Jun 292008

As many might know from reading my blog, I live in a little space and feel like I am constantly cleaning. As much as I love to cook when my kitchen nook is clean, I like to admire it and not cook! I recently came a across a book on cleaning tips which made me think of some of mine. Here are my top ten kitchen cleaning tips. Please tell me some of your favorite cleaning tips.

1) When a counter is covered with flour or dough cover with a cloth that has be soaked in boiling water. Do not wipe down until the cloth has cooled. The sticky dough will easily wipe away.
2) Cleaning a surface with a spray let stand for a moment or two to activate and then wipe clean.
3) Dirty sponges soak them in salt water or throw them in the dishwasher (that is something I dream about having one day.)
4) Stove- Vinegar and baking soda
5) Need to get a tough crevasse use an old toothbrush (that has been thoroughly washed) or a q-tip
6) Cleaning a blender- Blend hot water and soap them pour our and rinse
7) Grease- get rid as much as you can and then rub down with lemon.
8) Recently, I broke my sister’s glass pitcher I had borrowed. Thought I would return super duper clean- instead had to go to the store and get her a new one. I used boiling water to clean the hand blown glass. The pitcher broke into a thousand little pieces. Boiling water is not always the solution.
9) Floors- dampen the ends of your broom and dustpan to keep the dust from rolling back to the floor. Removing rubber sole marks just use an eraser and water can be harsh on hardwood floors so wash them infrequently as possible.
10) Do not ever mix ammonia and bleach together!

 Posted by at 9:26 pm
Aug 292007


Having a fresh farm stand tomato is simply heaven. I am just so thrilled there is still more time in the season to enjoy them. It is hard to avoid them as they seem to be everywhere even in the New York Times “So Many tomatoes to Stuff in a Week” by, Mellissa Clark. As a child I did not fancy tomatoes, I know, crazy. How much I missed out on. One of the simplest ways to prepare tomatoes is roasting them. This is perfect because it can be added to all kinds of dishes: Salads, Pastas, and Sandwiches. Past recipes to check out too is Gazpacho , Bruschetta and Peeling Tomatoes.

Roasted Tomatoes
4 Pounds of Beefsteak Tomatoes (cut in half)
1 Cup of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Salt
11/2 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
5 Cloves of Garlic (Minced)
2 Tablespoons of Thyme

Preheat Oven 350
Arrange the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet that has been lined with tin foil. Coat the sheet with Olive Oil about 2-3 Tablespoons. Sprinkle Sugar and Salt evenly over the tomatoes and let stand for about 5- minutes. The sprinkle Garlic and Thyme over the Tomatoes and finish by drizzling the Balsamic Vinegar and rest of the Olive Oil over the Tomatoes. Bake for 3 hours if they start to brown to quickly reduced the heat.

1. The tomato is the world’s most popular fruit
2. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C
3. What makes the tomato red- Lycopene research thinks it might prevent cancer
4. There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes
5. Don’t store ripe tomatoes in the fridge, lessens the flavor. Instead store tem in a cool, dark place, stem-side down.
6. If you must refrigerate take is out an hour before and let return to room temperature.
7. A good serrated knife is far better than a flat-edged knife when slicing tomatoes
8. Cherry Tomatoes- scooped out make a great edible cup
9. Plum Tomatoes are best used for sauces
10. Herbs that goes well with Tomatoes- Basil, Oregano, Garlic, Thyme. Pepper, Chives, Tarragon, Bay Leaf, and Celery Seed. Basically EVERYTHING!

 Posted by at 5:59 pm
Aug 022007

Busy, Busy, Busy is how I feel a lot of the time. I guess that is why NYC has the nickname “the city that never sleeps.”  Now I realize sometimes there is no time to cook or even make a restaurant reservation, so here is the solution.  A good friend of mine is starting this business called SUNDAY where you can have a personnel assistant for only $29 a month allowing you 30 requests.  They can provide anything from reservations, travel arrangements, wake-up calls with the weather as well as offering delivery services in the NYC area. (Sunday services are not limited to NYC and have customers throughout the US).  You can even have them look up recipes for you and email them to your Blackberry while you are on the way to the store!  If you can request it they can most likely figure a way to answer it.  So if you are one of those people that don’t even have enough time or don’t know where to begin in sending flowers, check Sunday out at http://www.asksunday.com

I was reading the New York Times and came across this great article by Mark Bittman, Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less.  I definitely think worth checking out. I lately find myself making omelets.  It is funny, I have a fully stocked pantry but nothing that is readily eatable so I am always snacking on the most random items.
Here are my Top 10 from the List:
1. Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with a half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.
2. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbles goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds
3. Upscale tuna salad: good canned tuna (packed in olive oil), capers, dill or parsley, lemon juice but no mayo. Use to stuff a tomato or two.
4. Frisee aux lardons: Cook chunks of bacon in skillet. Meanwhile, make six-minute or poached eggs and a frisee salad. Put eggs on top of salad along with bacon; deglaze pan with sherry vinegar and pour pan juices over all
5. Taco Salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.
6. Raita to the rescue: Broil any Fish. Serve with a sauce of drained yogurt mixed with chopped cucumber, minced onion and cayenne.
7. Grill or sauté Italian sausage and serve over store-bought hummus, with lemon wedges.
8. Miso steak: Coat beef tenderloin steaks (filet mignon) with a blend of miso and chili paste thinned with sake or white wine. Grill or broil about five minutes
9. Boil- and-eat shrimp, cooked in water with old bay seasoning or a mixture of thyme, garlic, paprika, chopped onion, celery, chili, salt and pepper
10. So-called Fettuccine Alfredo: Heat several tablespoons of butter and about a cup of cream in a large skillet just until the cream starts to simmer. Add slightly undercooked fresh pasta to the skillet, along with plenty of grated Parmesan. Cook over low heat, tossing, until pasta is tender and hot.


 Posted by at 5:16 pm
Jun 222007

Summertime is filled with many weekend getaways and other fun social
activities there are many times when one is a guest or hosting. On many occasions
I have been asked what should I bring? Here are few ideas: Let’s say a
top ten list of different hostess gifts. So often it is not the dollar amount it is just the thought and gesture that matter. Please let me know if there
are any ideas of ones you like to give or receive? Also in this month
issue of Domino magazine they had a list of different ideas that I
thought were also fun hostess gift ideas.

1. Sending Flowers in advance
2. A bottle of wine, champagne, specialty Beer, or a pound of fresh coffee – but then you could wrap in a dish towel or something fun.
3. Kitchen gadgets – Wine openers, Candy Thermometers Random little items are always fun to receive.
4. Hand Cream – this is one of my favorite dinner party hostess gifts I received. I thought it was so sweet and thoughtful to bring hand cream
5. Candles/ Soaps something that you don’t always think of buying yourself
6. Make it yourself- do you have something you make that is your specialty? Well make that and package it up nicely- jams, cookies, candies etc.
7. A Grocery Bag
8. A specialty item from your area- is there a special store that sells chocolates a bakery known for something? One of my favorites the Cinnamon Babka Bread from Dean and Deluca… I think it is to die for and have definitely brought it on many occasions.
9. Wrap a bunch of fun magazines together, guilty pleasures you sometimes don’t indulge. They make for great poolside and beach reading.
10. I have a sweet tooth! Once I received a large bag of all kinds of candy. The next day I brought it into the office to share and heard, ” Why don’t I have friend that would bring me a bag of candy???”

 Posted by at 1:35 pm