Thursday, July 24, 2014

Warm Spicy Citrus Castelvetrano Olives | Friday Night Bites


When I am at Whole Foods, nine times out of ten, I make my way to the olive bar.  They house one of the best selections in the Bay Area of olives without having to venture to a specialty shop in San Francisco.  One of my absolute favorites is the Castelvetrano Olive.  It is grown exclusively in western Sicily among the Belice river valley, near the town of Castelvetrano.  The prime time for harvesting is the beginning of October through mid November. 

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Strawberry, Apricot & Coconut Scones | Secret Recipe Club


It is hard to believe it has been just a week.  A week since our little Max went to heaven. Max came into our home when he was just 8 weeks old and was a bundle of joy.  Max was our furry four legged child.  He battled cancer for the last couple months of his life and on Sunday last week, he went to the great dog park in the sky.  It had to be one of the most difficult days for hubby and me.  The next day was especially challenging since the house seemed so big and empty without our little guy.  Since then, time is beginning to make things a bit easier. The tears have lessened. I can talk about and think about him, without getting so emotional.  I will have always have a special place in my heart for Max. They say time heals and I believe it does.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tomato, Corn & Avocado Bruschetta | Friday Night Bites


For many of us, we lead busy lives and often don’t take the time to truly enjoy time together with friends and family.  When we do slow down, it is important to truly appreciate those moments and do things that make us happy.  Entertaining is one of my favorite things.  The art of bringing joy to my guest’s faces is one of the best gifts I can give.  Everyone in this world is given particular talents or gifts; mine is bringing folks together to simply enjoy life through great food, great conversation and adding those special entertaining touches that brings the evening to the next level.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pecan Cheddar Wafers | Friday Night Bites


There is something about a crisp, handmade satisfying cracker and a glass of wine that just sets the weekend in the right direction.  While browsing through an older issue of Saveur (November 2013) I came across this article that highlighted the pecan and the south. It was titled Southern Belle.  I was instantly drawn to the Pecan Cheese Wafer recipe.  I changed it up slightly. Despite only visiting Arkansas, I have yet to explore the south and have such a fascination that is dying to be satisfied.  I guess I could equate myself to being a “Southophile” versus a Francophile.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Steakhouse Crostini | Friday Night Bites


Oh how I love a great Steakhouse!  We have some good choices here in the Bay Area -although I can only imagine doing a jaunt through the mid-west – now that is steakhouse country.  When we visited Chicago last summer, I was amazed that on almost every corner, there was a steakhouse.  Unfortunately for us, we did not have time to partake in a true mid-west steakhouse – next time for sure.  We did go here, here and here - all fantastic, especially the first one was my absolute favorite.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Amaretti Sugar Cookies



This cookie is simply magical.  It is a few bites of divine flavor and texture.  I get in the mood to make cookies fairly often.  I have to admit that it is primarily to eat the cookie dough, although I enjoy the finished product.  I will typically make a double batch, so I certainly make enough in between my nibbling on the dough.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Sorbet | Secret Recipe Club



Summer is around the corner.  Not sure about you, but I can sense the change of seasons.  There is just something in the air that triggers the transition from one season to the next.  I can appreciate each season but summer is at the top of my list.  The days are longer, the nights are warmer, the food is fresh and abundant and generally people are happy and relaxed.  Now is the time of year where I pull the ice cream maker out from the back of the pantry and move it front and center.  I already have a bucket list of flavors to make and look forward to sharing with all of you in the coming months.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Apple, Gorgonzola and Pecan Salad on Endive Leaves | Friday Night Bites



I don’t know about you, but how did we get through almost half of 2014 already.  Time seems as thought it is speeding up but we know it is moving at the same pace it has for thousands of years.  Summer is around the corner and I am anxious to make ice cream, fresh salads, grilling outdoors and sipping wine in our backyard on warm evenings.  I thought I would share a great summer inspired appetizer for this week’s Friday Night Bites.  I was inspired by this recipe and made some adaptations to make it my own.  It is fresh, crisp and light – just right for summer.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Brussels Sprouts and Smoked Onions on Cheddar Crostini | Friday Night Bites


One of my favorite vegetables on earth is ………Brussels Sprouts.  I know some of you out there are saying to yourself – I completely agree with her where as others are thinking these are the most disgusting veggies on earth.  We all have our preferences when it comes to food and what falls where on the like and dislike tally.  Our differences make the world go round – right?  With my love for Brussels Sprouts, I probably prepare them at least once a week in some form or another.  A bonus for me – hubby is a huge fan. 

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Fava Bean Crostini | Friday Night Bites



Fava beans are one of life’s delightful pleasures. Fava beans are actually an ancient food that has been around for thousands of years primarily in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The term fava comes from the Italian word “Fava” meaning “broad bean” and if you are in England, you will often hear that term. Other terms that are associated with fava beans are: pigeon beans, horse beans and Windsor beans. Fava beans are planted in February and March to mature through the summer, with their peak in July and August.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kale Avocado Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette | Secret Recipe Club



Lately it is feeling a lot like summer in the Bay Area.  Quite frankly it suits me just fine.  Last weekend hubby and I dusted off the patio cushions and set the backyard in motion for the season.  This meant the furniture was hosed off, the patio was wiped clean of leaves and other debris along with making sure the outdoor BBQ was ready to get a workout all summer long.  One of the most relaxing activities I enjoy is coming home from a long day at work and enjoying a glass of wine outside with my hubby.  The sound of the water dropping into the fountain and the warm summer air just sets the scene for perfection.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cast Iron Skillet Salsa | Friday Night Bites



Okay friends, sorry I have been a bit elusive lately.  Life has just gotten extremely busy and a bit of stress along the way.  Seems like there is just not enough time in the day and unfortunately my lovely little blog has been the victim.  I am hoping that things will calm down a bit and I can get back to posting at least 2 times per week.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

White Cheddar Olive Poppers | Friday Night Bites


Are you looking for a proven crowd pleaser appetizer recipe?  Look no further.  These little bites of divine goodness are your ticket to elevating your entertaining status to a high level.  They are simple, tasty and addictive.  They combine the “carb” component we all crave, along with the saltiness of the olive which makes for an unbelievable combination.  Trust me, the only problem you will have is that you and your guests will devour them and will want you to make more.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Raspberry Jam & Buttercream Sandwich Cookies | Secret Recipe Club



Sometimes there is nothing better than a great cookie.  Cookies are often the connector that makes people smile from ear to ear.  Baking is my way of sharing my passion and the shear joy it brings to people resonates back to me ten fold.  My biggest fan is my hubby and his eyes lit up when I let him know I was baking cookies.  Over the weekend, I said to him that I was making him a surprise cookie for the Secret Recipe Club and I knew he would love them.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

English Pea and Bacon Crostini | Friday Night Bites


Inspiration can come from anywhere or anyone.  This week’s Friday Night Bites came from someone I completely admire for their artistic flare, creativeness, abounding talent and is at the same time, a completely real person.  This person is Paul Lowe and you might know him better as Sweet Paul.  I was first introduced to this culinary and artistic master by way of his online magazine and blog called Sweet Paul  If you have not had the pleasure of feasting through the online couture of food and styling, then I highly encourage you to take a few moments in your day to simply have a visual feast.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baby Kale, Golden Beet and Goat Cheese Crostini | Friday Night Bites



It is Crostini time.  You know how I simply adore a brilliant Crostini that is packed with flavor and color.  Have I got a treat for you today?  I was super excited when the wonderful folks at Dole Salads reached out to me and asked if I would like to try some of their new salads.  I did not even have to hesitate and in turn quickly replied with a resounding YES.  I have partnered with them before and I have to say that their products are brilliant, fresh and exemplify the utmost highest quality.

Once I opened the large box that was delivered to my office, I was immediately intrigued by the Baby Kale.  I mean I love, love, love kale and in a miniature format, I am all over that.  I debated a bit about how I would use this lovely green and then it came to me – a Crostini for Friday Night Bites.  First, let me quickly share with all of you what other goodies came in this large box.  Dole just came out with 2 new flavors for their Chopped Salad Kits – Sunflower Crunch and Sesame Asian – both were supreme and full of crunch and packed with flavor.  Hubby and I did not add anything extra but I can only imagine either with freshly grilled chicken or salmon.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wild Mushroom Bites | Friday Night Bites



Life has been quite hectic lately.  Some of you may have noticed that last week the Friday Night Bites series took a hiatus.  The good news is I am back and super excited to share this week’s Friday Night Bites.  I had envisioned this little delight for sometime and finally I am able to share with all of you.  The idea of creating a little box or package out of bread and then serving a delectable mushroom duxelle that adorns the top of each one simply made me smile.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Crab Cake Sliders with Jalapeno Aioli + "Paying it Forward"



It was a beautiful weekend in the Bay Area.  The skies had hues of crystal blue along with a few hints of cirrus clouds hanging around at 50,000 feet above ground.  No wind in sight and my flip flops made it out of the closet and on to my feet.  Spent Saturday in San Francisco at a leaders retreat workshop for a professional organization I belong to.  It was a stunning day to spend the day in the city.  San Francisco is known for its perfectly sweet crab and the season in full swing.  On the way home, I picked up some Chicken of the Sea lump crab from Trader Joes since I promised hubby I would make my Crab Cake Sliders with Jalapeno Aioli.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Chunky Chicken and Beer Chili | Secret Recipe Club


It is that time again.  Hard to believe that time goes by that quickly. When I say time, I mean for the Secret Recipe Club.  I am sure you are familiar by now what all the fun is about, but if not, please click here to learn more about it.  This month I was honored to have Melissa from Melissa's Cuisine. Melissa is a twenty something who married the love of her life Mike and resides in West Michigan. Oh and they have an adorable doggie named Champ.  She stays active with a baby girl Summer and running races and marathons.  She loves cooking and documents her cooking adventures on her blog.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Perfect Italian Soup | Friday Night Bites



Growing up there was a special family style restaurant called Bancheros.  It was completely old school Italian but we loved going there as kids.  Often my parents would call ahead and pick up dinner to enjoy at home.  My absolute favorite item on the menu was their soup.  It was nothing fancy but the flavors were just supreme. Several years ago I learned that they closed their doors and it was like a really good friend who moved away or worse passed on.  I would never be able to enjoy that special soup. 

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Spicy “Chicken of the Sea” Potato Croquettes + The Great American Gratitude Tour



The famous Mermaid on the can of Chicken of the Sea is turning 100 this year.  Boy she doesn’t look a day over twenty nine. Wink. Smile. Seriously, the Chicken of the Sea brand is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and is kicking it off by bringing the first ever Chicken of the Sea American Gratitude Tour.  It is a six month, 56-city journey across the country along with honor local non-profits and heroes who are making their communities great.


When companies give back it is one of the highest honors and gifts they can give as an organization in my opinion.  You can play a part in this philanthropic effort by nominating a deserving friend or non-profit organization for a $10,000 Gratitude Award.  Chicken of the Sea wants to pay it forward by investing $1 Million dollars in up to 100 public service minded individuals and non-profits across America.  Your nomination will recognize those special Americans who continue to “Ignite and Unite” with the priceless gift of community service and volunteerism.  Simply click here to nominate a worthy friend or group that is doing outstanding work in their community.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Deviled Eggs with Bourbon Bacon Jam | Friday Night Bites


Okay it is almost Friday night and I could not be more excited for the end of the work week. Simply just need to unwind and let go of stress.  As you probably already figured out, I am on a deviled egg kick and just had to share another fun recipe with all of you.  I have an immense affinity for condiments – whether it is jam, pickles or salad dressings.  I am simply fascinated with making them and purchasing them.  They are the adornment to a dish and add that extra “wow” factor.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Salted Caramel Bars



I crave caramel over chocolate.  I am not one of those self proclaimed chocoholics but if there is such a thing as a caramel-holic, then I would fall into that category.  Give me a bowl of really good vanilla ice cream and some warm homemade salted caramel and a spoon – I am in heaven for sure.

Not sure if you are a dog lover, but I am.  Hubby and I have had Max our 14 ½ year old Lhasa Apso since he was eight weeks old.  We affectionately refer to him as the senior citizen these days although he has quite a bit of "pep in his step".  Last week, hubby heard him barking at 2:30am, which is quite unusual for him.  We got up to see what was going on and found that he was struggling to use his back legs.  As his doggie mommy, I was quite distressed and worried.  We finally got him comfortable and in the morning, I was able to secure an appointment and bring him to the vet.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

French Onion Soup Deviled Eggs | Friday Night Bites



One of hubby’s favorite things on earth is the Deviled Egg.  When I make them, his eyes light up like a Christmas tree and I swear his mouth begins to salivate like a dog.  I believe the deviled eggs of the seventies are making a resurgence onto the food scene with a vengeance.  The flavor profiles are quite creative now and make a wonderful appetizer for a cocktail party or simply enjoying at home.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Petite Sage and Gruyere Biscuits | Friday Night Bites



Back in December I made the most magnificent biscuits.  After visiting the biscuit bender 6 months ago in the San Francisco Ferry Building I was on a quest to create biscuits as good as his or better.  I believe I accomplished my task with these heavenly biscuits. 

Since the end of last year when I hosted our annual food bloggerscookie exchange and lunch, I promised I would post my recipe for the biscuits I served.  Finally that day has arrived.  I know that Patti, Liren, Jean, Azmina, Lisa and Gina will be thrilled to be able to make these at home.  Knowing these talented ladies, they will put a twist on the recipe and come up with a fun variation.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Greek Yogurt Handmade Granola Parfait + Tillamook Farmstyle Brunch Highlights



When an invitation came via email from Kelly at SodaPop PR to attend a Farmstyle Brunch sponsored by Tillamook at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in the Mission district in San Francisco, it was an instantaneous YES! Tillamook is one of those well respected brands that I have enjoyed for years.  I have long associated them with their infamous medium sharp cheddar cheese and learned quickly that they have expanded their brand into other products.  The focus of the brunch was to introduce their new Farmstyle Greek Yogurt.  By the way, Tillamook makes butter, sour cream, yogurt and ice cream.  Note to self, need to buy some of their ice cream pronto.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oven Fries with Sriracha Ketchup | Friday Night Bites



My inspiration for this week’s Friday Night Bites came from my hubby.  He adores ketchup with his French fries and on his scrambled eggs. My cooking bucket list has had homemade ketchup waiting a long time to be crossed off – now I can take that black sharpie and cross it off.  I could not just make simple ketchup but had to kick it up a notch with Sriracha.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Lemon Currant Cream Scones | Secret Recipe Club



Weekend mornings at our house are sometimes quite frankly lazy days.  Hubby and I work long hours all week and come the weekend, it is time to let our hair down, keep our pajamas on, sip on some freshly brewed coffee and enjoyed a handmade breakfast.  Lately I have been on a Steel Cut Oatmeal kick and can’t get enough.  The hearty flavor with a touch of brown sugar is simply love in a bowl.  Albeit, the time (almost 30 minutes) one must put into coking this bowl of love, it is very much worth the time for tasty and healthy reasons.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mini Grilled Cheese with Jalapeno Apricot Relish | Friday Night Bites



Last weekend I was invited by Tillamook Cheese and Soda PopPR to attend a Farmstyle Brunch at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco’s mission district.  I love a great grilled cheese sandwich and have long admired the Tillamook brand, so it was a no brainer – I needed to attend.  Who knew Tillamook made more than their famous medium cheddar cheese?  Well they do. In addition to cheese, they make ice cream, butter, sour cream, yogurt and their latest product launch is for their Greek style yogurt.  By the way, it is different than the typical Greek yogurt and quite frankly I am now hooked on it.  I will have a detailed post highlighting the brunch and yogurt coming in about a week.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Deviled Egg Cups | Friday Night Bites



I had every intention of making deviled eggs.  However, after I realized something went astray from my cooking process with the eggs and peeling each one was going to take 10 years – I went into plan B.  Today I am sharing “plan B” with all of you.  The age old phrase – when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  Thinking quick on my feet, I went into my impromptu plan B – the Deviled Egg Cup.  The end result was simply divine and it will be a repeat appetizer for sure.


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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Walnut, Honey and Chèvre Crostini | Friday Night Bites



Have you ever made something that instantly you say to yourself – this is absolutely one of the best things I have had in a long time?  If you are like me, you like to cook a variety of dishes which are great.  But then you have those certain dishes that you make that just stand out and make your taste buds do the happy dance.  This Crostini was dancing like the stars for me.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Pepperoni Caprese Bites with Basil Vinaigrette | Friday Night Bites



What an incredibly busy week.  So hectic that this weeks Friday Night Bites is actually appearing on Friday.  With work kicking into high gear along with hosting my direct reports for the annual team appreciation lunch at my house plus some other events, this week whirled by.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mini Meyer Lemon and Strawberry Bundt Cakes | Secret Recipe Club




I am elated that it is Meyer Lemon season.  This lemon is a hybrid between a lemon and a mandarin orange and is native to China.  I couldn’t be happier that they made their way to the United States back in the early 1900’s.  Several were ready to be picked from my tree on the patio and just needed to find that perfect recipe to highlight these little yellow gems.


After an extended holiday break from The Secret Recipe Club, we are back up and running.  I missed the monthly reveal and exploring another bloggers site.  If you are not familiar with The Secret Recipe Club or want to join, simply click here to learn more.  Essentially each month you are paired with another food blogger and you can choose any recipe they have posted.  You make it and post it.  Yup – it is that simple.  The fun part is finding out who had your blog and what they chose.


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wild Mushroom Crostini | Friday Night Bites



I am a Crostini enthusiast! I am consistently creating new combinations in my head – often when I am driving or falling asleep. This holiday season was a time for entertaining at my house and that naturally means appetizers will be part of the event.  If you know me or have followed me for a while, “the Crostini” will make an appearance on the blog.  It is that time again.  This Wild Mushroom Crostini was a complete hit at one of my parties, especially since one of my dear friends is a vegetarian.  I actually had her in mind, when creating it.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Roasted Shallot Dip | Friday Night Bites



Getting friends together and making them smile by cooking some of my favorite things along with trying out new recipes, brings me much joy.  Over the holidays, I was a frequent entertainer – which suited me just fine. My hubby is always amazed that I will make a new recipe for friends who are coming over. I guess it never really fazes me.  It gives me the opportunity to test out a new recipe and make tweaks to enhance the overall taste. I must admit that looking back, I have vastly improved my cooking prowess and I can evaluate a recipe quickly and make adjustments.

While browsing the web, I came across a recipe for Roasted Shallot Dip on  Southern Living .  My mouth began to salivate immediately.  Besides the ultra creamy texture, the process of roasting the shallots in their skins was a unique technique that sparked my interest.  Okay, the pile of bacon bits on top certainly had an allure that was unmistaken. A typical onion dip has sour cream and perhaps some cream cheese or mayonnaise added in for good measure.  This particular recipe has mascarpone cheese.  You heard me right – mascarpone cheese.  This was the secret weapon in this masterful dip.  I topped with crumbled crispy bacon and finely chopped scallions – it was perfect.  I made a few changes to the recipe but found it to be a keeper.  Next time I would add some dry roasted pecans to the top and can just imagine how over the top delicious that would be.  Note to self – buy pecans.  Smile.

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