Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mexican Cucumbers

Have you ever tried these little beauties?

Called Mexican Gherkin Cucumbers they are my newest favorite Heirloom variety. Approximately the size of a grape and looking like tiny watermelons from the outside, these babies taste just like a normal cucumber. So cute! 

If you would like to try growing them next season you can get the seeds here.  Who could resist anything from the 'Drunken Botanist' collection?? 

Happy growing! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Raspberry soda!

I've got a new favorite drink!

Raspberry soda! I got the recipe from the Torani website and it's so darn good. All you'll need to whip one up for yourself is some Torani Raspberry Syrup and carbonated water. I used seltzer made with my beloved Sodastream but I'm sure you can easily substitute store bought.  

First fill a glass with ice, add 2 oz Raspberry syrup then 8oz carbonated water.  Stir and enjoy! 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Simmering sauce perfection

I'm not usually one to rave about processed foods. I much prefer to make my own from scratch but every once in a while I'll come across a product that makes life not only easier, but so much better.  And that's exactly what Patak's Tikka Masala simmering sauce does. If you like Indian food, you have to give it a try.

I'll admit I was hesitant at first (see above usual reservations) but I bought a jar as part of my freezer to crockpot experiment a few days ago. Because that all took much longer than I thought I found myself coming up on dinner with absolutely nothing prepared. Which is pretty ironic given that I'd spent the day prepping food. 

Anyway, my original intention was to freeze the chicken in the sauce to be defrosted later, I chose instead to follow the jar's instructions (which btw were much easier than my plan to freeze, defrost and dump into the slow cooker). The jar said brown the chicken, add sauce and simmer. Toward the end of the simmering I also threw in a healthy handful of frozen peas for a little color. I served it with rice made in my most favorite rice cooker and it was good.  Like really good. Like oops I forgot to take a picture because I was so busy scarfing it down. Oops. 

Luckily there was just enough left over for my lunch today. Which I might sneak down from my office for a little early today because my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Amazing Book!

You might recall last summer when I recommended that you check out The Expats by Chris Pavone.  That was my favorite book in a long time. Until now. Chris has written another fantastic book and I think it might even be better than The Expats.

Run, don't walk to get your copy.  And prepare to miss out on sleep because this one will keep you reading all night long!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ziplist- get it!

Ok, I'm obsessed with Ziplist.  I can admit it.  But who wouldn't be? A place to store your favorite recipes that will also compile a shopping list of the ingredients for you?  And it has its own app so the list is available on your phone? Love it!

Click here to see what I'm talking about.

And now so many sites and bloggers are getting on board by posting links which will allow their yummy recipes to be added right in to your account. Which means less printing, copying and pasting leaving more time for eating. Perfect.

You must try it.  Or maybe you have?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Freezer to Crockpot experiment

Today I spent the better part of my afternoon shopping, prepping and cooking about 20 freezer to crockpot dinners. We had one tonight (Chicken Tikka Masala) that was unbelieveable. So happy! I hope the rest come out as well. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Heartbreakingly beautiful

Today I was in Trader Joes and they had tomatoes so beautiful that I cried.  Literally cried. 

The last time I saw tomatoes this beautiful they had been grown just for me.  Come to think of it, maybe that's what made me cry. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

End of summer

Just cut up the last of the Mattapoisett tomatoes. Sad. 

But a sprinkle of smoked salt flakes, a grind of pepper and a drizzle of good balsamic will do them justice. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Simply Orange High Pulp

I love OJ. I like it by itself, with a little seltzer to lighten it up and of course with champagne as a mimosa.  And I like pulp. So when I was at the store and saw a high pulp option I thought, 'sign me up!' 

Well after one glass the jury is back and Simply Orange High Pulp is a definite no.  
Unless you like an inch of goop at the bottom of your glass.  Then this is the juice for you. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ploughmans Lunch


Here's a tip: buy your ham and cheeses for this snack from the Deli. If you ask them to slice extra thick (#10 at my market) then you need only cut crosswise to make these beautiful nibbles! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Butterscotch Vodka

Out of that fancy schmantzy aperitif you were planning to serve your friends after your next dinner party? Instead of running to the liquor store (or as we Massholes call it "The Packy"), try making this sweet little concoction for your guests to sip.

Butterscotch Vodka

You don't really need a recipe.  Just drop 12 individual butterscotch candies (unwrapped!)

into 8 oz of your favorite vodka.

Shake it every time you pass by and the candies should dissolve and become one with the booze within 24 hours. Of course you can pass along the recipe... or just wink and tell them it's your little secret.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shatterproof glasses by WS

These babies aren't cheap. Let's just start there. But, if you have a patio, pool, deck or even a summer place where you just know accidental beakage will occur, maybe you should rethink your mothers plastic glasses.

Of course we aren't taking dime store, BP laden junk. Nope. Williams Sonoma sells a lovely (even monogrammable) line of bulletproof plastic glasses that rival your best glassware.  Check them out here.

I'll admit that this find wasnt actually my own. My parents were the ones who sprang for these first. And I wasn't even convinced then. They were at the top of my budget so I decided to step back and see how these babies fared after a year or so in the dishwasher.  And guess what?  After more than a year of pretty regular use they look good as new.  And I can't remember the last time I had to sweep up a broken glass...

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Popsicles.  Well more like boozy Popsicles or should I say adult Popsicles?  Well they're about to become my thing.

Cruising Pinterest they caught my eye and of course it only took about 2.2 seconds for me to check Smitten Kitchen for the best mold and order it from (Still loving that Amazon Prime!).  I think this is going to be the cocktail of the summer.  So excited. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Coconut Ice Cream

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't really care too much for ice cream.  Sure, I love to make it. But as far as eating, I can take it or leave it. However, it is physically impossible for me to make it through the summer without having at least one bowl of Coconut Ice Cream from Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville, Ma.

Gorgeous Post Card painted by Doug Warren

Longtime owner Dick Warren wrote the book on Ice Cream.  Seriously, he really did:

2014 is Four Seas 80th anniversary so maybe I'll even indulge in a second bowl. I'd been in good company...
 It was well known to the inner circle that Jackie’s favorite ice cream was coconut, especially the blend made by Four Seas. She even went so far as to having it shipped and flown down from the Cape to the Kennedy White House.- Helen O'Donnell
Come join me.  You never know who you'll bump into.

360 South Main Street Centerville, Ma

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'd stay here

The decoration is far from complete and I've questioned the color choice a time or two, but overall I think the paint made a nice difference in the sunrise room.  Fit for a guest?  I'd stay here!

This is what it looks like not long after sunrise.  The completion of the sunset guest room is considerably further behind schedule and it looks like my darling daughter has taken up residence in there. But I have faith..

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Best way to make a marinade

Though I was done with 'bests' yesterday? Well you're wrong.  There's also a best way to whip up a marinade.  Your days cleaning of extra bowls, Tupperware etc are over.

Do it in a bag.  Any close-able and disposable gallon baggie will do but I happen to prefer the zip top ones because I'm more accident probe than the average person. 

Ok you're saying, I can do that. But how am I supposed to get all my ingredients into the bag without spilling them everywhere?  Oh I've got a suggestion for that too. Find a small deep bowl or, in this case, measuring cup. 

Stick the bottom of the bag into the mixing cup or bowl and drape the open top over the edges like so 

Now you can easily pour, grate and add ingredients to your hearts content. 

All without any extra cleanup for yourself. 

When you're done just add whatever you wanted to marinate to begin with, squeeze out the excess air, zip in toss it into the fridge.  

You're welcome. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Best way to zest

There's a best way to zest?  Seriously?  Yes folks. There is.  Try holding your zester this way:

And draw it across the top of them lemon.  Not only will you be much less likely to zest your own fingers (and don't tell me THATs never happened) but you have more control, better visibility of what has and hasn't already been stripped from the peel, better yield and most importantly, an accurate measure of how much you've accumulated. Good luck figuring out how much is a tablespoon of zest when you've done it straight into a bowl. 

Next time you have a recipe that calls for a little lemon love, try it! You'll thank me. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I need to find some new favorite blogs to follow.  Is it me or have the established foodie ones gone soft?  A post every 5 or 6 days? Maybe 2 weeks?  It's not enough for me.  Orangette, Smitten Kitchen etc. I'm talking to you! 

What blogs do you follow?  I need some suggestions! 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cards Against Humanity

Have you played it yet? 

If not, what the hell are you waiting for??

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The best New Yorker piece ever.

Ever ever ever.

Carolyn Parkhurst is a genius and should be canonized immediately.  Or after she dies... whatever protocol calls for.  In any case, we must all raise a glass and toast her genius.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Double Duty Wings

I love chicken wings. I admit it.  But the ones they serve at your local pub are generally deep fried (sometimes even more than once-yuck!) and can leave you feeling pretty queasy at the end of the night. Maybe its me...

Anyway, I set out to find a lighter way to make a classic bone-in wing. Along the way I came up with this recipe for delicious Double Duty Wings.   Not only are they a great game time snack, but when you're done you'll also have homemade chicken stock to use or freeze for the next recipe that calls for it.  Double duty? Yes please!

First thing you'll want to do is wash your wings.  Always wash chicken.  Always.  Then place your wings (use as many wings as you think you'll want plus a little more because you won't believe how good they'll be) in a saucepan and add water to cover plus enough to come up to about 2 inches below the rim.  This water will eventually become your chicken stock and, well, more is more.

Bring the stock to a boil and boil the wings for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes use a handheld strainer or tongs to remove the wings to a foil lined cookie sheet. I hate cleaning so I line EVERYTHING with foil. (Bring a messy child to my house and there's a chance I might roll them in foil).  

Place the cookie sheet into your oven and broil until brown and crisp.   (Keep an eye on them but it should take around 5 to 10 minutes per side depending on the size of your wings and, of course, your oven).

Meanwhile, reduce the 'broth' to a simmer

And add whatever onion, celery, carrots and peppercorns etc you usually do when making your own chicken broth. Allow them all to boil away until the liquid is reduced by at least half and you are happy with the taste.  

Broth is personal, make yours the way you like.  In any case, you'll end up with at least a cup or more of delicious broth for your next recipe.  If you want to be super good, place the broth in the fridge for a few hours or overnight and remove the fat that has solidified at the top. Yuck. 

Use the broth within a couple of days or measure it (so you'll know how much you have before it's a frozen block of unknowable volume) and freeze.  You'll be all set the next time you need better than canned broth!

Now back to the wings: after you've broiled both sides, the wings will be browned and crispy like this: 

Use tongs to place the wings in a bowl and toss with your favorite sauce.  I happen to love wings with BBQ aside and I have two favorites: Grandma Izetta's Roadhouse BBQ  which is amazing because it's all natural and isn't loaded with sugar and sometimes, when I'm throwing caution to the wind, I'll go with a less healthy choice like Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle because it's sweet with just the right smokey kick.  

Then serve!  There's no need to tell anyone that these wings were boiled.  They'll never notice!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Grown up blueberry lemonade

In case you didn't get the memo fools, summer is here. My friends and I spent the Fourth of July weekend enjoying these grown-up blueberry lemonades.

And they are delicious and easy. But to make them you're going to need to think a couple of days ahead. 

Start with the blueberry vodka from yesterday's post.  Add ice, your syrupy good vodka and your lemonade of choice (mine happens to be Newmans own). 

Add a little more lemonade on top, stir and drink fast before your friends steal it from you!  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Blueberry Vodka

Want to be the hit of the party?  Show up with a bottle of this stuff: 

And, as always, it's easy.  All you'll need is a bag of frozen blueberries (I personally recommend Wymans Frozen wild Maine blueberries), a large mason jar or other covered type pitcher or jar and your favorite unflavored vodka.  

Place the frozen blueberries into the clean jar, cover with vodka, close the top and shake.  Leave the jar on your counter or in the fridge and give it a good shake every time you pass by. (Make sure the top is secure because vodka is a solvent and is going to remove all the 'blue' from the blueberries which I imagine will stain). 

After a day or two you'll notice that the blueberries have given up their color and turned rather white

Have a little taste. If you think it's got enough flavor then strain the vodka back into the original container using a funnel and sieve to keep out the now wasted blueberries.  Resist temptation to eat the blueberries. They have no flavor anymore- it's all in your booze. 

Toss the vodka into the freezer and pull it out to the amazement of your friends next time they're over.  One of the best uses in my humble opinion is in a delicious grown up blueberry lemonade.  

Check back tomorrow for the recipe!