Saturday, April 30, 2011


When I think springtime culinary ingredients, I think asparagus.  This is the time of year I can go to the farmer's market and find the tender, sweet perennial, which is a welcome change from the normal tough, tree trunks our grocery stores try to sell us during the rest of the year.  I made this dish to celebrate Principessa's (my Mother) 89th birthday.  She loved her party, and the dinner, but mostly enjoyed the presents.  I hope my kids celebrate my 89th with me the same way.  

The Birthday Gal and her grandson Jimmy!

Otherwise, it will just be the Babe and I, sneaking martini's at the old folks home...and that will be just fine.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic Topped with Pancetta Chips

For the pancetta chips:
6 thin slices pancetta

To prepare pancetta chips: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread out the slices of pancetta onto the paper. Bake for 3-4 minutes each side or to desired crispness. Remove to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Allow to cool, then break into generous bite size pieces.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen

   2 pound asparagus
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Trim asparagus. In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, zest and paprika and stir with a fork. Lay asparagus side by side on the grill and brush with oil mixture. Cook to desired tenderness, turning frequently, and season with salt and pepper.  Do not overcook!

Happy Birthday, Princepessa!  Eat happy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Go Green with Apple Martinis!

Earth Day Apple Martini

2 ounces Vodka
1 ounce Sour Apple schnapps
1 ounce apple juice

Combine in ice filled cocktail shaker.
Shake well for 23 seconds.
Pour into chilled martini glass.
Garnish with apple wedge.
Try not to finish it within 3 minutes. 
Recycle the cocktail shaker ice by making another one.

Love your Mother

Love Mother Earth
 - we only have but one.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

The Lone Cypress near Monterey, California

by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)*

I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree.

Now, go do something green!

Monday, April 18, 2011

180 days...

     On April 10th, the Babe and I celebrated our six month anniversary.  For all you naysayers that thought is wouldn't last, I bet you feel pretty silly now.

Of course we celebrated our anniversary with an incredible bottle of  Amarone.

     The craziness of the past 180 days included our adjusting to living under one roof, learning each others little idiosyncrasies,  realizing my chaos is not always a bad thing, nor is the Babe's rigidness.  I learned that it is impossible for the Babe to not flood the bathroom counter when he shaves.  He learned that it is not possible for me to put things back where they belong (which I am sure, drives him crazy).

But most importantly, I have learned much more since our perfect wedding day...

I learned that loving the right man is effortless.  It's like breathing.

I learned that waking up next to the Babe is the perfect way to start my day.

I learned that a second of his smile warms my soul.

I learned that loving each others kids, dogs and family, makes our hearts that much bigger.

I learned that no matter how bad my day was, coming home to him always makes it better.

I learned that having the right partner makes life's challenges so much easier. 

I learned that little pesky things in life aren't worth wasting a moment of happiness over.

I learned that our Happy Hours for two are the best ever. 

And, I learned that knowing deep down in my heart, that I fell in love with the perfect man for me, makes me the luckiest girl in the world. 

Happy anniversary, Babe, and here's to many more!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring has sprung - well, sorta


     I feel like the groundhog that is finally emerging from her buried cave, shaking off the last sleepiness of winter, and now ready to embrace the beauty of Spring.  Well, almost.  Since we live in sunny South Florida, our Springtime is 37 hours long.  We are already well into summer weather, highs in the 90's with 248% humidity.  With the now constant hum of the air-conditioner in my ears, I learn to adjust as this weather will only last for nine more months.  Then we will get our 42 hours of Fall.


     Principessa (my Mom) and I recently hosted a Saturday luncheon.  Not something we usually do, but we did want to take advantage of the beautiful day and share it with our wonderful friends and family - our way to celebrate Spring, however fleeting.  We decided to change it from the normal 'ladies that lunch', and allowed some of our favorite guys to join us, and of course The Babe.  We had so much fun, drinking our wine spritzers in the middle of the day, that I am sure we will now do this more often.  We decided to make a medley of salads, and served them with crusty ciabatta rolls heated in the oven.  I turned to my Ina Garten cookbook, and imagined what she will make for our lunch on the beach at her home in the Hamptons someday.  I am not holding my breath on that dream, as we have all come to know that she's not the best at granting wishes lately...

Dijon Chicken Salad

*The roasting of the chicken and shrimp is a step you do not want to skip - the flavors come thru beautifully!

Dijon Mustard Chicken Salad
 ~ Ina Garten


  • 2 whole (4 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken in large bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, add the broccoli florets to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 1 minute, until crisp tender, drain, and place into a bowl of ice water until cool. This will stop the cooking and set the bright green color.
For the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, wine, mustards, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add enough sauce to the warm chicken to moisten well. Add the tarragon, broccoli, and tomatoes and mix gently to combine. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Serve at room temperature.

Roasted Shrimp & Scallop Salad

Roasted Shrimp & Scallop Salad

~ Ina Garten


  • 2 1/2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
  • 1 pound sea scallops - I added the scallops to this salad since they are the Babe's favorite
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (2 oranges)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon good white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons small-diced red onion


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel and devein the shrimp, rinse the scallops. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss together. Spread the shrimp and scallops on one layer and roast for 6 to 8 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Allow to cool for 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together themayonnaise, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. When the shrimp and scallops are cool, add them to the sauce and toss. Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well. The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Otherwise, chill and serve at room temperature.

The Ladies Wine Spritzers
Fill a stemed wine glass with ice.  Add 4 ounces of wine of choice, red or white, chardonney or pinot grigio, there is no right or wrong on this cocktail.  Top with 2 ounces of lemon-lime soda and 2 ounces of club soda or seltzer.  Garnish glass with a slice of lemon or lime.  Start sipping, and let the gossip begin!  

Drink happy!  Happy Spring!