Monday, August 31, 2009

Interview with a Yacht Chef: From Corporate America to Yacht Chef!

Mega yacht Lady Moura in harborImage via Wikipedia

Interview With a Yacht Chef:
From the Corporate World to Yacht Chef!

We recently caught up with a young yacht chef. What was extremely interesting was that this young woman went from a very structured corporate job to becoming a chef on a yacht in pretty short order.

This is - I think - an undeniable courageous and gutsy move, and I wanted to learn more about this yacht chef and what makes her tick, as well as if she's had any run ins with Jay Z and Beyonce! (who I perpetually think of on a yacht!)

We will call our chef, Delicious Lola, because she isn't really allowed to talk about the yachts she's worked on / or is working on because the very fancy clientele likes to keep their life as anonymous as possible!

But first, check out this video titled "I'm On A Boat." If you haven't seen Andy Samberg (SNL) & T-Pain on this yacht, you gotta click here! I was hoping Lola would tell me this is what it's like on the yachts, but you watch this and read the interview and tell me :) (and yes, I have been looking for an excuse to post this video!)

Can you give our readers a little background on yourself?
I live in Naples, Florida, but only in the interim while I'm off work. I'm 35 years old and have a background and formal training in the medical field, but have in the last 6 months taken a sabbatical from the corporate world and am working as a chef on private yachts.

What is a normal day like being a chef on a yacht?
Your day starts at 7 or 7:30 a.m. and ends when the galley closes or when your guests or owners are finished with the eating bit. But, generally speaking, it all depends on the boat and the people on board.

What are the kitchens like on a yacht?
It all depends on the boat, but the last kitchen (known as a "galley" in boat terms) that I was cooking in, was a bit like cooking in a fancy industrial restaurant kitchen complete in stainless steel and everything you need to cook pretty much whatever you want.

You typically have walk in refrigerators and freezers that hold enough food for up to 6 months. The boat where I was cooking had an original plan to make a 7 year trip around the world prior to losing a fortune in the Madoff scandal. Upon entering the freezer for the first time, I found a huge (as long as me, but skinnier, especially after chefing) Mahi Mahi. The previous charter included Russians that spent the majority of time fishing and caught huge fish like that which were stored in the freezer.

What is the strangest request you've gotten (food) to make?
Actually, to sit back and watch the owner make his own carrot cake (while he was ten sheets to the wind) which was the most disgusting thing I've seen to date in the galley. Oh, and then to have to sterilize the entire galley after finding out that the night before, he christened the entire galley with one of his concubines.

Are you on call 24/7 to make food for the people on board?
He*% No.

What are the rooms like?
The rooms are lovely and not at all like the servant quarters some people perceive. I have stayed in very nice rooms with lavish linens and plasmas on the wall. You usually have a nice kitchen seconds from you with anything you need, and of course, I usually bring my cappuccino maker on board as well as my own wine (which I'm learning is a bit unnecessary).

What has become your most popular signature dish on the yacht?
Sea Bass (secret concoction but with Asian spices and a miso soy teriyaki glaze finished with rosemary and fresh herbs). I also love to make a tagliatelle Bolognese which is not your typical Tuscan style Bolognese. I'm not a huge chicken fan, but I have made some great roasted chicken as well as my favorite things to make including: crab deviled eggs, pan seared Ahi tuna, grilled Lobster tails, roasted brussel sprouts, crab cakes/salmon cakes/tuna cakes, Texas cowboy burgers, and of course good ole mashed potatoes or Parmesan risotto.

How did you come to be a chef on a yacht?
I pretended to be one. I have no formal culinary training, but grew up in an Italian family with an Italian mom, and most recruiters and owners/captains in yachting agree that there isn't really any difference for these purposes. I have always been an intense home chef and get so passionate with fresh herbs, organic meats, and amazing carbs ... yes, the best things in life like pasta, Naan bread, orzo, gnocchi, and risotto.

What is the interview process like to get a chef job on a yacht?
Lots of phone calls and submitting of menus or maybe menus that would work for that particular owner or guest depending on their preferences. As you can imagine, most of them have extremely specific preferences as would anyone that is spending the cash for their own yacht (up to 150 K per week to charter) and staff for a week or more. Then, you are usually on a trial period to see if you "work out" with the owner/guests, captain, and other crew members.

Have you seen Jay Z and P Diddy yet?
Jay Z and P Diddy cannot afford yachts like the ones I'm working on, and I recently saw Jay Z's boat in Ft. Lauderdale, and it is a smaller boat. I don't want to sound uppity, but I know that Jay Z does charter in the Mediterranean because his boat cannot functionally go there, and these artists don't have the cash for this. The only people chartering large boats that I know of from the musical world include Barbara Streisand and Diana Ross. Most of the large boats are privately owned and would never let P Diddy charter their boat (I have personally heard these words!)

How did you make the decision to leap from Corporate America to being a yacht chef?
I always felt that although I had been well trained for what I was doing in medical, I did somehow possess other gifts. In America and really everywhere, we sense this attachment to our careers and once we have met our goals, we lose (or at least I did) a sense as to why I was there and really not caring that I had succeeded financially in my mind.

I really do enjoy cooking and after working in a very left brain world reading clinical data, I was hoping and craving something in which to explore my creative vibe and artistry. It sounds a bit cheesey, but I cannot say more positive things about making this shift in my life, and yes it IS scary to change. We all really don't want too much change. And, when you make lots of changes, and if you have this Type A think going on, like me, you occasionally freak out. But, life is a journey and you ARE the one on this journey, but you do not always have to control everything in your life. Don't expect your happiness to come from wealth, ego or approval from your family and friends. Allow yourself to create your own individual happiness, and if this means that you need to make a career change, then don't deprive yourself of this, whatever it costs.

Thank you Delicious Lola, and happy yachting! Let Team Wilson know when you are in NYC, your signature dishes sound FAB!

The Wilsons

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Nice Matin, An Upper West Side Gem

The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau o...Image via Wikipedia

Nice Matin, An Upper West Side Gem

Now that it is cooling down a bit (knock on wood) it is much more appealing to walk around on Sunday afternoon looking for a great neighborhood restaurant to get a late afternoon or early evening dinner (in NYC)

Nice Matin is a fabulous restaurant, with a lovely patio for people watching and nice wine list, on the Upper West Side. If you live here, you no doubt already know this, but if you are going to be in NYC and in the neighborhood, Nice Matin is worth checking out.

Last night was particularly entertaining because there was a street fair going on right in front of the restaurant which made for great people watching. On top of that, there was a fun "law enforcement situation!" The guy at the table next to us, who seemed a little creepy, got arrested! It appeared to be the Feds (FBI) as they were in suits, but we later realized it could have been NYPD Detectives.

Sadly, I missed all of the action when I left the table for a mere couple of minutes. The husband was giddy at the action, even though the wait staff and hostess tried to downplay it, and most of the passersby didn't notice a thing (typical NYC), we thought it made for a great Sunday evening story!

We recommend:
The 5 Napkin Burger with Fries
Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich

College Football Season is upon us meaning the Wilsons will be needing to make some fabulous game day meals. Stay tuned!

Have a great and food filled Week! Cheers The Wilsons
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Feeding Frenzy: Newport Rhode Island, Part II

Moving onto Part II of the Wilsons' feeding frenzy in Newport, RI (and yes, we both gained 3 lbs to prove it!)

The Coffee Grinder
So, to get a jump start on our day, we headed over to the Coffee Grinder down on the piers. All of the tasty treats, brownies, scones, muffins, are made from scratch by the really buff owner! I suppose if I ran a busy coffee shop and then baked all night, I'd be buff from stirring (and not eating) batter myself! I got an iced mocha that was made using hot chocolate mix, it was delish.

From there, we moved onto our morning breakfast spot, as recommended by our waiter from the night before.

Franklin Spa

*hole in the wall
*quality grub
*locals joint
*great prices

Franklin Spa is an unassuming little hole in the wall just a few blocks from all the action at the piers. The wait staff is incredibly friendly, and the prices are fabulous. There is a wide variety of comfort food, scrambles, omelets, and so on. The food isn't over the moon good, but it's worth the visit to get some tasty grub before heading out for the day.

After Franklin Spa, we walked up to the Tennis Hall of Fame, which hosts the only public grass courts in the US. We like to dabble in tennis, so this was a fun and worthwhile tour, and I picked up some gifts for my tennis fanatic family too.

International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum & Club
* Do the tour
* Eat at the restaurant
* Order the Lobster roll!

After the tour of the grounds and museum, we ventured to the attached restaurant. We had heard from our pretend friend Giada de Laurentis (Food Network) that the the Lobster Rolls here were the way to go.

Giada. You might not eat all that food you cook, and I both love and hate you (love your food, jealous of your rad life), but damn lady, that was a GREAT call! Meanwhile, let's be honest. I ate the entire roll, and Giada probably took one bite but whatever! (photo above)

Sailing & Liquor
We signed up for the "Dark & Stormy" (named after a ginger beer and rum concoction that sailors drink) sailing trip for an hour & a half starting at 5 pm.

This was a highlight of the trip. There are lots of options on times and types of sails, but our crew was particularly helpful pointing out great stuff including where Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis grew up and the 1800 square foot play house that she designed and her father built!

**(I think Jackie O's parent's home was 30,000 sq. feet, enormous, some dude from Goldman Sachs owns it now. Jackie's play house is for sale for about 1.7 million, but even if you bought it, you'd have no right to cross over the Goldman Sachs guy's property to get to it, you'd need an easement!) (Also, according to our guide, Jackie & JFK got married and had their reception at this house, I had no idea!!!) (Don't worry, I have not given away the entire tour, plus the guy on the boat has that wicked smaht nor eastern accent, it just sounds better coming from him than me!)

You can see it all from the water. Also, Our guide told us about the Newport music festival early in August, apparently because it is a "dry" venue (what is that about?) The best way to check it out is to find a pal with a boat, or pay for a ride, and cruise around in the water just off the grounds to hear the music, and drink your own cocktails.

This is a must do event.
Don't miss this:

The Mooring Restaurant
Super popular spot at the piers.

This spot is a little fuzzy after a couple of martinis (it was my birthday, I have a great excuse!), but it's right on the water and a definite "must."

Don't Miss:
The Bag of Doughnuts (really a fried ball of yummy seafood with some sugar involved, it's wildly good, comes in a brown bag like some donuts might.
Don't Miss: The Mac n Cheese side.

I'm sure there is more that I have missed, if so I have a feeling the husband will weigh in with his two cents!

Happy Eating.
Please share your best Food Coma Story or Recipe with us here by clicking "comment" below this post!

Coming soon, our interview with a Yacht Chef!

The Wilsons

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Food Frenzy Newport, Rhode Island (Part I)

It's been a week or so since we posted any tasty thoughts. I think we've been recovering from our attack on Newport, RI for a food frenzy. Below are a couple of mini restaurant reviews along with some tips on our favorite dishes.

I realize that lots of our California friends would not necessary think of going to Newport, RI, because frankly in my wildest dreams, as a west coast girl, I never imagined going there, but I have to say, Newport was a pleasant surprise. Even though it was a little tourist heavy down at the piers (it was August after all), there was much fun to be had between the restaurants, the cliff walks, mansions, sailing (it is the sailing capital of the US I believe), and tennis hall of fame (TBD next post!)

First Stop:

22 Bowen's Wine Bar & Grille
Overall, Great first stop. Indoor and outdoor seating. We ordered the Lobster Roll and the Burger special of the day. If you go, I'd say pass on the Lobster Roll, because there are much better options in town, and go for the burger.

The burger was packed with a smokey flavor thanks to the smoked Gouda, bacon, caramelized shallots and a garlic aioli. It was a top 5 burger ever.

Also a great spot to go for drinks or even eat at the nice air conditioned bar on the hot summer days.

Only complaint:
For Bowen's and the other restaurants down on the piers, it didn't seem like there were many options of spots to just sit out and have cocktails on the water. It seemed like you had to order food if you wanted to be outside with a good view.

Second Stop:

Cold Fusion Gelato
Definitely a stand out Gelato joint. I had the cake batter, and it tasted exactly like the frosting from my favorite cake in the world back in Pasadena, California (by Federico's). Husband got coffee heath bar and some type of caramel cream. We each ordered a small, and honestly, I only took a few bites. It was so rich and satisfying, but there was no way I could finish it (I'm ashamed to admit this, and wish I could have it back now!!!)

Third Stop:
Asterisk Restaurant
A fabulous casual indoor / outdoor restaurant with steaks, seafood, and even a little pizza & pasta. Great service and ambiance. Seemed like it was converted from funky old garage. They had a good martini and vodka list.

The appetizer was the stand out here.
*Shrimp stuffed with crab and wrapped in prosciutto served inside some crazy Parmeasan wrap over home made salsa. (photo above) Say no more. It was spectacular and frankly, it out shined the entrees.

The entrees were pretty good, we got a Steak Domenico style with the peppercorn sauce and Crispy Salmon over a orzo risotto in a Cabernet sauce. Both were unique and apparently locals favorites, but we wouldn't necessarily get them again.

Only complaints:
It seemed kind of secluded and parking was a real pain in the "As*terisk."

*Also our server was very helpful and told us about the best locals spot to go for breakfast the next day, Franklin Spa. A hole in the wall with good prices, friendly service and good eats. To be discussed in Newport Part II!

Have you been to Newport? Did you have a feeding frenzy on your summer vaca, tell us about it!!!

To Comment, click on the title and scroll down to click on "comment" and write up a storm!

The Wilsons

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lunching & Drinking With the Ladies

It's been a little quiet here over at Wilsons' Eating Tour. That is because we have had some fabulous friends in town, so there was much food and wine to consume.

My girlfriends and I went to Mercer Kitchen in SOHO on Saturday for "Lunch." It was a bit of a mini-reunion with two of my college friends that I hadn't seen in awhile, we'll call them Rabbit & Fealey.

I showed up with our "agenda" for the day all typed up, starting with Mercer Kitchen at 1 pm. Naturally, we started off with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and then spent awhile trying to decide what we should order, each of us afraid to be "out ordered."

We started off with a shrimp cocktail, flanked by 3 sauces (which lead to a conversation on sauces. I think Fealey will be writing a guest post devoted to sauces). It was pretty good, nothing to write home about.

Instead of ordering 3 entrees like good healthy girls should, we ordered a fourth entree (pizza) for the "Duck." The Duck being a recently published children's book by Rabbit's little sister. ( We will be reviewing the Duck With No Legs soon on, stay tuned!) The waiter probably thought it odd that a cartoon duck needed a pizza, but some how it made us feel "justified." Duck's gotta eat, no?

Lunch was pretty good, the food was ok, the service a little slow and they tried to keep our wine bottled chilled at a location away from our table (we rectified that). A bottle of wine and champagne later we missed out on shopping and barely made it to Bliss spa for part II of our day (loving Bliss Spa's newest tag line for their "Gorilla Marketing" seen above). Then onto more wine at Chez Wilson, and more food up in our hood (Nice Matin) for burgers at 10:30 PM.

This was one of those days that food served a purpose, but the main event was the laughter with my two dear friends. I am so thankful that they came to play in the Big Apple -- I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time. There were many hilarious quotes from the weekend, but one of my favorites was from Rabbit who - when talking about her dog's personality (a Chihuahua) said she "had the balls of a burglar." I still giggle thinking about that.

Now, the husband and I are gearing up for a weekend in Newport RI. We plan to follow Giada de Laurentis weekend get away guide and hit up all the spots she suggested. We will have much more to post next week!

Have a great week and weekend, please email us some tips, recipes, or foodie experiences, or ask us anything you want!

The Wilsons
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Friday, August 7, 2009

The Paella Virgin. (Socarrat Paella Bar NYC, Restaurant Review)

If you read our review about Raines Law Room (a NYC speakeasy/lounge) then you are up to speed. If you didn't, I'll cut to the chase. Our friend, who I have decided to call "San Diego," (much to his chagrin), was in town from San Diego. He took us to a killer place for drinks called Raines, then onto the truly spectacular, Socarrat Paella Bar.

Let's get this out on the table. I was a Paella Virgin until last night. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I just never met a Paella I was interested in. I figured some day I'd go to Spain and really go for it (inspired by Mario Batalli and the annoying Gwenyth Paltrow' show "On the Road Again" on PBS) (on a side note, why is Mario traveling to Spain with Gwenyth? Is he trying to mess with my head? It should be me for chrissake, I mean, she's on a freaking macrobiotic diet - she is so annoying on that show, I can't get inspired by her and her soy latte, non meat eating ways. I digress....)

Where was I. Oh yeah, Socarrat Paella Bar. As their website says, "Socarrat, the quintessence of the perfect paella and for which the restaurant is named, is the delectable, sensuous crust that forms on the bottom of the paella pan when the liquid is rendered and the rice reaches its peak of succulence."

I could easily leave it at that but, here is a bit more and the quicky review:

The Lo Down:
  • You can't make reservations, so just show up, put your name it and then head to the bar on the corner for a cocktail (just past "Nasty Pig" on the south side of the street. You are right, I just wanted to point out there is a store there called Nasty Pig)
  • The paella takes at least 30-40 minutes to cook, so keep that in mind, we ordered it before we were even seated so they get it going.
  • The joint is pretty narrow and long, like a bar, but it really doesn't matter.
  • The prices are reasonable $20 or so for Paella ($6-12 for tapas)- you have to order a 2 person minimum paella. We got 2 paellas (enough for 4) plus two tapas, and .. we. ate. every. last. bite. period. and we also polished off a bottle of wine. (I thought husband would die in the cab home from fullness, or at the very least, loose his "lunch" as it were. I on the other hand felt enlightened and fannnntastic!)
The Review:
  • Tapas: We got the garlic shrimp & the fried artichoke. Both were simple but refined, fresh and bursting with flavor. Score: A
  • Paella: We got the Carne with chicken, chorizo, duck, (and magic) and the Arroz Negro that was awesome and black because of the squid ink and filled with scallop, shrimp and even more magic. Score: A+++++ (I think all 3 of us were in full agreement)
*Why, you ask, was the Paella so magical? It was kinda like a fine wine. It started of really good, and then the more it sat there and the rice crusted on the bottom, and we scraped it onto our little plates, the better and bolder the flavors got. At the end, when down to the final bites of crispy bottom, the only sounds from our seats were, "mmmm, mmm, oh man, oh god, did you get that crunchy," and more mms and ahhs. You could taste the freshness of the ingredients and the true passion and love behind the dishes and the process of making them.

We can't wait to go back.

I have a feeling that Socarrat Paella Bar is a little bit like one's first love. While I may try other Paella, especially if in Spain, I will always have a special place in my heart for Socarrat.

Still in the food coma, but nearly ready for more! The Wilsons

Review of The Raines Law Room - (A NYC Speakeasy)

Sometimes the best way to get to know your town is to let your out of town guests show you around.......Ok, this requires an explanation!

Our friend, we'll call him Mr. San Diego (aka Rob), was in town for work and wanted to grab some drinks and a bite. We suggested some of our favorite neighborhood haunts, but San Diego had a better idea.

San Diego, originally from New York, is definitely one of our "foodie" friends. We have known San Diego for 7-8 years and every time we see him (and his girlfriend) the main event is consuming copious amounts of good food and wine! What's not to love - as we said in our profile, we only want to be friends with people who get their eat and drink on!

San Diego suggested maybe we meet for a drink at a NY speakeasy called Raines Law Room (Flatiron). Naturally, we were intrigued by the idea - a speakeasy -- so a little taste of the old world Prohibition years, good booz, good company with a funky name, we signed right up!

For you history buffs: The menu explained the name: "The Raines law was passed on March 23, 1896, by the New York State Legislature. It was nominally a liquor tax, but its intention was to curb the consumption of alcohol by imposing regulations."

The Review!
Raines is located in the Flatiron area of NYC. It takes you back to the days of prohibition, residing at the bottom of the stairs under and unmarked black awning. To get in you have to ring a doorbell and are greeted by a young, uber hip 20 something, who coyly peers out at you and tells you it'll be a minute, then shuts the door. When she opens the door back up, we tell her we are "meeting someone inside," and with that, we were ushered into the dark, swanky speakeasy.

San Diego was sitting at the table waiting for us. The chairs were covered in velvet, the walls dark, lights dim, and a doorbell (seen above) is on the wall next to me - this is how you get the waitress attention to order a drink. The ceiling is covered with antique looking shiny silver tiles and there are dark throw rugs all over the floor. There is a cute and "homey" patio out back, but if you want to be transported in time, stay inside & enjoy the hipster, old world vibe.

My husband and San Diego get a couple of special "gold rush" drinks, served "down" (meaning, on the rocks), and I get some frisky champagne concoction in a fabulously vintage glass (all above).

The drinks were tasty, but pretty small for what you get. After quickly polishing off my Champagne number, I volunteered to "help" my husband finish his second gold rush (not sure he appreciated that!)

I had read stories about the sexually explicit wall paper in the bathrooms, and while they definitely had a kamasutra vibe, they weren't nearly as obscene as what I expected.

What I loved the most was the converted "kitchen." When you make your way through the lounge area toward the patio / or restrooms, you walk through what at first glance looks like it could be some person's swanky kitchen. But there are no stoves, or oven, instead just a boozers version of heaven with every possibly option organized ever so stylishly.

Overall, Raines gets an A, and we would definitely go back. The only down side is that the drinks are pretty pricey considering they are not ample with the pour. Probably the best idea is to stop in for a cocktail on your way some place, or after dinner could be the perfect finishing touch on a night out. If you are on a date and you want to impress - this is a must do.

Neighborhood: Flatiron
48 West 17th St
(between 5th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
New York, NY 10011

Long live drinking a fabulous cocktail out of a vintage glass while sitting on velvet, we could get used to this.

The Wilsons
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

International Chicken Burger (Tastes of Mexico, Italy and Middle East)

This burger combines flavors from Mexico, Italy and the Middle East. They all blend very well together and make for a burger bursting with flavor!

Cameron's International Chicken Burger

What You'll Need:
One package ground chicken
1/4 Spanish Onion Chopped
1/4 Red Onion Chopped
1 large egg
2 Garlic Cloves minced
Havarti 1-2 slices
Asiago Cheese 1 tablespoon - give or take
American Cheese 1 slice
Mozzarella Cheese
2 large slices of Salami (in lieu of bacon!)
Few slivers of roasted red pepper (buy a jar of them to save time!)
Crispy Romain for toppings
1 tablespoon Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Favorite Salsa
Light Ranch (or Mayo)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Kosher Salt
Garlic Powder
Lavash Bread

*You could do all of the prep work a day in advance if you are entertaining so it's ready to go when guests arrive!


Chicken Burger Mixture:
Put package of chicken in large blow & mix in the following
Havarti - broken up into little chunks
One tablespoon of Asiago cheese
2-3 heaping spoons of salsa
salt, pepper, garlic power to flavor
Fold all together - do not over work it
Refrigerate at least an hour, or over night (I didn't do this, so it was a little sloppier but it still worked)

Make Sauce While Mixture Firms Up In Fridge
Heat butter and nice drizzle of olive oil in pan
Caramelize onions
Add minced garlic while caramelizing
Pinch of Salt & Pepper
Set aside to cool when done
Once cool, mix 1/4 cup or so of light ranch with your onion/garlic mix (use whatever proportion you want to suit your taste).
This will be spread onto the Lavash in lieu of other condiments

Sizzle Up The Burger!
Make patties, whatever size fits your Lavash (or bun)
Make middle part of patty thinner by using thumb to dent it
Spray Pam onto large fry pan, let it head on medium to medium high
Place patties into pan
Cover with lid, cook approximately 7 minutes per side
Add sprinkle of Kosher salt & red pepper flakes just before removing

Prep Toppings While Burger Sizzles
In a small pan (I used same pan from onions/garlic) heat to medium high and crisp up the salami
Slice up roasted red peppers
Set aside lettuce

Lavash "bun" Prep
While burgers are cooking,
Heat over to 400
Cut Large Lavash bread into quarters
On two pieces of the Lavash put favorite cheese, I used American on one & Mozzarella on the other
Brush olive oil on the other two pieces of Lavash
Put on cookie sheet (use a little Pam)
Put in oven until cheese is melty

Constructing Your Burger!
Put burger on top of cheese side of Lavash
Add slice of salami on top of each burger
Add some sliced roasted red peppers on top
and some Crispy lettuce
Spread sauce on other side of Lavash
Top it!

The Wilsons

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Best Bagel Serving Tip & Yummy & Easy Open Faced Bagel Sandwich

I love bagels, but hate when they get dried out when you toast them. Plus, you don't always feel like eating a whole bagel and there is the bagel to bagel topping ratio issue.

I heard a fabulous tip when I was watching Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. She was putting together a breakfast spread using bagels, lox, cream cheese etc. Instead of cutting the bagel in half, she sliced it into thirds. That way each slice of the bagel gets a fantastic crunchy texture (when toasted) without getting dried out - plus the ratio of toppings works perfectly. You can put a very thin layer of cream cheese vs. overcompensating with a huge amount of it to make up for the dry factor.

Today I used this technique, and made a quick & tasty open faced bagel sandwich using one third of the bagel. I made this simple bagel sandwich using ingredients I had on hand. Here's what I did if you want to try it!
Cameron's Open Face Bagel Sandwich - When You Want Big Flavor in a Hurry!
*1/3 onion bagel toasted & crispy (of course, if you are hungry, use all 3 slices of the bagel!)
*thin smear of light plain cream cheese
*generous dusting of red pepper flakes
*slices of sweet red bell pepper covering the entire surface
*couple slices of heated roasted deli turkey.
(I think a little sliced red onion would have been dynamite on this too!!!)

The open face sandwich was fulfilling and packed with flavor. The cream cheese & red pepper flakes really complimented one another with the creaminess & heat combo and the bell pepper added that added freshness & crunch.

We would love to hear your bagel serving or eating tips! Comment here! If you have a blog, we always return the favor :)

We hope your food tastes great and the wine flows like water!
The Wilsons

Amendement to Decadent Chocolate Cookies 2 Ways

(Re-posting with Amendment:if you want the ice cream sandwiches, just make them on an "as needed" basis. Keep the cookies at room temperature in air tight containers, and put ice cream on them when the urge arises. The cookies got too fudge like once frozen - making a fudge ice cream sandwich, which was good (though had to thaw about 3 minutes), but we recommend doing them "as needed".)

When you have that longing for chocolate, that feeling like you could elbow a kid out of the candy aisle to get some, I suggest bagging the candy bar and whipping up this extraordinarily simple & decadent chocolate cookie. It will fulfill your craving for days.

This cookie can be served two ways:
1) a simple yummy decadent cookie (add some ice cream in a bowl for a fab dinner party dessert)
2) an over the top fantastic ice cream sandwich with chocolate sprinkles.

This is my mom's recipe, a petite woman who is on a self proclaimed "cookie diet." She always made the best cookies in the neighborhood, and still has the magic touch. Give them a try and please let us know what you think!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes (and not a second longer!)
Need double boiler

12 oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chip cookies
3/4 stick of unsalted butter
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup flour
1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
for an ice cream sandwich: your favorite ice cream (Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean "5" used here, with chocolate sprinkles)

(Preheat oven to 325)

*In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips and butter and stir together
*Once melted together, remove the choco/butter mixture and set pot on hot pad on the counter.
*Mix in the sweetened condensed milk, Vanilla extract and flour
*On a foil lined cookie sheet, put about a tablespoon of the mixture in the shape of a ball on the foil.
*Bake for exactly 10 minutes (the texture of these cookies is very soft, almost like a combo cookie/brownie)
*Let cool for 20 minutes or so.
They are rich, so 1-2 will satisfy your chocolate craving monster !

If you want to make ice cream sandwiches
*let the cookies rest until the are room temperature, or even put a few in the fridge over night to cool them down.
*set the ice cream out for a few minutes so it's soft enough to work with
*scoop whatever portion of ice-cream you want onto the bottom side of a cookie,
quickly top it off with another cookie,
*Meanwhile pour the choco sprinkles in a little bowl
*dip all the exposed ice cream into the sprinkles, immediately put in the freezer or they will start to fall apart.
*If you want to serve these at a party, I'd do it all the night before and keep them in the freezer until the party. Then they will be secure and ready to serve!

Voila, Enjoy. These cookies also freeze well so you can save some for another time when your chocolate craving takes over!

Cheers and happy chocolating!
The Wilsons


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