I'm an Emmy-nominated television producer and a scuba diving/travel junkie. I have no formal culinary training but the kitchen is my happy place, baking is my therapy and I enjoy the exchange of ideas and creativity food blogging provides. I have created recipes for the Duncan Hines website, was the German Food Expert for About.com and am a member of The Daily Meal’s Culinary Content..
Gooseberries, common in every market in Germany are hard to find in NYC. So when I found these at my local farmers market, I snatched up 2 pints of the red ones, did a happy dance and immediately started arguing with myself over what to make with them.
I was flipping through my file of German gooseberry cake recipes. I was specifically looking for an uncomplicated recipe that would showcase the gooseberries. Then I remembered this Fresh Fig Rosemary Hazelnut Tart I made a while back. I've been wanting to redesign it with other ingredients and flavors.
I already had puff pastry in the freezer and the lemon balm is out of control in my herb garden. That's how this tart and these flavors came together.
This is my second drink recipe in as many posts and I have two good reasons. The first is tomorrow is National Tequila Day. The second is I have had a gorgeous bottle of reposado tequila sitting on my shelf for months. Tequila Day is a perfect opportunity to break it out and mix up a delicious cocktail.
A few months ago I attended a Viva XXXII tequila tasting event and sampled the brand's Joven, Reposado, and Extra Anjo sipping varieties. The tequilas are well priced and delicious. We were all impressed with the brand and I vowed to make a cocktail to post here. So move over Rhubarb Mint Frosé, today's the day people.
Viva XXXII sent me a bottle of Reposado after the event. Here's how the company describes the Reposado:
Tasting Notes: The aromas are agave-forward with vanilla. A hint of toasted nuts lends a crisp, buttery balance with a medium finish of vanilla and floral notes that create a well-rounded, refined and delicate taste.
Completely accurate. The reposado is perfect for sipping on its own. But onto the cocktail.
Once I made the hot dog cake, this was the inevitable next step. It's kind of weird I saw this recipe for a variation of a very American meal in a German cooking magazine but I did and here it is. A cheeseburger presented in savory cake form.
This savory cheeseburger cake has a yeasted dough crust and is filled with a ground meat-onion mixture, then layers of pickles, ketchup, mustard, and cheese.
For home gardeners, the inevitable question pops up of what to do with the onslaught of fresh zucchini every summer. I'm pre-gaming your projected zucchini abundance with this vegetarian stuffed zucchini.
The recipe is a bit fussy. It does not have a ton of ingredients but has a few extra steps. The result is a unique and delicious dish packed with summer flavor. Of course, you can just throw the zucchini on the grill and call it a day. However, if you are bored with "simple" zucchini recipes. Try this one for sure.
The zucchini is hollowed out and the flesh is used to make a thyme spiked sauce. The zucchini shells are stuffed with a potato purée threaded with strips of fresh arugula and baked. I finished the dish with a sprinkling of toasted blanched almond leaves. The almonds added some crunch and another beautiful layer of flavor
This recipe is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Climb aboard the zucchini boat. You won't be sorry.
Arugula Potato Purée Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
1+1/2 lbs potatoes
4 medium-sized zucchini
1 plus 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1+1/4 cups water
2 cups fresh arugula leaves, plus a few leaves for garnish
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons blanched almond leaves
Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into small cubes.
Cook the potatoes pieces in salted water in a covered saucepan for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Wash the zucchini and pat dry. Cut a top length-wise off of each of the zucchini and set
Use a melon baller or a teaspoon to scoop out the insides of the zucchini. Salt and
pepper the insides.
Place the hollowed out zucchini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Chop the scooped out zucchini flesh into small pieces and reserve.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions and fresh thyme leaves to the pan. Cook the onion pieces until transparent.
Add the zucchini meat and stir-fry until the zucchini becomes completely soft.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Add 1+1/4 cups water and cook for 5 more minutes until everything is bubbling.
Transfer to a food processor and purée. Scrape the sauce from the food processor, transfer to a bowl or a small pitcher and set aside.
Wash the fresh arugula and pat dry. Cut the leaves into small strips.
Peel the garlic cloves and mince.
Drain the potatoes and reserve 6 tablespoons of the potato water.
Add the potato water, potatoes, minced garlic to the food processor and purée.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil one at a time and pulse after each addition to combine.
Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Fold the arugula strips into the potato purée.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Fill the hollowed out zucchinis with the potato puree. Place the reserved lids back on each zucchini. Pour half the sauce over the zucchini boats. Reserve the other half in a pitcher for serving.
Bake the filled zucchini boats for 40 minutes.
In a small naked frying pan, add the almond leaves and toast over medium heat until slightly golden brown.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Remove the zucchini boats from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, garnish with the toasted almond leaves, arugula leaves and serve with the remaining sauce.
One of my favorite places on earth is Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. I made my first visit there in the early 90's primarily for diving but fell in love with the Island's charm topside as well as underwater. Upon every repeat visit, I fall deep under the spell of the Fat Virgin and her surrounding islands.
Hot dog cake. How many times have you heard those words said together? Don't hate on this recipe just yet. I admit it sounds weird but trust me, it's delicious.
Instead of grilling or boiling hot dogs, Another way to serve these at your summer party is to bake them into a savory cake, a relish mustard flavored savory cake to be specific. This crazy fun recipe is a good fit for any July 4th picnic table is super easy to make. It's also a fun dish to bring to a potluck barbecue.
The batter comes together in minutes, Hot dogs are layered in a baking dish with the batter and topped with pan-fried ketchup spiked sweet onions before baking.
I've said it 1,000 times. I am not a cruise person. Don't get me wrong. I love being on a boat. In the last 25 years, I have vacationed on liveaboard diving boats all over the world and would jump on one right now. The difference is most of those boats carry between 12 -30 divers. But cruising on a big boat filled with nondiving strangers? Doing "touristy" things? No. Thanks.
Never say never, right? Because two years ago, I found myself on a small cruise ship to the Dominican Republic. The lure? A socially conscious based cruise and a press trip for the unfortunately now-defunct Fathom cruises. Along with my fellow passengers, I planted trees in a rainforest, worked alongside local women in paper and chocolate making cooperatives, and taught English in a middle school and in a remote community. I loved every minute of it.