Sep 292016

IMG_5127 IMG_5123

I was invited to the Harvest Festival at The Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island one of the most glorious weekends this year.

About a dozen or so EZ-UP, pop-up tents manned by local vendors and food artisans offered up various delicacies from smoked turkey or brisket sandwiches, brick oven grilled pizza, all organic – kale, sweet potato & chic pea style soups and coleslaw to local wines, squashes, and Sylvester Manor eggs, husk tomatoes, breads, flower wreaths and cutting boards. The tents lined one edge of the farm’s ‘center field’ where a small stage was platform to a number of folk acts that played the last few hours of the weekend’s festivities.

My friend’s blanket was laid out just to the right of the EZ-UP tent where the ‘sound board’ was in the center of the ‘center field’.  As we were finishing lemonades and kettle chips and getting into our sweatshirts as the warm sun set for the day when another friend showed up w/a brown paper bag half full of husk tomatoes, grown on The Sylvester Manor farm. No sooner had he sat down when I had one of these yellow marble sized morsels pinched from it’s husk in my mouth. OOoos, ahas and yums drifted and filled our space as hands of adults and kids dove into that bag with little restraint.

Husk Tomatoes or Ground Cherries look like a mini heirloom tomatoes but taste like a cherry and tomato mixed into one bite. Pretty Dlectable if you ask me. Immediately I thought to myself, “this would make one killer tomato jam.” One of my all time favorite delicacies.

Concerned that the two pint baskets I got would yield very little I thought adding my next favorite delicacy, Peppadews, would bulk up the yield while also adding so much to the flavor and body of the jam on a whole.

After photographing these most gorgeous and interesting husk tomatoes or ground cherries for way to long I got that sauce pot on the stove.

What I used:

2-3 T of olive oil – enough to coat the bottom of a pot with a thin coating of oil.

1 T mustard seeds

1 t of red pepper flakes

3 good sized garlic dents – minced & sliced

2 baskets of Husk Tomatoes – husked & washed – some cut in half

6 – 8 Peppadews – sliced and good splash of their liquid

1/2″ fresh ginger root – finely grated

2T tomato paste,

1-2 T sugar and or maple syrup.

What to do:

Add the red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, garlic and ginger to the olive oil heating over a medium to low heat to infuse the oil with these savory flavors. Then I added the washed husk tomatoes and the sliced Peppadews and their liquid. Stir well, lower the heat.

If the mixture might be to spicy which it was the first time I made it, it can be toned down by added the juice of a wedge of lime, a bit more sugar or the maple syrup.  I also added some freshly ground nutmeg*

*Nutmeg is hardly a staple ingredient but I keep it around because a sangha member who’s authored a book on natural healing mentioned my using nutmeg when he noticed I was trying to suppress my cough during a Dharma teaching.

This Husk Tomato/Ground Cherry Jam is about the best conDiment to serve this time of year if you ask me. It’s a real trick or treat, sweet yet with a nice spicy bite at the same time & boy does the color work. It’s great as a topping on baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, on buttered toast of any kind, and any protein.  Make it, it’s great. A little goes a long way.

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Sep 172016
Trout Salad

Trout Salad and apple

Trout salad and apple

Trout salad and apple







I know you’re thinking, this girl just can’t make up her mind but this is one of my all time favorite meals: steamed sushi rice, a tin of smoked trout & apple. I’m also pushed & pulled as to whether to grate the apple or not. If you’re not into eating your food D.constructed, you’ll definitely you’d need a fork. I tend to eat with sticks so I break everything up & grate the apple. Of course I completely forgot to include a fork in the first snap here but believed me, I ate this right up, in one afternoon. Two servings.

Trader Joe’s has a nice quality tinned smoked trout at a reasonable enough price. All of their tinned fish is fine but I only eat the double double layered sardines by King Oscar. Jana Gold and or Gala are a good apples to look for when you can’t find Honeycrisp or Crispin which can also be called Mutsu

I garnish the ‘bowl’ with Tamari & Gamasio I make my self by grinding sesame seeds & sea salt in a mortar & pestle.

Gotta run & meet this gorgeous day.



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Sep 092016
Sweet potato and haricot vert/green bean salad

Sweet potato and haricot vert/green bean saladIMG_2552

The first time I made this sweet potato salad was for a college reunion, pot-luck dinner party, cook-out for a group of about 15 friends, former roommates, their spouses, significant others, all of whom short of 1 or 2 of the wives are mad ass foodies. The dish is so colorful, with varied textures, wonderfully bright & earthy flavors as well, it’s sweet & savory, smooth & crunchy, easy to prepare & it travels well so it’s my go to dish when the invite to go to pot luck party comes my way and I’m going the Storytellers Pot Luck Picnic this Sunday in Brooklyn Bridge Park. This is also a staple dish when I’m on charter.

The recipe I first stumbled upon dresses the warm sweet potato salad with a bit of thinned out whole milk Greek yogurt. Typically I served the salad both ways, one bowl with just the vinaigrette, the other dressed with the plain yogurt.


3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks

½ pound haricot vert cut to 1″ pieces, then quickly blanched
Salt – for the boiling water
1 T raw or coconut sugar
1 shallot, minced
½ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
¼ cup olive oil
a handful of chiffonade basil leaves
Black pepper, to taste (I like a lot)
¾ cup of Greek yogurt


While you bringing water to a boil to blanch the haricot vert prepare the shallot vinaigrette in to which the blanched haricot vert will marinate.  In a bowl, mix the finely minced shallots, vinegar, spicy mustard into which you’ll slowly drizzle in the olive oil & whisk until the dressing is well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil leaves.

Blanch the haricot vert – very quickly which helps to enhance their color as well as bringing a bit of subtlety to their bite.  Add the haricot vert to the dressing and let it marinate in a bowl w/a tea towel on top.

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. As the water heats up add enough salt to make the water taste almost salty then the Tablespoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes cook until tender, about 8 minutes. This technique for cooking potatoes that keep there shape is fail proof.

drained boiled sweet potatoes

drained boiled sweet potatoes

When the potatoes are tender, drain them from the water and put in a large bowl. While still hot, fold in the green beans vinaigrette. The longer the potatoes marinate in the dressing – the better.


warm potatoes with haricot vert vinaigrette

Before serving, fold in the yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper & paprika. IMG_2552

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Aug 312016


I got an invite to join one of my best friend & his sons for dinner since his wife was overseas for one of the largest international art fairs. Fortunately we try and do this every now & then, keeping it fun for the boys & me.

Texts started rolling in suggesting we whip something up together but what was I thinking? My suggestion – right off the top of my head was Gazpacho. I have no idea where the urge or impulse came from, but it came just the same.  The suggestion returned exclamation points and then I started reading recipes.  After reading my obligatory, at least 6, I settled on the only one that did not use soaked bread & seemed the most authentic to me. It called for more olive oil than the others but I was all for that.  Then as luck would have it & the power of manifesting, I had to show the apartment right near Chelsea Market. I ran through the Manhattan Fruit Exchange scooping up various variety of tomatoes, a cubanella pepper, a lemon, an onion a head of garlic & a hot house cucumber.

While I prepped the vegetables for the blender which took not more than removing the of course washing everything well, seeding the tomatoes, the cucumber & pepper The Gazpacho chilled for a good half hour in a super duper Sub-Zero and Glenn had the most perfect sized, Spanish serving bowls, half a ripe avocado, beautiful olive oil & two aged balsamic vinegars, which I dressed each bowl with. Criminal I don’t have pics but here’s what to do.

We also served toasted & then steamed brown rice with sherry sauteed quartered button mushrooms and a fresh green salad with a light lemon, olive oil & a sprinkle of Salt of D Earth.



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Aug 012016


I noticed a friend’s post on Facebook this morning with a photo of a simply beautiful plate of vegetable couscous with this comment, “Grandma’s couscous was my purpose for coming to Israel.” and the hashtag, youcompleteme.

You’d think I’d never made a vegetarian couscous the way I started reading recipes then I quit that as fast as I started it and simply looking at the picture my friend posted I knew just what I was going to do to make myself a Dlicious vegetarian couscous, the perfect dish to make & eat on this muggy, rainy, hot & steamy yet cool at other times Sunday at the end of July and this is what I did:

I purchased organic carrots & a zucchini from the Tibetan farmers that set up along and around Avenue A & 7th St around Tompkins Square Park. I had an onion (or two at home). I could not find sweet potatoes here then I forgot to look for them when I went to Union Market because I had in fact run out of couscous which is an absolute basic staple for me.  Because I was so hungry & this would be such a perfect meal I splurged & bought a can of GOYA’s all organic garbanzo/chic-peas. Typically I would only use chic-peas I cooked off myself. I rarely splurge on canned beans but when I do, they must be all organic. I’m thrilled to see GOYA getting into the organic game. OH, and there’s a penny I found IMG_0932

Inspired by the picture alone I started by making a full bodied vegetable broth/Court-Bouillon. I started by steeping a vegetable bullion cube in about 4-6 cups of boiling water in my bestowed by my Stepfather’s copper pot. Then I drained the beans into colander over the pot of the steeping vegetable broth to which I added 2 large bay leaves, a cinnamon stick, a smashed garlic clove & a 1/2 teaspoon of Kampot Peppercorns, (a fellow Aries’s friend gave me as a birthday present from a recent trip to Cambodia & Thailand) & bits of star anise to my frequently used bespoke D.infuser.IMG_0935

Then I began chopping the ingredients: Carrot. IMG_0937 IMG_0939I used 6 small all organic carrots in a medium roll cut. Then 1/2 a Jana Gold appleIMG_0942 because I didn’t see sweet potatoes & forgot to look for them at Union Market – medium dice/chop. then 1 medium sized onion. IMG_0943Again – medium chop.  Oh & 1/2 a large zucchini cut in half again then across into a half moon shape.IMG_0944

I added the ingredients to the simmering broth in the order I cut them, as described above & let that cook a good 20 – 25 minutes. I added the garbanzo beans the last 5 minutes .

Then I put 1 & 1/4 cups of the simmering broth into another heavy bottomed pot, to which I poured in 1 cup of all organic whole wheat the couscous, stirred that quickly, took it off the heat – meaning I slid the pot with a top on it over to a cool back burner. After 5 minutes I fluffed the perfectly cooked couscous with a fork.

With a large spoon I scooped a good amount of couscous into my favorite soup bowl with the then ladled a serving of the veg & some of the broth on top. I set up a noshing bowl with a dollop of hummus, plain whole milk yogurt, olives and a few pepperdews.

Lunch was killer & could not have been more perfect for today, a day of writing, voice over & work on small paintings. I’m going to call a neighbor I think will love it too.



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Jul 132016


I have a can of Iggy’s chopped clams with the cutest label of a smiling clam staring at me from a shelf in my pantry cabinet now for way to long so I was hell bent on making a clam & kale skillet pizza. I was on a rampage to use up ingredients to ‘Free up Space’.   I picked up a fresh, all organic pizza dough for a whopping $3 from Two Boot Pizza – hands down one of my favorite pizzas in our serious pizza town.

Such a perfect Recipe 4 Survival



1 prepared organic pizza dough

1/4 bunch of (red leaf) Kale (or swiss chard) – center stem removed and roughly chop the leaves. Wash well in cold water.

1 can of Iggy’s chopped clams – drained

Shallots – 1 good sized & 2 dents of garlic – thinly sliced

Corn meal, olive oil – for the pan

S&P or Salt of D Earth – to taste

That’s it! From prep to plating, it’s less than 30 minutes

Here’s’ what TO DO:

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.

Since I was working with a fresh ball of pizza dough – enough for a good 10 inch pizza I began by prepping the kale.  I prepped 4 good sized stems, slicing the leaves off the center stem then a rough chop through that, scoop that up and wash well in a bowl of cold water.

Then I thinly sliced a good sized shallot & 2 dents of garlic.

Coat the pan or skillet with a thin layer of oil & season that with S&P or Salt of D Earth and saute the shallots & garlic – this may take two minutes. shallotsgarlicsautePop 2 hand fulls of the well washed kale on top of the sauteed shallots & garlic. SautedingredientsShake the pan well to saute the contents. Beware of flames – water & oil. Let this wilt & toss well w/tongs – if you have them. That’s it. In the time it took to read this you could have cooked this.

Add the drained chopped clams to the sauteed kale, shallots & onions. Mix around to heat thoroughly and turn the cooked contents of the pan out into a bowl which you can cover with a pot top or a plate while you roll out the pizza dough. (Sorry I forgot to snap a pic of this step)

Wipe the pan clean. The pan must be perfectly dry w/no oil residue. Put this back on the heat and sprinkle the bottom of the pan with corn meal. Lay the rolled out pizza dough right into pan. With the heat medium to high let the dough settle in for a minute to form a crust then begin to shake the pan & lift the dough working with a wooden spatula so as to avoid hot spots/burning. Brush or coat the dough with olive oil – however you like.  Another reason I’m so into skillet pizza is because its SO hands on.

Top your skillet pizza with the ingredients (of your choice.) The Bon Appetite recipe calls for rendered bacon as a topping & Parmesan. I can not bring myself to include cheese with seafood! Almost as appalling to me as having a cappuccino after dinner.

Put the pizza skillet into the 500 degree oven and let it cook another 6-8 minutes

The pan & the pizza are screaming hot.
Let them cool.
The pizza will come right out of the pan, cut & serve.

Red, white, Rose’, beer, juice for kids whatever…
Skillet pizza is definitely a specialD.

I think it would be nice to serve this pizza with a side of slow baked fish and a fresh salad. I slow baked a blue fish filet with a light layer of  mayo & a corn & radish salad with a light lime & olive oil dressing. NICE meal & making this meal was the perfect example of ‘Build it and they will come’. Two friends called out of the blue & joined me for the pizza & the corn and radish salad.

Share some toppings w/me that you use.



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Jun 072016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016


I’ve been so nose to the grindstone the idea of sorting out travel arrangements to go somewhere feigning I’m suppose to celebrate the summer’s arrival was just not in the cards for me so I resigned myself to scouting my friend’s new apartment where I’d be preparing a few daytime party bites for her apt. warming party in a few weeks time, recipe testing for that & helping a friend out with child care.  I also finally got myself an ice-cream maker, a gift I said I’d reward myself with the last time I sublet my place.

I scouted my friends place Sunday to check the kitchen & borrowed a muffin tin to test making the requested puff pastry quiches.  They came out better than I expectedimageso it looks like they’ll be on the final menu.  With the real ‘work’ & responsibilities out of the way I was off to Bed Bath & Beyond to get me an ice-cream maker. I had a 20% off coupon for in-store purchases that I noticed expired two weeks prior but with a quick check-in with a competent customer service rep they would happily honored the coupon. Their return policy is very flexible and the help is very kind.  Love Bed Bath & Beyond. I got the Cuisinart ice-cream maker.

Where the new acquisition would live/be stored was a concern but my wish to have an ice-cream maker over rode this limiting mind set. In order to have the freezer bowl to be at my ready, stored away on the top shelf in the back of the freezer, I was headlong unraveling & hurling out the likes of shortcake biscuits & plastic to go containers of embarrassingly old potato peel & clam broths but I also unearthed some real finds like a rolled up plastic baggie with a good amount of Ruth Reichl’s Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi which yielded 6 or 7 perfect dumplings I boiled off immediately in well salted water, dressed them with an exquisite smoked olive oil & a shower of my Snow Moon Blend Salt of D Earth and gobbled those right down. I found a few opened pacs of my go to fast food fix, Trader Joes, Cheese & Green Chili Tamales  then deeper along I found half a bag of organic black cherries which spurred the inspiration for what my first batch of homemade ice cream would be – Black Cherry ice cream! What a glorious surprise and inspirational ingredient.   With a clean, orderly freezer and the freezer bowl in place on the top shelf in the back of the freezer and the motor & splatter dome have a perfect spot on top of the -fridge I was off to the Lower East Side Union Market where I picked up the Ronnybrook milkFive Acre Heavy Cream oh & a bottle of Lakewood Fresh Pressed Black Cherry juice – on a gift card my sister gave me when she came to visit during the winter holidays.

With the freezer bowl sufficiently frozen I whipped up my first batch of ice cream ‘batter’ at the end of the day on Memorial Day Monday. The recipe I made up even after reviewing just a ‘few’ haha recipes was: – 1/2 Cup of milk, 1 Cup of the heavy cream  a 1/4 Cup of the cherry juice,may 3 Tbls of raw sugar & 1 Cup, of strained Stonyfield Whole Milk Plain Yogurt then I poured the thawed black cherries & their juice – all into my mini Kitchen-Aid food processor and processed.

It took me way longer to write this piece and  like the directions say, in less than 20 minutes I had myself a serving of fabulous homemade black cherry ice creamimage and well over a quart which I scooped into a Tupperware container and into the freezer. It got firmer after a few hours & I had some more for dinner too. 


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May 072016

It was towards the end of March with my birthday creeping up on me that I got it in my head that I just may want, never mind need a pot rack.

I think the last straw came the day I was given two bright yellow nesting soufflé dishes and I made my first cheese soufflé 1stsouffle– definitely one of my favorite dishes but the exercise of having to remove all my pots and pans from the oven and scatter them about the kitchen floor or cantilevered off of one & other in the drying dish rack found me ignoring my oven more often than not and for the Utilitarian cook who hardly has all that many pots and pans to begin with – I was feeling this was criminal.

Within a day of having this thought I saw a pot rack hanging in the kitchen of a rental apartment we had just gotten the exclusive listing for – I pose as a real estate sales agent and assistant to a high end broker by day. I took this as a sign, so started looking at pot racks online. The next hurdle would be, if I order the pot rack on line, how do I receive it? There’s no way I was going to have that sent to where I work then have to hide it under my desk & get it downtown do I tried to coordinate with a contractor that works in my building to agree to accept delivery of the pot rack and then go into  the apt and install it. In my dreams.  No return of texts to this query & task which I made perfectly clear that he would be gainfully employed for.

A few weeks passed. I was scheduled to show the apt at the end of a day on a Thursday. As usual I go to the apt ahead of the showing to turn on the lights & ‘prep the apartment’ only to find a painter, Marc, prepping the apartment to begin his job. Immediately I notice the pot rack was gone. I asked Marc if the couple that moved out, “Did they take it with them”?  He said, “Oh no, I removed it this morning.” When I say, “Wait, you’re not kidding? I want it! Where is it”? “Oh it’s in the compactor room.” He answers. “I want it”!  “Hang on. I’ve got to show the apartment now but I’ve got to get that pot rack.”

I show the apartment. Show the client out and turn immediately to the concierge and ask to be shown to the compactor room because I want something that Mark threw away. The concierge starts asking me when he, meaning Marc threw IT out and that I can’t go to the compactor room.  I get a bit huffy, never mind undiplomatic when another Super type guy asks me the same question and says, “If he threw it out this morning it won’t be there.” Now I’m seeing red, “Get me Marc.  Call him on that walkie-talkie hanging on your hip.” I doubt I said please when Mark miraculously appears from the service elevator w/a smile on his cherubic Eastern European face.  He’s just that kind of guy. Marc escorts me to the ‘Compactor Room’ which is an immaculately clean area with two dumpsters in it. The pot rack is in one of the dumpsters missing nothing more than two of it’s mounting bolts. It’s quite heavy, maybe thirty pounds. I drag it out to the courtyard of Worldwide Plaza where this dumb apt is, take a shot of it to send to my mom, then call my friend that takes care of my dog because I know she has a car for the day since she’s in active duty location scouting.

I had a drink with my pot rack safely stored in the coat check at the Restaurant Thalia when I waited for Isabelle to get uptown in the car. Getting it home was painless. So like my pots from the oven I slid her under my kitchen table and I began to penser how to install her?

I’m a Mother’s Helper on Fridays for a 10, 8 & 1 year old. I’ve been a part of  the family for over a decade, way before the children were born & the mama came in to her husband’s life. As luck would have it I didn’t have to start this day until 2PM so my first stop at 9AM was to ACE Hardware at the top of my street for a can of white spray paint and where I also got the ingenious idea to ask if they might have a recommendation for a handyman and YES they did.

With a little help from the construction crew working on my building I was set up with a scrap piece of sheetrock & I was spray painting my pot rack. Kin was expected within a half hour to access the situation & see which bolts he would need. Now here’s yet another funny bit, while I was spray painting the pot rack two Mormon Elders passed by and asked if I believed in Jesus & if I’d like a postcard of him? I said I was fine without the postcard but yes I did believe in a Divine Spirit or extraordinary energy & that’s how I got this pot rack – with a bit of Divine intervention I explained. They were so excited by the story they even offered to help install the pot rack – just as my man Kin appeared. Let me also add all this was going on nearly the last day of Passover so I feel there was some strong renewing energy around.

An hour later & few hard cash greenbacks & a major cleaning the pot rack was up & I treated myself to a fabulous Middle Easter platter & a lemonade at Cafe Mogador. I was starving and soon sufficed. IMG_3845



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Apr 212016


In preparation for Passover I went through my refrigerator & cupboards to search & Dstroy all neglected, forgotten, leftover ingredients taking up space only to realize they would all be perfect to make a nutloaf with.

Here’s what I scavenged: 1 Portabello mushroom which a friend gave me since she signed up for one of those meal delivery plans & can’t stand mushrooms. A red onion that needed to go to good use & I had 1/2 a plastic bag of faro & some cooked off oatmeal that would have gone right down the toilet had I not used it in this dish. I can see this being a stretch for some folk but it really worked. The nut loaf cooked beautifully and was very moist. This goes to show how forgiving this ‘recipe’ is.  I had 1/2 a dozen eggs so using three rather than the called for 5 was a no brainer and I had a heel of smoked gouda that had seen better days.  The only thing(s) I purchased was a 2nd Portabello mushroom & some gorgeous farmers cheese which had I remembered I had the cooked oatmeal I would have forgone this ingredient.

If you have cooked rice, or any grain for that matter, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 40 – 50 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make this nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs of a cooked grain –  faro, short grain brown rice, quinoa, cous-cous, oatmeal, …

1/2 large Onion – diced

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped or pulsed.

sherry – splash – 1/4 cup.

1 C slivered Almonds – toasted

3 eggs – beaten

1 C – farmer’s cheese

1 C or more of cheese – Smoke Gouda, Gruyere, or cheddar – grated

1/2 apple –  grated

I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too. I have 1/2 a bag of  walnuts but I’m going to use them in the beet, apple & orange salad I bring to my cousin’s Sedar.

I cooked off about a cup of the faro which is completely painless. It cooks in boiling water in under 30 minutes.

Then I quickly diced 1/2 of the red onion, pulsed each of the Portabello mushroom tops & stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl. The recipe calls for lots of herbs to be added to the sautéd mushrooms.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & whatever cooked grain you’re using  IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 3 eggs to which the farmer’s cheese,cottage or pot cheese will be mixed into. If I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add sauteed mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well, then the egg & cottage cheese.  This is when I added the smoked Gouda & the grated apple. Mix well. Only because I have flat leaf parsley around from having made anchovy butter toast for my cheese souffle I roughly chopped about 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley and mixed that in at the very end then poured the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877 I slid this into the preheated 350° oven and let it cook for 40 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. I blanched a handful of string beans and ate 2 almost piping hot slices in a bowl never taking the time to plate the dish and take a snap for a blog entry – GREAT – NOT…

So the following day I cut out of work & came home and served myself the beautiful dish you see uptop, the nut loaf with steamed corn & Ceres pear juice. Now here’s a funny one for ya; I am not a ketchup person but I remembered I picked up a bottle of Rhode Island’s own Cowboy sauce which is more a BBQ sauce than a ketchup and poured that on. Oh My God – again, I ate this so fast I could have choked.

I can’t speak more highly of this dish. A true new specialD!


There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.



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Apr 112016

Cheese souffle’

I offered up my humble abode to a visiting luminary/dear friend who would be hard at work in NY on the Spring Affordable Art Fair so she insisted on a few meals out to celebrate my return from Cuba, (where yes, I did go to see The Rolling Stones) and the joys that had come into her life.

Friday night we walked into Cherche Midi after 10:30PM and got 2 seats right in the middle of the bar. The tables were bustling and everyone, patrons & servers had a smile on the. The bar seats were perfectly inviting. I ordered the pot de fromage, one of my absolute favorite things, a Parmesan custard w. anchovy butter toast and the kale salad which was better than most. Filling, bright, tangy and perfect with the pot de fromage.

My friend up & at it Saturday morning while I was home to work on my Altered Book project which was expected to be delivered via FedX on Monday.  I also planned to make me my 1st cheese souffle. Short of a recipe in a friend’s very old French cookbook for pot de fromage  I settled on a recipe for individual cheese souffles which I doubled. The ingredients are all basic staplessouffleingredients

Within 5 minutes of finding the recipe I would work from I was at it. I removed the pots & pans from the oven & preheated that to 375 degrees. Next I quickly prepared the souffle dish which I was given just the day before by lightly buttering the sides and a dusting of grated Parmesan. Believe me, I was at the point that I would have made the souffle in a sawed off soup can or the 1940’s oven proof casserole I picked up at a yard sale last summer. Then I got to grating a chunk of smoke gouda and lobbing off a chunk of blue cheese which both melted beautifully into the bechamel sauce I started with an oversized pad of goatmilk butter and 4 ts=1T + 1t of unbleached all purpose flour then slowly whisked about a cup of milk into – once the flour & butter had a bit of a nutty aroma to it .

Next separate 4 eggs, add the yolks to the cheese sauce, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks tho not dry peaks. Begin by gently folding 1/4 of the whipped egg whites to the cheese sauce, then the whole lot. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake in a water bath or not in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Frisee salad w/a lemon vinegrette way worked. Green olives if I’d had em. Oh and a Sauvignon Blanc.


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Feb 252016


It is with great pleasure that I’m sharing my version of a Rhode Island clam chowder, not a New England, and certainly not a Manhattan, Long Island, Maine nor any bastardizations of a chowder from the southern states such as New Jersey, Delaware, and a Minorcan style which took root in the St. Augustine area of Florida where Spanish Minorcan’s settled in the 18th century.

Full disclosure right at the top, my recipe does not call for bacon or heavy cream nor do I make a traditional roux of melted butter, flour and milk but I do use quahogs and little neck clams.

Between the seasonable Fall weather, the wacky vibe of Halloween, & Day of the Dead and reminiscing already about the joys of the summer quahoging off of Coatue on Nantucket with our feet and the chowder I whipped up on board a private sailing yacht I made a B-line to the Mott Street Super store, NewYorkMart for quahogs & clams.

I picked up 6 quahogs (large, hard shelled clams) and about a dozen and a half little necks.

The rest of the ingredients:  potatoes, onion. garlic, wine & the secret ingredient, a splash of rum are staples. Then I picked up a baguette & a celeriac root which I went with over the fennel I typically use since I have an aversion to celery and felt the celeriac root was a more regional ingredient and would really add the perfect flavor and body to the chowder.

Just last weekend I went to a send off party for friends that will be Dlivering yachts to the Caribbean & my friends served up soupe de poisson, fish soup, more than enough for 40, plus they served toasted baguette with a rouille.  I did the same by toasting sliced baguette and rubbing each slice with a fresh garlic clove. Then I made  a Recipe$ 4 Survival adaptation of a rouille by mixing smoked paprika, a squeeze of lemon juice & a pinch of red pepper flakes into an all organic olive oil mayo.

Most important, I hope my recipes are simply spring boards for your imagination and you’ll make my recipes your own.


4-6 Quahogs – well washed so any and all grit is removed

1 – 1.5 dz clams, well washed so any and all grit is removed little necks vs Manila so you’re working w/regional ingredients – if that matters to you. It does me.

2 sprigs of thyme

1 celeriac root, fennel or celery – medium dice or thinly sliced or 1/2″ pieces

2 large yukon gold or red bliss potatoes or fingerling – medium diced

1 large yellow onion – medium dice

½ head of garlic – dents smashed & roughly chopped

3/4 C – white wine. I use a Sauvignon blanc or a dry Chardonnay

AND – the secret ingredient – a shot of R(h)um

Baguette – toasted slices

Rouille or a garlic aioli condiment


I began by steaming off the quahogs in a heavy bottomed pot in about 1 inch of well salted water, a wedge of onion a few bay leaves a few smashed garlic cloves & a sprig of thyme. These opened in about 8 minutes of cooking time over a medium heat with a top on so they steam. I poured all the contents into a large serving bowl. The water which started with as I said about an inch well well over 4 cups now.  I prepared the little necks the exact same way. They cooked off in about 4 – 5 minutes.  They too were turned out into a large serving bowl so they could cool & I could pick their muscle out and chop them up.

While the clams were cooling I prepared the celeriac which seems like a beast to work with but remember, you’re the one with the knife. Lob the bottom off, then the top, then slice the skin off, cut in half and slice & medium dice like any potato or apple. Then, leaving the skin on, I prepped 3 fingerling & 2 red bliss potatoes, then I diced 1/2 of the large onion.

In a heavy bottomed pot add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion, celeriac & potatoes. Let this cook down over a medium to low heat to avoid getting any color. Stir gently frequently. Add about 3 cups of the clam broth liquid. When the veg have reached a toothsome texture add all the remaining clam broth liquid and cook for another 20  minutes or so – over a low heat. When all the ingredients are perfectly tender, turn off the heat, wait a good 5 minutes then add the chopped up clams.

While the soup was cooking I sliced & toasted off 1/2 of a baguette in the broiler in my oven. This took no time at all. Then I rubbed the toast with a fresh garlic clove and did  the same on the flip side. Then I prepared a Recipe 4 Survival version of a rouille: 1 C all organic olive oil mayo, a squeeze of a lemon wedge, a T of smoked paprika & a pinch of red pepper flakes.

My Discerning French friend immediately prepared 2 baguette toasts with the Recipe$ 4 Survival version of a rouille, floated them in her bowl of soup and Dclared it a perfect 10. My Rhode Island native friend, he did not immediately include the baguette toast but he had no words for how much he loved it. They both ooo’d and ahhh’d while I poured the rest of the Chardonnay into our glasses, sat down and drank up myself

I guess this is why I feel I can call this a clam chowdahhh.



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Feb 162016
oysters finishe dish

 I love this entry & recipe. I first posted it last year on President’s day.oysters finishe dish


I’m sure you’re all wondering, ‘ How can Oysters Rockefeller be a Recipe 4 Survival?’  I’m not going to labor over the point but on some level, Oysters Rockefeller is a perfect recipe for survival. Short of only a few ingredients that are not staples the benefits of the vitamins & minerals intake balance it all out in my book. The dish is quite reasonable to prepare, whether you’re up to shucking your own oysters or if you’re not, oysters can be opened painlessly by par boiling them.

I was an oyster shucker for an Open Oyster party at The Diamond in Greenpoint. Obsessed with these Fisher Island oysters, I asked if I could take a dozen home with me.  My request was obliged kindly .

I got the iDea to make Oysters Rockefeller because I have creamed spinach & butter in the freezer from my crepe making caper last week it was Presidents Day, an R month and I had 9 unshucked oysters in the vegetable crisper draw in the fridge.

So I began my research into Oysters Rockefeller.  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that the closest anyone can get to a recipes which of course is top secret and may even have been taken to the grave is that there is no spinach in Antoine’s Oyster Rockefeller. Antoine’s Restaurant,  where the dish was developed after the craze for escargot waned. Its said that there are 18 ingredients in Antoine’s recipe. Legend has it that a patron exclaimed with delight after eating this dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”

Seeing that Pernod, Herbsaint or Absinthe is a traditional ingredient in the recipe I was out the door like a bolt to get a bottle of Pernod which I love anyway and can’t imagine why Absinthe has been absent in my cupboard. I picked up a more reasonably priced bottle of Absinthe, Absinthe ordinaire liqueur.  With this bottle in hand I then trucked down to the Essex Street Market to get a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley, scallion, watercress.  Breadcrumbs, garlic  & capers are staples to me.

So that’s it.   A stick of butter warmed while I was out getting the liquor & the greens.  Immediately upon getting home, out came my compact Cuisinart. I roughly chopped half of each bunch of the greens, parsley, watercress & scallions. I added this to the warmed stick of butter I broke down into 4 pieces in the Cuisinart. Then I added 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 Ts, capers, & 2 Ts of the Absinthe to make a compound butter. I was so excited I completely forgot to add the breadcrumbs nor did I top them with Parmesan which is not called for in the closest I think I could get to a traditional recipe – even tho I have it.  Tarragon & celery are believed to be in the original recipe. I neglected to use these ingredients but if I had easy access to tarragon, believe me, I’d use it. I’d also use fennel in place of celery but let me tell you – by making a compound butter with basic greens like I did and OH, and a splash of an absinthe, anise flavored liquor – I believe you can feel confident saying you made Oysters Rockefeller.

With the compound butter made I preheated the oven to 375 and set up to shuck and prep the oysters.




I spread a bed of Kosher salt in an oven proof pan with then gently placed the freshly shucked oysters topped with the compound butter into the oven for 7 minutes.

Place the hot out of the oven oysters on a plate w/rock or kosher salt, if you have it, or forego any of that but remember a few lemon wedges. A cold bubbly drink always works.

Remember, eating oysters is good for the environment!

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Feb 082016


Just like learning a new word & then you hear it almost immediately, I find this is what happens to me when it comes to what I’m inspired to cook.  Here’s a recent example.

A friend who stayed at my place while I was on a road trip left a few basic staples behind, one of which was a medium size wheel of Brie.  I was ecstatic to see the Brie because it reminded me that I had about a pound or more of fresh cranberries in the freezer I never used at Thanksgiving and I had recently seen a recipe on Food52 for a Dutch Baby, which (if you ask me) is a fancy name for nothing more than an oven pancake, served with a cranberry & orange compote. So between seeing this recipe cranberries in the freezer and having a wealth of tangerine marmalade, I knew just what I’d be making this weekend.

What a luxury it was to be thinking only of making a Brie-en-croute  & Dutch Baby, oven pancake, served with a cranberry & orange compote over the weekend that the weather word was all about the impending Blizzard of 2016. All I needed to pick up would be a package of puff pastry. Even tho I heard about the storm I was still taken by surprise when I swung ’round the corner from Third Avenue on to 14th Street, the line to get in at 9:30 in the morning looked like a Depression bread line with people standing 4 abreast from the front door of Trader Joe’s extended west past three store fronts. I’d set out early Friday morning en route to my babysitting duties with enough time to jump into Trader Joe’s to pick up a package of puff pastry. I walked right by as tho I’d never even thought of going in there.

My first order of duties for the family I help w/childcare and cooking was to bone up on the very specific shopping list the length of my arm from wrist to elbow. The last item on the list was a case of water which meant I’d be taking the expandable, folding wagon to Whole Foods. The frenzy of people ‘stocking up’ on food for the blizzard was nuts. I remained very calm, collected knowing just where to go to get the very specific foods my friend needed. This is when I grabbed a package of puff pastry.

I couldn’t’ get home fast enough Friday night. The first thing I made was my extra special cranberry sauce. Aside for a few of the ingredients which I’ll keep secret the one secret I will share about my extra special cranberry sauce is that I make it the oven. The cranberries are roasted. Saturday morning I made the Dutch Baby/oven pancake served with the cranberry sauce which I warmed in a pot & added 2 heaping table spoons of marmalade to. Sunday I rolled out 1 sheet of puff pastry, 1,2,3, slathered the whole wheel of Brie with the cranberry sauce, sprinkled it with some summer blend Salt of D Earth, wrapped it in the puff pastry, then in Saran Wrap & into the freezer.

It’s the Dutch Baby Oven Pancake recipe I’m going to share now since there’s a link to my Brie-en-croute earlier in this piece.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Melt 2 Ts Butter in an oven proof pan or skillet

Mix up 3 eggs, 1 C of milk & a scant cup of unbleached flour – until very smooth.

Remove the hot pan from the oven, with a mitt, and pour the batter into the melted butter in the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

You’ll remove an absolutely beautiful, puffy warm oven pancake. Spread with the cranberry & orange compote, serve directly from the pan. IMG_2887While the Dutch Baby cooked I boiled water to prepare a real treat, a blooming chrysanthemum tea my bestie Downunder sent me, out of the blue. This helped to curtail the fact that I didn’t have yogurt or fresh fruit with this.  All things considered, I had a lovely breakfast after having been away for nearly a week.




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Dec 222015


I bought a 3# bag of tangerines vs a crate of clementines at the cost of three times the amount of the tangerines. The only problem with the tangerines is the mad frustration I found eating them because of the copious amount of seeds they have. Now I think I know why tangerine juice is such a hard to find commodity.

What made me think of making marmalade I have no idea except for maybe being out of mind with frustration at trying to get pulp through the seeds – so I found myself note to the keyboard researching recipes for marmalade. First & foremost I knew I was not going to go thru some crazy procedure to make marmalade. I found the easiest, most efficient recipe, forgoing juicing & grinding of pulp recipe & went with it. Of course I tweaked the recipe to use ingredients I had and techniques I felt comfortable working with so I feel confident you to will relish in this fabulous delicacy.  It’s really easy to make. Way easier than pie.

Here’s what I used: 

Cutting board & serrated knife

Good sized mixing bowl

1 heavy bottomed pot

whisk or slotted spoon

Candy thermometer – not absolutely necessary. I happen to have one so I kept an eye on the temperature read to be between 210 – 220 degrees. Doing my best to maintain a medium boil at the 2nd stage when it had the sugar in it.

2#s of Tangerines – cut into quartered wedges

1 lemon – cut into a quartered wedge

5 Cs – water*

3.5 Cs – sugar

**nutmeg, cinnamon & a teaspoon of star anise

What I did:

With a serrated knife I cut the top & bottom of the tangerine off. Cut into quartered wedges then across the wedges removing any pith and or seeds. image I retained the tangerine ends pits & pith thinking I would gather this up in a cheese cloth ball and hang in the mixture when it boiled but as timing would have it I never did this step for my first ever batch of tangerine marmalade

When you’ve successfully cut and sliced through all the tangerines and you’ve got them into a good sized mixing bowl cover them with 5 cups of liquid as called for in the recipe BUT I used 1 cup of tangerine juice, 3/4C of pineapple juice because I had it in the house & the remaining 3 Cs of water I used from my infusion pitcher which I had just freshened the night before with lemon & pineapple. The tangerine & lemon slices sit at room temperature for a day in the 5Cs of liquid in the bowl covered with Saran plastic wrap. Looks like I forgot to take a snap of this step

The next day transfer the fruit & the liquid they soaked in to a heavy bottomed pot and bring this to a boil the reduce heat to a simmer for at least an hour and a half. Cook until rinds dare tender & the fruit is falls away from the rind.

Because of my schedule after this stage I put the pot into fridge until the next stage which is when you add the sugar, mixing until the sugar dissolves before it goes back onto any heat. This is when I added a few nutmegs, a stick of cinnamon & a teaspoon of star anise in an infuser – to the mix. Bring the mixture to a medium boil, 210 -220 degrees on a candy thermometer if you have one for about an hour & 20 minutes.

Let the marmalade cool before pouring it off into bottles. Store in the refrigerator.

The next step is all up to you.

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Nov 302015


I’m thinking the corn pudding recipe I posted here a few months ago may have prompted the invite and helped secure my place at a ‘friends like family’ Thanksgiving dinner table just outside the Philadelphia area this year. The simple, 3 hour commute via the quiet, civil NJ Transit & SEPTA trains versus being a particle in the mass exodus up the New England corridor at the mercy of public transportation which is such a nightmare to navigate definitely paved the way for a Thanksgiving I’m truly grateful for on many levels.

I noticed a few procedural actions that needed clarification and a typo or two were corrected.


1 C – creamed corn*

1/4C Turbinado sugar

3T – all organic fine ground corn meal  – the recipe called for all purpose flour

2t – baking powder 

1.5 t – salt

4 – eggs**

2 Cs – milk – the recipe I used as a spring board called for 2 Cs whipping cream

3 Ts – melted butter.  The recipe I used as a spring board called for 1/2 C of butter – melted

2 Cs – all organic corn, cooked, – 1 C yellow kernels & 1 C white kernels

What I DID:

*For the creamed corn: I cooked off 2 Cs of all organic Whole Foods brand of frozen corn, 1 C yellow kernels & 1 C white kernels. I cooked this off over a medium heat in about a 1/4 C of water. While this cooked off I prepared the roux with about 3 Ts of butter & 3 Ts of King Arthur organic unbleached all purpose flour mixed with a whisk until the flour taste is gone and just before the butter begins to brown. Then add the milk, stirring all the while in a steady pour and at least a half cup or more of the corn cooking liquid. NO brainer. Add the drained warmed corn. Incorporate well through the cream sauce. Puree in an appropriate blender or food processor.

For the corn pudding:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Combined the sugar, the corn meal , baking powder & salt in a mixing bowl.

In another bowl whisked the eggs**, I beat 3 of the eggs & separated one – beating that yolk into the 3 beaten eggs and whipped the whites to soft peaks – one recipe I used as a spring board called for 6 lg eggs. Another called for 3 eggs, separated, working with whipped egg whites and beaten yolks.

Add the milk & temper the melted butter into the beaten eggs then gradually add this to the dry ingredients, the sugar, cornmeal, baking powder & salt and whisked until smooth.

Then I added 1 C of  creamed corn & 2 Cs of the yellow & white cooked corn into the batter then fold the egg whites into the batter, mixing gently but thoroughly.Tgvingcornpudding

A note here: I found that the egg whites here are stiff peaks. Softer peaks will mix better into the batter, take less time to whip up and work just fine.

I poured this into a prepared, butter greased, 9″ glass pie dish. I fit the glass pie dish over a pan half filled w/water. It cooked for a good 60 minutes. I turned the heat off and let everything stay in place another 15 mins.

In addition to my corn pudding I made a shaved Brussels sprout salad, (half of which I blanched, the other half was left raw) with thinly sliced watermelon radish discs I made from coring the radish. Here’s a pic of the salad as a work in progress. TgivingradishTgvingBsproutsalad

I added the diced honeycrisp apple and lightly coated the salad with a Mirin, orange juice reduction, vinaigrette at the house where our feast went down. 

What I’m most proud of is that one of our dinner guests had my Brussels sprout salad for her first dish at our Friday brunch grazing session.



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Nov 192015

I tweaked and reposted my nut loaf entry at the end of the day last Thursday with the hope of reminding you all about it being such a perfect dish to make at this time of year but the attacks on Paris rendered me quite useless and I never did muster the energy to make the nut loaf hence drawing your attention to the most current post on recipes4survival.


What I made instead for lunch late in the day on Dark Day Saturday, November 14th, was fusilli in a vegetarian style carbonara sauce w/ chopped spinach. I ate this so fast I never stopped to even snapped a picture of it. Then late on Sunday, for dinner I whipped up a creamy cheddar polenta topped with garlic spinach & Parmesan.

Let me give you an idea how to make this vegetarian not vegan style Carbonara sauce with the spinach.


2 Cs dry pasta, fusilli was great

1C frozen chopped spinach

1 egg

3 Ts – olive oil

2 lg garlic dents – minced or sliced

1/2 C grated Parmesan 


Bring a good sized pot of well salted water to a boil – to cook your pasta in.

Infuse the olive oil & garlic in a pan over a medium flame or heat just until just before the garlic begins to turn brown. You’ll sense this by the light garlic arOMa if you gently waft the air over the pan towards you.  Turn the flame off and swirl around.

Cook the spinach off with just a bit of water and a pinch of salt.

In a good bowl beat the egg well.  Temper the oil & garlic into the beaten egg. Mix well. You’ll see it begin to emulsify. Add the grated Parmesan, Mix well.

When the pasta is  cooked, after 9 – 10 minutes in the boiling salted water, retain some of the cooking liquid, maybe a 1/2C or so & drain well.

Pour the pasta into the serving bowl with the egg, oil & cheese and stir to coat all the pasta well. Now toss the spinach in and mix well again to incorporate the spinach throughout. Serve hot and top with a bit more Parmesan if you will.  I had a cold Riesling which I don’t often like but it went well with this dish.

Now, if you’re interested to make the polenta, here’s the trick. Polenta is prepared in a 1:3 ration. What I do is: bring 2 Cups of milk, or 1C milk & 1 C water w/ a few smashed garlic dents, & a teaspoon of peppercorns, & a few bay leaves to a simmer, stirring well.  Just before the milk will scald, turn the heat off and let it continue to infuse.  While this is cooking hydrate the polenta in a bowl with the 3rd, 1 Cup of water.

Drain the milk or milk & water mixture of the garlic, peppercorns & bay leaves.

Bring the liquid up to temperature again, just before a boiling point and slowly mix the polenta into the liquid.  Continue mixing. The polenta will erupt like small volcanoes. Cook it well, stirring all the time for about 10 minutes. The last minute or so stir in a knob of butter, turn off the heat and put the top on the pot.  Pour into bowls and top with your favorite topping. Mine was garlic sauteed spinach. I’ve also had it with a chunky tomato sauce.

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Nov 122015


The weather lately has me thinking about a NUT LOAF folks and I think you should be too.

Even tho this is a REpost if you will The synchronicity surrounding the first time I made a nut loaf was ‘NUTS’ was so much fun, I’m leaving a bit of that commentary here.

A friend who bought a bunch of Salt of D Earth around the holidays wrote to say how the RhODy blend really pulled her nut loaf together.  I wrote back immediately saying, “NUT LOAF, what do you mean nut loaf? How have I never heard of a nut loaf? You’ve gotta talk me through this one.” Within minutes she texted me a link for a recipe with a quick note that she’s never really used a recipe to make a nut loaf & she’s been making them for years.

I checked the recipe in the link knowing full well I too would be ‘Making it my own”.

I hemmed & hawed about whether or not this nut loaf could really constitute being a true Recipe 4 Survival since a majority of the ingredients are not basic staples and some of them are quite expensive, for instance organic nuts.  I knew I’d love it, I wanted to make something I’ve never tried before and the play on words that a nut loaf is NUTritious made it all worthwhile.

Now that I’ve made it, nut loaf is a perfect recipe for survival. So here’s the rough math: the ingredients used to make a 9″ loaf cost about $18. At least 10 hearty slices can be had from the 9″ loaf which I know would suffice a family of 4 with left overs, so YES, nut loaf is a Recipe 4 Survival.  A slice, pan-seared makes a killer sandwich – especially since I used up my ancho chili infused maple syrup roasted butternut squash like a jam on the toast.  It freezes & reheats really well and it’s so NUTritious! IMG_8885

The ingredient’s & quantities called for seemed like overkill to me and I could tell what they were calling for and the final product would be very forgiving short of picking up mushrooms & cottage cheese I made my first nutloaf with basic staples I have at home.

If you happen to have left over or cooked rice, putting a nut loaf together takes almost no time at all. Let’s say 20-30 mins prep & 50-60 mins baking time.

Here’s what I did to make my nut loaf.

Preheat the oven to 350°

2 – 3 Cs cooked (short grain) brown rice – 1 cup of short grain brown rice yielded .

2 Portabello Mushroom tops & 1 stem – chopped.

2 dents of Garlic – minced or diced

1/2 large Onion – diced

sherry – splash/1/4 cup.

1 C Almonds – toasted & 1 C Walnuts – toasted

4 eggs – beaten

1 C – cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese

1 C Grated cheese – Cheddar or Smoke Gouda

(Pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews – whatever your fancy. I used nuts that are staple ingredients for me and I believe everyone should too)

I cooked 1 cup of short grain brown rice which I let toast lightly in the pan I sautéd the mushrooms in  then I added two cups of water, let that come to a boil for 5 mins. Turn the heat down, put a top on the pan and let the rice steam for a good 20 mins.

I pulsed to a fine chop 2 Portabello mushroom tops & 1 stem in my small food processor then cooked them off in a heavy bottomed pan with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, 2 good sized dents of garlic roughly chopped  & 1/2 an onion diced.  I added various pinches of dry herbs, primarily thyme & sage which probably equal about a teaspoon each.  When the mushroom liquid evaporated I splashed in some sherry – a staple for me and let that cook off. Turn off the heat & let the mushroom mixture cool in a bowl.

Next I toasted the nuts, 1 C of  almonds & 1 C of walnuts I toasted each separately, a handful at a time in a small saute pan over a medium heat. This takes no time at all, just until you smell the aroma of the nuts by wafting the air over the pan. I tossed those into small food processor and pulsed.

In a large bowl combine the nuts & the cooked rice    IMG_8874

In another bowl beat 4 eggs, & 1 cottage or pot/farmer’s cheese. The recipe called for 5 eggs & 1 Cup of the pot/farmer’s cheese. Believe me, if I hadn’t been able to get the freshest most beautiful farmer’s cheese, I would have left it out. Season with Salt of D Earth or S & P.

Add the egg & cottage cheese and the sautéd mushrooms to the nut & rice mixture and stir to incorporate well.  This is when I added about a 1/4# of grated smoked Gouda & handful of dried cranberries.  I think apple chunks would work nicely in the mix. Maybe in place of a cup of nuts?  There’s sO much one can do to make this dish their own it’s NUTS.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9″ Pyrex loaf dish IMG_8877and decorated the top of the loaf. I used slices of apple. IMG_8881 Sliced mushrooms, a sprig of thyme, would look beautiful. I slid this into the preheated oven and let it cook for 50 minutes, turned the heat off & left the loaf in the oven another good 10 minutes.

Nut loaf is so great on so many levels. It travels well. It’s a great pot luck dish for a party, it’s filling and again, oh so NUTritious. The first time I made the nut loaf  it was so well received I scored big time as it took center field on the grazing table at a Superbowl party amongst a huge pot of vegetarian chili, cheesy nachos, traditional toppings, 2 different bowls of guacamole  & various dipping chips.

You too will score big time with this one. YUM.



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Nov 062015

IMG_1560I was going to make cheese grits for breakfast over the weekend until I stumbled upon my friend Mark’s post about having made cheddar broccoli soup and I was hooked – line & sinker. It was the perfect weather for it & I had an 8oz tub of pub cheese, (creamed sharp cheddar) from Trader Joe’s & some Parmesan in the ‘fridge so all I needed to pick up was the broccoli. I was also motivated to make soup because the heat in my apt was not working and the first Fall chill had settled in.

After stops to the Union Square farmer’s market and three of my neighborhood grocery stores I was completely underwhelmed with all the broccoli I saw looking bland & lifeless, blue, grey and dry, seeming to lack any vitality with stems that I was postulating would be woody while the broccoli rabe/Rapini whose nutritional value is as bold as it’s flavor was stationed shoulder to shoulder to the broccoli looked rich & vibrant. The green was a deep dark hunter green. It was glistening. I grabbed a big beautiful bunch for less than $4, ran home, made the soup and was eating in 40 minutes. Heres’ what I used and what I did.

What I used:

Pot, 1 Pan,  1 mixing spoon or a whisk 

3 T Butter & or olive oil, 1/2 diced Onion, 3 T Flour & 1 C Milk – to make a roux

1 bunch – Broccoli or Rapini/Broccoli Rabe – roughly chopped, at least 8oz sharp cheddar, (I added a good sized pinch or two of Parmesan) & 2 – 4 C – cooking liquid

What I did

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Roughly chop 1/3 or 1/4 of the bunch of broccoli or Rapini and roast this off in the oven in a pan or on a sheet pan – dry no need for an olive oil coating. The veg should be well washed of course. Let this cook off for about 20-25 mins.

Roughly chop and steam off the remaining broccoli or Rapini

Make the roux while the steaming and roasting is going on. Melt the butter or heat the oil, add the onions & let them sweat for at least 5 mins – until translucent. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well to coat and incorporate the flour into the the butter & olive oil & onions. Let this cook for at least 5 minutes to insure the dusty flour taste is cooked out and what you have not only smells like heaven but a bit on the nutty side.  Add at least 1 cup of the milk and stir until you’ve made a nice cream. Toss in the steamed broccoli and at least 2 cups of this cooking liquid mixing in the pot all the while. Mix in the cheese(s) you’re using until melted and well incorporated. Toss in the roasted broccoli or Rapini. Incorporate fully.

I used a whisk to mix the soup but a wooden spoon or any utensil you feel comfortable working with and have available to mix & stir with will do.  Some folks might suggest working with a slotted spoon. Work with what you have.  Enjoy this time and again, making this soup can not take more than 45 minutes, that includes 5 minutes if you want to blend it.  I ate it both ways; chunky and the fully blended.

I hope you enjoy this. I LOVE it and I’ll be making it again in my house.

Cheddar,broccoli Rabe soup and a potato pancake, creme fraiche & smoked salmon - Shabbat dinner

Cheddar,broccoli Rabe soup and a potato pancake, creme fraiche & smoked salmon – Shabbat dinner

Here’s to Super, Supper Eats


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Oct 162015


I put myself up for a cooking competition.

The dish I’d be presenting was ancho chili infused maple syrup pan seared sea scallops on a corn pudding round w/creamed corn under and around that, dried cranberries sprinkled about, a drizzle of the reduced maple syrup glaze and pea shoots as a garnish and for some color. Pretty perfect if you ask me and it came out – perfectly.

I’ll spare you the gory details about how many corn pudding recipes I read before going at it with only staple ingredients I have on hand tho I did buy a quart of milk. I worked primarily from one recipe while incorporating tricks or ingredients from a few others. First tho I prepared at least 2 cups of creamed corn which was called for in most of the recipes I looked at.

Here’s what I used:

1 C – creamed corn*

1/4C Turbinado sugar

3T – all organic corn meal flour – the recipe called forall purpose flour

2t – baking powder 

1.5 t – salt

4 – eggs**

2 Cs – milk – the recipe I used as a spring board called for 2 Cs whipping cream

3 Ts – melted butter.  The recipe I used as a spring board called for 1/2 C of butter – melted

2 Cs – all organic corn, cooked, – 1 C yellow kernels & 1 C white kernels

What to do:

*For the creamed corn: I cooked off 2 Cs of all organic Whole Foods brand of frozen corn, 1 C yellow kernels & 1 C white kernels. I cooked this off over a medium heat in about a 1/4 C of water. While this cooked off I prepared the roux with about 3 Ts of butter & 3 Ts of King Arthur organic unbleached all purpose flour mixed quickly and then began to add the milk and at least a half cup or more of the corn cooking liquid. NO brainer. Add the drained warmed corn. Incorporate well through the cream sauce. Puree in an appropriate blender or food processor.

So you have full disclosure I boldly added a secret ingredient as a liquid to my roux for the creamed corn. A week prior to this cooking contest I had the luxury of snagging a pint of lobster cooking liquid heavily laden with tomalley, the ‘green stuff’ in a cooked lobster so I chipped about 3 Tbls out of the frozen pint of the lobster cooking liquid and got that into the roux mixture which I feel brought a real high note to the creamed corn. I can’t imagine anyone else doing this but it’s all about truth & transparency with me.

For the corn pudding:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Combined the sugar, flower baking powder & salt in a mixing bowl.

Whisked the eggs**,I beat 3 of the eggs & separated one – beating that yolk into the 3 beaten eggs and whipped the whites to medium peaks – the recipe I used as a spring board called for 6 lg eggs, milk & melted butter together in another bowl then gradually added the sugar, flour mixture and whisked until smooth.

Then I added 1 C of  creamed corn & 2 Cs of the yellow & white cooked corn into the batter then folded the egg whites in, mixing thoroughly.

I poured this into a prepared, butter greased, 9″ glass pie dish. I fit the glass pie dish over a pan half filled w/water. It cooked for a good 45 minutes. I turned the heat off and let everything stay in place another 15 mins.

The corn pudding cool on the table on a tea towel for a good half hour then I put it into the fridge covered with the towel. The next day I cut 4 perfect rounds out by turning a mug upside down on the pudding and cutting around the rim of the mug.

Pictured here is a test of the pan seared scallops on a bed of the creamed corn. What I learned from pan searing  scallops is that with the Ancho chili infused maple syrup marinade I did not need extra oil in the pan to sear them off.  The contest dish was much more beautiful with perfectly pan seared scallops on a 1 inch high round of corn pudding with creamed corn oozing out from underneath it and and dried cranberries sprinkled about.   IMG_1277

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Oct 062015
New Street Oysters


It was in the dark of night at the end of a cul de sac way off the Polpis road that cash was exchanged and a bushel of 5th bend oysters were handed over out of an ice filled commercial cooler from the back of a pick-up truck.

I was hired to help with the food for my friend’s twin sisters 50th birthday party & in celebration of a successful summer run of Air B&B rentals at their home in ‘Sconset on Nantucket.

My friend is into performance & casting. I was cast as oyster shucker & food prep person. The menu was easy, various lobster salads, oysters, Sayle’s clam chowder, various typical party beverages & two bakery supplied birthday cakes, 1 carrot cake the other a vanilla layer cake.

While deep into the process of cleaning the oyster shells of the thin layer of silt still on them it became known to me that my friend’s mom’s 92 year old newly wed husband, not being a New Englander may be willing to try cooked oysters. He had no intention of trying them, never mind enjoying them raw.  This got my wheels turning. In no time at all I prepared a compound butter of finely minced garlic & chives, oregano & parsley and from the huge bag of beautiful fresh sage leaves I plucked a few dozen from the stems and prepared them as a fizzled leaf as garnish for the top – once the oysters were roasted off.

New Street Oysters


1 stick of butter – room temperature

2-3 Ts of garlic – chives, oregano & parsley – minced

2 dozen or more shucked oysters

Kosher salt

24 sage leaves

2 Ts butter

What to do

I had a stick of butter sitting out to warm since I got up in the morning. I minced the garlic & herbs.

Blend the butter, garlic and herbs in a Cuisinart or similar style blender or by hand with a wooden spoon.  Transfer blended butter to a bowl to get the butter back to a firm state.

Washed & shucked 2 dozen oysters – refrigerate

Melt 2 Ts of butter in a pan and heat til it bubbles. Add a few good sized sage leaves at a time until they frizzle on both sides. Remove w/tongs or a fork. Dry on paper towel

20 minutes before service preheat the oven to 500.

Remove the shucked oysters from the -frige. Add about a teaspoon of the chilled compound butter to each oyster.

Arrange the oysters on a salt covered baking tray.

Get the tray in the oven. It should be no more than 5 minutes before the edges of the oysters curl. Remove them from the oven. If you have a Pernod, a drop of that would be great on each oyster. I did not do that for this service but will for any new New Street oysters I make in the future.


I had 4 plates of the roasted oysters placed on tables around the yard. New Street Oysters

We set up a table where I did shuck oysters and a had a good flow of interest. I also prepared a traditional mignonette sauce & lemon wedges. Fifth Bend oysters I must say are Dlectable. The oyster holds its shape beautifully. They maintain the cold and salty liquor not too salty, very clear, you also get a quick mineral shot on the back end.

I prepared lobster salad 3 ways and thinned out clam chowder base from Sayle’s with their clam broth. Killer. The crock pot of this was refilled a number of times before running out. We cooked off 14 lobsters for the party & had 6 the following night which we grilled for immediate friends and family who were lucky enough to enjoy the island a few more days. Grilled lobster is by far the most sublime way to enjoy lobster. I’ll share the lobster salad recipes under separate cover

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Sep 032015

IMG_2551 IMG_2552

I first made this dish for a college reunion, pot-luck dinner party, cook-out for a group of about 15 friends, former roommates, their spouses, significant others, all of whom short of 1 or 2 of the wives are mad ass foodies. The dish is so colorful, with varied textures, wonderfully bright & earthy flavors as well, it’s sweet & savory, smooth & crunchy, easy to prepare & it travels well so now it’s a main stay in my arsenal of Galley Dlights.

The recipe I first stumbled upon dresses the warm sweet potato salad with a bit of thinned out whole milk Greek yogurt. Typically I served the salad both ways, one bowl with just the vinaigrette, the other dressed with the plain yogurt. On board, I served this with a Thai chicken curry & pineapple rice I steamed off which included a half cup of coconut milk. To me, this dish bangs a gong, it’s such a highlight to a meal and looks beautiful on a table.


3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1” chunks

½ pound haricot vert cut to 1″ pieces, then quickly blanched
Salt – for the boiling water
1 T raw or coconut sugar
1 shallot, minced
½ cup golden balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
¼ cup olive oil
a handful of chiffonade basil leaves
Black pepper, to taste (I like a lot)
¾ cup of Greek yogurt


Start by bringing water to a boil.

Then whip up the vinaigrette to marinate the quickly blanched haricot vert in.  In a bowl, mix the shallots, vinegar, spicy mustard then begin to drizzle in the olive oil & whisk until the dressing is well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, stir in the basil leaves.

Blanch the haricot vert – very quickly which helps to enhance their color as well as bringing a bit of subtlety to their bite.  add the haricot vert which are cut into 1 inch pieces to the dressing and let it marinade in plastic storage bag if your cooking for a charter of if you’re in the luxury of a kitchen, let the haricot vert marinate in a bowl w/a tea towel on top.

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Prepping hericot vert & shallots for the vinaigrette marinade

Put the cubed sweet potatoes in a large pot of cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. As the water heats up add enough salt to make the water taste almost salty then the Tablespoon of sugar. Once the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook the potatoes cook until tender, about 8 minutes.

drained boiled sweet potatoes

drained boiled sweet potatoes

When the potatoes are tender, drain them from the water and put in a large bowl. While still hot, fold in the green beans vinaigrette. The longer the potatoes marinate in the dressing – the better.


warm potatoes with haricot vert vinaigrette

Before serving, fold in the yogurt and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper & paprika. IMG_2552

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Aug 132015


 Yesterday was the first I ever read about ‘slow roasting fish’. Thank you Food52!

The genius recipe calls for not much more than 4 salmon fillets on a bed of fresh thyme sprigs and olive oil on the flesh. Skin side down on a baking tray in a 275 degree oven for maybe 15 minutes. Never again will you ever run the risk of over cooking fish. This recipe is fool proof, no fail, efficient – Genius

The salmon looked perfect & fabulous and I can barely stomach it short of wild Coho salmon slow.

I couldn’t get home fast enough to prepared the fresh piece of monk fish AND a pound of steamers, or soft shell steamer clams I picked up  Anthony’s seafood in Middletown, RI. before making my way from Newport back to RI just the day before. On my way home I picked up the red onion a jalapeno & lime for my go to summer corn salad.

What I Did

Preheated the oven to 275 degrees.

Thinly coat  the bottom of a Pyrex loaf dish w/olive oil and thinly sliced garlic then laid the just over 1/2 pound monk fish (tail),  on top of the thin layer of sliced garlic. A squirt of lemon from a wedge, and a good seasoning of the top of the monk fish with Salt of D Earth, RhODy blend. Pop this in the oven. Check the time.

While the monk fish slowly cooked I prepared a corn salad of RI native corn which I shaved from the cob and boiled in well salted water  for 5 – 7 minutes until I caught it’s aroma, minced red onion & jalapeno. Drain the boiled corn. Toss the corn in a good sized bowl, add the minced red onion & jalapeno, squirt of lime juice from a wedge,  olive oil & again, I used my Salt of D Earth, Rhody blend.

I also steamed off the pound of steamers with a 1/4 of a yellow onion, a few bay leaves and 2 garlic cloves In well salted water.

The last 5 minutes the monk fish slow roasted which was more like  20 minutes because it’s flesh  a bit denser than salmon I poured half of the steamer broth and all the steamers into Pyrex dish with the roasted monk fish tail. I kept the heat on in the oven and let this cook another 5 minutes.  The steamers didn’t really need the extra cooking time but  no biggy really.

Basta. Fini. Almost as fast as you can read this is about how quickly you can make the dish, you haven’t broken the bank to make it and you’ll feel great after eating it.

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Jul 302015


Is it just me or do you see anything in the  meal pictured here, somehow relating to the painting above? It does to me, the funny thing is that it happened naturally.

I received an email w/the beautiful painting depicting  The Shakyamuni Buddha’s first teaching of the Four Noble Truths that July 20th this year commemorates this auspicious day and that on an auspicious day as this karmic results are multiplied by one hundred million so it is an excellent day to practice meritorious activities.

As the universe would have it my day started out w/my serving a meritorious random act; just as I was docking the Citibike I rode from the East Village to Union Square before 9:30AM, at the only dock, of 30 available, a woman approached me to ask a number of questions about the Citibike. Her biggest concern was about not feeling stable if she could not reach the ground on the bike. I obliged willingly, showing her how the seat can be adjusted and let her take the bike for a spin while also explaining  how to use the ‘key’ you get w/an annual ‘membership’ when a young guy tried to dock his bike in the only available dock I was standing in front of when the woman returned from her spin on the bike. We explained the situation and the guy rode off.

Later that day I came across a recipe that jumped off the page at me in one of the many daily, food related emails I get and that was a green tomato & corn salad. Knowing the ramifications of meritorious acts today, preparing a nice dinner just might be a perfect act of kindness to share.   

I was out of work promptly by 5:30P on a sunny gorgeous evening. I made a B-line to the subway with the Essex Street Market as my destination.  I had 2 RI native ears of corn at home so it was green tomatoes & a nice piece of fish I was looking to procure.  All the way there I figured I’d get a cod filet or maybe a brook trout.

Much to my surprise and joy there was a beautiful side of wild caught blue fish and at a fabulous price, less than $6 a pound. Now I and many of my cronies, we love blue fish. For us the first bluefish catch marks the beginning of summer in New England where the rich-tasting fish is local, sustainable, inexpensive and abundant in the summer months in the N. Atlantic. Should you not be thrilled with Bluefish because of it’s somewhat gamy flavor and somewhat oily texture, cod, trout, snapper  will hold up nicely to this preparation and the side dish which motivated the whole thing in the first place. Finding green tomatoes at this time in the summer proved difficult – at Essex St. Market so I splurged on 2 medium sized heirloom tomatoes that still had a good amount of green on them.

This dish clearly goes to show how keeping color in mind elevates the food while also rounding out the wholesomeness of the meal. What I prepared was a cross between pan searing & poaching a bluefish filet with  light slather of mayo on the flesh cooked in a pad of butter, 1 sliced garlic clove & olive oil &  a cap full of Gin which is a traditional way to prepare bluefish. I learned this preparation on Nantucket years ago when after a day of blue fishing we cooked up numerous fish, baked in the oven with mayo & splashes of gin.  Served with dice, steamed Yukon gold  potato & the corn & green tomato salad. I must admit, baking bluefish is more to my liking but it was just to hot to crank up the oven so cooking on the stove-top worked out just fine.


2 ears of corn – kernels sliced off the cob & steamed for 7 minutes or until you smell the sweet corn aroma

1 good sized Yukon Gold potato – diced & steamed off

2 Green tomatoes – diced

Olive oil & Salt of D Earth – RhODy blend – for the corn salad dressing

1 garlic clove – thinly sliced

1 T butter & 1 T olive oil

S&P – season the skin side of the fish

1 -2 Ts Mayo – thinned out & spread over the flesh of the fish

Gin – 1 cap full

What I did to prepare this meal

Start by dicing the potato & steaming that off.

Infuse the thinly sliced a garlic clove in the melted butter & olive oil by swirling a (saute) pan before placing the prepared bluefish, flesh skin side down in the pan. Allow the fish to cook a good 5 mins over a medium high heat before adding a cap full of any Gin of your choosing. On my top shelf I keep a lovely bottle of Bombay Sapphire. With the splash of Gin in the mix, I lowered the flame and put a lid on the pan.

I had the corn steaming so I diced up the tomatoes. Pour the steamed kernels into a bowl, season with salt or if your lucky enough to have Salt of D Earth,I used the RhODy blend but if you have Dlite or the Equinox blend, you’ll be just fine, a good splash of olive oil and toss in the tomatoes. Toss to coat & marry.  You decide if you’d like your salad cold or warm. I went for warm because I was so hungry but have since made it twice and have had it cold with a grilled cheese sandwich.

I had a cold Reeds Ginger Brew which I didn’t even add rum to. Drink what you wish – wink

So for me, this is summer on a plate.  Bluefish are best enjoyed very fresh, so make sure to get yours from a reliable source. Eaten within a day or two of catching, the flesh is sweet and flaky, with a deep ocean flavor.

Not until I took the photos of the dish & the sides did it hit me that the color scheme of the plate, the bowls and the contents of the bowls & the label on the bottle of Ginger Beer did it look somewhat similar to the picture I posted about this auspicious day which marks Shakyamuni Buddha’s first teaching on the Four Noble Truths.



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Jul 142015


A friend of mine, the Proprietor of Global Yacht Concierge recommended me immediately when she got a call for HELP from an on board Chef to prepare crew meals for one of the super yachts leaving in a matter of days for the Transatlantic Race, Newport, RI to Cowles, England. I had no idea what I’d be asked to do but I replied to my friend’s text – Sure recommend me. I’d love to help.

The mission which I chose to accept after my brief conversation with the Chef was to prepare 6 meals for 16 people. The meals I would prepare would be in addition to what she’d prepared and snacking provisions. I was asked to make: a traditional Bolognese, a chili con carne which I incorporated organic, soaked, boiled and steamed black beans into, a lamb Tagine, with apricots & organic, soaked, boiled and steamed chic-peas, a beef and lamb Irish stew, a Thai chicken curry and last but certainly not least a butternut squash lasagna which I feel was my pièces de résistance.

The Chef and I met before 9A on a Saturday morning at the Coffee Grinder on Bannisters Wharf to get me some petty cash and hand off her vacuum sealer, sans the bags, which she insured me I’d find them amongst the Ziplocs in the super market, no problem. I’d placed a meat order a day or two in advance of my arrival in Newport.  With cash in my pocket I made my way up to the Bellevue Avenue Stop & Shop to pull all the groceries together. Not until I was checking out did I remember I needed the bags for the vacuum sealer.  I ran to that aisle only to find the shelf was bare of exactly the bags I needed. Back at the customer service desk with two carts of my groceries I was advised that I could most likely get them “At the Walmart or the larger Stop & Shop out on 114.” The customer service woman helping me offered to keep the carts in the producer cooler in the back at the super market while I got my car & procured the food sealing vacuum bags.

I walked down the hill minutes before my noon start with the zip car I’d picked up at IYRS on Lower Thames. My first time ever in a Walmart added nearly an hour onto my now dwindling day.  Working like a Swiss time piece I unpacked & organizing all the provisions between 2 refrigerators, counter space & cabinets in my friend’s kitchen just as a text came to HOLD OFF ON THE COOKING.  There was an electronics ‘issue’ on the boat. Three hours later I was granted permission to”…carry on and cook”.

Allow me one tale of woe because I did at one point remind myself that ‘Smooth Seas Never Made a Skillful Sailor” and boy did I have a day of it – which is why by the time I was preparing the butternut squash lasagna I prepared that dish like I was cooking for a wedding.  So briefly, the rough seas…having never made a Bolognese or an Irish stew nor is it food I’d ever eat or would even try, I went at preparing these dishes first. The incorporation of the bacon, draining of excess fat and reincorporating the lean part of the bacon back into the mix of over 6#s of ground beef & pork, 2 cans of tomatoes, onions, 2 cups of milk, herbs, and a cooking time over nearly 4 hours had my first ever vacuumed sealed bags of Bolognese, (which I was told was GREAT) weighing in at over 10#s. The Irish stew, working with the worst recipe I’ve EVER encountered took just as long to make. This too was taste tested and a big nod and an AOK had me hauling the over-sized pot into the 2nd refrigerator in the garage for an overnight cool down before vacuum sealing the contents into bags meant for just this purpose.

The following morning at exactly 9AM I plugged in the loaner vacuum food sealer to the most disturbing racket, sounding like combat fire.  I text the Chef to ask about this, her reply was “Yes, it’s been known to make quite a racket, is the green light on?” I replied immediately, “Don’t notice any light going on.” Fortunately my friends have a food sealer – staring me in face.  I prepared my work space for the sealing venture.  The Bolognese went fine but all the while I wondered, is there a technique to getting food into a plastic bag for sealing, when the second bag of Irish stew, awaiting a ladle of the goods, keeled over, spilling at least a quart of greasy Irish stew, carrots, parsnips, potatoes & onions – all over my friend’s kitchen counter, around & under wicker baskets of produce & breads, a coffee maker & a blender.  I remained as calm as possible & had the mess cleaned up before anyone arose for to begin their day.

Cut to the 3rd and final day of cooking, I woke early on a sunny Monday morning with 4 meals packed & delivered, well rested and ready to prepare the butternut squash lasagna & the Thai chicken curry. Melding two recipes I’d read I began prepping the ingredients for the butternut squash lasagna.

Here’s what I did:

I preheated 2 ovens to 425 degrees.

First I cut the bulbous bottom off the long neck of the squash. Then I peeled & cubed the top half of 2 good sized butternut squashes, tossed the uniform sized cubes in olive oil & course ground sea salt in a mixing bowl then spread them out on 2 foil lined baking trays. The squash was cut perfectly uniformed.image  I cut the bottom parts of the squash in half, turned them flesh side down on the end of the tray and got all that in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cubed pieces were soft. Then I turned the heat down to 350 degrees, cleaned the seeds out of the bottom halves of the squash with a spoon, scored the flesh, dropped a thin pad of butter & a splash of maple syrup into each cavity the seeds had come out of imageand baked off the bottom halves, flesh side up until they were soft.

Next I prepared a Bechamel sauce, a sage infused brown butter image    & the Ricotta cheese mixture which consisted of a quart of whole milk Ricotta, 2 Cups shredded mozzarella & Parmesan cheeses,which I whisked & thinned out with whole milk & a cup or more of vegetable stock.

I cooked off 1 box of traditional Lasagna noodles while I prepared the sage infused butter & the Bechamel sauce. I rinsed the noodles in warm water & some oil so I could handle them and laid them out on a tray with parchment paper. I folded ed the sage infused butter onto the mashed & cubed butternut squash

Then I was ready to put the Lasagna together. I began with a layer of the Bechamel on the bottom of each baking dish. imageThen a layer of the noodles, then the butternut squash onto each of the noodles & spoonfuls of the Ricotta mixture on top of the butternut squash. A layer of noodles, the squash & Ricotta mixture. imageTopped with the Bechamel, & grated Mozzarella & Parmesan.  image

I cooked off both baking dishes in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes & sprinkled the tops with smoked paprika when they were cooling. image

I let the baked off lasagnas to cool for a good hour or so which allowed me to cut each serving dish into half imageallowing me to pack each beautifully into the bags for vacuum sealing and then freezing. 4 vacuum sealed pacs of butternut squash Lasagna

I hope this entry will help you to make the dish. Let me assure you, making half the recipe is smooth sailing compared to what I carried on here than.  It’s a fabulous dish and I believe the guys will enjoy it and feel satiated as they race across the Atlantic Ocean.


June 2015

Castle Hill, Newport RI

Arends-Touche residence




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Jun 222015

Solsticepic IMG_0518

So here’s what compelled me to make spicy scallop Hako, press box sushi.

I was cleaning my refrigerator Solstice morning when I came upon a tube of Harissa I bought many moons ago when I made spicy scallop sushi for a private dinner party some and a neglected pac of nori that looked rather schnurry when I remember that I have a sushi press box squirreled away in one of my kitchen cabinets. So I was off & running – to get fresh scallops, I used sea scallops because they’re going to be sliced & diced and I bought beautiful sushi rice oh, and a small tin of powdered wasabi. I would never recommend using wasabi squeezed from a plastic tube.  The powdered variety with water added to it is about the best we can get our hands on


2 cups of SUSHI RICE

Vinegar seasoning – 1 C VINEGAR  1/4C SUGARV& 1t SALT

SEA SCALLOPS – 6 sliced & diced


HARISSA PASTE – 2 tsps or to your preference


A bowl of WARM WATER & a side TOWEL – if you’re not using protective gloves the rice is a bit sticky when you layer it into the box form.


Wash & (air) dried the sushi rice in a strainer. Cook this off with 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to let the rice simmer & steam with the top on the pot for about 20 minutes. Turn the heat off.

While the rice is cooking prepare the vinegar seasoning. 1 C vinegar, 1/4C sugar & 1t salt.  Warm mixture in a pot until the sugar & salt are dissolved. Let this cool.

Prepare the filling or what ever you may want to use; shrimp, topiko, shisho leaf, pickled dikon, mushrooms,cucumber, avocado it’s endless – you’re making sushi. I prepared the scallops (6 sea scallops) first by slicing them, then dicing them. I put this in a bowl, added a good sprinkle of Salt of D Earth, RhODy blend & added a scant tablespoon of mayo & 2 teaspoons of the Harissa and mixed well.  Let this chill in a -frige.

Tip the cooked rice into a bowl or onto a tray to let it dry.  Once the rice is sufficiently cooled & dry fold the seasoned vinegar into the rice. Incorporate well.  If the rice seems wet, it will dry.  Refrigerate.

Here’s a note.  If you’re starving, this is no pret-a porter style dish.  I tried to make the sushi with the rice still warm and the finished pieces did not hold together all that well. When I made the Hako sushi the next day with cold & then room warmed rice it took 5 minutes to make the dish & it came out perfectly. I was able to cut the pieces, plate it & eat it…like I was in a restaurant.

Now begin to layer & press your ingredients into the bottom of the (removable) wooden box that the box is lifted off from and the sushi is cut into 6 equal pieces while on one the bottom wooden surface.

The first layer I put in was plain seasoned rice. IMG_0514The next & middle layer was the spicy scallop then on top of that I had a layer of rice which I added Gomasio – toasted sesame seas & a good quality sea salt to. I decorated the top with pickled ginger. Press down, turn the box around, press down. take the top off, lift the box off, cut in half then 2 slices from each half to serve six pieces.  Please refer to the video

Plate & serve with Tamari or shoyou sauce and wasabi paste.

A bit about the power of the (Summer) Solstice: Today marks a sacred time of deep renewal. It is the perfect time for letting go of what no longer serves us, clearing out the old, and welcoming in the new.

Here’s to keeping it light Solsticepic

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May 192015


For decades now various groups of my friends have bellowed at me in disbelief that I, of all people, considering my love for music, passion for the Blues, food, history & symbolism MUST get thee to New Orleans and why not during Jazz Fest.

With my entire Jazz Fest weekend sorted out months in advance by a native of Louisiana, veteran festival attendee, mad foodie & hugely resourceful friend of a friend with friends in many places and I with a few crib notes of my own I shed a number of deep seeded qualms and I was off to New Orleans.

My first approach to the fairgrounds was a very daunting affair ‘Elton John Saturday’.

Mother Nature was showing off that morning giving us her most perfect festival weather in days so to begin with I learned very quickly that my friend had not seen traffic backed up the way it was since Bruce Springsteen played the festival a few years ago. Her parking spot at her friend’s home just around the corner from the front gate pedestrian aorta was taken so we were forced to drive around to the exact opposite end of the fairgrounds, paid to park on a front lawn, then weaved our way for what seemed like miles through a neatly maintained neighborhood of ranch homes where hawking kids saw brisk sales of lemonade & water, then through a few security checks points, ticket scanned, a walk past the stables then onto the pitch and that’s when I saw the CRAWFISH MONICA ‘booth’.

Like the sound of a gong going off in my head a calm came over me, I felt settled in, as I recalled and heard my dear friend Suzie B’s distinctive voice saying, ‘You’ve gotta have the Crawfish Monica”. Note ‘gotta have’ and not try, crawfish Monica.  She said this to me so emphatically this is when I caved, 6 months prior to Jazz Fest, in Austin, Texas at Suzie B’s Rocker’s for Knocker’s benefit to raise money for medical expenses in connection with treatments she’s in need of.  The response to her benefit was overwhelming and it spurred the last prod that got me to The Big Easy.

On my first ever approach to the CRAWFISH MONICA ‘booth’ I said to the  smiling, freckle specked cheeked, young adult wearing her orange, 2015 crawfish Monica T-shirt & baseball cap backwards, “I’ll take a life time supply please” and I hadn’t even tried it – but boy oh boy I could see that this was a dish I was going to eat right up.

So without further ado, let’s see how I’ll make CRAWFISH MONICA – My own


1/2 # organic pasta – I used fusilli Rotini is what most recipes call for.

3 T butter & olive oil

1/2 large onion – diced

3 garlic cloves – minced

1/2 jalapeno minced

Cajun spice mixture – primarily paprika, fresh ground peppers, dry mustard, salt, &  herbs

Sriracha sauce – – squirt

Splash of white wine

Lemon juice – from a good sized wedge

1C heavy cream

1/2 # crawfish tails

Chives or scallions for garnish tho I used fresh watercress


I began by cooking off a 1/2 pound of organic fusilli in a well salted rolling boil for 9 minutes. I retained 1/4 C of the cooking liquid, drained the pasta, returned it to the warm pot, added the cooking liquid & swirled some olive oil over & stirred it. Let that sit with a top on the pot.

I created my own Cajun spice mix as described above. Many spice mixes like this call for onion & garlic powders. I never use them because I’ve never found a quality source.

Mince & prepare all the veg ingredients because once this dish starts cooking it comes together very quickly.

I happen to have butter in the ‘frige because of recent sublets so I used that to cook off the onions, garlic & minced jalapeno. Do not let the onions get color. They cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add your spice mix. Start with 1 teaspoon – especially if you included cayenne pepper in your spice mix. I used 2ts plus the squirt of Sriacha sauce. Squeeze  the juice of a good sized lemon wedge & a splash of wine.  Cook until just evaporated then add the cream & crawfish.  Cook down to thicken.

Pour the cooked pasta into the crawfish & cream sauce. Stir and serve in bowls. Garnish how you wish.

A number of recipes call to add a cup of Parmesan but I didn’t – for a # of reasons I’ll spare you – no wait – one reason, the Italian, Mediterranean diet expert in me would never add cheese to a fish dish. The more I think about it, I think what the Crawfish Monica/Kajun Kettle inventors do is make a Mornay sauce which is a basic bechamel sauce which a Gruyère and Parmesan cheese  is added to.

I’ll eave you with that. Let me know what Dlinquents delve into making this delicacy.

LOVE your FoodD



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Apr 242015


Recently I posted What’s in Season on my facebk page and it sparked a great deal more interest and enthusiasm than I imagined from dozens of friends while also landing me an invite to visit and cook for a Sunday dinner with the fabulous Green family in the Philadelphia area.

So now you too wanna know What’s in season, right? I’m happy to tell you, this season’s hot list is: CARROTS, NETTLE, PEA SHOOTS, TURNIP, FIDDLEHEAD FERNS, ONION, POTATO, PARSNIPS, MORELS, OYSTERS, RAMPS, MUSHROOMS. I was overjoyed with these earthy, colorful, vitamin & nutrient rich and tasty as all get out. I was immediately inspired to GET COOKING.

Fiddlehead ferns and ramp where what I was on the prowl for. Fiddlehead ferns are still not yet available so I settled on a bunch of Spring young purple haze carrots, (which studies have found that  blue and purple pigments in fruits & veg can improve memory, enhance vision, protect against heart attacks, act as anti-inflammatory, and can even help control weight.) white spring onions tho I was wishing for red ones, & a nice handful of ramps. I will have my way with oysters & mushrooms – all in due time.

Having only been served ramps when I worked in a catering kitchen I turned to youtube to watch a few videos to review how to prepare & serve them.  Let me tell you,  I have not laughed as hard as I did  watching completely amateur & raw videos about ramps, made with such dedication, in a very long time. All the laughter aside I must admit, I did learn a few things about ramps – first and foremost, their unrelenting, permeating offensively malodorous odor, a few times likened to a baby diaper is mentioned in each of the 6 videos I watched. Their over the top odor effected how I chose to cook & handle them.

The vegi vittles I gathered went straight into a fridge as I was on a roll Saturday afternoon preparing for my trip to cook with my friends in a suburb of Phili so it wasn’t until I put the stash of vegetables in my overnight bag in the morning that I started to catch wind of the ramp’s scent. I quickly wrapped and re-wrapped the ramps in cellophane & then brown paper and no way were they going to be transported in my overnight bag of clothes & other treats. I had to put up with them being in my handbag which went straight into the hold in the belly of the bus for the trip to Phili.

With fair warning to my friend Bibi about the malodorous odor of the ramps and knowing that she had an outdoor grill the ramps would not be cooked in the house and they were left outside on the porch.

So here’s what we whipped up for the Green Sunday family dinner: I served a light, 2 egg omelet of sautéed ramps, but the piece de resistance seems to have been my carrots. I prepared the spring young purple haze carrots which I split lengthwise, sprinkled with olive oil & salt, wrapped them in aluminum foil then grilled them. Then I prepped spring onions as rings which we also grilled, then I prepared a honey & tangerine juice reduction which I poured a bit of over the carrots & onions then I garnished the plate w/a bit of the chopped up carrot tops. There was grilled chicken, a killer brisket,(from what I understand) coleslaw, potato salad, & grilled asparagus. For Dssert we had almond butter cookies,dark chocolate covered matzoh, pineapple, blueberries & raspberries, bananas w/a splash of coconut vinegar

There’s so much to make with these fabulous earthy, Spring ingredients. Back at ya soon.






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Mar 172015


My nephew Ben, who lives in the greater Boston area, was invited to celebrate his best friend’s 16th birthday in New York City. His friend’s grandmother would be their host & guide.

Over the weekend my mom received an email with an update from my sister-in-law listing where he’d been, what he’s up to and where he’s yet to go. One of the places on the list which of course included MoMA & much to our surprise, The Book of Mormon was dinner at Blue Hill in Manhattan. I immediately went to the site to see what the weeks menu was and what peaked my interest was celery root risotto with squid & it’s ink. Sure I’d eat that but what I knew was, I’d be making celery root risotto in my house – this weekend,  no recipe required. I did however check a few recipes for celery root risotto, just for the heck of it & chose in the end to work from the most complicated recipe I could find, a Jame’s Beard recipe calling for a ramp & celery root puree & lemon confit.  I pulled the JBF recipe off, sans the ramp inclusion, for my Academy Awards dinner but made the Recipe$ 4 Survival version Tuesday night to watch the Master Chef Jr. Finale.

Also that week I read an article on Food 52 titled, Cooking for the Oscars. This is where I found the inspiration for my apricot flavored tea panna cottas.

How to make Celery Root Risotto


  • 2 medium celery roots (celeriac) with leafy tops
  • 1/2 large onion – diced
  • 4-6 Cs – vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 C arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • Parmesan for grating
  • Peel the celery root. Cut in half then slice into across the top, then cut slices into enough 1/3-inch cubes to measure 2 cups. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in celery root cubes and leek. Cover; cook until celery root is tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Mix in rice; stir 1 minute. Add broth; increase heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender and risotto is creamy, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Mix in 3/4 cup cheese. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. I garnished the dish with chiffonade celery leaves & honey glazed lemon confit slices.

With the 2nd celery root I made the puree which the risotto was served upon. making the celery root puree is very simple. Bringing a medium diced celery root to a simmer in about 1 C of milk & 1 C of water w/a few bay leaves & garlic cloves. Puree the fork tender celery root with a little of the cooking liquid. S & P to taste.

Panna Cotta, yield – 4 – 5 


  • 1/3cup milk
  • packet powdered gelatin – I used 1/2 a gelatin pac & find the panna cotta to be perfectly firm
  • cups cream – I used 2Cs of milk & Half n’Half mixed & 1 C cream
  • 1/4 Cs sugar
  • strips lemon peel
  • 2 Ts bourbon – for some reason I’m out so I used Marsala
  • 2 Ts strong bergamot tea (brewed about 5 minutes) – I made a strong apricot black tea


  1. Warm 1/3C of milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
  2. Pour in a bowl & sprinkle the gelatin over the milk to soften. Stir or whisk to dissolve
  3. In another saucepan, I warmed 2Cs of the milk & Half n’ Half with the sugar, and the lemon peels, mixing to dissolve the sugar. This mixture is brought to a brief boil, then remove it from the heat immediately .
  4. Remove the lemon peels.
  5. Add the warm milk and gelatin mixture to the hot milk and whisk very well to dissolve any stubborn gelatin lumps.
  6. Pour through a strainer into a bowl, and leave to cool
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of bourbon or alcohol of your choice and 2 tablespoons of strong tea.
  8. Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks.
  9. Mix gently into the cooled cream mixture.
  10. Swirl the remaining tablespoon of bourbon around the base and sides of each panna cotta mold to wet each one, pouring it into the next mold when each one is sufficiently coated (use more if you run out!).
  11. Pour the cream mixture into the  individual molds, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours.
  12. To unmold, slide a knife dipped in boiling water around the edge of each mold, or dip mold briefly in hot water. Invert swiftly onto individual plates.

Drunken Cranberry Compote

  1. 1 C strong flavored hot tea (brewed about 5 minutes) – again, I brewed the black apricot tea
  2. 3 Ts bourbon or other alcohol – I used 2 caps full of Marsala
  3. Handful of dried cranberries
  4. Pour the hot tea and the  alcohol over the cranberries and leave to infuse for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight, in the fridge.
  5. To serve, scatter plump cranberries & liquid around each panna cotta in a small dessert bowl.

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Jan 272015

 DSCF5435  DSCF5429

I knew I had half a bag of split peas at home but thought if I’d be cooking during the blizzard with it’s threat of electricity loss I’d better make a large pot of soup and I’d roast off a butternut squash I had at home in my favorite way.  I treated myself to shopping at Union Market on E. Houston St. rather than my typical trudge through Key Foods further up the block for organic split peas. Let it be known that this was the day that Union Market looked like Trader Joes as the line to the cashier wound its way like a serpent through the market.

Unlike everyone else in the market I didn’t even really need to be there. The few things I did buy in addition to a new bag of organic split peas was a nice Tuscan boulle, a banana because I had yogurt at home, a knob of fresh ginger – alway a great ingredient to have around for it’s health supportive properties and distinctive flavor & aroma, and a box of lychee juice – as a treat.

I prepped the soup quickly; washing the split green peas at least 2 – cups, 1/2 an onion – medium diced, 2 small carrots in a medium roll cut. I had a cup of already cooked 5 Italian grains, I added that, two roughly chopped pepper dews & 1/2 a peeled russet potato.

I added 4 Cs of cold water to the split peas then added the prepped veg, grains, a shake of red pepper flakes, 4 bay leaves and a good swirl of Tamari and let that cook over a medium/low flame stirring frequently.

With the soup up on the back burner in my copper pot I preheated the oven to 375 ° and began prepping the butternut squash by peeling it and chopping it into medium sized chunks. I put these into a heavy casserole with a few golden raisins & about 4 apricots cut into small pieces. Then I sprinkled the whole lot with my RhODy blend of Salt of D Earth & about a cup of ancho chili infused maple syrup I keep around for this dish in particular.  Because I had it, I added a swig of tangerine juice. In the oven with the top on. DSCF5430

I stirred the soup often. Both the soup & the butternut squash cooked off for a good hour or so. I turned the oven heat off but kept the casserole in there but took the top off.  With the heat off the soup I blended it after it cooled for about a half hour.

I didn’t photograph the bowl of  blended split pea soup since I didn’t do much to make it photographic before simply digging into it. I did however get a pic off of the beautiful roasted butternut squash. DSCF5440

Needless to say, it’s days like this that go to prove how steadfast the message of Recipes 4 Survival is. Maintain basic staples, be mindful, cook at home & you’ll feel better.

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Jan 192015


It was a whipping freezing cold, grey and rainy day at the beginning of the New Year when I took my first EVER sick day from work citing a nagging dry cough, stuffed and sneezing nose, otherwise I really felt fine, I didn’t have a fever or a sore throat.

Let me tell ya, this sick day quickly turned into a very healthy day. It started with the fabulous lunch I made.  I had a friend visiting who was around to take measurements for the shelves he’s going to make & install in my kitchen. As you can well imagine, this project had been in the works for quite some time now.

I’m mad for Trader Joe’s .99 cent Focaccia which I cut into 4 equal squares, each of which makes for a perfect sandwich.

I grated 1/2 a chuck of English Huntsman Cheese I got at East Village Cheese into two small piles, one for each sandwich. Then I lightly spread a layer of mayo on each of the four surfaces of the bread, then piled a small handful of the grated cheese on a bottom slice, a pinch of Salt of D Earth, RhODy blendDSCF5415 &  topped the grated cheese pile w/a Tspoon of Rose Jam. (Sorry that’s not pictured. It was an after thought.)

I’m going to go off here for a minute about Rose Jam…The brand I linked to is the best brand I’ve used. I’ve tried many brands but this is the one I savor. I picked up the first bottle at a Turkish Market in Paterson, NJ when I was location scouting in the neighborhood quite some time ago.

I melted a knob of butter, maybe the equivalent of 2 pads, in a heavy cast iron pan.

Laid the sandwiches in the warming pan and pressed them down with my  kettle which I had filled at least more than half way,  I turned the heat down a bit & flipped & pressed the sandwiches again. DSCF5416They were done in just about the amount of time it took me to write this or you read the sentance. Maybe a minute & a half on each side, maybe less?

In another pan I warmed up 1/2 a can of organic (vegetarian) baked beans which I added an extra streak of molasses to.

Served with a steaming cup of good coffee. The flavors were off the hook! We had nothing to say but YUMMMMmmmm.


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Jan 012015

image                                   image

I saw a recipe for a waffle batter that included creamed corn, only one of my favorite foods. So my gears began turning knowing I had half a bag of corn in the freezer that could certainly be put to good use and then the next morning I saw a recipe for what was touted to be “The most delicious Corn Cake” on Food 52.  I quickly read through the recipe & knew it was a perfect Recipe 4 Survival & what I’d do to change it up a bit & make it my own.

It’s this easy, all ingredients are basic staples, two bowls & one pan:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

You’re begin by curdling 2 Cs of milk which is as simple as adding 4t (teaspoons) of (white) vinegar to the milk and let that sit for 5-10 mins. I used rice vinegar. The cake came out perfect.

Then get the dry ingredients together: 1 C flour (use unbleached all purpose), 3/4 C (organic) yellow cornmeal & 3/4C sugar. I’m using Florida Crystals. It’s organic and fine crystals. I’d advise that 1/2C sugar would certainly do. 1/2 ts of baking soda & salt.

Whisk 2 eggs into the soured milk. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients and set the batter aside.

Melt 2 Ts of butter in a(cast-iron) heavy oven proof skillet then pour the batter in.  This is the extra special ingredient: The recipe calls to pour 1 C of heavy cream into the center of the batter but I used 1/2 C of all organic, whole milk yogurt thinned out w/a half cup of milk and slid the skillet into the oven.  It cooked for exactly 45 minutes. At 30 minutes the center was a bit unsettled. At 40 minutes I turned the heat off but kept the ‘cake’/pan in the oven 5 more minutes – cooking the full 45 minutes.

I served this with a simple massaged salad of romaine, avocado, red onion, olive oil & a sprinkle of Fall Equinox Salt of D Earth and a glass of a cold sparkling rose’.


Dec 262014


Since having my first Baked Alaska at DBGB Kitchen & Bar, Danial Boulud’s sprawling eatery, just doors away from where the legendary CBGB’s was on The Bowery, a few weeks back, I have been obsessed reading recipes & watching videos about how to make a Baked Alaska.

After reading all the recipes I did, little did I think that a Baked Alaska would be a perfect Recipe 4 Survival but it is! I knew I could make it so. I served 5 but my Baked Alaska could certainly yield 8 for about $4 and 4 ingredients.

So with: a .99 cent small loaf of pound cake, 2 cups of Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Gelato, Dark Chocolate Roasted Pistachio Toffee bits and a meringue I whipped up, I went at it and the results will certainly be memorable.

If it weren’t for my anxiety about making a meringue because there are so many different techniques this project can take no more than a half hour, not including the time the piece sets up in the freezer.  I learned some tricks: The eggs whip better if they are brought to room temperature for at least 30 minutes & I think I’ve got the proportion of egg white to sugar down and using a 1/4 t of cream of tartar.  That’s it, OH and an electric hand mixer since I don’t have a suburban counter-top mixers. Now I love making meringue.

Here’s what I did:

With the pound cake loaf on an aluminum tray lined w/parchment paper I sliced it’s top off  w/a serrated knife. Then I made a trench in the base of the pound cake loaf.

Then I scooped about 2 cups of the Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Gelato to warm in a bowl.  Then I smashed 4 pieces of TJ’s dark chocolate covered toffee with pistachio in a brown paper bag I whacked with a rolling pin then poured the Dlectable bites into the ice cream and mixed that about.

I poured a good splash of tangerine juice into a bowl and brushed this onto the cake.IMG_8731

Then I spooned the ice cream & toffee bits, (which had gotten warmer than really need be) into the lengthwise trench in the pound cake, put the top piece on and got that in the freezer to set up.

Then I ‘whipped up’ the meringue.

I used the egg white from 2 eggs which I mixed with an electric hand mixer until the froth turned white and looked almost like a soft meringue then I started adding the Florida Crystals, an organic sugar a tablespoon at a time. (I ran the Fl. Crystals thru a small food processor tho I don’t think it’s all that necessary.) I measured out about a cup but used maybe 3/4’s of that which I added slowly, one tablespoon at a timeIMG_8732 making sure that it was well incorporated and building the meringue stronger. I also added a cap full of vanilla. The meringue came out perfectly.

The ice cream & cake set up perfectly so I began the most fun job of slathering the meringue on and all overIMG_8734 while even creating a wellIMG_8735 from which the Kirsch can burn off. Then back into the freezer before packing the cake into a left over cake box I had and off to a friends place for Xmas dinner.

To serve: put the meringue covered ice cream cake on a serving plate, pour about 1/2 C of Kirsch, a traditional cherry brandy into a small pitcher, light with a match and pour over the cake. The meringue toasts in spots.

The taste and sensation in your mouth is just special, what else can I say.


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Dec 032014


Because my fresh, DVine  salad of shaved Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced watermelon radish, honey crisp applecanDied walnuts & a light mirin vinaigrette is so visually beautiful, colorful, healthy and a perfect compliment to traditional Thanksgiving fixings, it’s now a welcome and lauded favorite at our table. Way easier to make than pie, financially and farm sustain-ably  responsible here’s what I prepared for 15 adults & 6 children.

I simply popped the (all organic) Brussels Sprouts off their stems IMG_8368 and discarded the rough outer leaves in preparation for the shaving of the sprouts on a mandolin which I did when I got into Providence Wednesday evening.

I prepped the canDied walnuts Tuesday night when I tested the recipe. I looked at 3 recipes for candied walnuts 2 of them were so complicated it was stupid. I found one to go with: 1/2 C walnuts to a 1/4 C sugar melted in a pan over a medium high heat then pour the melted sugared nuts out onto an aluminum foil or parchment paper lined tray.  It takes almost the amount of time to prepare the canDied nuts as it does to write it down.  That’s it, sO a cup at a time I toasted the walnuts quickly then added 1/2 a cup of coco palm sugar, shook the pan at the beginning to even everything out then as the sugar melted and caramelized I stirred the nuts and sugar with a rubber spatula, poured them out onto a tray and that was it. I made 2 Cups of canDied walnuts. I probably used about 1 Cup roughly chopped for the Thanksgiving salad for 20+.

One stipulation at our Thanksgiving is that the dish you bring must be prepared in advance and able to be served room temperature. Because of the apple & radish I was granted permission  to simply prep these ingredients & dress the salad when I got to my cousin’s house. I also felt the color of the raw shaved Brussels sprouts left much to be Dsired so I blanched off  very quickly and shocked about half the amount of the shaved Brussels sprouts I had. This helped to pump up the color on a whole as well as varying their texture.

I sliced the watermelon radish in slab like sectionsIMG_8435 which I then went at with a corer tp get log like pieces which I passed across the mandolin giving me perfect dime size slices of a beautiful pink radish bite. IMG_8438 I sliced the apple into 4 wedges, whacked the core out, then thinly sliced the wedges then sliced through that making small julienne style pieces.

Mix well with your hand or serving forks. Sprinkle with sea salt, I used my Salt of D Earth, Fall Equinox Blend, mixed again then dressed the salad with a light mirin vinaigrette which I made by whisking 1/2 C mirin to 1/4 C rice wine vinegar and a strong pinch of seasoned salt. I did not use a splash of lemon but I might in the future and I’m also thinking I might do equal amounts of mirin to vinegar.

Clearly there’s a wide open field of greens and dreams to play with here.  May this inspirae you to whip up a crunchy, nutrient rich, healthful, Dlicious salad, even in the midst of the winter.

Winter salads, there ya go, I’m off and running with this concept.

Hit me up to see what I’m experimenting with now.








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Oct 292014


Half a baguette fell out of the fridge onto the floor cracking into various pieces when I went in for my routine Sunday morning refrigerator ‘clean’.  For a minute I thought, I’ll just make it into breadcrumbs so I opened the freezer to get the container I keep breadcrumbs in when I was stared down by a bag of pre-washed, chopped lacinato/dinosaur kale
I had left over from a private home Dlivery meal I did a few weeks back & a ziplock bag of my good karma baked beans – I’d say at least 2 cups worth.

In the flash of a minute I changed gears and my stale baguette was now destined to be a bread soup. A soup I’ve never made before so I looked up a couple of recipes  and I was off. No way was I going to waste a good can of tomato paste or fresh herbs on this. I pumped up what I had with basic staples & used only ingredients that needed finishing off.

Here’s what I did:

The frozen baked beans went into a pot over a medium flame,DSCF5400

4 handfuls of the frozen kale, DSCF5402finished the bag off. Then I added 1/2 a medium diced onion I had left over from the Spanish Tortilla I made yesterday morning, rough chopped a dents of garlic then I added about 2 cups of salted water I had in a pot I soft boiled my morning’s egg in.  I stirred this all about then broke bits of the stale baguette into these ingredients.

Once the ingredients in the pot started to look like soup I then began to make it into something sweeping through various savored conDiments that were in need of being finished off. First I began w/ a sprinkle of Fall Equinox, Salt of D Earth, 2 or 3 Tablespoons of Susie’s Pineapple Pleasure Hot Sauce – The Caribbean Taste – I finished the  bottle off and then the last 1/2″ of  De Nigris Balsamic Ketchup, the bottle I’ve savored this since getting it last year in Toronto during the film festival & a shake of Worcestershire Sauce.

Then a good through mix again, turned the heat down lower and let it all simmer over a low heat for a good half hour before turning the heat off and making my way with my pup into the depths of China Town for vegetable soup dumplings.

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Oct 172014

Yom Kippur XX14

HHveg                                 IMG_7865

In anticipation of the Yom Kippur wknd Thursday night I wanted to test a recipe for garlic panna cotta which I envisioned serving napoleon style if you will with a layer of thinly sliced baby heirloom tomatoes in the middle & on top, served on a bed of frisée topped with a balsamic vinaigrette when my Cuisinart duet combination food processor & blender crapped out.

After learning from Cuisinart Customer Service Thursday night that even with my 3 year warranty I’d have to submit a sales receipt, box the equipment up, pay to ship it and then see what the repair would cost had me in quite the huff Friday morning.  I brought the unit back to Broadway Panhandler to explain how ludicrous I thought all this was and left the unit behind.  In haste I purchased a 3.5 cup Kitchen-Aid food processor for less than $40.

To calm myself I went to the Union Square Farmers Market where I purchased the earthly gems pictured above then went to East Village Cheese  where I purchased 3 different 1/2 pound pieces of cheddar cheese, a piece of pistachio halvah & some pepperdews.

By the time I got home, straightened up a bit & made it to a 4PM meeting at The East Village Standard I skidded into Kol Nidre services, on an empty stomach.

Following the Yom Kippur Musaf service Saturday, during the much needed break because I had been sitting in temple in cold damp clothes due to the mornings deluge, I took a hot bath and then went at making my break fast meal. Not wishing to use any electronic equipment I made my favorite warm & soothing, ultimate comfy food macaroni & cheese! To make this mac & cheese a bit special I incorporated 4 beautifully diced green zebra tomatoes into the mix. I left one of the tomatoes raw which I diced and used as a garnish. Let me assure you, I’ve never had macaroni & cheese for Yom Kippur so there’s no sentimental connection. This was made for sheer comfort.

When I got home I put the casserole of mac & cheese in the oven while I blanched and sautéed fingerling potatoes, sliced delicate squash, baby carrots & onion.  SO gOOd.

Because I’m fanatic about using only organic, semolina duram wheat pasta, I buy it whenever I see it. Sometime ago, I can’t remember where but I picked up a bag of Chiocciole – pasta shells that look like large snails. The brand I used Montebello

Pastacooks off beautifully and holds it’s shape even after much tossing and mixing.

I recently read a food blog that declared Martha Stewart’s macaroni & cheese recipe the best. Even though I took a look at the recipe I immediately started making changes to the recipe so it would work for me. MS’s recipe calls for making croutons which will be toasted on top. I didn’t have the fix’ns for this but I did have a few small packages of scavenged, left over oyster crackers so this is what I used for the topping. I put the oyster cracker in a brown paper bag and crushed them w/a rolling pin. They came out PERFECT.  I poured the cracker crumbs into a bowl, drizzled olive oil over them then seasoned w/the RhODy blend of Salt of D Earth. MS’s recipe yield is 12, mine yields 4.
To make macaroni & cheese, which should take no more than 20 minutes is: bring the pasta to a boil, make a bechamel/white sauce, stir grated cheeses (& various other ingredients as you may wish) into the mix, bake and serve. That’s it.


oyster crackers for the topping

2 Ts butter and 1 T of olive oil

2-3 Ts of flour
2 Cs milk – warmed
(3) Cs of various cheddar cheeses DSCF5352 – grated DSCF5354

1/2 # of cooked macaroni, elbows are traditional, fusilli are fun, OMG any pasta, farfalle, etc

What I did:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

I made the oyster cracker crumb topping tossed with olive oil & Salt of D Earth top first

Seasoned cheese sauce

Melt the butter and olive oil. You may also use all olive oil. When the butter bubbles whisk in the flour. Cook for about a minute. Slowly add the warm milk to the roux – the butter & flour mixture and a white cream sauce will be made.

Remove the pan from the heat. Season with salt, pepper, Salt of D-Earth, nutmeg and cayenne pepper are often called for. I put a splash of Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Pepper Sauce then whisked in the various grated cheeses.

Cook about a 1/2 pound of pasta in boiling salted water until the pasta is al dente – slightly under cooked. It’s always wise to retain a cup or so of pasta cooking liquid, then drain. Rinse under cold water, pour into the creamy cheese sauce, mix and stir gently.  If you have ‘added extras’ now is when to incorporate them. DSCF5362    Use the pasta water if you feel your sauce is to creamy and you’d like it a bit thinner.

Pour the mixture into a casserole or bake in an oven proof pan. Sprinkle the cracker or whatever topping you choose along with any remaining cheese you may have. Bake until browned on top, about 25 minutes.

I advise letting the dish cool but if you can’t wait, be advised the dish is bubbling hot.

Serve this with a green salad, maybe a glass of wine and I think you’ll have yourself a really memorable ‘recipe 4 survival’.

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Sep 232014


Inspired by my translation from an Italian dish Bill Buford shares in his book Heat, An Amateur’s Adventures as a Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker & Apprentice to a Dante Quoting Butcher in Tuscany  Last night I boiled up, steamed, sweated & sauteed:

Butternut squash ravioli topped with grated zucchini which I sweated with sauteed garlic, a knob of good butter & honey, a sprinkle of my Autumn, RhODy blend of Salt of D Earth and micro-planed Parmesan cheese

Ingredients: zuc1

Butternut squash ravioli

Olive oil

Garlic – 3 dents thinly sliced

Zucchini -1 large or 2 medium – skin grated off.

Butter – 2 T

Honey – 3 T

Seasoned salt – pinch

What to do:

I used the Union Market produced fresh butternut squash ravioli & they were wonderful. 2 dozen to the box.  I serve 6 ravioli per person

1 very large or 2 medium zucchini well washed because you’re going to  grate the skin off. This way is visually a bit more pleasing because of the green skin vs it mostly being the while pulp. When I make the dish for myself I grate the whole zucchini. zuc2

Get a pot of well salted water up to a rolling boil. Add the ravioli & cook to your liking or as directed: most likely 5-7 minutes for fresh 8-10 minutes for frozen.

With the zucchini skin grated get a pan good & hot. Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan w/enough oil to infuse the oil with the garlic not letting it get brown. Add the grated zucchini.  Saute over a medium heat, again trying to avoid getting any color other than the natural color of the zucchini & garlic.

When the zucchini has softened, which could take a good 4 minutes add a good knob of butter & swirl of honey or at least 2-3 tablespoons. Incorporate well. Turn off the heat.

Plate 4-6 ravioli, top with the zucchini mixture, grate some Parmesan on & a little freshly ground pepper. I love the mixture of red, green & black fresh ground pepper & ENJOY.


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Aug 222014


I couldn’t get on that (Cape Air) 8 seat Cessna  fast enough to make my pilgrimage to Nantucket for the Opera House Cup & a friend’s annual Birthday celebration. I’m fortunate to have another dear friend, an artist I collaborate with who opens his ‘Sconset home to me, The Seldom Inn when I’m lucky enough to get on the island. Everything about the island, the sun, the wind, the light, the scenery, the friends, the food, everything is inspiring to me here. Nantucket is the the place I go to empty the vessel, shift into neutral & take time to listen to silence & contemplate a dance of dappling sun on a weather shingled wall.

Because I would be helping sail a boat back to Newport following the Opera House Cup race I couldn’t bring myself to beg to get on a racing boat at the skippers meeting Sunday morning so instead I went to the in town Stop & Shop to get staples for the few days I’d be around. I picked up a half dozen eggs, a bottle of olive oil, an onion, a baguette, 2 ears of corn, 4 red bliss potatoes & an avocado.

On Sunday I made a Dlicious Spanish Tortilla and pimenton aioli which I have a blog entry & recipe for on the site here already but the dish I created Monday morning is what I’m going to share here now – A summer breACKfast bread pudding.

What I used:

1/3 a day old baguette w/the crust removed & cubed

Scrambled 3 eggs, 1 C of whole milk & 3 T of cold water

1 ear of corn from the cob

Sweat 1/2 a white onion

Preheat oven to 375°
Yield: serves 2 for breakfast or 4 as an appetizer.
I began by scrambling the (3) eggs with about 1 cup of whole milk & 3 T of cold water – 1 T for each of the eggs then tossed the cubed bread into the egg mixture. IMG_7249After soaking the cubed bread with the crust still on in the egg mixture for about 10 minutes I realized the bread would soak up the limited egg batter I had & the dish would taste & look better and be that much more delicate to eat if  the crust was removed so I went ahead and tediously sliced & scraped the crust off of the soaked cubes with a medium sized serrated knife. My advice: remove the crust in a few long slices from the gitgo. In the picture here you’ll see the crust still on the baguette.IMG_7250   Then I removed the corn from one ear, again w/a serrated knife into a bowl with the hope to aid in capturing the corn liquid.  Then I diced half a white onion and quickly sweat the corn & onions in what little liquid I had from the corn & a splash of olive oil & a good pinch of my RhODy,  August blend, Salt of D Earth blend. After about 5 minutes I poured this on top of the soaking bread in the egg mixture, stirring gently.
I lightly oiled and salted a Pyrex loaf dish with my RhODy,  August blend, Salt of D Earth blend, then poured the soaked bread, corn & onion mixture into the prepared Pyrex loaf dish.
Pop this IMG_7251 in the preheated 375° oven for at least 30 minutes.
Its nice to serve two heaping serving spoon of the finished bread pudding on top of lightly salted, sliced summer ripe tomatoes & black hot coffee.
I’ve been listening to internet, Birdsong radio while writing .

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Aug 102014

Image 2

Purple & Gold, colors of majesty and the name of this recipe which came to me naturally  since the ingredients I use are all in the purple and gold color family, I boast Gold in my sur name and my school’s colors. I was a proud member of  the Wheeler School GOLD team pride, our mascot is a lion, our nemesis, the purple cows. I must also give myself a little toot of a horn – this recipe was my first published piece – in the ProJo, (That’s the Providence Journal for those not in the know) winning a place in a column for healthy, economical recipes.

Growing up in a diabetic home, square meals and nutrition was very important to my mother and a concern I took to heart.  In the late ‘90’s I conceived and developed, Recipe$ 4 $urvival, Utilitarian Cooking and Much More, the highly acclaimed Manhattan Neighborhood Network cult classic cooking show.  A graduate of the Natural Gourmet, the Institute for Food & Healing, I consider myself an authority on cost effective, resourceful, efficient and mindful cooking.

One of my favorite recipes to share is my purple & gold COLE SLAW!  Feeds many, lasts a long time, it’s D*licious,  healthful and it doesn’t break the bank to make.

For the slaw

1 head of purple cabbage – thinly sliced

Kosher or fine sea salt  – for softening & to pull water out of the ingredients

1 red/purple onion – thinly sliced

1 Jana Gold apple – diced

golden raisins  – re-hydrated

For the dressing:

1 C – fine quality, preferably organic olive oil – mayonnaise

1/4 C – Mirin, rice or apple cider vinegar

Splash – 1/4 C orange, apple or pineapple juice

2T honey or maple syrup

Salt & Pepper


Tear off and discard the tough outer layer leaves of the cabbage.

With a sharp knife cut the bottom of the cabbage off to give you a stable surface from which to work & slice, then cut the head in half.  Lay one half of the cabbage head flat on the cutting board and cut in half which will give you two quarters.

Starting from the top of a quartered section, not the root/stem end, THINLY SLICE – methodically across the cabbage section. If you don’t like slicing with a knife a simple mandolin works beautifully and the slaw can be made in a matter of minutes. Image

Cut as close to the stem keeping in mind the cabbage
is tougher and quite spicy the closer you get to the stem. Each time you cut a section of the cabbage add it to the bowl and sprinkle with a few good pinches of salt.  I found that 1/2 a cabbage had was certainly enough for a few days. Once you’ve shaved, sliced or grated the amount of cabbage you want and salted let this stand in the refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour then drain the liquid out. You may want to dry hand fulls with paper towel at this point

The slaw will now hold the dressing better and help to avoid liquid building up as the slaw marries its flavors.


Put the mayonnaise in a mixing bowl.

Thin the mayo out with the orange juice, the mirin or the vinegar of your choice honey or maple syrup.

SIDENOTE: If you’re ever in a pinch to make this dressing adding a 1/4C of bread & butter pickle vinegar is fantastic for this dressing.

Mix until the mayo is not lumpy and becomes perfectly creamy.

I added three grinds of a black, green & pink peppercorn medley to this and a pinch of sea salt and mixed well again.

If you feel you don’t have enough dressing mixture, repeat as above but in another bowl and add to the preparing bowl. I like my slaw light on the dressing.

It’s best to add these type ingredients: diced apple, hydrated golden raisins, chopped dates or apricots, and toasted sunflower seeds after the dressing has gone on & the cabbage & onion have released their water & the cell membranes have softened.

Refrigerate. Best served very cold after some time of marinating.


Image 8

The video is in the works and will be on youtube – soon

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Jul 052014


Taking a friend’s critique to heart after she watched my Sardinian Lunch ‘episode’ that I’d lost sight of what Recipe$ 4 Survival stands for. What is the ‘survival’ aspect of Recipe$ 4 Survival? I knew she was right. SO, with this in mind & heart I’ve gone full force, back to basics, to prepare a health supportive, nutrient rich meal.

I set out to make a kale salad w/toasted walnuts, mint & a peanut dressing served with a baked sweet potato topped w/baked beans.

Each of these ingredients are hugely rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, vitamins & minerals while the molasses which is featured in both the peanut dressing & the baked beans is high in iron, calcium & magnesium all needed to maintain good bone health & digestion as well as aiding to lower blood pressure with a very low glycemic count.

Carrots & onions which are called for in the baked beans are also nutrient rich foods.

By the time I tried to shoot this piece for the THIRD time, I steamed the sweet potato rather than baking it which I did the first time I video taped this episode because I was also baking the beans.

For the finished piece on youtube I topped the steamed sweet potato slices DSCF5052with about a 1/4 C of warmed all organic baked beans from Trader Joe’s, enhanced w/molasses, mustard, balsamic ketchup & Worcestershire sauce – each of the ingredients already in the baked beans.

I found the kale to be bloody expensive & I could not find the dark, flat leaf lacinato kale readily available in my neighborhood so I used chicory, which is a very nutrient rich food – in the endive family. I read that Egyptians consumed a great deal of chicory because it was believed to aid in detoxifying the liver. The head of chicory I bought was just beautiful, organic & it cost less than $3.

This salad is made by first going through the head of chicory with a rough chop, then washing it in cold water, then chopping it again more finely. Again, I roughly chopped the walnuts, toasted them off and a good amount of chiffonade mint. DSCF5050Chiffonade is when you roll up a few leaves of an herb, then cut across giving you fine ribbons of the leaves. If working with or eating chicory is scaring you off, go with the kale – the king of the nutrient rich foods but the salad can also be made with arugula or spinach.

All this and more can be seen in the piece I finally posted to youtube in honor of InDpendence Day.

Eat well & LIVE it UP!

Peanut Dressing recipe:

3 T Peanut butter or Tahini

1 T Molasses

1 T soy or Tamari sauce

4 or 5 peeled slivers of ginger – minced

1 t dried red chili flakes – I used more – you’ll see this in the video

3 T warm water or a splash of orange juice.

1 t of oil, sesame is great if you have it otherwise olive oil is just fine

The recipe that inspired me to make this salad & dressing calls to put all the ingredients in a blender but since I (almost) have an aversion to working with electronic equipment, I simply whisked the dressing & it came out just fine.


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Apr 102014

ingredientsontable                     placesetting

The prolonged, brutal winter inspired me none to pull my video equipment out & shoot a Recipe 4 Survival but with the hint of Spring in the air, the sun shining , the kitchen cleaned, table moved, & windows opened, I was reaDy for a shoot because I was so inspired by the lunch I had at Ferninando’s Focacceria  of sardines, fennel &  raisins over a pile of perfectly cooked spaghetti

Not until I read a few recipes did I realize just what a perfect recipe 4 survival this dish is. The funny thing is, the ingredients you would think I wouldn’t have, I happen to.  I would never go so far as to say a Pignoli nut is a staple but bread crumbs, they could be teetering on the border but for me, breadcrumbs are a staple.

SO, relishing in the fact that I had the ingredients that could really kick this dish up in the end was the first thing I prepared.  I toasted off the few Pignoli nuts I had left rolling around in the bottom of their bottle & about 1/3 of a cup of bread crumbs. This took no time at all over a medium heat. Just enough to toast and dry everything out and bring some color to the breadcrumbs. Then I tossed this with a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil. This is added in at the end. Both these ingredients I happen to have. If they are not staples for you – NO worries.  Be inspired by recipes but make the dish your own.

Then I trimmed and prepped the fennel bulb by slicing the bulb in half vertically then slicing each half thinly I reserved the fronds. Again to added add just before serving. Then I medium diced an onion. fennelandonionchopped

Soaked a handful of golden raisins in a cup of (dry) white wine. I did not have white wine in the house – thanks again to the dread winter we endured so I used some sake, mirin & a splash of absinthe.Rehydratingraisins

One of the recipes I read called for 2 tins of drained sardines. I had one tin of double layered sardines. I did not drain them before adding them to the cooked fennel & onions.inthepan2wotsauce

With the Fennel & onion well cooked which took more like 10 minutes, I started a pot of well salted water to boil

I did not have bucatini so I cooked off a 12 oz bag of an  all organic, tri-colored vegetable radiatore 

I then added a good tablespoon of tomato paste to the melted fennel & onions along with the re-hydrated golden raisins in the sake, mirin & absinthe.  With these ingredients married I then folded in the sardines. inthepanfinished I turned the heat off while the pasta cooked.

I tossed the drained pasta into a big serving bowl and poured the ‘sauce’ over and folded and stirred well. Then I added the chopped fennel fronds & toasted seasoned bread crumbs & pignoli nuts, a good pinch of Salt of D Earth, RhODy blend, plated, served with a squirt from a quartered orange.  KILLER.

This has got to be about the best dish I can think of to calm the onset of my declining attitude due to the miserable weather we continue to endure.


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Apr 082014


We started our scout for recreational parks  in Bergen County, NJ on a cold, rainy, windy miserable Saturday but made our way back to the city via Red Hook, Brooklyn where one of the parks we wanted to scout is as well as a restaurant my friend insisted on taking me to lunch at the legendary, Ferdinando’s Focacceria.

On the edge of Carroll Gardens & Red Hook  sits this vanishing breed of brick enveloped gem with rock solid wooden tables topped with speckled thick slabbed marble, glowing deco school style lights, an ogling case of steaming hotel trays & plates of menu items are in front of a grill similar to your typical short order diner, serves up rustic Italian/Sicilian home cooking at prices just about anyone can swallow & enjoy.

The tomato sauce and home style cooking is as warm & comforting as the visual surroundings.  For appetizers we had a very simple flash fried calamari served with a lemon wedge & a small side Ferdinando’s signature chunky tomato sauce and a stuffed artichoke. I’ve had better stuffed artichokes but for $7 my nose was not wrinkling up. It was certainly fine.  The entree that we shared, clearly a Pièce de résistance, was a traditional Sicilian dish of  sardines, fennel & raisins on bucatini  – a spaghetti like pasta with a hole through it – perfect for slurping up sauce.

A steaming, tangled mound of perfectly cooked pasta, the bucatini  smothered in a refined tomato sauce,was gently slid before us. As we twirled in, small  bits of sardine, melted fennel, sweet golden raisins & a smooth bite of pignoli filled my mouth and mind with so many varied flavors.

Not until I looked up a number of recipes for this dish did I realize what a perfect recipe for survival this dish is. Traditional, Italian home cooking; cooking with basic staples.  All I’d need to pick up would be the fennel.





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Mar 302014


I’ve written about & photographed how to make gnocchi since I began working on Recipes 4 Survival, so I’m talking nearly 10 years and not until I was searching through pics for an instagram contest did I realize I’ve never posted anything about how to make gnocchi.

So here we are, just days into Spring 2014. Everyone’s excited because the calendar is telling us it’s Spring but I’m paying that no mind & looking at the situation realistically, it’s still freezing or downright miserable weather so making gnocchi seems to be a perfect recipe 4 survival to share right about now.

With no qualms about firing up the oven, and the minimal cost for ingredients which no one should have to leave home to get. The only real expense to making gnocchis in the time because many would consider making them, labor intensive. I think it can be a satisfying thing to do on a cold grey Saturday or Sunday.

After reading countless recipes, what I recommend doing to make gnocchi that are not ‘sinkers’, meaning that they can resemble eating bullets, is to bake the potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, remove the pulp from the skins, break it up, let it dry out,  then put the dried potato pulp through a ricer adding as little flour as necessary to hold what will become your pasta dough together.  Kneading the riced potato & flour helps to firm the dough,  For beginners I highly recommend adding 1 gently beaten egg. That’s it for making the dough, then form a few balls, then coils, then cut 1 inch pieces

The trick is to have as little water or moisture in the mix/the potato & flour dough. I added a lightly scrambled egg to the sweet potato. Tom Colicchio, who’s recipe for gnocchi’s is one of the most highly touted, he does not use egg in his recipe but Giada does and hers are quite highly regarded too.  A friend of mine who’s a chef mentioned the secret of adding corn starch when making gnocchi’s from sweet potatoes because they don’t have the starch white potatoes do.

By baking the potatoes which I do by washing them, rubbing them w/olive oil & piercing them w/a fork in a couple of places over the potato & tossing them straight into the oven. Another method is to bake them on a bed of salt. As long as you get a dry potato base to work with you’ll be fine. That’s why I don’t just boil them.  If you’re in a rush and just want to try it, let me tell, many Italian Nonnas boil the potatoes & have gnocchi made in no time.

This is what it looks like when I’m in the midst of making gnocchi.  IMG_5678

IMG_5684 IMG_5679

Then I sift about a cup of flour into each riced potato.

form the dough into a ball & begin to knead to build the gluten then pull off a good size chunk to begin forming segments that look like rope.  You’ll then cut the dough rope into 1” pieces.

Roll these onto a fork – this helps to hold the sauce onto the gnocchi. SorrREE – I forgot to take a snap of this step in the recipe.

Boil the gnocchi’s off in well salted water for about 3 minutes.  Serve with your favorite sauce – mine is an alfredo with mushrooms & peas or Parmesan, Maldon salt, cracked pepper, olive oil & parsley

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Feb 262014

oysters finishe dish

I’m sure you’re all wondering, ‘ How can Oysters Rockefeller be a Recipe 4 Survival?’  I’m not going to labor over the point but on some level, Oysters Rockefeller is a perfect recipe for survival. Short of only a few ingredients that are not staples the benefits of the vitamins & minerals intake balance it all out in my book. The dish is quite reasonable to prepare, whether you’re up to shucking your own or if you’re not up oysters can be opened painlessly by par boiling them.

Over the weekend I was an oyster shucker for an Open Oyster party at The Diamond in Greenpoint. Obsessed with these Fisher Island oysters, I asked if I could take a dozen home with me.  My request was obliged kindly .

As I sat down to write this piece I had almost forgotten why I even thought to make Oysters Rockefeller in the first place, then I remembered. I got the iDea because I have creamed spinach & butter in the freezer from my crepe making caper last week and 9 unshucked oysters in the vegetable crisper draw in the fridge.

So I began my research into Oysters Rockefeller.  Thanks to Wikipedia I learned that the closest anyone can get to a recipes which of course is top secret and may even have been taken to the grave is that there is no spinach in Antoine’s Oyster Rockefeller. Antoine’s Restaurant being where the dish was developed after the craze for escargot waned. Its said that there are 18 ingredients in Antoine’s recipe. Legend has it that a patron exclaimed with delight after eating this dish, “Why, this is as rich as Rockefeller!”

So what I did is this:  Seeing that Pernod, Herbsaint or Absinthe is a traditional ingredient in the recipe I was out the door like a bolt to support the liquor store round the corner to get a bottle of Pernod which I love anyway and can’t imagine why it’s been absent in my cupboard. I in fact ended up with a more reasonably priced bottle of Absinthe, Absinthe ordinaire liqueur.  With this bottle in hand I then trucked down to the Essex Street Market to get a bunch of Italian, flat leaf parsley, scallion, watercress.  Breadcrumbs, garlic  & capers are staples to me.

So that’s it.   A stick of butter warmed while I was out getting the liquor & the greens.  Immediately upon getting home, out came my compact Cuisinart. I roughly chopped half of each bunch of the greens, parsley, watercress & scallions. I added this to the warmed stick of butter I broke down into 4 pieces in the Cuisinart. Then I added 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 Ts, capers, & 2 Ts of the Absinthe to make a compound butter. I was so excited I completely forgot to add the breadcrumbs nor did I top them with Parmesan – not called for in the closest I think I could get to a traditional recipe – even tho I have it.  Tarragon & celery are believed to be in the traditional recipe. I neglected these ingredients but if I had easy access to tarragon, believe me, I’d use it. I’d also use fennel in place of celery but let me tell you – by making a compound butter with basic greens like  I did – I believe you can feel confident saying you made Oysters Rockefeller.

With the compound butter made I preheated the oven to 375 and set up to shuck and prep the oysters.




I spread a bed of Kosher salt in an oven proof pan with then gently placed the freshly shucked oysters topped with the compound butter into the oven for 7 minutes.

On a plate the go, serve to your friend with a lemon wedge, a cold bubbly drink of any kind and MMMmmmm.

You’ll more and more, straight away.

Because we were still hungry I whipped up a rice dish with sauteed scallions, parsley & the watercress.


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Feb 212014


One of my besties, Isabelle is French. It was a Saturday and I was cranky. Bitching & moaning about this and that when Isabelle said, “You just better try and flip a crepe with your left hand tomorrow morning while holding a (gold) coin in your right hand. Its Chandeleur Day and this will bring prosperity to you in the new year. I’m going to do it.”

Even w/Isabelle’s explanation I went to Google to educate myself on this and then proceeded to whip up a crepe batter

1 C unbleached flour, 2 eggs, 2 C milk,  a pinch of salt & 2 Tablespoons of melted butter.

Mix,(whisk, hand-mixer or a fork) all the ingredients listed above in a bowl then let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. I insisted on doing the first few crepes in my crepe pan which I have to admit I don’t think ever really seasoned properly but I wanted to use my crepe pan for this. Isabelle went off on what crap crepe pans are and that it’s OK to use a nonstick pan for this exercise.  In place of a French gold coin I held my gold rings in my right hand when I tried to flip the crepe from the crepe pan. I did eventually switch to the non-stick pan and found myself making crepes for the next 2 days.

This picture is of my first crepe which I was able to sort of flip. It’s blurry because my fingers were a bit greasy.


Crepe batter freezes and Dfrosts well. Whip & flip some up. You’ll have fun and if you were in the woos, you’ll get out of them.




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Jan 112014

Ingredients Still


I took RhODy out in the aftermath of winter storm Hercules, the first named snow storm. Our destination the Tompkins Square dog park. Needless to say, it was a night in the park for toughies.  A friend suggested meeting up for a drink at this cool place on Avenue C – after we got our pups home & settled in.  We met up at  ABC Beer Co .   I was a bit cold shouldered on top of being freezing cold because I’m not really a beer drinker but my friend, knowing I’m foodD did not lead on that I would really enjoy the place. What I found when I opened the door of a pretty industrial looking place under an awning was a hip & trendy space that serves crafted beers as well as being purveyors of fine cheeses, artisanal condiments, & cured meats. The place is great. It’s roomy, good music, not to loud with a very friendly and knowledgeable staff, but the big find is that they sell day old or late night bread for half price or less. So after drinking a very nice beer and sharing a great conversation I walked off with two loafs of bread for $2.50.  One of the loafs I knew was destined for a savory bread pudding. Here’s an iDea of what I did to make what I’m calling Herculean Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding:

I went a bit over board for ones standard mushroom bread pudding, meticulously prepping a wide variety of vegetables but here ya go. Do with this what you may.


A day old/late loaf of peasant sour dough – crust removed & cubed

Fennel, brussels sprouts, mushrooms: shiitake & cremini, & leeks

I prepped all the ingredients, cubed, shaved, sliced, washed clean, scrambled, 4 eggs with 1/34 C scalded whole milk, mixed & then baked at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
 breadcubes fennel shrooms ShavedBruslsprouts leeks  FUJIHerculeanBreadPudding 010 FUJIcleanedleeks2 FUJIBrdleeksandeggs
Then I began by warming enough olive oil to coat the bottom of my pan, a dash of Salt of D Earth – RhODY blend, & 4 smashed & roughly chopped garlic cloves.  Then in went the fennel, then the shaved brussels sprouts, mushrooms then the leeks.
Add the sautéd veg mixture to the cubed bread, pour on the egg mixture & mix.
Image 1Image  Image 2 Mixtureinbowlwegg
Then I put a ‘layer’ of the egg soaked, bread and sautéd veg in a Pyrex loaf dish & shaved some Parmesan cheese on that & a layer of the sautéd veg, then another layer of the egg soaked, bread and sautéd veg.
Put in the 375 degree oven. I baked for it 40 minutes tho I tried a piece at 30 minutes. This is the 30 minute sample Image 4
This is the 40 minute sample 40 min brd pudding
I then indulged myself by whipping up my secret special cranberry sauce.
Try it, try making a savory bread pudding. You don’t have to make it Herculean style, I swear, you’ll not only like it, you’ll love.



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Dec 282013

The New York Times Dining/food section appeared at the end of my couch made bed in Tiburon, CA, Christmas Morning. What a great ‘issue’. The hazelnut crusted sable is top on my list to try when I return home  as well as each of the Egg for Every Occasion recipes.  Then, towards the back of the section, Melissa Clark’s piece on the Spanish Tortilla.  I can’t help but to share my piece & recipe with you, which I must admit, I like very much and hope you will too. Video in the works.

I often pride myself on not being an addictive personality but the exact opposite is true when it came to, comes to, making & eating Spanish Tortilla, on this side of the pond.  After stumbling upon an article raving about the food lover’s Williamsburg, over a year ago now, highlighting The Bedford Cheese shop & the sandwich shop, Saltie I began to plan my Williamsburg assault.

The Bedford Cheese shop is a gastronomic play land. A no brainer for any foodD to visit & relish.  The Saltie menu of  7 sandwiches seem to take their inspiration from each of our earthly continents. They are thoughtfully created and curated if you will.  I plunged, with way less restraint than anybody else in the tiny space, into the Spanish Armada, a perfectly made, chock full of potato Spanish tortilla on a half foot square of fresh focaccia topped with pimentón aioli. I cut the sandwich in half, Dvoured one half sitting at the counter and wrapped up the other half wich,(I like the pun here) I savored at home while researching how to make a Spanish tortilla. Knowing what I know now I’ll want a flotilla behind me in support of all the beautiful food I’m so inspired to make with these downright simple, earth bound foods.

My recipe yields are for 1-2 people as they’re usually tests. Most recipes call for twice the ingredients I work with.

Spanish Tortilla

You’ll need:

A non-stick pan, potatoes, salt, oil, eggs, onion, aioli or mayo and paprika. I forgot to include the bottle of olive oil in this picture and  it should be because it’s the olive oil & seemingly large amount called for that ‘makes’ a proper Spanish Tortilla.

Most recipes call for 6-7 potatoes, any potato will do, russet, Idaho, Yukon, Bliss, to 5 eggs. Melissa Clark’s calls for 5 potatoes to 6 eggs. I used about 1 pound of small, tri-colored roasting potatoes I had around, half an onion diced and 3 eggs.

One of the key technique to making a Spanish Tortilla is how the potatoes are cut.  Cut the potato in half, length-wise. With the flat side down on a cutting surface, slice across the top of the potato halves slices that are about 1/8” thick.  No normal person would slice potatoes the size I used and truth be told, regular white potatoes look nicer and are far easier to work with. The tri- colored potatoes look exciting in the photos.

The onion is diced.

There are a number of cooking techniques that make a Spanish tortilla all that it is and not just a potato omelet.

1.   The sliced potatoes and diced onions are salted and should be allowed to rest for 5-10 minutes before adding them to enough heated oil that they will be covered in the pan. 

2.   You cook the potatoes and onions in a good amount of oil for about 15-20 minutes, until they become tender but do not get any color.

3.   The cooked potatoes & onions are then strained over a bowl, retaining the olive oil, then added to hand beaten or whisked eggs.

4.   Mix the cooked potatoes, onions and egg mixture and pour this into the non-stick pan you cooked the potatoes, onions in.

A few recipes call for up to 2-3Cs of oil.  I used just enough oil to cover the potato, onion mixture when spread evenly over the bottom of the pans surface. Cook the potatoes, onions until they can be split with a fork or spoon.

I then added the cooked potatoes, onions and oil to the beaten eggs. I mixed this well then poured it back into the pan that I melted about 1 Tablespoon of goat butter on to and a good amount of the reserved olive oil the potatoes & onions were cooked in.

A trick I learned is that the 1st minute of cooking time with the egg, potato, onion mixture must be very hot for the egg to not stick. Then you can cook the tortilla over a medium high heat until you see the edges pull away from the side of the pan. The middle will still be runny but when you can lift a side up and get a spatula well under it, it’s time to do the ol flip-a-roo Don’t fear it. Place a dinner plate over the top of the pan, stand over the sink and FLIP.

Put the pan back on the stove, heat for 20-30 seconds add a bit more oil and slide the tortilla back into the pan. Cook this for another 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 2 minutes before flipping it back onto a serving plate.

It’s highly likely the tortilla will split on the first flip. Worry not this is not the ‘presentation side’ and and once the tortilla is back in the pan all mistakes seem to work themselves out. You may also forego the flipping stage and finish the tortilla off in the oven, at 375 for 5-7 minutes.

The creme de la creme here is not the crema Catalana that I tried to make but the pimentón aioli. Fortunately it can be made quickly by adding paprika to good quality mayonnaise. I look forward to making the pimentón aioli from scratch. This is a true delicacy and comfort food at the same time. I feel it an appropriate share as 2013 which I know was tough for many comes to a close and a clean slate is before us as we approach the New Year.



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Dec 082013

Cranberry Meringues

You can’t tell me upon seeing the title for this entry and recipe you didn’t immediately break out singing, Prince’s “Raspberry Beret”.

I don’t want to scare you away but determined as I was, it took me 3, THREE attempts to get meringue making right so you’re guaranteed to have a smooth sail making these ethereal beauties.

Here’s the inspiration for Cranberry Meringues: My newly obsessed with Nantucket friend rented a car with her sight set on visiting the island (again) for a weekend. It happened to be the weekend the Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s holds their one day, annual Cranberry Festival fund raiser.

For dinner that night I served up two salt crusted red snappers, my secret special cranberry sauce, roasted veg & a fennel & orange salad and someone brought an apple,cranberry pie & ice cream. Cleaning up after dinner I looked over at 1/2 a bowl of seasoned soft peaked egg whites and the cranberry sauce I stashed away for another meal. I could eat my cranberry sauce on softly scrambled eggs, toast, ANYTHING. That was it. I folded the left over cranberry sauce into the left over egg whites and spooned the mixture on to a baking tray. An hour later we had ourselves a tray of uneatable meringues.  I knew I’d be making cranberry meringues.

There are a number of factors to keep in mind that makes making meringues foolproof 1. The egg whites should be room temperature. 2. The sugar needs to be very fine.
3. Gradually add the sugar once you have the egg whites at a soft peak.  4. Warm the sugar in the 200° preheating oven. I did this after reading umpteen recipes one of which is Ottolenghi’s.

Adamant not to use white, castor or confectioner’s sugar I blended 1/2 cup of Florida Crystals on puree in my compact Cuisinart for about 20-30 seconds 4Xs then warmed the finely blended Florida Crystals on a baking tray with parchment in a 200° oven for about 10 minutes.  I’m not sure this is so vital – as long as the sugar is very fine and added gradually once you’ve got soft peaks.

Simple format recipe for Cranberry Meringues

Preheated 200° oven
Baking pan with parchment paper or non stick
3 room temperature EGG WHITES
1/8 t creme of tartar
3/4 cup of warm, finely ground all natural sugar
1/2 – 1 C – cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, nuts, WHAT HAVE YOU

I hand whisked the room temperature egg whites & creme of tarter. If you have a stand blender with a whisk attachment – aren’t you lucky. I went at this with furor & determination with my trusty ol’ electric hand mixer I’ve had since college and the largest bowl I have which probably isn’t optimally large enough but I still I got meringues.

Once the egg whites have come to a soft peak gradually add the sugar, incorporating it each time until the sugar fully incorporated or dissolved.  You’ll see stiffer peaks forming and the color & texture glisten.

Sprinkle or gently fold in what ever you’d like or work with the meringue as you would a blank canvas