Saturday, April 30, 2011

High Tea Happy Hour Photos


When I heard there would be no beer served at the Royal Wedding...

I cancelled my flight and called up William and Kate to tell them I couldn't make it, "something all of a sudden came up..."

I'm not sure they bought my excuse?  So I hosted my own party instead.


A High Tea Happy Hour...with beer, wine, hot tea, iced tea and pomegranate martinis.


I wanted to do all traditional tea sandwiches, but when I started running short on prep time...two of the sandwiches on the initial menu found here got nixed and two others were redefined as "canapes."

So tea sandwiches and canapes...actually quite appropriate for a HIGH TEA - HAPPY HOUR...

The tea pot below is from England and was my great grandmother's...the glasses I found at Goodwill for $9.99 ~ I thought they were so cool and well worth the price!


This was the set up before my guests arrived (saran wrap covering the plates...)

Everyone still hung out in the kitchen.  (My next house needs two where I cook...a real working kitchen....and one that is beautiful, huge and open to the entire house so people spread out!)

A girl can dream...


There were grilled shrimp that went with this Caesar Salad (below) that I forgot to put out until an hour into the party. I knew something was missing!

So anyway...Kate's dress was stunning...only overshadowed by her beautiful face and smile. William looked dapper in his Irish Guard red.

I hope they're not upset I cancelled last minute.  Kate...if you're reading, "call me."


Thursday, April 28, 2011

You are Cordially Invited to a High Tea Happy Hour...


in honour of William and Kate

Friday, April 29  4pm

My House

And because this is a food blog the light fare menu will include the following Tea Sandwiches:
(I'll post pictures tomorrow)

Egg Salad with Fresh Chives and Caviar

Ham, Brie and Honey Mustard

Turkey and Cheese

Roasted Red Pepper, Basil and Goat Cheese

Olive Bruschetta with Cucumber and Cream Cheese

Caesar Salad with Shrimp

Tea and "Refreshments" will also be served


Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Cucumber, Scallion and Sriracha Mayonnaise


If you're not quite ready to venture into making sushi at home...

this Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Cucumber, Scallion and Sriracha Mayonnaise the next best thing!


The keys to making this a successful dish are simple...

...quality ahi tuna steaks

...a super hot pan

...and NOT overcooking your fish!


Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Cucumber, Scallion and Sriracha Mayonnaise

Fresh Ahi Tuna Steaks
Black Sesame Seeds
Sesame Oil
Quality Mayonnaise
Sriracha Sauce
Cucumber, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 2 to 3 inch strips
Scallion, sliced lengthwise into 2 to 3 inch strips


Place black sesame seeds on a plate.

Place raw tuna steak onto the sesame seeds, flip to entirely coat both sides of the tuna

In the meantime, heat a pan (I used cast iron) over high heat until HOT!

Drizzle a bit of sesame oil into your super hot pan and then immediately place your tuna in the pan.

Cook to your desired doneness ...but to ensure keeping it rare only about 1-2 minutes per side (3 to 4 minutes total)

Slice tuna steak against the grain and layer on your plate.

Serve with cucumber and scallion strips and prepared Sriracha Mayonnaise (recipe below)

Sriracha Mayonnaise

Simply a 3:1 ratio quality mayonnaise to sriracha sauce.

Here I have 3 tablespoons mayonnaise to 1 tablespoon Sriracha.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Radish and Anchovy Butter Tea Sandwich Hors D'Oeuvre


As open faced hors d'oeuvres or tea sandwiches...

the fresh, crisp, spicy bite of radish...


paired with the richness and depth of an anchovy butter (simply unsalted butter at room temperature mixed with anchovy paste to it's 4 tablespoons butter to 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste)


on top of petits toasts (or a crustless toasted bread)...


garnished with sea salt and dill...

make a wonderful menu addition to any spring or summer garden party or brunch.

Perfect for Mother's Day...these Radish and Anchovy Butter Hors D'oeures really are delicious!


Sunday, April 24, 2011



It's Easter Sunday and everyone here is napping...we celebrated yesterday with family and friends. We're all pretty worn out!

For my post today, I thought I would share with you the cupcakes my sister and brother-in-law brought to the party. They're from GEORGETOWN CUPCAKE in Washington DC.  Be sure to check out their site!!!

Aren't the cupcakes just beautiful?!  They taste as good as they look!!!




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Party Planning ~ Buffet Style Easter Menu 2011


I woke up last night at 3am thinking about deviled eggs. I couldn't fall back asleep. I've pretty much been awake since.

Then... I spent the day, "staging and planning" for Saturday's party.

I like to position plates, stations, etc.  I need to feel prepared and ready to go! Tomorrow will be spent prepping...prepping ...and prepping!'s the in BOLD can be found on my blog. I apologize for not connecting the links...just short on time... but if you're interested you can simply use the search function up above.

Hope everyone is well!! XOXO


(Buffet Style Menu ...subject to change)...


Mini Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Classic Cocktail and Tarter Sauce

Mini Meatballs with Grape Chili Glaze (toothpicks)

Deviled Eggs (piped and half of them topped with Caviar)

Tuna Tartare with Sriracha Mayo, Cucumber, Lime Zest and Scallion ~ will be served in tablespoon portions in mini individual cups with a large ridged potato chip for scooping and eating)

(Both served with huge homemade croutons...)

White Bean Rosemary Soup

Classic Caesar Salad

Main Course:

Filet of Beef Tenderloin

Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze (recipe TBD)


Mushroom Bruschetta (minus the bread)...just plain to go with the beef

Haricots Verts with Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette

Roasted Fingering Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Sea Salt

Flaky French Croissants and Mini Crusty Rolls (from the bakery)


TBD ...but it will be GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Ricotta and Chives


I know most of us have a lot going on this week! Households around the world are busy planning, cooking, reflecting and celebrating...

We're having fifteen people here on Saturday... so in a few minutes I'm off to a local catering supply store I stumbled upon last weekend...I can't wait to see what they have!

I'll need some energy I made Soft Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Ricotta and Chives for breakfast. 

Simple as can be (as it's basically scrambled eggs) I still decided to follow the recipe exactly as written. (I did skip buttering my toast...)

Perfectly delicious!   Plus...fresh chives make me happy...they remind me of Spring! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Leek, Cherry and Goat Cheese Pizza ~ With Spring Breathes New Life


We had a wonderful time with my husband's parents visiting the past few days.

Now this coming weekend ...we'll be hosting Easter dinner.


The meal will be the first in a long entire immediate family is getting together for a holiday celebration.

You see...last Christmas was nice...but for serious health reasons...

...we weren't all there.


Now...'s time to celebrate! :)

Leek, Cherry and Goat Cheese Pizza ~ With Spring Breathes New Life

While contemplating Sunday's menu (and working in the yard)...I made these Leek, Cherry (preserve) and Goat Cheese Pizzas on Soy Pita Bread from Trader Joe's.

Meant solely for inspiration (because you get the idea)...the combination of flavors is spectacular!   (Just be sure to cook up the leek in a pan first then top and bake your pizza!)  They're SO DELICIOUS...they may just make this weekend's spread!

Below...looking up through the trees in our yard...because...With Spring ...Breathes New Life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Asparagus and Leek Risotto with Bacon


There's no hiding from this picture above so I'm just going to say it...I have a very difficult time getting risotto to that exact right consistency...where it "spreads" when you spoon it onto a plate.

Based on user reviews on particular recipe for Asparagus and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto (I used bacon) receives high remarks. One cook went so far as saying, "this recipe results in a perfect risotto each and every time!" "My go to recipe!" says another... "The perfect base risotto..." and so on....and so on...

So, it was with great anticipation that I prepped all my ingredients, gathered my pots and utensils, stretched, took a deep breath and got to ladling and stirring! This time was going to be different.

Leek, rinsed thoroughly...

Asparagus, trimmed, blanched then shocked in an ice bath to stop cooking...

While the original recipe calls for prosciutto...all we had was this delicious fresh uncured bacon...a worthy substitute.

Side note...I took the unused sliced leek and sauteed it up in a bit of the bacon grease (either to eat with something else...or to use as a garnish atop the risotto...) Yum!

So was the risotto delicious?  Yes!

Did it spread?  Yes!  Not really.

Damn you perfect homemade risotto...why do you elude me?!

(elude...elude...elude...1000x ELUDE...if you follow me on fb or twitter this will make sense...)

Please don't allow my inability to spell master the technique of preparing a proper risotto persuade you from trying this recipe...this Asparagus and Leek Risotto with Prosciutto  (or bacon) is quite good.  My husband was thrilled with its consistency and helped himself to seconds...I knew it was too congealed...but I had seconds too!

So...what are your tricks for making the perfect risotto?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mango Chutney and Shrimp


This Mango Chutney recipe begins with one teaspoon cumin seeds toasted in a pan...

My last experience with cumin seeds led to a dish with intense cumin flavor (overly so) so here I went light on the teaspoon and decided (before toasting) to grind the seeds down with a mortar and pestle.

If you don't have cumin seeds, I'm sure cumin powder would work just fine.


I also skipped the pork tenderloin and made these Yogurt Marinated Indian Spiced Shrimp I posted a few weeks back. The shrimp and chutney worked perfectly together!

By the look of this mango, I was expecting it to be super, super sweet (but it wasn't).  A pinch of sugar added to the chutney at the end successfully evened out the tartness of the lime.

IMG_2450 a picture of our pan ...after removing the chutney. It's one of nine All-Clad LTDs we've had for almost 10 years.

Thanks to my husband...the pans (along with our four knives) have never seen the likes of a dishwasher...hand washed each and every time. (HOUSE RULE)

Many a late night (after a few glasses of wine) I've considered throwing those pans (and knives) into that "kitchen washing machine"... convincing myself he  (the husband) will never...EVER know...

In the end...I could never do it.

Look at this hard, hard worker.

Here's the recipe again for the Mango Chutney on

Authentic and Delicious...perfect party food as it's best at room temperature.

(Close-up...with heated up store bought pita bread....and not homemade naan...sigh...)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sea Scallops with Orange Saffron Aioli


I renamed this recipe to include the word orange.

I figured since I added a splash of Grand Marnier to enhance its orange flavor ...increased the cooking time (6 minutes or so to cook off the alcohol) ...and added a teaspoon of sriracha to give the aioli some heat...the recipe was altered enough to justify a "renaming."

I'm not sure why the recipe didn't include the word orange in the first place... with orange juice and zest its primary ingredients?

In fact, I'm not even sure I can taste the saffron?  An economical choice (and something I'll try the next time I make this dish) might be replacing the saffron with paprika to get that desired color.


I imagine these Sea Scallops with Orange Saffron Aioli served as a starter at a beach side resort...

Or as an hors d'oeuvre offering at a wedding reception or corporate catered event...


Trader Joe's sells this small jar of saffron for about $6.

I have nothing to compare it to as I'm uncertain I've ever tried high quality saffron...


The Claire Robinson recipe for Sea Scallops with Saffron Aioli can be found here on the

In addition to adding the Grand Marnier and sriracha...a touch of white truffle oil whisked into the ailoi at the very end... makes a fabulous dressing for a plateful of delicate greens!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicken Saute with Sherry and Mushrooms, Roasted Potatoes and Rosemary Carrots


I don't want to complain but...since you're here...

Last night I wrote an entire blog post...and because blogger saves my entries every 3 seconds...somehow I must have hit a weird button...that DELETED it ALL...then saved. Fabulous.

HOURS of ignoring my husband and children down the drain...with nothing to show.  Nada.

(Here are some carrots...)

And let me tell you...

...the original post was super funny...extremely witty... and especially well written...

(Carrots tossed in olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt and pepper before roasting in 400 degree oven for 18 minutes)

OK fine...perhaps blogger (who the heck is blogger anyway?) has taken on a life of its own and just KNOWS when ...I shouldn't submit a post...and so up and deletes it in my best interest? Is it possible???

(sliced potatoes)

I can think of many a blog entry...I wish had spontaneously combusted before I hit publish ~ I won't refer to any by name...but some of you may recall some real doozies!

In this last one...(that's sadly gone forever....)  I was joking about my run on pictures making everyone dizzy and the fact that with this post ...I'm messing with a James Beard recipe a la 1959..."The Father of American Gastronomy."

I mean who do I think I am? 


Perhaps it was the late James A. Beard himself who (after seeing that I added corn starch and mushrooms to his recipe) somehow managed to erase my post in sheer disgust?  I hope not. That would be scary.

So here goes some notes on the attached recipe... Chicken Saute with Sherry that I found on

~ I used 2 inch pieces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and added one tablespoon cornstarch (tempered it in by removing some of the hot liquid, whisking the corn starch in and then adding the thickened liquid back into the pot with the chicken)  I just thought my sauce seemed too thin and the corn starch helped thicken the dish to a nice consistency. 

~ I also threw in some mixed mushrooms while cooking - adding to the meal some flavor and texture.

The REVIEWS of Chicken Saute with Sherry also deserve a look, where one cook refers to the recipe as not only super delicious but..."as easy to make as falling off of a log..."  Got to Love it!