Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2018

Blended Iced Coffee Drink

I love coffee. I switch between tea and coffee for my morning beverage. When I want something decadent, I go for coffee. My favorite way to make coffee is cold brew. It’s much less acidic, and requires barely any sweetener. I often have it black with ice, or a dash of milk. I even microwave it some days to have it hot.  However, on really hot days when I crave an extra special treat, I make this creamy and sweet blended iced coffee drink. I have a collection of Torani syrups, so I can flavor it any way I choose (caramel, vanilla, hazelnut, almond, chocolate….). It’s just like something you’d buy at Starbucks but much cheaper, and you only have to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen to get it. No changing out of your pjs required! I hope you enjoy it! Ingredients: 1 cup of coffee ice cubes 1/2 cup milk or half and half (depending on desired richness) 1/2 cup iced coffee 1 tablespoon flavored syrup, such as Torani caramel, hazelnut or vanilla  OR preferr

Grilled Ratatouille

Is the summer a strange time to make ratatouille? All the vegetables in the dish are in season, so I would think it’s the perfect time. However, a traditional ratatouille involves a long cook time using the oven, and the idea of heating up my kitchen in the dog days of summer does not appeal to me.  Instead, let’s grill the vegetables. The delicious smoky char they get from being grilled creates a lovely twist on this classic dish. Granted, this method of preparation will not be as visually pleasing as Remy’s version from the movie Ratatouille, but the flavors in this dish make up for it a hundred-fold. Since ratatouille is a stewed vegetable dish, it is mushy. Even grilled, the vegetables are soft when fully cooked. In order to create some much needed textural variety, I like to serve my ratatouille on crackers. C’est parfait! Ingredients: 2 onions, cut in half 3 small summer squash, cut into 1/2 lengthwise planks 2 medium zucchini, cut  into 1/2 lengthwise p


I love pesto. Brilliant green, creamy, fresh tasting and spicy, it’s my very favorite pasta sauce (which is saying something!). I make it all summer long, using up my fresh basil from my garden. It’s great with pasta, in sandwiches, on eggs, on chicken, on steak- I love it so much I have tried it with pretty much everything.  If you make a ton, you can freeze the extra in an ice cube tray then put the cubes in a freezer safe bag for long term deep freeze storage. I do that at the end of the basil season so I can enjoy delicious pesto thought fall and early winter. Ingredients: 4-5 whole cloves of garlic 2 cups fresh basil (picked from stems) 1/2 cup toasted walnuts 1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese 1/4 cup parmiggiano reggiano cheese 1/4 cup olive oil 3-4 pinches of salt (to taste) Method: In a large food processor, mince garlic cloves. Add the basil, nuts, cheese and oil, and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thin out with additiona

Breaded Fried Pork Chops

I adore pork chops. In fact, pork is my very favorite meat (pork chops, temderloin, ham, bacon, fat back, sausage pork rinds, pulled pork…. drool). I think I could eat pork every day and never get bored because there are so many varieties and so many ways to prepare it. Breaded fried pork chops are a great choice because they are delicious and quick to prepare! I have two tips when it comes to frying breaded meats. First, allow the breaded meat to rest at least 30 minutes after preparing; this allows the egg, flour and breadcrumbs to bind together more firmly and it makes the breading less likely to fall off. Second, make sure the oil is hot enough. If the temperature is too low, the breading with absorb too much of the oil and fall off. When it comes to cooking pork chops, breaded or not, I have one tip to ensure super tender, moist meat; do not over cook the pork and allow the meat to rest an equal amount of time to the total cook time. Resting the meat allows i

Tropical Wine Slushy

It was 94 degrees today. 94 degrees! I am the kind of human that gets very cold and very hot. I have no internal temperature regulator. I bundle up when the thermometer reads 60 degrees, and I melt at 75.  Today I sweltered about my house with my dogs. I ventured outside with them briefly, only with the aid of 2 kiddie-cum-doggie pools and a sprinkler. I lasted 20 minutes.  When I came back to my kitchen, I knew I had to make myself something cold and refreshing. Happily, I found a bottle of wine in my fridge and smoothie supplies in my freezer. In less than 5 minutes, I was sipping this utterly delicious concoction- soothed and refreshed. Ingredients: 2 cups frozen tropical fruit- such as mango, pineapple, papaya 2 cups sweet white wine Raspberries, for garnish Method: In a high powered blender, combine the frozen fruit and wine. Blend until slushy. Pour into a wine glass, top with fresh raspberries and enjoy!

Pasta Salad

I love pasta salad. It’s so easy to be creative! I often make pasta salad in the summertime to use up leftovers. It’s a delicious way to re-invent last night’s dinner. However, if I am bringing a pasta salad to a party or a BBQ, I want it to be a little something special. This version of my pasta salad is perfect for a party since it’s ingredients are hors d’oeuvre classics; antipasto! In fact, I should call this an anti-pasta salad. (Boom bada cha!) In this recipe, I like to use my favorite Italian cheeses, cured meat, roasted and cured vegetables, drizzled generously with a very simple yet flavorful vinaigrette. I hope you try it out for your next summer party- it’ll be a hit! Ingredients: 1 pound gemelli pasta 8 ounces diced mozzarella 8 ounces diced fontina 24 ounce jar diced marinated artichokes 16 ounce jar diced roasted red peppers 1/2 cup diced black olives 8 ounces diced salami 3 cups chopped spinach 1/4 cup diced red onion 1/3 cup extr

Sugar Cookie

Sugar cookies are a difficult cookie to master. Often they turn out underwhelming, either too dry or too sweet or not vanilla-flavored enough. I tweaked so many recipes trying to find the perfect combination of vanilla flavor, just the right sweetness and butteriness, and the right chewy-soft texture. My secret ingredient here is cornstarch, which helps the cookies achieve the perfect chewy-soft texture.  This recipe is also wonderful because you don’t need to chill the dough. Mix ingredients together, then shape and bake. Perfect for when the craving for cookies hit and you CANNOT WAIT. These keep really well after baking in an airtight container. That is, if you have leftovers…. Ingredients: 1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cornstarch 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with

Peanut Butter Cookie

Peanut butter is my favorite food. There was a time in my life when I subsisted on spoonfuls of peanut butter right out of the jar. I feel great kinship with my dogs because they share my passion for peanut butter.  In making peanut butter cookies, I need them to scream peanut butter flavor. Through trial and error, I realized that there is a limit to the amount of peanut butter you can use without throwing off the ratio of your cookie. My max is a generous cup of peanut butter, but i remained unsatisfied. Not enough peanut butter. My solution? Add in a cup of Reeses peanut butter chips. Each chip is an extra explosion of sweet peanut butter flavor, surrounded by soft and chewy peanut butter cookie. Perfection. Excuse me while I run and grab another cookie, will you? Ingredients: 1 cup creamy peanut butter 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 2 sticks softened butter 2 eggs 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extra