Thursday, December 30, 2010

A day in homemade history...

Today I took a big plunge and have officially weaned myself off of the Trader Joe's Pre-made Pizza Sauce (no offense TJ's, but it was time to try). It wasn't easy, let me tell you, but I sure am proud and amazed at how easy it is!

Fool Proof Pizza Sauce:

Olive Oil
Minced Garlic (I used the pre-jarred kind from Safeway)
1 large onion - sauteed and sliced finely
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sprinkle of Dried Oregano and Dried Basil
1 small can of tomato paste (choose an "Italian" brand!)
28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes (choose an "Italian" looking brand!)

Saute onions and garlic in a pan with olive oil on low heat until translucent.
Add tomato paste and dried herbs and continue to saute.
Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until it tastes AMAZING!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dream Date in Baltimore

Today's Daydreams lead me back to August when the hubby and I went to a little place in Baltimore called "The Black Olive". Tucked away in Fells Point, off the beaten path, this place surely surprises its guests with fresh produce on the menu, a display of fresh caught seafood, and a BEAUTIFUL patio out back that makes you feel like you have died and gone to Greece, Italy or somewhere on the Mediterranean.

The Black Olive also features an Inn (adjoined) that has become LEED certified and is a GREEN Building. Super Cool!

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Cookbook for the New Year!

So excited to get cookin' and try my new cookbook with great inspiration for dinner ideas that use simple, already bought (or in the pantry) ingredients to create delicious meals.

Happy (almost) New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Years Resolutions...

This time of year makes everyone start thinking of a New Years Resolution. Problem is, I don't like to make them if I know that I won't be keeping them...seems like a bit of a downer!

So this year, I am inspired by the blog "Dinner, A Love Story" and will be following in the author's footsteps. 2011 will be the beginning of my Dinner Journal, a great place to jot down recipes and ideas that work (and those that flopped!) so that, a year later (or more, if I keep my resolution), I can reflect on dinner parties, friends over for dinner, and romantic nights for two that might have otherwise been forgotten in the mad shuffle of the coming year.

Maybe this should be your resolution? :)

Read more about the author of "Dinner, A Love Story" and her success here:

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Headed to family get-togethers and celebrations for Christmas today and tomorrow. Be back soon with some fun NYE recipe ideas, New Years Resolutions (not your typical resolutions) and brand new ideas.

For now, enjoy a travel daydream for the Holidays.

If I could go anywhere right now...
El Golfo, Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Absolutely incredible!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hood + Scarf = SNOOD

If you want to get me (I mean a special someone) a great last minute gift, here is my new obsession.

Not a hood, not a scarf, but a SNOOD!

J.Crew has them and I am in love.

An adorable wool jacket from Bridge & Burn.

International New Years

Some of my closest friends and I have thought of having an "International New Years" party this year to save on $$ and stay in together to celebrate at our house. The idea has evolved over time from a rotating dinner party idea where each of us would prepare food from our distinct heritages...Danish/Swedish, Eastern European, Italian, Cuban, Welsh, Middle Eastern and American / Spanish wanna-be (thats me!). So this NYE we will be ringing in 2011 with a variety of worldly cuisines!

(note: it helps to do this with friends from all over the place, they come up with great ideas, recipes and family traditions!)

We will be preparing a Cuban favorite, Ropa Vieja or "old clothes".
Trust me, it doesn't taste like laundry!

Recipe for Traditional Cuban Ropa Vieja:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef flank steak
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar or sherry

Boil the flank steak with bay leaves, carrot, green pepper, onion and oregano and enough water to cover all ingredients. Continue to cook for at least 2 hours in a crock pot until meat is super tender. Shred meat with fork once tender.

Saute remaining onion, peppers, and garlic in olive oil. Deglaze with sherry or white vinegar. Add tomato sauce and paste and cumin and cook together for 15 minutes. Add to the shredded meat and cook until ready to serve.

Serve over white rice or with Moros y Cristianos (black beans mixed with white rice) or even on sandwiches on hearty toasted garlic bread.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today I became a "Señora"...

The adventure of making Spanish "Omelette" or Tortilla Española has always been a challenge. Today I took on the adventure and have made a big step in the right direction - figuring out the potato to egg ratio and heat levels when cooking. And, of course, the ever-dreaded FLIP!

Recipe for Tortilla Española (courtesy of

3 large eggs
olive oil and salt to taste
3 large potatoes
1 onion, peeled and chopped

Crack the eggs into a bowl. Whisk.
Heat some oil in a frying pan (not one with a heavy base as this will prove to be a hindrance when preparing to do the flip).
Add the potato and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the onion.
When the potato starts to brown a little on the edges and is mashed up with the onion in a lumpy fashion then add the eggs. Make sure the potato and onions are fully submerged by the eggs. Poke the potato to allow some of the egg to seep into the mashed mixture.
Fry this gently on a low heat. While cooking shake the pan to loosen the tortilla from the base and tidy the edges up with a wooden spoon. Do not over cook. The middle is meant to remain runny and gooey.
The egg will start setting, as this happens place a plate over the pan, a large enough plate to cover the pan substantially, and with a quick co-ordinated movement of both wrists FLIP the tortilla over onto the plate and slide back into the pan to cook the underside.
Keep shaking the pan lightly so the tortilla does not stick to the bottom.
Once it feels firm on the edges and soft in the middle (after about 1 minute) then slide the tortilla back onto the plate. For the brave heart you can do the flip again if you wish.

Day one!

Today it begins, my first adventure in blogging. Design is still in the process...
Check in later.