Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fourth of July Barbecue...The Menu

Pin It A special friend has asked me for a menu for his Fourth of July barbecue that should have a recipe for kids not involving beef. What a dilemma! To me the Fourth of July is hamburgers or ribs on the grill or if I am by the seashore, a clam bake.

Sometimes we are presented with these situations where a guest cannot or will not eat beef or fish and what do we do? All I can say is that a good hostess should be able to accommodate everyone's tastes, allergies etc. while at the same time not sacrifice the majority for a few. In this situation, since we are going to be cooking on the grill, it's not a big problem to throw a few chicken pieces on the grill for those who don't like meat and that is what i have done. Drummettes are easy for little kids to handle and they also make great appetizers for the adults. Serve them for the grownups while you are having cocktails and save a few for the kids while the others are having hamburgers. That way everyone gets what they were expecting and you come out looking like a princess. Problem solved!

Fourth of July Barbecue

Clam Dip with Potato Chips

Grilled Chicken Drummettes

Grilled Double Cheese Hamburgers with Vidalia & Horseradish Mustard

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Dill Butter

My Mother's Potato Salad

Beefsteak Tomatoes, with Balsamic Vinegar, Basil & Olive Oil

Peach Blueberry Crumble

Tinto de Verano

I am posting the menu early so you can start salivating and making plans! The recipes will be posted by tomorrow evening at the latest! The clam dip and Tinto de Verano have been previously posted on the blog. Just click on them or do a search on the Google box.

Just so you know, I will be making my brother's secret hamburger recipe with a new twist. If you are going to buy the hamburger meat early, get half ground sirloin and half ground chuck. That is part of the SECRET!!!

Clam Dip on Foodista

Honey Barbecue Chicken Drummettes

Pin It Depending on how many guests you are having, you may want to double or triple the recipe. The marinade is plenty for basting 20 chicken drummettes.

Yield 6 to 8 servings

1 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onions

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 tablespoons chopped fresh gingerroot
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Red Pepper Flakes to taste
12 skin-on chicken drummettes (about 3 1/2 pounds)


In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, onions, rice wine vinegar, honey, cilantro, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic and sesame oil, and stir well to combine. Place the chicken in a large plastic bag or baking dish and cover with the marinade. Toss to combine and place in the refrigerator, turning frequently, to marinate at least 6 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium and the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Pat the chicken dry, and grill the chicken, skin-side up, until browned, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the leftover marinade in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thick, about 10 minutes.

Turn the chicken, and grill until the skin is browned and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Baste the chicken with the marinade and continue cooking until done, another 5 - 10 minutes.

Arrange the chicken on a platter and put the leftover reduced marinade on a bowl on the side.

Party Drummettes on Foodista

Hamburger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion and Horseradish Mustard

Pin It This is a combination of my brother's and Bobby Flay's hamburgers on the grill. My brother's recipe calls for 1/2 chuck and 1/2 sirloin, which gives it a wonderful flavor and texture. His addition of bacon gives the hamburgers a fantastic taste not even Bobby Flay can match. He serves his hamburgers on English Muffins coated with olive oil and toasted on the grill. You can choose this alternative or regular hamburger rolls.

The cheese and the Vidalia Onions are Bobby Flays and my idea, long before he was a glimmer in his mother's eye! He can take credit for the horseradish mustard!

8 servings

1 pound freshly ground chuck
1 pound freshly ground sirloin
8 bacon strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices white Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 slices yellow Cheddar, sliced 1/4-inch thick
8 hamburger buns or English Muffins
Horseradish Mustard, recipe follows
8 leaves Romaine Lettuce
Grilled Vidalia Onions, recipe follows
Dill pickles, sliced


Preheat grill or a cast iron skillet to high.

Combine the sirloin and the chuck

Divide the beef into 8 (4-ounce) burgers. Shape and with your thumb create a dimple in the middle, it helps it cook evenly. Season on both sides with salt and pepper, to taste. Lay a strip of bacon around the hamburgers. Grill or cook in the skillet for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness. During last minutes of cooking add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover grill and let melt, approximately 1 minute.

Place burger on bun and top with Horseradish Mustard, lettuce, Grilled Vidalia Onions, pickles and ketchup.

Horseradish Mustard:

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, drained
Whisk mustard and horseradish together in a small bowl.

Grilled Vidalia Onions:

2 Vidalia onions, sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Brush olive oil on both sides of the onions and season with salt and pepper. Grill the onion slices for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Corn on the Cob

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12 servings

12 ears corn, silks removed, husks left on, and
soaked in cold water for 20 minutes
1/2 pound unsalted butter, slightly softened

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper


Heat grill to high. Remove corn from water and place on the grill. Close cover and grill until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. While corn is grilling, combine butter and dill in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove husk and slather with dill butter.

Lindaraxa's Note: Make sure you turn corn every five minutes while grilling

Watch Bobby Flay Grill corn!

Fresh Corn on Foodista

My Mother's Potato Salad

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Serves 8

8 Baking Potatoes cut in 1 inch cubes
6 Hard boiled eggs chopped and cooled
2 Cups finely chopped Celery
1 tsp celery salt
1 1/2 - 2 Cups mayonnaise
chopped chives
Sliced radishes for garnish (optional)

Boil the potatoes until done but still holding their shape. Drain and cool completely. Combine with the eggs, celery, celery salt and pepper. Combine with mayonnaise. Use your discretion with the mayo adding one TB at a time. You don't want a dry potato salad.  Add chives. (the radishes are only for decoration and can be easily skipped)

Make sure you make the potato salad first thing in the morning so that it has ample time to cool. You can make the night before.

Tomatoes with Balsamic, Olive Oil, Basil

Pin It You can use cherry, beefsteak or homegrown tomatoes.

Serves 8

4 Tomatoes thinly sliced
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Chopped Basil
Salt & Pepper

Combine vinegar, oil, chopped basil, salt and pepper in a cup and drizzle over tomatoes. It's that simple!

Peach Blueberry Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream

Pin It The good thing about a crumble is that you can assemble it in the morning, put it in the refrigerator and bake it late in the day. Then you can warm it in the oven as you are grilling your hamburgers and leave until ready to eat. Make sure you have some good vanilla ice cream to go on top!

Serves 8


2 pounds peaches (6-8 peaches) cut in 1/2, peeled, pitted, and cut in 1-inch wedges
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for sprinkling

Vanilla Ice Cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced peaches, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of the flour, and the orange juice and toss well. Add the blueberries and toss lightly. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish.

For the topping, place the remaining 1 cup of flour, the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and the salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Pour the mixture into a bowl, add the oats, and work it with your hands until it's in large crumbles. Add 1/2 cup of the almonds and mix well.

Spread the topping evenly over the peaches, making sure the fruit is covered. Sprinkle with some extra almonds. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peach and Blueberry Crisp on Foodista

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bourbon Orange Broiled Salmon

Pin It I always try to have a couple of recipes saved in case I am in a pinch. Tonight is the perfect example. My original intention was to publish a recipe for Sole Meuniere, one of my most favorite recipes on earth. Unfortunately, the fish was a no show.

When I cross the bridge into Miami Beach, the first thing I think about is a fabulous food store called Epicure. Here you can find anything you want, with prices to match. My idea was to splurge on just one thing this week, and that was going to be filet of sole. Yesterday, I drove to the store in the middle of a torrential downpour, parked in ankle deep water and headed straight to the meat counter. You should have seen my face when I found out the price... $39.95 a pound!! Now, I think I am pretty shell shocked about everything these days, but this one takes the prize and almost beats the $18 Bellinis at Harry's Bar! Goes to show you the state of our oceans or the fact that there are still people in this world that will pay that for a piece of fish... at least in Miami Beach!

When we lived in Connecticut, I remember eating sole and flounder pretty regularly and never paying anything close to half this price. Don't think that our local fish here in Florida are that inexpensive either. Snapper, mahi -mahi, yellow tail and grouper at the docks in Key Biscayne sell for about $10/lbs, last time I checked... an extraordinary bargain when compared to the sole. Needless to say, I walked out of the store not only empty handed but with an $18 parking ticket to boot. Sometimes its better to stay in bed and call it a day.

One of the great things about this recipe, is that you can marinade the salmon in the morning before you go to work and have dinner in no time. Yes, it's not sole meuniere, but it is still quite delicious! Brace yourselves..it looks like we'll be eating a lot of salmon during this recession!

Yields 4 servings


1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
Cooking spray


Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare grill or broiler.

Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Venetian Isles Chicken Breasts

Pin It The Venetians Isles are a group of small islets between Miami Beach and Miami, Florida. This is where Lucy and I are staying this week, babysitting a pug named Tosca. The view of the city of Miami is extraordinary, definitely worth the price of taking two dogs out four times a day! Whenever my friends Andrew and Juan are out of town, I look for any excuse to come and spend a few days.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Even though both of them are great cooks, cooking in someone else's kitchen is always a challenge, particularly when you don't know what's available in the pantry. It is silly to go out and buy condiments or spices you are only going to use once during your stay, so I try to cook with what's available. Yesterday, I went to the store and bought some chicken breasts for dinner and for leftovers to use in chicken salad, pasta etc. Tonight, even I surprised myself. What came out of an almost empty refrigerator was fit for a party, never mind dinner for one! Thank God I also found some Pecorino Romano in back of the fridge, together with a lime I had brought for my daily vodka on the rocks!I know most of us don't stock Limoncello. I for one do not, but I can guarantee you that when I leave next week, the first thing I'll do when I get home is go out an buy a bottle. It is great in this dish as well as in espresso and as a digestif. Believe me, it won't go to waste!

Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy, in the region around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula and the coast of Amalfi and islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri, but also in Sicily, Sardinia, Menton in France and the Maltese island of Gozo. It is made from lemon rinds (traditionally from the Sorrento lemon, though most lemons will produce satisfactory limoncello), alcohol, water, and sugar. It is bright yellow in color, sweet and lemony, but not sour since it contains no lemon juice. It's also spelled Lemoncello.

Limoncello is traditionally served chilled as an after dinner digestivo. Along the Amalfi Coast, it is usually served in small ceramic glasses themselves often chilled, the Amalfi coast being a center of both ceramic and limoncello production.

It is wonderful as a palate cleanser or as an after dinner drink. Keep your bottles of limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve

Danny De Vito and George Clooney are great fans of Limoncello!

Venetian Isles Chicken Breast

Serves 4


4 very think skinless chicken breast

4 TB orange juice

juice from 1/2 lime

2 TB minced garlic

2 TB butter

2 TB olive oil

3/4 Cup Pecorino Romano, finely grated



2 TB Limoncello

Marinade chicken breasts in orange juice, lime juice and minced garlic. Place in ziplock bag and leave in refrigerator for 2 hrs.

Take the chicken out, bread in Pecorino Romano, making sure you press the cheese well into the chicken. Add Salt and Pepper. Melt Butter and Olive oil, turn heat to medium high and brown the chicken breasts for about 4 minutes on each side. If the heat is too high, lower it a bit. When the chicken breasts are done, remove to a plate add the limoncello and sweat the pan for about 1 minute. Add sauce on top of the chicken breasts. Divine!

Serve with Creamed Spinach

Note. Do not try substituting lemon juice for limoncello. The thing about limoncello is that is made of the rind and not the juice! lemon juice will be nice too but the sauce won't have the smooth taste that you get when you use limoncello. Most good liquor stores should carry Limoncello.

Limoncello on Foodista

Creamed Spinach

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Another of my children's favorite, particularly my son Ted's. This is a dish that goes well with so many things...chicken croquettes, the Venetian Isles Chicken, Skirt steak, pork chops, lamb chops and so much more!

As a Mom who introduced her children to everything, if you want them to eat spinach, prepare this recipe and you will have them asking for more.


1 pkg frozen spinach
2 TB butter
2 TB flour
1 Cup milk (hot)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Cook spinach according to pkg directions. Cool. Squeeze all the water out and let it sit in a colander while you prepare the bechamel sauce.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add the flour, cook for 1 minute. Add the hot milk a little at a time while constantly stirring. Continue stirring until it comes to a boil, about another minute or two. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Serve at once, or reserve for later use covered in tinfoil.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

At Last!...It's Time for Bellinis

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There are bars that have invented famous cocktails. There are restaurants that have invented famous dishes. There are very few places that have done both. Harry's Bar in Venice, opened by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1931 right on the St Mark's bay waterfront, is one of them. The drink is the Bellini, a mixture of white peach juice and sparkling Prosecco, named after the fifteenth-century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. The dish is Carpaccio of beef, a plate of trimmed sirloin sliced wafer thin and dressed with a Jackson Pollock spray of mayonnaise mixed with lemon juice, which was invented for an Italian contessa who was on a diet free of cooked meat. It too was named after an Italian painter, Vittore Carpaccio, who was famous for his love of deep reds. I am not fond of Carpaccio, or anything raw for that matter, so when I go to Harry's, actually when I went to Harry's, I usually ordered the cannelloni or their Scampi alla Amatriciana.

I have been to Harry's bar on more than a few occasions, sometimes with friends and once by myself. I'll have to confess that it is one of the few places in the world where a woman can go alone and not feel strange or self conscious. The trick is to have your hotel concierge call and reserve the table for you, particularly if you are staying at the Gritti Palace or the Danielli. Years later, I found out an interesting policy of the restaurant's:

On the subject of getting a table, Arrigo Cipriani says 'My father always said that you should first seat the people who are by themselves because they have no one to talk to.'

You may be alone but, at Harry's Bar, the potential for people watching will more than make up for it!

As to the Bellini, if you want one just like the ones they serve at Harry's Bar, follow these directions:

1/3 part white peach puree
2/3 parts Prosecco

Make sure to pour the white peach nectar into the glass first.

If the peaches are not sweet enough, you can add a little sugar syrup to the peach puree.

A true Bellini is made with the nectar of white peaches and Italian sparkling wine, or Prosecco. White peaches, particularly the ones from California which are the best, are now arriving at supermarkets nationwide. Don't substitute the white peaches with yellow, particularly now that white peaches are in season.

White Peach Puree

You can easily peel the peaches by dropping them in hot boiling water for about a minute. Remove and peel immediately. Drop the pulp into a fine sieve and push down with a mortar to extract the juice. Freeze in individual containers and take out about a 1/2 hour before mixing.

Harry' Bar prices have always been outrageous... I can't imagine what they must be like now. A couple of years ago, a Bellini was 15 Euros, almost US$ 20 now! There is nothing like a Bellini drunk at Harry's Bar, but believe me, in the right atmosphere, they can be almost as good and you won't need to mortgage the house to order a couple!

I like to serve Bellinis before lunch, especially when the menu consists of risotto or any other Italian dish for lunch. They also go well with brunch and with cold salads. Very seldom will I serve a Bellini before dinner, unless it's terribly hot and we are having dinner outside.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blueberry Lemon Tart...Yes You Can!

Pin It I love cakes, cookies, pies, tarts and anything sweet. In that respect I am truly Cuban at heart...but as I mentioned earlier on in our relationship, I can't bake. Actually, I can bake, I just don't like to. The baker in the family is my daughter Christina who luckly inherited this skill from her paternal grandmother. When she lived with me while I was going through chemotherapy, our house was always filled with delicious cookies, but now that she lives away, we only get them by mail, on ocassion. The beneficiary of this is my son and his family who live nearby, and her coworkers.

I don't believe you can be a good cook and a good baker. The two are so diametrically opposed. Cooking is creative, you can always improvise and add a little of this or that; baking is precise...and I mean Precise with a capital P. Mess around with a crust recipe and you will be very, very sorry. If you have the talent for one, it is difficult to excel at the other. For that reason, when it comes to making desserts I avoid baking like the plague and try to find recipes that don't involve making a crust. My solution for pies are crumbles which are really a pie without a crust.

Every once in a while I find a pie or tart recipe that doesn't involve a complicated crust and when I do, I am in heaven. This tart is from Tyler Florence who is quickly becoming one of my favorite network food stars, together with Bobby Flay, Ina Garten and Giadda de Laurentis. Three of my favorites, Ming Tsai, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich have moved on and I sorely miss them!

The tart in this recipe is really a no brainer...I can make this! It doesn't involve all that rolling and folding that I see in pie recipes. It is really easy and to the point, so I encourage you to try it! The results will be very rewarding.

I know I have recently posted another recipe with blueberries, the Jordan Marsh muffins, but I firmly believe in taking advantage of what is fresh and in season and summer to me is all about berries, fresh lemons, melons and very soon, peaches! Peaches and blueberries are the quintessential summer dessert and pretty soon I will be posting my crumble. So hang in there...blueberry season has a long way to go!



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, in chunks

1 large egg, separated

2 tablespoons ice water


4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

1/4 cup heavy cream

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch kosher salt

1 pint blueberries


To make the pastry, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the dough resembles cornmeal. Add the egg yolk and ice water and pulse again until the dough pulls together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle. Roll the dough up onto the pin and lay it inside a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the edges of the pan and fold the excess dough inside to reinforce the rim. Cover the tart pan with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator for another 30 minutes to rest.

To bake the shell, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Cover the shell with a piece of parchment paper and fill it with pie weights or dry beans. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and weights. Lightly beat the egg white with 1 teaspoon water and brush it onto the bottom and sides of the tart shell; set aside to cool.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, cream, zest, and salt. Add the blueberries to the cooled tart shell and pour the filling over the blueberries. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The curd should jiggle slightly when done. Cool to room temperature, remove from the tart ring, and serve.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saturday Night on the Grill...The Forgotten Shish Kebabs

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This has to be one of my favorite meals on the grill. So simple to make and yet nowadays, you hardly hear of anyone making shish kebabs. The trick is to buy good meat and assemble your own, not buy the stuff that comes already assembled at the grocery store.

The best cut of beef for shish kebabs is sirloin steak. After that, it's up to you, but I prefer mine with onions, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon. The latter is the secret to the wonderful flavor. You can also add zucchini rounds and use half green and half red peppers marinade them for about an hour or longer and you are in business. There are so many good easy dishes like this to prepare, particularly if you have a grill, that I simply don't understand why people don't eat at home more often. It beats a pizza or takeout any day, including cost and waiting time. Just make sure you make enough for leftover Fajitas or Sirloin Hash with soft boiled eggs...two great meals for a lazy Sunday with the Perfect Bloody Mary.

Serves 4


1 large Sirloin steak cut in 1 1/2 in. cubes (figure on 4 cubes of meat per skewer)

2 tomatoes cut in quarters (2 quarters in each skewer)

2 onions cut in quarters (2 quarters in each skewer)

1 green pepper cut in 8 pieces (2 pieces in each skewer)

8 mushroom caps

4 slices of bacon each cut in half and rolled


1/2 cup olive oil

3 TB red wine vinegar

1 TB worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. Mc. Cormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning




Cut steak and vegetables in 1 1/2 in cubes. Cut each slice of bacon in half and roll. Alternate meat and vegetables on skewers making sure you stagger the bacon so that each skewer has 2 bacon rolls in addition to meat and vegetables. Marinade for at least 1 hour. Light your grill and wait till it registers to about 450 degrees. Grill kebabs 6 minutes on each side, pouring the marinade when you turn for the final 6 minutes of cooking. Remove from the grill, let rest 5 minutes and serve with white rice.

Wine suggestions
Serve with a hearty Cabernet from California or an Australian Shiraz

Leftovers...Shish Kebabs Fajitas For Lunch

I always try to make at least an extra skewer or two so I can have enough leftovers to make fajitas next day. I also chop extra onions, tomatoes and peppers and bunch them up on one skewer to grill together with the shish kebabs and use them the next day on fajitas or hash.

Place a flour tortilla in the microwave for 20 seconds so its softens. Slice the meat and together with the leftover vegetables place in the middle of the tortilla. Grate some Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese on top and add a few drops of Tabasco Sauce or some sliced jalapenos. Microwave for 20 seconds or until the cheese melts. Add a dollop of sour cream, fold and enjoy!

Leftovers...Sirloin Hash and Soft Boiled Eggs for Brunch

If you want to make hash the next day, all you need to do is add some potatoes to the leftover meat, onion, peppers and tomatoes. First peel and cut the potatoes in cubes. Dice the green peppers and onions. Melt some oil in a frying pan , add one clove of garlic, sautee for a couple of minutes, remove, add the potatoes and cook covered until they are almost done . Mash them a little in the pan and add the rest of the ingredients. Add a little heavy cream and press down into a thick pancake.. Cook until crisp, flip to the other side and cook until done. Remove to a platter. Top with soft boiled eggs.

Worcestershire Sauce on Foodista

5 Meals, 10 Ingredients

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Since I know some of you will be hitting the grocery store bright and early this Saturday morning, I encourage you to see this video of Mark Bittman on the Today Show. You should also check out my post The Well Stocked Pantry, the first post I ever published on this blog. It will help you understand why having a few staple ingredients around can help you economize and put together a quick meal or a week's menu . Think of it as you would your wardrobe... if you have a few good basic pieces like a black suit or a killer white blouse, all you have to do is go out and buy new accessories for a brand new look! Additionally, if you check out the specials on the store's website or flyer in the newspaper before you go to the store, you will save a lot of money and who knows, you might even come out with a few new recipes. Remember, if you are on a budget, now is the time to transfer your shopping skills and creative spirit from the mall to the grocery store.

Note: If you are in a pinch for a Father's Day Menu, check out our post published last week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa - A Delightful Summer Lunch

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I love Mexican food, particularly the combination of sweet and savory in mango and avocado salsa. I saw a similar recipe recently that had both shrimp and scallops (photo on left). My recipe just has shrimp but if you find fresh scallops at this time of the year for a reasonable price, go for it. This is great for a summer lunch by the pool or the beach, with plenty of Margaritas or cold Mexican beer!

The local Florida mangoes this year are out of this world. They are really lush and sweet. Of course there is nothing better than a fruit that has ripened in the tree. Somehow everyone in Miami seems to have a mango tree growing in their yard or have a relative or friend who has one. I have been making mango marmelade, chutney and you name it practically every day. Just swimming in them and they keep coming, so I keep digging up recipes.

As to avocados, this is not the season for Florida avocados , but the ones I have picked up at the market from California are great and in some places, on sale.

In this casual main course, the shrimp is paired with a vibrant sweet-savory salsa. Serve the shrimp and the salsa with warm corn or flour tortillas or, as an alternative, saffron rice.

6 servings



1 mango, peeled, pitted, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, diced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. chopped green jalapeno (or to taste)

Shrimp marinade

1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
1-2 TBS chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 cup chopped scallions
Lime slices



Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Keep chilled.


Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil. Season marinade to taste with salt and pepper.

Place shrimp in large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade into bag and seal. Turn to coat. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Drain shrimp, pat dry. Save 1/2 cup of marinade.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to skillet. Add shrimp and green onions; sauté until shrimp are browned on both sides, stirring often, about 3 minutes. If it needs more oil, add some. Add 1/4 cup of marinade and sautee another 1 minute on medium high. Add more marinade if necessary keeping in mind that it should be fairly absorbed by the time you remove the shrimp from the skillet. Simmer until shrimp is just opaque in center and mixture is heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to large shallow bowl. Garnish with lime slices. Serve with salsa and tortillas.

Mexican beer is a natural match for this menu. I like Presidente and Corona.

*I dont like things too hot. 1/2 tsp. of chopped jalapeno is enough for me but you can add whatever amount you can live with.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Polpette In a Lemon Basil Tomato Sauce

Pin It Polpette in English means meatball. I chose the title in Italian because to me the word meatball has the connotation of checked red and white tablecloths, Chef Boyardee and a restaurant that was all the rave in the sixties called Mamma Leone's. If you remember the name, you run the chance of dating yourself. Anyway, its just my way of elevating this dish to the place it deserves.

I have been singing the praises of lemon basil for a long time and tonight was the crowning glory for this herb. Usually I use it as a secondary ingredient in pasta because of its subtle flavor but tonight, I decided to make it the main event and added a fair share, not only to the meatballs, but also to the sauce. The result was ethereal. The more I use this herb, the more I like it. If you haven't done so already, plant some in your garden, you still have time. You can find it in most nurseries...I found mine at Home Depot.

Most of the time, polpette, or meatballs, are served with the tomato sauce you use to accompany spaghetti and other types of hearty pasta recipes. Tonight, I broke all the rules and the results were extraordinary. I cut back on the garlic in the sauce, added some onion, which I never do, and even added some red wine. The new recipe was a very different, subtle and elegant polpette in a red wine sauce.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes


3 cups day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 pounds ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 Cup Lemon Basil* finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 Cup bread crumbs


4 cloves garlic
1/4 C finely chopped onions
1 Cup of Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
1/4 C finely chopped Lemon Basil*
1/4 Cup red wine
Red pepper Flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese

In a shallow bowl, soak the bread cubes in enough water to cover. Remove the bread cubes and squeeze by hand to wring excess moisture.In a large bowl, combine the bread, beef, eggs, garlic, Parmesan, lemon basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper and mix by hand to incorporate bread into meat. With wet hands, form the mixture into 12 to 15 meatballs, each of a size somewhere between a tennis ball and a golf ball. Roll in the bread crumbs. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil until almost smoking. Add the meatballs, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, and cook until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Take meat balls out and keep about 2 TB of the leftover oil. Add another 3 cloves of mashed garlic, and the onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the Pomi tomatoes, the lemon basil, salt & pepper and the red pepper flakes. Put the meatballs back in and cook covered for 15 minutes. Add 1/4 cup red wine and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick and you are cooking spaghettini to go with it, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin and cook another 5 minutes. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Serve with spaghetinni and sprinkle Parmeggiano Reggiano on top.

*If you can't find lemon basil, substitute regular fresh basil and grated lemon peel. For 1/2 cup basil add 1 TB grated lemon peel. As to the lemon basil in the sauce, just add regular fresh basil. Try to get lemon basil, it's what makes this dish!

Is Grey Goose Really Worth the Price?

Pin It The short answer is... not in this economy and not with the Euro at 1.40/US$. Whether it's imported vodka, French Bordeaux, Hermes toothbrushes or Christian Louboutin stillettos, the answer is still the same. At times like these, your best bet is to stay domestic. Forget Paris...visit the Grand Canyon.

I am a red wine aficionado, particularly of red Bordeaux. At a certain point in my life, one of my hobbies was collecting great bottles of wine and it was great fun. Now I hunt for good bottles at a decent price and, above all, at a price I can afford. These are getting harder to find, even when you look for what have always been reasonably priced producers from Argentina, Chile and Australia. I guard what is left of my Bordeaux bottles like a mother coyote and salivate when the Sherry Lehman catalogue arrives and I look at their inventory of fabulous wines with fabulous prices to match. Frankly, even if I could afford to, I would never pay these prices. For the past two decades, so much wealth has been created across the world, that it has been simply a question of too much money chasing a limited supply. .. but don't worry, the scales will tilt back, they always do. (Just as I was about to post this, I noticed on the Wine Spectator blog to the right, the announcement that Louis Latour is releasing its 2007 vintage at considerably lower prices than 2006)

In the past, my only saving grace has been that in the hot weather, I always switch to vodka for cocktails and give up red wine altogether. Summers in South Florida are pretty unbearable and can last well into the latter part of October. Red wine and heat don't make a good combination, particularly when it is not only hot but extremely humid. This year, though, things look bleaker for us vodka drinkers as the falling dollar has caused imports across the board to skyrocket to unaffordable prices on top of a poor economy. Double Whammy! What now?

In my drinking career, and it has been a long and varied one, I have gone from Absolut to Stoli, to Ketel One to Grey Goose back to Ketel One. Why back to Ketel One? I found Grey Goose too mild. After a couple of ice cubes it tasted watered down. I am a hard core vodka drinker, on the rocks and with a lemon or lime twist. I don't mean I squeeze the juice into the vodka...I just float it..I am indeed a purist and I can't tell you how many times I have sent a glass of Grey Goose back at a bar or restaurant, claiming it was watered down. It wasn't.

One day, about a year and a half ago, I happened to notice a bottle of Kirkland Vodka at Costco while I was waiting to pay almost $60 for my Grey Goose eau de vodka. Kirkland is Costco's private label. I went over, examined it, saw that it was distilled in France, five times no less! in Cognac, the same region where Grey Goose is distilled. I asked the sales clerk about it and he said it was selling like hot cakes. It took me almost a year to break down and buy a bottle and I have been drinking it ever since. As a matter of fact, I prefer it to Grey Goose. Seriously, and I don't get kickbacks from Costco, it tastes like Grey Goose, just a little bit stronger. Perfect for my taste and less than $30/bottle for 1.75 ml. , which is also perfect for my new wallet. If the bottle bothers you, pour it into a fancy crystal decanter or an old Grey Goose bottle. Make sure you stick it in the freezer where all vodka should go. I promise you won't be able to tell the difference and neither will your guests, particularly if they drink it mixed with water or tonic. If you have a Costco nearby, go for it...worse that can happen is you use it for Bloody Marys or other mixed drinks. I bet you anything you will be pleasantly surprised.

Don't agree??? let me know what you think...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Say You Are Sorry With Blueberry Muffins..Thank You, Jordan Marsh

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Whenever I want to get back in my Mother's good graces, I cook her something she really likes. I know... what is a woman like me, a mother and grandmother, doing coddling up to her mother at my age? Well, if you have to ask the question, you don't know about mothers, particularly Cuban mothers.

The art of the guilt trip is something that is practiced and perfected and passed on from mother to daughter and from generation to generation. I have never mastered the skill... believe me, I have always wanted to.... it works sooo well...but I guess I'm just missing THE gene. Or maybe I hated it so much over the years I refused to work "the magic" on my daughter. As a matter of fact, often without realizing it, SHE works it on Me. I guess the gene can skip a generation.

Primarily "the guilt trip" only works on girls...boys get off scott free, they just get handled by Dad, and dads are not guilt trip oriented since they don't have the gene either. Sometimes, they too can be the recipients of the "guilt trip"! (How do you think Mom got all her jewelry!) If you think Jewish mothers have a monopoly on this art, and it IS an art, don't bet on it until you meet a Cuban mother, particularly a Catholic one..

Anyway, today I did something that got me "the guilt trip", big time. I must admit I deserved it...maybe just a little...so on the way home all I could think of was how to do damage control.. and then I remembered the blueberries in the refrigerator and her favorite muffins, Jordan Marsh's Blueberry Muffins.

For those of you too young to remember, Jordan Marsh and Burdine's were THE department stores here in Miami. Two or three times a year in the 1950s we came to Miami to shop and load up on goodies to take back home to Havana. Both of these stores had really nice restaurants, but Jordan Marsh was famous for its blueberry muffins.

Jordan Marsh was a Boston-based department store founded in 1841 by Eben Jordan and Benjamin L. Marsh. With the rise of retail conglomerates, Jordan Marsh became part of Allied Stores (1931) and then Federated Department Stores (1988), a move that renamed all stores, including the flagship store in Boston, Macy's. The Jordan Marsh flagship store was home to the legendary Enchanted Village, an elaborate holiday display which, at times, spanned an entire floor of the store in addition to its windows. Perhaps even more legendary were Jordan Marsh's bakeries. Infamous, however, were the blueberry muffins. A December 2004 Boston Globe article put it best: "For decades, any decent downtown shopping trip ended at Jordan Marsh, where the promise of a sugar-crusted blueberry muffin could make annoying children angelic."

The store closed a while back but the recipe has been passed around from generation to generation, just like "the guilt trip". Bingo!...that must have been what reminded me of it... It is my Mother's favorite muffin recipe and one that makes her smile, forgive and, hopefully, forget!
(don't bet on the latter...)


- 1/2 c. butter
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 pint (2 cups) blueberries
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 12 cup muffin tin

Cream together shortening, and sugar.

Add baking powder and eggs and mix well.

Add flour, milk and vanilla, mix well. Add a pinch of salt.

Add blueberries - mash 1/4 a little before you add and the rest add whole

Wait 10 min., and mix again (you get bigger muffins this way)*

Fill the muffin cups to the top of the pan.

Sprinkle some sugar on top of each muffin.

Bake at 450 degrees F for 5 minutes.

Drop the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Cool and remove from pan.

*this is my trick, not JM's
Last time I made 3/15/17 I baked at 450 for 10 minutes and 30 minutes at 350. If you like a crunchier top, this is it!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Have You Had Cauliflower Puree Lately?

Pin It Every once in awhile, particularly if I have to get into a bathing suit or a new dress, I cut back on carbs, desserts and cocktails for a couple of weeks and accentuate fruits and vegetables on my diet. Unfortunately, this is one of those times. Last night I made it half way, having a steak on the grill, accompanied by cauliflower puree and a big salad. I wasn't very successful on the cocktail side...today I'll try again.

Cauliflower is one of the most delicious and neglected of all purees. It is also a great alternative to mashed potatoes, except, of course, for Thanksgiving dinner. If you are making the roast turkey from the previous post, try it with this the first night instead of the mashed potatoes. Just think, unlike potatoes, you don't have to peel cauliflower!... and it is also low in calories and carbs, and high in fiber. Couldn't ask for more.

There are many things you can add to this puree including wasabi paste (other people's idea, not mine) and garlic, but I like mine with just a little parmersan cheese and butter. There is enough moisture in the cauliflower so that you don't have to add cream or milk, but there again, I sometimes sneak a little milk or cream to make it smoother. Try putting it in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes afterwards to "dry" it up and add another 5 -10 minutes under the broiler to brown the parmesan. That is my secret.

This is one of those dishes that should be high on your list of healthy, delicious and economical...If you have never tried it... do...you will be pleasantly surprised!

Serves 4


1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons butter softened
2 TB cream or milk (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Chopped Chives


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, cut off the stems of the cauliflower and break into florets. Toss in a steamer basket atop the boiling water and steam for about 30 minutes or until tender.

2. Remove the cauliflower and toss it in a blender*. Process until smooth.

3. With the motor running add the butter, salt, and pepper. When incorporated, turn off the blender, and fold in the parmesan and chives. Season with salt if it needs it. If you are going to serve later or the next day, stop here and stick it in the refrigerator. To serve immediately add more Parmesan on top, place in the oven for about 15 minutes and another 5 under the broiler. Add more chives before you serve.

If you are going to serve it later on in the day, take out of the fridge an hour before, add more parmesan cheese to the top and place in the oven at 350 until hot (usually 20 minutes) and in the broiler another 5-10 minutes. Add chives before serving.

*You can also mash the cauliflower with a potato masher right in the pot if you do not have a blender or food processor.

Roast Turkey Breast with Apples Onions and Sage

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When I want to have turkey for lunch meat or sandwiches, I don't like to buy it from the deli, no matter how good a deli it is. Instead, I roast a Turkey Breast Roll, have it for dinner that night and have leftovers for the rest of the week. This recipe is so simple, that if you get in early from the office during the week and have everything ready, you can have it for dinner that night. I usually accompany it with mashed potatoes and green peas or french beans. A salad works just as well.

Serves 4

prep time: 10 minutes
marinade: 30 minutes
cooking time: 90 minutes


1 Turkey Breast Roll
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TB sage chopped
2 Cloves garlic
1 quartered apple or 2 TB applesauce
1/2 C dry sherry or white wine
2 TB butter
Salt & Pepper

Oven 450 for 15 min
425 for 75 minutes or until done

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the first 4 ingredients in a ziplock bag, close and marinade for at least 30 minutes. If you can do it in the morning and stick it in refrigerator, it would be best. Take out, place in a roasting pan, add the rest of the ingredients and roast at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 425 and continue roasting for another 75 minutes or until done. Baste at least a couple of times. 30 minutes before it is done, add about 1/2 cup of water to thin the drippings, if needed.

Transfer the turkey breast to a cutting board. Let rest at least 10 min, preferably 20. Place the roasting pan with the drippings (onions and apples too) on top of the stove.  Add water if needed and a little more wine.  Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to about half.  Strain the sauce.

Cut the turkey breast by separating the breast meat from the breast bone and cutting as you would a roast.  This way everyone gets a little meat and skin.   Serve with the sauce on the side.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Struck by Lightning!

Pin It My favorite bougainvillea topiary died last night, struck by a severe lightning storm that hit Miami in the overnight hours of 6/6/09. It was the pride and joy of the neighborhood and my assistant chef Lucy's favorite place to relieve herself. Our neighborhood will never be the same.

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The plant was discovered in Brazil in 1768, by Philibert Commerçon, French Botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his his voyage of circumnavigation. They grow in warm climates, particularly Mexico, Florida, the Keys, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South America, the Mediterranean countries, Southern California, South Carolina and Texas. I am sure I am missing a country or two, so if you reside in one of them I'm sure I will be hearing from you.

This is the second bougainvillea casualty in less than two months, the other being ours which is sick from something that has eaten all the leaves. I have been treating it with Bayers Advanced Insect Control for flowering trees and bushes and spraying it with a copper solution and praying that it comes back. The prognosis does not look good, particularly with all the rain we have been getting which bougainvilleas hate.

I am very sorry to see that the topiary will not be replaced. In its stead, there are a couple of pretty bushes by the side of the driveway waiting to be planted. The other show stopper in the neighborhood, my mother's bougainvillea, is a bigger problem because it shades and provides a hanging place for all the beautiful orchids she grows. We will be devastated if it doesn't make it. Ay vey, sometimes we don't realize the value of our plants until they get sick or die.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Give Dad a Break... Father's Day Menus!

Pin It Father's Day is a tough one for me. Both my father and my husband died at a very young age, 52 and 42, respectively, and its been a long time since we celebrated the day in my family. Regardless, I publish a blog on food and entertaining, so to skip it or ignore it would not be very professional. So what would I cook if I had a Dad around the house? The first thing that comes to mind is..his favorite dish. Absent that, I would think of something robust, meaty and chocolaty. Dads like grilled things but, in most cases, they are usually the ones who manage the grill. On this particular day, though, we want to give them a break. What comes to mind in this situation is a simple menu that involves minimum work on the grill or no grilling at all. Since I know that a lot of Dads will use this day to do their favorite activities, I also have a menu that can be taken on the boat, to the beach, hiking or camping. You can also pack it for him to take to the golf course!

Menu Suggestion #1

This is the portable Father's Day menu! If you are going to be spending the day at the beach, the lake or the pool, why don't you make the recently published Pulled Pork Sandwich recipe with Cole Slaw. You can also bring along some Gazpacho in the cooler and some Outrageous Chocolate Brownies for dessert.

Menu Suggestion #2

If you have a group of dads coming to your house, why don't you make what the Argentinians call an Asado and serve Skirt on the Grill with Saffron Rice, Tomatoes Provencal and a yummy chocolate dessert. You can start with grilled sausages , preferably Argentian from El Gaucho, served with mustard and chimichurri sauce on a baguette. A nice Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignion from Argentinian producer Luigi Bosca would complement the meal very nicely.

As to what to get Dad for a present, that is for you to answer. If he were my Dad, a big hug and a great bottle of wine, I think, would do the trick!

Click on the title to get the recipes.

Father's Day on the Boat!


Father's Day Barbecue

Luigi Bosca Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon

If it is a hot day or you are entertaining in the middle of the day, why not serve Tinto de Verano for cocktails? Your wine supply will go a long way.

Luigi Bosca's second wine, La Linda, is excellent. You can use it for the tinto de verano or serve with the main course as a less expensive alternative.

Cook's Note: *If you cant find Mojo Criollo, marinade with orange juice, lime juice, garlic and Worcestershire Sauce

The picture is of my son Ted and my granddaughter, Taylor Rose, at Lake Toxaway, North Carolina, where I'm sure they will be spending Father's Day!

Father's Day Barbecue...Brownie Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream

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For Father's Day, if you are making the Grilled Skirt, I suggest Ina Garten's Brownie Pudding which she serves with vanilla ice cream. If you want to keep with the Argentinian theme, you can also serve with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream. Haagen Danz, of course, makes the best. When this flavor first came out, every time I bought some, I ended up eating the whole quart. After a while, I got so sick of it I couldnt even look at it. I'm just beginning to warm up to it again...not good.

Makes 6 Servings

Oven: 325 Degrees


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup good cocoa powder

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional

Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Father's Day on the Go...Outrageous Brownies

Pin It Brownies are loved by everyone, particularly Dads and kids but unlike kids, you can take them everywhere! Ina Garten has a wonderful recipe for them so why reinvent the wheel. Make them the day before so they can cool and harden a little. If you are taking them to the beach or on the boat, place them in a plastic container with tin foil or waxed paper in between the layers.,

yields :20 large brownies

Oven: 350 degrees, 30 min.


1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced walnut pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and chocolate chips with flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not overbake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

Father's Day Barbecue...Grilled Sausages with Chimichurri Sauce

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 The best Chimichurri Sauce I have ever had was made by my Salvadorian housekeeper...the one my children terrorized whenever I went away on long business trips abroad. I am sure my Argentinian friends will cringe at the thought of soy sauce in their famous asado sauce. But it works. Funny thing is she kept the recipe a secret from me for a long time until one day leafing thru my Joy of Cooking I found it, with just the ingredients listed, no amounts. I have made it many times, always stopping when I come to the soy sauce and always acquiescing in the end.


Argentinian sausages from El Gaucho
 or assorted Italian sausages
Dijon Mustard
Chimichurri Sauce

 I sometimes boil the sausages for 30 minutes and then place them on the grill for another 5-10 minutes to char. Most of the time, I cook them directly on the grill for about 30 minutes. Make sure you place them on the outside fringe of the fire where the temperature is medium hot. You can warm up your baguettes on the grill also. When they are done, cut them in slices or serve them whole on small plates. Serve with mustard and chimichurri on the side and the hot baguette.

Figure on 1 1/2 sausage per person. These are quite filling so serve them early to give your guests time to recover before the main course!

Chimichurri Sauce

1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TB red wine vinegar
2 TB chopped garlic
2TB chopped onion
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. Soy Sauce or to taste
Red pepper, to taste

Mix well in a bowl. Set aside. Do not refrigerate! Make sure you make enough to serve with the grilled skirt also.
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