Monday, November 15, 2010

The secret to Guacamole that will change you!

I have the secret to Guacamole that will change everything you've know about it! Promise!

Go ahead and do a search for Guacamole recipes. They call call for LIME JUICE! Well, I am here to tell you that the simple . . . . smallest little change to make is . . .

are you ready

do you know what it is?


Replace the lime juice with lemon and I'm telling you you'll have the best Guacamole anyone has tried!

Go try it!

Who says you can't save Hollandaise!

Yum! I love Hollandaise. I've tried a bunch of recipes for it, but have to say, the first one I ever tried, from Emeril Lagasse is so far my favorite. The right balance of mustard and lemon with herbs and all that butter! So good.

Even after drenching my eggs in loads of it, I always have some extra and I'm sick of tossing it out! I store it in the fridge and the next day, when I am making a breakfast sandwich, I do this

Smear it all over the bread and once that warm ham egg and cheese hits it, BAM!, it melts and seeps all over and tastes just like Bliss!

You gotta try it!

Hollandaise adapted from Emeril Lagasse:

4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon dijon
2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 pound butter, melted and warm
Fresh Chives

Set a stainless steel bowl over a pot of simmering water. Be sure the bowl is not touching the water or the eggs could scramble! Whisk the yolks, lemon juice, water, mustard, and parsley together. Whisk the mixture until pale yellow and slightly thick.Remove the bowl from the heat and whisking vigorously, add the butter, 1 teaspoon at a time, until all is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper and chives!

TIP: Don't overmix! The mixture could separate. If this happens add an extra egg yolk OR a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together again. It can happen to anyone and most times one of these methods will fix the problem!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Borderline gaudy? Who cares! I love it!

I did a bit of shopping today in town, which is about a 30 minute drive from where I live. It's funny how where you live really changes how you live. When I first moved to Maui,(which is sooo much smaller than Saint Petersburg, Florida) I had no problem making the 30 minute drive to town on a daily basis. It was a quick run into town. Now, almost four years later . . . it's a task. I don't do it very often and I make sure I get everything I need from Ross, Costco, The "mall", Walmart, etc.
So, today I have to go to town and decided to make my usual rounds to my favorite stores. I picked up a great bottle of Pinot Grigio and remembered I recently broke another wine glass! Ugh! I have an mis-match collection of wine glasses that I pick up here and there and my favorites have been destroyed by my clumpsy rough handling.
I strolled into Pier One Imports and found this glass. It was $8.00, which may not be much to some or even most, but for me . . . it's almost an investment seeing how it'll give me a shelf life of a few weeks before I destroy it!
It's borderline gaudy, seeing how it's covered in flowers, but I love it, I love drinking my Pinot out of it and I love the cute little butterfly!
and the base has some super cute flowers on it too!

If you haven't been to Pier One recently, you should really head over there soon to check out all their gorgeous fall items!
Stay tuned for some of my other recent Pier One Imports obessions!! Salut!

Me My Scale and I . . . check it out!

Click on over to Me My Scale and I as a great looooooong time friend of mine documents her journey on an 8 week, online, bootcamp style program. It sounds like an awesome program and I know she will see results! Her name is Jessica and she is new to the blog world! Please send her encouragement and pass on the word!
Not only is she going to document the ups and downs, she's also a great cook and will include healthy recipes she's creating in the kitchen to get her skinny on! She's already posted a yummy Chicken dish from Skinny Taste that is a Spanikopita style without all the guilt!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I got a new camera!!!! It's a Canon SD4000. You can find some information here. I love it! Ask my sister Rebecca and my long time friend Jessica how freakin crazy I drove them as I read review after review, text and called them asking questions and looking for them to make up my mind for me before I made a final decision! It was painful! My Nikon is sitting on my dining room table completely disassembled next to a can of gas duster, I thought I could save it. That was not the case. Overall I am so thankful I held out and drove everyone as crazy as I did. The Canon SD4000 has so many great reviews. Every other camera I looked at had great pros but equal cons and I just couldn't go with that!

On to some new ideas . . . . I've always had this idea of a "One Stop Shop" type of website. A couple years ago I decided I'd make that my domain name and started at to see if it was available. Of course a name like that would be taken. The website was for sale, but for mucho dinero! Very expensive. I let the name go and hadn't really thought of it much until I eventually started this blog. I've only posted recipes here and although cooking is great passion of mine, or as Nigella Lawson says, an obsession, I find myself not blogging often enough about the concoctions going on in my kitchen. I think I'll approach this blog as a "One Stop Shop" from now on and blog about anything and everything I want. I think it'll hold my borderline ADD attention span!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Obsessed with Clean House, the show that is!

I'm obsessed with the show Clean House on the style network! I tune in with my big mug of coffee and shreik at some of the houses I see! Last night I actually dreamt about it. That's a little much isn't it?

It causes me to take a look around and see if I'm a bit guilty myself! No, of course not! Well, if I took a picture of my dining room table you'd probably call Clean House and beg them to come my way. For now I'll just show you a couple of my cookbooks, magazines, recipe box, and recipe folder along with a candle I was suppose to send my sister for her birthday last week and a calender which is obviously not hung up on the wall where it belongs!
Maybe tomorrow I'll take a picture of the big box filled to the top with old issues of the most popular cooking and home magazines! I've been meaning to get to them, promise!
What's your can't live without collection?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ivory Hut House Fire!

Please follow the link I'm providing in this post to read about their story! A great family has lost their home and we're reaching out to the blogging community to provide ANY support you can offer! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Friends of Ivory Hut

Friday, August 27, 2010

Drunken Pasta ala David Rocco . . . yum!

This dish is delcious. Period. I have been watching Cooking Channel since it aired at the end of March, most shows I don't care for, but David Rocco, La Dolce Vita is a must watch. Yes, it is a bit . . . um. . . . well, comical in the not so funny sense, but totally worth watching. Every recipe he makes puts a fire in me to jump into the kitchen and make whatever he is cookin up! Fast, easy, flavorful, Italian cooking at its raw best. A few fresh and pure ingredients, 10 minutes in the kitchen and . . . taaaaaaaaa daaaaaaaaaaaa!

The recipe is for DRUNKEN SPAGHETTI. Oh my. A bit salty, nuty, tangy, creamy, fresh, what else can I say?!?!? delicious!

This is the first time I've cooked with anchovies, I'm hooked. I can't wait to cook with them again. The anchovies smell a bit fishy when they start to heat up, please . . . don't turn away . . . their fishiness turns into salty nutiness. So divine. You would not think anchovy. In case you've been hiding somewhere and haven't heard . . . ceasar dressing is made with anchovy. Anchovy= delicioso!!! Please try them . . have I said it enough?

Okay, so here is the recipe for Drunken Spaghetti. 10 minutes total!!!! Love it!

1 lb. spaghetti
3 anchovy fillets
2 cups red wine (I had Cabernet Sauvignon so that is what I used)
1/2 cup pecorino or parmesean cheese
4 T olive oil
2 large cloves garlic
3 dried chilis or less than 1 tspn. red chili pepper flakes
black pepper

Heat a pot of water to boiling. Add salt. Add pasta and cook approximately 7-9 minutes. Just before al dente.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in skillet, add garlic, cook till fragrant, add anchovy and mix till dissolved. Add chili pepper flakes, heat till fragrant, if needed, reduce heat to low until pasta is done. Once pasta is just before al dente, use tongs to add to olive oil sauce. Coat with all ingredients. Add red wine, toss and cook until wine is thick and mostly evaporated. Turn off heat. Add parsley and cheese. Serve while hot.

I added mushrooms with the garlic because pasta alone is not enough to fill the bf's stomach. I also took thin sliced beef and seasoned it with parmesean, salt and pepper and rolled it with spinach and a thin slice of mozzarella. I browned this in a skillet, added a little wine and kept warm in oven untl pasta was ready.

Hearty, delicious and sooooo freakin easy!!! A must try!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guilt free vegetable quiche with crispy potato crust

Have any of you heard of the show Cook Yourself Thin? It's the show that features a different woman dying to lose weight, but struggling with letting go of that calorie ladden mac n cheese or fried chicken! It airs on Lifetime every night at 6 p.m. I'll be honest, I love eating healthy, but do not count calories or exercise like I should! Most of the comfort food makeovers they show look delicious and full of flavor . . . . some . . . . not so much!

Quiche is something I'm not too fond of unless it's full of vegetables and less of the custardy egg stuff! The ladies swapped out pie crust for potatoes! I thought it was a great idea and something that would add lots of flavor and quite honestly possibly taste much better than the original.

Verdict? Very delicious and very filling. No guilt since this is around 210 calories per serving!

If you're a fan of quiche and maybe even if you're not, you will love this!

Vegetable Quiche with Crispy potato crust

shredded potato
tspn. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
clove of garlic, minced
zucchini, sliced thin, in half moons, and then again
salt and pepper
3 oz. cheese (your choice)
3 eggs

Shred some potato into a bowl and season with tspn olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour into a sprayed casserole dish, about 8x8. Make an even, thin layer on the bottom and up the sides just a bit and bake for 20 minutes, until edges begin to brown at 400 degrees.

Saute some onion and garlic until soft and fragrant over medium heat. Add your choice of vegetables. Finish with the parsley. I had zucchini, so that's what I used. Mushrooms and spinach would be great! Italian sausage would be a great addition, although the calories would obviously jump!

Once the crust is done and the veggies have cooled slightly, add your shredded cheese evenly and pour the beaten eggs over the entire thing. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until eggs are set.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Broccoli Rice Casserole

This is a pretty fast and simple casserole. Very flavorful and one I am sure most kids would devour. Many recipes call for cooked long grain rice, but I was afraid it would get too mushy. I opted for short grain rice and added some additional liquid to compensate. It was a great side dish to the steak I had in the fridge. It'd be great with some chicken either on the side, or diced and added right in!

There are short cuts which I'll include below!

Broccoli Rice Casserole

350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes

1 small onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fresh blanched broccoli (or one 16 0z. package frozen, defrosted)
1/3 cup milk
1 can crem of chicken soup
1 cup homemade cheese sauce (or 8 oz. prepared such as cheez wiz)
1/2 cup UN COOKED short grain rice plus 1/2 cup liquid (or 1 1/2 cups long grain rice)

Saute onion over medium low heat until soft. While you're waiting combine milk, cream of chicken, cheese sauce and additional 1/2 cup liquid (if using uncooked short grain)in a bowl large enough to combine all ingredients and set aside. Add garlic to onion and cook until fragrant taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the broccoli to the pan and toss to coat. Add the rice OFF the heat and toss. Add the broccoli to the bowl and mix until everything is combined. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Pour into greased casserole dish. COVER with foil. Bake until the rice is cooked and the casserole is thick, about 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes and serve!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lilikoi anyone?

For those of you who do not know, Lilikoi is passion fruit. It is a delicious fruit that grows on vines here in Hawaii and many other places in the world. There are different varieties of passion fruit, although the most popular is the yellow one. Thick "shell" holding in a tangy and sweet flesh flecked with small black seeds. The seeds are edible and lend a slight crunch which enhances the entire experience. Walking through the rain forest here in Maui you'll see hundreds of these small yellow jewels scattered about the lush green foliage. Crack one open right there and enjoy! I love love love this fruit!!! You can get the frozen fruit puree in many super markets and for sure in Asian and Latin markets, but it is not the same as the fresh fruit. Are you wondering what the point of this post is????
WELL! I have a terrible green thumb. I'm thinking it's due to my lack of "patience is a virtue," virtue. Maybe it's because I live in a small unit across from the beach and although that may sound like paradise for many . . . sitting in a small garden of Eden sounds a lot better to me! I'd love to see vines of lilikoi crawling up huge trees providing lots of shade and showering the ground with beautiful flowers.
Anyway . . . I've never been much of a poet! I cut a fruit open and planted a few starters today and hopefully within two weeks I'll have something to plant in the ground! Since my bf is allergic to bees . . . you should see the picture I have of him when he got stung on the lip! No words can describe it! I may have to get his permission to post it!!!! It's that gnarly! Whoa! Like I was saying . . . the passion fruit need to be pollinated by bees, I cannot plant them here.
Anywho. I poured the fruit of one passion fruit in my wine glass and it's delicious! Can't wait to share with you how I do with the new seedlings!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Have you ever seen those beautiful cakes draped with colorful, smooth fondant and thought "I wish I could do that?" Guess what? You can! Yes, you! All it takes is a few ingredients, a couple tools and time. The possibilities are endless. The colors, shapes, designs are infinite!

I've made two cakes so far and am aching to make another one! My friend chose a Las Vegas Casino Night theme for her birthday, which was hosted at a property I manage. It was great fun! I was pressed for time so the cake wasn't as detailed as I would have liked, but it went over well and put that fire in me to take another stab at it!

It took me this long to realize I didn't put a six at the other side of the card! I used the numbers two and six because it was her 26th birthday and on the side of the cake I had the letter "R" and some additional poker chips and cards. It was a lot of fun!

The next birthday party I went to was a Jungle Theme and the birthday girl was dressing in zebra print so I went to work making a chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling. Check it out!

The technique is really quite simple. Microwave 16 oz. of mini marshmallows with 2 tablespoons of water for no more than 2 minutes, just until they become soft and start to melt. Pour them out onto the 2 lb.s of powdered sugar. A great tip is to SIFT the powdered sugar first which will help eliminate little balls of unmixed sugar in the end product.

I used one hand for kneading and kept the other hand clean and used a bench scraper to help it along. The mixture is VERY sticky at first, but don't worry, it WILL come together! Try to keep a little powdered sugar on top so your hand hits that first.

You can see that the more you knead the more incorporated it becomes and the stickiness goes away.

Knead it just a little more and your finished fondant will look like this!!

Wrap the fondant in plastic wrap securely and in a sealed ziploc! It will keep for months. Do NOT freeze the fondant. I've read mixed things when it comes to refrigerating the fondant. Some recipes call for a mix of two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of clear extract. I didn't have clear extract so I omitted that and used water only.

This is a great Fondant tutorial to follow!


Friday, July 16, 2010

CSN Product Review in the making!!

I can't tell you how excited I am to have the opportunity to review a product from CSN Stores! If you haven't checked them out . . . well . . . what are you waiting for! One click and you will be hooked. Get comfortable and start browsing. They offer a great selection of dining room tables, modern home furnishings, and of course cookware!

The prices are affordable and the selections are unlimited. There are more than 200 CSN stores to browse! Grab a cup of coffee and get to clickin! You will find all the top brands you love and without a doubt you'll leave with new favorites! I'm going to make dinner for some great people this weekend, the family I nannied for when I moved to Maui. The childrens mother is from Belgium and she LOVES LOVES LOVES Alessi products. She'll be ecstatic when she sees their selection! The selection of products we can find here in Maui is limited, so it's great to have this online avenue!

I know you'll love CSN stores! Check back soon for my product review!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fresh, ready to use, garlic from your fridge!

I do not like using the jarred garlic you can purchase in the grocery store. I don't like the flavor and I really dont think it takes much extra time to prepare fresh, especially if you have a hand held grater. That may be the only thing I've ever taken away from Rachel Ray! I know, I know you love her! Sorry, I just can't handle her! Ick!

Anyway, it is very difficult at times, well, more often than not, to find fresh garlic at the grocery store. It is usually black on some parts, not tight together, but has cloves hanging off. Ew! So, when the grocery store has great looking garlic I buy a ton of it. I bring it home and if my bf's kids are around they LOVE LOVE LOVE to peel the garlic in the little contraptions I have, so I let them do it! If not, I go for it. It's fast and easy to do and ensures I always have fresh garlic in the fridge ready to use.

Take your desired amount of garlic cloves. Place in a food processor or blender and pulse until chopped in tiny pieces. Transfer to a tupperware OR glass jar. Add just enough olive oil to make it moist and store in the fridge.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Couscous salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

My camera is broken so I am taking pictures with my phone! I guess it could be worse! My phone actually has a 5.0 mega autofocus . . .I may be the problem, look at the blur! I took 3 years of photograph in high school and absolutely loved it. Now, with a broken camera, I am feelin it could be time to get a new one! With a nice big lense! Lots of megapixels and zoom! Of course my budget isn't going to allow me to go toooo crazy right now, but hmm... birthday's coming soon!
On to the salad! This couscous salad was delicious! I wanted to make it for quit a while and went to my cabinet to get a brand new box out. . . and it was not pretty. Something got at it and I was furious! Couscous isn't cheap here in Maui, not sure about anywhere else? And I was really in the mood for this! It's fast and easy to make, full of vegetables and a yummy lemony vinaigrette to give lots of flavor! I used broccoli the first time, but think crisp blanched green beans would be a better choice. The vegetables still had a little crunch, tang of the feta cheese, sweetness from the cranberries and crunch from the almonds. Soooo yummy! I think I'll go make some more!

Couscous Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1 cup plain couscous
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 zucchini, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1 cup fresh diced tomatoes
1/2 lb. blanched green beans, cut in half or thirds
feta cheese, as desired
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 c dried cranberries
fresh parsley


1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
pinch cayenne
green onion, optional
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
1/2 clove garlic or garlic powder

Bring the stock of choice to a boil. Turn off the heat, add the couscous and cover. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until soft. Add garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add zucchini and cook until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add green beans. Toss to coat with shallot and garlic.
Once couscous has absorbed all the liquid fluff with a fork. Add the vegetables. Combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Pour over the couscous. Toss with a fork so all the couscous and vegetables absorb the vinaigrette. Add the almonds, cheese, cranberries, and parsley. Toss once more. Serve at room temperature or cold!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Zucchini Appetizer from Spryte's Place

I came across the recipe for this Zucchini Appetizer quite some time ago and made it soon after. This is the perfect time to pull it out and share it with all of you! It tastes good, its a great way to use up some of the zucchini you'll have tons of in the months to come, and it's super easy to make!
Head on over the Spryte's Place for the full recipe. I'm sure you'll find something else to try too!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cranberry macadamia nut brie wontons w/ Chocolate wine sauce

I've had my fare share of computer problems lately. Once I finally got my laptop restored . . . my camera decided to take a hit. HOPEFULLY I'll get my electronics working soon so I can become a regular poster! For now, I'll post from the pictures I have on my computer.

These wontons are yummy! If you love baked brie . . . you will love these! I got the idea after I made the Jalapeno Popper Wontons w/ POM sauce and wanted to play around with ideas. I made these for a challenge with The Daring Baker's a while back.

Once you cut the brie into cubes, you MUST freeze it in order for this to work, otherwise the cheese basically disinigrates into the wonton before they come out of the oil. I love the combination of tart cranberries and the sweet macadamia nuts.

The Chocolate Red Wine sauce is yummy and super quick and easy! ENJOY!

Cran-Mac nut brie wontons

wonton skins
dried cranberries (about 3 per wonton)
Chopped macadamia nuts
brie cut into cubes
Oil for frying
small bowl of water to seal wontons
Maple syrup and brown sugar (optional)

To cut the brie into cubes, you will want to pop it into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to firm up. Cut the brie into cubes. You could either press the cranberries and nuts into the cheese before you freeze it OR wait until you are assembling.
Let the brie freeze until firm.
Lay out your wontons, have your water ready and your oil hot. About 350-375 degrees.
Place the brie, cranberries, and mac nuts in the wonton like so . . .

Dip your fingers into water and trace the outside of the wonton. Fold over and seal. Make sure the wonton is sealed completely otherwise you'll have a terrible mess!
Fry until golden, drain on paper towels. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with brown sugar if desired. Serve with Chocolate and red wine sauce

Chocolate Red Wine Sauce
8 oz. red wine
4 T bittersweet chocolate

Reduce red wine by half. Take off the heat and cool slightly. Stir in chocolate. Serve warm.

I've also varied this by adding some raspberry vinegar. Add a tab of butter at the end. Sweeten with brown sugar. The add ins are endless!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shrimp Cakes with Chili Lime Butter Sauce- YUM!

I cannot tell you in enough ways how delicious and easy to prepare these Shrimp Cakes are!
A great friend of mine comes to Maui a few times a year courtesy of having family here and we always go to Sansei Sushi Bar for Karaoke night. We ordered the shrimp cakes and they were delicious! We had to have them again! I went on a search for a recipe similiar to the ones we had at the restaurant and what did I find??The recipe on Epicurious for Shrimp Cakes with Chili Lime Cream Sauce from SANSEI! Whoa hoo!
I though it'd be a great idea to have her over for some wine and the shrimp cakes before heading off, thinking it may even be more cost effective... well, we ordered a bottle of Sake that was advertised, not asking the price (very unusual for me!) It was great so we ordered another one not realizing until the bill came how expensive it was! This is me... after a couple bottles of the expensive sake and a few cheap ones... we were feelin good!

The recipe is simple to follow. comes together in no time and is sooo worth making!SCORE!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cream

Okay. This recipe is quick and easy. Flavorful but nothing worth the four stars everyone who reviewed it on Epicurious was giving it. Maybe with a bit of tweaking??? I added a couple things myself, but it was still missing.........the WOW factor. The picture above was copied from the Epicurious website. I cannot take credit for that! I used turkey sausage and added a splash of red wine and mushrooms. Other than that, I followed the recipe to a T. The recipe
can be found here. I would love some feedback! Any suggestions to enhance the flavor would be great. I was thinking a bit of lemon zest????

Enough with the COMPUTER DRAMA!!!

Okay, so I just had a post not too long ago about being MIA No Longer! And then...... I went MIA! My bf's friend came over to install wireless for his PS3 on my computer. I am fully aware of how to do it, but he was doing for the bf, so I let him have at it. Unfortunately somewhere in there the power cord disconnected as he was doing an update and my comp crashed. I was able to have some computer geniuses retrieve all my information and I just received the recovery disks from Toshiba............. THANK GOD I AM BACK!!! It's been way too long without internet!
Stay tuned for recipes coming soon!