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Monday, November 14, 2016

Hillary - she won the popular vote

We are now in our new Fl home.  To quote a famous author "it has been the best of times and the worst of times….."  the home is lovely, and yes I am fortunate…but somethings are more important than a second home in sunny weather…. I  do not know when I have been so thoroughly upset by an election - yes, I do…never.  Election night moved me from nervous confidence to total disbelief to physical sickness.   Me, an expert in "spin" for so many years cannot find the spin- (there is none)!

And why should I vent on my cooking blog , you ask?- because I wasted a bottle of Vu Cliquot and the baked brie was a disaster!  I have not enjoyed wine or food since. I would joke about the red plates and mats but there is no humor in the outcome of election 2016.

 The only sweet thought/memory to take away from this election of 2016 is that the women closest to me, my 92 year old mom, my two sisters, my three daughters and my god daughter, voted for Hillary."You are wise women and I am proud of you. I should have given more and worked harder!"


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

King Salmon

The King Salmon is here! This is specifically Columbia River King Salmon.  For this delicious ENTREE, I adapted  a recipe for Pacific Northwest Salmon in  The Basics Cookbook (Silver Palate). The recipe calls for combining butter, honey, brown sugar , lemon juice, liquid smoke and red pepper flakes and cooking over medium heat. I deleted the liquid smoke and red pepper flakes, and added lemon zest and sherry. The salmon was topped with EVOO and fresh ground black pepper and grilled.  I poured the sauce on the salmon after it was grilled.
It was incredible and put to "shame" all that farm raised salmon we have endured over the summer!

 Sides: Slices of garlic were inserted into pockets of the small round Bolle. The loaf was drizzled with EVOO, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on the hot grill for 10 minutes.  The broccoli was drizzled with balsamic vinegar, covered and cooked in the microwave for 4 minutes. A slice of tomato was drizzled with EVOO and topped with fresh basil.
It was incredible!!

Wine: Beaujolais Village Chateau de laTour de L'Lang 2014. Superb! I need to serveBV more often!


Wednesday, June 29, 2016


This was a Jo Day and thoughts were of the upcoming Mothers Day - the flowers arrived, making my thoughts focus on my daughter and her daughters. If I could not be with them,  I would turn to food - not any food, but a"favorite food" (and wine). As luck would have it, I  happened to have all the ingredients.


The entree: Chicken Francaise. The chicken breasts were pounded thin and coated with a mixture of flour, ground pepper and herbs de provence. The breasts were browned in evoo and a teaspoon of butter.  Meanwhile I simmered chicken stock,white wine and lemon juice.  When the breasts were browned I added the sauce to the pan of breasts and simmered on a very low heat.

The sides:  Risotto.The risotto was cooked according to package direction. I used  boxed chicken stock for the liquid and added an ample portion of pressed garlic.  A cup of grated parmesan cheese was added as the risotto was finishing.

Peas:  Added for color! I merely splashed them with chicken broth and heated in the microwave.

The wine: Rombauer Chardonnay: A tad pricey for a daily dinner, but it was pre Mother's Day,  so why not! And although my spouse's preference is  red wine,  if it is good chardonnay he will share mine. 



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Toasting our good fortune and a Donum story

It was a celebration! We closed on a winter home on this day in late May and decided to celebrate. A perfect excuse to open a prized wine from a visit to wine country in October 2014. At a party at the Donum Estate, Sonoma County,CA, Mike guessed the weight of a pumpkin, the exact weight, I might add and won the bottle of wine!
With  puff pastry and a round of Brie on hand,  and a warm evening, we settled on the deck, popped the cork and enjoyed!  

The brie - same as always: thaw and roll out the pastry, spread the pasty with honey dijon, place the round of brie and fold the pastry on top. Glaze with egg white and bake according to package directions.

The wine: A 2012 Pinot Noir, "1870."The name is derived from a stage coach stop - the ruins and cornerstone remain on the estate.

To say we enjoyed the bottle is an extreme understatement!  I did email Maggie, the Hospitality Manager at Donum Estates, and she was quick to respond. She was happy to hear we enjoyed the wine and was still amazed that Mike had guessed the exact weight of the pumpkin!

Mike and Maggie

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Baked Haddock and Veggie Medley

Dipping Oil with fresh basil and herbs 
A Chardonnay

The Haddock was frozen but I was just looking for some fish that was not salmon.  Although I am sold on the health benefits of salmon, one just needs some variety.

Entree: Baked Haddock. The haddock fillets were defrosted in cold water, rinsed and then dried with a paper towel before dipping in half & half. The Haddock was then coated with a mixture of cracker crumbs, grated parmesan cheese,, thyme, crushed garlic and ground black.  The fillets were drizzled with butter and baked on the top rack of the oven at 500 degrees for 15 minutes.
Side:Veggie Medley. The broccoli, red bell pepper, zucs,  shallots and a sprig of thyme were sautéed in evoo for two minutes and  splashed with chicken broth before simmering on low heat for five minutes.
The Wine: Donum 2014 Chardonnay.  Yes, a white from Donum and very nice!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Orange Marmalade Salmon I and II

A few years ago, I posted a Salmon dish topped with orange marmalade, but this time I worked on the sauce and it is a keeper. I am posting two dinners here - the first my trial run on the sauce and the second prepared with more confidence, a tad less marmalade,  a different salmon, different type of wine, and  a different side dish. So really the only thing that was the same was the Orange Marmalade!!

The Sauce: I heated together chicken broth (College Inn) regular and bold, and for the first Marsala wine, and the second,  Cream Sherry. After reducing for 15 minutes I added chopped fresh garlic and two (and one) heaping tablespoons of Smuckers Orange Marmalade, lowered the heat and let simmer while I prepared the rest of the meal. 

The Salmon:  One meal used Faroe Island Salmon,  and the other, Bay of Fundy Salmon.  EVOO was brushed on the salmon and then seasoned with herbs de provence. Each time the salmon was seared on a grill pan for 3 minutes and then turned for 4 minutes. The pan was then placed in the oven at 325 for 3 additional minutes.  When removed the salmon was topped with half of the sauce. The remainder of the sauce was poured into a small pitcher and served at the table.  

Sides: Brussels Sprouts -Trimmed and halved, par boiled in Chicken broth and roasted in oven and then tossed with pan fried prosciutto pieces.
Broccoli - Microwaved in chicken broth for 3 minutes.

Wine:  The first salmon dinner was accompanied by a very disappointing bottle of a California red. I will not name it because this vineyard has produced some excellent wine - I am hoping that this was just a "bad bottle".  The second salmon meal was served with an excellent bottle of Donum Pinot Noir.


Monday, April 4, 2016

Rainbow Trout and Basmati Rice

Ohio weather!!##@@!!
We are home , to  snow and high winds!  Was the weather trying to tell us that we should have never gone -or was it my mom's accident, surgery and nursing home stay or my hospital stay in Florida that were speaking "loud and clear."But there were some good times - good dinners and visits from family. Mom's turned out badly and  I did miss the one with my daughter and granddaughters but, spouse was the perfect son in law and dad and grand dad - a caring man and host extraordinaire. 

The best parts of the trip were spouse's golf game opportunities, resulting in improved golf scores, and the many delicious meals we enjoyed.  This entry is certainly an example of good food.  However I must not have been on top of my "serving game." Nothing like white fish, and  rice on a white plate, served with white wine and a table  adorned with white flowers!!!!

I do guarantee that the appearance does not reflect the taste  of this meal - the food was delicious, the wine superb and the ambiance and conversation were delightful!

Entree: Rainbow Trout. Dipped in egg white and flour, the filets were seasoned and coated with a mixture of melted butter, lemon juice, white wine, honey dijon, pepper and herbs de provence. The filets were browned in a skillet and finished on a low heat. The gas stove was perfect to control the heat.

Side: Basmati Rice with Green Onion and Zucchini.  The rice was cooked and then added to a skillet to heat with diced green onion and small slivers of zucchini, which had been splashed with EVOO.  

The wine: Sonoma Cutrer Les Pierre. Superb as always.

I am on a restricted diet and will not be back to normal (my normal) cooking and dining for a few weeks, but I still have some Florida entrees that I will share in the coming days! And please do forgive me for this bland looking meal. It truly was delicious!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Wild Mushroom Ravioli in Mushroom Sauce

Packaged fresh mushroom Ravioli (Three Rivers) - Good.
Dried Mushroom Sauce - Excellent!

The packaged ravioli were a nice size, providing 5/6 for each of us.

The Sauce: Butter and demi glace melted together  in sauce pan. The liquids, chicken broth and sherry were added and reduced while the dried mushrooms were soaking in hot water.  When the liquids were reduced to a semi thick sauce/broth, the mushrooms and two teaspoons of the mushroom liquid were  added.

Sides: Broccoli, doused with chicken broth and cooked for 3 minutes in the microwave. Warmed crusty baguette served with dipping oil.

Wine: Donum. One of our favorites.

Both spouse and I agreed this is one of the best dishes/meals we have enjoyed in our temporary home.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Dover" Sole

"Dover Sole" here in the states!?  Hard to believe, but thought "oh well let's try it."  Shared with my spouse that I was sure it was not authentic Dover Sole. But I looked it up this morning, and sure enough it is raised here in US, mostly Alaska.  However it's real name is "slime sole or slippery sole"  The description was not appetizing, so I am glad I purchased, prepared and consumed it before I looked it up! It was not as delicate or tasty as the Dover Sole I have enjoyed in the past, but it wasn't bad.

Entree: "Dover" Sole.  The filets were dipped in egg white, coated with flour flavored with herbs de provence and fresh ground pepper, then browned in evoo and a pat of butter.  White wine and fresh lemon juice were added were added to the pan until evaporated, soaking into into the fish.

Side: Roasted Asparagus. The asparagus was ended, splashed with evoo and roasted for 10 mins at 400 degrees.

Warm "Boule" Bread, dipped in evoo and balsamic vinegar was also served.

Wines: Spouse had KJ Pinot Noir and I had Le Creme Chardonnay.


AND and rain, rain please go and stay away…..

Monday, February 1, 2016

Grilled Salmon wi Lemon/Honey Dijon Sauce

The weather here in our little sunshine get away, has been miserable (I know I can hear you, my friends up north - "stop whining").  But, according to the news, January was the wettest month since records have been kept. So, so  much for the warm weather and pool being good rehab for my knee - not!
I have managed to enjoy my favorite activities, cooking, and dining and a few rounds of golf.  So life is good.

 Two weeks ago I made a salmon with a similar sauce and noted that I had found it in Cooking for Two. It was very tasty so we thought we would like to dine on the same dish. Well after both of us scoured the cookbook twice, we found it nowhere! So I made my own!

Entree: Grilled Salmon wi Lemon Honey Dijon Sauce. The salmon was spayed with Pam evoo and sprinkled with fresh ground pepper. It was grilled for 7 minutes, flipped at 4 minutes.


 The Sauce: Thinly sliced shallot and diced garlic were cooked over low heat in a tad of
 butter and splash of evoo. When soft,
 two tablespoons of  lemon juice, a fourth of a cup
 of white wine and a tablespoon of honey dijon
 were stirred in and heated till blended.
Wines: We had half bottles left from a neighbor hood party over the weekend, so spouse had red and I had white.  His Etude Pinot Noir and mine, Cutrer, not Sonoma Cutrer, but it's upgrade, the Cutrer!  As mentioned in previous blogs, one of my favorites.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tortellini Salad wi Bell Pepper,Pine Nuts and Basil

A simple dinner for just a quiet night. This recipe is from one of the cookbooks I brought with me Cooking for Two. 

Entree:  Tort salad  The recipe calls for whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, shallot together and then add the cooked torts, chopped red bell pepper and basil.
It was a tad bland for my taste so I added crushed garlic, grape tomatoes, and mini mozzarella balls. 

A quiet night indeed!


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chicken Marsala and Risotto

A birthday celebration, and I chose the men. Yes it is all about me, and fortunately visiting family members count it among their favorites too.

First the cook had to have champagne while she cooked. The local "Total Wine" guy sold me a champagne that he promised was better than Veuve Cliquot. De Margeri Grand Cru was good but on special occasions I should always go for my sentimental favorite.

First course: Mini Caprese with Arugula.   The grape tomatoes and mini mozzarella were mixed with arugula and balsamic dressing.

Entree: Chicken Marsala. The chiclet strips were floured and pounded to tho fillets.  Having no mallet I put a large can of soup in a baggie and used it to pound out the fillets.  I set ten aside on a floured The chopped shallots and garlic were sautéed in
evoo and butter till soft then removed. Additional butter and evoo were added for sautéing the mushrooms (shitake, button and dried crimini) Chopped proscuitto was added. After all became soft, chicken broth and an ample amount Marsala was added.
When the mushrooms were soft and the liquid was reduced the mushrooms as well as any liquid were removed.  Additional butter and evoo were added to the pan and the chicken fillets were browned. were

Sides: Haricot Vert  The beans were ended and simmered in chicken broth until semi soft.

       Risotto: The risotto was prepared per the package except chicken broth was used instead of water. When the rice was the appropriate consistency, sautéed garlic and shallot, sun-drid tomato pieces, and parmesan cheese was stirred in. Additional parm was added before serving.

Wine: Rossodi Toscana 2010 - a recommendation of Total Wine.  It went well with the meal, but i would give it a 6 out of 10.

Final Course: Son in law bought a variety of cheese for a great platter and a wonderful finish to a good meal.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Sea Bass wi Lemon Shallot Sauce

Found a great grocer, not far from the Total Wine store. Both worth negotiating traffic here in the Sunshine state. So cooking is good again.  The two cookbooks I brought with me are very good, but in the rush of packing I left my favorite at home. - sorry Silver Palate!

Neither of the books I brought had a sea bass recipe so I went to google….and found this on The Pioneer Woman.I adapted it, of course, but not much. It was simple and turned our very tasty.

First Course:  Miniature Caprese: Small Rounds of fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes and fresh basil leaves are combined and drizzled with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and fresh ground pepper dressing

Entree:Sea Bass: The Sea Bass is seared  in butter and evoo for two minutes and finished in a 375 degree oven for 8 minutes. (Do not flip)

           The shallot is diced and sautéed until soft, the lemon zest and juice of a lemon are added, stirred and heated on low. The sea bass is flipped on the plate and drizzled with the lemon shallot sauce.

Sides:  The haricot vert were splashed with chicken broth and simmered for 20 minutes.The 90 second Wild and Brown Rice was microwaved. At the grocer we found a favorite of ours - kalamata olive bread!

Wine: Nickel and Nickel Chardonnay - currently my favorite, but a tad pricey for everyday!


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Salmon With Fig and Ginger Sauce

A new year, a new life and a new place (temporary).  If you caught my Facebook Post of December 18 you read that I have joined the retired generation - officially.  Spouse had been looking forward for a year to head to the land of sunshine and I decided it was time.  Breaking my knee in July hastened my desire to relax and enjoy a slower life style. So on to this new adventure…sun and golf for a few months….and a great place to plan and prepare meals.  

During our second night stay on  the road we found a place called Total Wine and were delighted to learn there was one in the town of our destination.  It did not take us long to locate it and  stock up on some of our favorites. The young man who helped us find our choices (it is a big place) comes from our home town and is related to my most recent "boss." Yes, I guess it is a small world!

Entree: The local grocery had no fresh salmon so I had to resort to a  package of pricy frozen coho salmon. I seasoned it with ground pepper and herbs de provence and pan seared it.

For the sauce I used a fig and ginger jam, added a splash of white wine, a cup of chicken broth and reduced.  The salmon was served on a bed of arugula and topped with the sauce.

Side:  Broccolli - splashed with chicken broth and microwaved.

Wine:  Sonoma Cutrer Sonoma Coast - a standard favorite.

I am sure this is the first of many 2016 posts - I can only golf and exercise the knee so much!