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vinegar-free vinaigrette

Last week, Chef Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s, Café Bink, Bink’s Midtown, and Bink’s Scottsdale, was the guest teacher at Les Gourmettes. Kevin is once again up for the James Beard Award for the Best Chef: Southwest. Fingers are crossed!

Everything he made was, of course, amazing! The thing that I really enjoyed though was a simple, thick, tangy, creamy vinaigrette made without any vinegar. Strange but true and truly delicious.

strawberry arugula salad

Kevin served the vinaigrette over a salad of arugula, strawberry slices, goat cheese and pistachios. I’ll be serving the same salad for our Easter dinner on Sunday.

Speaking of Easter Sunday, if you haven’t colored your eggs yet, hold off one more day because tomorrow I’m posting a new way to decorate eggs and a bunch of Easter Menu ideas.

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April 16, 2014   1 Comment

snack attack

chipotle powder

This is a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa that I modified. These nuts are addicting… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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April 9, 2014   1 Comment

#tbt

My life is spiraling out of control, out of my control. Others are currently pulling the strings. As a result I have nothing new to blog about so today I’m giving you a Throwback Thursday.

blackberry gin & tonic

Today is a special day for my longtime friend… who also was a bridesmaid in my wedding some 28 years ago …. today is her birthday.

meloncello

The two cocktails and appetizer in THIS POST are what I served when we had Birthday Girl Karen and her husband, Bob, over for dinner last year about this time.

Karen & Bob * G&T's

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February 27, 2014   1 Comment

Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli and a birthday wish

Tarbell's

Chef/Restauranteur and longtime friend, Mark Tarbell of Tarbell’s Restaurant, was the guest teacher at Les Gourmettes on Monday and Tuesday nights. His menu was inspired, fun, and delicious. The first course was Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli.

frico round

Frico, is an Italian savory food, typical of Friuli, in the northeastern tip of Italy, which consists of a thin crisp wafer of shredded cheese, baked or fried until crisp. The customary cheeses used include Montasio, Parmesan or mozzarella. Mark used Montasio cheese, but Parmesan is easier to find and works just as well.

I’ve sung the praises of smoked paprika or pimentón many times here before. I don’t know why I didn’t think of making a pimentón mayonnaise – brilliant!

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February 26, 2014   4 Comments

slow cooker potato soup

slow cooker soup

This is one of those “Do as I say, not as I do!” recipes.

Last night I decided to throw some potatoes, onion, and broth in my slow cooker to make a no-fuss potato soup for the next day.

It turned out to be a huge fuss. All because I wasn’t thinking about exactly how my particular slow cooker works.

I set it on “low” for 4 hours. Which would have been just fine, perfect in fact. I later went to bed. During the middle of the night, I rolled over and woke slightly to smell the delicious soup simmering away as the comforting aroma of soup wafted into my room. Fabulous.

Problem was, I forgot that my slow cooker switches to “keep warm” after the 4 hours is up. So for an additional 4 hours or so, the darn thing kept cooking the soup. Overcooking it, actually.

too brown

When I woke this morning and went to look in on it, it was still lightly simmering and it was dark… so dark!

Please learn from my mistake. If you know your slow cooker turns OFF when it is done, fine. If it switches to “keep warm,” be sure to be around (or at least awake) to turn it off.

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January 29, 2014   No Comments

lucky peas

I served this dip on New Year’s Eve. It is my version of a recipe from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

black-eyed pea dip

It is good!

It may not be the prettiest thing ever, but what do you expect? It’s bean dip!

If eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is lucky, then it must be lucky the other 364 days of the year too.

Plus you only need to use and wash 2 measuring cups, a bowl, a fork and a baking dish to make and serve it. Lucky … and as easy as can be.

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January 2, 2014   1 Comment

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork

The following four ingredients take 5 minutes to assemble…

The resulting meat will be feeding your family and guests for days on end…

And they deliver the most versatile, easy, meal-making thing you’ll have had in your refrigerator in a long time.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Tender, juicy, and tantalizing Kalua Pork is amazing as is. Stuffed into a toasted roll – pretzel rolls being my personal favorite – is a meal in itself.

But there is so much more you can do with it; add to omelets or frittatas. Fill a wrap or toss into a salad. Pile into tortillas or crisp lettuce leaves, garnished with tomatoes, guacamole and salsa, for sumptuous tacos or lettuce wraps.

You get the idea – this stuff is versatile!

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December 24, 2013   2 Comments

Overnight Eggnog French Toast

This recipe came from the food section of our newspaper and was provided by our local dairy, Shamrock Farms.

IMG_5623

We didn’t trim our tree until Saturday, once the kids and my mother-in-law arrived. So the night before, I put together this breakfast dish while I waited for Marissa’s plane to get in from San Francisco. It was scheduled for midnight, but delayed until 2:00 AM. I made good use of the extra two hours and wrote out all my Christmas cards as well… blurry-eyed, but I got it done!

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We all enjoyed breakfast and tree-trimming, with carols playing in the background and coffee and hot chocolate mugs in our hands.

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I made a few changes to  the recipe; using actual rum instead of rum extract and subbing cinnamon bread for the firm white or whole wheat that was suggested. Additionally, I’ve decreased the amount of eggs used in the mixture.

This eggnog French toast was a huge hit with the family and will likely become a new holiday tradition for us.

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December 23, 2013   4 Comments

no chip “nachos”

I served this appetizer at the Christmas Craft Party and I’ll be bringing it to a family Christmas party next this weekend. (I think I may be in denial that Christmas is a week from Today!)

It is chicken nachos, minus the chips!

melty goodness

In the place of chips are those adorable mini bell peppers you can find in most grocery stores and always at Costco.

lazy chicken

I was in a super time-crunch for the craft party so I used a new product I found at Costco, rotisserie chicken breast meat. It came in a 2 1/2 pound package, I pulled out what I needed, and froze the rest.

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December 18, 2013   3 Comments

Migas for the crew

Before I get into today’s post – I want to take a moment to wish my mother-in-law, Patricia Hopkins, a very happy birthday! I love you. xoxo

I made brunch for the fabulous crew from Forevergreen Landscape Designs, Inc., the great group of guys who’ve been redoing our front yard and patio area for the past month.

brunch on the patio

The project was supposed to wrap up last Friday, but because of a mistake by the rock delivery dude, who delivered the wrong color rocks, the project is ongoing… it should be done by the end of this week with a reveal sometime next week.

screen

Long before the nasty gray cement-like rock was delivered, I’d promised to make the guys breakfast or lunch on what was to be their last day… we settled on brunch. And since the majority of men on the job are Hispanic, I decided to make Migas.

As you can see, I was very stealth and snapped a couple photos through the screened windows of them enjoying their meal.

peak

Mexican or Tex-Mex Migas is a traditional breakfast dish consisting of scrambled eggs mixed with strips of corn tortilla, diced onions, chile peppers, diced fresh tomatoes, and cheese.

chips and such

My version uses crushed tortilla chips, minced serrano, and Parmesan.

Chip Custer is the owner of Forevergreen Landscape Designs. He is the very talented landscape designer who did our backyard. If you go to his website HERE, you can check out photos 2, 3, 8, 10, and 12. Those are a few of the before and after pictures of the backyard project we did with Chip five years ago.

Now you see why I happily cook for these guys!

onion tomato serrano

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November 13, 2013   4 Comments