Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Santa Maria Chicken

Santa Maria Chicken

I love it when the fall season comes along. A time when you make slow comfort food.
A time to give thanks, relax and enjoy the good things of life.
Like the saint herself, this meal is a blessing.
The distinct flavors of tomato, basil, artichokes,mushrooms and wine.
Each unto itself, like life, takes time to grow rich, full, robust, and the
feeling of warmth.
The sweetness of basil, the earthiness of the mushrooms, bitters of artichokes, the tart of tomatoes, and the fruit of wine.
So if you feel a little chill in the air, and want to share a hearty dinner with someone,
cuddle up and make this dish:

Santa Maria Chicken

3 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1/2 lb. of sliced white button mushrooms
2  large cans of whole tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
1 tsp. of italian seasoning
1/3 cup of white wine
2 jars of marinated artichokes
3 chicken breasts
2 tbsp. of diced fresh basil
2 tsps. of cornstarch
2tsps. of water
2 cups of flour
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, pour flour in along with a dash of salt and pepper.
Cut chicken into 1 inch squares. Lighlty flour chicken and set aside.
In a large pan or large skillet, pour oil in with garlic. Lightly saute the garlic over medium heat.
Place chicken in the pan and until they are slighty coated with the oil and garlic.
Add jars of artichokes and reserve half the juice.
Crush the whole tomatoes from the can or use diced (ready cut tomatoes)
reaserving half the tomato juice.
Add white wine and continue to cook.
Add Italian seasoning. (Italian seasoning is a mix of oregano, thyme, and parsley.)
If you can find fresh herbs, simply dice and add to the pan.
Add the basil. You could cheat here, if you can find tomatoes with basil in the can.
Add sliced mushrooms.
Reduce heat to simmer (low) and slow cook for 30 to 45 minutes.
If the sauce is too thin, add a slurry. A slurry is a mix of cornstarch and water.
Added to any sauce, a slurry will thicken the sauce.
If the sauce is to thick, you can add more of the artichoke juice and tomato juice.
The sauce with the chicken, tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, and herbs is absolutely
wonderful over spinach pasta or spaghetti.

So the time has come, when the leaves turn color of amber and orange,
a brisk chill in the air, and the smell of a saint's dinner cooking in the oven to
warm our hearts and souls.

Happy Anniversary to my wife,
my sidekick in the kitchen,
and the Santa Maria of my life...

Love is a warm meal and a smile from one
that loves your cooking.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Curry Rye Rounds and Spinach Balls

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Curry Rye Rounds and Spinach Balls: Every once in awhile the girls have their night out. So being the good husband that I am... I decided to whip up a couple of quick and easy ...

Curry Rye Rounds and Spinach Balls

Every once in awhile the girls have their night out. So being the good husband that I am... I decided to whip up a couple of quick and easy appetizers for them.
I should take HONORS for being " man of the year and husband of the century."

I made curry cheese rounds and spinach balls.

I had made Uncle Walt's stuffing earlier which my wife decided to use to stuff some white button mushrooms.
Some recipes I hate to part with and share. Sorry but I think the Aunt Eileen's Red Sauce and Uncle Walt's Stuffing should be a family secret; locked in a vault until I can't write anymore.
Like my dad, who was an incredible cook and never shared his recipes.
"Just watch me and you will learn"
Still practicing dad...

So the girls had their night out and I made extra of the appetizers so I could share them with my daughter.

Curry Cheese Rounds:
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
1 can of black olives (  pitted and finely diced )
1 cup of mayonnaise (light mayonnaise works great as well)
2 tsp. of curry powder
4 green onions (finely diced)
Rye rounds ( if you can not find  rye rounds, substitute with regular or dark rye bread )
I cut the rye bread into small squares or circles.

Mixed all the ingredients and spread over the rye bread squares (rounds.)
Placed them on a cookie sheet or tin tray under the broiler on High Broil Setting for 3 minutes.
Makes about 18 - 24 curry rounds. ( Depends on your artistic ability and knife skills.)

Spinach Balls:
2 10oz. pkgs. of frozen chopped spinach
2 cups of bread stuffing mix
 3/4 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
4 whipped eggs
3/4 cup of melted butter
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
1 /4 tsp. of fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. of fresh cracked pepper

Preheat over to 350 degrees.
Thaw out frozen spinach and squeeze out all the excess water.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Roll the spinach mixture into small balls.
Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese
Makes 24 spinach balls. ( Unless you roll them the size of a snowman.)

You can freeze the spinach balls when cooled for future appetizers.
When ready to eat, just thaw for 10 minutes and reheat in 350 degree
oven until warm.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

To make a dip for the spinach balls:
1 8oz. serving of light sour cream
and 2 tbsp. of horseradish
Mix well together and cool in fridge until ready to serve.

Big thanks to MOM ( Peggy ) for the recipes , Dad for the inspiration,
and my wife and daughter for letting me be Mr. MOM now and then.
Next time I get out of the house,
I will be expecting a couple of hors d'oeuvres for a football game.

Keep eating,

Recipes, your favorite wines and suggestions:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Originally my wife found this recipe off The Food Network.
This is Paula Deen's recipe.

Now there is 1 thing I figured out while attending cooking school,
every once in a while you have to change a recipe.
Sorry Paula Deen but this recipe needed a little tweaking.

Although I liked the recipe which called for chicken and vegetables
with an Asian dressing, the oil was too much, and there was not
 enough flavor in the dressing.
I had to bump up the amount of soy sauce and sugar and add
sesame tahini for a pea nutty taste to the dressing.

Here is the original recipe:

4 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 1/4 bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups of snow peas
1/4 cup of chopped scallions
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
5 tsp. of soy sauce
1 tsp. of ginger
1/8 tsp. pf salt
1/8 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp. of sugar
1/4 cup of diced celery
1 8oz. can of sliced water chestnuts

Combine the chicken, bean sprouts, snow peas
and scallions.
Make the dressing with the oil,
soy sauce, ginger, salt, pepper, and sugar.
Add to the chicken mixture. Add celery and water chestnuts.
Serve chilled.

Here's my change to the recipe:

I par broiled 4 chicken breasts in a glass baking dish.
I seasoned the chicken with a dash of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
Cooked in a 350 degree oven for 15 -- 20 minutes.

Combined the chicken, bean sprouts, and scallions.
Substituted baby green peas for snow peas.
I don't like snow peas !
(You can use frozen baby green peas - just defrost in microwave 
in a safe microwave dish with a tbsp. of water. )
Added a can of drained baby corns. ( They look like small corn on the cob.)
Now for the dressing:
I reduced the oil from 1/4 cup to 1/8 cup.
Increased the sugar to 1 tsp from 1/8 tsp.
Increased the soy sauce from 5 tsp. to 5 tbsps.
And finally, added 1 tsp. of Joyva sesame tahini.
( Joyva sesame tahini is a creamy puree of roasted sesame seeds.)
It looks like creamy peanut butter.
You can find it in the Asian / Indian aisle of your grocery store.

and here is the dish:

Thanks to Paula Deen for the original recipe from Food Network, 
and to my wife for changing up the dinner plan.
Nice to have a little change of plans.
Even if its just a recipe.

Enjoy !

Suggestions, recipes, send your wine to:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Macaroni & Egg Salad

There is just something special about macaroni.
Maybe because I always loved it as a kid and it was easy to make.
Don't you just love how spaghetti sauce just hides inside the little tube shapes?
Same goes for eggs.
Fried, scrambled, hard boiled. I love eggs.
Eggs may be the only reason for me to try and bake.
Need to get more eggs and practice, practice, practice...
Now macaroni and eggs together. Hmmm..... sounds like a plan.

Macaroni and egg salad.
1/ 2 red onion finely diced into cubes
1 / 4 cup of pickled relish
3 cups of mayonnaise
1 tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce
4 celery stalks finely diced in proportion to the onion
12 medium eggs (hard - boiled )
2 lbs. of macaroni (usually 1 box ) elbows or substitute with penne
1 tsp. or more of hot sauce ( depending on your tolerance for pain )
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot , boil water, add pasta and cook roughly for 10 minutes or more.
I like mine al dente.
Strain pasta and cool.
In another large pot, place eggs in boiling water, cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover, and let eggs sit for 5 more minutes.
When eggs are cool, peel eggs and chop the same size as the onions and celery.

Mix the eggs, pasta, relish, mayonnaise, onions, celery, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce,
and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate.

This may be the perfect picnic item. Great for a summer day.
You can make this low fat and healthy by using wheat pasta and low fat mayonnaise.

Good for kids. My daughter is the perfect taste tester.
Besides, she loves pasta and eggs like her dad.
She loves her daddy and knows he is a pretty darn good cook.

Macaroni and eggs. It's like love and marriage.
They just go well together.

Love to eat,

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Back on the Carbs.
Well, not exactly.
I love fried zucchini. Anything fried even a Twinkie.
Include vegetables.
Here is something just as good only a little lighter and less fattening.
Zucchini Bread.
I remember as a kid we used to make Pepperoni Bread.
Can you imagine?
Meat and bread. Almost as good as meat and potatoes.
Beats that meat quiche !
You can make bread out of anything.
I have blogged about making Brown Bread, Irish Soda Bread, and more...
Here is Zucchini Bread.
Just think of it as "Bread and Veggies."
What a concept!
Getting your kids to eat 2 food groups.
Zucchini Bread:

2 cups of sugar (or substitute with 1 cup of Splenda)

1 cup of canola or vegetable oil

3 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 tsp. of baking soda

3 cups of flour

2 tsp. of cinnamon
1 tsp. of salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 tsp. of baking powder

1/2 cup of chopped nuts
( you can use walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts)

2 1/2 cups of shredded zucchini

Mix all the ingredients. Place the mixture in a pre-greased aluminum cooking pan
or baking pan.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and cook for approximately 1 hr. until lightly browned.

Eat your veggies. And your bread.
Maybe, Steven will give you a dessert recipe...

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Curry Cheese Rye Rounds

Curry Cheese Rye Rounds

Always 1 of my favorite appetizers.
Takes only minutes to prepare. Great snack for football season.
Ideal appetizer for late night parties.

Here's what you will need:

2 cups of cheddar cheese
(for me the sharper the better)

1 can of diced black olives

1 cup of mayonnaise

1tsp. of curry powder

 4 green onions finely chopped

1pkg. of rye rounds
If you can not find rye rounds,
cut rye bread in 2 1/2'' squares

Mix all the ingredients and spread curry cheese mixture on rye squares (rounds.)
Place under high temp broiler for 2 - 3 minutes.

Snack and enjoy!

 Send comments, suggestions, recipes to:

Banana Bread

Banana Bread
If you are like me, you hate it when you spend $$$$ on food and it goes to waste.
Fruit, if not eaten within a few days will spoil.
Here is a way to save and eat that fruit.

Banana bread.
Yes, I know, not low on carbs. But for me, I never had to worry much about my waistline.
Plus, my daughter and I both have that sugar tooth.

1 cup of sugar, you can substitute with 1/2 cup of Splenda.

1/2 cup of butter

1 tsp. of baking soda

3 tbsp. of hot water
3 overly ripe mashed bananas

1tsp. of salt
2 cups of flour

Dissolve the baking soda in the water. It forms a slurry.
Mix all the ingredients with the slurry until all
the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Place in a baking pan or aluminum foil pan.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
Cook for 1 hour or until golden brown.
You can check to see if if is fully cooked
by placing a tooth pick in the center of the bread.
If the tooth pick comes out easy and clean,
the bread is done.

For added measure, try mixing in  a 1/4 cup of
chopped walnuts to the bread mixture and sprinkling a tsp. of
sugar on top of the bread before baking.

Like my daughter always says to me after watching the "Regular Show"
on the Cartoon Network:
"Give me some SUGAR"

Here you are Kierann,
Love Daddy.

P.S. Eat your bread.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simple Made Easy

Simple Made Easy.
What does that mean?
The simplest recipes are always the easiest when you do not over think them.
You only need a few ingredients to make it SIMPLE, EASY, and taste GOOD.

Herb Butter:
Just try using soft butter.
3 - 4 cubes or Tbsps. softened at room temp
or melted in the microwave. My microwave takes 20 seconds.
Add 1 Tbsp.of chopped Basil.
You could add other herbs: dill, cilantro, parsley.
Even red pepper flakes, although not an herb would be nice in butter.
No need for salt since most butter comes pre-salted. Add pepper?

Here's herb ( parsley and basil ) buttered corn that I prepared for my daughter.
I used some of the corn for my wife's corn salsa. (See at bottom of blog.)

Just slice it down the middle of the underbelly side of the shell.
Cook on the barbecue over medium heat roughy 4 minutes each side.
That includes the shell side until the lobster turns pink.

I added herb butter to the lobster.
Always shop for fresh lobster.
Even I make the mistake of buying frozen lobster and it is
not as soft and sweet as it should be.

Speaking of sweet, my wife made a simple, easy light corn salsa.
1 can of rinsed black beans.
Rinsing removes any sediment in the can and additional starches.
1 red onion diced
1 each red and orange bell pepper diced.
Both are sweeter versions of the green peppers.
1 diced green onion (scallion).
1 ear of corn, roasted on the barbecue or grill pan, shaved off the kernels
3 - 4 Tbsp. of Red Wine Vinegar
3 -4 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive oil.
Mix all the ingredients and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Simple. Easy. Light.
Most importantly, cooking with your family, including my daughter,
known for her Mis en Place skills.
Simple Makes Easy.
Which makes it Fun, Delightful, and good for the soul.

Bon Appetit !
Comments or suggestions: realmeneatquiche@gmail.com

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding
I guess you would think it is an old English Classic.
Sounds like an English romance / comedy.
I think of it as 1 of the richest and best desserts.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Sauce:
6 oz. of Brown Sugar
4 oz. of butter
3 oz. of chopped pecan nuts
6 Tbsp. of heavy cream

3 oz. of butter
5 oz. of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 oz. of flour
6oz. of chopped dates
6 oz. of boiling water
1/2 tsp. of vanilla
1/2 tsp. of ground coffee
1/4 tsp. of Baking Soda

Place chopped dates in a bowl of the boiling water.
Add coffee, vanilla and baking soda.
Let the mixture rest for a couple of minutes.
Whip together butter and sugar until mixture is fluffy.
Gradually add the eggs 1 at a time.
Fold in the flour to the mixture.

Place the mixture in 8 greased or lightly oiled ramekins.
Place ramekins on a baking tray and cook for
20 minutes in a pre-heated 360 degree oven.

For the sauce: place all the ingredients
(sugar,butter,nuts,and cream) in a saucepan
 and heat until the sugar melts.
Pour the sweet mixture over the puddings.
Bake for 5 minutes under the broiler.

Sticky Toffee Pudding.
Definitely better than what I had for lunch: rice and beans.
Bollocks !

Keep things sweet....

Hot Pepper Jelly Dip

Hot Pepper Jelly Dip

Now that our good friend Katie Sheehy has moved to the cold North,  (yes the same Katie
that gave you the Bourbon Glazed Salmon,) we wanted to give her a shout out to her
for her Hot Pepper Jelly.

May the warm memories of her friendship keep all of warm this winter.
Her hot pepper jelly recipe is warm enough to lift your spirits and keep us thinking of her.

A delightful dip with just enough zing as a "pick me up"

Here goes Katie:

1/2 jar of pepper jelly
(available at Sur La Table:)

8 oz. of softened cream cheese (such as Kraft:)

2 cloves of minced garlic

5oz. of sharp cheddar cheese (such as Cabot:)

and 1 medium sized egg

Combine all ingredients.
Spray a medium sized baking dish (such as: Le Creuset)

with a cooking spray (such as PAM:)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve over your favorite crackers.
I like Nabisco Stone Wheat Crackers

Thanks Katie for some warm memories.
May the warm pepper jelly that warmed our stomachs,
spread the joy of love when we cook for others.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Herbs - my favorite ones for cooking

Herbs, Seasonings, Spices.
You will find them in the best of meals and recipes.
Dry or fresh herbs.
Dry herbs are often stronger. Fresh herbs provide good flavor to any meal.
Here are my favorites:

Great in pestos, pizzas, salads and sauces.

Add to light fish, tomato sauces, lamb, stews, and chicken.
Crushed rosemary enhances the flavor over roasted vegetables such  as
zucchini, potatoes, and squash.

Lemon Grass
Intensifies and adds aroma to salads, soups such as Thai or Vietnamese, and curries.

Bay Leaves
Works well in poaching fish or boiling potatoes.
Add to marinades, stocks, and chicken soup and my spaghetti sauce.
Always remove bay leaves before serving a meal!

You will find it in my scrambled eggs. I use it to garnish mashed potatoes.
Its in my sauces and works well with veal cutlets and pork dishes.

Always loved it. Brings back the memories of my dad cooking
in the kitchen.
Used in my sauces and taste great in meat pies and soups.

Another one added to my sauces.
Love it in stuffing. Makes a roasted tomato even better!
Taste good in chowders.

Until recently, I was never a big fan of sage.
Browing butter with sage in a pan and the sauce is
fantastic over roasted chicken and potatoes.
Is a great flavor as a dry rub ingredient for pork tenderloin.

Never thought of it until recent but
mixed in soft butter, it makes a better butter spread.
Also good in breads, potato salad and soups.

For dry spices,herbs, and seasonings, McCormick is an easy find in any grocery store.

New to the market are the frozen herbs in tubes:
Gourmet Garden

and Dorot in frozen cubes:

So there you have it.
Some of my favorites.
Adding some spice to your life, 1 blog at a time.

For comments, suggestions, recipes or more:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leftovers - Quick Tailgating Item

Leftover fried chicken.

Leftover Spaghetti Sauce

Hot dog buns.

I made a huge pot of red sauce and froze 2 quarts. I still had 1 quart left.
I made double fried chicken from 8 chicken breasts.

Lots of leftovers. What to do?

Improvise. Food for the road. Tailgating at the ball game.

Here's my quick 1 minute fried chicken  in a roll with red sauce.
Sliced fried chicken (1 breast ) on a bias.
4 Tbsp. of your favorite spaghetti sauce. Mine is home made with red wine, carrots and onions.
2 Hot dog buns.
2 Tbsp. of cheese. I like parmesan and asiago.
1 tbsp. of freshly sliced basil

Microwaved until hot.

I'm #1 and everyone knows it......

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Brown Bread

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Brown Bread: "Time to bake a traditional family recipe. Heaven forbid, I forgot the old recipe for Brown Bread. Every once in awhile, I will stop in a..."

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Brown Bread

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Brown Bread: "Time to bake a traditional family recipe. Heaven forbid, I forgot the old recipe for Brown Bread. Every once in awhile, I will stop in a..."

Brown Bread

Time to bake a traditional family recipe.
Heaven forbid, I forgot the old recipe for Brown Bread.
Every once in awhile, I will stop in at O'Reillys
for a slice of brown bread. Ficra, the proprietor, (hopefully I spelled his name right
or its the last time he will serve me an ice cold Guinness beer
and shot of Jameson whiskey;
serves up a nice slice of brown bread with my corn beef quesadillas and shepards pie.

Fortunately, my new friend at cooking class not only made the bread in class,
 but she shared the recipe I had forgotten.

Brown Bread
2 cups Whole wheat Flour
1 cup Bran flakes or All Bran
1/3 cup Quaker Oats
2/3 cup Wheat germ
2 Tbls Raw Brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups Buttermilk
Mix all dry ingredients and add buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Then reduce heat to 375 for 45 mins.

Here's a toast (brown bread and raise a glass) to Fiona !
Thanks for the recipe.


Send your recipes, favorite libations and more to:

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Wine of the Week - Conn Creek Chardonnay

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Wine of the Week - Conn Creek Chardonnay: "Here is my Wine of the Week: Conn Creek Angels Baseball 50th Anniversary 1961 - 2011 2009 Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Now ..."

Wine of the Week - Conn Creek Chardonnay

Here is my Wine of the Week:

Conn Creek Angels Baseball 50th Anniversary 1961 - 2011
2009  Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley

Now I'm no Bay Area baseball fan. I like going to A's and Giants games.
I have been a Yankee fan since I was a kid.
So here's to Angels baseball.

Conn Creek comes out with a limited release chardonnay.

Conn Creek Angels Baseball 50th Anniversary 1961 - 2011
2009  Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley

Someone needs to tell Conn Creek this chardonnay is a HOME RUN !
Light, not too buttery, Not heavy on the oak, and not too fruity.
Just they way a chardonnay should be.
Can we produce more of this please...

This one is a World Series champ of white wines.


Send your comments, suggestions, recipes to:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Pickled

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Pickled: "Pickling is fun and easy. The most important process in pickling is keeping the vinegar in the EXACT measurement as it is in the recipe. V..."


Pickling is fun and easy.
The most important process in pickling is keeping the vinegar in the EXACT measurement as it is in the recipe.
Vinegar keeps the vegetables from spoiling, destroys any bacteria or getting botulism.
Once completed, pickled vegetables can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 weeks until ready for use.
Ball jars are a great source for pickling.

You can find additional canning supplies at:


and Lehmans.com

Red Onions
3 tbsp. of sugar
1 tbsp of salt
2lbs. of sliced red onions
2 cups of distilled white vinegar

Mix the water, sugar, vinegar and salt in a large bowl. Stir continuously until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Add the onions and toss mixture. Let the onions marinate for  1 hr.
Pack in sealed jars or bowls and refrigerate up to 3 weeks.

3 cups of water
3 cups of white vinegar
4 garlic cloves
1  sliced medium yellow onion
2  sliced small yellow carrots
1/4 cup of olive oil
12 whole peppercorns
1 tbl. of salt
1 lb. of chile peppers

Cut off top of chiles and slice chiles in half.
Place oil in pan with chiles and saute.
Add onions and carrots. Saute together until mixture is softened.
Put the mixture in sterilized canning jars with garlic cloves, peppercorns and salt.
Leave room at the top of jar  about 1'' for air and space.
Boil water and vinegar in a separate pan.  Pour over pepper mixture.
Seal jars and and place them in a separate pan for a water bath for 15 minutes.
Let jars cool.
Peppers can be stored up to 4 weeks in a cool dark room.

Pickling is fun and saves you money.
I'm pickled out now.



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: The Island of Maui

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: The Island of Maui: "Every year I get the opportunity to visit my favorite island: Maui. I have been to other exotic locations such as St. Maarten, Puerto Rico,..."

The Island of Maui

Every year I get the opportunity to visit my favorite island: Maui.
I have been to other exotic locations such as St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and Kauai but Maui is my favorite. Count it 11 trips so far.
Now the flight from Oakland, California  to Maui is roughly 4.5 to 5 hours, and I was hungry.
I made the error of purchasing 3 sandwiches at the airport from one of those coffee houses that are on every corner of every major city.
My mistake.

During the week on Maui, I found 2 new establishments that made up for my previous lack of judgement.
1st was Coconut's Fish Cafe.
Probably the BEST fish tacos I have ever had eaten. Even better than Maui Taco.
I love Maui Taco.
However, Coconut's Fish Cafe had a light white fish in a 2 corn tortillas. It included a mango salsa and a cole slaw on the side.
I found the fish tacos to be fresher and lighter than Maui Taco.
Sorry Maui Taco you have been 1 upped.
Coconut's Fish Cafe just recently was voted BEST TACOS on MAUI.

2nd. Can't say enough about Bev Gannon.
She maybe my favorite 4 STAR island executive chef.
First she had Joe's Simply Delicious Food Restaurant in Wailea in Maui.
Great wines, good fish and a nice menu for the kids.
I recommend the blackened ahi sashimi appetizer !
Also nice is the roasted beet and goat cheese tower.
A little pricey but the view is nice and the service is good. Close to the condos and you can watch professional tennis players  at the nearby courts while you eat.

Of course Bev comes up with another precious stone.
Hali imaile General Store
You walk into an old victorian building with collective dinnerware on the walls.
You are greeted by their friendly staff and enjoy maybe the best ribs on the planet.
Paniolo baby back  ribs with an asian slaw and mashed potatoes.
I have mine with a mango ice tea.
Enjoyable was the crab pizza, which she says " she won't tell what is in it."
Sorry Bev, I think I can make a hot crab pizza.
It was delightful.
And the chinese chicken salad with fried wonton strips and curried coconut.

My 2nd encounter was at Bev Gannon's newest restaurant.
A Pacific View Restaurant.
She hit this one out of the ballpark or should I say off the tee and a hole in 1.
Located at the Wailea Gold Golf Course. It has a romantic setting off the golf course.
You walk past the Red Bar inside the restaurant.
I had to have an Ocean Mist, one of their signature mixed coctails.
This one is a combo of vodka, club soda, guava and passion fruit with a squeeze of lime.
Nothing better than sitting back, staring at the Pacific and drinking this libation while the sun sets before you. " What me worry?"
I shared the 2009 Rombauer Chardonnay with my lovely wife.
We call it "Liquid Gold."
And we had the best meal on vacation.
For the appetizer we shared the lobster, crab, tomato tower and the tempura ahi roll made with salmon, crab, pickled ginger and wasabi vinaigrette.
I finished with the Miso Glazed Walu. The best white fish ever. The sides were asian slaw and wasabi mashed potatoes.
Bev, no wonder you were picked Best Chef on Maui.
You're a genius.

I love vacations.
Enjoy spending quality time with family, friends and meeting strangers along the way.
On the way, make time to visit new places, like new cafes or restaurants.
Sample new menus, slow down, relax, and eat well.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Irish Soda Bread

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Irish Soda Bread: "Easy to make Irish Soda Bread. A family favorite for generations. Kids will love it because it is sweet. I love to warm it up with a slab..."

Irish Soda Bread

Easy to make Irish Soda Bread.

A family favorite for generations. Kids will love it because it is sweet.
I love to warm it up with a slab of butter in the microwave for 10 - 15 seconds.
Also, would be good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Of course, nothing better than having Irish Soda Bread with a hot cup of Irish Tea.
Barry's Tea:
I like mine with sugar and 1/2 and 1/2.

As you can see from the picture, I took the first slice.

2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of raisins
2 tsp. of caraway seeds
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
1 tsp. of sugar

In a large bowl,  mix all the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mixture in a greased oven loaf pan.
After about 10 minutes in the oven, I sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar on top of the soda bread.
Cook the bread for about 1 hour in the oven until it is lightly brown on top.

On a lighter side,you can substitute Splenda for the sugar.

Also, you can substitute buttermilk with a low fat version of it.
Lucerne makes a reduced fat buttermilk. Not seen in this link.
You should be able to find low fat buttermilk in the dairy section of your local grocery store.

And for all purpose flour, I like Gold Medal flour for baking.
All purpose flour has just the right amount of glutens to make a good bread.

Enjoy !

Next up, my return trip from Maui. A new restaurant dinner and the best fish tacos on the Island.

Comments or suggestions:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Broiling Salmon

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Broiling Salmon: "Here's my followup post to my previous one on roasting. I promised that I would add this one after yesterday's blog on roasting. My wife m..."

Broiling Salmon

Here's my followup post to my previous one on roasting.
I promised that I would add this one after yesterday's blog on roasting.
My wife made the roasted veggies and put them over pasta. She added homemade pesto sauce.
She should be writing this blog.
So, I kicked it at school yesterday. Did the broiling bit.
Mike C. the chef and instructor,
 (see Kitchen on Fire:)
would not let us use our recipes that were distributed in class so I conjured up one off the top of my bald head.
Roasted chicken breast, bone in, seasoned with rosemary, thyme, pepper, paprika and salt over a bed of thinly sliced yukon gold potatoes and yellow onions. Complemented with a drizzle of sage butter and slice of lemon. Towel dried the chicken, seasoned well, and browned on both sides. Finished the chicken in the broiler.  Checked the chicken with a meat thermometer at 148 degrees. Cooked the onions and potatoes separately. Ate my dinner at school. God, LIFE is good.

Well, enough about ranting... Here's to broiling.
One of our friends gave us this fabulous recipe for salmon. Some people like it, others don't.
Cured, smoked, barbecued. I love salmon. My wife doesn't. Go figure.
Bet she would love this:

Bourbon Glazed Salmon:
 1 cup of Brown Sugar
6 Tbsp. of Bourbon
¼ cup of low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. of fresh lime juice
2 tsp of grated fresh ginger
½ tsp. of salt
¼ tsp. of fresh ground pepper
2 crushed garlic cloves
 8oz. of salmon filets about 1’ in thickness

Combine ingredients, add salmon and place in a large ziplock bag. Marinate in refrigerator for ½ hour.
Remove filets and discard marinade.
Place filets on am oiled broiling pan and cook under broiler for about 11 minutes or until fish is light and flakey.

Big shout out THANKS to Katy Sheehy for this recipe!

Also,  got my new knives in and can't wait to start using them:
Guy Fieri's butcher knife
and my new Furi japanese steak knives:

Thanks Kathleen !!!!!!!!

And here's our pick of some of the best wines of the week: Jones Family

Yeah they are expensive but they are some of the finest cabernet sauvignons from Stag's Leap region.

Drink responsibly, drink well,  drink often with good food, and drink with good friends.

If you would like the recipe for the chicken, sign up (follow) on my blog. Email me suggestions, recipes, libations, events, and your favorite restaurants.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Roasting Summer Vegetables and Shrimp

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Roasting Summer Vegetables and Shrimp: "Cooking class tonight is on ROASTING and BROILING. I should ace this class tonight since there is nothing finer than roasting or broiling me..."

Roasting Summer Vegetables and Shrimp

Cooking class tonight is on ROASTING and BROILING. I should ace this class tonight since there is nothing finer than roasting or broiling meats, fish or vegetables.
I will tackle the roasting part for today and then prepare a broiling dish for tomorrow.
Roasting is nothing more than a cooking process for meats, fish or vegetables.
It is very easy if you cut your ingredients into same size potions. Like cutting vegetables in 1 " cubes.
The vegetables should cook evenly.
Oil will coat the vegetables, cook them faster and carmelize them for a ricer sweeter taste. Pick an oil that has a low burn ratio ie: vegetable oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil.

My wife loves to roast vegetables and place them in a pasta dish.  Great summer low calorie dish.
 I like to puree them with a cup of chicken stock, preferably homemade ( see my previous blog on chicken  / vegetable stock ), add more or less chicken / vegetable stock for thickness and a dollop of sour cream.
As always, whichever you prefer, drizzle a little of extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables or pureed soup and sprinkle on some grated parm cheese.
I have included roasted shrimp here. You can add roasted shrimp for a salad or just for an appetizer.

Roasted Summer Vegetables  & Roasted Shrimp.

Roasted Vegetables:
1 cup of diced carrots in 1’’ cubes
1 cup of red onions diced lengthwise
2 cups of cauliflower
1 cup of red peppers
1 cup of button mushrooms
1 cup of chopped asparagus
3-5 tbsp. of cooking oil
1 Tbsp. of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste, roughly 1 tsp. of each.

Chop vegetables and coat with oil.
Salt and pepper  vegetables
Place on flat sheet pan and cook in pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes.
Vegetables with be soft, tender and slightly carmelized.

Roasted Shrimp:
12 – 18 medium size shrimp
Peel and devein shrimp but leave tails on.
Coat with oil.
Salt and pepper, roughly 1 tsp. of each.
Place on a flat sheet pan and cook in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 6 – 8 minutes
until the shrimp are pink in color.
Remove from heat, let shrimp cool and toss shrimp with 1 tbsp. of orange  or lemon juice.

A cook is only as good as the smiles on the faces after his guest are full.

Send your recipes, your favorite wines, great places to eat, suggestions, questions and more to:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Barbecue Chicken Pizza: "Barbecue Chicken Pizza This is probably the best pizza that my wife and I love to make. It is so easy. You can buy the dough at Trader J..."

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

This is probably the best pizza that my wife and I love to make. It is so easy.
You can buy the dough at Trader Joe's:

Trader Joe's has 2 types of ready made dough available in regular flour and whole wheat.

Whole Foods
makes their ready to eat pizza for takeout. Also, they sell the ready to make dough.
I like their dough because it rolls out easy, flours nicely and makes a nice thin crust. Any dough you buy will have to rolled out with a sprinkle of flour.

The best dough is always homemade.

Ingredients for the barbecued chicken pizza:

2  1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of WARM water
1 tsp. of salt
2 tsp. of oil
 1 packet of yeast ( I like Fleischmann's RapidRise All Natural Yeast )
http://www.fleischmannsyeast.com/landing.html (link for yeast )
 1/2 cup of sauteed or roasted carmelized onions red onions
1 cup of cooked chicken ( roasted or broiled and seasoned with pepper and salt )
1/2 cup of 4 cheese blend ( Trader Joe's sells a four cheese blend called Quatro Formaggio )
Typically 4 cheese is: Asiago, Fontina, Provolone, and Parmesan cheese blend.
1/2 cup of barbecue sauce ( my wife's favorite: Sweet Baby Ray's)

Dissolve salt in water. Add the yeast. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes. Yeast mixture will become foamy. Add olive oil. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Form a round ball. Place it in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it stand on your kitchen counter to rise and double in size for 1 hour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured pizza stone and roll out the dough until you have fully covered the stone. You should be able to make a thin crust.

My daughter LOVES to roll out the dough.
And it's great to get kids to help in the kitchen. Can you say dishes anyone?

With a tablespoon, take the barbecue sauce and spoon the sauce on top of the pizza dough.
Place the four cheese blend on top of the of the sauce. Add chicken to the top of the cheese.
Add the carmelized onions to the chicken.
Place in a preheated 400 degree oven and cook for 10 - 12 minutes until brown, delicious, melted, cheesy.
Here is what this heavenly beauty looks like:

And my wine pick of the day: Young's 2009 Sangiovese
Although this wine is young, (no pun intended) it ages well 3-5 years or more.
 The sangiovese brings out the spice from the barbecue sauce.

Thanks to my wife for cooking with me. And to Young's Winery for some great wines !

As always,
Enjoy with the one you love.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Ratatouille

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Ratatouille: "Ratatouille is a Disney - Pixar movie about a rat named Remy that dreams of becoming a great chef. At the end of the story, Remy along with ..."


Ratatouille is a Disney - Pixar movie about a rat named Remy that dreams of becoming a great chef. At the end of the story, Remy along with his partner Linguini, the garbage boy,  recreate the recipe RATATOUILLE.  My daughter, wife and I love the movie.  I thought I would include the recipe as a preview to the movie. Soooooo, I had prepared all of the vegetables and ingredients ( mis en place ) and had my lovely 4 year old help me place the vegetables in my Le Creuset pot for cooking. She added the salt and pepper and herbs.

Here is the recipe:
3 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
3 finely sliced Garlic Cloves
1 small Eggplant cubed in 1'' cubes
2 Red Bell Peppers de-seeded and cubed like the eggplant
4  chopped medium Tomatoes
2 tbsp. of Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often until softened, roughly 2 minutes.
Add the eggplant, stir until coated with oil and add the bell peppers. Stir to combine.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If they start to dry out add a little water. Add tomatoes, zucchinis, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes on low heat until the vegetables are tender.

I added on my own, a tbsp. of fresh chopped basil and 2 tbsp. of parmigiano reggiano cheese to flavor.

Remy knew that his dream of being a chef was something he desired even though his family was against it. He found that his friend inspired him and they worked together to create something special against all odds.
Just like my daughter who inspires me to be a good dad and my lovely wife that I live for each and every day.
I finally have found my passion in cooking and writing that helped me get through journalism in college.
Special THANKS to Mike C. at Kitchen on Fire for the recipe.  Thanks to Pixar and Disney for a wonderful movie. And to my dad, who I dearly miss. It has been 45 years since I cooked with him. He just may be cooking for Auguste Gusteau, the culinary hero up in Heaven.


Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: 2nd update Tri- tip Marinade - Blackened Tri-tip

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: 2nd update Tri- tip Marinade - Blackened Tri-tip: "2nd Update Tri-tip Marinade - Blackened tri-tip I recently posted a blog about tri-tip marinade. I was looking for the secret to the recipe...."

2nd update Tri- tip Marinade - Blackened Tri-tip

2nd Update Tri-tip Marinade - Blackened tri-tip
I recently posted a blog about tri-tip marinade. I was looking for the secret to the recipe. I have a friend that is currently trying out one of the recipes this weekend. It seems everyone is sharing some type of recipe for the blackened tri-tip. Here are a few that I found on the web:
1-1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee 1 Cup Red Wine
1/2 Cup Olive oil
2/2 Cup Molasses
3/3 Cup Balsamic vinegar
4/3 Cup Tamari Sauce
5/3 Cup Worcestershire Sauce 2 Tbsp Chili Powder 6 cloves Garlic

This makes enough for 4 good size tri-tips. I put it all in the blender and give it a good spin.
Place the steaks in a plastic zip top bag. Add marinade. Remove as much air from the bag 
as possible. Place in bottom section of refrigerator. I have had good results with 48-72  
hours of marinade time. The steaks will be a very dark, almost black color. 
For grilling, I remove steaks from refrigerator 1 hour before. Turn steaks every 5 minutes 
until they hit 125 degrees for medium rare. Let rest at least 15 minutes. Slice thin against the grain.


1-1/2     Cup Brewed Coffee 
1 Cup     Red Wine 
1/2 Cup   Olive oil 
1/2 Cup   Molasses 
1/3 Cup   Balsamic vinegar 
1/3 Cup   Tamari Sauce 
1/3 Cup   Worcestershire Sauce 
2 Tbsp    Chili Powder 
2 Tbsp    Onion Powder 
2 Tbsp    Garlic Powder 
1 Tbsp    Marmite (or Vegemite, in a pinch) 

Marinate for at least 3-4 days in a tightly sealed ziploc bag. Cook steak to 125. Let rest for 10 minutes.

1-1/2 cup brewed coffee
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup Tamari sauce
6 cloves garlic

 The dark brown sugar is the key.;5 tablespoons kosher salt
, 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 
1 teaspoon pulverized crushed red pepper, 
2 teaspoons pimenton (Smoked Spanish Paprika)
2 teaspoon garlic powder
Rub & put in Ziploc baggie 1 - 3 days, the longer the blacker, the sugar caramelizes and makes a crust on the steak.

Now I don't know if any of these recipes are tried and true. The best way to cook is to taste the food while cooking and to practice recipes time and time again. The best recipes have lots of reviews and these are the ones that are of value.
I will being trying these recipes this week on steak, fish, and pork chops.
I will let you know which 1 is the BEST.
Email me with your thoughts, questions, and recipes and FOLLOW my Blog !

Here's to Great Eating,

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: 3 updates to food week

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: 3 updates to food week: "3 updates to food week Here is update #1. 1. Here is a picture of the chicken wings I made for Kierann's school graduation party. They were..."

3 updates to food week

3 updates to food week Here is update #1.
1. Here is a picture of the chicken wings I made for Kierann's school graduation party. They were a hit. Someone asked me to post a photo, so here they are. Email me for the recipe and follow my blog!
Buffalo Hot Wings:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Traveling 2 Northern California - Food & Wine

Real Men Eat Quiche and Drink Wine: Traveling 2 Northern California - Food & Wine: "I have a number of events on my radar that I have to complete by the end of next week. A few of these tasks include food and wine. I am li..."

Traveling 2 Northern California - Food & Wine

I have a number of events on my radar that I have to complete by the end of next week. A few of  these tasks include food and wine.
I am listing 5 of my favorite restaurants, 5 wineries, and 2 places to shop. All of the businesses are located in Northern California around the Napa region. 
So, if you are in the Bay area or plan on traveling to Northern California, this may be what you are looking for: great wineries, higher priced yet *** to ***** restaurants, ( yes that's 3 - 5 star restaurants ) and 2 cool places to shop after you had your fill of Yountville appellations and fine cuisine.


6525 Washington Street
Yountville CA 94599
Phone: 707-945-1050

6540 Washington Street
Yountville CA 94599
Phone: 707-944-8037

6476 Washington Street
Yountville CA 94599
Phone: 707-944-2487

6480 Washington Street
Yountville CA 94599
Phone: 707-944-2222

6510 Washington Street
Yountville CA 94599
Phone: 707-944-0103
Love the French bistro music on the website !


Cakebread Cellars    
8300 St. Helena Hwy

 Rutherford, CA 94573 

 Phone: 800-588-0298

Miner family Vineyards
7850 Silverado Trail

Oakville, CA 94562
Phone: 800-366-WINE (9463)

Chimney Rock Winery
5350 Silverado Trail

Napa, CA 94558 

Phone: 800-257-2641

Domain Chandon
1 California Drive

Yountville, CA 94599
Phone: 888-242-6366

Conn Creek Winery
8711 Silverado Trail S
St. Helena, CA 94574
Phone: 800-793-7960 x 210

Our favorite family winery !


Oakville Grocery.
I love this place! It's on my way to the restaurants and wineries. A great place to visit and pick up gourmet cheese, meats, olive oil or a gift basket.

Of course, we could not forget the lovely ladies in our lives. Take them shopping at Napa Premium Outlets. Great gifts and nice clothes for your significant other and the kids.

Here's to good food,  great wines and shopping.