Friday, September 27, 2013

Snacks to serve to your toughest critics.

Lets talk food, oh wait one of my favorite subjects.  And in doing that kind of one of our favorite things which is munches.  I a tally got to thinking, and though of taking it up a couple of levels, this way maybe, you could invite some friends over for some wine, and signature cocktails.  You could hang out and chat, or plan an evening around the premiere of your favorite TV shows.  Whatever the case might be, I hope that these tasty morsels and cocktails can stand up to your toughest critics.

Apricot-and-Cheddar Chicken Melt

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
4 -8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, split horizontally
1  baguette, split horizontally, cut in half
1/4 cup apricot preserves
4 oz thinly sliced ham
1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated 

  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag, combine vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add chicken, and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 10 minutes (or cover and refrigerate in marinade up to 24 hours).
  2. Lift chicken from marinade, and place on prepared baking sheet; broil (without turning) until opaque throughout. Transfer chicken to a work surface; discard pan juices from baking sheet.
  3. Place baguette pieces on baking sheet, cut side up; dividing evenly, spread with apricot preserves, and layer with chicken, ham, and then cheese. Broil until cheese is melted, 4 to 6 minutes.

Mini Spinach-and-Cheese Pizzas

4-3-inch whole wheat pitas , split
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
 salt and pepper
1 -10oz pkg  frozen chopped spinach, thawed & squeezed dry
1/2 pint bocconcini , halved

  1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil; arrange pita halves on sheet, cut side up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, oregano, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, spread ricotta mixture on pitas, and top with spinach and bocconcini. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Broil until cheese is melted and starts to brown, 4 to 6 minutes, rotating sheet from front to back halfway through baking. Serve immediately.

Open-Face Roast Beef Sandwich

1-1 1/2-lb top round beef roast
1 tsp olive oil, for roast
1 Tbsp olive oil, for watercress
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp bottled white horseradish
2 bunches watercress, washed and thick stems removed
1 Tbsp white-wine vinegar
4 slices of thick country bread

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place beef on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 1 teaspoon of the oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of meat registers 135 degrees (for medium-rare), 30 to 35 minutes; let cool.
  2. In a small container, combine sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. If preparing this recipe in advance, see storage instructions, below.
  3. Serve: If stored in refrigerator, bring beef and horseradish cream to room temperature. To make salad, toss watercress with vinegar and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice beef, and place on each of four bread slices; top with horseradish cream. Serve with watercress salad.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Pineapple

2 -slices sandwich bread
2- slices Swiss cheese
2 oz thinly sliced ham
2 thin rounds pineapple
3 fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp butter

  1. Layer 1 slice sandwich bread with 1 slice Swiss cheese, ham, pineapple, fresh basil, and another slice of cheese; top with bread.
  2. In a skillet over medium-low, melt butter. Add sandwich. Cover; cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Flip; cook, covered, until cheese is melted.

Sesame Shrimp and Noodles

2 oz thin spaghetti
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp red-wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 oz medium shrimp
1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
  1. In a medium pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together marmalade, soy sauce, oil, vinegar, and ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp, bell pepper, and scallions; toss to combine. Transfer to a rimmed (or toaster-oven) baking sheet, and spread in a single layer.
  3. Heat broiler (or toaster oven). Broil, 4 inches from heat source, until shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Transfer contents of baking sheet to pot; toss with pasta to combine.


1½ oz brown rum

¾ oz dark Jamaican rum

¾ oz light rum
1 oz lime juice
¾ oz pineapple juice
¾ oz papaya juice
¼ oz simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
¼ oz 151 rum

  1. Shake all but 151 over ice and strain into a chilled tumbler or hurricane glass filled with ice. 
  2. Float 151 on top and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a pineapple wedge.


1 oz cognac

1 oz crème de menthe

  1. Put all ingredients in mixing glass. Shake briskly. 
  2. Select brandy snifter. Pour into glass.


1 oz gin

1 oz sweet vermouth
1 oz Campari

  1. Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with orange wheel.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How about a Luau from Florida

Ok leaving on a jet plane, except I'll know when I'll be back again.  But in the meantime as the stress of the daily grind leaves my body, the thoughts, or should I say the creative juices have begun to to creep back in. 

So I may not have flown to the farthest western region of the US (aka Hawaii).  I thought on the plane ride to the most southern point of New York (aka Florida).  I night come up with a treat, a backyard luau, that no matter where you are you can treat your family and friends to some of that aloha spirit.

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Tropical Fruit Salsa

3/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp sherry,  rice wine or pineapple juice

2 garlic cloves
8- 6 oz  Mahi Mahi fillets

1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped seeded peeled papaya
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the teriyaki sauce, sherry or pineapple juice and garlic; add mahi mahi. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the salsa ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
  3. Drain and discard marinade. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack.
  4. Grill mahi mahi, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with salsa. 

Grilled Shrimp on Rosemary Skewers

8 fresh rosemary sprigs, approximately 6 inches long

1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup flaked coconut, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced 
1-1/2 lbs large shrimp (raw), peeled and deveined

  1. Soak rosemary sprigs in water for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the marmalade, coconut, pepper flakes and minced rosemary; then set aside 1/4 cup for sauce.
  2. Thread shrimp onto rosemary sprigs. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack.
  3. Grill, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, turning once and basting occasionally with remaining marmalade mixture. Serve with sauce.

Kona Coffee Rubbed Ribeyes with 
Hawaiian Salt

4- 1 lb  Ribeye steaks 

2 Tbsp finely ground Kona Coffee (or what coffee you have on hand)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp Hawaiian Pink or Kosher Salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil

  1. Combine the coffee, brown sugar, salt, paprika, cayenne and black peppers in a small bowl.
  2. Dry steaks and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the coffee rub onto each side of the steaks. Place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 4 hours.
  3. Remove steaks and bring to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Heat a BBQ grill to high for 10 minutes. Clean grill and with oil. Lower heat to medium high. 
  4. Lightly drizzle the steaks on both sides with the oil, place the steaks on the grill and bring the temperature down to medium high. Cook 5 minutes per side, turning the beef 90 degrees every 2 1/2 minutes for grill marks and to caramelize the rub crust. 
  5. Keep the lid closed until last 2-3 minutes after you have turned the steaks. When the steaks are cooked remove them from from the grill and let them rest for 5 minutes. Slice in 1/2 inch thick strips and serve.

Macadamia Nut Couscous 

1/4 cup onion(sweet like Maui or Vidalia), chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup passion fruit juice 
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp fresh ginger root, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
1-10oz package couscous 
1 tsp orange peel, grated
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
3 Tbsp parsley, minced
3 scallions, sliced

1. In a large saucepan, sauté onion and garlic in oil for  two minutes or until tender.  Add the broth, juice, marmalade, Worcestershire sauce, ginger and cayenne.  Bring to a boil; stir in couscous and orange peel.  

2. Cover and remover from heat; let stand for 10 minutes.  Stir in the macadamia nuts, cranberries, parsley and shallots.