Lately I’ve been saying this too much: “I ordered the wrong thing,” as I watch my fellow diners enjoying their meals.

Does this ever happen to you?

“Let’s go out!” Those magical words elicit sparkly expectations of delight and deliciousness.  Dining well when you eat in a restaurant is quite tricky; it’s an art actually. Two diners at the same table can have entirely different experiences.

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Last week I enjoyed a Friday afternoon movie with an old friend of mine who I don’t see too often. Recently widowed, he hasn’t been going out much, plus, not so many great adult movies to see these days.

After the movie, I had a dinner to attend. As we parted, I asked him, “So what are you going to do now?” He thought and then perked up. “It’s champagne Friday!  I get to drink champagne today.”

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I was looking at my last few posts and whew…intense! So today: a blast of deliciousness to lighten things up.  Muffins! That’s a happy word that makes everyone, or at least most people, happy.

I’ve started baking again…which means I’m happy.  It also means my recovery from April’s surgery is proceeding marvelously.

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You all know that I love to cook and bake.  I read food blogs and websites.  Cookbooks as bedside reading are a given.  Cooking is not only how I nurture and delight my family and friends, it’s how I explore, travel and taste the world right in my own home.

Lately, people have been after me to compile a book of the recipes I’ve cooked over the years that have become family favorites.  Now I’m not a recipe writer.  Whilst some of my recipes have come from my mother and grandmother…other family favorites have come from famous chefs, cookbooks and websites.

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Eating out of a bowl is nothing new.  Asian cuisine and many others, have been served out of bowls for centuries. In 2017, bowls have become a cultural and gastronomic moment. If you’ve ever eaten a bowl of ramen, or a burrito bowl at Chipotle, you’ve had a bowl.

The millennials appropriated bowls into a lifestyle. It turns out millennials don’t want to sit at a table and use a knife and fork. They want easy, attractive, fork food that you can pick up and carry to the couch and watch Netflix, or to the computer and keep working or Skyping.

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In Tropica it’s always guest season. Living in a vacation destination means a lot of houseguests. I enjoy picking people up at the airport and having the stimulation and fun of visitors.

Being a good houseguest is an art, but it can also be a learned skill. If you have friends living in interesting places, and you are lucky enough to be invited to stay, it means you can travel all the more. So it behooves you to treat your hostess like the treasure she is.

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strawberry-salad-su-1622409-x
The oranges in this orange strawberry salad are clean sectioned, a lot of work. Mine is easier, below. And even prettier!

I’ve cooked it all.  Legions of cookies and cakes.  Gallons of egg nog and mimosas.  Baked hams. Beef Wellingtons. Roasts of pork and lamb.  So many turkeys I can’t even count. Creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, Sacher Tortes, Buches de Noel.

I asked myself, what do I really feel like eating at Christmas this year? The answer was: not complicated elegance. More like sexy bistro food. I have visions of pulling a bubbling casserole from the oven, served with a glass of seriously fabulous wine. My DD tells me I’ll be everyone’s new best friend by bringing a large Spanokopita, a Greek spinach pie to a Christmas eve supper I’m invited to.

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⟡ Where have you been all my life? ⟡

Smitten Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

This is a recipe for people who can’t bake.  It takes five, okay, fifteen minutes to get into the oven.  In addition to being fail proof, it’s comforting, beautiful and delicious.  And I can’t believe I never knew about this until a week ago! [Read more…]