Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cranberry Margarita

I attempted to make cranberry margarita in the past and it was awful. I recently attempted to make cranberry lemon drop and it too was horrible. My sister made these on Christmas Eve and we were all very happy. Her good friend Susie created it and taught her this wonderful recipe. I loved them so much I had to make them on Christmas day and they were a huge hit.  I was serving them all night. 

They are a perfect combination of sweet and tart. When I made them the first time back in nyc I made them with cranberry juice. They were just too tart because as we all know cranberries are super tart. I watched Rachel Ray's husband make a cranberry simple syrup so I made cranberry lemon drops and they too were just way to tart. Susie found a cranberry sauce that she adds to the drink and it gives the perfect combination. 

Different from Susie is that I use my margarita recipe but add her cranberry sauce. If you like it a little more tart remove the fresh orange juice. 

For Cranberry sauce: (recipe came from a great food blog called Damn Delicious)


1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup sugar or more to taste
1 (12 ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
3/4 cup of water


In medium sauce pan combine orange juice, zest, sugar and water and cook on medium heat until sugar dissolves. 

Add cranberries and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens about 15 minutes. 

let cool. 

For the cocktail: (Makes one drink)


2 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
2 ounces fresh Orange juice
1 lime squeezed
1/2 ounce cranberry sauce
brown sugar for rim of glass


Add ice to a shaker and add all ingredients. Rim glass with brown sugar and add ice to glass. Shake all ingredients and pour into glass.

Try it and let me know what you think. You can freeze cranberry sauce to you can continue to have it when cranberries are no longer in season. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pizza Crust

I have a huge fear of making bread of any type. I have watched countless videos on foodnetwork and yet it always felt like so much work and I hated the idea I would make it and it would suck. I have a friend here in Seattle who used to make pizza for us when I was in high school. Kosta went on to open his own restaurant and happens to still make very delicious pizza and many other dishes at Varlamos pizzeria. I asked if he would show me just how to make a crust and he was generous enough to walk me through it. We made a dough and set it aside to rise while we chatted about our lives and old high school stories. I took that dough home and he gave me toppings for it so I could create a pizza for me and my family. 

I made my stock sauce that I often make for pasta and made pepperoni for the kids. I added a little onion on the second half and arugula for the second pie. The dough we made allowed me to make 4 medium size pies. I like my crust thin so I was able to get 4 easily. 

The recipe he gave me is for a basic Italian crust. It is not his restaurants recipe but damn good. The best things I learned from this experience is that crust is quite easy to make. I also learned that if you treat it with love it will taste wonderful and have great texture. I've made this for a few of my family members and they all said I make the best pizza they have ever had. 

The second time I made it my mom said she would like the sauce to have more garlic so I doubled it and it was even better. Kosta taught me to not be afraid and just play with it. He also said I can let the dough rise in the fridge and I have done that both times. I am no longer afraid of pizza and wanted to share my story with you all. Try it and let me know what you think. 

Ingredients for crust

3 1/2 - 4 cups of flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups water 110 degrees
1 package of instant yeast

Stock sauce


In a mixer with hook attachment add flour, yeast, sugar and salt and mix around. Pour in hot water and olive oil slowly. mix together until it all comes together. Add more flour to your counter and place dough on top. You will have to kneed dough and add flour until it is no longer sticky. Place in a bowl that has light coating of olive oil. Let it rise for a 2-3 hours or overnight.

Pre heat oven to 500 degrees

Once it is all puffed up take dough out and cut into 4 pieces. I use four pieces because I like crust to be thin. lightly oil a pan and slowly start to stretch out the dough and push onto a pan until you get desired thickness. add sauce but don't over do it or it gets to soggy. Then add cheese and whatever toppings you enjoy. Bake at 500 for about 10-15 minutes. start with 10 and check it.

I didn't add my sauce recipe because you can add whatever sauce you enjoy. You can even use jar sauce if you want. If you choose to add arugula and I add it after is baked. I toss it with tiny bit of olive oil and add as much or little as you want.

Thank you Kosta for being so wonderful. I look forward to exploring even more with dough. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Caprese salad on grilled baquette

There is no better combination than tomato, cheese, basil and bread. It also is a must have during the summer. This dish is so simple and full of flavor. There is not a single person who is not impressed with this. This time I chose to grill the bread because it is gives it that lightly toasted taste but doesn't make the bread too hard. My sister and I were just talking about how much we hate when the bread rips up the inside of your mouth and for days you are regretting that broiled bread. 

Try this recipe and please let me know what you think.


1 Roma tomato sliced
6 basil leaves sliced
fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup olive oil
1 baguette sliced
salt and pepper


Slice tomatoes to desired thickness. Slice mozzarella to desired thickness. roll leaves and thinly slice them. Heat grill on high. brush each side with olive oil. Place bread on the grill for about 2 minutes on each side. Once they have grill marks they are done. Usually doesn't take long when grill is on high. Top bread with tomato, cheese and then brush again with olive oil, lightly salt and pepper and then sprinkle with basil strips.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Restaurant style bean dip

My son loves getting bean dip at the Mexican restaurant. He asked me to make it and he barely ever special requests food so when he does I try my best to make it happen. One of the first food blogs I ever started following had one that I thought looked really good and so I gave it a try a couple of summers ago. My son loved it and it is now a fun treat to make when we have guests over. It is very simple to make and everyone will love it. For the original recipe you can check it out at  Favorite Family recipes or just follow instructions below. 


1 can refried beans
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce (I used Tapatio)
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or more if you like


In a medium sauce pan combine beans, sour cream, and hot sauce. Stir constantly until heated through. Don't bring to a boil and when heated throug add to a microwave safe dish. Add shredded cheese to the top. Microwave until cheese is melted. It took me 2 minutes. Serve with chips.

Let me know what you think.