Wedge Salad with Pancetta and Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing

Maytag Is Back! Wedge Salad with Pancetta and Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing Long, long ago (before I even met Tom!), I was lucky enough to work with my friend, Gloria.  On Fridays, Gloria and I would lunch at a restaurant in Long Beach called Simon & Seaforts and we would almost always start with a salad with this rich and creamy Maytag Blue Cheese Dressing.  Although Simon & Seaforts no longer exists (at least not in Long Beach), I have the recipe card from the restaurant, and while the ingredient list is long, it is well worth the effort.  Simon & Seafort’s served it over romaine greens with toasted slivered almonds, but it is equally as scrumptious on an old … Read more…

Hot Hatch Chile Chicken Enchiladas Suizas

In Search Of The Perfect Chicken Enchilada Hot Hatch Chile Chicken Enchiladas Suizas What’s a girl to do when her husband brings home a haul of Extra Hot Hatch Green Chiles courtesy of the very generous Melissa’s Produce?  Roast them!  Tom was once again fortunate to be included in an event at Melissa’s Produce, this one featuring La Tortilla Factory.  Not only did Tom score the Hatches and get to taste scrumptious food, but he also brought home a bunch of La Tortilla Factory’s products, too. If you haven’t had an opportunity to taste La Tortilla Factory tortillas, you must hunt them down.  I love, love, love their Original Flour Tortillas in a quesadilla.  And the Hatch Chile 50/50 Corn … Read more…

The TomTini…Citrus Vodka Martini Delight

Martini…With A Twist! The TomTini…Citrus Vodka Martini Delight In many of my trip reports or restaurant reviews, I mention ordering a TomTini on certain occasions. I have been asked by more than a few, “What is a TomTini?”  Well, it all started back in 2001 on a warm spring afternoon in Siena, Italy. Tracy and I (along with Kim and Mary) had just returned to our hotel after exploring the towns of San Gimignano and Volterra.  It has been a long day. Sensing a cold libation was in our future, we noticed that the bar area of the Palazzo Ravizza was open for four thirsty Americans. I ordered a martini, and a guy (who we later learned was a lawyer … Read more…

Furry Godmother’s Peanut Butter & Banana Pupcakes

Celebrating National Dog Day! Furry Godmother’s Peanut Butter & Banana Pupcakes Recently, Frankie and Remi’s Aunt Susan (who is a total cat person) came across a recipe for these Peanut Butter & Banana Pupcakes while reading a cat caper by Julie Chase, Cat Got Your Diamonds:  A Kitty Couture Mystery.  Being the good aunt that she is, she shared it with me and I made them in honor of National Dog Day on August 26 (of course, every day is National Dog Day at our house). National Dog Day was created by the National Dog Day Foundation in a mission to promote adoption of rescue dogs and to support local pet shelters coast to coast.  Their motto?  “Saving 10,000 Dogs … Read more…

Ghost Pepper Strawberry Jam

Hot Damn Jam! Ghost Pepper Strawberry Jam For my birthday this year I asked Tom to get me a galvanized steel watering trough … you know, the kind horses and cows drink out of.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I have coveted one for years.  It took 17 bags of soil to fill it up, and a trip to our local nursery to purchase some veggies including hot peppers and tomatoes.  While standing in line with my jalapeno, Serrano and Habanero plants, I checked out the basket of the guy behind me…. Vipers!  Ghost Peppers! OMG this guy makes me look like a hot pepper slacker.                                                      I put the thought … Read more…

Shrimp Scampi in a Garlic Butter Sauce with Pasta

From The Kitchen of Kim & Mary Shrimp Scampi in a Garlic Butter Sauce with Pasta (Tom and Tracy Note: Two of our favorite places to dine on the road in Southern California or Northern California are at one of the homes of our intrepid traveling companions, Kim and Mary (we were very happy when they added their new location).  Both are wonderful home chefs, plus they don’t charge us a corkage fee. This recipe is their daughter’s favorite and just one of the numerous terrific recipes they have created for us throughout the years.)                     This is a super easy recipe, as long as you do all the preparation before you start cooking.  Once … Read more…

Donna Jean’s Tropical Pork Carnitas Mini Tostadas

Bet You Can’t Eat Just One Donna Jean’s Tropical Pork Carnitas Mini Tostadas Appetizer For Tom’s 65th birthday party in July, we decided to celebrate with a fiesta catered by the terrific La Cabañita Restaurant in Montrose (technically Glendale).  Since La Cabañita was only bringing dinner items, I needed to prepare a few appetizers for the party.  In addition to guacamole and chips, I made Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho served in shot glasses, Black Bean Salsa and Salsa Baked Goat Cheese Dip. However, I felt this just wouldn’t be enough food to soak up the muchas margaritas, sangria and cerveza we were also serving.  (Did I mention we were expecting 65 people?)                                    … Read more…

Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin & Lime

Some Like It Cold! Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin & Lime Appetizer or Main Course It’s been blistering hot here in Southern California lately…so scorching in fact that it’s too hot to barbecue or even turn on the oven.  So, what to make for dinner?  Soup…chilled soup that is.  I turned to my favorite soup cookbook, Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom, for a recipe.  Tom wanted a chilled cantaloupe soup, but I vetoed that, opting instead to make the Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime.   To make this a little more robust for a meal, I added a garnish of diced radishes, cilantro, lime zest and some crumbled Queso Fresco.  Avocado would be a nice addition too, but I … Read more…

Salsa Baked Goat Cheese and Chorizo Dip

Olé! Salsa Baked Goat Cheese and Chorizo Dip Appetizer This recipe is adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe that I found in a Williams-Sonoma booklet in 2002.  It has been a consistent winner over the years but I got bored with it and decided it needed something …. something to take it up a notch or two.  Hmmm, chorizo! Disclosure:  I am a reluctant fan of chorizo.  Tom loves it, but I don’t like to think about what it is made from, and I also hate cooking with it … too much grease.  But thank goodness for Trader Joe’s.  They sell a delicious soy chorizo (soy chorizo should also be available at your neighborhood grocery store) that has all the … Read more…

Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits  

Bone Appétit! Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits As some of you may know, we have two Pembroke Welsh corgis named Frankie and Remi.  They are brother and sister from the same litter.  We adopted them when they were two years old. They are joyful and exuberant (although they were quite tired on that long drive home seven years ago). As seen in this Vanity Fair piece, corgis are Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dog. They are also super smart and athletic.  Because they are herding dogs, they need to be kept busy.  We have taken many agility classes over the years and even once took them to a ranch in Malibu to herd sheep.  That experience set us back … Read more…