So, on a past blog I learned how to make meringue for the Pavlova. The other day I was craving something sweet but didn’t want to spend much money or go to the store to buy more ingredients. I wanted to see what I could make just from what I had in my pantry/fridge. I decided to make Meringues! All I needed were 6 egg whites, 2 cups of sugar,vanilla and this time I added cream of tartar-just 1/2 teaspoon. My meringues were delicious!  I put some in a pipping bag and made little cute ones and got lazy for the others and made huge pancake-like shapes.

The trick that I learned was to heat the oven at 400 until you are ready to cook the actual melt-in-your mouth white clouds. Once you place the meringues in the oven, turn the temperature down to 180. I cooked mine for about 2 hours-I kept checking and tasting them which was the yummy part.  It all depends on the size you make and if you want them a bit undercooked with seriously chewy insides-which I love.

Now for the eggs-beat 6 whites at full blast till firm and fluffy. Slowly stream in 2 cups of sugar while still beating the whites. Beat for anther 20 or so minutes-you have to taste the egg whites to see if the sugar has dissolved. Once sugar crystals are gone, add 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar and 3 teaspoons real vanilla extract. Place in a pastry bag and make little kiss shaped mounds. You can choose the size, but just know it will affect the cooking time. IMG_4804

Another trick is to leave the meringues when done in the oven, with the oven off,until the oven is completely cool.



house warming party


We made so much food and half of it isn’t even photographed. I made an antipasto grilling each veggie and marinating them over night.  I roasted peppers right on the gas burner charing the skin off.  I then roasted red onions, portabella mushrooms, zucchini and egg plant in the oven with a big generous amount of olive oil.  After cooling all the veggies I put them in a zip lock bag and marinated them with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme and oregano, pepper, salt and 3 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar.  I then added already marinated artichoke hearts, big capers and I stuffed sweet round chili peppers with goat cheese.


Italian meats are always a hit and easy to display- Salami, prosciutto, copa, and mortadella with pistachios was the choice of the day.


Below you see a mediterranean quinoa salad, endives with blue cheese and walnuts and veggies with a tahini, lemon, yogurt dip.

Quinoa salad:  Make Quinoa as directed.

3 persian cucumbers sliced in 4 mini pie shapes

Box of cherry tomatoes halved

Good feta cheese- I love the feta from Trader Joes-it’s in a soft pack that is green and yellow.  I can’t remember the name, maybe Eden Farms.

Dressing:  1/2 cup olive oil, 1 juice of lemon, salt and pepper.  This salad can be prepped a day before, just seal the cucumbers in zip locks as well as the tomatoes.  Just before the party add all the ingredients together.


Veggies with tahini yogurt dip.  Put dip in a carved out pepper, it looks prettier and for fall parties, do it in a gourd or pumpkin.

Tahini dip:  3 big spoons of tahini in about 1 cup of full fat European style yogurt and one juice of a lemon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This dip goes well with many veggies and is also a good accompaniment to lamb.

Tomato basil, mozzarella, avocado, cucumber salad, assorted tea sandwiches and bacon deviled eggs.  IMG_6371

The salad ingredients are in the title:  1 pack halved cherry tomatoes, a bunch of Basil, one log of fresh mozzarella cubed, 3 cubed avocados, 4 cut up persian or English cucumbers.  If you use English cucumber-2 will do.  Dressing- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Bacon Deviled Eggs:  Make a day in advance:  Boil the eggs- I have a tray that holds a dozen, but I always make a few extra because sometimes when peeling the eggs I break them.  While the eggs are getting hard boiled, cook 6 bacon slices.  Drain bacon and place to the side.  When the hard boiled eggs are cool enough, peel and separate the yolks from the whites.

Take a Tupperware and start smashing the yolks into 1 cup mayonnaise.  If you aren’t using bacon, a great recipe is using wasabi mayo also from Trader Joe’s.  Chop up the bacon into small pieces.  Mix in egg mixture.  Place egg mixture in fridge over night.  Place halved egg whites in a tuperware carefully layering with plastic wrap in between layers.  An hour before the party place egg yolks in a zip lock, cut the tip and start pipping your eggs.  Add chopped parsley, paprika and scallions if you wish.  Get creative with the design.

Tea Sandwiches.  Take two slices of bread and use cream cheese on both sides so that the cucumbers will stay in place.  There is nothing worse than watching a guest pick up these delicate little sandwiches and seeing it fall apart on them.  Salt and pepper the cream cheese.  On one slice of cream cheese place cucumber rounds.  Put slices together.  Cut of crusts and cut in diamond shapes-4 per sandwich.  I also made little projuitto provolone sandwiches…

For desert: Salted Caramel brownies, chocolate covered strawberries and blondies


A close up of the avocado, tomato, mozz, cucumber salad.


A close up of the endive with walnut and blue cheese—this is the easiest little appetizer.  Break apart your endive, place a dollop of blue cheese- I like the Dolce Gorgonzola, and place a walnut.  Have fun with the design.  I cut up starfruit to make it pretty.


Feta and sundried tomato spread—again, using my favorite Feta cheese from Trader Joe’s.  Mash up feta cheese with 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes.  Add salt and pepper and voila!  You can also add chopped Kalamata olives.  This works well with pita chips.


Just a few olives and bread with an rosemary, pepper and garlic infused virgin olive oil- I love making my own olive oil infusions.  I put 3 cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of rosemary and a bunch of tri colored peppercorns.  I’ve also made a hot spicy oil by adding tons of red pepper flakes.  The oil is hot, red and spicy!

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On a hot day my watermelon rosemary water was a hit as well as the cucumber, lime and mint water.  This is a nice beautiful touch and a reminder to hydrate while drinking alcohol.  Make this well in advance, in the morning, but don’t add ice till right about 1/2 hour prior to guests arriving.  For the water mellon water, cut up a bunch of pie shaped slices with rind on, toss in the water, but add a bunch of strained water mellon, to quickly infuse flavor.  I also made ice cubes that had lemon slices, lime slices, rosemary and mint…. makes it a little extra special and takes no time.  Cantaloupe water and mint is also good.  Explore… have fun.  I would like to try a thyme and watermelon water next time or even cranberry orange for the holiday.


A few of the guests enjoying even more.  We made 3 homemade margarita pizzas, 2  black olive mushroom and ham pizzas, one anchovy onion pizza- pissadiere and a tarte flambé. We made so much more but for now… those are the recipes I’m sharing with you.  The party started at 3 and ended at 1AM!!!! It was a rockin’ party ending with pole dancing…. Fun night!

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A funny moment where Anne and I try to pry my delicious pizza of the pan.  I forgot to put oil!!!!!

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Me serving my cheddar olive cheese balls right out of the oven!

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Individual recipes to come on my blog.