Saturday, July 5, 2014

Holiday Ham Bone makes delicious Potato Soup

Baked ham is part of many holiday celebrations and there is always leftover ham and a ham bone.  Don't throw them away, instead use them to make a delicious and fresh homemade potato soup.
Here's how!

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total cooking time: 1 hour and forty minutes


1 Ham Bone with bits of ham still on it

1 medium onion diced

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups of water

5 medium red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 cup of butter

1/2 cup of flour

2 cups half and half


Place first six ingredients into a dutch over, bring to boil over medium heat, simmer for 30 minutes or until ham comes off the bone easily with a fork.

Shred ham from the bone, discard any fat and return ham to pot.

Add diced potatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.

While potatoes are cooking, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat being careful not to burn the butter.

Add flour stirring constantly until mixed well.

Bring heat to medium high and gradually stir in the half and half until creamy, thick and bubbly.  Stir constantly be careful not to scorch.

Once it thickly coats a spoon then remove from heat.

When potatoes are tender, stir sauce mixture into potatoes over a medium heat stirring constantly.  Let simmer until soup reaches desired consistency; milk can be added to adjust consistency.

Add a generous amount of salt and pepper

Garnish with fresh scallions, bacon bits and a mild cheddar cheese and ENJOY!

(If you are feeling adventurous you can finely chop a jalapeno pepper and add as a garnish...MMMM that's a spicy potato soup!)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Papagayo's Mexican Restaurant, Lake Arrowhead

I've been having some dental work done and it has been hard to eat certain foods.   This weekend after attending a summer concert in Lake Arrowhead, I headed to Papagayo's Restaurant for a bite to eat in Lake Arrowhead Village.

The chips and salsa served with the meal looked delicious but were too crunchy for 
my dental work.

However, I had the enchilada plate with refried beans and cheese and a tasty enchilada sauce. 

It was an excellent meal and I finished every bite. 

The food came out fast and the service was attentive.

If you are visiting Lake Arrowhead, take the time to eat at Papagayo's

Chips and Salsa

Enchilada Plate

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gordon Ramsey's Maze at the London NYC

On my recent vacation to New York City, I saved some money and splurged by having lunch at Gordon Ramsey's restaurant, Maze at The London

The food was amazing and if you ask nicely you can get a kitchen tour and sit at Mr. Ramsay's private table in the kitchen.   Here's highlights from a wonderful culinary experience. So, if you are traveling to NYC.  Make a reservation it's definitely worth it!

Now for the food and drink!

Start the meal with one of Gordon's signature cocktails.

A Pink grapefruit martini

Asparagus salad with burrata

Roasted free range chicken with a spring vegetable puree

A trio of fresh sorbets

Happy Tuesday

One of the best parts of summer is going to your local Farmer's Market and choosing farm fresh fruits and veggies for your favorite dishes and the taste and value for dollar is only half the fun.  People enjoying life outside on summer days.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Brian's Banana Bread

This is a moist and yummy banana bread that's easy to make and your family will love it.   You can substitute fresh zucchini from your garden for the banana if you like and make zucchini bread.

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes


3 or 4 smashed ripe bananas

1 egg beaten

1/3 cup of melted butter

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix butter and smashed bananas with a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl.

Add sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well.

Sprinkle baking soda and salt into mixture and mix well.

Add flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix well.

Butter a 4x8 loaf pan

Pour batter into buttered loaf pan

Bake for one hour @ 350 (check for doness by poking the center with a wooden toothpick.  The toothpick should come out clean.)

Cool on rack.  Remove from pan.  Slice and Serve.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fennel and Radicchio Salad

Fennel and Radicchio Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette is fresh and zesty salad for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes


1 head of radicchio coursly chopped

1 large fennel bulb thinly sliced lengthwise

2 teaspoons of olive oil

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro

1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 orange or four Cuties sectioned


In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, mustard, cilantro, olive oil and sea salt.

Add fennel, radicchio and orange slices.

Toss to combine until nicely coated with the dressing.  Sprinkled with orange zest.

Serve on chilled plates and enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


This chili recipe is good for any time of year and it's easy, quick and yummy.

Prep time is 30-45 mins


1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 large onions

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 1/2 teaspoons good quality chili powder

2 teaspoons of chipolte peppers in adobo sauce

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

5 cups of fresh diced tomatoes

1 can good quality beer such as Blue Moon

2 cans of kidney beans

2 tablespoons of Amore natural paste (it comes in a tube and is imported from Italy)


Heat oil in a large dutch oven add onions and garlic. Cook till translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add tomato paste, chili powder and chipoltes cook and continue stirring until brown.

Add extra lean ground beef and cook until it is no longer pink.

Add tomatoes, beer and beans.  Bring to boil, reduce to a rapid simmer

Cook over medium heat until chili has thickened.

Serve with sour cream, cheese and chopped chives.

Summer Potato Salad with fresh Garden Herbs and Vegetables

Here's a great recipe for summer potato salad using fresh ingredients from your garden.

The fresh vegetables from your garden such as celery and onion are sweeter and much cheaper than store bought and the fresh herbs add a zesty freshness to the dish.

Prep time is 30 minutes


2 pounds of new potatoes

1 large red onion, diced

3 stalks of celery

2 teaspoons of fresh dill

2 teaspoons of fresh chives

1 cup of mayonnaise

2 tablespoons of mustard

2 teaspoons of Paprika

salt and pepper to taste


1.  Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender and drain

2. Put potatoes into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.

3. While potatoes are refrigerating, dice onions celery, dill and chives.

3.  After one hour, remove from refrigerator and dice potatoes.

4. Return diced potatoes to bowl added diced vegetables and herbs.  Mix well.

5. Add mayonnaise mustard and paprika and again mix well.

6. Top with fresh chives and ENJOY!