George Geary’s Taco Cheesecake

Taco Cheesecake What’s more versatile than tacos or cheesecakes as vehicles for bold flavors? I haven’t created a dessert taco yet but I am getting a good idea for one. Crust 1-1/2 cups tortilla chips, finely crushed 2 T unsalted butter, melted Filling Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 2 tsp granulated sugar 2 large eggs 6 oz shredded cheddar cheese 1 large roma tomato, seeded and diced, about 3/4 cup 1/2 cup packed, washed and chopped cilantro 1/2 cup diced onion 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp taco seasoning 1 tsp hot pepper sauce Decoration 2 cups shredded lettuce Preheat oven to 325°F Crust: In a bowl, combine crushed chips and [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:25-04:00May 13th, 2013|Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|3 Comments

Dobel Tequila

Dobel Tequila — sourced, distilled and bottled in Jalisco, Mexico — is the world’s first multiaged tequila. It is blended and filtered to produce a clear liquid that is crisp and complex. Dobel is a blend of Reposado, Anejo and Extra Anejo, aged 12, 24, and 36 months, respectively,  each with a different taste.   - bonnie:  This is a tequila that you should enjoy neat, just poured into a glass sans ice. Yes it's that smooth. If — though — you want to use in a cocktail, here are two recipes that Dobel sent me that you might appreciate as they are simple to make. Each makes one drink! Pica [...]

By |2017-08-31T14:00:38-04:00April 17th, 2013|Food & Drinks, Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|0 Comments

Big Party Prep: Be Uber Organized

Prepping for on open house with 70+ guests for Eric's engagement party, I tried to do as much ahead as possible. Silly me, I am just realizing that I'm not as young as I used to be. I just can't stand on my feet as long as I used to. So...I got uber-organized, making lists and lists and lists of what needed to be done with setting the "stage" and the food— and then did as much ahead as possible. You can too. First, write down what needs to be done detailing the menu and what you need for serving it. From that master list, make a list of what [...]

By |2017-08-25T16:04:40-04:00April 16th, 2013|Breads, Sides & Salads, Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Red Lentil Kale Soup

The recipe being demonstrated earlier this month on morning CBS TV piqued my interest. A chef from Whole Foods was preparing a delicious sounding low-fat soup with red lentils and kale. When she was done, she offered a taste to the hosts, who backed away as if repelled from her saying, "No thanks!" I laughed, as I couldn't wait to try it! In fact, I went off to the store to pick up the eponymous ingredients, then back on the cold winter's day to make a pot of this nutritious and quick-to-make soup. Kale had been called spinach on steroids because it's so packed with nutrients.  It's low in calories [...]

By |2017-08-25T16:04:40-04:00January 8th, 2013|Recipes, Starters|1 Comment

Turkish Kebab House’s Red Lentil Soup

This hearty Red Lentil Soup is served at the Turkish Kebab House, 1157 Campbell Ave., West Haven.  Manager Yavuz Demir provided Chef Seyfetin Caylan’s recipe to Stephen Fries, who kitchen-tested this recipe. Red Lentil Soup 1-pound package red lentils        1 medium carrot, shredded 2 medium onions, chopped 9 cups water, divided 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons flour 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2 teaspoons dried mint 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper Lemon wedges Put lentils, carrot onions and 4 ½ cups water in a large pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low until lentils are cooked, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat; reserve. In a second [...]

By |2017-08-25T16:04:40-04:00January 8th, 2013|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Barefoot Sparkler

Consider serving this blend of pomegranate and lime juices with sparkling wine at your holiday gathering. This recipe is courtesy of Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee. Barefoot Sparkler 1.5 ounces pomegranate juice 1/2-ounce lime juice 1/4-ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) 3 ounces sparking wine Lime Twist garnish Combine juices and syrup in cocktail shaker along with ice; shake in order to chill the contents. Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with sparking wine. Garnish with a lime twist for a festive decoration! - bonnie: This bubbly is a bargain for the $10 per bottle price. Try it on its own - it's dry and crisp with the [...]

By |2017-08-25T16:01:50-04:00December 24th, 2012|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Stanley Dry’s Fried Pies

AVERY ISLAND, La. -- Stanley Dry doesn't remember the kind of fried pies his great-aunt Sallie Warnock -- or Miss Sallie, as she was known -- made him decades ago when he was growing up on Warnock Ranch between Coleman and Valera, near Abilene. But he recalls that they were plump with fruit, flaky and delicious -- and something he wanted to make himself in the future. These days, Dry is filling his fried pies with a purée of persimmons, figs, apricots, peaches, apples and any other fruit of his liking. They're so popular that when he's catering certain events at Marsh House here, he can't leave them off his [...]

By |2017-08-25T15:55:56-04:00November 6th, 2012|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup

As the chill of autumn settles in, nothing hits the spot like a warm bowl of Curried Sweet Potato Apple Soup! This spiced and naturally sweet soup made with nutrient-packed sweet potatoes is a hearty and healthy way to welcome the changing weather. CURRIED SWEET POTATO APPLE SOUP 2 large (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes 1 large (about 8 ounces) tart apple (such as fuji, honeycrisp, or gala) 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups) 2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder 14 to 14-1/2 ounce can vegetable broth (about 1-3/4 cups) 1-3/4 cups unsweetened apple juice 3/4 teaspoon salt 6-ounce container plain low-fat yogurt 3/4 [...]

By |2017-08-25T16:04:40-04:00October 22nd, 2012|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Baba Ghanouge

This Mediterranean classic — courtesy of Alwadi Al Akdar — is easy to make at home. Baba Ghanouge 3 medium eggplants ½ cup tahini ½ cup plain yogurt Juice of 3 lemons, more or less to taste Salt to taste Pomegranate seeds, to garnish Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle Pita bread Char the eggplants on an open flame for about 15 minutes, or bake in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until very soft. Let cool slightly, cut each in half lengthwise, and spoon out the pulp. Discard the skin. Chop the pulp into very small pieces and combine in a bowl with tahini, yogurt, lemon juice and [...]

By |2017-08-25T15:55:56-04:00October 16th, 2012|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Blazin’ Hot Bacon Dip

With tailgating season in full swing, here's a Blazin’ Hot Bacon Dip, complements of Smithfield bacon that you can make in just 10 minutes! Blazin’ Hot Bacon Dip 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled 8 oz cream cheese 10-oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained 2 limes, juiced 1/2 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped Salt and pepper to taste Place cream cheese, tomatoes, lime juice, chipotle pepper, cilantro, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Do not process until completely smooth, keep slightly chunky. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and [...]

By |2017-08-25T15:55:56-04:00September 28th, 2012|Recipes, Starters|1 Comment

Avocado Breakfast Burrito

Hurried mornings leaving you with no time for breakfast? Think again! Wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, filled with a ham and cheese scramble and freshly sliced avocados, this breakfast wrap is the perfect grab-and-go meal. Courtesy of Avocados from Mexico. Avocado Breakfast Burrito 6 large eggs Salt Freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon butter 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed* 4 slices ham (about 4 ounces) 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces) 1 fully-ripened avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced 1/4 cup salsa In bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper to taste. In large skillet over medium heat, melt butter; add eggs; cook and stir until set. [...]

By |2017-08-25T15:55:56-04:00August 29th, 2012|Entrees, Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Creative Uses for Hummus

Tribe Hummus  offers these simple suggestions for using hummus. Hummus Dressing – Salad dressing can get boring quickly. Try mixing 2 tbsp. of  Classic Hummus with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.  Sprinkle with some fresh cracked pepper. Hummus Deviled Eggs – Instead of using mayo in your deviled egg filling mixture, use  Spicy Red Pepper Hummus providing a flavor-filled treat with fewer fat calories. Stuffed Chicken with Hummus – For a fun twist on dinner, stuff your chicken cutlets with  Roasted Garlic Hummus and fresh spinach. Vegetarian? Substitute eggplant for the chicken! Hummus Veggie Burger – Frozen veggie burgers make an easy weeknight dinner. For an added kick, [...]

By |2017-08-25T15:55:56-04:00August 20th, 2012|Entrees, Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Bucatini with Brussels Sprouts, from Corkbuzz

The Tasting Table agrees with me as to their favorite Corkbuzz dish: the buttery bowl of bucatini with Brussels sprouts and chile oil. They like it with a glass of Trimbach Riesling Reserve with it -- which is why they the recipe doesn't contain the chile oil .... at least according to sommelier/owner Laura Maniec. "Chef Hayan drizzles chili oil at end as garnish... We left them off recipe for the purpose of pairing with the Trimbach but if you love the heat, just pair with a slightly sweet German Riesling," explained Laura. Here's the adapted recipe from Hayan Yi, Corkbuzz Wine Studio from their site that takes about 25 [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:36-04:00April 25th, 2012|Entrees, Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|1 Comment

Mad Men’s Old Fashioned Cocktail

Even if you don't watch Mad Men, you've heard about the hot series based on life in the '60s and Don Draper, it's lead character. The series is so hot that clothing styles and the cuisine and cocktails of that era have returned to fashion. The Old Fashion — the  classic cocktail made using Four Roses bourbon — is featured in the new Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook by Rick Rodgers. According to Rick, "It's called an Old-Fashioned because it is the original cocktail recipes: whiskey, sugar and bitters." Serve his Old-Fashioned to friends while watching Don Draper and gang on Sunday evenings. Will Betty trim down? Will she [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:36-04:00April 22nd, 2012|Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|0 Comments

Lost Boys Cocktail

Just attended a "Destination DC's 2012 New York Media Reception," where I met Derek Brown, owner of the Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He was serving a  cocktail, made with Bowmore Single Malt Scotch —that was well blended,  not too sweet. I asked Derek for the recipe to share. I also took a photo so the two bitters he used, so it might be easier to find them! Lost Boys Cocktail 8-10 oz. Rocks Glass 2 oz Smoky Scotch 1/2 oz Honey Syrup (made with 2 parts honey, 1 part water) Dash Xocolatl Mole Bitters Dash Orange Bitters 2 Orange Peels (2" x 3/4") Combine ingredients in mixing glass with [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:37-04:00April 3rd, 2012|Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|0 Comments

Food and Film

As one might guess, Film Movement, a company dedicated to distributing the best award-winning films from the world’s top film festivals, loves learning about different cultures. But that doesn’t mean only movies… Each month, Film Movement releases a new film on DVD to its club members to own, and pairs it with a special delicious recipe via a monthly newsletter. January's recipe of Algerian Spiced Potato Cakes goes with that month's film selection of  Free Men directed by Ismaël Ferroukhi. It's  from "North African Cooking : Exotic Delights from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt" by Hilaire Walden, In German-occupied Paris, a young unemployed Algerian named Younes (played by break-out star, [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:38-04:00February 26th, 2012|Other happenings, Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|1 Comment

Avocado Dipping Sauce

Use this quick and easy sauce as a dip for Superbowl Sunday. Serve with fresh veggies (carrot, celery, tomato, jicama, fennel, bell peppers), fresh or fried shrimp, Buffalo wings, seasoned fries or chips made from regular or sweet potatoes, taro or other vegetables. You can make the sauce up to 4 hours ahead of time, and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to serve. Hass Avocado Dipping Sauce 2 ripe, fresh Hass avocados, peeled and seeded 1 cup low fat sour cream 2 T (or to taste) lime juice Zest from 2 limes, optional Salt, to taste Place avocados, sour cream, lime juice and zest in the work bowl [...]

By |2017-08-25T15:55:57-04:00January 30th, 2012|Recipes, Starters|1 Comment


Eric's personal recommendation for using Godiva Chocolate Infused Vodka in a cocktail: Chocolatini 1/2-ounce Godiva Chocolate Infused Vodka 1 1/4 ounces Kahlúa 1 1/4 ounces dark crème de cocoa Shake all ingredients, with ice, in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional decadence - as in photo - garnish with a truffle!

By |2017-08-25T16:01:51-04:00July 13th, 2011|Recipes, Starters|0 Comments

Hearts of Palm at Jerry’s Restaurant

It’s rare for a side dish to be so exceptional that it becomes the standout of the meal, let alone a restaurant; but Chef Bridget Burns at Jerry’s in Winnetka serves a Hearts of Palm Salad so innovative that it takes center stage. With only eight ingredients, Chef Burns is able to create an wonderfully easy, gourmet addition to her menu. The salad is warm, including browned hearts of palm blended with chopped anchovies, fresh garlic, leeks, chili flakes, all topped with shaved parmesan cheese. Jerry’s is known though for their seasonal menus, so you might want to act fast if this new dish is definitely one you don’t want [...]

Coffee 2.0

Is an espresso just too much liquid for you? Seems the five-hour energy craze has taken over from the 8-minute ab craze and coffee is being left in the dust. That is, until a new hero emerged, taking on the convenience of weird vitamin-infused superliquids and giving coffee another chance. Welcome to Coffee 2.0 Java Juice is a 100% liquid, organic, gluten, coffee concentrate. Oh yes, we've gone through the looking glass. Single-serve, no mess, no cleanup, no machines. No chemicals or additives, zero fat and sugar-free. Java Juice is made in the USA from organic Arabica beans. And they're even 'greeny'; Java Juice contains no chemicals or preservatives and [...]

By |2017-08-31T16:19:53-04:00March 15th, 2011|Food & Drinks, Recipes, Starters, xyz misc|1 Comment