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Frico with Smoked Paprika Aioli and a birthday wish


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

salade verte amère

That is French and translates word for word into Salad. Green. Bitter.


It sounds poetic in French but it certainly does not sound as lovely or appetizing in English. So we shall give it a nicer English name … Bitter Greens Salad with Pomegranates & Parmesan.

So much better. This, of course, was the salad from the European Dinner Party.

I put out store-bought cookies and candies at the end of the meal, so there will not be a dessert recipe. The main course is all I have left to post. Expect that recipe tomorrow.

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November 11, 2013   1 Comment

olive crostini

olive crostini

Jen made these tasty olive crostini for us when we at the Log Mansion. Hopefully I won’t be embarrassing her when I tell you that I had two and Dave didn’t get a single one before her two youngest sons ate the entire batch!

Yes, they are that good – 10 and 15-year-old boys may gobble them up before you know what happened.  Enjoy.

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July 24, 2013   1 Comment

pesto of your choice

Whenever I’m leaving town for more than a couple days, the first thing I think of, is how to use up all the fresh food in the refrigerator. The night before we leave, I usually make a big “garbage” pasta dish. “Garbage” as in, throwing any and every thing into it.

fresh arugula

I’ll show you what that pasta dish looked like in a future post. Today, I’m showing you what I did with an unopened bag of arugula that would have been too much for the pasta.

I used it to make pesto and then I froze the pesto for later use.

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, which is in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese),and traditionally consists of crushed basil, garlic, and pine nuts that are blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk). The name is from the word pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush, in reference to the original method of preparation, with marble mortar and a wooden pestle. The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. Nowadays it’s most commonly made in a food processor, at least in the States, it is.

Although basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts are the traditional pesto ingredients, feel free to use any variety and combination of greens or herbs, nuts, and cheese.  Here are just a few combinations to get your creative juices flowing. Mix and match to make your own signature pesto.

  • Cilantro and Pepitas
  • Parsley, Anchovy and Capers
  • Sage, Parsley, and Hazelnuts
  • Spinach in place or in addition to the Basil
  • Mixed Herb; Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Parsley, with Spinach and Asiago
  • Dill, Lemon, Walnut and Romano
  • Fennel Fond

how to clean proccesor blade

I’ve given this tip before, but it merits repeating. When you have a thick or sticky mixture in a food processor. Remove what you easily can with a rubber spatula, then put the bowl back on the machine and process for just a second or two. The stuff on the blade will be thrown off to the sides of the bowl by centrifugal force and you’ll be able to get all the mixture easily from the bowl.

clean blade

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May 23, 2013   1 Comment

Caesar Rules!

If my husband, Dave, sees the word “Caesar” on a menu, he is immediately drawn to that dish and will most likely order it. It is nearly impossible for him to NOT order Caesar Salad at any new restaurant we visit. He won’t pass up the opportunity to see if THIS is the best Caesar Salad ever. More often than not, he is disappointed. The one thing that will make him happy, even if the salad is lacking? If there are anchovies laying there in plain sight on top of the salad. My man loves his anchovies!

I didn’t go so far as to lay anchovies over these Caesar green beans, but I did sneak a bit of anchovy paste into the dressing… leave it out if you would like… it is not essential in this particular recipe.

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September 9, 2012   1 Comment

shrimp sausage pasta

Back in early June, I told you how I was going to join a CSA.  Well, I did, and I was able to pick up a box of fresh Crooked Sky Farm produce every Thursday morning for the past eight weeks. What fun it was to be surprised by the bounty I received.

For the last four weeks of the eight, there was fresh corn. Corn is one vegetable we never get tired of. This is one of the many “easy-breezy” dishes I created to use up all that corn. Of course, many a night, it was plain old corn on the cob, always a wonderful summer-time treat!

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August 12, 2012   3 Comments


Do you have a child in your life?
Does he/she love spaghetti?
Do you want to see a huge smile on their face?
Then make this – and be sure have them help you!

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July 6, 2012   1 Comment


For our Meatless Monday classes this summer, one of the favorites has been this salad. An adaptation of the iconic Stetson Chopped Salad from Cowboy Ciao, which has been open on Stetson Drive in Old Town Scottsdale for 15 years.

Traditionally the salad has a row of chopped smoked salmon. We have left it out to make it a vegetarian dish.  If you would like to make it the Cowboy Ciao way, (which is exactly what I would do!!) add in 4-ounces diced smoked salmon as the last row of the salad.

The photo above is the salad at Cowboy Ciao. It is an individual serving, brought to the table with the dressing on two spoons, ready for you to toss in as you like.

This recipe makes enough for 8 and is also brought to the table to have the dressing added at the last minute and then served family style.

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June 26, 2012   7 Comments

Easter dinner

For Easter, I rearranged the hanging basket, over the sunken swim-up kitchen… keeping the ivy and replacing the roses with purple iris, daisies, and lilies.

Then, I drew all the new drop-cloth drapes on the patio, to keep the sun and warmth out, turned on the ceiling fans, and we had a beautiful late-afternoon dinner outside.

The placesettings consisted of my collection of pink and green Bordallo Pinheiro majolica plates. Here is how I built each setting.

The green salad plate varied from one seat to another.

The bunny plate on the bottom right is my favorite, I particularly love the edging on that one!

For holiday dinners, I usually plate each course, but since Connor’s roommate was joining us, I didn’t want to make any assumptions about what he might or might not eat.  So instead, I set up a buffet.

We dined on Brussels Sprout Salad, Challa, Fruit Skewers, Smashed and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Roasted Leg of Lam with Zinfandel Sauce, a glazed spiral ham from Costco, and Plum and Raspberry Upside-Down Cake.

The fruit skewers are self explanatory – and just click on the names of any of the other dishes to get to the recipe. Below you will find the recipes for the lamb and the potatoes.

Even though Connor and his roommate, Patrick, are both nearly 21, they still enjoyed searching for, (above) and then playing with (below) the stuff in, their Easter baskets.

Oh, and turns out, I could have saved on the washing of a bunch of bowls and platters and just plated the meal after all. Patrick ate it up!

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April 10, 2012   6 Comments

tender with a crunch

Boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of, if not the, most popular protein choices of Americans. Why? Because quick and easy meals begin with chicken, specifically breasts.

We love chicken for its taste, healthfulness and low fat content, along with how easy and versatile it is to cook. And there is no question that Americans overwhelmingly prefer white chicken meat to dark. According to data from 2007, on average, we eat chicken almost 10 times a month, but less than two of those occasions do we choose chicken thighs or legs.

The average American was eating 36 pounds of chicken a year in 1970; by 1985 this had risen to 51 pounds; in 2010 it climbed to 60 pounds. Today, over 80% of that chicken consists of the breast meat.  Americans prefer the white meat because it as long been touted as “healthier” than the dark meat.

But when it comes to fat and calories, there is very little difference between boneless, skinless chicken breast and boneless, skinless chicken thighs. According to the Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of white meat contains 0.56 grams of saturated fat and 114 calories, and dark meat – 1 gram of saturated fat and 119 calories. Dark chicken meat is also nutrient rich, containing higher levels of iron, zinc, riboflavin, thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12 than white meat.

You see, back in the late 60′s and early 70′s poultry producers realized that they could market and advertise the slight disparity in calories and fat content between dark and white chicken meat to perpetuate the “chicken over beef” craze.  And more importantly – they could retail a “premium” poultry product that could be sold at a higher price. Chicken was a healthy option, but chicken breast was the “healthiest”, and it turned out that we consumers were willing to shell out for it.

Since you probably have chicken breasts in your freezer, I’m going to give you an easy-breezy recipe using boneless, skinless breast; but boneless, skinless thighs could be easily substituted if you would like to save a little coin.

*** Check the bottom of the recipe for a couple variations.

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March 7, 2012   3 Comments