Zucchini Butter

155We were thrilled to be able to attend this year’s Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival.

082But more excited to be able to attend the private brunch at Marble House before the event with dazzling French winemaker Sacha Lichine.  Who makes the most amazing wine we have ever tasted.




Incidentally look how comfy Joe is starting to look at these shindigs. Oh nevermind, I think he’s just drunk.

115I mean, this party was faaaaaancy.

098How do I know?125

Dudes in ascots.  Tool.167

The food was divine.



Handmade truffles? Yes, please.

212And the wine….oh the wine….



147152The best wine by far was made by our new friend, Sacha Lichine. Do yourself a big favor and find a few bottles.  They are all phenomenal but The Whispering Angel and the Garrus are beyond spectacular.


Oh, and there was one other reason for attending the festival.

157I almost forgot. In all her matching denim glory, the queen…………..

photo (1)“I’m your number 1 fan”…………..Shit, is that too Kathy Bates??

247Probably. Since all she wanted to do was chat with Joe.

228I accept it. For those who know me, this is about as far as the police will let me stand near Martha.

174 Although that doesn’t stop me from dressing like a bush and hiding behind a tree to see her.


This is the zucchini butter recipe I imagine serving to Martha when she pops over for brunch.

004013038034This is the way I use zucchini butter in an appetizer when Martha comes over to my parties.003029This is the zucchini butter I will slather on toast and top with a fried egg for breakfast when Martha asks to crash at our pad after drinking too much Garrus.268

And when she stays for dinner, this is the zucchini butter pizza I will serve her.056I think I hear the authorities knocking. Enjoy the zucchini butter.

Zucchini Butter

  • 2 pounds zucchini
  • ¼cup olive oil or butter
  • 2minced shallots, garlic, or combination of both
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Coarsely grate the zucchini. Let it drain in a colander for 3 to 4 minutes or until you are ready to begin cooking. To hasten cooking time, squeeze the water out of the zucchini by wringing it in a clean cloth towel.
  2. In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil/butter. Sauté the shallots or garlic briefly. Add the zucchini and toss. Cook and stir over medium to medium-high heat until the zucchini reaches a spreadable consistency, about 15 minutes. If you scorch the bottom, turn the flame down! (And scrape those delicious bits into the butter for added flavor — you can splash in a little water to help deglaze the pan.) The zucchini will hold its bright green color and slowly caramelize into a nice vegetable jam.


Peaches with Cava


There’s something unnatural about fruit desserts.


It’s like watching Toddler’s and Tiara’s.

005There’s something about it that’s just not quite right.

009But if you add some wine, it makes it all better.


Suddenly realizing why I never became a school teacher.


But at least I’m not a pageant mom.

Cava with Peaches

Just to make sure your waistline really suffers for the sacrifice of eating a fruit dessert, add some fresh whipped cream and nuts.
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Cava or other sparkling wine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 cups sliced peaches (about 2 pounds)
  1. Combine lemon zest and Cava in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 15 minutes). Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add sliced peaches; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover and chill.



Breaded Avocado Bites with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce


On any given Sunday….


We are antiquing, fruit picking or at Bed Bath and Beyond.


As much as Joe tries to convince me that he enjoys these activities more than laying on the couch watching football, I suspect it is not true.084

Ok, Joe. Have your football today. My job is to make you a football watching snack.


Breaded avocado with a cilantro lime dipping sauce.


Even better?


Make the leftovers into tacos.




Breaded Avocado Bites with Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce
  • •1/4 cup flour
  • •1 tsp kosher salt
  • •2 large eggs, beaten
  • •1¼ cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • •2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into ½-in. wedges
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Coat avocado slices in the four, then egg, then panko. Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, then place on a cookie sheet. Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or until they are golden brown (I turned my oven up to 500 for the last 5 minutes).
Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (about ½ lime), more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  1. Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.


Zucchini Chips


When Lay’s started making flavored chips like Cappucino and Chicken and Waffles, I thought it may be time to give up the salty snack dream.


Rest assured, waistline,  I figured out that zucchini is a natural fit for a chip.


Just a light dust of olive oil.


With your olive oil duster.


Joe, don’t be mad. I NEEDED it.


They come out crispy and light and incredibly addictive.


Betcha can’t eat just one.



Zucchini Chips
It’s no secret. This recipe is a pain in the ass. Do not pay attention to other recipes you may find on the internet, which will have the fire department at your house in 15 minutes. Don’t ask me how I know. Invest in the mister and hold tight to your patience and this recipe will change the way you look at chips forever.
  • 2 Zucchinis, sliced thin but not too thin with a mandolin
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  1. Slice up your zucchini with the mandolin, then blot with a paper towel and let dry on a baking sheet for at least an hour, not more than 2 hours
  2. Place the slices on silicon lined baking sheets. You will need at least 2 baking sheets but rent a movie cause its gonna be a while.
  3. Spray with an olive oil mister. If you drizzle with olive oil, the chips will over saturate and come out soggy.
  4. Sprinkle conservatively with sea salt. Be careful, if you oversalt, the chips will shrink and no one likes shrinkage. Seriously.
  5. Bake at 225 for 2+ hours. At 90 minute mark, flip chips over to brown evenly.
  6. Remove chips and let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Eat them 2 at a time because they are amazing.





Grilled Romaine with Bacon Dressing and Blue Cheese


Grilling a salad?


What the fork?


Yup, it tastes great.


Which proves you can put just about anything on the grill and make it taste good.


One word of caution.


Does not work with dead houseplants.


Don’t ask me how I know.





Grilled Romaine with Bacon and Blue Cheese

  • 6 strips bacon
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 heads romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise, rinsed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
  1. Heat bacon in a 12″ skillet over medium heat, and cook, turning once, until crisp and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, reserving 2 tbsp. drippings, and let cool; crumble and set aside. Transfer reserved drippings to a bowl, and add oil, vinegar, and Worcestershire; whisk until smooth, and set dressing aside.
  2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat.) Working in batches, if necessary, place romaine halves cut-side down on grill, and cook, turning once, until charred and slightly wilted, about 4 minutes.
  3. Transfer lettuce cut-side up to a serving platter, and season with salt and pepper; drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with reserved bacon and blue cheese.


Curry Mac and Cheese


Hypothetically, if I were to murder the woman in front of me at Duane Reade….


With the Prada bag………..


And a demonic Cavalier King Charles Spaniel tucked inside ….


Who is literally asking for a discount on an open roll of paper towels………..


And is proceeding to count out 3 dollars in pennies and nickels………



And I was convicted…………..


This would be my last meal.


I used specialty Vadouvan curry from France.


But feel free to use any curry that makes you seem unbelievably pretentious.


It’s worth every penny.


Curry Mac and Cheese

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 5½ cups milk
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons vadouvan spice blend
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle
  • 4½ cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar
  • 2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1¼ cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.
  2. Make breadcrumb topping. Melt one stick of butter completely and stir in about 2 cups of breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  4. Slowly pour hot milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, vadouvan, ground chipotle, 3 cups cheddar, and 1½ cups Gruyère or 1 cup Pecorino Romano. Set cheese sauce aside.
  5. Fill a large saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining 1½ cups cheddar and ½ cup Gruyère or ¼ cup Pecorino Romano; scatter breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.


Chocolate Double Espresso Pots de Creme


To my friends that are worried about my sleep habits because of my work on this blog, don’t fret. I don’t actually work on my blog at 4am.


At 4am I am usually on the couch watching an Adam Levine Pro-Activ commercial. Damn, his skin looks dewy.


I better get a healing mask. Quick.


Maybe 2 of them since if I order right now, I will get a second one free.


May as well get a Slap-Chop while I am at it. Carpe diem.


So, no, I don’t need another reason to stay awake but if I did, this is a really good one.DSC_2173

I meant the Chocolate Pots De Crème, of course.  Not Adam Levine.


Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme

  • •6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
  • •1⅓ cups heavy cream
  • •2/3 cup whole milk
  • •5 teaspoons instant-espresso powder*
  • •6 large egg yolks
  • •2 tablespoons sugar
  • Special equipment: 8 (4- to 5-oz) ramekins or pot de crème cups
  • •Garnish: edible flowers because why not.
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream, milk, espresso powder (to taste), and a pinch of salt just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until espresso powder is dissolved, then pour over chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in another bowl, then add warm chocolate mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a 1-quart glass measure and cool completely, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  4. Line bottom of a baking pan (large enough to hold ramekins) with a folded kitchen towel and arrange ramekins on towel. Poke several holes in a large sheet of foil with a skewer. Divide custard among ramekins, then bake custards in a hot water bath , pan covered tightly with foil, until custards are set around edges but still slightly wobbly in centers, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Transfer ramekins to a rack to cool completely, uncovered, about 1 hour. (Custards will set as they cool.) Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.




Carrot Pancakes with Salted Yogurt (gluten free)


I am not sure that this was what Joe was expecting when I asked him if he wanted pancakes for breakfast.


Especially when I broke out the carrots.


And the cilantro.


And the chickpea flour.


No whipped cream or chocolate chips arranged in an awkward smile.  I don’t know about you but I don’t ever want my breakfast smiling at me.


Instead….carrot pancakes with a salted yogurt topping.


And just to make it really offensive, I added sprouts.


To my surprise he liked the carrot pancakes more than I thought.


You can use the sprouts to eat or to like, you know, stuff a pillow.

Carrot Pancakes with Salted Yogurt
  • 4 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1poundcarrots (about 8 medium), peeled, coarsely grated
  • ⅓ cupchopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cupchickpea flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3tablespoons(or more) olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup plain whole yogurt
  • 1 cup spicy greens or sprouts
  • 1 tablespoonfresh lemon juice
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  1. Mix eggs, carrots, cilantro, and chickpea flour in a large bowl (mixture will be loose); season with kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Scoop two ½-cupfuls of carrot mixture into skillet, pressing each to ½” thickness. Cook, rotating skillet occasionally for even browning, until pancakes are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat to make 2 more pancakes, adding more oil to skillet if needed.
  3. Meanwhile, season yogurt with kosher salt and pepper. Toss greens with lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with kosher salt and pepper.
  4. Serve carrot pancakes with salad and salted yogurt, seasoned with sea salt and more pepper.


Black Sesame Carrot Cake


I love carrot cake.


Despite all those healthy carrots.


To my surprise I made this one without globs of cream cheese frosting.


I used toasted black sesame seeds instead as a topping.


Did I mention this cake is also totally vegan?


Which means you can eat unlimited portions without gaining any weight.


Doesnt it?




I am in trouble.

Black Sesame Carrot Cake

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk or cow’s milk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium carrots (about 8 oz.), peeled, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 8×4” loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, almond milk, ginger, and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients, then fold in carrots (be careful not to overmix). Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  3. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 75–85 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.
  4. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store wrapped tightly at room temperature.



Key Lime Panna Cotta with Salted Pretzel Topping


Not everyone is a fan of panna cotta.


It’s a dessert that wiggles more than a Kardashian sister.


But I am a fan of key lime pie.


This dessert combines the best elements of traditional key lime pie but in a lighter way.


It’s low fat.


So you can wiggle out of any tight outfit you want.


Like a Kardashian sister.

Key Lime Panna Cotta with Salted Pretzel Topping

  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • ½ cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated Key lime rind
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 4 tablespoons Key lime juice, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 package crushed salted pretzels
  1. Preparation
  2. Combine first 3 ingredients and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat; cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
  3. Place ¼ cup 2% milk in a medium bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over milk; let stand 10 minutes.
  4. Return pan to medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Add hot milk mixture to gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Add remaining ¾ cup 2% milk. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids. Stir in 1 tablespoon Key lime juice. Divide mixture evenly among 4 (4-ounce) ramekins or custard cups lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon juice and honey.
  6. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add pretzel crumbs and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt. Cook 1 minute or until lightly toasted, stirring constantly. Cool completely. To serve, loosen edges of panna cotta with a knife or rubber spatula. Invert ramekins onto dessert plates. Drizzle each with about 2 teaspoons honey mixture, and top with about 2 teaspoons salted pretzel crumbs.



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