Month: November 2012

Naughty Tea Time – Earl Grey Martini


Pass the scones because we’re livening up tea time with our scrumptious Earl Grey Martini. Guaranteed to be your cup of tea, this martini recipe takes a splash of the classic English tea and shakes it up with gin, lemon and sugar. How’s that for a perfect cuppa?


2½ oz strong Earl Grey tea
2 oz gin
½ oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar


In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, add Earl Grey tea, gin, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well, strain into martini glass and serve.

Serves 1




Homemade Focaccia Bread with Creamy White Bean Dip


For those of you intimidated by baking bread, we have one word for you: focaccia. The flat, oven-baked Italian bread isn’t only topped with olive oil, rosemary and salt, but it’s also super easy to whip up. Pair it with our creamy white bean and roasted red pepper dip and you’ll be rushing to bake (and break) bread!


Homemade Focaccia Bread

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp dry yeast
4 cups flour
2 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

Focaccia Topping

2 tbsp olive oil, divided
¼ tsp coarse salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

Creamy White Bean Dip

1 ½ cups canned white kidney (aka cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup diced roasted red peppers
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (we love CHOBANI brand)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper


1) For the focaccia bread, in the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle dry yeast over and let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes. Add flour, salt and ¼ cup olive oil. Turn mixer on low and when the dough starts to come together, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and elastic about 8 minutes. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and form dough into a ball. Oil a large bowl add dough turning to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

2) Preheat oven to 425ºF. Coat two 9-inch round pans with a little olive oil. Punch dough down, divide in two and using your fingertips, press the dough into each of the prepared pans. Cover with a cloth and let dough rise 20 minutes more. Drizzle each pan of dough evenly with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread it. Sprinkle with salt and rosemary. Press fingertips all over dough, forming indentations. Bake 17 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

3) For the white bean dip, in a food processor, combine white kidney beans, roasted red peppers, yogurt, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, rosemary, sugar, salt and pepper. Process until the dip is smooth, about 20 seconds. The dip may be refrigerated a few hours ahead of serving. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serves 8

Scrumptious Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Rocco’s Mama inspires us. She spends endless hours rolling meatballs in her son ’s restaurant basement, which made us wonder what it would take to persuade our own talented Mom to move from matzo balls to meatballs. Mom…you ok down there?


Marinara Sauce
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp olive oil
3 (28oz/796ml) cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp sugar

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups soft breadcrumbs (5 pieces of white bread, crusts removed, pulsed in food processor until crumbs)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 lbs lean ground beef


1) For the sauce, in a large soup pot, combine onion, garlic and olive oil over medium-low heat and stir often until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, wine, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from stove and using a hand held or countertop blender, puree sauce to desired consistency. Stir in basil and sugar. Cover and return to medium-low heat, cooking 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

2) For the meatballs, preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.

3) In a large bowl, combine eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Add ground beef, mixing to combine.

4) Shape meat mixture into approximately 50 meatballs and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes total, turning the meatballs at the 10-minute mark. Remove from oven and place meatballs on paper towel to drain off any excess fat. Place meatballs in marinara sauce and serve with cooked pasta.

Serves 8-10

Double Chocolate Layer Cake with Rice Krispie Crunch

Lisa is a chocoholic. Has been since she was a wee one, when her and I got locked in the bathroom and to calm her down, our mom slid a Hershey bar under the door. Since then, chocolate is her happy place, her sad place, her tired place and her wired place…there’s no time that chocolate isn’t her Eden. With that in mind, it gives me great joy to unveil her most recent chocolate masterpiece, this try-layered fudgy chocolate cake, filled with chocolate coated rice krispies and creamy, smooth chocolate frosting.

Only downside to this divine and decadent dessert is it can’t be slid under the bathroom door.


Chocolate Cake
¾ cup semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup cocoa powder
1½ cups boiling water
2½ cups + 2 tbsp flour
3 cups sugar
3 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp kosher salt
1½ cups buttermilk
¾ cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

Milk Chocolate Rice Krispie Crunch
3 cups rice krispie cereal
2½ cups milk chocolate chips, melted

Chocolate Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
6 cups icing sugar
¾ cup whole milk


1) For the cake, preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper and lightly spray again. Dust the pans with flour, shaking out the excess.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together semi sweet chocolate, cocoa powder and boiling water whisk until smooth. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a third bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.

3) Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Add the melted chocolate mixture and continue to whisk until all ingredients are well combined. Pour batter into cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cakes completely before frosting.

4) For the Rice Krispie Crunch, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine rice krispies and melted chocolate and fold together until cereal is completely coated. Evenly spread mixture onto the baking sheet and place in the freezer for 20 minutes. Remove and chop into small pieces. Can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.

5) For the frosting, using an electric mixer, beat butter, melted chocolate, icing sugar and milk on low speed. Gradually increase speed to medium until frosting is fluffy.

6) To assemble the cake, place one 9-inch chocolate cake on a large plate, trim top to make it even and flat all over. Spread ¾ cup frosting on top and cover with 1 heaping cup of Krispie Crunch. Top with another 9-inch cake and repeat with frosting and crunch. Top with the final cake and frost. Cover the top of the cake with remaining crunch.

Serves 10-12

Apple, Carrot & Ginger Smoothie

This vitamin-packed apple, carrot and ginger smoothie, the perfect combination of sweet and slightly spicy, will fill you up and power you through the day.


½ cup apple juice
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
¼ cup applesauce
¼ tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
4-6 ice cubes


Place apple juice, carrots, applesauce, ginger, cinnamon, salt and ice cubes in a blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds until well combined. Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately.

Serves 1