Happy, Happy New Year Everyone! Thank you for following my beloved blog and
enjoying my journey with me. I truly
appreciate each and every visit, comment, pin, share, tweet and Google +. I look forward to a fantastic 2014 and
hopefully some fun surprises to share with all of you.
Tonight Hubby and I are enjoying a quiet evening at home –
which is simply perfect in my book. Our
two week vacation from our careers has been marvelous, relaxing and simply
perfect. We have spent time entertaining
at home, eating well, shopping, catching up on movies and doing some nesting
& cleaning around the house.
Are you looking for that perfect little bite for the
holidays? If so, I think I may have the
perfect answer to your question – Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs. I found this recipe on Dole’s website and
decided to give it a go along with kicking it up a tad. The result was a perfect little bite for a
party. In fact, I served it at our
Annual Ornament Exchange last weekend along with enjoying it the night prior
for our Friday Night Bites (just made a tad extra).
I have been a busy entertaining bee this holiday season
which suits me just fine. It simply
brings joy to my life to entertain for my friends and family – most importantly
seeing the reaction on their faces and the large smile that follows. I always love having a dinner party on the
books to plan and look forward to.
Creating the menus and décor let’s my inner Martha escape and my guests
are often the recipients of the creativity that gets unleashed. It simply makes me happy.
It is almost unimaginable how quick this year flew by
and that the holidays have officially arrived.
Oh how I love this time of year.
As of Friday at my vacation has begun. Did I say how much I love this time of year?
Smile. Hubby has also taken the same
timeframe so we can truly enjoy the holidays and won’t need to return to work
until January 6th. Although
we are never 100% on vacation, just need to simply check email and be ready for
any urgent requests. Typically a quiet
time of year, but always want to be able to support my team and clients. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
A few years ago I made one of the most unique discoveries. While shopping at the Napa Farmers Market
held at Oxbow Public Market, I stumbled upon “The Smoked Olive”. I soon learned that this award winning couple
from Napa created a patent pending
process for literally smoking olive oil which infused the earthy smoke flavor
right into the oil – the result was spectacular. Then to push things over the top, they had
smoked brown sugar – I know – shut the front door – right? I can literally eat a spoonful of the brown
sugar and be in foodie heaven. The
combination of the rich sweet flavor and the hint of smoke is so over the top
divine. You can find all of their
products on their website along with the brown sugar at Sur la Table and the
olive oil at Williams Sonoma. Both
products are worth purchasing – trust me.
It is raining cookies during this time of year. Okay, maybe
not literally but ovens around the country are firing on all cylinders. I can only imagine if you flew low over towns
the air would be filled with the sweet scents of holiday cookies. My house is no exception during this time of
year. For the last several weeks, I have been filled with excitement in anticipation
for my food blogger brunch and annual cookie exchange. Granted it is only our 2nd year, I
can confidently say it is an annual event now.
When it comes to
appetizers, simplicity is sublime. Often
the limited number of ingredients combined together creates the most spectacular
flavor profiles. My Olive Tapenade
Crostinis are a perfect example of this theory.
Between the salty, savory tapenade and the smoky flavor from the red
pepper along with the sweetness from the reduced balsamic on top of a crunchy
carbohydrate – this is heaven in a two bite delight.
Hubby and I
attended a holiday party last weekend in San Francisco which was rather beige unfortunately, but
one that we needed to attend. We had great guests at our table, so
the event was several shades more enticing.
With any type of mass catering, sometimes the finesse of tasty food is
lost in production and as hard as they tried, it was a lack luster
attempt. Perhaps because I have such an
affinity for food, I am being a bit too critical and I am sure others were
thrilled and I am hapy for them. Be that as it may, there was one
bright light shining at the event and it was on the appetizer portion of this party - thus my inspiration
for this week’s Friday Night Bites. I
always try to find the positive in any situation.
Everyone! Honestly it is hard to fathom
that it is already that time of the year.
For me baking cookies during this time of year is a natural activity and
brings such joy to see the looks and reactions to folks faces when they receive
them. Speaking of cookies, it is time for
the 3rd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I have been excited to be participate for
since the inception and we are able to part of giving back by supporting a
national non-profit called Cookies for Kid’s Cancer through simply being
involved in the great cookie swap. I can’t think of a better event than one
that involves delicious cookies and being able to help others. To learn more about particpating in the event for 2014, simply click
here. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
We are experiencing a bitter cold snap here in the Bay Area. Our
temperatures are on par with New York and Chicago at this time of the year. We are expected to dip into the high 20’s
tonight and for the next few nights – for us Bay Area folks - that is
cold. Our heater is running along with
our fireplace and the blankets are abounding while we watch television. It sort of cozy to have these low
temperatures and just sets the stage for snuggling and enjoying comfort
foods. Not great for the waistline, but
a few days won’t be that big of a deal. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
Day Everyone! What a special day in
our country’s history. It is a day where
we gather together with our family and friends to reflect on what we are
thankful for along with enjoying great food, laughs and restful moments. Hubby and I head to my parents house for a
day of food, fun, and laughs with my family.
As you can imagine there is an abundance of food.
It is a day to see my sister, brother in law, brother,
sister in law and my four adorable nephews and my lovely parents. My parents just remodeled their kitchen and
it should be fun to cook the turkey and sides in the newly updated kitchen. It
just got finalized last week and I had a sneak peak last weekend. It is simply
stunning and makes me want to remodel my own kitchen, yet it really doesn’t
need it – perhaps in a few years. Smile. Believe it or not, I have never cooked
a turkey. I know – “shut the front door”! It is probably time for me to take the
plunge. I look at the turkey roasting task
as being simply a roasted chicken on steroids.
Over the last couple days we FINALLY had our first real rain
storm of the season. The Bay Area has
been extremely starved for rain and now we hopefully have the start of a good
rainy season to prevent a drought come summer.
It is a funny thing, once it rains people forgot all the things they
have learned about driving. It is like
they have driving amnesia. There are more accidents along with more bad drivers
– it just amazes me while I commute to work each day. Perhaps after this first rain, folks will
With rain, the air is crisp and fresh smelling along with
the hills begin to blossom with green foliage versus the dry brown landscape –
that is a welcomed sight. It is time to
pull out the various boots for winter and put away my beloved sandals, unless
the weather becomes mild enough, which we do have even in the winter
months. The nights have been quite
chilly as of late and our fire place, albeit gas, has been on every night. I am beginning to settle into the fact that
fall and soon winter is here. Oh and not
too mention the holidays are quickly approaching. Are you enjoying the fall
This is my last Secret Recipe Club post for 2013. How did the year whirl by so quickly? It is almost unfathomable, huh? In any event, the group I am in will reconvene
in January and I am excited to see who I will be assigned to. This month I was matched with Denise from
Creative Kitchen Adventures. If you feel
out of the loop and want to learn more about Secret Recipe Club and how to join
in on the fun, simply click here to learn more.
In the meantime, I enjoyed browsing through Denise’s food
blog and learning more about her. She met her hubby while they were both in the
Navy and is now a Mom to three wonderful daughters. She lives in suburbia but enjoys the outdoors
and the beauty of nature. She enjoys
cooking, baking, travel, bike riding, blogging and reading along with spending
time with her family and friends. She began her food blog a few years ago after
discovering the joy of browsing and commenting on the vast beautiful food blogs
in the blogosphere.
Don’t you just love the “easy breezy” appetizers? I certainly do. Lately I have been snacking on those little
golden nuggets that we have all grown to love – the iconic “gold fish”
crackers. They are portable, tasty and
extremely satisfying. On the way home
from work one evening, I was contemplating my next Friday Night Bite and then
it came to me. I love those gold fish,
so why not elevate them to the next level.
I had the general concept in my head, just needed to put
together the right combination of flavors.
Digging through my pantry, I stumbled upon a packet of Good Seasonings
Zesty Italian Salad Dressing mix and that would become the base for this quick
snack. The result was a delicious and straightforward
treat. The recipe makes quite a generous
amount, so I brought some to my office and saved the rest for hubby and me to
It has been quite chilly in the Bay Area the last week. Our fire place is running each night and the
warm fuzzy blankets are out in full force when hubby and I watch our favorite
shows. I have eased into the fall
season, now I would love to experience a stormy evening. I am sure it is coming soon enough.
In the meantime, we need to take the patio furniture
cushions to the garage for storage during the winter, especially since I
believe rain may be on its way soon. It
is just too chilly to sit outside – not too mention it is dark at .
I just have to remind myself that as quickly as the fall season arrived,
that spring and summer will be here before you know it. How quickly time passes
One of the small joys in life for me is entertaining. The planning, the preparation and the actual
dinner party just make me smile from ear to ear. Luckily for me, I have a dinner party on the
calendar for this Saturday. My menu is
set – yeah. Everything is else will be
done on Friday and Saturday. If you
follow me on Instagram, I’ll be sure to post some pics to share with all of
In the meantime, it is time for Friday Night Bites. I have a roll of these Roasted Red Pepper and
Manchego Pinwheels in the freezer all ready to heat up this Friday. I previewed a few with hubby on Sunday and he
LOVED them. Projecting to Friday, we
will open a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and devour these little
delights. I can’t wait ….. big smile!
Okay if you are like me, you love bread. Say it – I LOVE BREAD! Did you actually say it – if you did, I am
giving you a virtual high five. How many bread lovers are out there? Probably millions, right? If you love bread, stand up and be counted. Hands down, give me bread over a cookie any
day and I am so happy.
I have to admit that I am not one of those artisan bread
bakers. In fact, it is on my bucket list
to make that perfect loaf of bread that one might think I purchased from the
bakery versus me actually making it.
Perhaps even mastering the art of bread making to where a master baker
would have a hard time identifying in a “bread line up” behind a that one way
mirror. I can dream at this point, but
will accomplish this goal of mastering the art of bread making.
I am going back in time this week for Friday Night Bites.
One of my college friends use to make this appetizer and I loved it each time
she would make it. It is not healthy but
tasty. It is simple not difficult. It is perfect to enjoy in front of a fire on a
chilly evening. The last few evenings in the Bay Area have dipped into the 40
degree range which is quite chilly for us.
I can only imagine other parts of the country hit even lower temps than
We used our gas fireplace recently which works well to heat
up the family room where we spend the majority of our time. Hubby loves these cheddar and onion Crostini and
quite frankly can’t stop eating them. Although
I am not a true fan of mayonnaise on a typical basis, sometimes a recipe just
can’t be made without it. This is one
Your favorite Cabernet or Chardonnay would be perfect with
this appetizer. Even a chilled beer
would pair perfectly. Since it is Halloween, this would be perfect to nibble on in between those little ghosts and gobblins. Happy Halloween! Enjoy!
Do you crave crunchy
salty snacks? If the answer is yes,
then I have the perfect treat for you. I
know that salt is not that good for you but on the other hand we do need some
in our daily diets. Give me a bag of
Lays potato chips versus a chocolate chip cookie any day – the crunch, salt and
starch completely make me happy. With
that unhealthy craving, I thought I would make my snack a bit on the healthy
side by using chickpeas. This little treat has been in my head for while, just
needed to execute.
Okay the next ingredient is not healthy one iota BUT it is
completely tasty and an all American favorite food – BACON! Please don’t be mad at me, but instead of
vegetable oil, I used the bacon drippings as my fat to cook the chickpeas. Perhaps I balanced the bad and good? I know, I am probably not fooling anyone, but
these kinds of snacks are the type to enjoy in moderation.
After opening the can of chickpeas (a.k.a. – garbanzo beans)
and rinsing, I realized that there was a “skin” on each one that needed to be
removed. This task took much longer than
anticipated. I soon surmised that if you
rinse, lie on a paper towel and pat dry, then air dry, the skins are easily
removed. You simply take another paper
towel and ever so gently rub and the skins will come off. Then you are ready to rock and roll onto
cooking these little treats.
Time seems to be spinning faster and faster. Do you
feel that way too? It is hard to believe
we are entrenched in the fall season with the leaves changing to those
beautiful autumnal shades of brown, orange and yellow. Living in Northern California,
we experience the changing of the seasons however it is subtle as opposed to
other regions around America. I am still sporting my flip flops on the
weekends and perfect painted toes, but this shall become a distant memory in
the next month or so. We are currently
enjoying what we deem – Indian summer.
It is a time where we have mildly warm weather, shorter daytime light
and little to no rain. It is an exquisite
time of year in Northern California.
The weekend is almost here.
That means one thing – it is time for Friday Night Bites. It has been super busy at work lately, which
is a good thing. I savor my Friday
nights and weekends even more, since it is my time to relax along with planning
our social activities. For me, I
absolutely love having activities to look forward to – whether it is going out
to dinner, entertaining at home, heading to a friends house for dinner or going
away for the weekend. We happen to have
many social activities planned now through the end of the year which makes me very
I am beginning to plan for a few holiday parties that I am
hosting at our house and this weeks Friday Night Bites is high on the list of
making an appearance. It was simple, in
season and extremely flavorful along with being visually stunning. Hubby agreed by devouring the plate when I
set it in front of him. This is a winner
he exclaimed. I love having an “in-house”
taste tester. How great it that?
Where does the time go?
I am not quite sure. I do know
that Halloween is just about two weeks away.
The houses in our neighborhood have begun having the spooky spirit
appear in their front yards. Rather fun
to drive around at night and see the scary displays and take in the festive
Since the Halloween bug has caught up with me, I thought I
would whip up some festive cookies and share them at work with my
colleagues along with some for my darling hubby. While pursuing through
Pinterest a few weeks ago, I came across this recipe and it was titled “The Best
Cookie Known to Man”. Okay you captured
my attention, especially since a great sugar cookie in my opinion is hard to come
by. I prefer the crunchy but soft and
full of flavor varietals. These
certainly peaked my interest. Let me just say, they exceeded my expectations.
Yesterday was Hubby’s birthday. He is a little kid who is trapped in an adult’s
body. The art of stretching out the
celebration for an entire week is his preferred method of celebration. I love him dearly, so let the celebrations
begin. Oh and by the way, did you know
that October 9th is the official start of the holiday season? Hubby deemed it so. Smile.
With the week long celebrations, even his colleagues at work
got into to the spirit. Power point
presentations had birthday wishes baked in.
His beloved vice of apple fritters made quite a few appearances
throughout the week long festivities at his workplace. Yesterday especially had many folks showering
him with sweet treats, cards and other special goodies.
Let me just exclaim
to the world – I love a great salad.
Boy that felt good. With so many choices
and variations of salad, it is sometimes a bit overwhelming to choose. Today is
your lucky day. The amazing folks at
Dole Salads have now made our busy lives just a touch easier with the
introduction of their Chopped Salad Kits and Salad Blends. These salad kits come
with a theme and you simply add your favorite ingredients to make your own
unique customized salad. The possibilities are boundless and only limited by
your imagination and creativity. I can
only imagine the amount of creativity out there. Smile.
Back in May I was honored with an invitation to attend Dole’sSalad Summit and quickly learned how Dole differentiates itself from other
brands in the market place. After
reflecting on the summit, the way Dole distinguishes itself from their
competitors was quite clear. First, they
partner with local farmers around the county to bring the freshest produce to
their production facilities so you have the best of the best that the market
can offer. In fact, within fours hours
of picking lettuce, it is in the sealed salad bag. Second, they have produced an
innovative package and process that keeps the salad fresher longer without
adding harmful preservatives. Lastly,
each employee of Dole has such a high regard for quality along with ensuring
they are consistently exceeding their consumers expectations along with
building brand loyalty.
What’s old is new again.
The classics have timeless appeal.
They are forever favorites, often simple in preparation but loaded with
flavor. When I was a kid, my mom would make these parmesan onion
toasts that I could never get enough of.
Although I was never a huge fan of mayonnaise, I did not seem to mind it
in these little appetizers. She would
make the parmesan onion mixture and slather on a those little rye breads and
bake in the oven until bubbly. Other times it would be on white bread, but
always bubbly. They were one of those
treats that came around every once in a while and when they did, good time were
had by all.
It is a sad time.
Knowing that the fig season is winding down, it brings a figurative tear
to my eye. If you have been a long time reader, you know that I am just a bit
obsessed with figs, especially with the fresh varietals. As promised from a prior post, I am sharing a
supreme fig dessert with all of you.
I stumbled upon a treasure at my local farmers market in the
last month. Ever since finding this
fortune, I have been back week after week.
It was with one of the smaller vendors, but they grew the most amazing figs
on earth. After chatting with the
producer, she let me know that they created their own fig varietal called
“Hatfield”. She went on to say, like the
Hatfield’s and McCoy's, but that there was no fighting going on in her farm. She does have a keen sense of humor.
With the fall season officially here, I have embraced the
change. You all know that I absolutely
adore figs but a close second is pumpkin.
I do have one more fig delight that I will be sharing with all of you on
Tuesday of next week. In the meantime, I
am excited to share this Pumpkin Bruschetta with all of you.
Fall has officially arrived.
Not sure why I always have a hard time saying goodbye to summer but each
year it is challenging for me. On Saturday
in the Bay Area we had our first good down pour of rain. With the rain, it made the entrance of fall
just a bit easier to adjust too. I love
the recipes that are predominately fall inspired by pumpkin, squash, Brussels sprouts
to name a few, along with enjoying homemade soups, braised dishes and the smell
of baked goods permeating the house.
Speaking of baked goods, I made the most incredible cheese straws over the weekend. The recipe
comes from Feast on the Cheap and happens to be my match this month for the
Secret Recipe Club. If you are not familiar
with this secret club, let me share a quick snapshot. Essentially there are about 200 food bloggers
who are in the club and each month are paired with another blogger and it is a
secret, until reveal day. Once reveal
day hits, you can see who had you and what recipe they chose from your
blog. It is my favorite time of the
month when group C has their reveal.
Wonder what recipe will be picked this month? Hum.
Do you ever just
want a little something to nibble on? If you love food like I do, then I am
sure your resounding answer is YES. Have I got a simple treat for this week’s
installment of Friday Night Bites.
With the scent of fall in the air, the shorter days and
longer nights upon us, it means that pumpkin season is almost here. Like figs,
I am a bit obsessed with this round orange sphere of goodness. I have been
conquering up recipes in my head and some wonderful ones to share with in the
coming weeks. I picked up pre-packaged raw pumpkin seeds from Trader Joe’s last
night. Why work so hard to get those little seeds, when they are simply a quick
snip with the scissors and the package is open and ready to use. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
Yountville is an idyllic town nestled in the heart NapaValley. It is full of boutique hotels, world class
restaurants and fantastic shopping.
Luckily for me, it is only about an hours drive from my house. Two long term friends and I have a restaurant
club that we shaped several years ago. Our
aspiration was to have a reason to try out new restaurants around the Bay Area
every 5 or 6 weeks along with staying in touch and catching up. We set
up the premise to rotate with the “pick and pay” concept with the caveat being it had to
be a place none of us have been to prior. A simple concept that just gets better and better with each place we visit.
This week at the Farmer’s Market I found the most marvelous
figs. When I cut them in half, the
bright vivid ruby color just came alive.
It was not the pale color that I often see, these were special
figs. They were simply perfect. The fragrance was just like a fig candle that
you buy from Jo Malone. I knew I needed to
give these beauties the special treatment.
I created this bruschetta recipe and the result was pure heaven – trust me. Even hubby was raving about these. Just a quick note, I have upcoming recipe
that is a sweet treat highlighting these spectacular figs – stay tuned.
have a confession.I am a bit fascinated
with anything southern.I have yet to
visit the states on my bucket list, but I know that will get there someday
soon.With a long holiday weekend behind
us, I took a couple days vacation before the long weekend to unwind, catch up
on household chores and do some cooking.This week’s Friday Night Bites has been on my list for quite a long
while and so happy to finally be able to check it off the list.
fried chicken but seldom partake since it is not the healthiest food. So when I do indulge, it is surely a
treat. Despite there being quite a few
steps to making these beauties, it was well worth every minute. I would suggest
as a time saver to make the compote a day prior along with bathing the chicken
in the buttermilk – it just gets better with time. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
The long holiday weekend has come to an end. I guess you can call it the end of summer and
beginning of fall in a figurative way, although here in the Bay Area, our
summer seems to stretch way into October.
It is synonymous with what we call Indian summer; where the summer heat
continues. I particularly enjoy summer
extending further into the year and holding off the entrance of fall. Although
I enjoy fall, and for that, I can appreciate all seasons, however, there is
just something special about summer.
Today begins my five day mini
vacation. I guess you can call it a stay-cation. Just needed a few extra days tagged onto the
long holiday weekend to relax, take care of things around the house and do fun
things around town. If you live in the Bay Area like I do, you know that living
outside of San
Francisco for the
next five days will make it challenging to head over the bay bridge, since it
is officially closed for preparations to opening the brand new bridge. Years in the making, it is an exciting time
for bay area residents. Luckily, our
plans do not include heading into the city for the long weekend.
As for this week’s Friday Night Bites,
I was inspired by the sun dried tomato pesto that I made last weekend for the
sandwich I entered into the Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest. Hubby couldn’t get enough of the pesto and
said it was the secret weapon to a winning sandwich. My fingers are crossed. In addition to that
pesto, I made another wonderful pesto a couple weeks ago, that was equally as delicious. I thought; why not combine them together to
create a suburb little bite. I love
anything mini when it comes to an appetizer – oh heck – I love appetizers. Oh and I adore a great grilled cheese
sandwich, so why not make mini grilled cheese sandwich bites with the sun dried
tomato and walnut arugula pesto. (Click "Read More" below to continue the post)
I absolutely adore a wonderful sandwich that is jam packed
with flavor. It can have a few
ingredients or a million, as long as it tastes delicious. I often gravitate towards a grilled or toasted
sandwich over the soft bread type sandwiches – although those have a place in
my repertoire too. Probably my favorite
staple sandwich is the classic grilled cheese.
Growing up it was the one with those slices of American cheese that came
in the wrappers – you know what I talking about. Smile. The cheese melted really
well and oozed out as you ate the sandwich.
As a grown up, my palate has refined a bit and my grilled cheese now is
with jarlsburg, light rye and a bit of pepper jam inside. Still might sneak a
childhood version now and then.
At our last book club get
together, we had the most amazing dessert.We alternate between the 10 ladies in the club as to who will be the
hostess (with the mostess). A couple weeks ago, Cindy opened up her lovely home
to all of us to discuss our book selection – Transatlantic by Colum McCann.The overall majority enjoyed the
book and we had some lively discussion, which is a good thing. Sometimes the
book doesn’t resonate with everyone and that is okay; just means the discussion
is shorter. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
The third week of the month means it is Secret Recipe Club
time. It is a time when I get to
experience the great reveal and who clandestinely had my blog for a month. Did they look through every post or simply go
to their favorite category to make their decision? Sometimes I am astonished how far back the
viewing goes; sometimes a post from several years ago makes the great
reveal. What post will it be this month?
If you want to get in on the action, simply click on the Secret Recipe Club and
learn how to join in the fun.
My adoration with
figs continues. A new fig season begins
and many recipes to be made with these purple little gems. One day soon I will be setting aside time to
make 60 plus jars of Balsamic Fig Jam to have for gifts and of course for
personal enjoyment. Thinking about it now,
I will probably lean on the side of making more than sixty. It is actually quite simple to make – I just
need to secure the time.
When I spied figs at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, I knew
the window had opened but before I know it, that window will close. The time is now – carpe diem. Don’t be shocked if you see several upcoming
posts featuring figs. The most common
figs on the market are the Brown Turkey and Mission
figs. You may see both green and purple
figs, which both taste similar but visually quite dissimilar.
A trip this weekend to the farmers market proved to be fruitful once
again. If you remember, I made a Farmer’sMarket Salad with Honey Lime Dressing about a week ago. It was simply divine and this week I have
another delightful summer salad to share.
Okay, if you know me or have been follow Authentic Suburban Gourmet for
sometime, you know I have a slight obsession with figs. I never really had them as a kid, except for
the good ole fig Newton. My affinity with these perfect little gems
spans from my making my Balsamic Fig Jam to strategically placing on a Proscuitto and Fig Pizza. The vivid colors of this
salad scream fresh and tasty.
A great salad can be a masterpiece, perhaps even your own
Mona Lisa of sorts. The possibilities
are endless. Often when I head to the
farmers market I will browse the vendors to observe the seasonal
offerings. The simple clue is when 2 or
3 vendors are carrying the same items, and then you wrap back around and choose
the vendor with the freshest produce.
Summer time is particularly bountiful with heirloom tomatoes, berries of
all sorts, stone fruit galore, colorful peppers and sweet corn.
Who doesn’t want to be
transported to VeniceItaly for an evening?
I can’t imagine someone turning down such a special invitation –
certainly not me. If you have ever
traveled to Venice, then you probably have stepped into the famous
Harry’s Bar. This is the home of the
world famous Bellini cocktail which derived its name from the unique pink
color, which reminded the owner of the color of the toga of a saint in the
painting by 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini. It is simply pureed white peaches and
Harry’s Bar is steeped in
history with its roots beginning in 1931 by the bartender Guiseppe Cipriani. History dictates that Harry Pickering, a
wealthy young man from Boston frequented
the Hotel Europe where Cipriani was bartending.
Harry exclaimed one day that his family cut off his funds due to his
excessive drinking, Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (about $5,000 dollars). Approximately two years later, Harry returned
and gave Cipriani 50,000 lire in return.
Cipriani was very thankful and appreciative. Harry said – “Here’s the money. And to show you my appreciation, here’s 40,000
more, enough to open a bar. We will call
it Harry’s Bar.” (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
Strolling through my local farmer’s market early on a
Saturday morning is incredibly relaxing.
I try to enter without preconceived ideas of what to purchase or planned
recipes. I have every intention of
letting my mind be open to what bounty is available while exploring each vendor’s
booth. I must admit, I have a few
favorites. With the seasons consistently
changing, the selection is embryonic and thus my repertoire evolves.
With my global friendly bag in hand, my mission begins. A few baskets of small orange sweet tomatoes
and ripe red tomatoes make their way into my basket from one of my favorite
vendors, which happen to have prime real estate at the entrance of the market. I guess that could be looked at two ways –
people pick up right away or choose to stroll the rest of the market and then
have a full bag. I am the first scenario.
Although I have never actually stepped foot in the country
of Spain, I am
utterly obsessed with Tapas.Spain
is definitely on my bucket list. Tapas are small appetizers or snacks in the
Spanish cuisine. They are served cold
and hot. The most common ingredients,
types and flavors include olives, peppers, and seafood including anchovies,
ham, meatballs, garlic, salted cod, chorizo, garlic, empanadas, roasted pork,
mushrooms, manchego cheese and frittata. Quite honestly, the combinations are
Do you ever have
those days where you just want to nest?
I mean nest and clean. Yesterday
was that day for me. My office was just
in shambles. For anyone who knows me
personally, you know that I am a complete neat freak. My definition of shambles may be a bit off
from others, but for me, it was driving me crazy. After several hours of purging and
reorganizing, my office is back up to my standards. I just feel calmer when my surroundings are
in order and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Next weekend, if the nesting mood is still prevalent, then I
will tackle the closet. I know I have
numerous items that I can donate. There
is a particular charity I have in mind to donate some work related items. The organization is called Wardrobe for Opportunity and they support community members in their effort to find and sustain
employment. They partner with volunteers
in the community to give back through being a professional image coach,
boutique volunteer, mentor and other various programs. I have been searching for an organization to
give some of my time to and I believe I have found it.
It’s almost Friday Night – my favorite day of the week. It is time to say goodbye to the work week and kick off
the weekend along with enjoying our weekly tradition of Friday Night
Bites. One of our favorite appetizers is
the effortless cheese plate.
About every other week on the way home from visiting one of
my four offices, I will zoom into the Whole Foods parking lot. I guess I should call it “whole paycheck”,
since I don’t often get out for less than one hundred dollars and that is just
the hand basket. I tend to hit the
produce section then jet across the store to the cheese section. After the cheeses, it is onto the prepared
food section, the olive bar, the specialty crackers and a few other aisles that
catch my attention. About 15 minutes
later, the cashier reveals the total and it is 9 times out of 10 over one
I feel like I say this each month – how time flies. It is time again for The Secret Recipe Club and for
group C to do the great reveal. If you want to join in the secret fun, you love
cooking and you have a food blog, then check out how to get in on this fun
group of bloggers, who by the way make some pretty darn tasty treats.
This month I received
Amy’s blog – The Savvy Kitchen. Her
cooking niche is low-carb, low calorie and gluten-free. Amy comes from a relatively large Italian
family who loves to cook, especially her mother. She has a small army who are her official
taste testers and I am pretty sure these folks are very happy from the vast
array of tasty recipes on her blog. I would encourage you to check out her blog and I bet you will find at least a half a dozen recipes that you want to make right away. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
Summer is a special time in the San Francisco Bay Area. You are probably thinking why? Well let me tell you why. A small town about 35 to 45 minutes away from
me produces some of the best corn. The
small town is Brentwood, California. Not the Brentwood in Southern
California where the infamous OJ is from. It is the delightful town of Brentwood
in Northern California.
You can go to restaurants around the Bay Area and notice that dishes
highlighting this spectacular corn are on the menu.
After visiting my local farmers market over the weekend, I
had to pick up some corn from Brentwood. It was $2.00 for three ears of this sweet,
tasty corn. Quite frankly, I can eat it
raw sliced right off the cob, it is that good.
Corn Fritters have long been on my “recipes to make” bucket list. I began researching the internet for
different ways to make a corn fritter.
Some will fry in oil, which is tasty but not good for the
waistline. Others will pan fry with a
touch of oil, so I decided to pursue that route for this recipe.
Each time I visit Yountville
I must wait in the long line at Bouchon Bakery.
At first, you may think that it will be eternity until you get inside to
preview all of the delightful goodies that await you, but it does goes rather
quick, especially if you have a friend with you to pass the time.If you are by yourself, then listening and
watching all of the people will surly pass the time for you.People come from around the country and the
globe to have one of those light green boxes filled with the spectacular treats
that Thomas Keller is so well known for.
Last time I went to
Yountville, I purchased the Bacon Cheddar Scones and devoured it in the car on
the way home. I could not believe how
absolutely delicious this scone was. As
I was driving home, I kept trying to determine what made these so tasty. Was it the butter, bacon and white cheddar
cheese? I think those were definitely
part of the tasty equation. There was
something else that was added that I could not quite put my finger on. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)
A couple weeks ago hubby brought home a dozen assorted colored
eggs and a jar of honey. My eyes
instantly lit up. I was quite curious
why my husband who does not cook or frequents a grocery store would have such
items with him. The mystery was solved
quite quickly when he revealed that a woman he works with sent this home for us
to enjoy. She and her husband live on a
large parcel of land that houses chickens and bees. Okay – how cool is that to make your own
honey and have farm fresh eggs on a daily basis? I say – very cool!
On Saturday hubby sent me a text that a Boeing 777 crashed
at SFO. At first, I could not believe
it. Knowing that he was flying himself
that day, I asked him like I do every weekend when he flies – text me when you
land. Hubby has been flying as a private pilot for over 25
years and I trust him more than some of the commercial pilots. Unfortunately on Saturday two young girls
lost their lives and numerous others sustained a vast variety of injuries. We will not know for a while what the actual
reason was for the crash but based on what I know from flying with my hubby for
a long time and the thoughts he shared with me - we have our theory as to the reason for the crash. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims
and their families and that they soon have some sort of peace and comfort to cope with this tragedy.
Happy 4th of July Everyone! Today is the day our wonderful country
celebrates Independence Day where we declared independence from Great
Britain back in 1776. Typically it is associated with fireworks,
parades, barbecues, picnics, parties, baseball games and family gatherings. We live in a great nation and I am thankful
everyday for all that we have. However
you decide to celebrate, I wish that you enjoy every minute.
Hubby and I ventured to the farmer’s market last
weekend. There is a bounty of wonderful
fruits and vegetables during this time of year.
It was hard to contain myself from wanting to buy way too much. The
multiple colored cauliflower is such an eye catching veggie and can be prepared
in so many ways. I had a vision when I
purchased a head of purple, yellow and green cauliflower.
I simply love a great
cheese platter. It can simply have
one cheese, a savory jam and some toasted bread or it can be elaborate with
multiple cheeses, fruits and nuts.
I mentioned in my last post that I was quite inspired in
many ways by my recent trip to Chicago. We actually enjoyed two very tasty cheese
plates on our restaurant adventures. The
first one was at RPM Italian and it was served on a simple white marble small
platter with toasted bread, aged pecorino cheese and a savory tomato jam. It was actually our dessert and it was a
We just spent a marvelous week in the windy city. I believe I am now at 28 states with 22 more
to go to complete my bucket list of visiting all 50. Chicago
is an amazing city filled with great restaurants, a drop dead gorgeous skyline,
friendly people, history and culture. It
was an inspirational vacation on many levels and will share some of the
highlights for my weekly inspirations.
forward to Friday Nights. It is the end of the week and time to wind
down with appetizers and wine with my hubby, sometimes with the addition of
great friends. Lately we have been
enjoying sitting outside in our backyard with the fountain running in the
background and feeling like we are in an oasis.
It is the perfect way to kick off the weekend.
I am a bit obsessed with Brussels
sprouts. Whether they are roasted,
shaved or pan fried, they have to be my absolute favorite vegetable. I must admit there is only one veggie that I
simply can’t eat. It is the one that I found
most people on this planet love. When I
share with folks that it is not on my list of veggies to eat, they are a bit
shocked. I think it is because, I love
food and thus people think you love everything. (Click "Read More" below to continue post)