Whipped Ricotta with Thyme and Oregano on Grilled Country Bread

I could live with rain, gray skies and wind all year round.  I find dark, gloomy, damp weather stimulating… charged with silence and secrets and the temptation to indulge in sneaky, nefarious behavior, the likes of which you might regularly encounter on shows like Dark Shadows or The Edge of Night (the former I’m too young to have caught, the latter I watched religiously every day… Kim Hunter, cursed movie sets and killer clown puppets? You could have tried to stop me, but how well do think that would have gone for you?)


My noir temperament is definitely more suited to settings like San Francisco, Seattle or London.  But I live in Hollywood. Here, it’s bright and mild almost all of the time.  Litter-soaked alleyways are exposed by far too much sunlight to ever look sinister.  No one wears trench coats or fox fur hats or ankle-length raven’s black capes, except for me.

Instead, everything is ho-hum conspicuous in Hollywood.  Not even the sunsets are devious.

So, MG and I will make the best of the predictably obvious Los Angeles summer that is almost at a close.  We’ll reluctantly spend  evenings enjoying vistas just like this from the balcony or possibly the roof.  I’ll work my producer skills to their furthest to compensate for the lack of atmosphere.  Candles on the railing.  Bernard Herrmann from the living room speakers.   Sage and basil positioned to be picked up by the breeze.  And an eighteen pound cat we’ll both pretend is the Orson Welles character from Touch of Evil.

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10 Cinco de Mayo Recipes!

If you’re still looking for ways to wow your friends and family with a one-of-a-kind Mexican feast this Cinco de Mayo, here come the Top 10 Latin-themed recipes that should definitely be crowding your table this weekend.

Some are wild, some are mild, but they’re all rich in flavor. More importantly, they all go well with a chilled Tecate or a shot of tequlia. Have a great weekend!

Habanero Pizza

It may look like a traditional Italian pie, but this sauce carries a kick that definitely comes from South of the Border! Those who like to avoid foods that make their eyes water will not be put off, though they will receive a subtle indication with each bite that there’s something sneaky going on. It’s just a pinch of heat that won’t linger on the tongue but will definitely make its inclusion known.

Click here for the recipe

Next… Tomatillo Sauce and Guacamole

Superbowl Sunday Food: Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Can a man stand tall and proud when he’s hunching over to pull out baked stuffed mushrooms for him and his boyfriend to enjoy on a Sunday night while waiting to watch the one-hour premiere of Kirstie Alley’s Big Life? (I’ll leave out references to the powder blue oven mitt I got for Christmas). Two days later, I still am unsure of my answer to that question and would like to pass until the next round, Wink. I will say, however that there was not one bit of stuffed shroom left anywhere in my home within twenty minutes of turning down the oven and presenting them to a most-surprised and delighted MG. One might argue that it’s nearly impossible for anything to taste bad when slathered in a mixture of heated cream cheese, bacon, parmesan and Worcestershire sauce, but I would like to think that my ever-mounting kitchen skills had something to do with these coming out as awesome as they did.

I’m still not the biggest fan of the shroom, but the zesty aroma will make them hard to refuse. A definite must-bring to any pot-luck party. Just make sure your host has available oven space to cook them just before putting them out. (Geez, I sound like Martha Stewart! I’m tossing that powder blue oven mitt the minute I get home!)
Recipe for Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms

Superbowl Sunday Food: Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Here’s a simple twist on the recipe for crab puffs I posted a while back to accomodate those heathens who dislike crab. There were more of them out there then I originally realized – my mother and father being two of them – so out with the crustacea and in with a hot and zesty one-two punch of prosciutto and serrano pepper that’ll keep these babies flying into your mouth faster than you can keep count. And being as light and mouth-watering as they are, you won’t want to keep count.

Recipe for Prosciutto Pepper Puffs

Superbowl Sunday Food: Zesty Italian BBQ Meatballs

Sticking around all afternoon while the aroma of phenomenally good Italian Barbeque Meatballs slowly creeps its way through your apartment in an invisible flavor fog is utter self-torture.

Damn good meatballs though.

The potatoes were a last-minute addition.  I discovered I had one russet in my cabinet, so I diced it up, coated it with olive oil and a little dry onion soup mix and baked covered at 350 for about 45 minutes.  The tanginess provided a nice contrast to the hickory sweetness of the meatballs, and it wasn’t long before MG and I had everything on our plates mixed together in two giantic savory smokey food mountains.

And of course, you can’t serve a meal like this without a healthy slice of fresh French bread to cover the soppin’ duties at the end. Barbecue-flavored butter!  There’s nothing better.

Recipe for Italian BBQ Meatballs

Superbowl Sunday Food: Baked Potato Skins

The King of Comfort Foods! Here’s how to make potato skins that put last year’s Super Bowl snacks to shame.

There’s a secret about how to make potato wedges no one ever tells you. Yes, cheese, sour cream, bacon and green onions don’t hurt, but the real secret to wham-bam, kick you in the face potato skins isn’t what you put in them… it’s what you put on them

Recipe for Super Bowl Potato Skins

Appetizers are Served!

Pickled cherry tomatoes, whipped ricotta with thyme and oregano, grilled county garlic bread and mozzarella with olive oil, basil and paprika. Shouldn’t have bothered to make dinner.  Recipes for all to follow.  Click on the image below for a full-size, full-fun version!