Sunday, July 26, 2009

Goat Cheese Stuffed Eggs

I catered a cocktail party for my mom and a friend of hers last month. It was for about thirty people. We did some standard things like shrimp cocktail, a cheese board, and olives.

While thinking about summer finger food I wanted to do a twist on deviled eggs. I found this recipe for goat cheese stuffed eggs. The recipe was rated highly so I thought I'd give them a try. I was a little thrown by the chutney; what kind of chutney do you use? The only chutney I ever have on hand is mango chutney. I don't think it matters what kind you use. These were the hit of the party! They all wanted the recipe and now they're printing it in their neighborhood association's newsletter.

They also wanted the recipe for these crab cakes with lemon dill sauce that I made small for easy finger food.

I got a variety of cheeses from fabulous Feast!
Then I did roasted aparagus and wrapped them with prosciutto from Mona Lisa Pasta.

With the vegetable platter I put the dips in hollowed out peppers.

I used my stand by recipe for some outrageous brownies. The recipe makes a whole jelly roll pan of them.
I found authentic italian amaretti cookies to make this super citrus semifreddo. I've made this for the family and they loved it. It has a little bit of lemoncello in it (my absolute favorite liquor!) so I served little glasses of lemoncello with the dessert. I want to try making lemoncello for Christmas presents this year.
I think they had a good time and that's all that really matters when you throw a party!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Julia & Julie

I'm very excited about the release of the movie Julie & Julia. I highly recommend both books that Nora Ephron wrote the screenplay from. I was so amused by Julie Powell's book Julie & Julia and have had my Julia Child moment and soaked up My Life in France. I can't wait to see what Meryl Streep and Amy Adams do with their characters.
Another very interesting looking movie coming out is Food, inc. It exposes America's industrialized food system and it's effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights. I definitely want to see it!

I've been trying to find some new food related podcasts (besides my favorite, The Splendid Table) to listen to on my summer travels and am really enjoying The Restaurant Guys . They own a couple of restaurants in New Jersey and have very interesting conversations with an array of foodie guests.
Eating well while traveling can be so difficult.
I'm really big on bringing some healthy things from home with you. There's nothing better when you're starving and/or queasy from getting up at 3am to catch a flight, than to pull a juicy apple or a granola bar out of your bag to tide you over when your flight is delayed. Otherwise, you end up grabbing overpriced fatty snacks at the airport. I have to share this picture of my airplane food. I hate to complain because it's rare to even get food on a plane these days, but after a week in Italy of the most amazing meals ever, this was my meal on the way home. Appetizing huh!
I've even taken to packing picnics for road trips. We find a grassy knoll at a rest stop and spread out a blanket and have a homemade meal instead of rushing through fast food or a sit down meal that disappoints and takes too long.
Enjoy those summer travels and eat well!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer's Bounty

Ahh, to pick fresh berries. So delicious. I go to the "nameless "place to pick berries. Normally I like to share all of my sources but "nameless" has become overcrowded and so overpicked they've had to cut their hours! They don't even advertise.
But now it's peach time. I go to Chiles and Henleys for peaches.

I just love this time of the year with all of the amazing fresh produce. I grew a lot of vegetables from seeds this year for the first time, which is extra thrilling. (Although the weeds have taken over with all of this rain)
I took advantage of all of those squash blossoms in the garden one night.

They have a goat cheese filling and a beer batter coating!
I'd never made them before but they were great.

I made this fresh herb risotto to serve with them.

There is a great web site called that helps you find fresh farm sources for food when you're not at home but are trying to cook and eat well. Check it out if you're traveling this summer.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


The best meal we had in Itally was at Zibibbo in Florence. A true dining experience. I read about it in the May issue of Gourmet magazine. The article was about the writer's (Flavia Schepmans) experience going to Florence and taking a week long cooking class at Zibibbo with Benedetta Vitali (shown in picture with me) the restaurant's owner and chef.

We got on a city bus in Florence for a 30 minute ride up the hill to Careggi. We were the "early" Americans, but Benedetta couldn't have been more welcoming. (Italians eat dinner around 9pm) She sat us down with some Prosecco while she went to print out the evening's menu. Then she came by to translate the entire menu for us and offered half portion sizes of some of the courses so we could try more dishes. She also knew her wines and made a wonderful recomendation for our meal. We were the only Americans there all evening.

I started with this wonderful smokey eggplant spread.
Then it was on to our homemade pasta course. One was orecchiette with a spicy sauce and then a tagliatelle with wild mushrooms. Really good!
One of our main courses was Florentine Stewed Calamari with Swiss Chard. So flavorful.
And the very regionally prepared pidgeon! It had a stuffing of liver, pears and orange zest. Mark said he liked the little bones and Benedetta said "Oh yes, zee little bones are our favorite part".

We topped it off with amazing dessert.

Zibibbo is a restaurant that should have a wonderful write up on Trip Advisor.