Category Archives: Entertaining

Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomato Relish⠀


Fresh ingredients like basil, lemons and later summer cherry tomatoes, shine in this easy dish that is so easy to make………and yet,  your family and friends will be impressed for such and elegant meal!⠀

Serves 4 to 6


For the Salmon:
One whole salmon fillet, with skin on,  2 – 2.5 pounds
1/2 lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil⠀
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh  marjoram leaves⠀
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 clove garlic, finely minced⠀
Kosher salt, to taste⠀
Freshly ground black pepper⠀
1/4 bunch whole fresh basil, for garnish
Lemon slices, for garnish

For the Roasted Cherry Tomato Relish:
3 pints cherry tomato⠀
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
A few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar ⠀
1 small bunch basil, cut into chiffonade⠀

For the Relish:
Preheat oven to 450° F.

Toss cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallot and thyme with olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the tomato mixture out in a single layer and roast, tossing once, until tomatoes are blistered and beginning to burst, 20–25 minutes. Let cool and set aside.

Add the tomato mixture to a large bowl, along with the red onion, balsamic vinegar and basil. Toss the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Salmon:
Preheat the oven, set to broiler.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using clean paper towels, pat the salmon dry and place on the prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, mix the dried herbs and garlic powder with the olive oil. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the salmon.

Place the salmon in the oven and cook under the broiler for about 3 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300° F. Place the lemon slices over the salmon and return it to the oven and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork, depending on the thickness of the fish and the temperament of the oven. Be careful in not to overcook the salmon.

To serve, carefully lift the salmon along with the parchment paper and place on a large serving platter. Top the salmon with the roasted cherry tomato mixture, and garnish with lemon slices and fresh basil leaves.

Cooks Notes:
This recipe is so versatile that  any thick fillet or fish steak can be used  in  the place of salmon. Excellent substitutes are swordfish and halibut.

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Pan-Seared Lamb Chops


Looking for a quick yet elegant entree for a dinner party? Well, these easy lamb chops are just the ticket. Pair them up with a few sides likes mashed potatoes and sauteed green beans to complete the dish. And for the finishing touch, pour a full-bodied Merlot or Pinot Noir.


Serves 4
For the Lamb Chops:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, minc
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 lamb rib chops

For the Mini Fried Blooming Onions:
20 pearl onions
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons water
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, taste
Vegetable oil, enough to fill skillet to 1-inch depth; more for a deep fryer

For the Caramelized  Pearl Onions:
10-12 whole pearl white onions, skins removed
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, cumin and herbs. Season the lamb chops lightly with salt and pepper. Add  the chops to the olive oil mixture. Using tongs to  turning  each chop to coat completely.  Cover and  set aside to marinate, for 15-30 minutes.

To make the Blooming onions, preheat the oven to 170°F.

Cut tops of pearl onions, then slice top down (being careful not to cut all the way through) 3 times to form six sections of the onion. Using your fingers, gentley separate onion sections.

Place the onions in cold water to allow the petals to further separate. Soak for about 10 minutes and remove and drain on paper towels.

In a shallow bowl, mix eggs with water. In a separate shallow bowl, mix flour with garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Stir together until combined.

Dredge onions first in egg and then in flour mixture. S

In a large, high-sided skillet or a deep fat fryer, heat oil to about 350°F. Fry onions in batches, until they are golden. Place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.Season with salt and set aside in the oven until ready to serve.

Cook the Pearl onions. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften and turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, and continue cooking, covered, for another 5-10 minutes until the onions are a deep, rich golden color, but still hold their shapes.

Meanwhile, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add the chops to the skillet and cook to desired doneness, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve warm alongside the onions.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

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Belmont Stakes Cocktails


Horse racing and whiskey cocktails go hand-in-hand and every race has their own official cocktail.

For all of you horse racing fans looking for a great drink, these drinks are worthy of the5552327_orig.jpg status associated with the Belmont Stakes, the  last leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.These cocktails are top shelf classics along with the Mint Julep and the Black-Eyed Susan. Among the three horse races, the Kentucky Derby is the only race that has stuck with a single drink over the years and though the bourbon of choice has changed based on sponsorship, the Mint Julep has remained the drink to have while watching the Derby.

This is not the case for the other two races. The ‘official’ cocktails change regularly and, oddly enough, they often keep the same name. We have seen it with the Black-Eyed Susan and the Preakness Stakes and the same can be said of the Belmont.

The Belmont Stakes has had a number of ‘official’ drinks.

It all began with a little-known cocktail called the “Belmont Park” (Bacardi rum, port, one egg and a teaspoonful of powdered sugar) apparently existed in the 1920s and might have been the first cocktail of the Belmont racetrack.The Belmont Park was followed by  a  drink called “Big Apple”, which briefly preceded “White Carnation” as the official drink in 1976. “The Belmont Breeze” , the White Carnation’s successor in 1997,  was replaced as the official drink in 2011 by the “Woodford Reserve Belmont Jewel”.

The Belmont Park Cocktail may have appeared  in various  social  circles of the upper class  as early as 1890. And then  there is “Belmont Cocktail” with gin, raspberry syrup and cream from 1916. However, the Belmont Park Cocktail was first published 1925 in a book entitled  – Americana: Eight Cocktail Napkins, Hand Blocked, with Recipes and the Histories of Eight Famous Drinks ,whose publishers found a way around the Volstead Act of 1920. They added a shot of humor to the drink recipes. And what can be found in prohibition era book is  that  the authors poked fun at the Eighteenth Amendment. Non-alcoholic liquors and ‘flavorings’ were used as ingredients in the eight cocktails which included the Alabama, Barbary Coast, Belmont Park, Blue Blazer, Deadwood Dick, Manhattan, New Orleans Drip and the Rip Van Winkle Sleeper.

Frank Tynan, general manager of Belmont Park concessions for the Harry M. Stevens Company, told the New York (NY) Times June 8, 1975 Edition that the Belmont was working on an official drink to be called the “Big Apple.” And in 2015 Tynan told Newsday, that, “fruit juice, an apple liqueur and rum, I think,” may have been the ingredients found in the original “Big Apple” cocktail.

There is an interesting side note about The White Carnation, once a rather popular mixed drink, simple and tasty  the cocktail has the flavor of an orange cream soda. The ingredients are all pretty standard in the average bar.  It was the official drink of the Belmont Stakes from the 1970s until it was replaced in 1997 by Dale DeGroff’s variation of it, The Belmont Breeze. Although the White Carnation has lost some of its notoriety in recent years, it  still remains a fun drink to revisit.

In 1997, according to DeGroff, he set out to invent a great whiskey punch and wanted a spirit that had significance to New Yorkers, so he chose rye whiskey, since New York has always been a big rye town. Rye was one of the first spirits to be distilled in quantity in America and by none other than George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. He also wanted a drink that would appeal to a wide audience, so he introduced the sherry to temper the Rye: he finished with a combo that forms the base of the most popular drinks in the last ten years, cranberry and citrus. He also chose seasonal strawberry and mint as garnish, with a squeeze of lemon to cut the sweet. The New York Racing Authority loved the idea of a special whiskey cocktail for the Belmont that would appeal to a wider and younger  audience. The Belmont Breeze was thus born, and has been ‘official’ drink at the Triple Crown Race every year since with great success!

The Belmont Breeze is very similar with the exception of the whiskey, sherry, and cranberry, which contribute a note of sophistication to this newer drink.

Recently, DeGroff updated the Belmont Breeze recipe and it is fantastic as well. The recipe is also tells given below.

Another ‘official’ drink served at the Belmont Stakes  is the Woodford Reserve Belmont Jewel that  was published in 2011. It  features the smooth flavor of Woodford Reserve. The drink is simple and delicious. It is a mix of bourbon whiskey with lemonade and pomegranate juice and it is perfect for any occasion with uses far beyond the June race. It is also an easy recipe to transform into a punch and serve by the pitcher-full to a thirsty crowd.

Original Belmont Park Cocktail (1925)

Makes 1 Drink
½ Bacardi (non-alcoholic)
1 Egg
1 Teaspoonful Powdered Sugar
2/3 Port (non-alcoholic)

Directions:  Add ice, shake well and strain into cocktail glasses.

Big Apple Modern Cocktail 


Makes 1 Drink
1½ ounces Blade and Bow Bourbon
¾ ounce Berentzen Apple Liquor
pinch of ground cinnamon
sparkling or hard cider for topping
apples for garnish

Directions:  Slice the top third of an apple off and set aside for garnish.In a wide low-ball glass, add in the bourbon, apple liquor and cinnamon then stir.Top with sparkling cider and apple for garnish.

The White Carnation Cocktail (1976)

Refreshing and an creamy color to match the white carnations of the winner’s white carnation blanket.
Makes 1 Drink

2 ounces Vodka
1/2 ounces Peach Schnapps
2 ounces Orange Juice
1/2 ounces Soda or Club Soda (more if you prefer)
Splash of Cream
Crushed ice

Directions:  Stir liquors, orange juice and soda together and pour over ice in a highball glass. Splash cream over top. Garnish with an orange slice.

The Original  Belmont Breeze (1997)

Recipe created by Dale DeGroff, head bartender at Manhattan’s Rainbow Room/Windows on the World

9783583_orig.jpgMakes 1 Drink
1 1/2 ounces Seagram’s 7 whiskey
3/4 ounces Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Simple Syrup*
1 1/2 ounces Fresh orange juice
1 1/2 ounces Cranberry juice
Club Soda


Shake first six ingredients with ice, then top with half 7-Up and half club soda. Garnish with fresh strawberry, a mint sprig and a lemon wedge.

*For the   Simple Syrup: Dissolve two cups sugar in one cup water, and boil. The longer water boils, the stronger the syrup.

The Belmont Breeze* #2

Here is Dale DeGroff’s 2013 update on the original he created in 1997.

Belmont-Breeze2-LR.jpgMakes 1 Drink
1.5 ounces Rye Whiskey
0.5 ounces Pedro Ximenez Sherry
0.5 ounces Fresh lemon juice
1 ounce Fresh orange juice
1 dash Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters (click here )
4 Mint leaves
1 Mint sprig
1 Orange slice

Directions: Assemble the first six ingredients in a goblet filled with ice.

Garnish with a mint sprig and an orange slice.
Optional: top with Soda and / or 7UP.


The Woodford Reserve Belmont Jewel (2011)

Makes 1 Drink
1 1/2 ounces Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey
2 ounces Lemonade
1 ounce Pomegranate juice
Lemon wedge or cherry for garnish

Directions:  Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.Shake vigorously.Strain over ice into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or cherry. Parenting Team FC Contributor

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!


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NFL: Super Bowl L (50) Party


The NFL Super Bowl is special this year with the 50th Anniversary and a long way from the historic “Ice Bowl”. Listed below are a few of our favorite recipes for some amazing chicken wings, easy game day snacks and desserts to help you  celebrate  the day with great food!






Let The Eating  Games Begin !



Cheyenne Bacon Cheeseburgers


Poutine-Style Twice-Baked Potatoes



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Tomato Salsa with Cucumber Chips




 Avocado-Hummus Dip





 Crab Imperial with Red Pepper Dip


Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings,  Shrimp  and Grits Hushpuppies,  and  Korean Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders




Pulled Pork Nachos




Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

DSC05438 Kung Pao Chicken Wings


Rum and Coke Chicken Wings


Firecracker Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dressing


Fried Apple Pies   


Churros: Perfect for dipping into hot chocolate


Mexican Hot Chocolate


Cajun Lemonade

More recipes for Super  Bowl Parties

The Fool-Proof Guide to the Perfect Cocktail Party

From Fiestah

Photo: Drinked In

We know, it’s been a long ride since Thanksgiving! Don’t burn out just yet, you’ve got one more cocktail party to whip up, to usher in the New Year with a bang your guests will not forget. It may seem like a daunting task to host a gathering, but we promise, you can get things into shape in two hours.

We’ve got a quick check list of all the things you need for the perfect cocktail party:

Starry, Starry Night 
Whether you’re about to brave the cold outdoors, or you’re blessed with warm weather, twinkle lights will always be a quick way to bring a party space together. It’s inexpensive, and you can even fix removable hooks to your wall and drop the lights so it mimics the falling snowflakes!

Dramatic Pop of Color 
It doesn’t have to be the super fancy, but a strong color is the the perfect party styling to create that lush look. Complement dark tablecloths with flowers in rich berry tones. It will change the entire table!

Candles, Every Single Time 
Another sure fire way to bring it all together and create a cozy vibe are candles! We don’t recommend scented candles near the food, you wouldn’t want to mess with the gorgeous smells of yummy bites, do you?

One Signature Cocktail Or Punch
You don’t need a myriad of cocktails to impress your guests. You just need one cocktail or a boozy punch so that they can top up on their own, and won’t be shy about getting the drinks. A hot toddy will take you less than 15 minutes to make, and it makes about a jug! Just pop the teapot next to the drinks stand and watch your guests flock.

Mixed Nuts and Such
While something is brewing in the oven, distract your guests with a mix of nuts and figs to complement the drinks. Scatter the snack mixes in bowls around the room, and see how guests will gather around the space to mingle! Snack mix recipes here. 

Don’t Stress Yourself, Call On Us! 
If you’re not the type to whip up something in the oven while guests start to enter, take a minute a day or two before the party and call on Fiestah! We’ve got a long list of vendors of all types of amazing food and services, so you just have to call on one of them (or a few!) and deliver your chosen party bites straight to your door. It’s so easy, and you get to enjoy yourself at your own party without fussing if enough food is available.

There you have it, folks! What are some of your go-to fool proof tips?

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Source: The Fool-Proof Guide to the Perfect Cocktail Party

Food & Wine 2015 Summer Grilling Guide

Summer is almost here……

And even though grilling outside in the great outdoors can take place any time
of the year, from late spring to late summer is the height for grilling season.

Food and Wine Magazine has provided it’s  2015 Summer Grilling Guide, on line.

It is filled with phenomenal summer grilling recipes, plus wine pairings, style essentials, the best types of grills,  tools  and grilling tips from professional chefs.

You can cook just about anything on a grill, not only just meats like pork, beef and chicken, but seafood, vegetables, fruits and even desserts can be prepared on a grill. You can even turn you grill in the ultimate smoker.

    Cheese-Stuffed Grilled Peppers           Corn on the Cob with Seasoned Salts           Grilled Fruit with Honeyed Lemon Thyme Vinegar

I am so fired up an ready to start grilling, most of the recipes this summer will feature mostly grilled appetizers, main dishes and desserts……Yes I am a grill in love with her grill!


And you can follow my new blog, “A Girl and Her Grill”, a blog dedicated to anything and all things grilled……

Christmas 2014: Feast of the Seven Fishes

The Feast of the Seven Fishes (Italian: Festa dei sette pesci), also known as The Vigil (Italian: La Vigilia), is a  Southern Italian and Italian-American celebration of Christmas Eve with meals of fish and other seafood.

The long tradition of eating seafood on Christmas Eve dates from the Roman Catholic tradition of abstinence.A traditional holiday meal  may include seven, eight, or even nine specific fishes that are considered traditional. The most famous dish Southern Italians are known for is baccalà (salted cod fish). The custom of celebrating with a simple fish such as baccalà is attributed to the greatly impoverished regions of Southern Italy. Fried smelts, calamari and other types of seafood have been incorporated into the Christmas Eve dinner over the years.

A typical modern Christmas Eve  Feast  may include some combination of anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, dried salt cod, smelts, eels, squid, octopus, shrimp, mussels and clams.

The menu may also include pastas, vegetables, baked or fried kale patties, baked goods and homemade wine. This tradition remains very popular to this day.

Below are few of the dishes that were apart of our Feast of the Seven Fishes.


Seafood Risotto with Shrimp, Asparagus
and Mushrooms


Baked Stuffed Trout with Oyster Stuffing


Seafood Gumbo with Quail, Blue Crab and White Clams


Calamari Fra Diavolo with Squid Ink Pasta


Shrimp with Zucchini  Linguine


Shrimp and Lobster Ravioli with Spinach Basil Pesto and Shaved Parmesan


Fried Calamari


Cioppino Seafood Soup with Sourdough Rounds


Escarole and Fig Salad