Jul 4 2012

Red, White and Blue

In honor of our nation’s birthday, last night I celebrated at a roofdeck party overlooking the city of Chicago. The temperature might have been hovering near 100, but these cute strawberries (and maybe the ice cold vodka lemonade) provided some much-needed refreshment.

I’m not sure who made these delicious treats (see photo – any takers?), but I had to come home and experiment with a copycat recipe for y’all today. Turns out, there’s not much to these (i.e. you have no excuse)….

July 4th Red, White & Blue Strawberries:

Large strawberries,  1 pint

White chocolate (I like Callebaut), 6 to 8 ounces

Blue sanding sugar, as needed

Clean strawberries and dry thoroughly, leaving stem intact. Heat chocolate in microwave in 10 second increments, until just melted, and stir until smooth. Dip strawberries in chocolate 2/3 up side, then immediately in blue sanding sugar 1/3 up side. Place on parchment paper until chocolate has hardened. Enjoy!

Jan 18 2012

Romesco Sauce

If you want to try your own Spanish night at home, check out my recipe for Romesco. Perfect with roast shrimp, grilled vegetables, chicken or pork. The possibilities are endless with this versatile sauce.

1 ancho chile

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1.5 cups small cubes of stale sourdough bread

25 skinned almonds

15 skinned hazelnuts

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 large jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped

2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 2/3 cup)

1/3 cup dry white wine

2-3 tablespoon olive oil

2-3 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet or spicy depending on your desired heat)

1 Tbs lemon juice

Salt to taste

1. Remove seeds and stem from the ancho chile and place in a bowl. Cover with boiling water, weighing it down with a plate to keep it submerged. Set aside for 30 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add bread cubes and stir until they just begin to turn golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the nuts and continue to stir until they are golden. Next add the garlic, and stir until lightly browned. Finally, add the red peppers. Remove from heat. Season with salt as you go.

3. Drain and chop the chiles, add them to the pan, heat and stir briefly. Add the tomato, stir and cook a minute or so until softened. Remove from heat.

4. Transfer to a food processor or a blender and pulse until a rough paste is formed. With the machine running, slowly pour in the wine and oil. Turn off the machine, add vinegar, paprika, lemon and salt, to taste, then pulse briefly to blend. The sauce will have a slightly nubbly texture.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups.

Oct 23 2011

Trick or Treat?

It’s that time of year again…. the leaves are changing colors, the air has become crisp and bowls of candy are everywhere. Fall has arrived!

And what’s a more fun Fall activity than carving pumpkins and baking some delicious pumpkin seeds?

The secret to making perfect pumpkin seeds: Boiling them in salted water before you bake. This helps infuse the seeds with flavor.

And for a new twist on an old classic, how about some nacho cheese pumpkin seeds using the very delicious Kernel Seasons. Its not just for popcorn anymore!   A tasty treat for kids and adults of all ages:

Kernel Seasons Nacho Cheese Pumpkin Seeds


One medium sized pumpkin

Kosher Salt

Non-stick cooking spray

Kernel Seasons Nacho Cheese

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut open the pumpkin, fill the inside with water and use your hands to pull out the seeds. Separate the seeds from any stringy core and rinse.

2 In a medium pot, bring water and salt to a boil (4 quarts of water and 1 Tbs salt for every cup of seeds). Add the seeds to water and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

3 Spray a sheet pan with non-stick coating. Spread the seeds out over the pan, all in one layer, being careful not to overlap. Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, approximately 12-15 minutes.

4   When browned to your liking, immediately place seeds in a bowl and generously spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Add KS Nacho Cheese seasoning (2 tsp for every cup of seeds) and mix until the seeds are well coated.  Cool and eat whole.

Aug 1 2010

Summer Punch

If you really want to get that summer BBQ started, mix up some outrageous summer punch.  I never measure anything, just mix up all the ingredients below until it tastes delicious!



Cognac or Brandy

Orange Juice

Pineapple Juice

Fruit (whatever you prefer)

Marinate for 30-60 minutes, then add gingerale, champagne & 1 tub rainbow sherbet just before serving.