Glazed Baby Carrots

Ok pals! Here’s a sweet little mid-week side veggie for your hump day supper tonight. I used my new Geoffrey Zakarian non stick iron skillet; and even with the brown sugar and maple syrup, the clean up was a cinch. And no, I don’t receive anything for pitching this product…i was skeptical, but now I thank the don for his research and excellent gift giving! Booyah!
Vegetable Glazed Carrots I

1 1/2 lbs baby carrots*, or regular carrots peeled and cut into 1/2” slices
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs maple syrup
1/4 t salt
1 Tbs chopped parsley, optional

Place the carrots in a large pan and add 1 1/2 cups of water.
Bring carrots to a simmer.
Cook for 8-10 minutes or until carrots are tender.
Drain off excess water.
Add butter, brown sugar, syrup, and salt to the pan.
Stir to coat the carrots.
Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a sauce has formed.
Sprinkle with parsley if desired to serve.

*I really love GreenWise  Rainbow Baby Carrots.

Vegetable Glazed Carrots IIIJust sharing a bit of ambiance to cheer up your day!

The swan was “bagged” by Brenton at age 9 in Mattamuskeet with PaPa…circa 1993.
Above that is the bottom tip of a painting I love by Ben Knight titled “Heaven Through the Eyes of a Four Year Old.” Special fact…I purchased this at a City Art Gallery opening after I retired, coincidentally on Liam’s (the first grandchild born that made me officially “Grand”!) Fourth Birthday!! Below is the painting in its entirety and where it brings daily joy in our dining room.
Art Ben Knight Heaven thru Eyes of 4 year old

BLAT Salad

Salad BLTA

All of your favorite things, just not the bread! I guess I’m on a bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato kick. I mean tomatoes are at their best, right? Continuing the love here, salad form. Eat, Drink & Carry On!

8 oz fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 t dried basil
1/8 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
2 large heads of red leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces
12 slices precooked bacon, warmed and crumbled
6 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and either sliced or chopped.

Stir together sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well blended.
Layer lettuce, bacon, tomato, and avocado in a wide shallow bowl, or large platter.
Drop mayonnaise mixture in dollops evenly over avocado.
Cover and chill salad at least 2 hours.

Serves 8.

*Author’s Note: This is really beautiful presented untossed. I prefer for guests to see it in its glorious layers, and then serve it or toss it in front of them!

Home Made Dark and Stormy

It may have been dark and stormy drizzly here in Kennebunkport yesterday, but our spirits were anything but damp. Notnerb, Zus, and I made gnocchi with White Barn Inn Chef, played Farkle (rolling straights), and dined at the lively Old Vines Wine Bar with the Don. Thanks babe for treating us to all of this fun!

But I ran off subject a bit…the Dark and Stormy Cocktail…The story began in Bermuda in 1806, when John Gosling managed to come ashore after three months at sea fighting the Bermuda Triangle. He settled on the island and later began producing rum. He paired his dark rum with ginger beer and the Dark ‘n’ Stormy was born! Visiting ships carried the recipe home with them, spreading it world wide, and right into my kitchen as well. So, here’s how you create this cocktail at home! Simple and Delicious!

5 oz Ginger Beer (I prefer Reeds)
2 oz Dark Rum
2 Lime wedges
Fresh mint

Fill cocktail glass with ice (I prefer crushed).
Squeeze one lime wedge in glass.
Pour in ginger beer.
Top up with rum, so that it floats on top.
Garnish with lime wedge and mint.

Oven Baked Shrimp Boil

This is a terrific, easy to prep dinner for a full house of actual PEOPLE over the Fourth of July Holiday. So take a quick peek here and “up” your kitchen success, while sparking extra joy. I’m totally thrilled to be seeing my family (on the regular now) and friends (cautiously) in the flesh, after admittedly being emotionally paralyzed with Covid Fear. But there are also some wonderful lessons learned and accomplishments achieved during Quarantine that will be part of my life forever, thanks to guidance from a trusted life coach, and an organizer unparalleled! So go out there, have some fun, celebrate America, eat good food, and most importantly relish the joy of human interaction…hugs optional…

1 lb Baby Dutch yellow small potatoes
4 ears corn, cut into halves or thirds
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 2 inch sections
Stick of butter, melted
8 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 lbs large cleaned shrimp
2 heaping Tbs Old Bay seasoning (I prefer blackened)
8 oz pilsner beer

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Microwave potatoes on plate 4 1/2 minutes.
Place corn, standing on ends, in baking pan.
Add potatoes and sausage (cut side down).
Drizzle with half melted butter, half lemon juice, thyme, and garlic.
Place lemon wedges on pan.
Bake 15 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Make pouch of aluminum foil.
Add shrimp, Old Bay, lemon zest, remaining lemon juice, remaining butter, and beer.
Bunch foil together at top.
Place in center of baking pan.
Return to oven and roast 15 more minutes.
Remove from oven.
Empty shrimp and juices onto sheet pan.
Turn corn on side to absorb juices.
Return to oven for 5 minutes.

Serves 6 with a side of salad. 

Cheesy Pull Apart Bread

This house on “the Forest Hill” was packed with energy and festive events last week. I had the five year olds for Grand and GrandDad Camp, a childhood friend here from Shaker Heights, and the Queen Peggy’s 95th celebration of life! And in the midst of it all, the children managed to create a wonderful bread concoction! It’s play time, so follow the trail below…

16 oz round sourdough bread
Stick of butter
2  t minced garlic
1 1/2 t Italian seasoning (or equal parts of dried basil, parsley, and oregano)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Tbs chopped parsley, divided

Preheat the oven to 375°.
Place the bread on non stick sheet pan.
Cut a grid on the bread by creating vertical cuts, stopping before you hit the bottom crust. Repeat the cuts in a horizontal manner.
Place butter, garlic, seasoning, and half of parsley in small sauce pan.
Heat until butter is melted.
Drizzle butter into crevices of bread.
Gently stuff cheese deep into crevices of bread, and sprinkle of top.
Wrap bread in foil to cover.
Bake 10 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 12 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining parsley, and serve.

Bread by Lucy, Parker, and Peg. Sculpture by Jeff Kiefer.

Every Day/Evening Sangria

Our family has always enjoyed the properties of a single, simple glass of Sangria, especially following a L.O.N.G. day of walking streets, touring museums, scouring markets, and absorbing culture in a distant city…or simply picking up the 5 year olds for the week right here in ENC (Eastern North Carolina)! The top pics below are from a treasured Thanksgiving holiday in London, on a quiet little street in Brenton’s neighborhood, when she was there and studying at Sotheby’s. Dare I say a magical adventure. The London version is a white wine Sangria, and my recipe is for a delightful red wine Sangria. Cheers!

2 oranges, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
2 Tbs superfine sugar
2 (1/5th size ) bottles red wine
2/3 cup Grand Marnier
1 red apple, cored and sliced into thin wedges
Club soda to top up

Place half orange and lemon slices in large pitcher.
Sprinkle with sugar.
Leave to commingle flavors 15 minutes.
Add wine and Grand Marnier.
Refrigerate 1 hour or more.
When ready to serve, add apple slices, remaining orange and lemon slices.
Add ice to tall glasses and pour over.
Top up with small bit of club soda.

Chicken Caprese

The painting in the pic above is titled “Peg’s Produce” and is by the amazing Kristin Gibson, reflecting this wonderful season of the freshest fruits and vegetables here in Eastern North Carolina. So look forward (and backward) to lots of postings including strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, corn, and so on… so here we are with luxury on a budget. This is the essential summer staple of caprese, with the added bonus of extra protein with a chicken breast. American Made! Yummy all the way down to the Tummy.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
3 Tbs olive oil  
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper 
12 cherry tomatoes
3 Tbs basil paste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tomato, thinly sliced 
Torn fresh basil for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in small bowl.
Pour half on bottom of casserole dish.
Add chicken, and top with remaining oil mixture.
Place cherry tomatoes around chicken.
Bake 15 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Brush with 1Tbs basil paste.
Sprinkle on mozzarella.
Top with sliced tomatoes.
Top tomatoes with more basil paste.
Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes.
Remove and allow to rest 5 minutes.
Slice on the diagonal.
Top with fresh basil.
Serves 4 with a side of vegetable and starch.

Rosemary Cashews, revisited

©PEGhardee

Monday is here; so let’s think about this! I try to begin each week and each day with a bucket full of patience and energy. But by 4 pm my bucket is running a bit low! To back up a moment, actually 7 years…TheDon and I found ourselves at the Ritz, Amelia Island; and each night the bartenders rotated the one in charge of taking care of the nuts…I know, I know…you’re thinking the human nuts, but this time it was literally nuts. These were a fav and we snagged the recipe. Like they say, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”! Bucket empty? Grab a glass of cold iced tea and a palmful of nuts to refill. Try It; You May Just Like It! Have a Happy, Nutty Week!

1 lb unsalted roasted cashews
2 Tbs minced fresh rosemary
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 t light brown sugar
1 Tbs salted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350º.
Spread cashews on baking pan.
Toast 5 minutes, until warm.
In large bowl, combine all other ingredients.
Stir in cashews and toss to coat.
Return nuts to pan and heat 5 minutes.
Transfer to wax paper to cool until the rosemary mixture dries on the cashews.

Apricot Caprese Toasts

Spreading a little joy to jump start this short week! The combination of flavors in this treat are like every section of the orchestra is playing in harmony and on key. This recipe just may become famous! So drop everything and head to the market straight away; then come home and savor the deliciousness!

4 oz fresh mozzarella
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 t olive oil, divided
2 t white wine vinegar
Italian baguette, sliced
1 small ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and peeled
1/2 lemon
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Torn fresh basil*

With fingers, pull mozzarella into shreds.
Combine mozzarella, apricot jam, and tomatoes in small bowl.
Drizzle with 2 t olive oil and vinegar.
Toss to coat.
Spread bread slices with remaining 2 t olive oil, salt and pepper.
Toast bread slices.
Smash and spread avocado on toasted bread.
Sprinkle with lemon juice.
Spoon apricot and tomato mixture over avocado.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with torn basil.*

May also enjoy for brunch.
Note: This is also delicious on a bed of butter bibb lettuce.
*I was out of fresh basil when I made this, so I substituted fresh mint and it was wonderful!

Lobster Claw Salad

Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend…Meet me at the pool and then go enjoy this “lobsta” salad…We’re going bold here, no more just blending in! Left image above was shot in our kitchen at the villa at Ocean Edge Resort, Cape Cod Massachusetts back in 2014, where I made my first ever Lobster Roll. I still can’t figure out why I waited so long to create that; but I’ve been enjoying that dance ever since. Life Changer! Above right image is a tray of fresh claw meat from Maine Lobster Now, where I order all of my lobster tails and fresh claw meat. It is literally shipped the same day that it is cooked and picked. Sweetest lobster that you’ll ever taste, and their bisque is amazing as well. Give it a try. As always, I receive nothing, nada, zippo for mentioning my favorite companies and products; just sharing the love and hoping to give you a fresh idea to elevate the every day.

2 lbs lobster claw meat*
3 to 4 oz organic, prewashed whole red butter leaves
1 avocado, cut in chunks
2 large fresh tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmans’s Light)
8 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 Tbs celery leaves, chopped 
4 Tbs chopped fresh basil
3 Tbs chopped fresh chives
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons

Combine mayo, celery, celery leaves, basil, chives, lemon zest, and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add in lobster, avocado, and tomatoes.
Toss gently.
Arrange lettuce on plate.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with lobster mixture.

*You may use meat from the entire lobster if desired, but I totally prefer the most delicate, tender claw meat. I order from Maine Lobster Now.  They package the claw meat the day that the lobsters are cooked and ship only next day air, never frozen. So I freeze immediately upon receiving.

Note: Serves 6 to 8 if you have a side such as asparagus, and a small homemade roll or cornbread slice.