Summer cocktail delight

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Refreshing cocktails are a must have in the summer either for entertaining or sitting by the pool. This is a no hassle kind of cocktail. I recommend making a pitcher; because it doesn’t last. This drink reminds me of a whiskey sour but without all that sour mix.  It’s not too sweet, but just right. Cheers! 

Ingredients: (4 servings) 
 Juice of 3 lemons
1 1/2 cups Jeremiah Weed spiced whiskey 
2-3 cups crushed ice cubes 
1/2 cup simple syrup 
2 cups club soda 
6 mint leaves, chiffonade
Lemon peels, optional for garnish 

Preparation: 
Place all of the above ingredients in a pitcher and stir. Serve, garnish and enjoy.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Hibiscus Tea Arnold Palmers, Spiked or Sober
Creative Culinary: Lime Sherbet Float with Strawberries and Prosecco
Virtually Homemade: Strawberry Swirl Pina Colada
Healthy Eats: 5 Classic Cocktails, Slimmed Down
Daisy at Home: Frozen Watermelon-ade
Homemade Delish: Summer Cocktail Delight
Taste with the Eyes: Sublime Franco-Korean Elderflower Soju Martini
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Prosecco & Chambord Cocktail
Red or Green: Fresh Watermelon & Herb Margaritas
The Mom 100: A Peach Cocktail and a Mocktail for Mixed Company
FN Dish: 6 Fruity Riffs on Classic Summer Cocktails

BLANCO Sink and Faucet

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One of the most important things in a kitchen is the sink. Since we started to remodel our new home I wanted something durable with a faucet that was high enough.  I wanted to be able to fill my tall pots with water without having to spill everything all over the place. 

I am super excited to have partnered up with an amazing company that provides you with modern and durable sinks and faucets. They have tons of selections of depth, color to size. 
When BLANCO opened its doors in the U.S., they had a 4,000 square foot warehouse.  Today, BLANCO has grown to be a leader in sinks and faucets for the kitchen.  While the growth of the company has been impressive – equally impressive is the fact that over 50% of the employees have remained with the company for 10 years or more. BLANCO’s passion for excellence and commitment to the environment, to moral capitalism and to its people is evident in the quality of the products and the people who make up the BLANCO family. 
 
The sink I chose was a BLANCODIAMOND silgranit in truffle and the faucet BLANCOCULINA mini.  It offers a quick release magnetic hand spray will not demagnetize, a dual spray feature, solid brass construction, Limited Lifetime Warranty and much more. 

It was simple to install as well.  Since we were on a budget to remodel the home we didn’t re-do the countertops so we needed a sink to fit right into the previous hole.  Blanco went ahead and found the perfect size for us. I’ll show you some before and after pictures below.  Now that I can utilize it I am beyond excited about my BLANCO sink.

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4th of July Cheesecake

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4th of July is this weekend.  It’s hard to believe that we are in July already. This patriotic cheesecake is great for serving at parties. Each layer has its own color. To give it that fresh taste I went ahead and added some summer favorite strawberries and blueberries. I hope everyone has a great and safe holiday weekend with family and friends. 

Filling Ingredients: 
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese
2-3 drops red food coloring 
2-3 drops blue food coloring
3 large eggs, room temperature

1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
12 strawberries, cut in halves or quarters 
1 cup blueberries 
 
Crust ingredients: 
 
2 cups Keebler graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoons sugar
 
Crust preparation: 
 
In a medium bowl toss together crumbs, butter and sugar. Pour the mixture in a 9 inch springform pan. Press down and to the sides of the pan. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator
 
Cheesecake preparation: 
 

In a large bowl with an electric mixer  beat the cream cheese on medium to high speed until smooth and fluffy. Next slowly add the eggs one at a time. Add sweetened condensed. Now separate mixture in  3 different bowls. Add food coloring to each, except for one. Stir food coloring until well incorporated. Pour mixture into crust one at a time. 

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until nearly set, but jiggles a bit in the center. Cool for 1 hour. Chill  for 6 hours or overnight. Top with fruit. 

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Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Red Beet Hummus Recipe with Lemony Yogurt
The Heritage Cook: Tangy Caprese Salad with Pickled Cherries (Gluten-Free)
Creative Culinary: July 4th Red, White and Blue Patriotic Poke Cake
Weelicious: Blue Corn Chip Crusted Fish Sticks with Red Pepper Coulis
The Lemon Bowl: 3 Steps to Perfectly Cooked Sweet Corn
Bacon and Souffle: Red, White and Blue Bark
Healthy Eats: 5 Frozen Treats for a Sweet Fourth
Taste with the Eyes: Dessert for the 4th of July: Elderflower Berry Pavlova
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Best Ever Elk Burgers For The 4th of July
Red or Green: Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Heirloom Tomato Pie
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Summer Raspberry Sorbet
Homemade Delish: 4th of July Cheesecake
FN Dish: Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th

Brazilian Potato Salad

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This recipe has been in my family for as long as I can remember. It’s our own Brazilian potato salad with lots of Latin flavor. One of my favorite things in this are the hearts of palm. They remind me of artichokes. Once you give this potato salad a try you can say bye bye to the traditional potato salad, as it is always a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:
8-10 medium potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup Spanish olives, chopped
4 heats of Palm, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 can carrots and peas

Preparation:

In a large bowl add cooked potatoes (chopped in cubes), salt & pepper, toss together. Next add all of the remaining ingredients and fold everything together until well incorporated.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: French Lentil Salad with Roasted Baby Potatoes and Herbs

The Lemon Bowl: Vegan Potato Salad Recipe
Healthy Eats: Spruced-Up Spuds: 5 Better-for-You Potato Salads
Homemade Delish: Brazilian Potato Salad
The Mom 100: Egg and Potato Salad with Bacon
Creative Culinary: Sour Cream and Bacon Potato Salad
FN Dish: 7 Ways to Win at Potato Salad

Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burger with Buffalo Sauce

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At your next BBQ this is a must try burger on your grill. The all American burger just got that much better. Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burger with Buffalo Sauce, oozing with spicy, creamy goodness. I mean who doesn’t love a good buffalo dish packed with flavor?  Instead of enjoying  chips on the side I went ahead and placed it as a topping.  Grab a beer and you’re good to go. This recipe was actually featured on EVERYDAY Rachael Ray website for an #RRWHATCHACOOKIN and also is in my cookbook.

Ingredients:
1 ½ lb ground beef (80/20)
salt & ground pepper, to taste
¼ cup chives, chopped
4 teaspoons blue cheese crumbles
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce
¼ cup ranch dressing
arugula, topping
lightly salted potato chips, topping
4 whole wheat buns
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:
1. Place ground meat in a medium bowl. Season with salt, pepper and chives. Mix everything together. Shape meat into 4 (1/2 inch) patties.
2. Make a well in the patties. Add a teaspoon of blue cheese crumbles into the meat. Fold over the meat until the cheese isn’t visible. Place to the side.
3. In a skillet or grill pan over medium to high heat, drizzle olive oil into the pan. Add the patties, flipping only once. Cook 4 to 5 minutes for rare burgers and 8-10 minutes for well.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl add Frank’s Red Hot sauce and ranch dressing, and stir.
5. Next take a bun place patty on it. Top with sauce, arugula and chips. Serve.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Greek Lamb Burgers with Mint Tzatziki
The Lemon Bowl: Filet Burgers with Tahini Garlic Mayo
Creative Culinary: The Canyon Creek Burger from Ted’s Montana Grill
Healthy Eats: Beef and Beyond: 6 Reasons to Cook More Burger
Weelicious: BBQ Chicken Burgers
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Crispy Mexican Black Bean Burgers
Homemade Delish: Stuffed Bleu Cheese Burger with Buffalo Sauce
The Mom 100: Buffalo Turkey Burger Sliders
FN Dish: Now, That’s the Stuff: Stellar Stuffed Burgers

2015 Porsche Macan Turbo

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I wanted to share with you my review post on this beautiful car. It’s a 2015 Porsche Macan turbo, and ranks 1 out of 17 luxury compact SUVs.  Not only was this car fully load with all the Porsche has to offer but the thrill and power of driving it is amazing. If you’re looking for a luxury SUV this is it. It’s not as big as its big brother the cayenne, but it’s very roomy. My kids had enough space in the back and they loved it. The Macan gives you that sports car feel but in an SUV. Outside it looks like a sedan in size, but inside is like a whole other world with comfort, roominess and special features.

The 2015 Porsche Macan seats five, has standard all-wheel drive and comes in Macan S or Macon Turbo trims. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission come with the Macan S, while the Macan Turbo features a twin-turbo 3.6-liter V6 engine. The Porsche Macan is an all-new model for 2015. Macan Turbo zipped from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. These are just some of the amazing features the turbo has to offer, Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility, Burmester audio, lane departure assist, blind spot alert, adaptive cruise control, red seat belts, ventilated seats and more. The center console presents an array of virtually identical buttons controlling everything from ride height to the heated seats. 
For more information about the Macan and any other Porsche visit http://www.porsche.com/

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Jalapeño and peach slaw

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This slaw gives you that sweet, spicy and creamy taste.  It’s simple to prepare and goes great with any meat or poultry dish.  I served it with my pulled pork sandwich which was a huge hit at a BBQ.  You can also substitute mangoes in place of the peaches.

 

 Ingredients:

 1/3 cup mayonnaise
 1/4 cup sour cream
 1 peach, diced
 1 jalapeño, diced
 1 bag of coleslaw
 Salt & pepper, to taste
 Zest of 1 lime
 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Preparation:
 In a large bowl add mayo, sour cream, s&p, vinegar and lime zest. Whisk until creamy. Next add the slaw, jalapeños and peaches. Toss everything together until well incorporated.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Asian Braised Cabbage Slaw with Black Rice and Arugula
The Heritage Cook: Gluten-Free Red and Green Slaw
Creative Culinary: Coleslaw with Warm Bacon Dressing
Healthy Eats: 7 Healthy Slaws for Every Palate
Virtually Homemade: Easy Asian Slaw with Roasted Chicken
Napa Farmhouse 1885: The Best Slaw Recipes
Taste with the Eyes: Fancy Fennel and Cabbage Slaw with Bacon, Egg, Peas
The Cultural Dish: Mac Nut Slaw (Hawaiian Cole Slaw)
Weelicious: Asian Slaw
Homemade Delish: Jalapeno and Peach Slaw
Daisy at Home: Fresh Vegetable Slaw
The Mom 100: Creamy Blue Cheese and Bacon Coleslaw
FN Dish: It’s Slaw Good: 6 Must-Make Summertime Slaws

Dates and Kerrygold cheese salad

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I think salads are fun to create. The toppings and dressing are endless possibilities. My new found interest has been roasting dates or figs.  They just compliment a salad so well; especially if you’re adding delicious Kerrygold cheese. I also went ahead and made homemade croutons using Kerrygold butter, giving the croutons that buttery amazing taste.

Salad Ingredients:

Watercress, or your favorite greens
4 pieces Kerrygold dubliner, sliced
Salt & pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 orange
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 roasted dates, chopped

Preparation:

In a large add juice of the Orange, olive oil, salt & pepper and whisk. Next add watercress, dates, cheese and toss together with dressing. Set aside.

Crouton ingredients:

2-3 day old pumpernickel bread, cut into pieces or cubes
1/4 cup Kerrygold butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Preparation:

Preheat oven 350 F degrees.

In a medium bowl toss all the above ingredients together. Place on to parchment paper and baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Top on salad and serve.

Thai Chicken Lettuce cups

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In the summer most of us are trying to watch our carb intake. With these lettuce wraps you will not even miss those carbs. It’s a refreshing dish to start with as an appetizer or a main course.  The only problem you will have is keeping them on the table. The peanut sauce just goes hand in hand with this dish but its totally optional.  If you cant find bibb lettuce you can use romaine or any other lettuce you prefer.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon honey

1-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

Main Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast

½ cup julienne sliced carrots

1 cup broccoli sprouts

5 oz can sliced water chestnuts

½ cup white onions, chopped

½ cup chopped peanuts

½ cup chopped cilantro

2-3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 green onions, chopped

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 cups of shredded cabbage (store bought coleslaw package works as well)

salt & pepper, to taste

½ teaspoon turmeric

1/2 of a small ginger root, shredded

1 red bell pepper, diced

8-12 bibb cup lettuce or romaine lettuce

Preparation:

Cut chicken into cubes. Season chicken with salt, pepper, turmeric and minced garlic.  Place olive oil on hot skillet on med high heat to cook chicken until golden. 

Then add onions, cabbage, carrots, peppers, broccoli sprouts, ginger and stir. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes on med heat.

Next add water chestnuts, green onions, peanuts, cilantro, sriracha and soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Stir everything together. Allow the mix to cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Place mix into the bib lettuce, use some peanut and cilantro garnish. Serve alongside with a peanut sauce for dipping.

Sauce Preparation:

Whisk all the ingredients together and drizzle on top or place in a little bowl for dipping.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

Feed Me Phoebe: Gluten-Free Healthy Chicken Parmesan with Fresh Cherry Tomato Sauce
The Lemon Bowl: Za’atar Spiced Grilled Chicken
The Heritage Cook: The World’s Easiest BBQ Chicken
Creative Culinary: Smoked Chicken with Chipotle, Peach and Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Homemade Delish: Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
Daisy at Home: Perfect Fried Chicken with 5 Dipping Sauces
Healthy Eats: 6 Reasons Not to Write Off Chicken — Summer Soiree
Red or Green: Spicy Pesto Chicken Bruschetta
Napa Farmhouse 1885: “Buffums” Chicken Salad Sandwiches
TasteBook: Asian-Style Grilled Chicken Thighs
Domesticate Me: Chicken and Goat Cheese Burgers with Peaches, Corn and Cherry Tomatoes
Taste with the Eyes: Gochujang Chicken Adobo
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Tandoori Chicken
Bacon and Soufflé: BBQ Chicken Pizza
FN Dish: The 6 Essential Chicken Recipes of Summer

 

Alex’s Lemonade The Great Chef’s Event

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On Tuesday, June 9, more than 40 of the best chefs from across the country and around the world will convene in Philadelphia for the 10th annual Great Chefs Event hosted by the Vetri Family restaurants and the Vetri Foundation for Children. The event will benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Foundation for Children. More than 1,200 guests will gather at the beautiful Urban Outfitters, Inc.’s corporate campus in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard for the culinary event of the year. The event’s equally in-demand After Party will be held at Lo Spiedo, Vetri’s newest restaurant, for chefs, sponsors, and VIP ticketholders, making this the first time the event is completely Navy Yard-based. Tickets are currently on sale at www.vetrifoundation.org.

Marc Vetri has hand-selected the list of participating chefs, calling on his friends from around the world, top talent from LA to NYC, Chicago to Italy. The chefs will donate their time, talent, and food, creating delicious samplings for guests at the walk-around tasting gala. Representatives from the country’s best bars, wineries, and craft breweries will also be present, including Joe Campanale, beverage director and co-owner of L’Apicio, L’Artusi and dell’anima in NYC, Gary Fish, founder of Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR, and many more (Please see a complete list of beverage participants below). Back to emcee the event again this year is Alicia Vitarelli, co-anchor of 6abc’s Action News at 4 p.m. and its weekly entertainment program, FYI Philly.

Participating chefs include veterans of the event, as well as several noteworthy newcomers. Returning chefs include Food Network Iron Chef and co-host of The Chew, Michael Symon and his co-host on Food Network’s new show, All Star Academy, Alex Guarnaschelli, as well as Bravo Top Chef: Masters contestant, Jonathan Waxman. Several of this year’s participating chefs have also been named finalists in the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, including host Marc Vetri for Outstanding Chef and regional Best Chefs finalists Matthew Accarrino (SPQR), Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo (Animal), Jonathon Sawyer (Trentina), Marco Canora (Hearth), Alon Shaya (Shaya), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), among many other past years’ winners and nominees. Philadelphia’s culinary scene is being represented by Jose Garces (Garces Group), Kevin Sbraga (Sbraga Dining), Daniel Stern (R2L), Michael Solomonov (Cook N Solo), and Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto). Great Chefs Event newcomers include Matt Rudofker (Momofuku Ssäm Bar), Benjamin Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Matty Matheson (Parts & Labour), and Tony Maws (Craigie on Main). (Please see a complete list of chef participants below.)

In addition to the stellar selection of food and drink, guests will have the opportunity to bid on silent and live auction items. Auction items include one-of-kind culinary experiences, such as private dinners with participating chefs, hard-to-get concert tickets, autographed memorabilia, and much more.

This year, the After Party will be held at Lo Spiedo, the newest Vetri family restaurant. VIP ticketholders and sponsors of the event will have the exclusive opportunity to rub elbows with all of the event’s talented chefs in an intimate setting. Acclaimed barbecue chef Adam Perry Lang will be behind the grill once again. After Party guests can also count on additional bites from Vetri Family chefs, such as Brad Spence’s (Amis) famous 230 lb. (up from 210 lbs. last year!) mortadella sausage made in collaboration with Victory Brewing Co., select food trucks and vendors, as well as specialty cocktails and entertainment.

To mark the Great Chefs Event’s 10th anniversary, Marc Vetri has planned a once-in-a-lifetime event for Monday, June 8, the night before the event – a multi-course reunion dinner featuring all of the Food & Wine magazine Best New Chefs of 1999 – in the private dining room at Vetri Ristorante. One year after he and partner Jeff Benjamin opened their first restaurant, Marc Vetri was named one of the magazine’s Best New Chefs along with Paul Kahan (Blackbird, avec, The Publican), Suzanne Goin (Lucques, a.o.c.), John Besh (August, Besh Steak, La Provence, Domenica), Rocco DiSpirito (award-winning cookbook author of the Now Eat This! series), James McDevitt (Bohlsen Restaurant Group), and Dale Reitzer (Acacia), all of whom will be providing a course for the exclusive meal. Tickets are currently only available to Executive Chef and Chef Sponsors of the 2015 Great Chefs Event.

I hope to see you there and for more information and to purchase tickets visit www.vetrifoundation.org. or www.alexslemonade.org.