Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy feet!

Because I care about you and your comfort, may I humbly suggest that all of you immediately go online at and order yourselves some of these Keen "Newport" shoes. I got mine last weekend during their Labor Day sale...$69.99 versus $90...and I have been living in them. I've been wearing them to work every day at the wine shack, walking the dog in them, sleeping in them...okay, maybe not that, but you get my drift. I'm about to order another pair as backup. Crazy comfortable! You and your feet will be thanking me, I guarantee it!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Paley's Pleasure Principle

Paley's Place here in Portland is one of the rare restaurants in town that regularly gets written up in all the national food rags, everyone raving about Vitaly Paley's ultra seasonal cooking and the dining room ambience inspired by his wife Kimberley. I have to say I hadn't been there for dinner for years...and I'm talking, except for a quick visit to the bar a couple of years ago, 6 or 7 years...despite the raves I heard from everyone. I think it has to do with so many good places to eat on the eastside here in PDX, why cross the river? It's kind of like going to the Upper West Side from Greenwich Village. It's not a long trip, but when all your favorite places are a five minute drive (or walk) from your house, even a short 20 minute drive seems like a lot. So anyway, on date night last Saturday w and I made a long overdue pilgrimage. It actually didn't even take twenty minutes to get there, so really we have NO excuse.

I had reserved a table out on their front porch, which starting out on this warm evening was the perfect place to be (a little later it got cool, so we had them switch on the heaters that are thoughtfully arranged above each table). We each had a cocktail and jumped right into the fray with an order of Dungeness Crab Beignets with local microgreens (you see microgreens everywhere these days. What were they called before? Watercress??) and a green goddess dressing. This was wonderful, the beignets were perfectly puffy and light, just a hint of crab matching up deliciously with the green goddess dressing, which is the retro dressing du jour in restaurant world. We also had the thing I was most excited for, which I had on my brief refreshment visit a couple of years ago, Vitaly's perfect Kobe Beef Tartare, served with a bright yellow farm fresh egg yolk on top....SO good, and my first real carne cruda style treat since our Italian sojourn several months ago.

Bouncy beignets and Paley's version of carne cruda...yummm!!

We were ready for entrees, and another thoughtful thing they do at Paley's is offer all their mains in 1/2 portion sizes, which allows you to sample more choices at a very nominal markup. We had a middle course of a 1/2 plate of Corn and Chanterelle Ravioli with cherry tomatoes and basil. This was a lovely interlude, the sweet corn set off by the earthy mushroom flavor, with a nice bite provided by the sweet/tart cherry tomatoes. Again, seasonal cooking at its best.

Ravishing ravioli

After that treat, and just starting in on a slurpy good bottle of 2002 Torii Mor Pinot Noir Reserve (it didn't show much fresh out of the bottle, but after about an hour it was absolutely delicious. Surprisingly we drank slowly enough to get to enjoy it at its best!), our main plates arrived, looking exceedingly fetching. w had ordered their fish special (top pic below), a piece of black cod filet on a bed of lentils with mirepoix and surrounded by steamer clams scattered around the plate. Cooked just right, the fish super fresh and tender, the sauce providing a savory thrill with every bite. I had their Crispy Sweetbreads (bottom pic below), as I have yet to meet the thymus gland that didn't deserve my attention. It was served with grilled peaches and string beans and was superb. Memo to food fearists: do not fear the thymus! This was really good, right up there with the glandular perfection served at Alba Osteria. And again Paley's signature seasonality shining through on practically everything we ate.

Finally, we absolutely did ourselves in with their Summer Berry Trifle and the dessert special which was a super rich peanut butter pie with banana ice cream. Crazy good, totally crushed us like a good dessert should, and left us both knowing that Paley's is slinging some seriously good chow, and my return will be much sooner than later. I'll make it easy for the rest of you: if you live here, put it on your list. If you're visiting, put it on your list!

Dessert deliciousness!

The spoon, honey...USE THE SPOON!!!!

If the whole teen beauty queen thing doesn't work out, I hear Bush is looking a new speech writer...

Not that I expect these people to be Winston Churchill or anything, and you know I hate to be the one to pile on, but I think most U.S. Americans will find this brutally funny, such as.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Keep 'Em Coming!!

In my continuing quest to not let any tomatoes that are dropping off of my plants almost faster than I can eat them go to waste, last night I trotted out another new recipe at the 50th Avenue kitchen. I had halibut on my mind, a cold bottle of J. Christopher Zoot Allures Blanc in the fridge, and a pile of cherry and roma tomatoes to get through. After doing a little recipe research, I came across this one at epicurious. Now, before you judge the dish by the picture, I admit this isn't my finest photographic effort. I should've served the compote alongside as per their suggestion. But I was slingin' food, and trust me when both w and I found this to be pretty damn delish, and we went with their whole serving suggestion of grilled zucchini and buttered egg noodles. Everything worked, and once again this was a quick, easy, seasonal plate of satisfaction. Oh, and the sauv blanc based Zoot was a perfect match, it's bright fruit, zippy acidity, and slight grassiness matching perfectly with the sweet, sharp tomato-caper sauce!


Grilled Halibut with Warm Tomato Compote
adapted from

makes 2 Servings.


1 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 6- to 8-ounce halibut fillets (each about 1 inch thick)

2 tablespoons chopped shallots

1-2 cups chopped plum tomatoes/halved cherry tomatoes

3 tablespoons dry white wine

1 tablespoon (packed) chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried

1 or 2 tablespoons salt packed capers, rinsed


Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Melt butter in heavy medium skillet. Brush fish on both sides with half of butter. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper. Add shallots to butter remaining in skillet. Cook over high heat 1 minute. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook until juices evaporate, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add wine, tarragon, and capers and boil until compote is thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and keep warm.
Grill fish until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon compote alongside fish.


You may have read a couple of months ago about the incredible schnitzelwich that the Tabor cart on SW 5th Ave here in Portland cranks out. Big, deep fried, and delicious! Plus the couple who runs the cart are the maybe the nicest people you could hope to meet. So imagine my delight when I spied the Tabor cart at our local Montavilla Farmer's Market on a recent Sunday. I had raved to w about the glories of the schnitzelwich, so we stepped up to place our order. NO SCHNITZELWICH?? Damn. Quickly regrouping from this devastating hit to my tastebuds, we checked out the menu, and ordered a cup each of their chicken paprikash and Hungarian goulash. Holy shit!! This stuff is the real deal: rich, savory, intensely flavored, served with a few slices of rustic baguette. Some of the best cart food in town, hands down. You HAVE to make the Sunday trek out to SE 72nd and Stark in the next couple of weeks while the market is still happening (or hit the cart downtown during the week and get the best of all worlds!). We've been there the last two weeks for more, and there's a good chance we'll hit it this week on our way to our backpacking expedition.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Supremely Seasonal Summer Dinner!

Maybe it's the lazy days of August as summer winds down, but until recently, I admit to not feeling very creative, or motivated, in the kitchen. Relying on a bunch of fallback recipes, while satisfying our tastebuds, hasn't added much luster to the recipe repertoire. But I think the doldrums are coming to an end, and if I had to say why, it must be the onslaught of tomatoes off of our overloaded plants and the exploding colors at our local Montavilla Farmer's Market. If you can't get excited by wandering outside into your garden to pluck still-warm cherry tomatoes off the plant, having their sweet burst of flavor explode in your mouth, or being dazzled by the riot of color that is high pepper season at the market, then perhaps you'd be better make eating your way through the Lean Cuisine section of your supermarket your life's culinary work. For the rest of us, we'll be getting our fill of all that is delicious and fresh.

A bowl of brilliantly colored potato & roasted corn salad

Which brings me to last night's dinner, where for further motivation my sister's family was popping over for dinner. I always feel the need to do more, because besides being an über-talented cook herself, I know my sister will bring a fabulously fresh seasonal dessert for apres dîner. My stuff had better measure up! And after a bit of online research and a brand new cookbook for motivation, I have to say last night's food fest was one of the best start to finish meals I've had in a long time. From the apps of artisan cheeses with flutes of bouncy, fizzy prosecco, on to the first course of rice-stuffed tomatoes (the picture up top) followed by a stunning trout main course (I usually don't give myself that much credit, but this dish was off the f-cking hook!) with a deliciously seasonal potato salad, and finally followed by a perfect peach galette from my sister, it was one satisfying bite after the next. Ah, summer!

The trout and pot salad, looking quite delicious!

Here's the recipes for my contributions. These are all very easy and will knock out your guests, I promise! I have linked above to my sisters peach galette. Bonne chance et appréciez!!


Pomodori a Riso
(Tomatoes stuffed with rice)

from Saveur Magazine

and thanks to my friend Francesca for the inspiration!- BB
serves 4-8

8 firm, ripe medium to large tomatoes

1/2 cup raw arborio or other risotto rice

2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, peeled & minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Position oven rack in top third of oven, then preheat to 400 degrees. Pull or carefully cut stems off tomato tops, then trim about 3/4" from bottom of each tomato and set ends aside. Working over a medium bowl, use a small spoon to carefully scoop out inner pulp without puncturing the walls of the tomatoes. Reserve scooped out pulp. Arrange scooped out tomatoes open end up in the medium baking dish.

2. Pass tomato pulp through a food mill or pulse in a food processor to a chunky paste, then transfer back into bowl. Add rice, parsley, basil, garlic, and oil, then season generously with salt and pepper. Mix well. Spoon filling into prepped tomatoes (there may be a little filling left over) and placed reserved tomato ends loosely on top of each stuffed tomato. Drizzle a little olive oil over tomatoes and bake until rice is swollen and tender and tomatoes are soft and well browned, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool to room temperature.

#### #### ####

Potato and Roasted Corn Salad


makes 8 servings.

3 ears fresh corn, unhusked
2 large red bell peppers

2 pounds 1 1/2- to 2-inch-diameter unpeeled red-skinned potatoes, quartered

4 thick bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

1 cup chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1.Prepare barbecue (high heat). Grill corn until husks are blackened on all sides, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Remove husks and silk. Cut kernels from cobs.

2.Cut 1/2 inch from top and bottom of each pepper. Quarter each pepper lengthwise. Trim ribs and seeds from peppers. Flatten pieces, breaking slightly, if necessary. Place peppers on grill, skin side down. Grill without turning until skins are blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Peel peppers; cut into 1/2-inch squares.

3.Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain; let cool 5 minutes in strainer. Transfer to large bowl.

4.Sauté bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.

5.Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/4 cup dressing over potatoes; toss to coat. Add corn, bell peppers, bacon, onions, oregano, and 3 tablespoons additional dressing (you can also add the blue cheese at this point. We left it out because the salad was tasting so fresh without it, and it made it a little lighter- BB); toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper. Add remaining dressing by tablespoonfuls to moisten, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

#### #### ####

Pan Fried Trout with Lemon and Pine Nuts

adapted from Starting With Ingredients by Aliza Green

serves 4

1/2 cup Zante currants

1/2 cup brandy

2 tbsp butter at room temperature

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
8 boneless trout filets

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Flour, for dusting
2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup diced fresh tomato

1.Preheat the oven to 200. Soak the currants in the brandy. Using a fork, mash together the butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the liquid is absorbed and the butter is creamy. Set aside.

2.Lay fish flat, skin side down., and season with salt and pepper, then dust lightly with flour, shaking off excess. In a large skillet (preferably cast iron or non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown four filets on each side about 2-3 minutes, or until done to desired firmness. Remove from skillet and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining four filets, adding more oil if necessary (and it probably will be- BB).

3. reduce heat to low, pour off excess oil. Add pine nuts and brown lightly, shaking often. Add the currants and brandy. Averting your face, flame the liquid. Shake the pan and cook until the flames die down, Add the diced tomato, heat gently, then remove skillet from heat. Stir in the reserve lemon butter, plate two filets per dinner plate, pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Falafel Fanaticism!

I haven't had it this good since Paris! And I had it about five miutes from my house!! What else would I be talking about except the greatest falafel in this city....maybe in any city!!! The fresh, crunchy, spicy, and savory deliciousness that is Fat Kitty Falafel, made by the very not-shy and retiring Al Herre. I had been told of the goodness that comes flinging out of his cart on SE 21st and Division by my friend Greg Z. This was several months ago, and usually when I hear about something good to eat, I am on it fast. My main problem is I'm off Sunday and Monday, and so is Fat Kitty Al. But yesterday the wine shack was undergoing some floor repair, so I had an unexpected day off, and I was driving up Division to get my luxurious mane of hair whacked at Rudy's, and drove by Al's shack. Eureka! A quick u-turn and five bucks later I am digging in to greatness. Al scoops out the falafel batter fresh, dumps it in his mini-fryer, and tops this little wrap with fresh lettuce, and, as I had it, some cilantro-garlic tahini that rocked.

Al (holding that Lebanese mag) and his staff photographer

You give Al an inch of breathing room and he's off and verbalizing, and he was immediately shoving this middle eastern magazine in my face that had a feature on Fat Kitty! How that happened I still don't know, but if some Lebanese rag is giving you props, then you've gotta have a pretty good thing going on. Anyway, if you're cruising around and feel the need for some falafelness, make Fat Kitty your next stop!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

If only I could grow applewood smoked bacon........

Just wanted to first Big Boy tomato of the season. BLT's for dinner!!!

Pie Fight

I know this is a little bit of a gratuitous advertising piece (wait, that's a redundancy isn't it? Gratuitous...advertising....), but I think it's a really fun piece of fluff, with a great soundtrack and eye candy for all.

Back soon with more food, I promise!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Seasonal Satisfaction

How fortunate. Just as tomato season kicks into high gear, I have the perfect opportunity to showcase this most seasonal of foods and get a little much needed culture at the same time. Not to go all Monte Burns on you, but all I can say is "Excellent!"

The occasion was w's friend Sue's b-day, which she had thoughtfully chosen to hold in Laurelhurst Park here in PDX at an evening performance of the Portland Festival Symphony. As our contribution to the potluck on the grass, we brought along some freshly roasted yellow and red peppers (from pepps we picked up at the Montavilla Farmer's Market that morning), as well as an über-seasonal fresh tomato and basil pasta that we adapted from an article we saw a few weeks ago in the NYT Sunday Magazine. All the food was fab, and again I thank the Gods of All that is Edible that my friends all seem to have mad skills in the kitchen, but I have to say our little pasta killed! It was so easy to throw together, nothing could be prettier with the vibrant yellow and red tomatoes practically jumping off the plate, and of course crazy delicious in that super-summery way. Try this soon, while the tomato bounty is in full swing. Your friends, and your hungry tummies, will thank you!

How nice of them to play at our dinner party!

Summer Pasta
adapted from the New York Times Magazine

5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
12 basil leaves
5 or 6 large ripe tomatoes (red and yellow make a great visual)
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound dries penne (or rigatoni)
3/4 lb fresh mozzarella
Country bread

1- Take out large bowl. Add garlic. Pour in olve oil. With scissors, snip the basil leaves into shreds over the garlic mixture. Gently combine. Let sit all day.

2-About 2 hours before serving, chop the otmatoes and add to the bowl. Gently combine.

3- When you're ready to eat, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add pasta and cook until done. While pasta cooks, cut the mozzarella into small cubes.

4-Drain the pasta and pour it on top of the tomato mixture. Do not stir. Spread the mozzarella on top of the pasta and toss only the pasta and cheese; the cheese will soften slightly, and the pasta will get coated with fat. Then gently stir up from the bottom, incorporating the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bread.
Serves 6

DRINK: Wine, preferably cold and crisp. We took a well-chilled bottle of 2006 Palazzone "Terre Vineate" Orvieto Classico from Italy that was perfect! I could also easily get with an icy cold dry rosé from France or Italy.

économiser les enfants!...

...or if you prefer, "save the children!" Listen up,, I mean parents....grow up! This caught my attention on Chez Pim's blog, where this was "found on the 'menu' at an underground restaurant with a super cute name, Le Lapin Tant Pis, in Forcalquier, Provence". Like her, nothing to add except her perfectly stated "Amen brother!":
Ici il n'y a pas de "menu-enfant" C'est à dire, pas de steak haché d'origine incertaine, pas de jambon poly phosphaté, pas de poisson carré ni de "cordon bleu", pas de purée industrielle, pas plus que de ketchup ou de sodas ... Ici les enfants ont droit aux plaisirs de la table et à celui de découvrir les saveurs. Ici ils mangent de la vraie cuisine comme papa et maman. Le goût est culturel, il s'apprend et malheureusement ce n'est pas dans les cantines scolaires que nos enfants le découvriront. Peut-être est-il encore temps de réagir !!!

No children menu here.

That is to say, no hamburger meat of uncertain origin, no chemically treated ham, no fish sticks nor "cordon bleu", no dehydrated spuds, not even ketchup or soda. ... Here the kids have the rights to the pleasure of the table and the discovery of flavors. Here, they eat real food, real cuisine, just like daddy and mommy. Taste is cultural, it is learnt, and sadly it's not something our children can acquire in the school cafeteria. Perhaps there is still time to do something about it!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mr. Smooth....

This is a picture taken by my friend Nisu with his sneaky cell phone camera at Safeway at around 6pm Friday. Is this guy READY for a big night or what?

Let's see: All black outfit..check! Bottle of cheap Spanish bubbles...check! Box of Trojans if the bubbly works...check, baby!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

About that grande light chocolate no-whip mocha.....

According to the old adage, "we are what we eat". Are we what we drink, too? I hope not, because being described as "clueless" by the Starbucks Oracle didn't do much for my self-image. But it was pretty fucking hilarious. Get you and your friend's coffee drinking personalities analyzed while you're looking to kill time at work!

BTW- according to the oracle, the moment we set foot in in S-bucks we're all tools....but don't we already feel that way anyway??

Deniability? I think not!

Cheney should be forced to watch this on an endless loop while he's burning in hell. Incredible!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Roughing it!

There's nothing like a getaway to the great outdoors to instill that sense of awe at the wonders of nature. Even if that getaway includes sleeping in the comfort of my beloved '71 Silver Streak "Sabre" trailer at a crowded Detroit Lake State Park last Sat-Tues. We did have all the requisite elements in place: great hikes, campfires, water view, and of course loads of refreshing adult beverages and some killer camp grub.

Lakeside living in the Streak!

Our first dinner at DLSP was a much anticipated, perfectly red/pink piece of wild chinook salmon w bought and I was dying to cook over an open fire. Nothing better. Simply drizzled with olive oil, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, a side of salad and rice, washed down with a perfect bottle of 2002 Westrey Wine Co. "Willamette Valley" Pinot Noir. I did say roughing it, right?

Salmon-ey goodness, hot off the fire!

Day two brought on some outdoor activity involving a 3-mile hike up to Dome Rock for some awesome views of the surrounding central Cascades.

w soaking in the view at the top of Dome Rock while Chops rests for the trek back down.

That of course was a prelude to an oh-so-refreshing Negroni back at camp, which was itself a prelude to a fantastic dinner to follow. While we were prepping our palates with some cheese and a couple of glasses of Provençal rosé, I prepped a couple of grass finished New York strips we'd picked up from a vendor at our local farmer's market. w meanwhile got busy with what I thought was the highlight of our meal, and is my new camp fave food, a foil pack filled with chopped potatoes, garlic, carrots, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme, a quick drizz of olive oil, s&p, thrown into the coals of the campfire to steam together for about 25 minutes. Wow! I know it's kind of standard camp fare that you cab adapt almost any root veggie to, but it was new to me and it's got me thinking of all kinds of possibilities for a simple steamed dinner or side. The steaks were perfect, and washed down with my new favorite wine in the world, a 2000 Mastroberardino "Radici-Taurasi", which is a 100% aglianico from Italy's Campania region. This is some seriously stunning juice. I would love to throw this bad boy into a tasting of top flight Bordeaux and watch people be amazed.

Dinner is served!

I've heard that great effort gives great reward. Well, you can bet after day three's 11-fucking-mile hike, I was ready to be rewarded back at camp. Although I have to say that at the top of this in-and-out hike was the almost out-of-this-world scenic beauty that is Jefferson Park. The hike starts at about 4000' feet and climbs to almost 6000' elevation in about 5.2 miles. Not a difficult hike, but long and dusty. Once at the top though, with 10,500 foot Mount Jefferson looming right above you, beautiful flower filled meadows stretching for acres all around, and hidden lakes peeking though the trees, it is absolutely breathtaking.

Meadows and lakes at Jefferson Park....crazy beautiful!

Of course, then there's the walk back down, which we were so done with after about two miles. Unfortunately, we still had three more to go. We kept the complaining to a minimum...sort of...and I kept the motivating vision of ice cold beers back at the trailer foremost in my head. Plus, I had Marcella's perfect spaghetti alla carbonara all prepped and ready for cooking. After getting my equilibrium back with a couple of coldies, we wolfed down some quick, grilled roasted peppers, devoured the carbonara, and absolutely tumbled into bed.

Peppers coming out and carbonara coming up!

A great trip was had by all, Chopper admirably, if futilely, let the squirrels in camp know he was on patrol, and the trailer was, as always, the perfect cozy cabin!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Gosh, I'm so flattered!!

Not to toot my own horn, but since I haven't been giving myself near enough credit lately, I am very excited to have my first real (not to diminish Eat.Drink.Think., but these guys paid!) online article published at the great online food magazine,, which discourses on one of my favorite summer subjects: deliciously crisp and brilliantly pink rosé wines. Plus there's a couple of my go-to recipes you can click to so you can further enhance your experience. Click the link above to go to the article, and be sure to check out the rest of their site. They're doing a great job of feeding my food addiction!
Thanks to Kim at culinate for the was a blast!

A spicy start and sweet finish!

Okay...enough being selfish and self-indulgent. The blog-vacation is over! It's time to get some new food news up here at Eat.Drink.Think., because it's not like I've been going hungry these past couple of weeks. Last night was case in point. Mom's birthday dinner (btw- HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM...I love you!), where the main course was my famously perfect rotisserie roast chicken, along with a side of chopped Caprese salad, and a decadent creamy polenta with mascarpone which is as rich and wonderfully sinful as it sounds!
But my sharing moment today has to do with our pre-dinner cocktail snack and our dessert, both of which were awesome uses of some of the seasons best fresh produce. For our app, we had a great guacamole, which was one of the best versions of this standard dish I've ever had. Inspired by a recipe from Saveur Magazine, this is, as they called it, the World's Best Guacamole. Instead of mushing up the avocado this recipe preserves it in a more chunky form, making it much more interesting texturally. Plus it gives me a chance to use my heavyweight mortar and pestle (I bought the 9" by the way...size matters!), which if you don't have one is a must, not only for your kitchen, but for your own peace of mind.
Then after all the wonderful flavors that were mom's birthday feast, we finished with w's now signature seasonal treat, blueberries and peaches in a balsamic syrup. Fabulous fresh flavors, and this never fails to get raves, I promise. Both these recipes are way too easy, and will absolutely rock your next dinner party!


The World's Greatest Guacamole
adapted from Saveur Magazine


3 medium hass avocados (firmly ripe)

3 tablespoons finely chopped onions

2 tablespoons packed chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons chopped tomatoes

1 tablesppon chopped jalapeno
1 teaspoon salt

1-In large mortar or molcajete, grind salt, one tablespoon onion, one tablespoon cilantro, and jalapeno into a paste.

2-Half avocados, carefully remove pit, and score each half four times both directions being careful not to cut through peel. Then scoop out meat from each half into mortar and carefully fold into paste, keeping avocado as intact as possible.
3-Fold in remaining ingredients, mix well, season with more salt of necessary, and serve!
Balsamic Blueberries and Peaches
adapted from epicurious

3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 cups blueberries (about 1 lb)

1 lb peaches or nectarines, sliced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

Boil 3 tablespoons sugar with vinegar, and 1 cup blueberries in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Combine remaining 2 cups blueberries with peach slices in a large bowl. Toss with hot blueberry syrup and black pepper, then add sugar to taste. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes.
*Cooks note: Vary sugar depending how sweet and ripe your fruit is.
Makes 4 servings.