Local Beet Green Gratin…Absolutely delicious!


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I sautéed some onions in butter and olive oil…

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Added the beet greens and sautéed for about 5-7 minutes. Then added flour to make a roux…cooked that about 3 minutes, then added some milk and heavy cream, stirred until well combined, added some shredded swiss, Parmesan and white cheddar. Seasoned with salt, pepper, red chile flakes and nutmeg. And topped with Panko. Into the 375 degree oven until bubbly!

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And the finished product along side roasted beets and grilled ancho chile coffee rubbed steak!

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Grilled Octopus at Home!


Grilled Octopus, from start to finish!

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I first braised the octopus (head and beak removed) in white wine, lemon, peppercorns, garlic, olive oil, salt and water (just enough to cover) for just about 60 minutes. When you can easily slice through a leg, it’s done. It will become tough if you cook it too long. I then let the legs cool and coated them in olive oil, garlic and lemon and then grilled until charred, about 15 minutes. They’re delicious warm or cold. If done right, the legs have the texture similar to lobster tail, just not as stringy. I LOVE this dish!

Happy Cinco de Mayo Cocktail!


What do you get when you combine fresh muddled jalapeño, fresh lime, fresh grapefruit, Tequila and St. Germain? My perfect slightly spicy, tart and not too sweet Margarita. Give it a shot!

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2 ounces silver tequila (I used 1800)
3/4 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit
3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime
a piece of fresh jalapeño the size of a quarter, muddled in the bottom

Shake vigorously over ice and pour into a salt rimmed glass. Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder


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Every once in a while I come across a recipe that contains way too much of the bad stuff to eat on a regular basis, but moderation twists my arm. This is one of those recipes. It’s an adaptation of a soup I made a while back as part of a Mustard Madness event by Uncle Jim’s Mustards. If you haven’t tried them, they are the best. I just finished my last jar, time to reorder. And free delivery is nice because I don’t have a retailer near me that carries it.

This is an adaptation of their Corn Chowder with a Kick! I’ve added smoked chicken, left out some of the butter and cheese and tweaked the ingredients a bit. This is a hearty, rich soup with sweet and spicy and texture, all wrapped up in one. Comfort in a bowl!

1 stick butter
1 large onion
4 strips of bacon, chopped
8 ounces frozen corn
1 small can green chiles
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half
1 32 ounce box chicken broth or stock
1 jar Uncle Jim’s Habanero Pepper Mustard
1 cup flour
12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon chile oil (I use Fiore Green Baklouti oil)
1 tablespoon fresh cracked pepper
2 large chicken breasts, cooked, diced (I used smoked chicken which was the best!)
red bell pepper, diced, for garnish
In large pot, melt butter, add onions and bacon and sauté over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Stir in corn and chiles and cook another few minutes. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Then add broth, milk and half and half and stir until thickened, about 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium low. Add diced chicken, Uncle Jim’s mustard and cheese, stir and cover until fully melted and soup is hot, another 15 minutes. Garnish with diced red pepper. Enjoy!

A virtual trip to Italy through crusty bread and olive oil? Yes, please!


If there’s one “meal” I prefer not to miss, it’s the late afternoon snack that often accompanies wine. I’ll skip breakfast or lunch in order to not miss this one (true).

crusty bread and olive oil

From the top left, clockwise:

  • olives, roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • grated parmesan between two of my favorite Fiore oils – garlic (left) and chipotle (right) extra virgin olive oils with cracked black pepper
  • creamy ricotta, shaved Parmesan, cracked black pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of 18 month aged Balsamic from Fiore
  • sliced hard salami
  • shaved sharp “Alpine” cheddar from Cabot
  • and the crusty Italian bread

Now, what wine to pair with it?

ricotta, parmesan, balsamic vinegar, olive oil

Drizzled and Dressed Up: Swordfish and Shrimp Tacos!


Blackened seasoned shrimp and swordfish bites are dredged in flour and fried crispy! Top tortillas (flour or corn) with the shrimp or swordfish, mango red onion salsa and Sriracha lime aioli and THIS becomes one of my favorite ways to eat seafood! I served mine with fresh avocado and a warm mixture of black beans, corn, sliced red onion and jalapeño with a touch of olive oil.

The salsa ingredients:
diced mango
diced jalapeno
sliced red onion
julienned radish
julienned zucchini
shredded purple cabbage
cilantro
lime juice
Baklouti Chile oil (from Fiore)

The aioli is just mayo, sriracha, lime juice and honey. Sweet and spicy. Bon Appetit!

shrimp tacos

swordfish tacos

mango salsa

Super Easy Sausage and Eggplant Soup


Sometimes I just want to make soup. And eat soup. And I love to try and work with what I have on hand. Today was a perfect example of that. I had an eggplant I wanted to use which was the inspiration for my soup. So I thought garlic, sausage, onion, mushroom, lemon. Maybe I was thinking Greek. So here’s what I did:

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1 large sweet onion
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 medium eggplant
4 celery stalks
4 large garlic cloves
1 can garbanzo beans
32 ounces chicken stock
olive oil
1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt (or kosher regular)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
the juice from 1/2 of a lemon
the leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs

I cubed the eggplant and soaked in salt water for about 15 minutes, then drained. I sautéed the onions (diced) and celery (sliced) for about 10 minutes in olive oil. Then I added the mushrooms and sausage and cooked on medium for about 10 minutes. Then I added the eggplant and cooked, covered, about 15 minutes. I added the garbanzo beans, stock, chile flakes, salt, vinegar, lemon and thyme and let simmer over medium low heat, covered, for about 45 minutes. Serve with some warm crusty bread. Bon Appetit!