Friday, March 29, 2013


This is a delicious and easy cocktail for brunches and special occasions - or anytime!

Some people make it from scratch using pureed fresh peaches. When I was in bartending school, I learned this shortcut, using peach nectar. Peach nectar is available in most large supermarkets. If you can't find it in the fruit juice aisle or the cocktail-mixer aisle, try the Latin section. That's where it's located in my primary grocery store. It's also available at


Peach nectar, chilled
Champagne or sparkling white wine, chilled

Pour the peach nectar into a champagne flute until it is 1/2 full.

Top with the champagne until full.

-- 1 serving

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Honey Roasted Carrots

In this recipe, honey adds a subtle sweetness that beautifully complements the roasted carrots. An optional sprinkling of fresh parsley adds a light herbal note.


1 pound medium-to-large carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Cut the thicker pieces in half again lengthwise, so that all the pieces will be similar in size.

In a large bowl, toss the carrot pieces with the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of the honey, and salt and pepper.

Arrange the coated carrots in a single layer in a deep baking dish or roasting pan lined with non-stick foil. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir.

Drizzle the carrots with the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey, along with additional salt and pepper as needed, and toss well to coat the carrots evenly.

Return to oven and roast uncovered, stirring occasionally, for another 10-20 minutes, or longer as needed, until the carrots are tender.

Sprinkle with the parsley (if using), and serve.

-- 3-4 servings

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Pine Nuts

Spring is just around the corner, and asparagus is one of my favorite spring vegetables.

Here I start with our basic Roasted Asparagus and dress it up with some tangy lemon and crunchy pine nuts.


2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into 6-8 wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over low to medium-low heat for few minutes until lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Rinse the asparagus and break off the tough ends. (If you hold the asparagus spear at each end and bend it slightly, it will break at the right spot.) If using thicker spears, trim off the larger buds near the bottom of the stalk as desired.

Line up the asparagus spears in a single layer in a baking dish or pan.

Drizzle the asparagus lightly with the olive oil, turn to coat, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Roast for about 5-12 minutes, until the asparagus are tender when pierced with a fork, but still firm. The roasting time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus spears. For very thin asparagus, start checking them after about 4 minutes.

Squeeze one of the lemon wedges over the roasted asparagus, and then sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts.

Serve with the remaining lemon wedges for garnish and sprinkling, as desired.

-- 4 servings

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

The Easter holiday is just around the corner, and so a couple of people have asked me how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg.

Below is my recipe, which has evolved through the years. Legend has it that adding some salt to the water makes the eggs easier to peel, and might also help prevent cracking during cooking. I haven't been able to back up those claims with scientific evidence, but it seems to work pretty well.


6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt

Place your eggs in a heavy saucepan and add enough cold water to completely cover the eggs by an inch or two. Add the salt to the water.

Slowly bring the water and eggs to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water comes to a full, rolling boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for 18 to 22 minutes, depending on the size of the eggs. (20 to 21 minutes is usually perfect for standard large eggs.)

Drain, and then rinse the eggs in cold water to stop the cooking process.

-- 6 servings

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Pizza Margherita (12-inch)

This is my version of Pizza Margherita, with the traditional hand-crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices, and fresh basil.

While some versions leave the basil leaves whole, which is very pretty, I prefer to shred the basil, so there's some in every bite.


1 Basic All-Purpose Pizza Crust (12-inch) or Thin Pizza Crust (12-inch) (or your favorite 12-inch pizza crust)
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), undrained
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, shredded
6 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare the pizza crust and press into a 12-inch pizza pan, or form it into a 12-inch round on a baking sheet, with the edges slightly thicker to contain the toppings.

Meanwhile, crush the drained tomatoes, either by hand, through a food mill, with a potato masher, or in a blender or food processor. Do not completely puree the tomatoes. They should be somewhat chunky. Retain any juice from the tomatoes, as it will be part of the sauce.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over low to medium-low heat. Add the garlic, and saute for a minute or two until fragrant. Do not let the garlic get brown.

Add the crushed tomatoes and their juice to the saucepan, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Raise heat to medium-high, and bring the tomato mixture almost to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, over low to medium-low heat, for 25-35 minutes, until the sauce is thickened and reduced.

Spread the sauce evenly over the crust, and then sprinkle evenly with the basil.

Arrange the mozzarella slices evenly over the pizza.

Bake for 12-18 minutes, until golden.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing

-- 3-4 servings