Friday, October 5, 2018

Fig Cocktail + Gruyere Baked Olives | Friday Night Bites

A well engineered cocktail transports you to a different level. When you pair it with a nibble that is simple yet sophisticated, you have hit nirvana.  As many of you know, I am simply obsessed with figs.  This year I discover tiger figs at Trader Joe's and made 40 pint jars of my infamous Balsamic Fig Jam.  I have discovered a passion and appreciation of a great cocktail.  I decided to create a signature fig cocktail to celebrate the beginning of fall, since figs are the quintessential sign fall is around the corner.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bite Sized BLT's | Friday Night Bites

I know it has been a while since I have posted.  Life has been busy during the summer.  I made these little delights for Friday Night Bites and was quite please with how they turned out.  It was a perfect bite of crunch, savory, salty, smokey, spicy and a slight twist on a classic.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Chive Parmesan Dip | Friday Night Bites

Summer is simply zipping by.  I can't believe it is mid July and as I always say to my hubby, we will be putting up the Christmas tree before you know it.  Why does time have to go by so fast?  I am not sure but the one thing I do know is that I try to enjoy each moment and the older I get, I prefer "experiences" that create lasting memories versus purchasing a article of clothing or alike.

Friday, May 25, 2018

"Markle Sparkle" Cocktail | Friday Night Bites

The day millions of royal fans across the globe have been waiting for finally arrived.  The Royal Wedding of course and it certainly did not disappoint.  Tradition, elegance and love were definitely in the air last Saturday.  Like many, I was glued to the television to watch the spectacular historical moments.  From the array of distinctive fascinators to the abundance of flowers embellishing all corners of the St. George's Chapel to that phenomenal yellow dress worn by Amal Clooney - I knew I was in for hours of witnessing a traditional yet modern mark on history.  Some would say a pre-emptive positive turn to the future and what we can expect.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Bacon, Ricotta & Honey Crostini | Friday Night Bites

What is better then bacon?  In my book ..... nothing!  The key to great bacon is to cook is low and slow on a griddle until it is crispy but certainly not burnt.  The flavor stays true and a crispy delight is ready to enjoy.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Caramelized Onion Dip with Bourbon Croutons | Friday Night Bites

Life has been quite busy lately.  How about you? I have been a bit behind in my Friday Night Bites series for all of you.  The good news is - I am back.  This week I made a caramelized onion dip with bourbon croutons.  You heard me .......... bourbon croutons!

Friday, March 30, 2018

"The Aviator" Cocktail + Kicked Up Chex Mix | Friday Night Bites

Yippee Skippee .... it is finally FRIDAY!  I think that means it is time for Friday Night Bites and this week I thought I would share another sublime cocktail with all of you.  Noted for its stunning purple color, this old-school gin cocktail is a standout. It is a cocktail that was created before Prohibition by a bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York.  It is made with gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de violette and fresh lemon juice.  The creme de violette is such a unique addition and makes this cocktail a true standout and often referred to the "forgotten classic".  It is flowery, assertive yet sweet but a liqueur worth trying.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Orange Bourbon Fig Compote | Friday Night Bites

I am dreaming of forwarding time to mid summer right now.  You may ask ....... why?  It is fig season of course. Smile.  I do simply adore figs, well actually kind of obsess over them - oh those glorious figs.  It has been almost two years since I made my last big batch of Balsamic Fig Jam.  I typically set aside a whole day and bang out 80 half pint jars of this delightful crowd pleaser.  Besides enjoying it at home, it is my "go to" hostess and holiday gift to share with others.  I have friends who wait in anticipation for it and one friend even has her whole family asking - when are you getting more fig jam?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Warm Goat Cheese with Herbs and Spices | Friday Night Bites

Just imagine .... warm goat cheese, flavored olive oil and warm crunchy bread - now that is my idea of heaven in my mouth.  The infusion of citrus, spice and earthy herbs is a sublime combination along with the tangy goat cheese and crunchy baguette.  Add a touch of fluer de sel and this bite is simply perfect.  Goat cheese has a pristine white color and distinct flavor that is one of the most amazing cheeses in the world - a humble basic for some, a gourmet delight for others.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Sublime Bar Nuts + "The Last Word" Cocktail | Friday Night Bites

There is something special about enjoying a craft cocktail with sublime bar nuts.  The bar is raised even higher (no pun intended) when you are sitting at a swanky, hip bar with cool music playing and having your significant other or close friend next to you.  You could even simply be sitting at the counter in your kitchen with the lights dimmed and have a bar experience.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Peach, Balsamic and Basil Tartine | Friday Night Bites

Rain glorious rain!  The Bay Area has been a bit starved this year for rain.  December, January and into February were rather dry months.  Five years ago we experienced the beginning of drought much the same way, so as you can imagine, we were all getting nervous.  Yesterday, March 1st brought much needed rain and it was really coming down.  The forecast calls for more rain ahead over the weekend and next week - thank goodness!  We can only hope that March and April bring buckets of rain to ward off a drought.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Italian Chopped Salad Crostini | Friday Night Bites

Happy Friday Peeps!  It is finally here - the weekend! Isn't it funny how after a long holiday weekend and then we are blessed with a four day work week, it seems longer than a regular work week.  Perhaps it is the compressed timeframe that we have to get everything done.  Although, I love a long weekend.  Hubby and I took the friday off as well to make it a four day holiday weekend.  We went to Neiman Marcus for lunch - it is our treat and just love the popovers.  Fantastic way to kick off the weekend.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Bacon, Cheddar and Jalapeño Madeleines | Friday Night Bites

This week I am thrilled to share my savory madeleine recipe with all of you!  I have long been obsessed with madeleines.  You tend to never think of these small shell shaped french sponge cakes as a sweet treat but not often turning them upside down to make a savory version.  I have long wanted to share a savory version.  Hubby loved them.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Crispy Prosciutto, Apple & Stilton Toasts | Friday Night Bites

What is it about a little piece of toast loaded with crunchy, salty, creamy and herbaceous goodies? It is the dance that your mouth has along with your stomach being extremely happy.  I absolutely love creating new flavor profiles and tasty bites for my Friday Night Bites weekly series here.  I just hit my one year anniversary at my new job and I can't believe how time flies by so quickly.  I absolutely LOVE my new role and company.  After 18 years with one organization and 8 promotions later, it was time for a change.  Change is good. Change is empowering. Change is what we need to invigorate our careers and life.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Blood Orange Compote and Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini | Friday Night Bites

It is that time of the year.  The bright brilliant blood oranges are in season. Once you cut this jewel in half, the rich red pink color is revealed. Blood oranges have a unique flavor compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes. They are in season in California from about November through May, although I have a hard time finding them late in the season.  Their origin is thought to be from China or the southern mediterranean but now they are primarily grown in Italy. Their beauty inspired me to create this pink peppercorn blood orange compote to adorn a simple crostini.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wild Mushroom Pinwheels | Friday Night Bites

It seems like we were just celebrating New Years Eve with appetizers and bubbly.  With February around the corner, this year is already sailing by.  I live by each day and believe that we need to enjoy each day to the fullest.  I enjoy the simple things, the people that I love around me and having a sense of purpose each day.  One of my resolutions for 2018 was to dedicate more attention to my blog that I have nurtured over the years.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Apricot Mostarda Brie Cups | Friday Night Bites

Happy New Year!  I know it has been a while since I have posted and one of my resolutions for the new year is to post at least once a week.  As you all know, I am slightly obsessed with appetizers.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you see my Friday Night Bites with wine and often cheese plates.  My goal for this year is to bring you more interesting Friday Night Bites and spice up my little corner of the internet.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tomato Jam with Burrata | Friday Night Bites

Do you ever try something at a restaurant and say to yourself - I must make this?  I do all the time. Recently I was in Chicago for a business trip and we had cocktails and dinner at Siena Tavern. It was a extremely humid and rainy night in Chicago where you could cut the air with a knife.  Despite the weather, which being from California this was not the norm for me - the vibe in this Top Chef, Fabio Viviani created restaurant was extremely cool.  It had concrete floors, rustic decor and hip music being piped through everywhere.  Although a bit loud, we enjoyed cocktails at the bar with friends.  I had an aviator and a last word - don't typically swing out with a couple cocktails at once, it was a fun treat.  The bartender was hip and cool and make some darn good drinks.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Trio of Crostini Recipe + Livermore Valley Wine Country Weekend

A couple weeks ago I attended the Livermore Valley's "Taste of Terroir" weekend to experience the tasty food and wine of this special sometimes forgotten wine country region in Northern California.  I was personally invited as a media guest by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and was quite honored they thought of me.  I was able to take hubby with me and he is always thrilled when he can be part of my blogging events.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Canapés | Friday Night Bites

Well HELLO almost summer - oh how I have missed you!  My birthday was last Sunday and we swung out for this years birthday gift - a new wicker patio set from Living Spaces.  It is part of the the Adventura collection.  We got the 4 piece sectional, 2 lounge chairs, the cocktail table with 2 ottomans and 2 end tables.  I feel like we have a true outdoor living room set.  Since it was simply understated, it needed a POP of color, so I headed to Homegoods and got some fun pillows and decorative items for the tables.  Oh and an outdoor rug from Cost Plus World Market.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Egg and Olive Salad Bites | Friday Night Bites

Do you ever wish you had an elegant yet easy appetizer to make for guests that you want to impress? Have I got a simple, tasty and easy recipe for you. It has just a few ingredients and can be virtually made ahead of time and I promise will "WOW" your guests.  They will think you spent hours preparing.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Red Bell Pepper & Sun Dried Tomato Soup Shooters | Friday Night Bites

Do you want a quick and easy show stopper appetizer?  If you answered yes, then I have an easy and delicious recipe for you.  You can actually simply shop your pantry.  If you are like me and stock your pantry with an assortment of items, then you should be set.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cranberry, Orange & Ginger Chutney Brie Bites | Friday Night Bites

One of my favorite things to do is to make handmade jam and chutney.  I will make a large batch to can and save for gift giving along with enjoying.  With the holidays in the rear view mirror, I made a batch of my favorite chutney – Cranberry, Orange & Ginger Chutney.  The weather in Northern California has been quite stormy over the last several weeks and this week was not exception.  The good news is we are officially over the drought. The last 5 years have changed our water usage patterns and has become a new norm for hubby and me.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Individual Cheese Plates | Friday Night Bites

One of my absolute favorite things is to entertain. I love the process of planning along with the actual preparation and execution.  Have one to two other couples over is the perfect party.  You can actually carry on a meaningful conversation and truly enjoy each others company.  Rather than sitting down in the dining room table, I have found that starting in the kitchen and then moving to the family room to get a bit more comfy is my preferred route.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Simple Tacos Al Pastor | Friday Night Bites

You know those restaurants that you frequent over and over again because they are just that good.  I have one that I patron almost every other week for lunch.  It is called El Aguila and has the BEST Al Pastor street tacos I have ever tasted.  Everything is house made and organic.  The flavor on these tacos is out of the world delicious.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Orange, Pecan & Parmesan Endive Bites | Friday Night Bites

With the holidays now here, the appetizers will be flowing at my house.  The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family.  It is a time to be thankful for what we have, to celebrate what is important and to kick off a new year.  We continued the long standing tradition of having Thanksgiving at my parent’s house and it was a full house for sure.  All four of my darling nephews were there and they are getting so big and so old.  They range from a junior in high school to the littlest one in second grade. I just adore them.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Crab Bites with Persian Cucumber Dip | Friday Night Bites

Who doesn’t love anything fried?  I can’t think of too many people.  The crispy, deep fried taste is like none other.  I have to admit that I would much prefer a fried anything over something sweet.  Albeit, not good for my health – in moderation, it is an allowed indulgence.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Manchego and Fig Jam Crostini | Friday Night Bites

The countdown has begun.  I am referring to when this election will be OVER.  I am typically not political but this year, you can’t help but get swept up in it all with the two primary candidates.  Regardless of your political party affiliation, in my opinion, this year’s election is a train wreck.  It is causing fueled conversation and strong opinions among many.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Charred Sugar Snap Peas with Shallot Garlic Dip | Friday Night Bites

I had not been summoned to jury duty since I was 19 years old.  The system finally caught up to me.  I had to call the night before and was hoping they would just say – thank you for your service.  However, that was not the case – I was to show up at 8:30am to the courthouse.  I came early to find parking and get through the security process.  I walked down the long hallway to the jury assembly room where I was greeted with a lady who said to scan my summons and fill out a questionnaire.  Once I completed it, I sat down with the other 150 people whose fateful turn for jury duty happened to be the same day.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Tomato and Pesto Bruschetta | Friday Night Bites

A morning at the farmer’s market can be an inspiring event.  As I stroll through the isles of produce and artesian items, I am intrigued by where the produce came from and the story behind it.  Whether it is the handmade artesian cheese, hand extracted honey or pickled vegetables - the story is fascinating. When hubby and I walk to the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, we get our exercise in along with an assortment of market delights.  Typically hubby goes to the coffee vendor and I rush to the bakery to get the last few cheese puffs.  Hubby gets me a hibiscus tea to carry with me through our journey. A bit of ritual and tradition is nice thing to have in your life.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Grilled Scallion and Sour Cream Toasts | Friday Night Bites

I love how toast is trendy now.  You can top is with just about anything and it becomes a hip appetizer.  It has to be one of the easiest appetizers to make and it will certainly WOW your friends and family.  The combinations are endless.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Watermelon Bites with Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette | Friday Night Bites

Summer and watermelon are one of those perfect combinations.  The warm air along with a crisp and cool bite of sweet watermelon is the ultimate in refreshment.  It just screams SUMMER.  Since we are in the midst of summer, I thought that I needed to create a Friday Night Bite to celebrate the season.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Apricots and Stilton Bites | Friday Night Bites

Several weeks ago I attended a performance for Broadway Under the Stars from the Transcendence Theatre Company in Sonoma.  My company sponsored half of the performance while Moss Adams took care of the other half.  It was a great way to end an all day meeting in Sonoma.  The weather was simply perfect for an evening of great wine, food and entertainment. What a great way to spend a Thursday evening.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Soft Funfetti Cookies

Life has gotten super busy lately and I have neglected my little space on this vast space we call the internet.  I have thought it about many times over the last month, I need to post something and then life continues to happen.  We are now in the middle of remodeling our kitchen.  Not a full remodel but a face lift of sorts. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Beet and Lemon Crostini | Friday Night Bites

Hubby and I have a new weekend ritual – we walk to the farmers market almost every Saturday morning.  As we say, it is a “two-fer”. We get our exercise in with a round trip walk of 3 miles and some farm or baked fresh goodies make their way home with us.  Last weekend, we picked up some gorgeous beets from a magnificent farmer who is one of our favorites.