Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pan Seared Mediterranean Swordfish

Swordfish is a mild white fish that is easily prepared, delicious when seasoned with all different flavors. I like to try different styles of preparing swordfish but one of my favorite is to just pan sear with great spices, lemon, capers, olives and tomatoes reminding me of dinning over looking the blue Mediterranean sea!

Pan Seared Mediterranean Swordfish


two 1-inch-thick swordfish steaks, each about 6 ounces
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers, chopped
1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
4 thin lemon slices


Pat swordfish dry and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy skillet heat butter and oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté garlic with crushed red pepper, stirring, 1 minute. Push shallots to side of skillet. Add swordfish and sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn fish over and add lemon juice, capers, and water. Top with olives, tomatoes and lemon slices. Simmer mixture 3 minutes, or until fish is just cooked through.  Serves two.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Beautiful Old Fashioned English Roses perfect addition to your garden.

As an avid passionate gardener roses have always found a place in my garden and my heart. Roses have the reputation of being divas, demanding many hours dead heading, protecting against invading pest and leaf mold. Although I love show stopping long stem roses my favorite rose variety for my garden is old fashion English Roses purchased from David Austin Roses. Old English Roses are not princesses like their high maintenance sisters instead they are quite beauties that remind me of paintings of flowers by the old masters or a charming cottage in the English countryside surrounded and covered with rioting blooms of roses. Maybe that is why I love these little jewels not only are they low maintenance but once established in the garden their proliferation of flowers is magnificent. Old fashion roses still have a delicate scent that permeates my garden especially early in the morning when the dew is lightly glistening on their delicate petals. A morning stroll with a cup a tea is instance aroma therapy, a favorite heavenly moment before I start a busy day.

Old fashion roses like all good things don’t last long. Magnificently  booming for a short time, energy spent quickly, then fading soon after their peak of blooming. Don’t fret if you plant the continuously blooming variety they will produce an abundance of flowers all season long that you can cut bring indoors for massing in beautiful vases to enjoy inside.

The history of roses is part of the history of human civilization. It is believed that roses were grown in all the early civilizations of temperate climates from at least 5000 years ago. They were grown in ancient Babylon. Paintings of roses have been discovered in Egyptian pyramid tombs from the 14th century BC. Records exist of roses being grown in Chinese gardens and Greek gardens from at least 500 BC. All these years later and roses popularity has not waned talking center stage in most modern day gardens.

Old Garden Rose is defined as any rose belonging to a class which existed before the introduction of the first Modern Rose, La France, in 1867. Other names for this group include heritage and historic roses. In general, Old Garden Roses of European or Mediterranean origin are once-blooming woody shrubs, with notably fragrant, double-flowered blooms primarily in shades of white, pink and crimson-red. The shrubs' foliage tends to be highly disease-resistant, and they generally bloom only from canes (stems) which formed in previous years. The introduction of China and Tea roses from East Asia around 1800 led to new classes of Old Garden Roses which bloom on new growth, often repeatedly from spring to fall.

Although not officially recognized as a separate class of roses by any established rose authority, English (aka David Austin) roses are often set aside as such by consumers and retailers alike. Development started in the 1960s by David Austin of Shropshire, England, who wanted to rekindle interest in Old Garden Roses by hybridizing them with modern hybrid teas and floribundas. The idea was to create a new group of roses that featured blooms with old-fashioned shapes and fragrances, evocative of classic galicia, alba and "damask" roses, but with modern repeat-blooming characteristics and the larger modern color range as well. actively developed, with new varieties released regularly.

If you are a rose lover as I am I highly recommend a trip to the Huntington Library in San Marino Ca to see the Rose Garden over 3,000 rose plant with 1,300 different varieties. Save time for a reservation at the Rose Garden Tea Room. Reservations required.

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" William Shakespeare

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Seafood Pasta for Two

Seafood Pasta for two

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 shallot chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 bottle clam juice
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, I like Penzy’s Tuscan Sunset
pinch saffron
pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed hot red peppers
1/2 pound clams
1 pound mussels
1/4 sea scallops
1/2 pound spaghetti

Heat oil in pan adding garlic and shallots cooking until translucent just releasing the flavors. Add tomatoes, clam juice, Italian seasonings, saffron, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add clams, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Then add mussels continuing to simmer for another 10 minutes until clams and mussels are open. Add scallops combining with sauce, simmer for 3 minutes. While the seafood is simmering cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain pasta and put in a large bowl. Add seafood lightly toss. Serve with Parmesan cheese.


Mediterranean Potato Salad

Mediterranean Potato Salad

Summertime means salad, lots and all different combinations of tastes and textures to spice up your pallet. I love making old favorites with a twist to change it up. Lately my in my potato salad I'm using those beautifully colored gourmet potatoes that are popping up in your local market or you can find an even more variety at farmer's market. These little jewels so colorfully flavored need just a little dressing, I don't like to cover up their beauty with a heavy mayonnaise dressing so I do a light olive oil with a Mediterranean flare, feta cheese, olives and so much more!

1 cup Israel couscous, cooked according to package instructions
1 28 oz bag gourmet confetti potatoes
1 bunch scallions, chopped, whites part only
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
2 teaspoon pesto, freshly prepared or from market
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped basal or 1 teaspoon Penzy's Tuscan Sunset
1/4 teaspoon seal salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook couscous according to package instructions then place in large bowl. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by about an inch and season lightly with sea salt,. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 5-8 minutes. Don't over cook. Drain and cool. Cut potatoes in half then gently toss with couscous. Add scallions, olives and feta cheese. In a small bowl combine pesto, oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. Toss again to evenly mix dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summertime Soft Shell Crabs

 Soft Shell Crabs

Soft Shell Crab season is short but sweet. The first time I ordered soft shell crabs I was hooked on this seasonal delight so I started making my own crabs which are so easy. You can change up the seasonings for a different flavor. In this recipe I used the traditional Old Bay seasoning but I've used Chinese Five spices or Herbs de Provence. Have fun with cooking by putting your own signature on your creations!. When you buy the crabs just ask the store to clean them for you. 

4 soft-shell crabs, cleaned and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
Few chive blades, chopped


Combine four and Old Bay. Season crabs with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off excess. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil and saute the crabs until soft, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the crabs and set aside. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add the capers and white wine. Cook until wine has reduced to about 1/2. Swirl in the butter and the chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer crabs to a plate, spoon sauce over the crabs and garnish with chopped chives.