Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The perfect Christmas tree?
All Christmas trees are perfect!
~Charles N. Barnard

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So often in life, we feel things that have little to do with what’s actually happening and everything to do with the stories we’re telling ourselves in our head—stories that involve assumption, blame, and defensiveness.

But we don’t have to fall victim to our instinctive emotional reactions. At any time, we can stop, assess what’s going on in our heads, and decide to respond a little more wisely based on what we know about ourselves.

Today if you feel yourself getting all worked up over something that isn’t a big deal, ask yourself, “What can I learn about myself that will help me going forward?”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Starbucks Spiced Holiday Coffee

2/3 cup ground Starbucks Christmas Blend or other dark roast coffee, 4 cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into small pieces, 6 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom, 2/3 cup honey, half-and-half or milk. Mix together the coffee and cinnamon sticks. Using the coffee-cinnamon mixture and the water, brew coffee by your customary brewing method. Add the cardamom and honey to the hot coffee and stir until the honey dissolves. Serve warm. Pour about 2/3 cup coffee into each glass. Pass the half-and-half or milk.

1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups buttermilk
5 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup lard or shortening, chilled
1 tablespoon melted butter

Have all ingredients at room temperature.

In choosing lard or shortening, be sure to use non-hydrogenated products. Butter may be substituted.

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes. Stir in the buttermilk, making sure it has first been warmed to room temperature so as not to shock the yeast.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir all ingredients together to mix well.

Using your fingers, two knives or a pastry blender, work 1/2 the chilled shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Work in the remaining shortening until it resembles large peas.

Stir buttermilk and yeast mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended; do not overmix.

On a clean surface dusted lightly with flour, turn out dough and knead 6 to 8 times, patting together lightly into a flattened circle.

Roll circle out 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick and cut using a floured glass or a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Dip in flour between each cut.

Arrange biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet; leave 1/3 inch between for softer sided biscuits or 1 inch for more crisp sided biscuits.

Cover with a damp towel or lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, or about 45 minutes.

Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Brush with melted butter before serving.

This dough can be refrigerated for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to a month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back from a relaxing holiday.
I was an explorer.
The universe is filled with wonder and magical things.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."
- Eric Sloane

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Sunday morning!
Ye Olde Tavern's fresh fruit salad with
Lime, Honey and Mint Syrup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped mint

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Urban Grape’s Infamous Sangria
Serves twelve to fourteen


3-4 apples
1 pineapple (fresh or canned)
1 carton strawberries
4 bottles house red wine
½ bottle OJ (pasteurized, no pulp)
4 oz. canned pineapple juice
1 c. brandy
1 l ginger ale
2 lemons, juiced
2 limes, juiced

1. Cut fruit into bite-size pieces.

2. Combine all liquids and juiced fruits in a pitcher. Mix well.

3. Place fruit in a tall glass. Top with mixture and a splash of ginger ale.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lincoln’s words are enshrined among the best of Veterans Day quotes. He said in the famous Gettysburg Address about the soldiers who died: “But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.

“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

Remember our soldiers who have served or are serving our country.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
fluttering from the autumn tree.
~ Emily Bronte quotes on the fall

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A long weekend get away to Secrets, Maroma Beach, Cancun. The spa is fabulous! Loved the beach, walked for miles and rarely saw anyone. We sure picked the right time of the year to go, quiet and no hurricanes.

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

Friday, November 4, 2011

Vermouth Cassis

It may seem like a small thing, but one of the happiest consequences of the renewed interest in cocktails and the ingredients that go into them is the resurgence in the vermouth category. Noilly Prat used to make a dry vermouth for the North American market; it recently discontinued that version and began exporting the European formula. And Dolin, one of the best French vermouths, was reintroduced in December 2008. There are several excellent brands of crème de cassis. Most come from Dijon, France.

Place 2 cubes of ice in a highball glass. Over these pour 3 ounces dry French vermouth and 4 dashes crème de cassis. Add a twist of lemon peel and fill the glass with seltzer or vichy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bourbon Apple Cider
makes 1 drink
1.5 oz bourbon
3 oz apple cider
2 oz cranberry juice
cinnamon sugar
lemon wedge

1. Rub the rim and insides of a martini glass with the lemon wedge. Pour some cinnamon sugar on a small plate and dip the rim of the glass in it.
2. Mix the bourbon, cider and cranberry juice in a drink shaker with the ice and shake.
3. Pour the drink into the martini glass and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ye Olde Tavern's Vicars and Tarts Party
Saturday, October 22


Mini chicken and sweet potato croquettes with pear chutney
Crab cakes with roasted corn tomato tarter sauce
Crunchy Thai chicken peanut cakes with chili dipping sauce
Chilled grilled asparagus with lemon tarragon dipping sauce
Potato salad with Champagne mustard vinaigrette and applewood smoked bacon
Assorted petite sandwiches that included:
Turkey breast with lettuce, tomato and cranberry mayonnaise
Roast beef, triple cream brie cheese
with horseradish cream sauce,
red onion, tomato and lettuce
Ham and Havarti with tangy Dijon mustard, lettuce and tomato
Petite maple iced orange cranberry pound cake
Dark chocolate pumpkin brownies

Monday, October 17, 2011

Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Egg & Cress Filling

1 small bunch watercress, washed, drained, patted dry
5 hard-cooked eggs, shelled
5 T. mayonnaise
2-1/2 T. Dijon-style mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely chop 1/2 of watercress and set aside; you should have about 1/2 cup, lightly packed. Reserve remaining watercress sprigs for garnish. In medium bowl, roughly chop eggs; add mayonnaise and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Mash to a smooth paste. Stir in chopped watercress. Make sandwiches and garnish plate with watercress sprigs.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Concord Grape Cake

  • 400 g. flour (farina 00)
  • 200 g. granulated sugar + more for sprinkling on top
  • 6 large eggs
  • 250 ml. sunflower oil (I used extra virgin olive oil.)
  • 1 lemon, rind only
  • 0.5 g. vanilla powder
  • 16 g. baking powder
  • about 1 kilo, uva fragolina (concord grapes), seeded if you have the patience
  1. Whisk the eggs with the sugar.
  2. Add the lemon rind, then the vanilla powder, oil and the flour. Sift from top to bottom.
  3. Add the baking powder then the concord grapes. Leave some grapes to put on top of the focaccia.
  4. Transfer to a buttered baking dish, square or round.
  5. Distribute the remaining grapes on the top of the mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 1 hour.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pan-Braised Onions with Rosemary

    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 pounds yellow onions, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into slices 1/4-inch thick
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary, plus sprigs for garnish
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/4 cup vegetable stock, broth or dry white wine
    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large, nonstick saute or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, minced rosemary and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to very low, cover tightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and beginning to turn golden, about 30 minutes. If the onions begin to stick at any point during the slow cooking, add a few tablespoons of water.

Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the stock evaporates completely, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and simmer until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 5 minutes longer. Season with the salt and pepper.

Transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with the rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting and
autumn a mosaic of them all."
Stanley Horowitz

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Champagne Dream

Why wait for a celebration to break out the champagne?

Kick off the weekend right by breaking out the bubbly and making this fun fearless fizzy drink called the Champagne Dream.

How to make it: Mix 1 ounce pomegranate liqueur, 1 ounce Cointreau, and 1 ounce fresh orange juice with ice. Then stir in 3 ounces of champagne or sparkling wine. Strain into a champagne flute and garnish with an orange slice for a decorative touch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

When summer gathers up her robes of glory,
And, like a dream, glides away.
~ Sarah Helen Whitman

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sweet Sunday.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Poem for Summer ~ Anne Morrow Lindberg

Laughter of Lilacs
Rainbows of roses
Songs of the robins
Lily of the valley borders
Sunshine to warm the heart
Oh what joy this season does impart!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We shall never forget,
We shall keep this day,
We shall keep the events and the tears,
In our minds, our memory and our hearts,
And take them with us as we carry on.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Sandwich Platter
Banana leaves and nasturtium flowers make
serving platters so pretty.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lobster Cakes
(Serves 4)

1/2 jalapeno chili or 1 green chili (seeded if you don't want the heat)
1/2 cup minced red bell pepper
1/2 cup minced onion
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp hot sauce (Tabasco)
2 tbsp lime juice
5 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp minced chives (I sometimes replace these with the white part of a spring onion)
1/2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
2 tsp coriander leaves
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 pound fresh cooked lobster meat (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 cup soft fresh breadcrumbs
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese white bread crumbs)
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Heat a tbsp of oil in a saute pan and add the jalapeno, red bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper and saute over low heat until the vegetables are soft and not brown. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, hot sauce and lime juice. Blend in the mayonnaise, mustard, the herbs, and the cayenne pepper. Now the soft bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of the panko, the shellfish meat, and the reserved sauteed vegetables.

Now spread the remaining panko on a deep plate or a pan and shape the cakes (you can use your hands or shape them in a circular mould or in tuna cans with the tops removed). Place the cakes on the panko and then sprinkle more panko on top to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and then saute over medium heat till golden brown.

To make the salad, segment an orange or ruby grapefruit, mix with rocket leaves or thinly sliced fennel and some fresh mint leaves. Dress with balsamic vinegar, some of the fruits' juices and olive oil.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Marinated Flank Steak with Melon Salsa
flank steak
1 large cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tablespoon white balsamic (or cider) vinegar
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds flank steaks
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Toss the cantaloupe, onion, parsley, mint, vinegar and oil in a bowl. Set aside. Heat a grill, grill pan or large skillet over high heat. Season the flank steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook 5 to 8 minutes on each side for medium rare, 8 to 10 minutes per side for medium and 10 to 12 minutes per side for well done. Remove the steaks from the heat and allow to rest on a clean cutting board for 5 to 7 minutes. Cut steak diagonally into 1/8-inch-thick slices and transfer to a platter. Serve with melon salsa on top of the steak and as a relish on the side.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I went to a restaurant that serves
"breakfast at any time".
So I ordered French Toast
during the Renaissance.
French Toast

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baked Mashed Potato Frittata

8 eggs
3 cups mashed potatoes
2 bells peppers, chopped fine
1 cup onion, chopped fine
1 and 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup shredded cheese
4 T. oil

Preheat oven 325 F.

In a large oven-safe skillet at med. low heat, heat 2 T. oil, sauté peppers, onions and mushrooms until tender.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, potatoes and cheese. Stir in vegetables from skillet into mixture. In the same skillet (no need to clean first) heat 2 more T. oil (raise temp. to about med.). Pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook on stove top only until bottom is set.
Carefully, transfer the skillet to preheated oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until fully set.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blue skies smiling at me!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Weekend plans dashed in Delaware

due to hurricane weather.

Stay safe east coasters!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

State of Delaware

Gov. Markell declares state of emergency

Coastal evacuation of visitors ordered; decision on mandatory evacuation of residents will come Friday. "We're looking at wind damage throughout the state. We're looking at roads becoming impassable, rivers and streams flooding and power outages."

Hurricane Cocktail Tropical Drink

Traditional Hurricane Recipe:

  • 2 oz light rum
  • 2 oz dark rum
  • 2 oz passion fruit juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon grenadine
  • Garnish: orange slice and cherry

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a

glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ye Olde Tavern's Cheese Tray

I don't worry about "rules." There is only one as far as I am concerned: "try ...try ...try." It is primarily a matter of personal tastes. Keep it simple. Remember, the goal of tasting with wine is to find a balance between the two and not "allow" one to overpower the other.

Serve full-flavored selections, such as creamy washed rinds with medium to full-bodied wines, such as Merlot, Zinfandel, or Syrahs.

Pair lighter ones with light wines such as Rieslings, Pinot Gris ,or Pinot Noirs.

Blues go well with dessert wines such as late harvest Viogniers and Rieslings and Muscat wines. Creamy ones pair well with sparkling wines and Champagne.

Taste selections based on their sources of milk. Fresh goat cheeses are mild and lemony in flavor and creamy in texture. They go well with white wines, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Rieslings. Aged sheep milk cheeses pair well with Gewürztraminers and fruity Zinfandels.

You can even pair these two products according to the area of origin, even local areas.

Remember that wines aren't the only beverages that go well with cheese! There is a growing number of artisan and craft beers, as well as craft ciders available that provide interesting and fresh flavor combinations.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Drink in a universe of stars today...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Happy, Glorious,
Summer Weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How beautiful a day can be
When kindness touches it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Garden - like the Beach
by Emily Dickinson
My Garden -- like the Beach --
Denotes there be -- a Sea -- That's Summer --
Such as These -- the Pearls She fetches -- such as Me