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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Happy Cow Cookbook

The HappyCow Cookbook compiles a full range of vegan and vegetarian recipes from restaurants around the world. Some of the recipes do require a lot of ingredients, and many of these are specialty order items, so stock your larder accordingly and ahead of time. Cheaper than hopping a plane, Eric Brent, creator of HappyCow and Glen Merzer, coauthor of Food Over Medicine, bring global gastronomy to your door--and dish with the owners about their restaurants is included as a complimentary side! Graze over pumpkin noodle salad, tricolor vegetable pasta with sun-dried tomato marinara and cashew cheese, and sweeten the pot with gluten-free coconut strawberry shortcake cupcakes! Here are two recipes that I think you will enjoy:

Buddha Lentil Burger (shown above)
From Buddha Burgers in Tel Aviv, Israel
Serves 8–10

“The principle of this burger is simple: to include as many healthy and energizing ingredients as possible. Therefore, the base is sprouted lentils and quite a lot of flaxseed. All other ingredients are included for texture and taste.”

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
1 1⁄2 cups minced white onion
7 cups sliced white mushrooms
3⁄4 cups sliced celery stalks
3 cups sprouted green or black lentils
1 1⁄2 cups minced toasted walnuts
10 garlic gloves, minced
1⁄4 of a green jalapeno pepper, minced well*
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup ground flaxseeds
4 tablespoons tahini mixed with
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons soy sauce**
30 minced fresh basil leaves
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground sea salt (or regular salt)
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground black pepper

*Wear gloves when handling these peppers and never touch your eyes.

**For a gluten-free version of this recipe, use gluten-free soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Warm the olive oil in a pan and add the minced onion together with the mushrooms and the celery. Sauté for five minutes. Drain the vegetable mixture in a colander and press out all the juices and oil. Then put the mixture in a food processor together with the lentils and walnuts. Using a large food processor, work in batches. With the food processor half-full, pulse the ingredients for 5 to 8 seconds until it resembles the texture of ground beef.
Transfer the mixture out of the food processor and into a large bowl, and stir in the rest of the ingredients with a large spoon (or a mixer). Set aside and let it rest for 10 minutes so the ground flaxseeds can bind the mixture. The mixture should be soft and moist.
To make each patty, take about 5 heaping tablespoons of burger mixture and press them flat into a disc onto an oiled baking pan. Bake the patties at 375 degrees. After 10 minutes, flip the patties and rotate the pan around in the oven back to front (for even baking). Bake another 10 minutes. Remove and cool. The patties should be crunchy on the outside and softer on the inside.
Serve in a whole spelt bun with toppings, like our Bechamel “Cheese” (recipe in full cookbook), a vegan Thousand Island dressing (vegan mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and dried onion), mustard, lettuce, tomato, red onion, or chives.

Tip: The healthiest way to prepare these burgers is to dehydrate them rather than baking. After shaping the patties, place them in an oven at 115 degrees for 12 hours.

Seitan Marsala
From Café Blossom in New York, NY
Serves 4–6

“This is our most popular dish at Cafe Blossom! It has satisfied many vegans and non-vegans alike for the more than five years.”

For the mashed potatoes:
6 Yukon Gold potatoes
1⁄2 cup Earth Balance butter substitute
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce:
1 bottle (750 mL) Marsala wine
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups port wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the fillet and greens:
3 medium bunches kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Earth Balance butter substitute
12 4- to 5-ounce seitan fillets
1 cup flour
4 heads fennel, sliced
4 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 shallots, sliced
Peel and boil potatoes. Place cooked potatoes in bowl, add 1⁄2 cup of Earth Balance, chopped garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash together until thick and smooth.

For the sauce:
Combine all ingredients into a large pot and simmer for approximately 5 minutes over
medium-low heat to dissolve sugar, and then remove from heat.

For the fillet and greens:
Sauté kale with olive oil and garlic. In a separate pan, add 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance to pan over high heat. Coat seitan fillets with flour, reduce heat, and place fillets in pan. Once brown, add fennel, mushrooms, and shallots. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are cooked, and then ladle Marsala sauce into pan. Reduce heat, cover for 10 minutes, and let the Marsala reduce.

To assemble:
Place two large scoops of mashed potatoes in a deep dish. Place a handful of kale over the mash. Lastly, place your fillets and veggies on top and add salt and pepper to taste. Each serving should have two fillets. Pour remaining Marsala sauce over filets and serve.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Crown & Glory

"How might I go about making a meal with maple syrup," I sometimes ask myself--and this most often at breakfast, digging into tiers of toasty waffles with abandon, dripping with syrup and butter. The folks at Madava Farms in Duchess County, New York make it easy with certified organic Crown Maple syrups and other products. Their collection include medium amber (ginger bread, roasted chestnut aromas!), dark amber (coffee, chocolate!), and extra dark (ideal for cooking!). The varying versatile tastes of the ensemble enhance and enable a number cocktails and dishes incorporating the sweet stuff.

Look below for a kale salad with luscious caramelized peaches and corn before moving on to short ribs with a bourbon glaze, courtesy of Madava Farms' Executive Chef Jacob Griffin ... now, speaking of spirits, let's start with a cocktail, shall we?

Crown Maple Leaf, crafted by Niccole Trzaska of The Liberty NYC 
1½ oz. Maker’s 46
¾ oz. Crown Maple Medium Amber syrup
¾ oz. lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

Peach, Corn & Kale Salad
4 ears of Fresh Bi-Color Corn
1.5 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/8 tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 ea Medium Size Kale Leaves, de-stemed and finely sliced
2 ea Parsley, chopped (about 1 tbsp)
.25 ea Small Red Onion, sliced
1 ea Ripe Peach, washed, pitted and chopped
.25 cup Crown Maple Dark Amber Syrup
pinch of Salt
.5 ea Lemon, juiced

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Cut corn cob in half and cut the kernels off the cobb with a chef’s knife
3. Spread out evenly on a parchment lined sheet tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil
4. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until the corn starts to brown on top and the sides. Remove from oven and let cool.
5. Chop peach into a medium sized dice, toss in a bowl with Crown Maple Dark Amber® and place on a fresh parchment lined sheet tray
6. Watch peaches carefully and let caramelize for 5-8 minutes or until golden brown
7. Remove peaches from oven and let cool.
8. Toss corn, kale, parsley and lemon juice in a bowl. Adjust seasoning if needed. Top with caramelized peaches.
Note: You can also use this recipe as a vegetarian taco filling too. Add a little chili paste to add some heat.

Crown Maple Bourbon Glazed Short Ribs
10 ea Beef short ribs (about 1.5 lbs)
1 tbps Kosher salt
1.5 tsp Fresh ground pepper
4 tbsp Vegetable oil
1 ea Medium onion, large dice
1 ea Medium onion, large dice
1 ea Large celery stick, large dice
4 ea Cremini mushrooms, large dice
4 tbsp Tomato Paste
3 floz Dry Red Wine
2 floz Bourbon
1 qt Veal or beef stock
2 ea Bay leaves
.5 tsp Dried thyme
.25 cup Crown Maple Extra Dark
.25 cup Bourbon

1. Rub salt and pepper evenly over short ribs.
2. Sear short ribs with vegetable oil over medium-high heat around all edges
in a stockpot or cast-iron pot
3. Remove short ribs from pan, reduce heat and sauté diced onion, carrots and mushrooms until soft and tender.
4. Add tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes until a sweet aroma develops
5. Add wine and bourbon and cook until liquid has reduced by half
6. Add the veal stock and bring back to a simmer
7. Cover pot with lid and place in a 275°F oven
8. Cook for 1 hour, then carefully add bay leaves and thyme
9. Cook for 1 additional hour or until meat is tender that a fork easily shreds the meat
10. Remove short ribs rom the pot
11. Add Crown Maple Extra Dark and bourbon to the sauce and simmer until sauce thickens
12. Taste glaze and add seasoning as needed
13. Pour maple glaze over the hot short ribs and serve immediately

The Madava Farms' sugar house is open to the public on a regular basis, offering tours, culinary experiences with in-house chefs, places to hike and enjoy picnics. Sounds like a great day trip to me! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Ducky Dinner


Perhaps you may have read my post about the recent book launch of Red Jacket's gorgeous new cookbook Fruitful penned by Brian Nicholson and Sarah Huck. Naturally I couldn't wait to partake of some of the fruitful bounty found in the pages and was enticed enough by the recipe for Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Honey Gooseberries, that I started there when I assembled a brace of friends over for dinner. Although the duck was in the Spring and Early Summer section, I went right ahead and made it anyway, in the height of summer. It was terrific.

We chose our wines: I stuck with a Matchmaker Viognier, full of body and gently fruity (some of which I had added to the sauce) while my friends latched onto a highly suitable Celita Sangiovese red with nosy aromas of black cherries.

It was just about here when I added the Viognier to the softening, simmering gooseberries in olive oil, thyme, honey, sea salt and a good snort of ground black pepper!

Top pic is the finished dish. Check out the full recipe found in Fruitful and do enjoy!  And thanks to Red Jacket Orchards and all the folks behind Fruitful! Now go buy the cookbook and celebrate the seasons!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Disposable Meals

My dishwasher recently stopped working. He wanted more money. Ha ha. This lead to a simple equation: Dishwasher on the fritz + hating to wash dishes = devising a way to eat three meals a day without having a mess to clean up afterward. First off, I used plastic forks, knives, spoons (that I conveniently discovered unused and lurking in the cupboard from a party last year!), paper plates, and a roll of paper towels for napkins. Liquids were in disposable cups, drank from water (or beer) bottles, and boxes (such as Vita Coco not wine). Perhaps not so eco-friendly, he wrote cautiously, but dishwashers do use a lot of water anyway, so I suppose it was bit of a trade-off. But do note I used plastic ware that I already had on hand and of course there are many disposable products out that are very eco-friendly! Armed with a fully stocked and carefully thought out refrigerator and larder, please read on to see how I met the daily challenge. Use anti-bacterial, disinfecting cleaning wipes on counter tops, etc. as you go, of course.

P.S. I was able to finally schedule an appointment with the dishwasher repair man for this week! 

Iced Coffee every morning with milk, no sugar; rinsed out the glass, stirred with disposable straw
Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with kale every morning made in Vitamix (or blender) and poured into disposable plastic cup; read here and here for my recipes; rinsed out Vitamix, sometimes power-washed Vitamix on high with a little dishwashing liquid and about a cup of water—cleans perfectly, just rinse out bubbles
Lunch: My tuna with elbow noodles on pita and sprouts went in sandwich bag to office; serves four resulting in leftovers. Individual Fage peach yogurt snack, disposable spoon. Communal Ghiradelli chocolate squares from office.
DAMAGE: 1-a pot to wash that elbow noodles were boiled in; 2-a strainer; 3-a big bowl holding leftovers to later wash
Dinner: I went out for Cuban food at Cuba!

Iced Coffee
Breakfast Smoothie
Lunch: All went in sandwich bag to office: Leftover tuna from Monday with pita and sprouts. Slice of co-workers birthday cake on office paper plate and plastic fork
Dinner: Left over grilled salmon with coconut rice and black beans from Cuba! Frozen chocolate covered banana from freezer.

Iced Coffee
Breakfast Smoothie
Lunch: Leftover tuna from Monday on pita with sprouts, with hummus straight from the plastic container, with chips for dipping; individual cup applesauce with plastic spoon
Dinner: My Pete-tatouille found here. I sauteed onions and garlic in a pan, stirred with a spatula. Foil went over a cookie sheet and vegetables were roasted and added to pan—foil thrown out and cookie sheet stored away.
DAMAGE: 1-pan to be cleaned later as leftovers were wrapped, remained, and refrigerated; 2- spatula

Iced Coffee
Breakfast Smoothie
Lunch: Worked from home. Sandwich with peanut butter banana and honey on Pullman’s loaf bread (keep in the freezer but quickly thawed on countertop), Almond “Milk” Smoothie and Nutri Grain apple cinnamon bar
Dinner: Leftover Pete-tatouille with Uncle Ben’s boil-in-a bag rice—no strainer needed, kitchen shears to cut open bag, rinsed! Pita with hummus, tahini, sprouts as a snack later
DAMAGE: 1-hand-washed ice coffee glass; 2-pot used to boil rice; 3-knife

Iced Coffee
Breakfast Smoothie
Lunch: Worked from home. Pre-packaged egg salad on Pullman’s loaf bread with sprouts; chips; individual cup applesauce with plastic spoon
Dinner: Taco Night! Lightly toasted taco shells on foil—could even use foil for another use! Browned meat in pan, drained, stirred in seasoning mix with spatula, topped with salsa packet and shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
DAMAGE: 1-pan; 2-strainer; 3-spatula

Iced Coffee
Breakfast Smoothie
Lunch: Leftover taco beef on over easy egg, topped with low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, low-fat sour cream, crumbled taco shells and chopped scallions (cutting board easily rinsed)
Dinner: Two ears roasted corn on the cob, in the oven on foil-wrapped cookie sheet, quickly devoured; fresh-made purchased lobster ravioli in porcini broth, leftovers put in sealable plastic bag
DAMAGE: 1-pan for egg; 2-spatula for egg; 3-knife for scallions; 4-iced coffee glass pot to simmer broth, then reserved in disposable cup once cooled—I used same pot to cook ravioli

Iced Coffee
Breakfast Smoothie
Lunch: Part of a can of cheese soup with skim milk over broccoli, rinse microveable dish used for broccoli; frozen chocolate banana
Dinner: Leftover ravioli, reheat in rinsed microveable dish used for broccoli; oven-roasted zucchini and squash (on foil of course), drizzed with olive oil and served with low-fat sour cream, roasted pepper, parsley and chive sauce made with Vitamix—power-washed Vitamix on high with a little dishwashing liquid and about a cup of water—cleans perfectly, just rinse out bubbles
DAMAGE: 1-small pan for soup; 2-microvable dish for broccoli and later ravioli; 3-vessel for herbed sour sauce with roasted pepper, to be washed at a later time.

Whew! Not bad!

Thanks to for the snap! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

DriveThru - Union Bar & Kitchen NYC

A quick stop into where to eat with Pete! 

Union Bar & Kitchen is a great, casual hangout for a brew and a burger, with a tray of oysters perhaps, served with a side of civility. Chandeliers outfitted with Edison bulbs hover over the soaring space wrapped up in clean, white subway tile while bare Edison bulbs dangle over the roomy bar. Jonathan Renert wears a number of stovepipe hats as owner, executive chef and GM, and the restaurant itself refers to the union of flavors and people found there but it may also refer to the union of states as well--check out the marvelous portrait of Lincoln near the loo, the Lincoln's Storm specialty cocktail and the 21st Amendment (when publicly guzzling booze was made A-OK again) draught beer. Union Bar & Kitchen is not located in Union Square, however, as I first thought, but rather tucked away in West SoHo.

The Quick Bites:
Lincoln's Storm; reflected the temperamental weather (stormier than the drink!) as the folding glass doors were continually opened and shut. The cocktail though was a steady, even pour of rum, highly flavored with fizzy ginger beer and cool mint, and otherwise a highly sippable delight
East Side Cocktail;  I subbed fizzy seltzer for gin in this delicious summer drink, with mint and cucumber muddled in fresh lime juice
The Blue Point oysters were curious; watery as the evening outside, probably pulled from the waters of Long Island too soon to fully mature--but a few squirts of fresh lemon and a fantastic mignonette comprised of daikon radish and kimchi readily remedied this, and the oysters in their shells served as a vessel for the sauce and spared us the embarrassment of asking for a straw!
Bucket of steamed clams; served in a light cream sauce probably with some white wine. While the clams were decent, this New England boy loooves them simply prepared with drawn butter for dipping. I should have asked first, I merely assumed--of course
Caesar salad; flat and merely serviceable as an allowance of daily greens
Fried chicken; who cared about the salad, we had bigger chicken to fry! These juicy nuggets were well serviced by a judicious spray of lemon, already having been marinaded in such things as ginger, sake, and soy. Secret here is the chicken is dipped in potato starch, not flour, before hitting the fryer. Fabulous!
Tomr's Tonic Water; a most beguiling brew (it ain't Canada Dry), hand crafted with cinchona bark, herbs, spices and citrus that I asked for simply on the rocks. Look for it everywhere soon, I'll wager, and add it to your liquor-based drinks
Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs; won out over fries as a side to our sandwiches, smoky trout and creamy egg filling peppered with paprika were a perfect pick
The Morning After Sandwich; a twisty must-try version of a classic bacon/egg/cheese hangover combo with panko crusted pork cutlet topped with a fried egg, provolone cheese and tonkatsu sauce (similar to teriyaki sauce) all sandwiched on an English muffin. The accompanying nostril-whistling pickled ginger nearly killed my dining companion, but it didn't stop her from devouring the whole shebang
UBK Sirloin Burger; I had been hankering for a burger for days and this homey, grilled, medium rare meat-fest did the trick with bacon, cheddar, and frizzled onions on an English muffin
Peanut Crunch Chimichangas; a warm gooey mess with cream cheese got all over my face. I loved it. We subbed jalapeno-chocolate ice cream for plain old vanilla and suggest you do too.

Until Next Time:
Sauteed spinach that our sweet waitress raved about
Watermelon gazpacho
Smoked gouda on the burger

Union Bar & Kitchen is located at 300 Spring St, New York, NY, 646-791-0005,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Drive Thru - Cuba NYC

A quick stop into where to eat with Pete! 

The air of festivity at Cuba is immediate and suddenly Old Havana is new again. Beatriz de Armas and Executive Chef Mario Garcia have worked together intimately to bring a familial atmosphere to their dining guests with live Cuban music and authentic cuisine--there's even a hand-rolling cigar maker in residence proffering Cuban-style cigars. So stop by and give the hoppin' joint a whirl as the friendly folk celebrate their ten-year anniversary!  

We didn't slide into the subterranean Hemingway Hideaway first for a few drinks--instead we staved off the heat in the cool dining room proper and started out with a few refreshing high-octane cocktails as we perused the straight-up menu laced with a more than a few creative, culinary creations...

The Quick Bites:
We went cuckoo for the Coconut Mojito; a most generous pour to say the least, topped with the shredded stuff
En Su Punto; a fiery fusion of jalapeno-infused gin with sprightly English cucumber and mint, muddled in lime juice and simple syrup
Cangrejito; translates to wonderful, perfectly pan-seared soft shell crab, perched on a beautiful mold of creamy avocado, cherry tomato, and sliced mango with a drizzled tamarind glaze
Chicharron Prensado; first off, there's braised pork belly with congri (traditional rice and beans combo), spicy Spanish chorizo, and smattering of greens peas flirting with a balsamic glaze
Tostones Rellenos; seemed requisite to us--green plantains wrapped around little nibbly shrimp and tingly sofrito sauce
Salmon; a perfectly pink shade of finely seared salmon filet freckled with micro cilantro and sumptuous coconut rice on the side with shrimp and lobster sauce (I suspected a hint of lemongrass) that forwarded the flavor of the fish--my favorite! I asked for a side of super, soupy black beans to accompany this
Filet de Pargo; green plantain-encrusted red snapper served with avocado, a mash of sweet plantains and a bright sofrito sauce that excellently accented the snapper. Sauteed Peruvian corn that we shared was an ideal dish to go with 
Bombom Cubano; the bomb! Such a luscious warm chocolate bombe, with a rich liquid center and an orb of pert strawberry ice cream. Accolades to this confectionary Cuban conclusion!

Until Next Time: classic Ropa Vieja; Pollo Guajira, chicken breast stuffed with sweet plantains, gooey mozzarella, and vegetables in a white wine sauce; guava and cream cheese turnovers with ice cream in a drizzled raspberry sauce.

And celebrate National Rum Day on August 16th by checking out Mixology Week at Cuba, now until August 15th--a week long party featuring a different cocktail every night (courtesy of bartenders Eduardo Tavares and Raul Palacios) leading up to the big day! Click here for more info including a full list of the nightly libations. 

Cuba is located at 222 Thompson St, New York, NY 212-420-7878,

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hail Caesar!

I often compare a Caesar salad to a margarita as it's a delicate balance with both to equally, accurately define the tart, sweet and sour. I think I hit it with a recipe from this week's Quinciple box. Read on about Quinciple, the fresh from the farm food delivery service replete with recipes. They don't provide all the ingredients called for however, so I used a few good squeezes of anchovy paste, for example, that I had on hand instead of purchasing a tin of anchovy fillets. Also--the dressing is quite fully flavored. Although I quite enjoyed dressing the first night tossed with half of the the romaine lettuce, I loved it the next afternoon with the rest of the romaine allowing the dressing to mellow overnight in the refrigerator.

4 tbsp. chopped chives
1 head romaine lettuce
2 slices Bien Cuit's rye miche
1 egg yolk
½ lemon
1-2 anchovy fillets
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for garnish
Red wine vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce
Olive oil, about ¼ cup
Salt and pepper

An unidentified writer scribed the following:

"This is not the Caesar Salad to end all Caesars because of some secret special recipe (though I do have to give credit to Jeff Smith, my college boyfriend’s dad for teaching it to me). It is an amazing salad because the classic Caesar dressing, when made from scratch is truly mind blowing. The stuff you get out of the bottle bears no relation. You’ll need to taste as you go and tweak to your liking.
Use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic and anchovies (or you can do this on a cutting board with the bottom of a water glass). Add to a small mixing bowl with the egg yolk and stir. While stirring, add a few drops of olive oil. Continue stirring and slowly adding olive oil in a thin stream (the constant stirring is needed to ensure a good emulsification). Add enough olive oil to double the volume. Add a splash of red wine vinegar, a small squeeze of lemon juice and the Dijon mustard, along with two dashes each of Worcestershire and Tabasco. Add in ¼ cup grated Parmesan and a few grinds of black pepper. Now you’ll need to taste (use a small piece of lettuce if you like). If it is too strong add a bit more olive oil or some more cheese. I often add a bit more Tabasco and an extra squeeze of lemon juice for more zing. Toast the bread and cut into small ¼” cubes for croutons. Wash the romaine and chop into 2” strips. Toss the dressing with the lettuce and garnish with the croutons, chives and a bit more grated Parmigiano." 

Hail the Caesar Salad! And Quinciple as well!

Thursday, August 7, 2014


I created this dish, my own version of ratatouille, to readily dispatch some of the vegetables I had still cooling in the crisper. There aren't any tomatoes in this and I added a jolt of sriracha sauce to the mix--it was absolutely delicious. The Pete-Tatouille can be served as a side dish for four or dinner for two, piled on top of a bed of yellow rice. To be perfectly honest, I was so tempted that I ate much of it right out the pan!

Serves two for dinner or four as a side dish

2 medium squash, thinly sliced and salted
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced and salted
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 cups frozen okra, cooked in microwave
2 cups porcini broth
1 TB anchovy paste, adding to taste
2 TB minced garlic, adding to taste
1 TB unsalted butter
2 TB olive oil
A lashing of sriracha sauce, depending on how hot you like it--some do!

Slice the onion while the other vegetables rest in salt. In a large pan, melt butter and add olive oil over medium-medium low heat. Sautee garlic and anchovy paste briefly, until fragrant. Toss in the onions and cook until slightly softened and yellow. Working in layers, add squash and zucchini, lightly salting and adding fresh ground black pepper to each layer. Add cooked okra. Scrape up good brown bits by deglazing with a decent splash of beer or white wine, if you happen to be drinking it at the time. Or crack some open. Pour in half the porchini broth, reducing, and continue to add the rest of the liquid, slowly simmering down to a slight pool. The luscious vegetables should have all but fallen apart, relenting to the porcini broth. Swirl in the spicy sriracha and adjust seasonings. Do enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Best Things in Life...

Include FREE eBooks of my wildly funny novel, The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery! The first 20 people who respond to this post at will receive a special, exclusive code to download a free eBook. My novel is also available on and in paperback and hardcover as well as eBook formats. Go to for more info including excerpts and click here to read more--do enjoy!

About the book: This hilarious, wickedly clever jewel earnestly follows the gruesome trials of brothers Reynald and Willoughby Chalmers, who reluctantly become involved in the bloodied, spinach laden trail of a chainsaw-wielding madman. The rarefied pair of witty, modern day dandies are unwittingly served as the main ingredients in a most diabolical stew. With the help of the illustrious Inspector Hamwich Gumm, the brothers discover that the murder mystery of questionable manners turns out to be quite a fiendish family affair indeed.

National Rum Day

I just had to post this. Click the image for a closer look. Isn't it outrageous? National Rum Day is officially August 16th, but the folks at Mother's Ruin couldn't help but start early. On August 12 from 6-8pm, help them celebrate with a do-it-yourself Bloody Jerry bar! While the boys behind the bar mix up the dastardly drink featuring Sailor Jerry Rum, take a gander at garnishes that include pickles, sliders, SJ glazed bacon, pizza bites, mini hot dogs, waffle fries and wings...well, you'll just have to see it for yourself!

Mother's Ruin is located at 18 Spring St, NYC,

The folks at Cuba are making a go of it too with Mixology Week, August 8-15. Amid the grand spirit of old Havana and pulsing, live Cuban music, mixologists Eduardo Tavares and Raul Palacios are serving up a bunch of rum cocktails crafted from tropical fruits and herbs, featuring a flair for exotica. There's a different cocktail for each day of the celebration, so clear your calendar. You might want to even try the authentic cuisine too! Here a listing of the eight crazy nights and the rummy rundown:

Friday 08-08
Mezcal Cubana
Rum, tequila, radish, muddled jicama, piña, lime and sugar syrup, garnished with radish
Saturday 08-09
Blue Punch
Clement blue cane rum, curacao, lemon, sugarcane, garnished with lime peel

Sunday 08-10
Perla del Caribe
Bacardi rum, grapefruit, smoky spiced salt, lime juice, simple syrup, garnished with grapefruit

Monday 08-11
Guava Daiquiri
El Dorado rum, maraschino, guava, lime and demerara sugar, garnished with guava

Tuesday 08-12
Relajate y Coopera
Brugal Añejo rum, charred pineapple, sage, lime, orange bitters, garnished with pineapple

Wednesday 08-13
Cuban Caipirinha
Leblon cachaça, mint, lime, sugarcane, garnished with thick sugarcane

Thursday 08-14
Original sin Copia
Atlantico rum, muddled ginger, St. Germain, lime, cava float, garnished with candied ginger

Friday 08-15
Melon Ball Mojito
St. Teresa rum, cantaloupe sorbet, yuzu, mint, tajin salt, garnished with lemon

Cuba is located at 222 Thompson St, between Bleecker/W 3rd St, NYC,, 212-420-7878.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Smoothies Gone Bananas!

Perhaps you've read about my recent love affair with smoothies in my Wango La Mango Tango post. Well gentle readers, here are a four tempties involving bananas that I could not resist passing along to you! I highly recommend using a Vitamix but your most high-powered blender will certainly do too. Go bananas!

Cheeky Chia Monkey
1 banana
1 cup or so Vita Coco
2 fronds of leafy kale
1 heaping TB chia seeds

Pour your ingredients over ice and put in Vitamix and blend, my friend. Prepare to go ape with all the antioxidants!

5.3 oz Chobani pear yogurt, or plain yogurt with a chopped up pear
1 banana
1 cup Peach & Mango Vita Coco
4 oz Mott's applesauce cup

Throw a handful or so of ice in your device of choice (I find six cubes is good).
Add remaining ingredients and blend on high. Coolly elegant!

Amazing Almond "Milk" 
1 cup or more almonds
7 or 8 dates, to sweeten the deal
1 heaping TB chia seeds
2 cups water or more, to your preferred thickness.
Pinch of pink Himalayan rocky salt

Add all of your ingredients in your Vitamix or blender, and let it get nice and smooth before serving. Also refrigerates nicely and goes great alongside a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a little honey on a pita!

Watermelon Slide
Fistful of cubed watermelon
1 cup or so Vita Coco
1 banana
Fronds of leafy kale, to your liking
1 heaping TB chia seeds
Heavy splash of Naked Mighty Mango juice smoothie
4 oz Mott's applesauce cup

You know the drill by now. Blend away! Also try to find new (at least to me) Mott's Granny Smith applesauce cups and the apple/pear combo too.

Thanks to for the fabulous image!

The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery - Slithery Sesame Noodles

In a most heinous, hysterical chapter featuring sesame noodles from the local neighborhood Chinese restaurant Lucky Yu, we present a delivery order that proves to be quite unlucky. Proprietor Mister Sing Lo didn't know what loathesome accompaniments were to be found in the brown paper bag--nor about the corpse of his slain delivery man left outside of the rarified Chalmers brothers' suite of rooms located in the fictionalized town of West Macott. And this is only one of the bodies that beset the Chalmers on this gripping roller coaster ride! 

Read my fiendishly funny murder mystery and discover here a sneak peak of one of the dastardly recipes fraught, rigidly fraught! with clues that lace the pages of The Murdery Delicious Hamwich Gumm Mystery. Go to or straightaway to order your copies for those remaining beach days, or in time for the holidays! Such a wicked entertainment! Go to 
for excerpts, video trailer, and how to order!

While you may anticipate the foul murders in my novel, please further peruse the series of other recipes and cocktails found on hideous parts. 

A Recipe for Slithery Sesame Noodles
Serves Two

Several fistfuls of forlorn lo mein noodles
A cube of chicken bouillon, decimated
Smashed garlic cloves, to taste
Some soy sauce
A slash of sesame oil
Suitable seasonings
A spoon of sweet chili sauce, oyster sauce, or red pepper for spice
A plot of peanut butter
A surfeit of Bangkok Padang sauce
Sordid sesame seeds or scallions

Bore the sinister noodles to a fine simmer in one grinning pot until limp. In another vapid vessel add about one-third to one-half cup water, a dash of the bouillon, ravaged garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and the wretched display of seasonings, to taste. Mix in the peanut butter and add more water or soy as your plot thickens. In a fiendish manner, drown the noodles with Padang sauce, and poison with your spices. Sesame seeds or severed scallions or both should serve as a garnish.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Corn is Great!

What to do with corn? Got a grill? Neither do I. Bored with boiling corn? I am. I find that method waters down the full flavor of the season. Here's what to do instead: preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line an oven-ready tray with heavy-duty tin foil and lay your corn, still in the husks, down upon it (probably four ears at most, at a time). Drizzle a good fruity olive over it and and use a brush to make sure your corn is thoroughly coated, turning as you brush. Wrap the foil around it and fold over the top to create a loose seal. Put the corn-lined tray in the oven and just leave it alone for about 45 minutes. Remove the tray (careful, contents will be very hot!) and let sit further for another five minutes. When the corn is ready to be handled, slowly and carefully pull back the husks to reveal the tender, soften golden beauties inside. Grab a seat, slather with butter and sprinkle with salt (I used a few grinds of Darling Buds 'petal power' sea salt with dried rose petals, chamomile, lavender, hibiscus, and calendula).

Thanks to Lancaster Farm Fresh for the gorgeous corn via Fresh Direct!