November 19, 2010

You Have Got to be Kidding Me!

Doctor Sues Restaurant for Not Showing Him How to Eat Artichoke!

Click HERE

May 24, 2010

Happy Birthdays!!

Happy Birthday to two of my favorite girls- my niece, Savannah and my sister, Jill Bari!!

This is Savannah with her cake- she turns 18 today!! Jill Bari turns 29 (again).

Savannah's beautiful cake was made by Madison Avenue Cakes in Pittsburgh, PA. Their website is

I hope you both enjoy your special days! Much love to you both and wishes for many, many more...and the eggs.

April 20, 2010

Jack Reed Moon

If there ever was a man who enjoyed eating, it was Jack Reed Moon. TLMM's father Jack passed away last Friday from cancer. We enjoyed so many amazing meals together, I wouldn't know where to begin. I picked one post I especially like because as I wrote it, I was looking forward to a visit from him and Marilyn. Click here. The first time I met Jack, we shared a meal at a Japanese restaurant in Pittsburgh and he informed me that I wouldn't like France very much because the portions are very small. We laughed! He had me pegged. One of the best meals I have ever had was at their apartment - click here. One year, we celebrated his birthday at Joe's Stone Crabs- see here. Jack read ...and the eggs, and even commented now and again.

Until a couple of weeks ago, Jack was eating everything you could fit on his plate. After his move to Florida in 2008, Jack had the chance to try Cuban food- he especially liked Cuban sandwiches. He was always game to go out to a new restaurant, and it was easy for him to find something to try. He was adventurous with food and instilled that curiosity in his children. We will miss Jack for so many different reasons, I will especially miss my dining companion...and the eggs.

April 9, 2010

Fresh Ham, Cuban Style and then Carnitas Tacos!

As a nice follow up to Passover rolls, I present to you one of the best pieces of pig I have ever had the pleasure to place on my palate!

It's really very simple. The day before you want to eat it (pork leg or butt), take out a small bowl. Make a paste out of 10 minced garlic cloves, 1 T salt, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon bay leaf powder and 2 T olive oil. Add some extra olive oil if the paste isn't pasty enough. Cut deep slits in the fresh ham and rub the paste all over it, forcing it into the slits. In another bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups sour orange juice, 1/2 cup sherry and 2 large onions, thinly sliced. Place the roast in a large plastic bag and pour the wet mixture in, massaging as you go. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or even over two nights. Turn a couple of times a day.

On the day of cooking, remove from plastic bag and put in large roasting vessel. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put in oven, uncovered. Flip after 2 hours. A 10 pound fresh ham takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours to cook.

The photo above is before we put it in the oven and the photo below is after 2 hours, when it was time to flip it.

As you let it cook, your kitchen and surrounding areas will fill up with the most incredible smell. If I could only bottle it...

Finally it's done! Our Cuban pork cooking guru, Mr. Jimenez, told us that it would be done when about 2" of that big bone was sticking out. He was right--see photo below. Remove from oven and let it sit for 20 minutes. It is easiest to slice into chunks, around the large chunks of fat. It almost cuts itself.

The pork is incredibly tender, and the herbs give the perfect amount of contrast to the porky flavors. We served this with a corn casserole and green beans. It was wonderful. Another great thing about this pork is that you can use the leftovers to make carnitas tacos, which we did. Just buy a package of corn tortillas, an onion and some avocado- it's really all you need. The tacos were addictive. We just heated a skillet with a little bit of vegetable oil and threw the leftover pork, sliced up. Let it cook for about three minutes, so that it is warmed through and slightly charred on the outside. You'll be glad you did...and the eggs.

April 1, 2010

Passover Rolls- A Taste of Childhood

As a child, I got to eat these only during Passover. My mother recently sent me the recipe and I got to work making them!

1/3 cup margarine or shortening
2/3rds cup water
1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup matzo meal (for a finer roll, use cake meal- I did!)
3 eggs

Combine shortening, water, sugar and salt in a pan and bring to a boil. Add matzo meal or cake meal and cool slightly. Add eggs, one at a time.

Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes and then turn heat down to 350 and cook for 20 minutes more. This usually cooks hollow, almost like a cream puff.

I doubled the recipe, which I highly recommend so that it makes more than 12. The result is delicious! The rolls aren't heavy - they are light and they have that taste that I remembered. Slightly sweet, slightly matza-y. It's easy to eat 3 or 4 of these suckers since they're so light. They're perfect to take to work with leftover chicken or brisket. I brought some to work and shared them with my Jewish co-workers (and one non-Jewish co-worker) and they were loved by all. The recipe has already flown around my group of friends. They freeze well- I should have made more 'cuz they're all gone now. Well there are still 5 days of Passover left, I will whip up another batch tonight. Thank you, mom, for the recipe and for helping to make me feel like I was home for the holiday...and the eggs.

March 26, 2010

People + Food - C'mon Y'all!!

A couple of years ago, I had a great idea for a blog, which combines my two passions- people and food. It's a place where people share their own stories about the food that they love. Simple idea! Well, people submitted some great memories and now I would like to get it going again. Please email me a portrait-like photo of yourself and a short story about a food memory! I'd love to get some more stories on the blog. Click here for an example, or to see the blog, click the people + food link on the upper right hand corner. Email me at Thank you and I'm looking forward to sharing your stories!!

March 21, 2010

Scotch Bonnet Peppers as a Muse!

Last week, my co-worker Scott gave me these scotch bonnet peppers he and his wife grow in their backyard garden. I wanted to do them justice so I started thinking...there is a large Jamaican community in Miami and I pass Jamaican markets all the time, but had never ventured into one. There was never a better time to learn to make an authentic jerk dish.



1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup white vinegar
4 green onions (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
2-5 scotch bonnet peppers, de-seeded and minced (The two I used give it a 3 on a heat scale of 1-10)
3 bay leaves
3 peppercorns
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3-4 allspice berries, crushed
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine oil and vinegar in a bowl. Add other ingredients and whisk until mixed up!

I used two pork tenderloins for this recipe- but you could use some thick pork chops too. Put the meat in a shallow container and pour marinade over it. Leave in refrigerator for 24 hours, turning every 5 hours or so.

The next day- you're ready to cook! Let the meat sit for 15 minutes or so at room temperature. Preheat the grill and then turn it down to medium heat. Put meat on the grill. I left it on for 30-40 minutes until the internal temperature was 160 degrees. Turn it every 15 minutes or so. Leave the grill closed and if you are using charcoal, leave the meat on indirect heat. When it's done, let it rest for 15 minutes.

At the Jamaican grocer, I bought a box of Festival. The best way to describe it is that it is a little like a hush puppy. It was as very easy to make out of the box. You add water, let it sit for 15 minutes, divide the dough and fry it. It was a great side dish because it was slightly sweet, complimenting the spice of the jerk flavors. There were many interesting ingredients at the grocer including mustard oil, rose water, strange-looking fresh vegetables and cans of things I have never cooked with before. Another item caught my eye. The only kosher balsamic glaze (it says so on the bottle). It looked out of place among all of the exotic ingredients from the islands, but there it was.

Back to the jerk pork. WOW!! The meat was tender and the flavor was complex and amazing. Yes- sure the scotch bonnets gave it a kick, but the heat did not overpower all of the other flavors. They all came together and a well-balanced jerk flavor that everyone could enjoy was the result. Enjoy it we did- we even fed Joel and Michael, the guys trimming our poinciana tree in the backyard. We ate and then ate some more. The jerk pork will now be part of my repitoire. Thank you for the peppers, Scott!

The next time you are at a farmer's market, pick one seasonal ingredient that looks great and see what you can come up with...and the eggs.

January 23, 2010

Brussels Sprouts with Leeks and Bacon

Do any of you have a favorite brussels sprouts recipe? Before the holidays, I was in the waiting room of my doctor's office, reading Good Housekeeping. A recipe caught my eye- I had been looking for a way to prepare brussels sprouts ever since I ate the best sprouts I had ever tasted at my friend Phil's house for his annual holiday get together a couple of years ago. His dish included chestnuts. I asked Phil for the recipe, but he is one of those people who doesn't measure anything. When I saw this recipe in Good Housekeeping, I made a note of it! I finally got around to making it this week, and it was exactly what I was looking for- even without the chestnuts.

You can refer to the recipe in its entirety for specifics but here is the routine with my twists. The recipe calls for twice as many sprouts as I bought, so I cut the other ingredients in half, except (of course) the bacon. You can prepare the sprouts the night before by washing them and trimming the tough stem. Put it in a pan, pour 3/4 of a cup of water over them. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes or until tender. Drain well and put it a tight container and put in the refrigerator overnight.

To make the rest of the dish- cook 4 strips of bacon cut into 1/4 inch slices over medium heat until they brown and render their tasty and delicious fat. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve- but don't turn down the heat!

Place sprouts in the pan. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until browned, stirring frequently. Remove to bowl and keep warm.

Add olive oil and leeks to pan- the leeks have been sliced once lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/4 inch strips- the same as the bacon. Add salt and pepper. Cook 12-14 minutes until leek is tender and browned. Add bacon, sprouts and 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar (I had no cider vinegar so I used balsamic). Cook on medium high heat for 2 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently. The recipe calls for fresh chopped parsley at the end but I didn't have any, so I didn't use it. The end result did not suffer in the least. The sprouts were perfectly tender throughout, and the taste of the leek, bacon and touch of balsamic were just what they needed to push the flavors through the roof!

This was one of those dishes that I could eat every day. One and a half pounds of sprouts was much more than enough for two people. I think the recipe in the magazine was intended to be used as a holiday side dish, in which case you might need the 50 ounces of sprouts. In any case- we loved it. Without as much time as I used to have to cook and share recipes, I have chosen to be selective and make what I love the best. So far, so good...and the eggs.

January 17, 2010

El Santo Coyote - Revisited.

Another trip to the Mexico in my own backyard.

Fresh salsa- we have had this 4 times now and it is consistently great!

This is the fajita dish I was telling you about - carnitas. Slow cooked, marinated succulent shredded pork. Slightly charred in the second heating process. Put it on a soft corn tortilla, bite, and let the flavors sink in.

Heaven. It's so juicy and full of flavor that you are forced to take your time to savor it.

This is a chile relleno platter. It looks like something has gone wrong but there was too much going on to put my finger on it, so I just took a bite. The rice is cooked perfectly. The poblano chile is all about flavor, which was there. They smothered it in some sauce with a kick, having been told about my affection for heat, but it took away from what might have been a perfect chile relleno. Don't ask me about that radish because I just don't know. The dish looked like something from a Mexican food version of Cakewrecks (if there was a Mexican food version of Cakewrecks). You win some, you lose some.

As I have heard from some friends who visited El Santo Coyote on my recommendation, the owners are anxious to hear your feedback- good or bad. It's a new restaurant and they appreciate your praise and and constructive criticism- and will bend over backwards to make you happy. Another note taken by my friends concerns the service. From what I have gathered during my visits, this is an extended family operation and mom, dad and cousins are the hostess and wait staff. It is easy to see that polish is lacking, but I have been to some much higher end restaurants with much worse service. I will return again and again for what it is and hope that, with experience, those kinks work themselves out. We need some restaurants down here, folks- there are diners with dollars to spend south of Pinecrest...and the eggs.
El santo coyote on Urbanspoon

January 7, 2010

Easy Ambrosia Cake- Happy Birthday Me!!

My niece, Savvy, happened to be visiting on my birthday, so I asked (forced) her to bake my birthday cake. To her credit, she was willing to take on a difficult cake, but I didn't have the heart to make her do that. We found a recipe to tweak a boxed cake mix and decided to give it a whirl. If you love ambrosia, this cake's for you!

1 package moist yellow cake mix (we used Duncan Hines)
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1x11 ounce can of mandarin orange segments
1x8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1x20 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
1x3.5 package instant vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9x13 pan.

In a large bowl, break and beat eggs, add cake mix, oil and mandarin oranges with juice. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.

To make the topping, mix together the thawed whipped topping, crushed pineapple with juice and vanilla pudding mix. Let it sit in refrigerator to set for a couple of hours, then it's ready to frost!

We sliced the cake in half since we wanted a layer cake- you could also use three round pans- we didn't think of that! It came out beautifully anyway.

The taste of the cake is definitely reminiscent of ambrosia, and it's delicious. Not too sweet- not too rich- just right. Very easy to make. Exactly the recipe we were looking for!

Give it a try the next time you guilt a teenager into baking you a birthday cake, it works like a charm! Thank you, Savvy...and the eggs :)

January 6, 2010

Salsa Fresca!

Whilst searching for a large outdoor planter, we happened upon a new Mexican restaurant! El Santo Coyote is South of Cutler Bay, FL. The building and grounds was formerly a shop selling Mexican crafts, and they recently added a restaurant. The salsa there merits a blog resurrection!! The food we tried also deserves raves- everything is made fresh, from the salsa made tableside to the guacamole.

This salsa was the best I have ever tasted- because I asked for the heat I wanted! Our waiter didn't just toss in extra dried red chili peppers- he went to the kitchen and got one especially spicy dried pepper and ground it into the mixture with the mortar and pestle. I highly, highly recommend the carnitas fajitas. The sangria is wonderful- no canned fruit cocktail here.

For their website, click here.
Ole... and the eggs.

El santo coyote on Urbanspoon