Navy and White

Top from Anthropologie, pants are called the downtown pant from Lafayette 148 NY and the white pumps from Charles David.


Shrimp, Crab & Okra Gumbo

This is the first recipe I decided to try from the book I just bought, Fresh From The Source. We had some dinner quests and since this serves 6-10 I thought would be perfect. I made a couple of changes, I couldn’t find the spice gumbo filet (Whole Foods ran out) so I added cajun spice instead, I also roasted the shrimp ahead of time.

2 pounds of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 pound of fresh crab meat

1 cup of okra, cut into small pieces

1 small can of tomato paste

1 large yellow onion, chopped fine

3 talks of celery, chopped fine

1 red and 1 green pepper, chopped fine

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 large tomatoes, chopped

salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

3 quarts of water

1/2 cup of chopped parsley

1/2 cup of chopped green scallions (onion tops)

2 tablespoons of gumbo file (fee-lay)

for the roux, 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of canola oil

Season the shrimp with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

( I roasted in the oven at 400f till pink and added a bit of olive oil) For me it gives it more flavoring.


Make the roux by browning the flour in the canola oil. Stir the flour slowly and continue to stir slowly over medium heat till golden brown. (about 10-15 minutes)

Smother the chopped okra in the roux and cook over very low heat for about 30 minutes.IMG_0335

Add the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, onion, celery, green and red pepper and minced garlic. Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.IMG_0336

Add 3 quarts of water, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for 45 minutes.

Add seasoned shrimp and crab meat to the soup and cook for 20 minutes. Add the chopped parsley, scallions and filet and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve over rice.


Chickpea Salad with Sweet Peppers and Herbs

This is another great salad that can be made a day ahead. I got the recipe from Elizabeth Bard’s Picnic in Provence. This is her second book on her life in France, while sharing recipes.

1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper thinly sliced

1 yellow and 1 red onion thinly sliced

pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground Spanish nora peppers or good quality smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon harissa ( North African hot pepper paste) or a pinch or two of hot pepper flakes

1/2 cup of olive oil

3 cups of canned chickpeas ( 2 14 ounce cans) drained

black pepper

a good pinch of coarse sea salt

1 cup packed flat leafed parsley, with stems finely chopped

1 tablespoon packed fresh mint finely chopped

lemon slices for garnish

Preheat oven 350F

In a large casserole dish combine the peppers, onions, and dry spices (mint and parsley add later).  Pour olive oil and combine. Roast in oven for 1 hour, stir a couple of times.

Meanwhile rinse the chickpeas in hot water. Take the time to rub off the waxy skins..

Remove the peppers and onions from the oven, stir in the chickpeas. Add salt and pepper. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then stir in the parsley and mint. Serve with slices of lemon to squeeze on top. Serves 6.


A Summer Night Out

Lace top from White House Black Market, skinny jeans from DKNY, shoes from Vince Camuto and wrislet from Michael Kors.


Farro with Asparagus, Kale ,Roasted Mushrooms and Hazelnuts

I found this recipe when I was researching what kinds of salads can I make ahead of time for our cookout. It’s on Foodnetwork.com  by Rachael Ray.

You’ll need:

Salt and Freshly ground pepper

1 1/4 cup of pearled farro

1 1/2 pounds of mixed mushrooms, here she mention hen of woods but I could not find them so I just got what was available

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

3 to 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1 bundle of thin asparagus trimmed and cut at in angle

1 small bundle of flat Tuscan kale also called Lacinato or dinosaur, stemmed and finely chopped

freshly grated nutmeg

1/3 cup of dry sherry or Marsala

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

lemon juice for serving

sherry vinegar , optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil, salt and cook the farro to tender 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, toss the mushrooms with about 1/4 cup of olive oil to coat lightly, season with thyme. Roast in oven till deeply fragrant and brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan over medium-high heat add garlic, asparagus and shallots and cook till tender crisp. Add the kale till wilted season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan till brown and fragrant.

Drain the farro and combine with the vegetables in a bowl. Let it cool, can be served room temperature. The mushrooms  can be reheated and then added along with the nuts. I didn’t do that, I served all at room temperature. If it’s dry you can add sherry vinegar, a little lemon juice and or olive oil.



Yesterday my husband and I decided to buy lobsters for dinner. We went to our local fish market Captain Marden in Wellesley, MA. Standing in line waiting to order I noticed a display of cookbooks on a table. I love cookbooks! I’m always researching new recipes.  When it came to our turn the man behind the counter asked if I was interested in buying his cookbook. He was the chef and author. I was so excited I had him sign the book. Can’t wait to try these recipes! Lobster bisque, Paella, Mahi Mahi soft tacos with chipotle cream, shrimp and sausage  gumbo soup ,Italian style fish soup, poached salmon with chamomile buerre blanc and so many more. Fresh from the Source written by Thomas S. Hepner.


Potato and Green Bean Salad with Pastis Vinaigrette

This is one of the salads I made for our cookout over this holiday weekend. I will post the others later. I made it the night before and added the dressing a couple of hours before serving and let it get to room temperature. The recipe is in Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. Which a great read by the way. It serves 4-6, but it can easily be doubled.

2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon pastis (an apertif, liquorice test) or anisette

1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil or more up to 1/2 cup to taste

1 1/2 pounds of small red potatoes, halved or quartered

3/4 pounds of haricots verts, extra thin green beans, blanched (I don’t blanch them as I do like them less crunchy)

1 small red onion, minced

1/2 cup of flat-leaf parsley chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/2 cup of black nicoise olives

Combine the first 7 ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar or airtight container. Shake vigorously to combine.  Place the potatoes in a pot filled with salted cold water. Bring to a boil and cook them till tender about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the beans and blanch them in salted water for 4 minutes so they will be bright green. Pat dry with paper towels.

Drain the potatoes, place them in a bowl add the onions, parsley, thyme, olives and beans. Add the dressing and refrigerate for an hour. Let it get to room temperature and serve.


Summer Outfit

Great summer outfit! Top and shorts from White House Back Market, shoes from Franco Sarto and Handbag from Michael Kors.


Chez Toutoune’s Mussels with Cream Sauce

I made this dish last night for dinner and it was delicious! Even though I am of Cuban heritage, I love and appreciate French cooking. I’ve been to Paris twice and fell in love with the Bistro’s, the culture and fashion.  It really is my favorite city. Okay back to the food.  I got this recipe from Patricia Wells Bistro cooking.  Here it is. Serves 4.

2 large egg yolks

1/2 cup of creme fraiche or heavy cream ( used creme fraiche)

2 pounds of fresh mussels

3 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 cup of dry white wine (good wine, the one you drink) she made suggestions in her book

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves

2 shallots minced

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 225 to warm the four soup bowls and the soup terrine.

Combine the egg yolks with the creme fraiche in a small bowl, whisk till blended and set aside.

The mussels I bought were from Whole Foods, they were pretty much clear of sand, but I did rinse them well with cold water.

Melt the butter in a large skillet with cover over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook till soft about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mussels, wine, and thyme. Increase the heat to high and cover. Stirring a couple of times. It usually takes about 5 minutes for all the mussels to open up. Throw the ones that didn’t.  Remove from the heat and with a slotted spoon scoop the mussels into the warmed soup tureen cover and place back into oven.

Strain the mussel cooking liquid with a cheese cloth, this was to strain any sand. But I do remember watching Ina Garten on the food channel she pour water over the mussels or was it clams (?) and added flour and the sand was at the bottom of the bowl oh well I did follow the recipe. Return the mussel liquid to the pan, that’s been wiped off.   whisk in the creme fraiche and egg yolk mixture and reheat the sauce enough but not boiling. Pour the sauce over the mussels and sprinkle pepper and parsley.


Grilled Flank Steak with Pomegranate salad

I found this recipe in a clothing catalog. It’s from Chef Charlie Palmer. I substituted the chicory for arugula for my own personal taste.


Serves 6.  What you will need:

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 ( 1 1/2 to 2 pound) flank steak

salt and pepper

1 pound of heirloom tomatoes cut in half lenghtwise

1 small head of chicory well washed tough ends removed, chopped

4 ounces chopped toasted walnuts (I dried toasted them over med heat)

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

pomegranate dressing


2 tablespoons of pomegranate  molasses

1 tablespoon of orange juice

1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic

1/4 walnut oil

salt and pepper (whisk all together in a bowl)

Combine oil, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, garlic and thyme in a bowl whisk and blend well. Massage the paprika on all sides of the meat place in a glass baking dish and rub the marinate. Cover with plastic and set aside for an hour.    Grill the steaks turning occasionally for 12 minutes for rare or 15 medium rare. You can make the salad while cooking, or what I do is prepare everything before hand so I can keep an eye on the steaks. I added the dressing to the salad before serving.

When the steaks are done cut on the bias into thin strips place on platter with all the juices. Lightly coat the salad with the dressing and place along the steak. Serve immediately.


Maxi Dress

I love this maxi dress is from Athleta. It has ruching on the sides so it doesn’t show everything. And it has a slit on the side. It’s soft and very comfortable. I think it may be my Fourth of July outfit.Featured image


Spinach in Puff Pastry

I have made this Spinach pie many times, it’s great for a meal or can be cut up in smaller bites for appetizers. I got the recipe from Ina Garten”s Barefoot in Paris. Here is the recipe with some of my tips. To me cooking is all in the organization. Always read the recipe thoroughly , can’t tell you how many mistakes I’ve made by overlooking a step.  Now all recipes start telling you to preheat oven, my oven only takes 10 or 15 minutes to preheat so I usually do that when I’m almost ready to put in the oven.

What you will need.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 cups of copped onion (2 onions)

2 scallions chopped green and white parts

1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)

1 cup of grated Gruyere cheese and 3/4 of a cup of freshly grated of Parmesan cheese (I always buy Parm Reggiano)

4  extra large eggs lightly beaten, 1 more mixed with 1 tablespoon of water and beaten for eggwash

1 tablespoon of dry bread crumbs ( plain or seasoned)

2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 3/4 of teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts ( you can dry toast them in a fry pan on the stove, keep an eye on it you don’t want it to burn )

2 sheets of puff pastry, the box usually has 2

2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach defrost overnight in fridge, you may want to take it out 15 minutes before starting

Now my best advise is to take out all the ingredients and start prepping before cooking anything. Do all the chopping and grating before you start cooking. I lay things out so I have it handy when I will use them. To take out the water from the spinach

I place a colander in the sink and use lay a cheese cloth on top then place the spinach on it, wrap it in the cloth an squeeze all the water. You can use a towel but it can be a little messy, I throw the cloth out. Place the spinach in a large bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and add the copped onions. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes till tender. At this time a toast the pine nuts over medium heat till they start getting some color since I am already at the stove. Add the garlic and cook till 1 minute more.

Add the onion mixture, pine nuts, scallions, the cheeses, the eggs. bread crumbs, salt and pepper, nutmeg to the spinach and mix well. I mix well every time I add and ingredient.  Unfold one of the puff pastry sheets onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep the pastry sheets cold before use or it will be hard to unfold as it will stick. Now you can PREHEAT OVEN to 375 degrees. Spread the spinach mixture starting in the middle leaving 1 inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.  Roll out the second piece of pastry on a floured board till 1 inch each larger in each direction. Place it over the spinach and crimp the sides with a fork. Now what I found is that it helps to have a flat baking sheet it will be easier to crimp. Brush the top with the egg wash but don’t let it drip or the pastry won’t rise. Make three small slits in the pastry and sprinkle salt and pepper. Now bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depends on oven till golden brown.


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