Hatch Chile, Butterscotch & Pecan Blondies with Fleur de Sel

Salty, Sweet and … Hot! Hatch Chile, Butterscotch & Pecan Blondies with Fleur de Sel Welcome to Hatch Chile Season, or as Tom calls it, “The most wonderful time of the year!”  We go crazy this time of the year grilling Hatch Chiles and finding new ways to use them.  Tom published a magazine for the produce industry for years and years and one of his favorite clients was Melissa’s Produce.  I credit Melissa’s for getting Tom to eat produce outside his comfort zone.  Now that Tom is retired, Melissa’s continues to include us in events and new products including sending us a big ole box of Hatch Chiles.  Thanks, Melissa’s! Knowing the box of chiles was to arrive soon, I had been … Read more…

Lemon Sorbet, Vodka and Prosecco Italian Cocktail (Sgroppino)

Singing Gondolier Lemon Sorbet, Vodka and Prosecco Italian Cocktail (Sgroppino) Cocktail: Tracy and I were told about this Venetian cocktail by a drunk Brit (you can always trust a drunk Brit) one evening when we stayed at the Pensione La Calcina in Venice back in 2005.  Since we were sitting next to a canal as we sipped this, I dubbed the drink a Singing Gondolier. When we returned to California, Tracy and I stepped up to the Mai Tai Tom Test Bar in an attempt to perfect the drink to fit our taste, and the following recipe (after many intoxicating iterations) is our favorite variation.  For those of you who don’t like to eat raw eggs, the egg white is … Read more…

Grilled Steak and Elote Tacos

Excellent Elote! Grilled Steak and Elote Tacos Main Course: Perusing Cooking Light recently, I found a recipe for Grilled Steak and Elote Tacos from skinnytaste.com.   Fast and easy!  Perfect for a weeknight grill fest.  One of my favorite appetizers is the Elote Appetizer from the Elote Café in Sedona, Arizona.   Elote is Mexican street corn, usually grilled and rolled in mayo and cotija cheese and eaten on a stick.  YUM.  The recipe calls for skirt steak which is very thin and cooks quickly.  For our usual tacos, Tom and I prefer flap meat ( which is a tad thicker than skirt steak and our butcher cuts into thinner carne asada-type pieces), but it does take a little longer to grill (but … Read more…

Cadillac Margarita Cheesecake Bars with Graham Cracker Pretzel Crust

Tequila Treat Treasure Cadillac Margarita Cheesecake Bars with Graham Cracker Pretzel Crust Dessert: Tom’s birthday this year falls on National Tequila Day.  Since it is also a work day (for some of us at least), instead of downing some margs, I decided to make him the Top-Shelf Margarita Cheesecake found in Booze Cakes, Confections Spiked with Spirits, Wine, and Beer.  This recipe book was a gift from our friends, Dan and Linda, whose favorite booze cake is Tom’s Famous Black Russian Bundt Cake.  I have marked many cakes in this book that I would like to try but this is the first one I’ve made.  The recipe calls for a cornmeal crust, but I just couldn’t envision a margarita rimmed … Read more…

Summer Tomato, Strawberry & Mozzarella Salad

Stupendous Summertime Salad Summer Tomato, Strawberry & Mozzarella Salad Starter: In 2014, in anticipation of our 20th Anniversary trip to Paris, Tom and I took a beginning French language class at Le Petite Ecole Française. Our instructor, Caroline, who was French, was excellent and very patient with us (especially Tom).  Caroline also organizes many get-togethers and events for her students and French speaking people in our area.  One such event which we attended was an unofficial Dîner en Blanc … a secret Dinner in White where the guests must dress entirely in white for a pop-up picnic dinner.                    From Forbes:  “Originated in Paris as a way to celebrate the French ‘art of living’ and the return of sunny summer … Read more…

Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Shake Shack’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Variation Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Main Course: When I read that Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) said the recipe for The Shake Shack’s fried chicken was the best fried chicken ever, I did a double take.  My Nana’s fried chicken is the best ever!   Of course, did anyone bother to get Nana’s recipe? … Mom?   So, if Ina says this is the best ever, I had to give it a try. What I can recall of my Nana’s chicken was that she fried it in an electric frying pan, in Wesson or Crisco, and she used paper bags to shake it up.  Man that chicken was perfection and even better the next day … but, nothing … Read more…

Watermelon and Yogurt Pupsicles (Frozen Dog Treats)

They’ll Want To Get Their Paws On These Watermelon and Yogurt Pupsicles (Frozen Dog Treats) Dessert (for your dog): I wanted to make something special for Frank and Remi’s 10th birthday this year.  They especially like frozen dog yogurt (pumpkin and bacon flavor is a favorite) but it is expensive.  So when I came across a recipe for Watermelon and Yogurt Frozen Dog Treats from Baking Mischief, I knew I was on to something and maybe it would save us some money!  (Well, except for the fact that I ordered paw and bone shaped silicone molds, but that was like $9 so it doesn’t really count, right?)             These are so easy, just puree seedless watermelon … Read more…

Chilaquiles with Roasted Hatch Chile and Tomatillo Sauce with BBQ Nopales Salsa

Getting Your Chilaquiles On Chilaquiles with Roasted Hatch Chile and Tomatillo Sauce with BBQ Nopales Salsa Breakfast: My absolute favorite breakfast food is chilaquiles.  If it’s on the menu, that is what I am ordering!  Crunchy tortillas, spicy red or green sauce, topped with an egg and cheese.  Yum! While watching a re-run of Beat Bobby Flay recently, the challenge was chilaquiles. Bobby made a roasted tomatillo salsa and then topped fried blue corn tortillas with white cheddar, jack and goat cheeses and popped them in the oven on a sheet pan to melt the cheeses.  He finished with the tomatillo sauce topped with chorizo and a fried egg.  Bobby won this round and I was excited to try his recipe, … Read more…

“Naked” Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting (and Strawberry Grand Marnier Filling)

The Icing On The Cake! “Naked” Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Frosting (and Strawberry Grand Marnier Filling) Dessert: I saw this recipe for a Lemon Olive Oil Cake with Lemon Cream in Better Homes and Gardens in 2015, but only recently got around to making it.  I love this cake!  It is so cute made in the 6” round pans.  Plus it’s super easy and delicious and will wow your friends and relatives. However, as I made the cake, I realized that it’s not a cake that can travel as the whipped cream frosting melts pretty quickly.  It was warm the day I baked it and when I took it outside to photograph I had to keep returning … Read more…

Chocolate Bacon Bark with Fleur de Sel

Bark Is As Good As Its Bite! Chocolate Bacon Bark with Fleur de Sel Dessert: While perusing the Good Housekeeping at the dentist’s office, I saw this recipe from Delish and just had to make it.  In fact, I made it twice because the first time it seemed to me that it needed more of that caramelized sugar layer, and, after increasing the butter and sugar substantially, it was way better.  I finished it with a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel. This dish is too good to have around the house on a regular basis.  Tom and I each ate a few and then I took the rest and offered them to my coworkers. On our first trip to Arles, … Read more…