Saturday, December 21, 2013

C Level Wine Bar

I really must brag about this place.  But first, a thing or two.  Adam and I went to the movies tonight...saw "Saving Mr. Banks."  Well, as Disney lovers...taking our pilgrimage to the land of mouse ears and goofy dogs many times over the past years, I was thrilled that my 28-year-old son would indulge his mother and see this flick.  Well, it was nostalgic, sentimental (is that redundant?), and funny.  We enjoyed  the movie, even the guy snoring in the seat next to us.  What can I say?  We're odd that way.  So, post movie, where to go?  Well, I hadn't seen John at C Level in quite a while (shame on me!), so, we headed to Bonita.

Never a disappointment, John was out among his adoring fans when we arrived, and gave us a warm welcome.  We sat at the bar; ordered a drink or two; then studied the menu.  Adam decided on the Grouper; I chose the Sea Scallops.  Well.........can I say, "Yum, yum, and yum?"  Yes, I can, and I did.  Not only did these plates look like works of art, they tasted SPECTACULAR!  

If you haven't visited this gem of an eatery, please add it to your list!  I'm seriously upset that we didn't take a selfie.  I think the glorious food completely sidetracked us......

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I love curry and ginger and think this broth adds such an exotic flavor to chicken soup even though I'm usually the first to say, "Make your own stock for soups...don't use processed, etc., etc."  But I love this product!  The cream adds richness...the leeks add an additional depth of flavor.  Of course the beauty of making your own soup is that you can create your own signature flavors.  

4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, keep refrigerated until ready to use
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 leeks, cleaned well; sliced thin (mostly white part only--discard tougher green)
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 tablespoons flour
32 oz. Swanson Thai ginger broth
2 cups skim milk 
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 1 cup chopped)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary
1 bay leaf
Salt (I use sea salt) & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Crushed red pepper to taste, optional

In a large stockpot, melt 4 tablespoons butter and one tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion, leeks, carrots, and onions, turning heat to medium-high and saute' until vegetables begin to tenderize, about 3-5 minutes being careful not to burn.  Lower heat if necessary.  Stir in flour, and combine well, stirring constantly, about a minute and a half.  Slowly pour in broth and milk while continuing to stir or whisk until liquid incorporates the flour smoothly.  Add potatoes, carrots, parsley, celery seed, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender; about 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, melt remaining butter with olive oil in a large saute' pan; add chicken pieces, and saute' until nicely browned.  Add lemon juice to deglaze pan.  Remove from heat.

When potatoes and carrots are tender, add peas and heavy cream; stir to combine all, then add cooked chicken and crushed red pepper if desired.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  

Serve with biscuits or crusty bread.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 11 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup diced dried apricots
  • 1/4 diced crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a piece of parchment paper on baking sheet.  Blend flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, and lemon peel in a large bowl.  Add butter and blend with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add 3/4 cup heavy cream, and mix with pastry blender just until moist.  Mix in apricots and crystallized ginger.  Blend until incorporated. Transfer mixture to floured countertop, and divide in half.  Pat each half into a 3/4-inch round.  Cut each into 6 wedges, and transfer to parchment-lined sheet.  Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream; sprinkle with sugar.  

Bake until lightly browned, about 18 minutes.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight tin. Rewarm in 350 degree oven.

Cinnnamon & Spice Scones
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon alspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg white, beaten to blend with 2 teaspoons water (for glaze)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, spices, baking soda, and salt in processor; blend 10 seconds. Using on/off turns, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add sour cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form. Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead gently, and. pat out dough to 8-inch square (about 3/4 inch thick). Cut square into 8 wedges. Brush with egg-white glaze; sprinkle with combined 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Transfer to baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake scones until tops are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer scones to rack and cool slightly. Store scones airtight at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 10 minutes, if desired.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

BASIL FRITTATA, c., November 1999

Several years ago, Bon Appetit was featuring a contest for Undurraga wine called, "Undurraga over Lunch."  Contestants were to submit a suitable recipe to be paired with their choice of red or white, and the winners (there would be three) would have their recipes and photos of themselves printed for all to see.  
I was one of those lucky winners, and though I'd definitely rethink the hair style (you'll have to find that issue), the frittata stands the test of time.  Someone just asked about a recipe, and though I have another on here, I thought I'd share my winning creation...I can thank my mom for this, although she never used the basil.  

1 teaspoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6 large leaves fresh basil, rinsed and patted dry, chopped
6 large eggs
4 tablespoons ricotta
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter and oil in a 9-inch skillet over medium-low heat; swirl pan to coat bottom and halfway up sides.  Add onion, and cook until slightly transparent. If onion starts to brown, lower heat.  While onion is cooking, scramble eggs in mixing bowl.  Add chopped basil, ricotta, and salt and pepper.   Add to onion in skillet.  Increase heat to medium for one minute, then bring back to medium-low.  Using wooden spoon, push uncooked portions to the bottom, keeping frittata whole.  When only a small portion remains uncooked, cover skillet, and turn heat to low.  This should only require another minute or two. When frittata is cooked, you may invert the whole piece onto a serving platter, or cut into wedges and serve in individual dishes.  Garnish as desired; perhaps using whole basil leaves and thinly sliced tomatoes.  

Serves 2

Friday, June 7, 2013

Craftsy Everything Site

Just had to share this wonderful site I found...lots of great recipes, ideas, etc.  It's called "Craftsy Everything," and they do!  Not just food...but EVERYTHING.  Check it out.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Call it what you like, but if it's got eggs, cream, and cheese in it, I'm in.  Karen and I had a delicious Frittata at a local restaurant...Bravo in Naples...and although according to both of us, it was TOO SMALL, it was delicious.  Made with Boursin cheese--a soft, creamy cheese usually reserved for spreading on crackers, it substituted for the traditional Ricotta used in a Frittata.  Theirs had broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes.  I'd love it with chopped spinach or arugula and Portobello mushrooms.

Well, remember the Christmas holiday a month ago?  I had a ham, and of course, more than I could consume, so I popped portions in my freezer for later use.  Today was said later use.

I decided to forego my Italian heritage and channel my inner high-school French, so I made a Crustless Quiche.  The recipe is as follows:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  

2 tablespoons Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tablespoons chopped, flat-leaf parsley
4 ounces herb-seasoned Boursin cheese
4 ounces shredded Manchego cheese
1 cup chopped or shredded ham
4 eggs
2 cups half and half
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
Freshly-ground pepper; salt to taste

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom of a 9" deep-dish pie dish.  

Saute the scallions and parsley in the butter; cook until softened.  Distribute over the breadcrumbs.  Top with the cheeses, then ham.  Whisk together the eggs, half and half, nutmeg, and salt & pepper.  Pour over the ingredients in the pie dish.  

Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 350.  Bake for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned and set in the center.  Remove from oven; cool on rack.  Serve at room temperature.  

Monday, January 14, 2013


...and you know who you are.  It's January, for goodness' sake.  A new post is in order.  

Karen is coming!  Yay!  My best friend will be arriving for a short, but hopefully (and I have no doubt that it will be...) memorable visit.  We could have fun getting in and out of a Rock-a-San chair...oh, you'd have to know us to "get" that one.  Campiello's, here we come.  Handsome Harry's...the Jersey delegation will be present soon enough.  

Karen just celebrated a birthday.  So, naturally, she being one of my biggest dessert fans, I'll need to concoct something special for her.  Lemon?  Her favorite.  Chocolate?  What self-respecting woman would turn down chocolate?  Walnut...Torte?  Hmmmm....she does love that one.  But, I'm thinking a Lemon Cheesecake sandwiched between two cake layers...lemon curd...whipped cream...maybe some Mascarpone?  Yup.  It's coming together.

I'll let you know when it's made.