March 28th, 2014 § § permalink
I have another use for that waffle maker that you used once and is now collecting dust in the way back of your cupboard. I’m going to tell you how to make CINNAMON ROLL WAFFLES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE that your kids will love. Don’t worry, these waffles are easy to make. You don’t need to be an expert “cooker” or have any kitchen skills…at all. They’re literally as easy as 1,2,3.
All you need is
1) cooking spray,
2) a waffle maker
3) a can of Pillsbury Grand Cinnabon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze.
1) Go grab your neglected waffle maker and give it a good dusting. Plug it in, heat it up and give it a good coating of cooking spray.
2) Give the can of cinnamon rolls a good whack on the edge of the kitchen counter. If you’re like me, no matter how many times you open one of these canisters, you get startled. Once you compose yourself, separate the rolls and put one on each waffle form. Close the lid and wait 2 minutes.
3) Remove the waffles, put them on a plate, drizzle with warm glaze and dig in!
You can serve these for breakfast or dress them up with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
D I V A
March 17th, 2014 § § permalink
What are you going to do with all that left over corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day? Make hash, of course! CORNED BEEF HASH is one of those comfort foods that you see on every diner menu from here to across the pond. Each country has their own version and name for this hearty dish. In Denmark it’s known as biksemad: Austria, grosti; and in Malaysia, bergedil. Hash by any other name is still hash. No matter what country it’s made, the base is always the same…left over meat, onions and potatoes. Since hash is mostly eaten for breakfast, it’s only natural that it’s paired with eggs. Eggs and hash have had a long love affair, kinda like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton or Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. (you get the picture)
Using corned beef is the most popular way of making hash here in the States. Although it’s considered a breakfast food, put it on a nice soft roll, top it with cheese and call it lunch or dinner. It’s more versatile than one might think. You can mix it in with rice, or noodles. You can even put brown gravy on it. Add other veggies like tomatoes and peppers and wrap it in a tortilla. But first things first. Before we can start thinking about other ways to eat hash, we need a great hash recipe. This is it. In my version of corned beef hash, I switch a few things up. I use yams instead of white potatoes. I also use onion, turnip, thyme, mustard seeds and dijon mustard to add a little kick.
Now that you have a great recipe to start, let your inner foodie come out and use corned beef hash in a new way…OR…Just brown it all up in a cast-iron skillet, top it with a fried egg and call it breakfast.
D I V A
February 28th, 2014 § § permalink
Mardi Gras is New Orleans'”Greatest Free Show On Earth.” It’s a party in the streets with floats, feathers, boobies and beads. Everyone is dancing, drinking hurricanes and hanging off the balconies of the buildings on the famous Bourbon Street. New Orleans is a colorful city, even without all the hoopla of Mardi Gras.
In New Orleans there’s a vast array of cultures that make up the people of this great city. They come from Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French and African descents. The influence of all these cultures is what makes New Orleans have some of the best food in the country.
When you think of the food of New Orleans, there are some traditional dishes that come to mind; like gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée and crawfish, which are all morishly delicious. Another traditional Louisiana dish that I love, is SHRIMP AND GRITS. My version may not be traditional, but it sure is delicious! It’s so good, that you won’t want to stop eating. You’ll find out first hand the true meaning of Fat Tuesday!
It has bell pepper, okra, spicy smoked andouille sausage, succulent jumbo shrimp that I douse with bourbon. This boozy concoction is then poured on top of a mound of cheesy, creamy grits. One bite of this baby and Mardi Gras will be happening in your mouth. You won’t have to leave your kitchen or show your boobies. (Anyway, the beads aren’t worth it.)
As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez les bon temps rouler” (lazy lay bon tom roulay)
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!!
D I V A
February 24th, 2014 § § permalink
The Lenten season is upon us. Lent is the time when Christians everywhere prepare themselves to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. It’s a time when the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence. On the days leading up to Lent, there are celebrations all over the world. These celebrations are sort of a last hurray before their Lenten commitments begin.
Countries all over have big celebrations, but none as big as Carnival in Rio, Brazil. It’s five days of all night parties with half naked (if not naked), drunken people singing and dancing in the streets. I’m not quite sure what all the drunken nakedness has to do with lent or Easter, but hey, I don’t judge. I love a good party!
Like every good party there’s good food. A party in Brazil wouldn’t be the same without BRIGADEIROS (bree-guy-day-rows). They’re a beloved Brazilian treat that’s invited to every celebration. They’re similar to chocolate truffles. As a matter of fact, they’re called Brazilian truffles. The difference between the two are, truffles are made by melting chocolate in hot cream and have a fudgy consistency. BRIGADEIROS are made with condensed milk and cocoa. Their consistency is more like caramel.
This year Carnival is from February 28th-March 4th. So, head to your kitchen and make a batch of these gooey, rich, chocolatey Brazilian treats and celebrate. I think the excitement of eating delicious BRIGADEIROS, just may be the reason for all the drunken-nakedness. So beware. You just might find yourself doing something you might have to repent later.
D I V A
February 3rd, 2014 § § permalink
Awhile ago, I posted a CARROT/CHEESECAKE that got a lot of reaction. It’s a cheesecake sandwiched between 2 layers of carrot cake. This cake was pinned on Pinterest over 45,000 times. I want to thank all you Pinners out there for this amazing response. Since Valentine’s day is approaching, I thought it was time to do it again. This time I replaced the carrot cake with RED VELVET. It was a huge hit! I took it to a Superbowl party and my friends gobbled it up! I don’t know how this cake could have been bad with the recipes I used.
For the RED VELVET CAKE, I used a recipe that’s from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, in NYC. This upscale hotel has been making this popular cake since the 1950’s. It’s funny how when I talk about a cake being born in the 50’s it’s impressive, but when I talk about me being born in the 50’s it’s depressing. Anyway, the cake is light, airy and moist. It’s the best red velvet cake I’ve tasted.
As for the CHEESECAKE….WOW. This cake is ridiculously delicious. It’s super creamy and rich; everything a cheesecake should be. This recipe came from Junior’s Cheesecakes. Junior’s started wowing people with their fabulous cheesecakes since 1950 in Brooklyn, NY. These 2 delectable cakes together created something that was heavenly sinful. You need to try this. Trust me, you’ll be extremely happy you did.
I’m hoping with a little help from my fabulous followers, that we can pin this cake as much as the last.
D I V A
January 30th, 2014 § § permalink
Philly Cheesesteaks. I grew up on them. Growing up in Philly, they were a staple in my diet. People would actually argue about where to get the best steak sandwich in the city. They’re taken very seriously! I have fond memories of my life in Philly. Of course food was part of it.
I was trying to think of some ideas for “Superbowl Eats.” I looked no further than my Philly roots. When I think of food in Philadelphia, the first thing that comes to mind are cheesesteak sandwiches. I had to think of a way to replicate without making a full sandwich. I just wanted to a bite.
If Philly, when ordering at Pat’s Original Steaks, they ask you, “wit” or “wit-out.” which translates to, “Do you want your sandwich with or without onions?” In this recipe, they are ‘wit.”
I took a small piece of pizza dough, filled it with cooked chopped steak, onions and cheese. I made little parcels and fried them until they were nice and golden. I served them with some ketchup and mustard. (I like to mix the two)
From the first bite, I was transported back to my youth in Philly. It was a time when John Travolta was good looking, I wore polyester dresses, candy shoes, (do people my age remember these?!) and danced all night to Donna Summers. We would go to Pat’s Steaks at 2 am and chow down on a gooey, messy, deliciously sinful sandwich. When we were done, off to Atlantic City we would go. They were the days when I could stay up all night and eat whatever I wanted without gaining a pound.
These little bites took me down memory lane, I hope you don’t mind that I took you with me.
D I V A
January 15th, 2014 § § permalink
I have 3 obsessions 1) shoes, 2) cookbooks, and 3) notebooks. I have notebooks all over my house. I even have a small one in my car and handbag. They are full of recipes and recipe ideas. Whenever I travel, I make sure I pack a brand new notebook and a black ball point pen. (I’m old school)
The other day I was on the internet and saw a recipe for North African Stew. Seeing this triggered something in my memory bank. A few years ago, John and I went to Africa on safari, which was an UNBELIEVABLE experience, I might add. The reserve where we stayed had about 6 huts with a personal chef. Our chef was a 22 year old young man named Sabu. His passion for food showed in everything he did. His food was fantastic and his presentation was beautiful. I was beyond impressed!
Of course, I got friendly with Sabu and we talked endlessly about food. I wanted to know everything about the African cuisine. Besides telling me about monkey gland and chakalaka, he talk of a stew that his mother make for him as a boy. Sabu’s mother was from North Africa, but Sabu grew up in the South. As he was talking, I was absorbing every word. When we parted, I headed right to my new, clean paged notebook and wrote down everything he told me.
With Africa and Sabu on my mind, I went to the stack of notebooks (thank goodness I label them) until I found the one from Africa. Right there on the very first page were my notes on Sabu’s stew. There wasn’t an actually recipe, it was more like a list of ingredients. So, off I went to the kitchen with everything I needed, except the antelope, which is what Sabu’s mother used. I opted to use plain ordinary American cow. Even if I wanted to use antelope, I wouldn’t know where to buy it! I’m sure my butcher would look at me like I have 3 heads!!!
The stew is no differnt then making any other beef stew, except for the mix of warm, fragrent spices that are used. I added cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and coriander to name a few. There is also sweet potatoes and prunes, ingredients that I never used in a stew before. The finished product was fantastic! I nailed it on my first try. Me and my husband devoured the entire pot!
I was so happy that I was reminded of Africa. Not only because of the trip or the stew, but to remember a young man that was so sweet and full of passion. It was an unbelievable trip and Sabu and his food was a huge part of it.
NOTE..While I was in Africa, Sabu feed us antelope, which taste like venison and ostrich, which taste like lamb. I also ate monkey gland and chakalaka. Both are sauces used on meats that are BBQ-ed. In South Africa, they are big on BBQ, which they call BRAAI.
I have pix of Africa and a breakfast dish that Sabu made that I ate everyday. I’ll post it sometime soon. Stay tuned.
D I V A
January 3rd, 2014 § § permalink
I have a love-hate relationship with garlic. If you follow me at Diva Eats World or Diva Eats Italia, you’ll know that garlic is a pet peeve of mine. Let me clarify myself; when I say I hate garlic, I mean when it’s raw, minced, grated or chopped. My loathing of raw garlic may also have something to do with the fact that “some” tend to use TOO much. Having said all that, I do however, love garlic when you can taste it’s nutty, creamy, rich flavor that comes from caramelizing or roasting. To me, this is the only way garlic should be used.
When garlic is chopped in small pieces, it doesn’t really cook…it softens and the taste remains strong. Garlic has a very pungent and strong flavor that I feel over powers the taste of what your making. All the ingredients should work in harmony. One should not over power the other, unless it’s the main component of the recipe.
I’ve had people say to me, “What kind of Italian are you if you don’t like garlic?!” (which pisses me off)
People have this misconception that Italian food is garlicky. Well, it’s not. I could however, see why people think this. When Italians migrated and left their BEAUTIFUL country, there were ingredients that either they couldn’t get or were lacking the flavors they were use to. Garlic was the answer. It’s became an Italian American, pizzeria food “thing.”
I’ve traveled throughout Italy and I have NEVER had a meal that was offensively over garliced. From traveling and being exposed to Italian food in Italy and my love for food and wanting to know more, I started looking at garlic differently. When I began to carmelize and roast it, I began to realize what a great ingriendent it is.
This ROASTED GARLIC-GOAT CHEESE TART is a fine example of garlic at it’s best. The roasting gave it a nutty, creamy flavor that’s wonderfully delicious, without being over powering. The richness of the goat cheese and the nutty, creaminess of the garlic made this tart a match made in heaven.
If you love garlic or if you’re like me, having a love hate relationship, try this tart. You’ll see what I mean about the depth of flavor garlic could have when it’s roasted.
D I V A
November 25th, 2013 § § permalink
Ahhh…Thanksgiving. The holiday where we make too much food and stuff ourselves silly. It seems like the leftovers from that meal last forever. Of course, we all enjoy those turkey sandwiches the next day, but how many can one eat?!
With this in mind, I tried to come up with new ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers. The ideas that I was coming up with weren’t exciting me until, I thought of the meatball. This recipe is Thanksgiving all rolled up into a ball…literally.
Meatballs were originally made and still are by some, using leftover cooked meat as not to waste food. I used this concept in this recipe. I put some cooked turkey meat in a food processor and pulsed it until it was finely ground. I then added some left over stuffing, dried cranberries and eggs to bind. I fried them until golden to make little sliders that I topped with cranberry sauce and of course, lots of gravy. I couldn’t be more excited by the outcome. They only took minutes to make and were ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.
I know when you try these, they will become a go to recipe for your Thanksgiving leftovers.
D I V A
November 20th, 2013 § § permalink
There are so many people these days that have a gluten free diet. Some for medical reasons and others just trying to live healthier. I once “TRIED” to cut down on carbs, I wasn’t to successful. I became a grumpy bear!! My family didn’t want to be around me. One night during dinner, I left the table for a minute and when I got back there was a note on my plate that read, “Please eat carbs.” True story…hahaha
With gluten free becoming more popular, there are so many fantastic recipes that are great substitutes for some of our favorite foods…like pizza. Being Italian and having traveled throughout Italy, I’ve become a bit of a pizza snob, but when I saw this recipe I had to try it. My curiosity got the best of me. It was easy to make, and rather delicious in a nonconventional pizza pie way.
Cauliflower pizza crust won’t take the place of “real” pizza for me, but for those of you who are gluten free, this is a great alternative. Give it a try.
D I V A
November 7th, 2013 § § permalink
This crumb cake is one of those recipes that everyone loves and wants! It’s not sweet, the cake is nice and moist and the crumbs are buttery. The best part about this cake is that half of it consist of crumbs! Who doesn’t love the crumbs!?!? Another great thing, is how effortless it is to make…It’s foolproof!! It can make even a novice look like a master baker. I usually make this cake plain, but in the spirit of the season, I added apples and cranberries.
The other night John and I had some friends over to our home for game night. After dinner we played an intense game of “Celebrity,” which I’m proud to say that my team won!! To get rid of the bitterness of defeat from our opponents, I gave them a huge hunk of the apple-cranberry crumb cake that I made. After one bite, the bitterness was gone and we were all friends again. OH…the power of dessert.
D I V A
October 20th, 2013 § § permalink
John and I are fortunate to have a great group of friends. When we’re with them, no matter what we do or where we are, a good time is had. Last Saturday night, we invited our closest friends to our home for “Game Night.” Since it was an informal gathering, I wanted the food to be casual as well. I make some pupusas, chipotle chicken wings, cornbread and big pot of Diva’s chili w/ white onion salsa.
The chili was made with both beef cubes and ground pork. I also roasted and pureed poblano peppers to give it a little heat and I used fire roasted tomatoes for a bit of smokiness. It was the perfect game night meal.
After we chowed down and ate every last morsel of chili, the game was ready to begin. We sat down for a seriously competitive and somewhat hysterical game of “Celebrity.”
After three rounds, when we finally had a winning team, which I’m happy to say was mine, we were ready for some dessert. Thank goodness I made a ridiculously delicious apple-cranberry crumb cake (recipe to come) for dessert, because we all needed something to absorb all the wine that we drank while playing. When the night came to a close, our bellies were full and smiles were on our faces. Once again, another night of fun and laughter.
D I V A
October 8th, 2013 § § permalink
This week’s cookie is a family recipe for Italian anise cookies. These cake like cookies are usually make at Easter time in our family, but put some green and red sprinkles and a Christmas cookie is born.
D I V A
October 7th, 2013 § § permalink
This recipe for stuffed eggplant is a great one dish meal. Although, eggplant has a meaty quality, I added ground lamb, for the carnavour in me! I also added rice, feta, raisins, mint, cinnamon, and other fragrant spices for a flavor explosion in your mouth.
D I V A
(continue for recipe)
September 23rd, 2013 § § permalink
Street food, has become all the rage. What I mean by street food is, food that’s sold by street vendors, that is quick and inexpensive. In the last few years, there has been an explosion of food trucks. There are even shows on the food network dedicated to these restaurants on wheels. Please don’t think for one minute that these trucks serve greasy, ill prepared food!
OH..NO..NO!!! They serve fresh, gourmet food that people stand in line for.
There’s a flea market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, called Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg is know for having the best of the best, when it comes to street food. One of the vendors there, makes what is known as pupusas.
Pupusas are Salvadorian corn cakes, that are traditionally filled with cheese or refried beans. The cake itself is made with corn flour and water similar to a tortilla, except pupusas are smaller and thicker. They’re served with crutido, which is a red cabbage slaw with chills and vinegar, as well as a tomato salsa.
They’re so good, this is why the truck at Smorgasburg that make pupusas, has one of the longest lines. If you can’t get to Williamsburg, Brooklyn; make your own. They’re easy, fast and delicious.
D I V A
September 15th, 2013 § § permalink
With the change of season, I start thinking about the holidays. It seems like as soon as summer is over, it’s Christmas. CHRISTMAS, already! Summer isn’t even officially over. I know that’s what your probably thinking, but this is where my head was at. I actually start surfing the net for cookie recipes for the holidays.
I posted my doings on Diva Eats’ Facebook wall and apparently, there were others that thought I wasn’t too premature in my search. As one follower said, “It’s not too soon, because you need to test drive the recipe.” With such a positive response to my search and my enthusiasm for Christmas, I decided to “test drive” the cookie recipes I find and share them with you. As of this week, I’ll be posting a “COOKIE OF THE WEEK,” maybe there will be something that you’ll find deliciously intriguing and add it to your holiday repertoire.
D I V A
September 12th, 2013 § § permalink
There are just as many different types of meatballs as there are cultures in the world. There’s a place in Manhattan called, “The Meatball Shop,” that makes every type you could imagine. For me, being Italian American, meatballs were made mainly with beef or sometimes with beef, veal and pork (the holy trinity of meats.) I can’t imagine spaghetti and meatballs made with anything else; but I don’t discriminate.
One of my favorite meats is lamb. When it comes to using it for meatballs, it becomes a whole different “ball” game. In Greece and some middle Eastern cultures, lamb is their main meat source. When they make meatballs, they use many different aromatic spices and herbs that bring these juicy balls (lol…sorry) to the next level of deliciousness!
This Italian American gal wanted to try her hand at making lamb meatballs with a middle eastern twist. They turned out ridiculously good. I used loads of fabulous spices like cinnamon, cardamon, coriander, as well as capers, raisins, mint and lemon zest. I served them on a bed of Jasmine rice for dinner and made sliders topped with a piece of feta the next day for lunch.
Not bad for an Italian girl!
D I V A
continue for recipe>
August 28th, 2013 § § permalink
Sloppy Joe’s are a classic kid-friendly sandwich, of ground beef in a sweet-tangy tomato sauce. They’ve been around for as long as I could remember, so I decided it was about time to give Joe a facelift. We could all use a little “something” as we get older, so I say..”why not?” I took to the kitchen with knife in hand and chopped away. After a few additions and subtractions, Sloppy Joe was just like new!
I took the idea of a pulled pork sandwich and incorporated the flavors into my Joe’s. I used pork instead of beef and also added all the spices that one would find in roasting a pork. Flavors like brown sugar, coriander, chili powder, cumin and even cinnamon.
Having a pulled pork sandwich without BBQ sauce and cole slaw, is like leaving your house without your shirt and pants!! I wanted Joe to be dressed properly, so I used Chipotle BBQ sauce for a heated, smokey taste and to cool it down, some cole slaw with cumin seeds. Suddenly these sandwiches went from being kid-friendly to adult-worthy!
The one thing I realized about Joe in this process, is no matter how much or often you give him a facelift, he will always be sloppy!!!
D I V A
continue for recipe >>
August 27th, 2013 § § permalink
August 17th, 2013 § § permalink
One pot meals are one of those recipes that has a satisfying outcome with minimal effort. By cooking all the ingredients in one pot, the flavors really mingle and meld together in harmony, to turn out a full, robust meal, that’s impressive enough to serve at an informal dinner with friends.
This recipe is a take on something my mother use to make. It’s not only chicken, but sausage, onions, red peppers, peas and rice, that all simmer in a broth with white wine. The best part is the crispy rice bits that form around the pot….my favorite! My other favorite part is easy clean up.
D I V A
August 8th, 2013 § § permalink
Ice box cakes are one of the easiest desserts to whip up. It usually has only 2-3 ingredients and you don’t have to bake it. These are the reasons why they’re so popular. When I was a kid we had ice box cake all the time. Or should I say, refrigerator cake, which is what my family called it, for obvious reasons. My mother was a naturally good cook, but baking was not her thing. So, when she made this cake, it was a pure treat.
The freezing of the cake came about by accident….a good accident!! Originally, my mother didn’t put whipped topping on the cake. When she first tried it, she found that the topping got too soft and runny. To remedy this, she wanted to put the cake in the freezer just until the topping set. Needless to say, she forgot about it and the entire cake froze. When she cut it, we ate it and loved it. Frozen ice box (refrigerator) cake became a summertime treat in our family. Sometimes the best things come about accidentally.
D I V A
July 31st, 2013 § § permalink
I was looking for a treat to bring to a friend, who has little kids. I start thinking about summertime goodies I enjoyed when I was little. Right away, ice cream came to mind. Not just ice cream, but ice cream sandwiches. I loved the vanilla ice cream that was sandwiched between two layers of thin dark chocolate cake.
I decided to make these cold, creamy treats, but in a new way. I spread a thin layer of store bought slice and bake cookie dough into a 13X9 inch pan. I baked the dough until golden. I then put a layer of vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge then another layer of ice cream, slightly freezing each layer in between. When the ice-cream was completely set, I cut it in half and put one side on top of the other, then cut it into smaller sandwiches.
These ice cream sandwiches were so yummy, that even the adults gobbled them up. They are a little time consuming but well worth it. They’re much better than the ice cream sandwich that I so loved as a kid.
D I V A
continue for recipe.
July 14th, 2013 § § permalink
There’s nothing better than to take advantage of the seasons fruits and veggies at their peak. For lunch during the summer months, I love to make simple salads with these gifts from the Earth. Today, I put together cucumber, orange bell pepper, green beans, shaved golden, & red beets along with peaches, blueberries & sliced figs for a crunchy, sweet, fresh lunch. I made a simple lemon vinaigrette, I added mint and pink peppercorns for extra zip. It was a perfect meal for this hot summer day.
D I V A
July 12th, 2013 § § permalink
Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day. It usually consist of a yogurt or a cinnamon raisin english muffin, as I run out the door. When we go out for breakfast, that’s a horse of a different color, I want to indulge. Last week my daughter spent a couple of days with us at the beach. On the morning she was leaving, I didn’t want to give her a frozen waffle and send her on her merry way. Instead, we went to “The Blue Pig Tavern” in the hotel, “Congress Hall,” for a nice satisfying breakfast before her long drive home.
The Blue Pig Tavern Benedict
Congress Hall is a resort that goes back around 1816. Along the way there has been several renovations, the most resent in 1995. During the construction, a mural was found on one of the walls with a blue pig motif, so it seemed fitting to name the restaurant after their findings. The food at the Pig is homey and well prepared, with a pleasant atmosphere. I think, it has one of the best breakfast in Cape May. So, of course when we decided to go out, I chose The Blue Pig.
I ordered a Greek omelet that had tomatoes, spinach, sweet peppers and feta cheese. We also ordered what they call, The Blue Pig Tavern Benedict. It was Canadian bacon, poached eggs, crab meat, on a cheddar scallion biscuit with hollandaise sauce on top. They were both delicious and belly busting. Oh..and by the way, Lea only ordered a yogurt parfait. I pretended that I didn’t remember that she doesn’t eat much in the morning. I guess I was looking for an excuse to full “MY” tummy for “HER” long ride home.
D I V A
follow the link for some history & photos of Congress Hall.
July 6th, 2013 § § permalink
For me, the week of Fourth of July is the start of the summer. It’s probably because, when I was a kid, that’s when we would go on vacation. Even as I got older and had a family of my own, we took this as our time off. For the last maybe 7 or so years, John and I would vacation outside the States. John would faithfully be in Milan on business the last week of June, I would meet him there before we would venture off to another place. This year things changed. For our vacation, we’re staying in the good old U.S. of A. We’re spending time in the Victorian Beach Town of Cape May, NJ. This area was not only where John and I would spend a lot of time when we were kids, but it’s where we met.
Peter Shields Inn, Cape May, NJ
Our plan for the Fourth, was to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and watch the fireworks, which we haven’t seen in years. For dinner we went to Peter Shields Inn
. It’s an ocean front, 1907 Georgian Revival Mansion that’s a bed & breakfast with a fabulous restaurant. We requested a table on their porch, so we can watch the fireworks as we dined.
Local Fluke Crudo, Mango Slaw, Lime, Salsa Verde, Micro Cilantro
Scottish Salmon, Marinated Cous Cous, English Pea Puree, Pancetta
Caramelized Cipollini, Porcinis, Sautéed Pea Greens, Red Wine
Rare Seared Big Eye Tuna, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots
Coconut Rice Cake, Lemongrass Soy Vinaigrette
Our meal at psi
was beyond great. The food is top notch!! For our first course, I ordered a flute crudo with mango slaw and salsa verde, while John ordered spicy gazpacho with lump crab and avocado mousse, both were fresh and summery. For our mains, I had Rare Seared Big Eye Tuna, Sugar Snap Peas, Carrots and a Coconut Rice Cake with a Lemongrass Soy Vinaigrette, and the husband had Scottish Salmon, Marinated Cous Cous, English Pea Puree, Pancetta, Caramelized Cipollini, Porcinis, Sautéed Pea Greens with a Red Wine Reduction. We didn’t have to say that we both enjoyed our meals, I knew by the complete silence while we were eating. I might tell you that, silence is something that rarely happens between John and I.
As we were finishing up our meal, we could see all the people gathering on the beach for the big light show in the sky. We decided to leave the restaurant and follow the crowd. Finally, there was a loud boom and the sky lit up…everyone began to clap. With every colorful explosion, the OOHHHs & AAHHHs became louder. I was as excited as a little kid, seeing fireworks for the very first time.
D I V A
July 4th, 2013 § § permalink
John and I are at the beach for a few weeks, as you may know. Since the Fourth of July is a time for BBQ’s and fireworks, we couldn’t break tradition. We could have grilled the traditional hot dog or hamburger, but we both agreed on sausage. I decided not to grill just ordinary sausage, I wanted to do something a little different.
John grilled the sausage and I gave him peach marmalade for basting. It gave it a nice caramelized, sticky glaze and a touch of yummy sweetness. This recipe, if you want to call it that, is easy and delicious. It’s a must try for your next BBQ.
continue for recipe>>
Happy Fourth of July!
D I V A
July 4th, 2013 § § permalink
We rented a cottage on the beach in Cape May Point, NJ; for a few weeks. My husband had to go back to NYC for a business meeting and left me, our daughter Lea and her BF Ashley, for the day. We didn’t mind. Sometimes you need only female energy around you. Besides, Since Lea doesn’t live with us, it was nice to spend some girl time with her.
Like all men, John thinks he’s the master griller. It’s funny because he literally can not boil water, but put him in front of a grill and he turns into Bobby Flay. He’s been manning the grill everyday at lunch time. Since he wasn’t going to be around, we girls opted not to go near his domain. Besides, I’m on vaca, so there won’t be much cooking from Diva!!
Key West Tacos exterior
Key West Tacos interior
Down the the road from where are cottage is, is a quirky little restaurant called Key West Tacos. Every time I pass by, I say “We should try this place,” today was the day. After soaking up some sun, hunger began to set in, so off we went. It’s a cute place, decorated to feel like a beach shack.
All three of our palettes where in sync, we ordered Ahi Tuna tacos. It was caribbean spiced grilled tuna, slaw, pico de gallo, jack cheese and pineapple salsa, that was wrapped in a double tortilla. It was a mouth full and ooh soo good!
They had inside seating, but we decided to plop ourselves down at one of the brightly painted picnic tables outside.
On the table there was an array of hot sauces, habanero , scotch bonnet and some that were more sweet than spicy. We decided to have a taste test and sample all seven of the sauces. When we were done, our mouths were burning from the chilies, which put us into a laughing fit. We loved this place and we had some silly girly fun.
I would love to go back to try other tacos on their menu. Since Lea and Ashley went home, I guess I’ll go with John, if I could pull him away from HIS grill.
D I V A
Lea ate her huge taco with a fork!
Ashley, took hers apart & made 2 so they were smaller.
I picked up the taco & took a full bite, like it was intended to be eaten. You can’t always be a lady, that’s boring!
July 2nd, 2013 § § permalink
When I was a kid, I spent my summers at the beach, living on my parents’ houseboat. I would love to throw the crab baskets and nets over the dock in hopes of a huge catch. We would clean the crabs, steam them (my Mom did it with garlic & white wine) and chow down with some ice cold beer. Because of my summers at the beach and my love for crabbing, I have become an expert crab eater. When I’m done, there’s not one speck of meat left in the tiniest crevice.
When my Mother died, the boat was sold and me and my little family start going out for our crab fix. We would go to The Crab House at Two Mile Landing in Wildwood, NJ.. It’s one of those places where they put brown paper down on the table, hand you a pick and a mallet and let you get to work on a huge pile of steamed crabs.
The crab tried to take the hammer away, but I just wasn’t having it!
My husband and I rented a little cottage on the beach for a few weeks in Cape May, NJ. Like usual, our entire vacation is based on where we’re going to eat. Of course, the Crab House was on top of the list. Our daughter Lea and her friend Ashley, came to spend a couple of days with us, so we decided to wait for them to go. (per our daughters request.) She remembered going there as a kid and buying a tee shirt that had three Rasta dudes on the front and the caption read, “We Be Crabbin’.” When we got there she ran off to the gift shop, like she was seven again, to look to see if they still had the tee. (mind you, she is now 23!!) She was disappointed that the shirt no longer exist, but her disappointment only lasted until the server placed the crabs on the table. It quickly became a dinner full of shells flying, lots of beer drinking, laughter, full tummies and there was even a little singing!! A song we made up called; you guessed it, “We Be Crabbin'”
D I V A
My daughter Lea & her friend Ashley, were ready to attack. They meant business!!
June 30th, 2013 § § permalink
My husband and I rented a little cottage on the beach in Cape May, NJ. Our little rental is located right on the very tip of the state, called Cape May Point. To get from were we live to the state’s tip, is about a 3 hour drive. Atlantic City, the playground of New Jersey, was in route to our final destination. We decided to break up the ride by stopping in AC for dinner in one of the Casinos. American Cut, from Chef Marc Forgione, an iron chef, is in Revel, one of the newest casinos in town.
Relaxing with a glass of white wine before dinner.
With a name like American Cut, you can guess the restaurant is a steakhouse. John and I shared a strip steak that was smothered with Jack Daniel’s onions, that were sweet and boozy. We ordered Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, a giant glazed carrot with mint, and roasted cauliflower as sides. We also got 3 sauces to accompany the steak, chimichurri, Chef’s steak sauce & Au Poivre, my fav. The sommelier helped us pick a beautifully full bodied, smoky red wine from Spain, that went perfectly with our meal. It was so yummy, that John and I had no problem finishing the bottle.
The husband checking out the menu.
We did leave the casino with our wallets a little lighter, but not from gambling from the pricy meal. But, we came out winners inspite of it, because we throughly enjoyed our dinner.
D I V A
Revel Casino’s slot machines. Does anyone ever come out ahead?!
June 25th, 2013 § § permalink
On these hot summer days, the last thing I feel like doing is eating a huge, heavy meal. I find myself eating less and lighter during the summer months. One of the things I love to have on hand is gazpacho. I keep it in the fridge for a quick, refreshing meal. I usually make it with a tomato base, but will occasionally step out of the box and try new ways, like this recipe for roasted tomatillo gazpacho.
I know that one of the great things about making gazpacho is that there is no cooking involved, but this recipe is an exception. I usually put everything in a food processor and pulse away, until I reach the consistency I like. Tomatillos are rather firm in texture, this is why I like to roast them. They begin to breakdown and get really juicy, making them perfect for soup.
Although, you do have to cook them, there is still a minimal amount of effort in preparing this gazpacho. It still produces a refreshingly cool, light, summer meal in the end.
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
JUST A LITTLE DIVA FYI** Tomatillos are sometimes referred to as Mexican tomatoes, but they aren’t tomatoes at all. They’re a member of the cape gooseberry family.
June 19th, 2013 § § permalink
The husband and I decided that we were going “to try” to eat more fish. Since we are both MEAT eaters, I didn’t know how this would play out. When I was younger, I hardly ate meat. I would spend my summers at the beach and grew up eating every kind of seafood there is…then one day that all changed. I don’t know what day that was exactly, but suddenly fish seemed boring to me. My taste buds changed. If I have a choice between fish or meat…move over little fishy, hand me the steak knife.
I could blame it on the fact that I’m getting older and it’s said that your taste buds begin to dull or I could blame it on my love of red wine…..I’m going with the wine theory. My husband and I belonged to a gourmet club. 4 couples would get together taking turns hosting dinner. We would pick a theme and pair our dishes with wine. I never really drank wine before, but suddenly I became obsessed. I started reading about it, I’ve taken classes and most importantly, I started to drink a lot of it! 🙂
In my attempt to be a fish eater, one night John and I went out to dinner and I ordered, seared cod with panzanella salad. It was so delicious. It was not boring at all. It was packed full of flavor. I enjoyed it so much, that I wanted to make something similar at home. The recipe I posted here is my version of that dish. I must say, we all were REALLY happy in the way it turned out. The fish had a subtle but rich taste and texture that paired really well with the crisp, sweetness of the corn and tomatoes, as well as the tartness from lime juice. I even used the left overs to make tacos for lunch the next day, which were awesome. Now that we’re eating more fish, I found a whole new obsession..white wine. With a fleshier fish like sea bass, I could pair it off with a fuller white wine. As my husband calls them, “whites that drink like reds.” Oh to Joy!!!
I loved this dish and I’m making a conscious effort to eat more fish, but I still want to know….”Where’s the beef?”
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
June 16th, 2013 § § permalink
I like lots of lemon on my oysters.
Whenever John goes on a business trip, we always have a date night, the night before he leaves. Last night, was one of those nights. We went to a local restaurant that we frequent, called Halcyon. We started with some crisp white wine to wash down our oyster appetizer.
French Kiss are one of my favorite east coast oysters.
Here’s a little tid-bit for you, about oysters. They’re said to rev up your libido. Casanova ate a dozen oysters everyday, and we know what kind of reputation he had!!! I eat them because, I love the taste. They’re like summer in a shell. Although, I wouldn’t mind a rev every now and again.
John enjoying the vino.
For my entree, I had soft shell crabs. Since they’re in season for a short time, I order them wherever I go. I eat so many, that I’m happy when the season ends. I’ll admit, that the first time I had them, I was somewhat grossed out. I tried to keep my mind off of what I was actually eating. You know, the shell and all the “stuff” inside…ewwwee But, I got over it and now they’re one of my favorite foods. It’s funny how your palate will change if you let it.
Yummy soft shell crabs are in season from May – July. HURRY, go get some before they’re gone!!!
Look at the thickness of that baby!!!
John decided to keep a crab theme going by ordering a giant crab cake, that even he couldn’t finish. By the end of the meal my tummy was FULL. Because I was about to explode, I opted not to have dessert and have an after dinner drink; or shall I say, John had a drink, I had olives. (as if I didn’t eat enough) John sipped on an ice cold, extra dry vodka martini with three olives. I think he likes martinis, because it makes him feel a little James Bond..ish. As he drank his cocktail, I ate the giant green, vodka soaked olives that were swimming at the bottom of the martini glass. If I ever drank a martini, my drunk ass would be on the floor…for days! It wouldn’t be a pretty sight, this is why I stick to eating the drink’s garnish.
I ate all the olives. Sorry John.
The wine, the martini and the vodka olives, made us a little giddy and anxious to get home. Who knows, maybe the oysters were beginning to have an effect on us. Maybe, that Casanova guy was really on to something..wink..wink. With or without the oysters, it was a great date with the husband!!
D I V A
May 21st, 2013 § § permalink
A friend came to visit, walked in my house, plopped a cake on the kitchen counter, tore open the pastry box and proclaimed, “You’ve GOT to taste this cake. It’s the best damn pound cake I’ve ever eaten.” On the box were the words “Philly Fluff.” Besides wanting to share with me this cake made in heaven, she thought I would get a “kick” out of the name, due to the fact I was born and raised in Philadelphia.
Feeding off her adrenaline, I got excited to try the cake. I cut a small piece and took a bite. My eyes grew wide and I quickly cut myself a giant, hungry man piece. I literally, moaned as I ate this huge piece of heaven. It was light and fluffy like a cloud. It was truly the best pound cake I’ve ever eaten; in my life!!! I quickly took note of the bakery where it was purchased. I had to know where I could buy more of this baby.
I had never heard of Philly Fluff cake, so I had to research it. The bakery where my friend bought it was, “Natale’s,” in Summit, New Jersey. This pound cake is their number one seller and has been for the last 70 years. Don’t let the name Philly Fluff, fool you. It has nothing to do with the City of Brotherly Love, but has everything to do with the fact that it’s made with Philadelphia cream cheese.
Since baking is scientific, I couldn’t conjure up my own recipe, so I searched the web. I came across a few recipes, but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the recipe by Krissy, over at Make it Naked, that I knew I found one I had to try. Some of the other recipes, used shortening and hers did not, which made it appealing to me. Besides, I loved the story she wrote about the cake and her adorable grandfather. Check her site out.
I changed the cake a bit by making it lemon poppy, per my son’s request. Not only was I pleased with the recipe, so were my friends and family. We loved it so much, I had to bake another, this time like the one my friend bought at Natale’s Bakery, plain. My intentions were to use Krissy’s recipe and maybe one or two others that I found. But, after tasting her’s, there was no need to look any further for the perfect Philly Fluff recipe.
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>
May 7th, 2013 § § permalink
Every time we have a party, I like to have at least one special cocktail to serve before dinner. There have been many good ones, but these spicy margaritas have become everyone’s favorite. The spicy cocktail have become my signature drink. I also, make a spicy martini that is well loved. First timers always have the same reaction. At first, they’re not sure if they like the drink or not, but there’s something about the heat from the chili pepper and the salt on the glass rim, that quickly becomes addicting.
When I decided to have a Cinco de Mayo party, it was a no brainer that these spicy margaritas were to be on the menu.
I must warn you, the spiciness of the jalapenos, accelerates the effects of the alcohol. I don’t know for sure if this is fact, but I can only speak from my own experience, as well as the experience of my friends. Just one, will not only go straight to your head, but you’ll find yourself speaking Spanish while doing the macarena!! You have been forewarned.
D I V A
April 29th, 2013 § § permalink
When ever my husband travels, he calls and text messages me at least a dozen times a day. It’s bad enough that I’m stuck at home somewhere in suburban New Jersey, but he tantalizes me even more by telling me everything he’s eating. A few weeks ago, he was in London on business. While he was there, he was taken to a very popular restaurant called Ottolenghi, in the Notting Hill area of London. He raved about this place. As he described what he was eating, all I could do was to taste the food with his words. I ate vicariously through him.
Since, I couldn’t be there, (boo hoo) he was nice enough to buy me a cook book from the restaurant’s chef. All the recipes in this book look and sound amazing. I flipped through the pages countless times, dog-earing the pages with the recipes I NEED to try. The one I posted here was the first of many from the book, I want to share.
D I V A
April 6th, 2013 § § permalink
Remember when you were a kid, you couldn’t wait to get older. You were so anxious, that you would tell your age in 1/4’s. I’m 7 3/4; I’m 9 1/2. We wanted to rush to get older so we could drive, finish school, drink, move out of our parents home, get married, have children and suddenly….things change. We get so wrapped up in our kids or career, that we forget who we really are. We look in the mirror and barely recognize ourselves. “When did I become my mother?” We hear this expression all the time, but it’s true, our youth slips away without warning.
Once I said those words, I knew I had to change things. I refuse to get old. I know I can’t stop the aging process, BUT I can stay young in my mind & attitude. I have 2 of the greatest teachers on Earth, that can help me do just that…my kids.
My daughter is 23, my son is soon to be 21. I listen to what they talk about; movies, music, and even their thoughts on politics. I spend a lot of time with them, just talking and laughing. I believe once you forget you were ever young, and close your mind to what’s current, that’s when you become old. STAYING OPEN MINDED, is key to staying young!!!
My birthday was a few days ago and I got to thinking, I need some rules to live by. Rules that will help me stay young.
So here they are:
DIVA’S 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR STAYING YOUNG:
1) I shall dance around the house with the music blasting, when no one is home. (I do this when I’m cooking)
2) I shall listen to current music and belt out a tune while I’m driving.
3) I shall laugh every day.
4) I shall exercise, stay active (I love tennis) and eat healthy (most of the time.) 🙂
5) I shall live in the moment.
6) I shall only surround myself with people who are fun and I enjoy being with.
7) I shall continue to have date nights with my husband and flirt. (with him) 😉
8) I shall never talk about my ailments with my friends, during our “Ladies Night Out,” !!!
9) I shall dress fashionable, but yet still age appropriate. (no granny panties, sweatpants or daisy dukes!)
10) I shall lie about my age. (kidding)
Stay Young and Enjoy!
D I V A
continue for the cake recipe>>
March 26th, 2013 § § permalink
CHECK OUT DIVA’S OTHER BLOG, “DIVA EATS ITALIA.” FOR FAMILY RECIPES & RECIPES COLLECTED DURING MANY VISITS TO ITALY.
ANDIAMO!! (let’s go!)
MINI RICOTTA PIES
March 22nd, 2013 § § permalink
Meatloaf is one of the all American, old fashioned, traditional comfort foods. It’s one of those dishes that is as versatile as the person who makes it. It seems like every family has it’s own recipe. I think you either love it or hate it.
Now a days, meatloaf recipes have become much more than a glorified hamburger. Over the years, it has gotten many facelifts. It has become a canvas for many different flavors. In my family, traditional meatloaf is only liked by me, unless I spice it up!
Here in Diva’s versiom, I put an ethnic slant on this classic. I took flavors that are popular in Mexican cooking. Chorizo sausage, poblano peppers, cumin, chili pepper and the use of tortilla chips instead of breadcrumbs give a classic meatloaf new life.
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
March 14th, 2013 § § permalink
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, involves lots of alcohol. I remember in my younger days, when I lived in Philadelphia, there was a tavern called Fitzgerald’s. A huge group of us would go every year for a little celebrating. The funny thing is, more than half of us weren’t even Irish. Nonetheless, we would make our way to the tavern and drink out weight in “GREEN BEER.” YUCK!!!! Now, I think it’s gross, back then I thought it was cool. Oh, the things you do when you’re a “youngin.”
Since St. Paddy’s Day is associated with much alcohol consumption, I thought it only fitting to make dessert for our celebration, that was spiked with not one, but two different spirits. I took the concept of an Irish Coffee and turned it into a cupcake. Irish coffee is brewed coffee spiked with whiskey and brown sugar, then topped with whipped cream. For the cupcakes, I made a coffee flavored cake, filled them with whiskey ganache and then topped them with Bailey’s cream cheese frosting.
Now that I’m a “little” more mature and wiser; I say, “move over green beer, hello cupcake.”
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
February 26th, 2013 § § permalink
I follow food shop and restaurant openings, like people follow sports. I actually have a restaurant bucket list, of places I would like to go. I recently read about a new donut stand in Chelsea Market in NYC. For those of you who are not familiar with Chelsea Market, it’s an indoor market that houses specialty food shops, restaurants and the Food Network Studios. This little stand called “Doughnuttery,” makes mini donuts that are coated with interesting flavored sugars.
Recently, my daughter and I, took a stroll through the market to seek out the mini donuts. I walk-ran to the stand when I saw it. I get like a little kid. I nearly started jumping up and down screaming, I want that one, no that one, no..no..that one!!! Since I am not a kid, I composed myself and picked out the 3 flavors that sounded the best to us.
First, let me tell you that the 3 inch donuts are made right in front of you. After frying, they roll down a little conveyer belt into a warm tray. They are then placed into a small bag with the flavored sugar and shaken vigorously until the warm donuts are covered in sweetness. I couldn’t wait to taste them. I ripped open the bag and popped the warm donut in my mouth, they made me do the happy dance!
We bought 3 different flavors, Urban Monkey, which is coffee, banana and coconut sugar; Paris Time is lavender, pistachio and vanilla sugar; and PBCP, which is peanut butter, cayenne pepper & pretzel sugar. It was unanimous, the PBCP was our favorite. If your ever in Chelsea Market NYC, look for the ‘Doughnuttery,’ or you can make your own. Here’s Diva’s version of mini donuts with chocolate-peanut-cayenne sugar.
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
CAUGHT IN THE ACT!!!
February 7th, 2013 § § permalink
There is a new trend happening in the restaurant business, at least in Manhattan there is, and that’s the onslaught of new Asian restaurants. Recently, my daughter took me to a very popular Japanese ramen noodle brasserie called Ippudo in the East Village of Manhattan. This place is so popular, that there is usually a long wait for a table. I’ve been there twice, and for some reason, luck I guess, we got a table right away. I love when this happens. It makes me feel as though I won a prize! Besides, feeling special for getting a table quickly, we had a fantastic lunch.
I ordered what they call “Akamaru Modern.” It’s a pork noodle soup with miso paste, cabbage, sesame, mushrooms, scallions and garlic oil. My daughter ordered, Kogashi Karaka Miso Ramen. It’s a chicken and pork base noodle soup, with broth made from black charred miso, Ippudo’s special blend of hot spice, topped with pork, cabbage, leafy greens, and glazed with a layer of oil.
We both enjoyed our dishes to the fullest. I couldn’t think of a better way to warm our cold and brittle bones on that cold 26 degree blustery day. It’s just what the doctor ordered.
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
Diva Eats World does not own the last 3 photos of the interior of Ippudo.
January 26th, 2013 § § permalink
Today, we had some snow in the New York area. I have this weird love of shoveling. There’s something about being outside and breathing in the cold air, that makes me feel alive. Good thing I like I to do it, because my husband hates it; so it works for us. After all that hard work of shoveling, I needed some comfort food.
I made a huge pot of chicken-red bean chili and a chipotle corn pie, to warm my tummy on this cold, snowy day. I was nice enough however, to share some with my husband. After all, it was very strenuous watching me shovel from inside a warm house!
D I V A
continue for the recipe>>
January 21st, 2013 § § permalink
I love the food in Paris. My favorite is the homey, comfort food that is served in all the bistros. During my last visit, friends took us to this tiny bistro, which was a dimly lit, bustling, little place that was buzzing with energy.
On the menu were these little mini tarts of wild mushrooms. I kept popping them in my mouth like they were kernels of popcorn. They were these little flaky pieces of earthiness.
After I shoved the last tart into my mouth, I took out my trusty phone, went into notes and simple wrote “wild mushroom pot pie.”
Here is the recipe that was conceived that starry night in Paris.
D I V A
continue for recipe>>
January 11th, 2013 § § permalink
CHECK OUT DIVA’S OTHER SITE “DIVA EATS ITALIA,” FOR ITALIAN FOOD FROM REGION TO REGION.