Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fried Zucchini Sticks

Oh  dear, here comes the zucchini.  Last year when we grew a few plants, we couldn't give it away fast enough.  Not because we didn't want it but because it was coming out of our ears! Zucchini casseroles, bread, cake, you name it.  One of the things I didn't make were these zucchini sticks, something I always order when I go to an Italian restaurant.

Just yesterday I was watching Giada de Laurentis whip up a batch and decided that night to try her recipe.  I made two batches. One rolling them in flour first before rolling them in eggs and panko.  The other just eggs and panko (her recipe).  I wanted to see if more panko would attach to the sticks after first rolling them in flour.  The result? No difference.  It was pretty hard for the flour to stick to the zucchini on the first roll resulting in a mess.  Phew, that made my life much easier and frying these took no time at all.  If you have a wok, use it.

Next time though, I think I will add finely chopped oregano to the panko mix.  Also use an inexpensive olive oil or do what I did...half olive oil, half vegetable oil.  Otherwise it can be an expensive proposition.

Serves 4


Olive oil, for frying

1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips


Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.

Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.

When the oil is hot, about 350 on candy thermometer, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.

Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.

Recipe courtesy Giada de Laurentis

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tweetup At The Park


We are four dogs from the Atlanta area who met on Twitter and have been virtual friends for a long time.  Aside from lots of laughs and much comic relief for our Moms, we provide a valuable service to other dogs in the area by alerting them of upcoming storms and potential boomers in plenty of time to hide in the closet or under the bed.  Boomers can be fatal to a doggies heart.

.  There are two westies in the group, @Snowywestie and myself @Lucywestie, a Havanese named Cosmo who's also a star agility dog, and a lab that goes by the handle @Willowwiggles.  Yesterday we met for the first time, in dog, at the Beneful Dog Park in John's Creek, Georgia.

The dog park was donated by Beneful after two area residents won the design contest for a dream dog park in their area.
  Unfortunately, our Moms had to come too as we dogs, like women in the Middle East, are not allowed to drive! But we are conciously working to elect some anipals to Congress and change the stupid law.  If I hear correctly, they are a bunch of sleazy dogs anyway, or so says my Mom.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures!.

The entrance to the Park

Moms and doggiepals meeting each other

Thats @snowywestie, always checking IDs. He longs to be a Navy SEAL dog!

Two big poodles having a good time

@CosmoHavanese in the shade

I wish he'd go back to the shade

Let me tell you all the bad things I've heard about him

@willowwiggles waiting for action

Moms casing the joint

Dogs casing the joint

@CosmoHavanese back in the shade

It's too hot for games, Mom. Besides you forgot the treats!

Jeeze, it took them forever to organize themselves for a group photo (notice Snowy still trying to check IDs)

....in the shade! no less. Lily @ WillowWiggles are the black spots on the right

We finally got the Cuban dog and my Cuban Mom to get out in the sun.

Hasta la vista, Baby!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tomato Hand Pies

A great recipe to have on hand for your next picnic

Left in the baking tin and covered with cheesecloth, these tomato hand pies are ready to pack. They can be baked a day ahead and refrigerated. The pies will come to room temperature on the trip to the picnic site.

This recipe is part of the menu  An Elegant Picnic for a Concert In Central Park coming up in Lindaraxa

Makes 1 dozen

Serves 6


All-purpose flour, for surface

Pate Brisee

2 1/2 pounds medium tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick crosswise

1 medium onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano, plus small sprigs for serving (optional)

1/3 cup chopped pitted oil-cured black olives

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)

1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


1.On a lightly floured surface, roll out pate brisee to 1/8 inch thick. Using a paring knife, cut out twelve 4 1/2-inch squares, and fit into cups of a standard muffin tin, leaving an overhang. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide tomato and onion slices between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast, switching positions of sheets halfway through, until tomatoes begin to shrivel and onion slices are golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Transfer to a bowl.

3.Divide half the chopped oregano, olives, and feta among the dough-lined tins. Top with tomato-onion mixture. Sprinkle remaining oregano, olives, and feta on top. Fold corners of dough toward centers. Brush with egg wash.

4.Reduce heat to 375. Bake pies until top crusts are golden brown and middles are bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes.

5.Let cool completely in tin on a wire rack. Tuck oregano sprigs into hand pies if desired.

Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day...The Ultimate Grilled Steak

Forget the fancy meals.  What a Dad really wants on Father's Day is a perfectly grilled steak with a good bottle of wine.  Trust me, I've known a few dads in my time.  Go out and buy the best meat you can afford at a reputable meat market where the steaks don't come with a plastic wrap.   If you can, make it Prime.   Surprise him with a gooey chocolate dessert, buy a spectacular wine, give him something for the grill, a big kiss and he will be in heaven.

That's all.  Most dads are very easy to please.

Serves 4 


For the caramelized onion jam (optional):

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup light agave syrup

Steak Marinade

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 Tbs. chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram

2 bone-in rib or boneless rib-eye steaks each 10 to 12 oz. and 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick

Coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste


To make the caramelized onion jam, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the onion, vinegar, wine, sugar and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the agave syrup and stir to coat the onion. Cook until the onion begins to caramelize and the mixture is thick and syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes more; do not allow the jam to burn. The jam will thicken as it cools. The jam can be served immediately, or stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and herbs.

Trim off the excess fat from the steaks; reserve a 1-inch piece to grease the grill grate. Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper, gently pressing the seasonings into the meat. Place the steaks in a large baking dish, pour the herbed oil over the top and turn to coat well. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Using long tongs or a carving fork, grease the preheated grill grate with the reserved fat; it should smoke and sizzle immediately and begin to melt.

Remove the steaks from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the dish; discard the marinade. Place the steaks directly over high heat, cover the grill and cook until the steaks are nicely grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over, cover the grill and cook until nicely grill-marked on the other side. Continue to turn and grill until cooked to your liking.

Transfer the steaks to a carving board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut away the rib bones and thickly slice the steaks. Season with salt and pepper and serve with caramelized onion jam. 

Tips on selecting steaks: On or off the bone, the rib steak (or rib-eye) is the first choice of grilling aficionados. The second choice for the ultimate grilled steak is the sirloin strip steak. Look for hormone-free prime or choice rancher’s reserve beef, Black Angus or grass-fed beef. Stay away from prepackaged select beef displayed in plastic wrap in the supermarket case.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma On the Grill, by Willie Cooper (Oxmoor House, 2009).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Watch Out For Strange Visitors In this Dry Spell

First a baby snake in my flower garden next to the front door. Today, a black widow spider traipsing across the carpet in my bedroom of all places! yes these two have been my most recent visitors all within two days.

I don't think this is a coincidence... as my Twitter friend @snowywestie suggested I think they are coming in looking for water.  After all, it has been most dry here in Georgia and the heat, well, the heat is another thing.  Upper nineties for the last two weeks.  And I moved here from Florida...

We have fumigated the bedroom and I'm trying hard to keep my Westie from getting under the bed.  First thing tomorrow I am calling an exterminator.  When I stepped on that black spider, a sac separated from her body and out came all these little babies.  Tons of them!  We sprayed and vacuum but I am sure one or two must have gotten away.  OMG the thought of those little things growing up to be big spiders, all under my bed!

I have looked at several pictures and the one on top is the one that most closely ressembles.  It was black, although I didn't see any red marks (who had the time!), the body about an inch and the legs 2 to 3 inches.  That thing was big!!!

Tell me, have you seen any spiders lately inside your house?  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Belmont Stakes Appetizer...Clams Casino

Contrary to popular belief, Clams Casino originated in Narragansett, Rhode Island and are typically served as an appetizer in New England.  Although there are many variations, the most common ingredients are bacon, white wine, onion and peppers.  Sometimes breadcrumbs are added at the last minute; other times, as in this recipe, they are skipped.  Frankly, I think breadcrumbs make this dish insipid and soggy and prefer them this way.

What I like about this recipe is the fact that you can make the butter ahead,  freeze it,  and bring it out at the last minute.  Use what you need and save the rest for another time.

I am making Clams Casino this weekend as part of my New York menu for the Belmont Stakes.  Check out the recipe in Lindaraxa's Garden for the Belmont Breeze cocktail.

Topneck Clams Casino

(Recipe will yield enough to cover about three dozen clams.)


1 tbsp. pimento, well-drained

1 tbsp. green pepper

1 tbsp. parsley, chopped fine

1 lb. Salted butter, softened

1 tbsp. shallots, peeled and minced

2 tbsp. garlic, peeled and minced

2 tbsp. sauvignon blanc

½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp. Old Bay seasoning


1. In a food processor, pulse the pimento, green pepper and chopped parsley. Drain mixture after mincing is complete.

2. In a mixer with a bowl and paddle attachment, mix butter on medium speed for five minutes, stopping and scraping the bowl sides and paddle after 2½ minutes.

3. Add all ingredients and mix at low speed for three minutes, stopping and scraping the bowl sides and paddle after 1½ minutes. Mix again for 30 seconds to be sure all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

4. Roll into parchment paper to create a 2-inch-diameter log. Twist ends tightly to ensure butter is totally sealed.

5. Label, date and freeze until needed.

6. Preheat broiler and place shelf second highest setting from top.

7. Open six (enough for one serving) topneck clams from Long Island Sound.

8. Place on sheet pan, put ½-inch slice of casino butter on top of each clam.

9. Put a 1-inch slice of bacon on top of each slice of butter.

10. Place tray of clams under hot broiler and cook about two minutes or until top side of bacon starts to crisp up. Then remove tray from broiler, flip bacon over and finish cooking the bacon until crispy — about two additional minutes.

11. Remove tray and place clams on warm plate. Serve with lemon wedges

Photo: Jaden Hair, Steamy Kitchen 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend Fun!

The water is still cool, at least for this old timer, and more people were cruising than swimming this Memorial Day weekend.

Except for the dogs, of course.....

Westie overboard!

Followed by lab cousin

and sister Lily. she of dock diving fame!

I'm done, where's my towel?

Jeeze, I can't believe she forgot to bring my towel

Any chance of a blow dry?

Does wet hair make me look fat?


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