Showing posts from August, 2017

Geoffrey's Lemon Tart

Recipe courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian
Total: 2 hr 5 min
Active: 35 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
3 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 tablespoons butter
One 9-inch tart shell, homemade or store-bought, baked
Dollop whipped creme fraiche
Dollop whipped cream

Heat the lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until just boiling. Remove from the heat.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt together in a medium saucepan until well combined. Slowly drizzle the eggs into the lemon mixture, whisking constantly.

Cook the egg mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the custard is thick, about 8 minutes. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the butter. Once all of the butter melts and is fully incorporated, strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve into the tart shell.

Leave the tart to set up in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour 30 minutes.…

Marinated Chicken Thighs

Marc says, "This is a great basic marinade for grilling meats, and the pink peppercorns add a nice spicy kick"

Recipe courtesy of Marc Forgione
Total: 8 hr 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 8 hr
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

2 cups fresh parsley leaves, chopped
8 large sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
4 large sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, diced
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
2 tablespoons cracked pink peppercorns
1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
8 skin-on chicken thighs
Flaky salt, such as Maldon, for seasoning
Salad, for serving

Mix the parsley, thyme, rosemary, garlic, shallots, black peppercorns and pink peppercorns together in a bowl. Add the olive oil to cover the herbs/spices. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the marinade.

Place the chicken thighs in a resealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the grill to medium.

Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade, pat with a p…

Smoky Grilled Chicken Wings with Pickled Red Chiles, Dates and Fresh Mint

Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri
Total: 1 hr 45 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive: 1 hr
Cook: 20 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
One 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and smashed
5 pounds chicken wings, separated at joint, tips discarded

Quick Pickled Red Chiles and Dates:
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup (about 10 pieces) Medjool dates, split lengthwise, pits removed and finely diced
4 to 5 scallions, cut thinly on the bias
1 Fresno chile, halved lengthwise and finely sliced
Canola oil, for grilling
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, chopped

Begin by making the brine: In a large bowl, combine 6 cups water, the salt, honey, garlic and ginger. Stir until the salt is dissolved, and then add the wings. Cover and…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


When Authenticity and Kindness are The Tiebreakers

I just read Rebecca Sabky’s Check This Box if You’re a Good Person article in the New York Times. The article was about a student whose letter of recommendation in his college application was from his high school custodian. A heartwarming story told by Ms. Sabky, a former admissions director at Dartmouth, was a true testament to how the virtues of authenticity and kindness can become tiebreakers in certain life situations. 

Ms. Sabky writes, Over 15 years and 30,000 applications in my admissions career, I had never seen a recommendation from a school custodian. It gave us a window onto a student’s life in the moments when nothing “counted.” That student was admitted by unanimous vote of the admissions committee.

I hope Ms. Sabky’s article will start a conversation and hopefully motivate more of us to highlight kindness as a trait that will enrich us in unexpected ways, but also create a more meaningful path to authenticity.

The same day I read Ms. Sabky’s article; I stumbled upon Angela …

Giant Grilled Cheese for a Crowd

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
This gooey and crunchy grilled cheese is perfect for feeding a crowd and easier to whip up then a whole loaf's worth of individual sandwiches…

Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 8 servings (1 large sandwich)
Level: Easy

1 loaf unsliced white bread or brioche loaf (about 1 pound 5 ounces)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 pound sliced sharp Cheddar
1/3 pound sliced Monterey jack cheese
1/3 pound sliced low moisture part-skim mozzarella

Put 1 baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Slice 1/4-inch of the crust off the top and bottom of the loaf of bread. Split the loaf evenly in half, horizontally. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to accommodate both halves of bread and put both the top and the bottom on the parchment, cut-side up so the inside of the loaf is visible.

Scoop about a 1/4-inch of the soft middle of the loaf out. Spread the mayonnaise evenly on the crustless top of each half, then flip th…

Fruit Pizza with Summer Berries

This colorful dessert pizza gets the most out of fresh berries: the juice from mashed blackberries naturally tints the purple frosting and a trio of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are the perfect toppings...

Recipe courtesy of Carlene Thomas
Total: 2 hr
Active: 45 min
Yield: 8 servings (1 slice per serving)
Level: Easy

Pizza Dough:
1 cup white whole-wheat flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup sugar
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

8 ounces light cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
10 blackberries

1/3 cup blueberries
20 raspberries
10 blackberries
3 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

For the pizza dough: Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat together the sugar and butter on medium-low speed in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and creamy. Bea…

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Total: 50 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
12 ounces dried fettuccine

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.

While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the m…

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Eclipse 2017


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


When The Tide Rises…

Mammoth Lakes is a place of restoration for me! I love gazing at the sun setting on the tips of trees blanketing the mountains, the fresh smell of the breeze caressing me, and the complete stillness and grand beauty that surrounds me. It’s the place where I retrieve to feed my soul. My hikes are moving meditations and reflections of the blessings in my life. Throughout the year, I long for it and I lovingly stare at pictures from previous visits to cheer me up when I need to re-connect with the rhythm of life.

I recently read an article by Glennon Doyle on the topics of “Who do I love?” “Who’s the woman underneath all these roles?” “What feeds my soul?” and since I’m freshly off a visit to Mammoth, I was recharged and immediately knew the answers to the questions. I love nature, stillness, family, friends, self-reflection, and the self-love I feel when I find my way to nature.

Glennon writes:
I want every woman on earth to not only be able to answer: Who do I love? but also What do I lov…

Rigatoni with Spicy Chicken Sausage, Asparagus, Eggplant, and Roasted Peppers

Recipe courtesy of Brian Boitano
Total: 40 min
Active: 40 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

2 red bell peppers
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spicy Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
8 ounces dried rigatoni
1 baby eggplant (about 6 ounces) stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Position a rack in the oven 6 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler.

Put the peppers on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler. Roast, turning the peppers with tongs a quarter turn every couple of minutes, until charred on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let the peppers steam for 10 minutes to loosen the skins.

Using a paper towel, rub the charred skins off the peppers. Carefully r…

Marcela's Spicy Oregano Burgers

This is one of my favorite Sunday Dinner/Monday Lunch recipes. These burgers are great as a standalone dinner making 6 Spicy Oregano Burgers. If you want to plan for Monday's lunch, make only 4 burgers for Sunday's dinner and set aside 1 cup of the mixture to make my Mini Meatball-Stuffed Pitas the next day...

Recipe courtesy of Marcela Valladolid
Total: 30 min
Active: 30 min
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy

1 1/3 pounds ground beef
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried crumbled Mexican oregano
Chipotle Aioli, recipe follows
Six 6-inch soft sub rolls, split
Shredded iceberg lettuce, for topping
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
Pickled jalapenos, for topping

Chipotle Aioli:
1 clove garlic
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained
1 cup mayonnaise
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground …

Life Is Full Of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Chipotle Chilaquiles

Recipe courtesy of Marcela Valladolid
Total: 1 hr
Active: 1 hr
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Intermediate

3 tablespoons canola oil
10 Roma tomatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Tortilla Chips:
Vegetable oil, for frying
Sixteen 6-inch corn tortillas
6 fried eggs, for serving, optional
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco
Thinly sliced red onions, for garnish
Mexican crema, for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For the salsa: Heat the canola oil in a medium heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, garlic and onions and saute until golden brown, 10 minutes. Add the chipotles and saute for another minute.

Add the skillet ingredients along with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper to a blender and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes; se…

Pass the Buffalo Mac and Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, and Geoffrey Zakarian
Total: 25 min
Active: 25 min
Yield: 8 servings
Level: Easy

Pasta and Sauce:
1 pound pasta shells
Two 12-ounce cans evaporated milk
1/2 cup Buffalo sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 ounces freshly grated sharp Cheddar
4 ounces freshly grated pepper jack cheese
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

1 small rotisserie chicken, meat shredded, skin reserved
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup chopped celery leaves plus 8 celery stalks, bottoms slightly trimmed but left wide to be used as serving "spoons"

For the pasta and sauce: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.

Set a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the evaporated milk, Buffalo sauce and mustard and whisk until uniform and smooth. Toss the Cheddar and pepper jack with the cornstarch in a bowl until the cheese is totally coated, t…

Grilled Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette and Shaved Romano and Toasted Pine Nuts

Recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay
Total: 35 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into thin strips
Canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus leaves for garnish
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Wedge Pecorino Romano, for shaving
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Fresh mint leaves, torn

Heat the grill to high heat. Brush the zucchini on both sides with canola oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill for just about 1 minute per side (until slightly charred and wilted), then remove them to a platter.

Whisk together the Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, to taste, and salt and pepper, to taste, and parsley in a small bowl. Slowly, whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the zucchini and let it marinate for 15 minutes at room te…

Savoy, Lime and Cilantro Coleslaw

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence
From: Food Network Magazine

Total: 15 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4-6 servings
Level: Easy

1 head Savoy cabbage
4 scallions
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, torn
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 limes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Shave the cabbage with a sharp knife or mandoline so you have thin ribbons. Cut the scallions long and on the bias so you have pieces similar in shape to the cabbage. Toss the cabbage, scallions and cilantro in a large salad bowl.

Make the dressing by combining the sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar and the zest of the limes in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze of lime juice. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

Photographs by James Baigrie

For more recipes visit

Life Is Full of Pleasures: Cyndi's Top 3


Quote of The Day


Quote of The Day


Fluffy Japanese Pancakes

These thick pancakes are like little soufflés: custardy on the inside and golden and crispy on the outside. Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen
Total: 40 min Active: 40 min
Yield: 8 pancakes
Level: Intermediate

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook's Note)
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk plus 3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Nonstick cooking spray
Maple syrup, for serving

Special equipment: four 3-inch-wide-by-2 1/2-inch-high ring molds. 

Whisk together the flour, confectioners' sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the milk, melted butter, vanilla and egg yolk in a medium bowl until combined.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in another large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

A Twisted Web of Fear…

A woman I know and I’m friendly with, almost always manages to confuse me in our conversations. Our messages and exchanges about plans with our kids are always frustrating; she makes plans and then changes her mind, but doesn’t let me know until it’s too late to opt out. And there’s almost always something that she doesn’t disclose, like the time we met up for lunch but she only had twenty minutes to meet up. It was puzzling that she asked to meet up and didn’t have time to sit down and eat. We ordered our food and when the food arrived she asked the waiter to pack it up because they needed to leave. As much as I try to avoid interactions with her, my son and her son get along well so it makes it a bit awkward to dodge her. I try to set boundaries and be clear on what the plans are, so there are no misunderstandings, but something always goes astray on her end.

Last week, we planned an outing which ended up with a lot of mixed messages from her and I finally couldn’t take the back and …

Eggs Benedictwich

Recipe courtesy ofJeff Mauro
From: Food Network Magazine

Total: 30 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) salted butter, melted and kept warm
Kosher salt
For the sandwiches:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 thick slices ham (about 1 pound), cut to fit the English muffins
4 large eggs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8 large English muffins, split, lightly toasted and buttered

Make the easy "hollandaze": Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard and hot sauce in a blender and blend until just combined, about 1 minute. While the blender is still running, slowly stream in the melted butter through the top hole until the sauce thickens, about 15 seconds. Adjust the seasoning with more lemon juice and some salt. Cover and keep warm (you can also t…

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Salmon

The decadent-tasting "good" fat in salmon complements the sweet-spicy Buffalo glaze. The skin gets caramelized and crisp on the grill as the sauce drips onto it. It's delicious, but can be discarded to save fat and calories. (The numbers below include the skin.) A crisp and refreshing celery slaw is dressed with the same sauce, made creamy with light mayo, and brightened with onions and chives.

Total: 35 min
Active: 15 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank's
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon snipped chives
8 stalks celery, very thinly sliced in half moons on an angle
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Four 5-ounce center-cut skin-on salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill

Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan on medium high.

Mix together the hot sauce…