All it takes, is some olive oil, pecorino cheese and garlic.

Heat the oil and garlic in a skillet for about 2 minutes, or until the garlic is golden. Discard the garlic. Or, you can add garlic powder- don't go overboard. In a large bowl, toss the popcorn with the oil, shredded pecorino cheese and salt.

Buon appetito!

Perhaps you have a sweet tooth, but can't get your hands on any leftover holiday carmel corn? No problemo.

Pop your popcorn. Melt some butter. Add 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the butter and toss into your popcorn for a seriously savory, sweet treat!

You can even try to add some hot sauce to your popcorn for a daring edge.

Please, try the recipes, perhaps on Sunday, while you enjoy the Oscars- and let me know how you like them!

Recipes courtesy of

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Takeout Fakeout -Your Guests Will Never Know!

Hibernating is tres chic this season, and we all know that a lot of provisions are being prepared to refuel.

Whether your hosting a get together at your place, or attending someone elses shindig, let's face it; you're expected to prepare a dish.

Everyone has their go-to favorite appetizer, but let's spruce things up a bit. We are all sick of your 5 layer dip, and even more sick of your signature sour cream and onion and potato chip combo.

Let's blow their socks off! (Without having to do much!)

You may not be Giada, or Tyler- but you ARE clever. How can you prepare a killer appetizer, with only putting minimal effort into the dish?

Simple, pull a "takeout fakout."

Below are three ideas for appetizers that will impress your guests, while leaving you enough time to catch up on my latest blog posts.

Step one: Order a pizza. Ask for a plain pie, slightly undercooked, and not cut.
Step two: Go get ready for the night. You've got 30-45 minutes.
Step three: When the pizza arrives, use a round cookie or biscuit cutter, and cut out circles, excluding the crust.
Step four: Heat the round pieces at 400 degrees, for about five minutes.
Step five: Top with slices of olives, some with marinated mushrooms, artichoke hearts, proscuitto, and fresh herbs.

Not a fan of this one? How about some decadent garlic bread? Everyone loves garlic bread!

Step one: Call your favorite italian restaurant, and order a loaf of garlic bread.
Step two: Slather slices of bread with some prepared marinara saice, or pesto. Top with mozzarella, or goat cheese. Top with a marinated pepper, or a sun dried tomato, and heat those puppies in the oven, until they are toasted.

You can also try a Hummus Po' Boy with the garlic bread. Spread hummus on the garlic bread and top with coleslaw, lettuce and tomato.

Perhaps your feeling fancy. Why not try a simple lettuce wrap? It will keep your guests uber impressed, and only takes 5 minutes preparation!

Step one: Order your favorite take-out chinese shrimp or chicken stir fry. Maybe even an order of their Kung Pao chicken.
Step two: Scoop some of the chicken or shrimp dish onto little boston lettuce leaves, and serve.

Rely on restaurants once in a while-- your guests will never know!!

recipes courtesy of

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sass Up Your Salad!

Late February.

Too early to completely disregard those New Years resolutions. (Too late to be sticking to them 100%.)

What's one to do? Do we forego the low-cal lunch, and order the cheesesteak?

NO, we get creative.

I was never very fond of the whole BYOL (bring your own lunch) approach to dieting, but I have to say, it works wonders. If you take the time the night before to prepare your meal, not only does it keep cash in your thinning wallet, but it's great for your waistline.

While a salad is always a healthy choice, some prove to be south of scrumptious. But what constitutes a "salad"? It doesn't have to be a lusterless meal. You are the artiste; the produce section; your canvas. Get in touch with your inner Bob Ross, and make some magic. How do we make less-than-enthusiastic lunch trigger our salivary glands?

Try sassing it up. I was on the whole sushi-grade ahi tuna steak kick, (which is obvious if you read Thursday's entry) so I tried adding some to a baby spinach and vidalia salad. I tossed in some toasted sesame seeds, and the miso-soy dressing and viola, insta-mega meal.

Try adding crumbled feta with toasted pine nuts to your salad. Pair that with some craisins, or the blueberry version of craisins, and you're in for a mouthwatering treat.

Love shrimp? Marinate it in lime juice and let it sit to cook. When it's pink, chop it up into fine pieces, add some ripe chopped avocado, chopped cilantro, and corn to the mix. Toss this into a garden salad, and add a nice lite vegetable oil, seasoned salt, and lime juice dressing.

Try a different approach to the common garden salad. Use Boston lettuce for a softer taste. Pair this with the vegetables of your choice, and add a different dressing, such as a cider vinaigrette. This vinaigrette is a lovely match to the boston or butterhead lettuce. You can make it by adding cider vinegar to olive oil, with a spash of fresh lemon juice, garlic salt and pepper. Crumble some fine bleu cheese, and serve.

The art of the salad is all-encompassing. The possibilities are endless. If you are a fan of chicken salad, put a scoop on top of your salad, and drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top.

Go for it. Get creative. Get sassy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Next to Nobu

Asian/Fusion cuisine never ceases to delight me. The medley of flavors dancing around my palate is always a welcome experience.

The experimentations of pairing unlikely cultures proves time and time again to be profitable. There are hundreds of new "it" restaurants monthly in New York City. However, the ones that withstand the test of time are my cup of tea.

Nobu 57 is hands down one of the best restaurants that I've had the pleasure to visit. The robust menu, along with chic ambiance allows this venue to be slightly ostentatious, with a side of fabulous. The throng of Wall Street professionals surrounding the bar, the emaciated models drooling over their neighbors maki, while they casually sip a dirty martini. The power-couple in the corner, "cheers"ing to their good fortune.

And I haven't even gotten to the food yet.

If you have the please to attend, I must recommend the Rock Shrimp Tempura and the Yellowtail Jalapeno sashimi appetizer. You will NOT be disappointed. This yellowtail dish is one of the most succulent treats you will ever experience. The tangy-ness of the miso/soy glaze dressing. The tenderness of the raw fish. The surprising kick to the thinly sliced lost me there for a moment.

It is WONDERFUL. Some nights I dream of this dish.

The menu can get a little pricey, but trust me, it is worth it. Maybe not every night, but definitely for a romantic adventure.

However, I have come up with a surefire plan that will satiate my Nobu cravings on a daily and inexpensive basis.

Go to your local supermarket and see if they sell sushi grade ahi tuna, or yellowtail. Buy some raw jalapenos, (not in a jar) and make your own miso/soy dressing. Slice the fish thin, slice the jalapeno thinner, drizzle on the dressing, and enjoy. I enjoyed this last night.

Miso Soy Dressing

-.5 cup of lite soy sauce
-1 tbsp of miso paste
-3-4 tbsp rice vinegar
-1 tsp of ginger (minced, peeled or grated)
-1 cup vegetable oil

Put 'em in a blender until it's mixed, and pour over your fish!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Crumb of Slumber: Lessons Learned in "Ambi-Cooking"

I would like to dedicate this post to my boss, without whom, it would be a fabricated tale.

My boss is one in a million. With her fluffy always neatly maintained coiff bundled up on her head, and her perfectly pressed polos, she is a character straight out of your favorite movie.

This character has trouble sleeping. Like so many other insomniacs, she has sought the help of her primary care physician. Her knight on the white horse prescribed her a little something special, known as Ambien.

"You may have some side effects....."

A hop, skip and a smile later, she is at home, preparing for bed. All this boss wants is a good night's sleep. She wants to wake up well rested for once.

What do you dream of? Wether it's sugarplums, Victoria's Secret models, or winning the lottery, you're no different than most. Some may sleepwalk. Some may sleeptalk. Some may twist and writhe, making their sheets turn into the likes of a straitjacket.

The bosswoman went to bed at 11pm, that night. In the morning, she woke up ready for the trials and tribulations of another day at work. As she made her way to the kitchen, she saw a beautiful casserole, cooling on the stove.

"Mmmmmmm." This casserole smelled of baked fish..

...and chocolate chips?! Who in their right mind would pair these two ingredients? Certainly not her teenage sons?

More "restful" nights, more suprise entrees.

Things are getting weird. Boss comes to find out, by the help of her sons, and cousin, that sometime during the witching hour, she comes out to the kitchen, sharpens her knives, preheats the stove, and goes to work....while sleeping.

These "ambi-meals" have become rather popular at work. Just yesterday, she brought in pictures of a delightful chicken stew, circa 4:23 a.m.

How about those lobsters that she was saving for a special occasion? Not to worry, they went into a beautiful buntcake.

The ambi-cooking took a turn for the worst with her latest creation. Apparently, she was going for a "sweet, savory" dish. The Vienna Fingers, topped with Brie cheese, sprinkled with melted butter, dill and apricot jam was not a fan favorite.

Before you pop that little coral pill,

Lock your bedroom door.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Eat Your Heart Out....

Sure, Aphrodite was the Greek Goddess of sensuality and love, but what's this femme fatale got to do with asparagus?

Back in the good 'ol days, the greeks referred to sensual, or sexual pleasure as "aphrodisia," in honor of the bombshell. Nowadays, they serve as the punch line of a feeble come-on. How many times has your date suggested you order the oysters?

Are these erotic eats in fact a myth? Are they merely sexually suggestive foods?

Let's discuss.

Many people believe that the term "aphrodisiac" is given to a food that is more likely to enhance sexual pleasures. But, when studied, it seems as if these foods are as pleasurable as your mind allows them to be. Like many other myths, the alleged aphrodisia results may be due to the belief of their users. A sugar pill, if you will.

What are some purported aphrodisiacs?
-Chocolate. Simply because of the sensual act of consuming it. Who doesn't feel better after a bite?
-Oysters contain rare aminoacids that trigger the release of more sex hormones. Mythical? Maybe not!
-Bananas. The phallic fruit. Moving along...
-Alcohol. Duh.
-Ginseng. It is said to increase desire for physical contact.
-Truffles- their musky scent, and rarity make for a suggestive dinner addition.

For all the believers out there, carry on with your practices. It is Valentine's Day, and what better a day to believe in love, and the powers of food?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Passion: Not Just a Fruit

Some are passionate about baseball. Others, about their career. One might be passionate about their labradoodle, or the GOP candidate.

I am passionate about food.

It doesn't so much matter as to what you're passionate about, as long as you can define some form of passion in your life. It may come in the form of relationships. It may shine through in a dance, or lecture. It comes in all shapes and forms-- it makes us who we are. It is never too late to do something that you thoroughly enjoy doing. It's never too late to make each day worth it.

It sneaks up on you when you least expect it. It snuck up on me while I was whining about having to help make dinner. I tried to resist it, it took me down like a welterweight.

The steady rhythm of chopping kale. The tears, brought to my eyes, not only by the beauty of the chopped constituents, but by the damn onions.

The feeling of utter satisfaction, masked by sheer exhaustion when I first heard the shrill timer alerting me that my Mona Lisa was ready to emerge. (Not to mention the applause and approval by my loving mother.)

The blood sweat and tears that went into that first batch of macaroni and cheese was life changing.

(I kid, it was mushroom and feta stuffed chicken breasts.)

From that moment on, I was changed. I had already survived 8,030 passionless days. I would not go one more.

In the past, sure, I thought I was passionate about 98 degrees. I could have sworn I felt it in my soul for my cheer squad pep ralley routine. I was extremely "passionate" about getting my way. Begging my parents daily to allow me to paint my bedroom door light blue. But not only that-- I wanted a yellow star with "Ms. Finch" below it. It was my dressing room.

But not like this.

The feeling that washes over you when you are in your groove- doing something you love - doing something you're GOOD at, is as rewarding as it gets. When the ones you love benefit from your passion- it's even better.

3 years ago, I started my love affair with leftovers. My undying devotion for ingredients.

I will one day grace your television screens, with a fabulous new take on a cooking show on the Food Network. When you're this passionate about anything, how can you fail?

Won't you enjoy some Passion Fruit Mousse?

-3 large eggs
-1/3 cup of granulated sugar
-1/3 cup of passion-fruit puree
-1 tbsp unsalted butter
-1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
-2 cups powdered gelatin
-1 cup heave cream

Fill a medium bowl with ice water; set aside. In a small saucepan, combine eggs, sugar and passionfruit puree. cook, stirring consistently over a medium-low heat until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon; about 3 minutes. Remove from heat- immediately add butter and stir well to combine.

In a medium saucepan, combine the OJ, and 2 tablespoons cold water. Sprinkle geltin over OJ mixture; let stand 5 minutes. Place over low heat until the gelatin is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Pour passionfruit mixture through a fine sieve or chinois into a bowl. Stir in gelatin mixture. Place bowl over ice water; mix until the mixture has cooled.

In a chilled bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the passionfruit mixture. Then, in two additions, fold the lightened passionfruit mixture into the remaining whipped cream. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a round tip; serve in cup sized servings.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interesting Uses For Everyday Foods

When it comes to matters of the home, we weren't all born as knowledgable as Martha Stewart. Sure, we pick some things up along the way, but be honest- do you really know how to get that ink stain out of your new white shirt?

Alas, this is where food comes in. Not only does it satiate your appetite, energize your mind, body and soul, and even console you when you're down....It can be used for so much more than that. Read on for unexpected and welcome uses for some of your favorite daily treats.

Bananas. Kind of mushy, great with Special K, pretty cute coloring. Before you chuck the peel, look around your kitchen and see if there is any silverware, or even leather goods that need polishing. Banana peels are a great buffer. Put some elbow grease into it- that peel can turn a pair of worn leather shoes, or forks into some seriously shiny stuff. (Worcestershire sauce is a great polisher for silverware as well.)

Bay leaves. They don't really thrill me too much. I suppose they add a nice je ne sais quoi to a soup, but listen to what they can do for your garden! Sprinkle these puppies over your garden beds- and the harmful insects will find another rose bush to inhabit.

Dull hair? No biggie. Try pouring a shot of vodka into your shampoo bottle. I promise, you can spare just one. Vokda doesn't only make you think people look better- it can actually make people more attractive! This gem of a liquor has a ton of other purposes too. Got mold? spray the unsightly stain with some bottom shelf vodka. (Don't think about what it's doing to your insides...) Let it sit for 15 minutes and scrub!

For all you Woodsmen, you're familiar with poison ivy. Next time you get it, immediately pour some vodka onto the aggrivated site. This will wash away the urushiol oil, which is the stuff that keeps you wriggling. Want fresh laundry to last? Spray some vodka on your clothes, and hang dry. Vodka kills the odor in clothes, and drys scentless.

Want long lasting flowers? Pour a teaspoon of sugar, along with a few drops of the goose into the vase. It should help keep your flowers beautiful long past February 14th, lovebirds.

Are you in the mood for a cocktail yet?

Moving along to my favorite bulbous herb. Yes, it is delicious in addition to most any meal, but how is it handy around the house? Splinters are like papercuts. Completely unfair and totally unnecessary-- painful to the touch. Try rubbing some garlic on the splinter. You will be the charmer, the splinter your cobra.

Do you have those pesky little ants in your kitchen? Sprinkle some flour wherever you see ants entering your fortress. (Include your pantry shelves, as they are most likely on a suicide mission to your food.) If flour is too messy, try uncooked grits. (This won't work for pesky Aunts.)

Back to that ink stain. Try blotting the stain with milk. Depending on the type of ink, stain removal may take anywhere between a half hour to a whole day. Patience, my friends.

On these cold February nights, nothing warms you up like a homemade fire. Instead of starting the fire with shredded newspaper, which tends to spit flaming tiny paper pieces around the room, try starting the fire with orange peels. They contain oils that burn longer than the paper- and the citrusy smell is just a bonus.

Add a teaspoon of pepper to your wash- and keep those whites whiter and brights brighter! Onto Pepper's companion, Salt. If you have grease stains on your clothes, work a generous amount of salt into the stain before washing.

Now that we've uncovered the super hero powers of things located in our fridge, the possibilities are endless!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Settin' the Table.....Settin' the Mooooood

Cue the Barry White.

Men, this post's not for you. Carry on.

What is your perfect night in? For some, it's mint chocolate chip ice cream and When Harry Met Sally on Starz. For others, it's a six pack of Coors and World of Warcraft.

Pour Moi, it includes, (but not limited to) settin' my curls, settin' the table and settin' the mooooood.

Now, this could be a night in with girlfriends, family, a significant other or a solo affair. The nights I look forward to most are the nights where some form of entertaining ensues. Sure, entertaining seems like a lot of work, wether it be a group of 6, or entertaining yourself- but there is something so magnifique about putting the puzzle pieces of food, spirits, and ambiance together.

Here is the first hurdle- how do we get you motivated for your fabulous fete?

1.) Plan something. Whether it be a dinner party for close couple friends, or a ladies only jewelry party. (I know a great Stella and Dot stylist...)
2.) Shower. No one likes a greasy dinner host.
3.) Pick out something fancy. Nothing makes me feel like entertaining more than a swingy wrap dress. (Go buy yourself a cute apron too, June Cleaver's making a comeback!)
4.) Have your menu pre-planned and all of the necessities stocked.

Now that you're motivated, let's get to the set up.

Have you ever been to a great dinner party without good music? If you answered yes, then you probably had lots and lots of Merlot.

The answer is NO. Music is the ultimate mood setter. If you don't have any sultry sounds, I highly reccomend turning to the television. I don't know about you, but I have some great music channels on mine. Adult Alternative might sound cheesy, but I promise, you will ooh and ahh when you get to hear all of your favorite catchy tunes from random commercials. (The travelers insurance dog commercial, anyone?) Ray Lamontagne...check.

My personal favorite is the Pottery Barn "Supper Club" selection. Granted, they might be from '96 but they never get old. I'm sure they have since released some wonderful choices. If you're an iTunes kind of gal, here are some perfect dinner party tunes to download:

-Bebel Gilberto - Samba da Bencao - this is a MUST.
-Rosemary Clooney - Come On-a My House
-Louis Armstrong - Mack the Knife
-Eliane Elias - The Girl From Ipanema
-Norah Jones - Turn Me On
-John Hiatt - Feels Like Rain
-Miles Davis - So What
-Corinne Bailey Rae - Choux Pastry Heart
-Thelonious Monk - Straight No Chaser

Now that we've got the music covered, It's time to cook. But please, first- pour a healthy glass of wine. Get sassy with me.

What appetizer are you making?

Cheese platters are as wonderful and easy as they can be artistic. Get creative, these parties only happen so often. A great addition to your cheese platter are Carr's Table Water Crackers in Cracked Pepper. Pair one of these bad boys with a pepperoncini and a scoop of fresh goat cheese, and you won't know what hit you. I know a woman who makes her own goat cheese, one bite - and you've gone to heaven.

Add some fruit and nuts to the platter. Sliced pears, apples and grapes are a perfect compliment to the fromage. Don't forget the Sopressata! A little meat never hurt the cheese.

My sister, who is a spectacular hostess makes a delicious Baked Brie and apricot wrapped in phyllo dough. To die for. Give it a whirl, you won't be disappointed.

Perhaps you'd like to do a smoked salmon and caper crostini? Great idea! it's as easy as 1-2-3.

Now, for the libations. Are your guests drinking wine? Have you planned a special cocktail to serve? If I may, I suggest making a Grapefruit cosmo. Easy, light and will warm you up on these cold winter nights. All it takes is Vodka, a splask of Triple Sec, Grapefuit juice, and to quote my wonderful aunt, "a big fat lime."

Chill, and serve, dahhhlings.

Onto the main course. K.I.S. Keep it simple. No one wants an absent hostess. Prepare the meal around 3pm the day of your event so all you have to do is throw it in the oven or grill. Consider Chicken Paillard. This dish is exceptional for hosting. Who doesn't like salad, and who doesn't like chicken? We are killing two birds with one stone! See recipe below.

Now, for the table. Our altar for the regalement. The canvas for our masterpiece. Make it pretty! I suggest using things lying around the house to create a perfectly shabby chic centerpiece. Have a large vase? Throw some citrus in there! Have mismatched candlesticks? Set them up in no particular order in the center of the table. Light those candles.

Some of the best centerpieces are seasonal. If it's spring, perhaps a beautiful bunch of Hydrangeas will be the perfect accent. If it's summer, try the citrus, or other bright colors. If it's fall, buy a medium sized pumpkin and spray paint it gold. Tie a festive ribbon around the stem, and you have an instant award winning centerpiece. If it's winter, bowls filled with ornaments and greens are a lovely touch.

Now you are ready for your guests. Fluff that hair, put on that lipstick, and SMILE. Friends, food and family are what it's all about.

Chicken Paillard with a Creamy Parmesan Salad

Ingredients for Chicken:
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
-1 cup all purpose flour
-4 eggs, whipped slightly with a splash of milk
-2 cups panko bread crumbs
-Seasoned salt and ground pepper
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the Dressing:
-2 anchovy fillets (optional, but go for it!)
-2 egg yolks
-4 gloves of smashed garlic
-2 lemons, juiced
-1/2 cup of the extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
-salt and pepper

Ingredients for Salad:
-1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
-1 bag fresh baby arugala (baby spinach works well also)
-1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, boccancini, halved
-Shaved parmesan for garnish
-Lemon wedges, for garnish
-Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling


-Pound the chicken so it is very thin.
-Prepare your breading station, with flour, whisked eggs, milk and panko crumbs. Season all of these with salt and pepper.
-Coat the breasts in flour, egg then panko.
-Lay the coated breasts out on a flat tray and refrigerate to let the crust dry for about 10 minutes.
-Shallow fry the chicken in hot oil for approx. 2-3 minutes per side.
-Drain well.
-Next, the dressing. Put the anchovies, egg yolks, garlic, and lemon juice into a blender for 30 seconds.
-With the blender running, pour in the olive oil.
-Then stir in the parmesan.
-Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
-Prepare your salad by splitting the grape tomatoes in half, lengthwise.
-Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
-Add the dressing, and toss thoroughly.

To serve, lay the warm chicken on the plate, and top generously with the salad. Garnish with shaved parmesan, a lemon wedge and a drizze of olive oil. Courtesy of Tyler Florence.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Teaspoon of Truth...

Think of wine. What two words come to mind immediately?

For me, it's an instant "Yummmmm" followed by a much less enthused "h a n g o v e r."

Why do the things we love the most punish us time and time again? Don't you wish you could have a glass of Simi Chard...(or 6) and not have that nickels and blood taste in your mouth at 7am the next morning? So. Do. I.

I was talking to a colleague of mine who is an oenophile. (Wine lover.) He drinks it, he studies it, and every fall, he makes tons of it. He has the grapes imported from Napa, Tuscany and South America. He experiments with different grapes, mixing and matching and fermenting them together. I have yet to taste his "four-gy" (4 grape wine) but I have heard it is divine. As commonly thought, I asked him if the intense, head-in-a-vice hangover was caused by the sugars in the wine.


Your vicious wine hangover is not caused by the sugar. It is caused by the millions of histamines that live and grow in wine.

Stay with's worth it, wine lovah's.

If you take a NON-DROWSY antihistamine, such as say, Alavert, or Claritin, right before you hit the bottle, this will attack the histamines in the wine, and leave you feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed come morning.

Now, I'm not promoting pill popping, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Thank me later.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Food Snob

I have become known as the "food snob" at work.

No one is safe.

It can be assured that if you are eating in the lunchroom, you will be judged. It is not something that I'm proud of, but I can't help myself. There is always a cocktail of scents wafting through the hallways, and at various times during the day, I find myself lurking, watching, waiting for my next victim.

"Whatcha having?"

Judgement seeps out of my pores as I hear rumblings of various fast food chains. Less judgement seeps when I hear the local grocery store sandwich, and even less, (but still some) when I see homemade leftovers.

Not even your leftovers are safe.

Sure, I give you a B for effort, that you put some blood, sweat and tears into your meal, that a tyson precooked breaded chicken filet I see peeping out of that.....*gasp*......RAGU sauce and mozzarella?!?!? C - . NEXXXXT!

I might walk around the table, (clockwise) with a plastic fork and do a little tour de lunch. Inspection time! Sometimes I'm impressed. Most often, I have no trace of lunch envy. Nope, not even when they have Chirashi, Reubens, or Tacos. (ok fine....maybe a little when the buffalo chicken pizza is passed around.) You may equate my grilled chicken with baby spinach salad to the likes of Ben Stein, (.....Bueller?) but shame on you for doubting my tastebuds.

I'll let you in on a little secret about my lackluster legumes...I have THE HOLY GRAIL. I have perfected the recipe for an authentic asian ginger salad dressing. You know, the orange stuff. The stuff that you secretly find yourself sipping when the waiter or bespectacled couple next to you isn't looking at your favorite sushi joint.

Fear not: the long list of ingredients below include many that are probably hiding in the crevices of your fridge.

-1/2 Cup minced onion
-1/2 cup peanut oil
-1/3 cup rice vinegar
-2 tablespoons water (I know you have that!)
-2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
-2 tablespoons minced celery (ehhh, this isn't too necessary)
-2 tablespoons ketchup (Fun fact: this is how the dressing gets it's orange color. Not from carrots and ginger! Who knew?!)
-4 teaspoons soy sauce (less sodium, people...what happened to your new years resolutions?!)
-2 teaspoons sugar
-2 teaspoons lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoom fresh ground black pepper

Throw those beasts into a food processor and, viola!



Sunday afternoons are like Christmas. The anticipation rising as each morning minute passes. Different ingredients dancing through my head as I frantically try to compliment one with the next.

On occasion, this obsession has proven to be problematic for me. Conference calls are interrupted by visions of baked tilapia drowning in mango chutney. My leftovers from last night's experiment taunting me in the office fridge as I work towards a looming deadline.

But not on Sundays.

Sundays I bask in my obsession. I let my mind wander from India, to Italy. Nagoya to New Orleans. "What about a curried chicken and watercress panini? No, no, too obvious." "Oooh, I know, salmon stir-fry with a light lemon ginger jus! No, too similar to Monday." Finally, sometime after noon, I go to my local grocer, which by all means is no ordinary market. As I walk through the doors, I ponder the age old question: What's for dinner?

Just recently my "fareplay" obsession has kicked in. I have always been a foodie, with a dramatic flare. A scientist in the kitchen, uniting unlikely pairs in delicious matrimony. Unwrapping the fresh fish, tomatillos, garlic, farfalle, etc is no less thrilling than unwrapping a Vuitton on Christmas morning. It is just that good.

Baked Lime Tilapia with Mango Pico De Gallo over Wild Rice

Ingredients: (Bare with me, I made this up)

-4 Tilapia Filets
-1 box of whole grain wild rice. (Don't skimp, get the good stuff.)
-4 Tomatillos
-1 large tomato
-1 Sweet onion
-5 juicy limes
-1 large ripe avocado
-1 large juicy mango
-Seasoned Salt
-Fresh ground pepper
-1 Jar of salsa verde, (if not, 2 jalapenos)
-1 canister of Panko breadcrumbs (The flaky stuff they use for tempura)


Preheat the oven to 350.

Make the rice, it takes longer than the fish. Read the box and follow the instructions.

Chop all of the fruits/veggies (minus the limes) into small cubes and place in a mixing bowl. Pour in some of the salsa verde, enough to coat the chopped goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Don't go overboard, people...less is more. Squirt in the juice of three large limes, and toss.

Place salsa verde over the fish, enough to coat the surface. Roll each filet in the panko bread crumbs, just enough to cover them. Then, place the tilapia in tin foil (sprinkle a little olive oil in there..) and then in a baking dish. Then, slice lime, and place on top of each filet. Bake for about 30 minutes(ish?)

When everything is ready, spoon the rice onto your plate. Place the tilapia filet over the rice and then top the fish with a healthy serving of the mouthwatering mango pico de gallo.

Bask in the compliments of your guests.