Tag Archives: foodie

How to Make Cocktail Sauce

Many years ago when I was a waitress I had to learn how to make cocktail sauce. I worked at a restaurant where we made cocktail sauce to order. At the time it was a nuisance having to stop during a busy shift between running food and refilling drinks to hand-make condiments, but I perfected the skill and learned to make it quickly with just the right ratio of ingredients. I have since become the token cocktail sauce maker in my family and now I will share the tricks of the trade with you fine folks. It is ridiculously easy to make and way cheaper than ready made. Here is the recipe:

You will need ketchup, a lemon, worcestershire sauce and horseradish.



Start by squeezing about half of a fresh lemon into a bowl.








Add about half a cup of ketchup, about 5-6 shakes of worcestershire, several tablespoons of horseradish (more or less depending on how spicy you like it.) Stir well and serve. Its so easy right? Now you never have an excuse to buy store-bought cocktail sauce again!

It tastes way better, and you will feel accomplished knowing there are no preservatives.


Rustic Chicken Linguine with White Wine Lemon Butter Sauce

Thursday night we invited our dear friends Erick and Kelly over for dinner. They are charming and fun, and we always have a blast when we get together. Last time they were over I made my brother’s recipe for Ginger Crusted Chicken. It was a hit, so I needed to outdo myself this time.

I hit the produce mother-lode at my mom’s house. She, for some, reason stocked up on fresh vegetables before leaving for vacation, so she loaded me up with a ton of goodies on Wednesday night before she left town.

I had a great selection of ingredients to work with! Oh how I love fresh vegetables! I ended up with several pickling cucumbers, 3 bell peppers, 3 roma tomatoes, a whole carton of baby bella mushrooms, 3 leeks, some spinach, romaine lettuce, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The nice thing about having a professional chef for a brother is that anytime I need to impress friends I can call him up and he’s always game for a recipe challenge. (Not that the perfectly stocked pantry I possessed was much of a challenge!) Together we decided on a Chicken saute’ with Mushrooms, leeks, and red pepper in a white wine, lemon, butter sauce over linguine. I also served a fresh summer salad of peppers, cucumber and tomato on the side.

No one was home so I invited Billie Holiday over, poured a glass of wine, and started chopping my vegetables. This is one of the best most cathartic parts of my day. Nothing but me and my food. It is a glorious moment to be kinetic with everything I’m about to devour! It is so very human.

“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.” -Julia Child

For the salad I chopped the pickling cucumbers, orange bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, and tomatoes into uniform pieces. I added about 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, a little olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper, and a bit of sugar to cut the acidity of the vinegar. Put them in the fridge for at least an hour and this will sort of pickle the salad. It is really delicious!

For the main dish I cubed 4 chicken breasts and sauteed with a bit of olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. 4 breasts are really too much for 4 people so I set a little bit aside and stored in the fridge to use in a chicken salad for lunch another day.

Once your chicken is cooked through add one diced red bell pepper, LOTS of sliced mushrooms, and 2 sliced leeks.

Also add about a cup of white wine, salt & pepper, garlic, lots of lemon juice, and about 3 Tbsp of butter. Let this cook down for a good 30min-1 hour. After it has cooked down add about 2/3 cup of milk and let is reduce a little. You want it to be all stewy and amazing.





When it is ready it will like like this… —->

Prepare your linguine, drain, and then pour all this stewy goodness right over the pasta and stir.

Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Since all the big kids had wine and lime-a-ritas… as a special little treat I made Kelly a Pregnancy Cocktail. She is having a little girl in September 🙂 The cocktail consisted of strawberries and blueberries dropped into a champagne flute. A little cranberry juice, peach sparkling cider, and lime juice. She loved it!

Finding New Ingredients

Last night Adam and I took a stab at making tostadas! I thought they were just really neat individually topped nachos. I’ve spoken of the amazing ones served at Palm Pavillion on Clearwater Beach. Adam had them at Tijuana Flats and said they called them Tostadas. I always thought tostadas were larger like a mexican pizza but apparently it is quite common to serve them chip style. So we did!

I knew I was going to have some pulled chicken as a base topping. So I simmered some chicken breasts in stock, then pulled the chicken (which, by the way, is a TOTAL pain in the neck. Anyone have any tips on how to make that process less annoying?) I returned the pulled chicken to the pan and added a little more stock, a packet of taco seasoning, lots of lime juice and a bit of garlic salt. Simmer for a few minutes until all the flavours marry.

I get a bit overwhelmed (in a good way) when I consider a dish like this one, because there are so many options! I start going topping crazy and want to put everything on them! As we perused the aisle at Tar-jay I found myself in the bean aisle, which is always a good place to be.

I stumbled upon Black Refried Beans. Wholly Guacamole! What!? I’m sorry if this sounds incredibly dense but I had NEVER heard of black refried beans. I knew immediately that I had to try it. Well let me tell you it was a delight. They were slightly thicker than regular refried beans, but velvety and delicious! The color is a lovely deep purple and looked much prettier on my tostadas than the brown mush I usually use. It was also better because I often like to put black beans and corn on my nachos and everything falls off as soon as you pick up the chip. I was able to get the same great black bean flavor and something to stick the corn to. I was very pleasantly surprised.

The second thing we stumbled across last night was simply marvelous. Budweiser is now selling a product called Lime-a-rita. Adam cleverly commented that most ‘ritas DO have lime, I suppose they could have thought a little harder about that name. I digress. I’ve seen this new thing with mixing corona and margaritas and have been waiting for someone to cash in on the concept. Well Budweiser did and MY oh MY was it delicious! It is slightly carbonated, not too sweet, and perfectly limey (and I don’t mean British).

It was only $10.99 for a 12 pack which is a good price. I can’t wait to try another one! I have to pace myself, or else invite a friend to come help me. You coming over?

Roasted Tarragon Potatoes

Do you often ruin meals for no apparent reason?

Do you find yourself scrambling to find a decent side dish that isn’t in a can?

Do you want to impress your friends, spouse or even just yourself?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions I can help.

Here is how you can make the easiest roasted potatoes of all time. They are delicious, gorgeous and saying “tarragon” makes you sound ultra fancy. Do this…

Cut small red potatoes in half, then slice. Come on! You don’t even have to peel the potatoes!

Throw all your slices in a large mixing bowl then add salt, pepper, garlic powder, a few teaspoons of tarragon (or more! by all means) then drizzle with olive oil and toss.

Pour the potatoes onto a silpat lined baking sheet and even out your potatoes so none of them are on top of each other.

Bake on 375 for 20 minutes, or until desired crispness.

To make them more like chips- bake at 275 for 45 minutes.

That’s all folks! Serve them with something amazing like this savory burger with goat cheese and whole grain mustard. You’re sure to dazzle!

Cheeses, Mary, and Joseph!

I once told you that I would share the bizarre and glorious love affair I have with cheese. The suspense ends here. I have a serious attachment to that which was formerly milk. It just makes me feel good. Sometimes, I confess, if I’m feeling blue I eat a cube of cheese and my woes just melt away. I won’t even get started on the intoxicating ecstasy that occurs when you add wine to the mix, we wouldn’t want things to get R-rated now would we?

So recently when was looking for a good cheese counter in the Tampa Bay area, I couldn’t settle for anything less than excellent. Whole Foods is pretty good, as is Fresh Market, and Publix Greenwise.

But, when I stumbled upon Nature’s Food Patch on Cleveland and was very pleasantly surprised. They had a great selection and a wonderful Fromager who was a total Cheese-head and was even more obsessed yours truly!

She turned me on to a couple really yummy treats, a cheese magazine called Culture (ha!) and this amazing Fig Jam. It was divine paired with the Guinness Cheddar I picked up.

Now I’ll get to the true purpose of this post. Whenever I have a wine and cheese party, or sometimes a good tuesdaynight cheese plate, I like to make these adorable little markers.

 Here is what you’ll need:

 Hot Glue Gun

Some little wooden squares from your local craft store.

Wooden Skewers from the craft store, dollar store or supermarket.


Add a little glue to the skewer…

Then glue the wooden piece on and hold for about 5 seconds.

The results are simple and whimsical.

Super Easy Individual Flatbread Pizzas

On occasion when I’m too tired to cook I relinquish my kitchen to my dear husband Adam. He’s been known to whip up some tasty treats and this is one of them. I have a feeling our would-be children will one day love this dish!

Start with the little flat-breads you can buy at any grocery store. Sometimes you can get them bogo which makes me very happy!

Brush them lightly with butter and sprinkle with a little garlic powder. For a crispier crust, toast them briefly in the oven or toaster oven before topping.

Add a little pizza sauce, mozzerella, and whatever toppings you like. We like pepperoni.

Bake for 5-6 minutes or until desired crispness.

Et Voila! Dinner is ready, and I got to relax on the couch the whole time. 🙂