Saucy Approach for Feeding a Crowd...

Dec 14, 2012 by

Last year I wrote about my go-to Chanukah main dish for the annual party I used to throw. It’s a version of the Greek Spanakopita without Phyllo on the top and bottom. It’s what I’m taking to my daughter’s party this year. She has taken on the role of Chanukah Party Provider and I get to contribute but not do it all. Let’s hear it for generational traditions! You can check it out. This year I have a different strategy. I am hosting smaller gatherings with just the people who can sit around my table and share stories. My first gathering set a new approach to feeding a crowd that is worth sharing. I made a Moroccan style fish stew and realized the sauce could easily be used for other proteins ranging from lamb...

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Beach Fare: Oysters

Aug 10, 2012 by

I grew up in the Northeast where we followed the “R” rule for eating oysters: You must only consume oysters in months with an ‘R’ in them. From May thru August, fresh shucked oysters were not an option. Not so in the Northwest where oysters are available year round – many varieties in many preparations. Why? Colder waters, more varieties to choose from, better farming techniques and more knowledge on the part of oyster purveyors and patrons. Seattle is home to fabulous Happy Hours and qualifies as an oyster-eater’s paradise. Several popular restaurants start serving oysters at 4:00 PM for a $1.00 each. By 4:30 you can’t get a seat. But you can always find fresh shucked oysters in jars or containers at reputable seafood sellers and quality markets to transform in cooked preparations....

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To Grit or Not To Grit

Aug 3, 2012 by

As a Yankee living in the South I quickly learned there are certain foods that one is suppose to like. Like grits. Whenever I think of grits I can’t help but but remember the scene from My Cousin Vinny when Vincent Laguardia Gambini, played by Joe Pesce, and his girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito, played by Marisa Tomei, first encounter a grit. Not unlike my own experience I must admit. Today I met a colleague for breakfast at one of Atlanta’s trendy morning meeting restaurants — the West Egg Café.  As I was about to take a bite of my grits I stopped mid fork and said to Mathilde, “I hated grits until I tried these (stone ground grits).” She looked at me and said, “That’s a pretty strong statement.”  My thoughts turned to other...

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Small Plates Are The Key

Jun 22, 2012 by

It’s now been two months since I had my bariatric surgery and I’m still struggling with some food issues. However, being Foodie Friday, I thought I’d write about some of the wonderful meals I’ve been enjoying. First let me state that the secret is to use small plates. Yes, not the regular dinner plate, but the salad or dessert plate works best.  This creates the feeling of a large amount of goodness while maintaining portion control.  I know this works because I made an amazing grilled smoked pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw party and still managed to drop another 5 pounds.  Below are the recipes and directions for the beans and pork. Howard’s Baked Beans:  Howard is my older brother and these baked beans are the easiest and best tasting I’ve ever had.  There are...

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Grilling For Veggies

Jun 8, 2012 by

We called it barbecuing. Growing up in Boston the onset of summer, which hopefully was more June than July (!) was when Dad took the cover off the grill.  At first it was hot dogs, burgers, chicken, steak and ribs that found their way to the grill.  Then Dad got fancy adding salmon and fresh seasonal corn to his repertoire  but pretty much it stopped there. Oh wait .. there were of course, the critical s’mores! It wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta that I found out there was a big difference between BBQ and grilled food. Whatever you call it there is nothing quite as wonderful as food cooked on a grill. One of the benefits of living in the South is I can grill all year long.  My favorites these days are experimenting...

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Fennel – Everything You Could Want In A Vegetable!...

May 11, 2012 by

I ask you:  don’t you sometimes want a vegetable that you can do almost anything with? Use it raw, roast, sauté, fry, shave, slice, chop, puree or freeze? And be assured it plays well with others? Fennel would be your choice. And although the white, bulbous plant topped with stalks ending in frilly fronds looks downright ‘alien,’- according to one food blogger – it is definitely worth taking to home and befriending. The flavor is sweet and mildly licorice. That characteristic is most notable when fennel is used raw but mellows appreciably when it is cooked.  This staple of Mediterranean cuisine shows up regularly in restaurants, cookbooks and food blogs. Look for firm, unblemished bulbs and plan to use the white part for dishes featuring the fennel but make sure to save the stalks...

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A Perfect Spring Evening

Apr 13, 2012 by

Last year when Diva Toby was home for a Massachusetts visit, we spent a lovely evening with her cousin Kaye Ellen enjoying conversation, good food and a new cocktail. It was a beautiful evening that was made extra special since one of our favorite restaurants overlooks the water. The waitress at Not Your Average Joe’s in Norwell, MA was nice enough to share the recipe for Watermelon Cocktails.  Since we are having an extremely early spring,  it seemed like  it might be time to get out the pitcher and make up a batch!! Watermelon Martini Ingredients 8 pumps of watermelon Monin 4 oz cranberry juice 6 oz  Triple 8 Cranberry Vodka 6 oz Triple Sec 12 oz Stirrings watermelon juice Champagne (or any sparkling wine) Directions In a large pitcher combine all ingredients adding as...

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Quinoa Rhapsody

Apr 6, 2012 by

There may be some of you out there who don’t want one more healthy idea from me, but honestly, you’ll thank me for this! I assume you have had quinoa – pronounced ‘keen-wa’ – sometime in the past or recent past. It seems to be turning up everywhere Foodies congregate: salad bars, delis, restaurants. It is one of those magic foods that can appear in all parts of a meal and at all meals from breakfast to a satisfying comfort-dessert. That is provided you treat it well and cook it with enough flavor to make it sing. It is fabulously healthy. It is not only high in protein, it is actually a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids and is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, essential for...

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Cereal Isn’t Just For Breakfast Anymore – Part Two...

Mar 23, 2012 by

Loved reading Toby’s post about the use of cereal for more than breakfast-and late night munchies! Here’s another recipe that has long been a favorite in my family…using Rice Krispies. We used to just make these at Christmas but finally my nephew pointed out they weren’t really a holiday specific treat and now he feels free to request them year round:-)) Peanut Butter Bonbons Ingredients 1 stick butter 2 cups peanut butter 3 cups Rice Krispies 1 lb confectioners sugar (roughly 3 cups) 1 12oz pkg chocolate chips Directions In a double boiler melt butter and peanut butter together, stir often til smooth Mix cereal and sugar together Pour butter/PB mixture over dry ingredients, mix thoroughly Using a teaspoon, make 1″ balls, place on wax paper covered platter Chill 2-3 hours When firm, melt...

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The Beet Goes On

Feb 24, 2012 by

I asked the members of my food class called A Matter of Taste-Food and its Many Attractions – what they loved to eat and what they hated. It’s amazing how much energy people have for the foods they don’t like! At the top of the list was liver. A few people came to its defense, including me, but I wasn’t about to convince anybody to give it another chance. (I grew up eating fabulous Jewish chopped liver made with real schmaltz and I still adore Pate of any kind.) Next on the list were beets, followed by Brussels sprouts. That proved to be a rallying call and I pledged to bring in at least one dish from each ingredient to see if we could have a few conversion experiences. I felt a bit messianic...

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Eat Your Greens

Jan 27, 2012 by

I’m sitting at my desk in Seattle, cat on my lap, watching the snow pile up outside and feeling the old childlike pleasure of a ‘Snow Day.’ We don’t get this kind of weather very often – every few years to be honest – so it feels good to have a day when I can do what I choose and not have to leave the premises for any reason except pleasure. I taught the first session of the second quarter of the food-related class I teach at the Lifetime Learning Center, a school that has a wide variety of classes for older adults. The class description reads: A Matter of Taste – Getting to Know Ingredients This semester we will continue to explore the fascinations of food and the gifts of our Seattle food...

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In Defense of Butter (and Paula Deen)...

Jan 20, 2012 by

“If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.” ― Julia Child I know Ms. Deen is more than capable of taking care of herself (She told Anthony Bourdain to “get a life.”) Excellent response to his attention-seeking taunts about her dangerous irresponsibility and “disgusting” food. Like he NEVER cooked with butter?  Or ate something that looked totally disgusting (baby bird eaten whole, including guts and feet, anyone?)  However, she’s really been taking some major hits lately…hits that are often mean, petty, and just downright wrong. As for butter (and fat) – our bodies love it  and need it. Our mouths crave that “fat feel.” When we don’t get it, we stay hungry and keep eating. “Low-fat” can actually cause you to gain weight.  From WebMD: The problem is that sometimes “fat free” is also, well, taste...

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