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. 

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.

Mint Julep

The 2021 Derby is over, but Bourbon and Mint Juleps live on forever!
Here’s to the Weekend. May it be a great one for everyone!

5 sprigs fresh mint
2 sugar cubes
2 oz bourbon

Crush mint and sugar in bottom of glass.
Fill glass with crushed ice.
Add bourbon.
Stir vigorously and serve.

Photography by pegHARDEE

Blue Cheese Green Beans

Sometimes my dog looks at me with that look, and I think she must know exactly how I feel. But then maybe she just wants the food off my plate.

12 oz package trimmed fresh green beans
1/4 cup chopped leeks
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil

Cook green beans according to package directions.
Sauté leeks in butter 2 to 3 minutes, until edges begin to brown a bit.
Place green beans on serving platter.
Sprinkle with onions, blue cheese, lemon juice, and pepper.
Drizzle with olive oil.

Serves 4 to 6.

LayOvers

E02BC053-A894-425B-A41B-0D7417EFB558

A pomegranate cart in Istanbul…one of my favorite sights ever.

Based on my lack of recent posts, it is obvious that my kitchen and I have been in a bit of a noncollaborative mood as of late. But as we all know, nothing changes unless you take charge and make it change. So, I’ve dug deeply searching for inspiration, innovation, and imagination. I hope I’ve once again found it. Stay tuned…here’s to taking a pause in the kitchen as in travels; let’s just call it a layover! But here’s a link to my favorite pomegranate chicken recipe, inspired by my first trip to Istanbul a few years ago!

5CA922AD-2C74-47B9-B892-59852463F312

Our puffy travel faces with the gorgeous Blue Mosque as the main feature.

This very day last year, the don and I (and a couple of very special friends!) were on a three day layover in Istanbul on our way home from a fabulous trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

55FD2758-F0DB-4039-B191-476A1F9534C7

Our fantastic friend and guide Riza, bidding farewell.

C21CD5EB-B130-4A92-BF59-FF901977D326

And Peg departing from the fabulous Four Seasons Sultanahmet (Old City…think Constantinople!)

Sculpture, Lilies, Silver

Just a little post to enjoy until I can share the AMAZING floral arrangements we have been enjoying in Bangkok. Orchids. Orchids. Everywhere. AND, Karen and I are headed to a private three hour class with the chef here at Anantara in just a few minutes. More to come! Until then…lilies-in-silver-service-ii

Recently I was yearning for a low, wide look for a few lilies I had on hand. All of my containers were too bulky for the task; so wandering around the house in search of something anything, it suddenly clicked as I entered my dining room. I borrowed pieces from my silver service and took them right into the sun-room and plopped them beside the sculpture by Jeff Kiefer. Set your silver free and use it all around the house!

Love Your Melon Beanies

Love Your Melon was founded in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota by two friends, Zach and Brian. On a mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer since October 22nd, 2012, Love Your Melon began with the simple idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America.

peg-love-your-melonFifty percent (50%) of the profit from sales of Love Your Melon products is given to Love Your Melon’s nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer. Their nonprofit partners work in the field of pediatric oncology, fund cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families of children battling cancer.

To date, over 1.5 million dollars and over 80,000 hats have been donated. (Excerpted from the Love Your Melon website.) Read the entire story here! And go shop here and keep raising monies for childhood cancer. Kudos to these fine gentlemen. Pass on some good karma people. That’s all.

Yep, that’s me sporting one of my Melons last week in Chicago. Race to order yours!

October and Breast Cancer Awareness

©PEGhardee

Lobby of Burj al Arab, Dubai, October 2013 ©PEGhardee

As we near the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I celebrate family, friends, and everyone proud to be survivors of this disease. Blessings to them. I had my annual mammogram this month, and when I checked out they issued a lovely little pocket calendar just chocked full of healthy hints. So, I’m here to share the love by sharing a few of those great tips, because some things are just worth passing along:

Be in charge of your breast health.
Perform routine self exams; over age 40 get your mammograms annually.
Keep your heart healthy.
Check your blood pressure routinely.
Get moving. Do something physical daily to boost your immune system and get your metabolism going.
Cook at home as often as possible with fresh ingredients.
There are tons of healthy recipes right here on this blog to keep you going!
Manage stress over the upcoming holiday months.
Keep your commitments in check…don’t add too much to your list!
Balance work, home, and play.
Practice time management.
Keep a relaxed and positive outlook.
It’s going to be a fun season, so enjoy it!

f023

More Pink in the Burj al Arab for Breast Cancer Awareness.

f020

Gotta Love a Photo in a Mirror! Burj al Arab, 2013.

Decorating with Cacti

1 Living Room IINeed a really quick arrangement for a bare spot in your home for the Holidays. Tomorrow is Rush Rush Rush Day… So, stop by your garden center or floral shop and snag a cacti. Plop it in a ceramic, glass, or silver container…and voila! You better not watch, You better not cry, You better not pout, I’m telling you why…cacti, that’s why.  Easy Breezy! See you on the other side of Christmas you all.

Ho Ho Ho! Hope you are a jolly ole soul!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!