Sep 26 2010


My husband, my mini schnauzer Wolfie and I went up to Boston last weekend.  The main reason for going was for my husband and his pal Chris to take part in a fall century bike ride on Sunday.  It was a fun weekend and the highlight for me was Saturday.

We went into the city on a gorgeous Saturday.  We had fun exploring The North End, or Little Italy as it’s known with our friends.  We wondered in and out of specialty food shops, produce shops, stopped for espresso and gelato and really lucked out when we stopped in Monica’s Mercato, where we had to restrain ourselves from buying up every kind of cheese, meat and antipasto they had.

We did leave with some scrumptious homemade ravioli, fresh mozzerrella and parmesan cheeses, cheese stuffed peppadews, herby focaccia and baci for our evening meal that we enjoyed with the DFH beers we brought along.

Sep 14 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Fried Sage Pizza

This was a good year for growing butternut squash in my garden.  It’s one of my favorites and such a great ingredient for soups and pastas.  I love a simple side dish of roasted butternut squash.  I decided a pizza was the next way to enjoy it and  I was very pleased with the outcome.

Here’s what I used:

1 Homegrown Butternut Squash

1 Yellow Onion

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)

Brown Sugar, about 1 Tablespoon

Alfredo Sauce, about 1/4 cup or more depending on size of pizza

Blue Cheese Crumbles

Mozzarella Cheese, thick slices

Pizza Dough

Fresh picked sage leaves and oil to fry in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a jelly roll pan or roasting pan with silpat sheet or foil.  Peel and cube the squash into 1 inch cubes.  Lay out on roasting pan, slice onion and add to roasting pan.  Drizzle squash cubes and onion slices with olive oil, salt, pepper and brown sugar.  Place in oven to roast for about 40 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Turn on grill and get pizza stone preheating while your roll out pizza dough.  Spread thin layer of alfredo sauce on dough.  Add cubes of squash and slices of onion to the pizza.  Top with blue cheese crumbles and slices of mozzerella cheese.

Grill pizza on hot pizza stone for about 10 or so minutes until bubbly hot.  While pizza is grilling heat a pan with some olive oil and carefully fry fresh sage leaves, careful not to burn them.  Remove and lay leaves on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Remove pizza from grill and top with fried sage leaves prior to slicing.

Sep 12 2010

Wolfie Schnauzer

I’m not going to post about food this time.  This post is all about my miniature schnauzer Stefanwolf or “Wolfie” as he’s better known.  He turned one years old on September 11, 2010. It’s a tragic day in United States history, 9-11 but to me it’s now also a day of great joy.  This little dog has brought me back from the depths of depression and for that I am so thankful.  I wasn’t there to see him born and I didn’t choose him from a litter of pups.

We adopted Wolfie on December 31, 2009, two weeks to the day after our nine year old miniature schnauzer, Saabina, was fatally attacked by another dog.

We drove down  specifically to see Wolfie, a bundle of fur, he had not yet had a schnauzer grooming and little did we know he was the offspring of a show dog.  We met Wolfie and his champion father Blue and mother Olivia all in our whirlwind trip.

Wolfie was 3.5 months old when we brought him home that cold winter day, the last day of 2009.  I remember on the drive home my husband and I trying to choose his name.  We had fun trying to choose and were about to settle on Wolfgang but then Stefanwolf came up and it just seemed so perfect for him.  Stefan is my husbands name and Wolf is the name of the first dog my husband ever knew as a child.  Of course it’s also a play on the band Steppenwolf.  The night we brought Wolfie home there was a blue moon.  Wolfie’s champion father is named Blue.

It was love at first sight.  I knew I would be taking Wolfie home with me.  I knew I needed him as much as he needed me and that was exactly why he was there, waiting for me.

Wolfie packs a lot in his small frame, he’s an enormous joy, a sweet puppy, with a refreshing innocence and a personality all his own who has made me and just about everyone he meets feel the love he so easily shares.

Wolfie goes with me to work everyday, a privilege I am so thankful for.  He gets me out of the office at lunchtime each day and we enjoy a walk together, a welcome break to recharge our batteries.

To celebrate Wolfie’s first birthday my husband and I took Wolfie out for a big hike in the woods.

It was perfect, he loved every moment and we enjoyed exploring the woods with him.  Now he’s curled up on his bed and we’re looking forward to another big walk tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Wolfie!!

Sep 8 2010

Roasted Salmon with Red Pepper and Corn Relish & Purple Potatoes

Red Pepper and Corn Relish
4 red bell peppers

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

For relish: Char bell peppers over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers; cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and green onions and sauté until corn begins to brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; sauté 2 minutes. Add wine and stir until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in bell peppers, lemon juice, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed coriander seeds. (Relish can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Stir over medium heat until heated through before serving.) Stir parsley into relish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Relish Recipe Source: Bon Appétit, June 2002)

1 skinless salmon fillet (Enough for two people and about 1 3/4 inches thick)

For salmon: Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 2 Tablespoons of your favorite hot mustard and brush salmon all over with mixture. Top with panko seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat an iron skillet, place the salmon skin side down and sear just enough to crisp up the skin.  Flip the fish over and then place the skillet in the preheated oven.  Roast salmon until opaque in center, about 10 minutes. Transfer to platter. Spoon relish over salmon and serve with baked purple potatoes.

Sep 6 2010

Fried Green Tomato Pizza (Roof-of-Your-Mouth-Burning-Good)

I love fried green tomatoes and I love creating unique pizzas.  So I decided to give this a try.  I have plenty of green tomatoes and basil in the garden right now.  I made a beer batter to fry the slices of green tomatoes in.

I selected one large and two small green tomatoes, sliced them into rounds about about 1/2″ thick.

I lightly dusted them in flour and dredged them well in the beer batter.

I used Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA for the beer and I thought it worked well.  I don’t like to use just any beer, if I don’t enjoy drinking it, I won’t cook with it either.

Before frying up the beer battered tomato slices, I chopped up about a 1/3 cup of pancetta and fried it in an iron skillet.

Once the pancetta was lightly browned I removed it, added about 1 inche of canola oil and heated it up.  When the oil was heated I started adding the battered green tomato rounds, in batches careful not to overcrowd the pan.  They brown up relatively quickly, after about 2-3 minutes carefully flip the slices and continue to fry for 2-3 for minutes.  Once they are done, drain them on paper towel to cool and remove excess oil.

Roll the pizza dough out, I used Trader Joe’s dough to save time.  I made a quick sauce of extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic and torn fresh basil leaves, mixed well in a flavor shaker.  Brush the pizza with this mixture and then lay the beer batter fried rounds of green tomato on the pizza.  Spread the pancetta pieces all around and a bunch of fresh basil leaves.  I then added several slices of asiago and marinated mozzerella and shredded parmesan cheeses.  I followed up with strips of Capocolla ham and a final light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil all over the pizza.

We place the pizza on a preheated pizza stone on the grill and let it go for a good 10 minutes. This pizza paired well with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Victory HopDevil Ale and Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady Ale.

Sep 5 2010

Tomato, Tomatillo, & tiny, tiny….Watermelon?

I bought this miniature watermelon plant, it said it was little, but seriously? It’s smaller than one of my smaller tomatoes, but still larger than my smallest tomatoes. Since I am the only one in my house who enjoys eating watermelon this might a good one to grow, but couldn’t it be a little bit bigger?

Sep 5 2010

A Breakfast of Herbs

My husband has mastered this herb baked egg breakfast dish. It is based on a recipe he received from a friend. We modify it according to which fresh herbs we have in the garden. It’s always a delight.  This morning for the fresh herb component, I picked garlic chives, golden sage, hot & spicy oregano and Summerlong basil.  We make two eggs per person and that seems to be plenty.

Here’s the recipe he starts with:

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches
below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set
aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups
(you won’t be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It’s
very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon
of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the
broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but
carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with
the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place
back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the
eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren’t
cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them
out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with
skillet fried bacon and toasted bread.