Blackberry Brie Flatbread Pizza

Blackberry Brie Flatbread Pizza with Tarragon

It’s a cold messy Winter day here in NYC, the perfect day to turn on the oven and reshoot some recipes for the little cookbook I’m working on. It’s going to be a sweet gem of a tome of cocktail nibbles geared mostly for those sultry summer nights. This recipe is meant for the grill, not so much the oven.

A lot of people talk about the overwhelming work and effort of creating a cookbook. Perhaps because I love it so much, perhaps because it’s only 45 recipes, perhaps because I am my own boss-girl on this project- but I am finding it only joyful and fun. Then again, I’m only halfway there. And then there is selling it.

I’ll keep you posted on all this. You will all buy a copy right? I will give you the friends and family discount, I promise!

In the meantime, I hope you like this little sweetie. Take a good quality flatbread, smear some most excellent fresh ricotta on the bottom, then layer some slices of brie, sprinkle with juicy blackberries and roast in a 450˚ oven until the berries are bursting and the cheese is bubbling and runny. Splash some tarragon on top and then have at it. Easy breezy for cocktails on the deck.

So much for Winter, I’m ready for that…..


Last minute party Hummus


Pomegranate Pistachio Hummus- A stack of Dishes

Pomegranate Molasses and Pistachio Hummus

Now that the summer is unofficially here I have begun to think about weekend entertaining. To make my life easier I have created a few variations on hummus. The idea is to have some easy fall back or go-to that is not the same ol’ same ol’. Let there be NO humdrum hummus!!

If you’re like me we have at least one or two impromptu cocktail hour get togethers. Keeping stock on some sprightly rose is fairly easy, but the snacks! I grapple with trying to come up with something different. Last summer I easily ate my weight in delicious cheese. Now there ain’t nothing wrong with that- and trust me, it will happen again and again- but it also can feel like a cop out sometimes.

White Bean Hummus with Dill Oil and Black Salt-A Stack of Dishes

White Bean Hummus with Dill Oil and Black Salt

And I will be honest- all that goodness did not do my waistline any favors either. (no complaints, it was deelish!!) The reality though is I would rather spend my time on the tennis court or relaxing on the beach. Futzing in the kitchen is ok on a gray or rainy day, but I pretty much want to open the fridge and pull out some magic.

So here you go my friends- You can make your hummus from scratch, or keep a master tub of plain hummus in the fridge- you know, next to the rose…. [Read more…]

Country Pate {Pate de Campagne}

Pork and Turkey Country Pate ~ A Stack of Dishes

The cooler weather is finally settling in to Louisiana. I should hardly say a thing about it since some of my Northern friends are already suffering storms and foul weather. “Cooler weather” here means the horrible chore of having to put on a jacket, and I hate to tell you that a scarf is non unheard of at 66 degrees. (Yes, 66 is considered nippy to me now. *sigh*) Be that as it may, this is where we are at, and we must all flow where we are.

As the days shorten The Wife and I find ourselves pulling together dinner parties in lieu of the sunset cocktails on the porch. This is a wonderland for us. The Wife is in charge of the family “wine cellar”, a job that she takes on with passion and with great talent. Me, I have the joy of delving into the kitchen and creating more complicated and time intensive dishes.

Recently we had a small dinner party. The Wife chose a gorgeous Italian Prosecco to serve to our guests as they gathered and settled. We have learned that some of the best evenings start off with a little sparkle. As an accompaniment, my mind went to something earthy, something savory, with a hint of sweet to offset the wine. I wanted something special and yet, not overly stuffy. When I lived in Manhattan there were plenty of options for pre made pates of several types- but that’s not so much the case here. I also discovered when discussing this idea with a few friends was that not so many folks are as keen on liver as I am. This I find not surprising, but just so sad. I simply adore liver pate and could easily overindulge with abandon. 

When I first moved here I found the lack of provisions an obstacle, but these days I have come to accept it as de rigeur. I remind myself not to complain when there are so many other wonderful things about living here. Besides, it has forced me to become more honed to the basic  kitchen arts, which does my heart good. The art of making pate however does not demand fine skills. I would say the challenge lies less in the technique and more in the balance of flavors. [Read more…]