Pumpkin Focaccia with Gruyere and Walnuts
















One of these days on an episode of the Walking Dead…………















They will find a whole truck of pumpkin puree and all of their problems will be solved.
















Their “hunt for food” problems anyway.















They will still have a significant number of “zombie apocalypse” problems.















I digress.















Canned pumpkin is amazing and it can last forever.















I don’t know what makes pumpkin shelf-stabilize so well.















I don’t ask questions I don’t want to know the answer to.















With how good this bread is, you won’t want to know either.

Pumpkin Focaccia with Gruyere and Walnuts

  • ¾ cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast (about 2¼ teaspoons)
  • 3½ cups bread flour, divided (about 15¾ ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1.5 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1.5 cups (3 ounces) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon cornmeal
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. Combine water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 cup flour and butter to yeast mixture; stir just until combined. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes.
  2. Add pumpkin, salt, and nutmeg to flour mixture; stir until well combined. Add 2¼ cups flour and half of cheese; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
  3. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide dough in half; shape each half into an 8-inch circle. Place dough circles on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle remaining cheese and nuts evenly over dough circles; press lightly to adhere. Lightly coat dough circles with cooking spray; cover and let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size).
  4. Preheat oven to 400°.
  5. Uncover dough; bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and cheese melts (shield loaves with foil to prevent overbrowning, if necessary). Cool on a wire rack.




Idaho Potatoes Rule

079I’m kind of a big deal in Idaho. You read that correctly.

171Since I just won part of a photo competition for Idaho potatoes.

082I worked verrrrrrrrry hard eating all those carbs. So did Joe. 106So did the buttons on our pants.

093So, if you find yourself in Idaho, it’s OK to name drop. It’s my new favorite state.

You can check out the winning photos here….





Tomato and Goat Cheese Scones


It’s a lazy day at the dog park.

054Not for Grendel, who is running around like he just escaped from prison.


035But we don’t mind.

063Grendel is a 70 pound pit bull. We like it when he’s tired. Reeeeeally tired.

024All of Grendel’s friends are here. Lulu, Finley and Razzle. And Clive. Hi, Clive.


Tearing him away from the dog park is hard because he tries to run away from us when we try and take him home. I think I literally heard him say “Catch me if you can, suckers.”

DSC_0130But we have warm tomato and goat cheese scones waiting for us at home.


Look how beautiful.

DSC_0145They taste better than Grendel’s ball. Guaranteed or your money back.


Tomato and Goat Cheese Scones

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) frozen unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
  • 4 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda, and mustard powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the butter over the flour and pulse until the butter has become the size of small peas, about 5-6 pulses. Add the goat cheese, buttermilk, sun-dried tomatoes, and parsley, and pulse until the mixture just begins to combine. (It should still look shaggy and dry, but squish together when you press it with your fingers.)
  2. Turn the mixture onto a sheet pan lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper sheet. Pat the dough into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Transfer to the freezer to firm up, about 30 minutes. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into 1¼-inch strips, then cut 1¼ inch strips crosswise to form squares. Cut each square diagonally to make triangles. Pull them apart just a little bit (to allow room to expand) and transfer the pan back to the freezer. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of thirty minutes, or overnight. (To make large wedges, pat the dough into two equal round discs, then cut into wedges.)
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly brush the dough with egg wash and bake (on the same pan on which they were frozen) until the scones are golden and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


The Perfect Bloody Mary


We took Joe’s mom Nancy to the St. Regis this week for high tea.


We’re so fancy.


They have a lovely tea service.


But the St.Regis is also known for something else.


The Old King Cole bar …which is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary.

090In those days, no one liked the name “Bloody Mary” so they called it the “Red Snapper”.  Newsflash- naming a cocktail after a fish is equally poor.

So, I was inspired to make my own Bloody Mary this week, with homemade tomato-infused vodka.

Tomato vodka, meet your brothers and sisters.


The best Bloody Mary’s are actually made by my friend Susana. But since she is lukewarm about coming down to my apartment every time I would like one, I decided I had better perfect my own version.


The real secret is adding Bloody Mary ice cubes so it doesn’t water down the drink.


It’s as close as you can get to the perfect Bloody Mary …


Other than having Susana come to your house and make it for you..


The Perfect Bloody Mary

I infused the vodka in this recipe for 2 weeks. I don’t actually think that makes a difference in the taste other than in my own head. Oh well. Tomato, tomaaahto.
  • 1¾ pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, rinsed and dried
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 6 ounces tomato vodka, recipe follows
  • Tomato Vodka:
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle 80 proof vodka
  1. Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Put the tomatoes, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, and salt into a blender, cover and blend on high speed for 1½ minutes.
  2. Fill an ice cube tray with about 2 cups of the juice and freeze overnight. Pour the remaining juice into a lidded container and reserve, on the counter, overnight.
  3. Just before serving, put 3 frozen cubes into each of 4 Collins glasses and add 1½ ounces of vodka to each glass. Stir the reserved juice, pour 4 ounces into each glass and serve immediately.
  4. Tomato Vodka:
  5. Cut each of the tomatoes into 8 pieces and put them into a large glass jar. Add the vodka, stir to combine, and cover. Put in a cool, dark place for at least 5 days and up to 7 days, stirring every day. After 7 days, strain through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids.
  6. To store, pour the tomato vodka back into its original bottle, and keep in a cool, dark place.



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??

Probably. 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.