Thursday, January 27, 2011

53 years ago today...

the Babe was born.  January 27th has become, and will always be, a lucky day for me.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Babe and I will depart the Port of Miami for a short, but leisurely cruise in the Caribbean waters.

We will take in the sights and sunshine, 

partake in delightful cocktails, 

watch every sunset,

and celebrate life - his, mine and ours.

Happy birthday, Babe - I couldn't love you more!

The Babe Boombastic Cocktail
  (in honor of the birthday boy)

Fill a tall collins glass with ice.  Squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge over the ice and toss in the wedge.  Add 2 generous ounces of your favorite rum.  Pour 3 ounces of Coke Zero over the rum, and top off with a heavy splash of pineapple juice.  Give a quick stir with your umbrella straw and if it happens to be your birthday too, put your feet up and have your spouse fan you with a palm frawn while you sing your favorite Jimmy Buffet tune.  Drink Happy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What's black and yellow and oh so sweet?


    Well, that is one of the correct answers - the second would be these mouth watering cookies!  The Babe and I were invaded, I mean unexpectedly hosted an AFC Championship Game party last night.  Our only requirement was that they came through the door with chilled Rolling Rock beers and full support for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  We don't think that is asking too much in exchange for awesome food and even better football.  Not to mention our company, which includes three hours of screaming, jumping up and down, and general football fanatic debauchery.

     Babe and I are considering painting our faces and stomachs for the Super Bowl.  Or maybe we'll just go an get a Steelers #7 tattoo.  That should really impress our boys, while at least Mick.

     I adapted this recipe for Black and White cookies from Martha Stewart (love her!), and with a couple of noted variations, turned them into the perfect football dessert.



Makes 10.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract - substituted almond
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, plus more if needed
  • I added 4 drops of yellow food coloring
  • 1 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Eat happy - go STEELERS!


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until smooth. Add milk, and whisk to combine. Whisk in melted butter and extracts. Add flour mixture, and stir to form a smooth dough. Cover, and chill for 1 hour.
  2. Line baking pans with Silpat nonstick baking mats. Using a 2-ounce scoop, drop five cookies per pan, 3 inches apart. Bake until edges are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack set over parchment paper to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons hot water, and corn syrup. Whisk until smooth. Using a small offset spatula, ice half of each cookie. Return cookies to rack to drip, if necessary.
  4. Add chocolate to remaining icing. Stir until smooth. Add additional corn syrup to thin to desired consistency, if necessary. Spread chocolate icing over second half of each cookie. Allow cookies to set, about 10 minutes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

This weekend is all about the Black and Gold!

     Pittsburgh style!  The Steelers take to the field at 6:30 this Sunday to take on the New York Jets in the AFC Championship game.  You can bet we will be glued to our television watching every incredible play made by Big Bad Ben, Mr. James Harrison, and Troy the Warrior Polamalu!

     While I haven't decided the menu yet, I will definitely be serving and enjoying this wonderfully Pittsburgh martini.  Try one at kick off, then drink one for every Steeler touchdown.

I hope we are all deliriously drunk before the half!

Chill your favorite team's martini glasses in the freezer for 30 minutes.


Chill 3 ounces of Blavod Black Vodka in your ice filled cocktail shaker.  Pour into martini glass.  Slowly pour 1 ounce of Goldschlager liqueur to float on top of the vodka.  Garnish with a lemon wedge. 

Drink happy - GO STEELERS!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The only thing better than SIX SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIPS...


I was born, raised and made a Pittsburgh Steeler fan.  No matter where on this wonderful planet I may live, that will never waiver.  Due to my overwhelming love for the Babe, I am now also a New England Patriots fan.  We watch every game, screaming our heads off cheering our teams on, and usually unexpected friends show up we invite friends over to join long as they are Steeler / Patriots fans as well, or they at least fake it for three and a half hours.

In preparation for the ROAD TO THE SUPER BOWL, I came up with this adaptation for a hoagie bake from the original recipe posted on Noble Pig.  I added the Fire and Ice pickles to give it a little zing, and is perfectly paired with our Rolling Rock beer.  This hoagie is nothing like a Pittsburgh Primanti Brother's sandwich, which are so over the top insanely good that I would trade both my son's for half of one, but this is quick, super easy, and downright delicious.  Less time in the kitchen means more time pacing the floor in front of the TV watching Hines Ward, Big Ben, and my favorite - Troy Polamalu!

Steelers Hoagie Bake
(you can substitute "Steelers" for your favorite team, as long as it is not "Jets", "Ravens", or "Eagles")

2 cans Big N Buttery crescent rolls

The following 5 ingredients should all be thinly slice:
1/4 lb baked ham
1/4 lb smoked provolone cheese
1/4 lb Genoa salami
1/4 lb Swiss cheese
1/4 lb pepperoni

1 T Italian seasoning
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten with 2 t of water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with non-stick cooking oil.
Unroll one tube of the crescent rolls in one piece and press into the bottom of the pan, be sure to seal the perforations.  Layer the meat and cheeses in the order listed, making sure each layer covers the pan.  You can add additional meats or cheeses if you like.  Spread the pickles or pepper rings evenly on top of the pepperoni, then sprinkle on the Italian seasoning followed by the Parmesans cheese.  Top with the second tube of crescent rolls, and brush on the egg wash.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool 5 minutes before cutting or you may lose all that wonderfully melted cheese out the sides.  

In the words of my boys - "outrageously good!"

Eat happy and GO STEELERS!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If it wasn't so good, they wouldn't chase it. ~ Moonshine

     North Carolina (a/k/a God's Country) is home to one of this country's  great craft distilleries.  In the small town of Madison, population 2,000,  the Piedmont Distillery is producing some wonderfully delicious spirits.  Some people think of moonshine as being a toxic, distasteful, tongue-biting drink served in a mason jar hidden inside a paper bag that might just cause you to go blind.  But welcome to the 21st century, folks, where moonshine is now not only sought after, it's winning some impressive awards.

     The Piedmont Distillery is partly owned by Junior Johnson, NASCAR racing legend and Hall of Fame inductee, and more importantly, a multi-generational moonshiner.  They use his family's recipe,  make it from corn grown in America, and hand-craft it in small batches in copper stills.  They also offer natural fruit infused moonshine with apples, strawberries and cherries, so you can get your daily dose of fruits while you imbibe.  I was lucky enough to have my first sip of the Midnight Moon on a recent visit to the beautiful state of North Carolina.  Our friends were daring enough to compare it to vodka, but Babe and I think moonshine deserves a class all it's own.

     Trust me on this one, you will be quite impressed with just how smooth it is.

Caribbean Apple Pie Cocktail
(from the Junior's Midnight Moon website)

2 oz Midnight Moon Apple Pie, 
1/2 oz spiced rum, 
lemon slice 
Shake Apple Pie, rum and lemon slice over ice.  Strain into ice filled glass, garnish with a lemon slice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The world is my lobster. ~ Henry J. Tillman

3 Labradoodles meet live Maine lobsters

     A few years ago, I had the pleasure of working in Newport, Rhode Island.  Newport is a seaside village known for the impressive Bellevue Avenue mansions, the Tennis Hall of Fame, the awesome Tall Ships in the harbor, and some of the best fresh New England seafood restaurants.  That particular year, my sister Debbie traveled from her home in New York City, and spent the weekend with me.  We had one goal - to find the best lobster roll we could.  If it meant we had to try five different restaurants, we would.  We were two gals on a mission.

     Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it), we found one on our second try.  The Landing Restaurant and Bar on the waterfront was the place that made us go "mmmmm...sigh....ahhhh" after each bite.  The flavor of the lobster was sweet, the dressing minimal allowing us to really taste the wonderful crustacean, and the buttered and grilled roll was the perfect vessel to hold the heaping helping of heaven-on-earth.  If I am remembering correctly, we washed it down with a delightful  Newport Storm Summer Ale.

     I sure love Newport.  And my sister Debbie.

Newport Lobster Rolls
     (in honor of my sister, Deb)

2 live Maine lobsters, about 1 and 1/2 lbs each
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup real mayonaisse
2 T champagne vinegar
1 T top quality horseradish mustard

juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

4 large hotdog rolls split lengthwise across the top
3 T butter

Fill the largest pot you have with salted water 4 inches deep and bring to a boil. Use a steamer inset if you are fortunate enough to know where yours is.  Have your 17 year old son, Tony, put on his Terror "Stay Free" t-shirt.  (I didn't really notice that until after I uploaded my pictures, and if you don't happen to have a 17 year old son, I will lend you mine)  Next, have him drop the live lobsters into the pot of boiling water, and turn your back while he wrestles it into the pot and covers with a lid.  Place your hands over your ears to block the sound of the lobster's cry for help.  Steam 15 minutes.

Mix the next five ingredients in a large bowl.  Celery will naturally release it's juices after it is cut, so I wrap mine in a double layer of paper towel and place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.  This will keep it from watering down the salad later.

Remove the lobster from the steamer pot and allow to cool enough to handle.  Meanwhile you can melt half of the butter in a small skillet, and toast the hot dog buns, two at a time, on both sides till lightly browned, adding butter as needed for the third and fourth roll.

Clean the lobster from the tail and claws, and shred into medium sized chunks with your fingers.  Try to stop your husband from eating the lobster.  Add to the bowl with the celery mixture.  Squeeze the fresh lemon juice onto the lobster meat, salt and pepper and GENTLY fold into the mixture.  Stuff heaping spoonfuls into your perfectly toasted, buttery buns, and baby, you will Eat Happy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Goodbye 2010. Hellooo 2011!


    The new year is filled with promise, renewals of life, and the proverbial "clean slate".  For some, it is the time to make resolutions, but not this girl.  I never liked New Year's resolutions.  Sorta like taking on all these impossible goals that set you up for a year of excuses, and all too often - failure.  I don't like to anything.

     I do know, that 2011 will be a great year for me.  Why you ask?  Well, the number "11" is similar to my zodiac sign for Gemini, "II".  The numbers also add up to '4', which is my birthday.  I really don't need any more affirmation than that.  I know what you're thinking, and yes, I make all of this stuff up to suit my needs.  It's my thing, let it go.

     Now, with all of these wonderful confirmations of good things to come,  I would like to share with you some of my "promises" to myself.  So here, right now, for all the cyber world to see, I will publicly make the following, very personal statements:

     I affirm to be more positive in 2011.  And I am positive I don't like to get up to go to work, mop my floors, or look at most of my mail.

    I am not going to drink any more.  I'm not going to drink any less, either.

    I am not doing to go on a diet, as I do not like most four letter words.  I will eat healthier, as long as  chocolate, Maytag blue cheese,  and King Crab Legs are considered "healthy".

    I will make more time for me and my Babe.  If that time happens to involve me slipping on my roller blades and going for a spin with him, it is not to be misconstrued as exercise, as that is a double four letter word (8 letters), which in some cases, is twice as bad as the aforementioned four letter words.  I just hope the Babe doesn't mistaken this for my wanting to get on a fitness program.  That would make him oh so happy.

    And lastly, for the next 364 days, I will wake each morning and repeat the extremely relevant words of the literary realist, Henry James-

 "Three things in human 
life are important.  
The first is to be kind.  
The second is to be kind.  
And the third is to be kind."

     Happy 2011,  and may your year be filled with kindness, too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely COCKTAILS!

     Our official, first annual, 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails went beyond our expectations thanks to all of you!  We were thrilled to receive so many wonderful cocktail ideas and recipes, and even more delighted to try each and every one of them!  Not one disappointed us.  They gave me reason to go shopping at one of my favorite stores (Total Wine & More), a reason for Babe and I to gather with friends and family, and an excuse reason to imbibe this holiday season!

As difficult as it was, we chose our top five favorites:

Honorary mention goes to Gregory Bruce from Richmond, who sent us this recipe for his favorite go-to cocktail -
"Pour 4 ounces of Cluny Scotch over ice.  Stir with your finger.  Enjoy"

Gregory - you are always so creative and innovated.

In fifth place, we loved Nashville's own Heather D's Grasshopper Milkshake Shots -
2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
1/2 cup milk
2 ounces of creme de menthe
Mix well in a blender and serve in tall shot glasses.

Heather - We had these for a Open House cocktail party - and they were a smash hit!

In fourth place, Mike Jones of South Florida submitted this awesome HEALTHY (Babe's favorite)  concoction for a traditional holiday favorite -

"Here's my holiday cocktail recipe, concocted to offer a fat-free, low calorie option for those seeking to avoid additional holiday chub..."

'I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT-BUTTERED RUM' (makes approximately 10-12 servings)


Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and cream together. Refrigerate until firm or when ready to use.

Bring a pot of water to a boil.

Place a TSP of mixture in the bottom of a mug. Add 1 oz. each dark rum and light/white rum. Add boiling water. Top with 2 whole cloves, and wipe rim of mug with orange/lemon lime (to preference), along with whole cinnamon stick. Add fat-free whipped topping with sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg.  Enjoy!

Mike - we appreciate your making it healthier for us, and even though you stated it made 10-12 servings, six of us finished this recipe off quite easily.  Perhaps it was the size of our mugs.

Our third place choice is Helen Leon's To Die For Chocolate Martini -

Chocolate Martini to die for...
One full shot each of
Vanilla Vodka
Godiva Choc liqueur
crème de cacao

shake and drizzle some Hershey's syrup in a martini glass and hold on to your head.

Helen - we appreciated the warning.  I moved my hand for just a moment while drinking my second martini, and my head nearly fell right off. 

Coming in a close second place, Kurt Lehmann, bartender extraordinaire at Olio Bistro in Delray Beach, Florida, presented us with this delightful Gingerbread Martini -
"I have a great Gingerbread Martini we are doing at Olio for the holidays.  It is Goldschlager, Vanilla Vodka, Creme de Cocoa, and Baileys.  It's a martini with a gingerbread crusted rim"

Kurt - We served these on Christmas Eve to everyone's rave reviews!  Looking forward to our next visit to Olio Bistro for fabulous food and impeccable service.

And our first place winner, all the way from Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  Suzette P. sent us this recipe for the most incredible, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Martini.

"I mix all the ingredients in my cocktail shaker with ice, then strain into my chilled martini glass that I drizzled with Hershey's syrup.  Don't forget to garnish with a mini Reese's cup!"

1 ounce Dekuyper Butter Shots Schnapps
1 ounce cream

Makes 2 martinis.

To my new best friend, Suzette - thank you for introducing me to my new favorite drink!  Now, if I could just convince the Babe to take a trip to Castries so we could get this rum by the boat load...

It was de-lovely...all five of them!  Thank you for being such wonderful foodies, drinkers, and blog followers!