Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Full Plate

In 2008, I filled up my plate,
with classes and projects I did instigate.

I'm happy to say, I love what I do,
but this time I bit off more than I can chew.
Now in 2009, I'm strapped for time,
so I'm taking a break from blogging at The Secret Ingredient Online!

Please visit me at my other blog, Season to Taste, at

I post original recipes, photos and tips TWICE weekly (which is part of the reason I'm so busy!). Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a recipe!

For more information about my cooking classes, visit my website, The Secret Ingredient Cooking School, at

Photo of Nick Tahous Garbage Plate by dangler.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Favorite Food Finds of 2008

I follow several food blogs, and it seems as if everyone is putting together their "Best of 2008" lists this week. So, I decided to follow suit and create a list of my own favorite things from 2008. Think Oprah's "favorite things" show without all the fancy give-aways! Here it goes:

Favorite local restaurant: Osianna in Fairfield. Blogged about it ages ago---still love it.

Favorite lunchtime discovery: Roly Poly sandwiches. These sandwiches can be ordered cold or warm and have tons of interesting combinations to choose from. They are big too, so half a sandwich is more than enough. I'm especially excited about the new Fairfield location on the Post Road (next to Vincent et Isabelle French Bakery)! Where have I been all these years?

Favorite cookbooks I got this year: I've cut back considerably on cookbook purchases, but these I received as gifts and are great: 1. Mediterranean Fresh by Joyce Goldstein. A beautiful collection of salads and small plates with great photography. 2. Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's by Deana Gunn & Wona Miniati. The perfect book for the busy cook---lots of yummy recipes using great short-cuts available at Trader Joe's.

Favorite food-related tv shows: Everyday Food and America's Test Kitchen--both on PBS. I love these shows because they are so practical....not all the flash of some of the Food Network shows. Just good, straightforward cooking and tips any cook will appreciate.

Favorite new wines: Luzon Verde Organic Jumilla Red Wine from my favorite wine shop, Mo's Wine and Spirits on the Post Road in Fairfield. It is a simple red wine perfect for every night drinking...remember a glass of red wine a day is good for you! Plus, it's organic! At about $8 a bottle, you can't go wrong.

Favorite new cheese & crackers: Cambozola---- a fantastic combination of Camembert and Gorgonzola. I found it at Trader Joe's. And on that note, the Gorgonzola Crackers, also at Trader Joe's. Great on their own or with mild cheese.

Favorite new gadget: The Bialetti Mukka Express stovetop cappuccino maker my husband bought me for Christmas. It is just like the Bialetti "macchinetta" I blogged about earlier this year over at Season to Taste, but has the added attraction of a built-in milk frother for perfect cappuccini in under 5 minutes.
Favorite tip: This is from my friend Elena in Italy, whose family was in the restaurant business. If you have champagne left over, don't toss it. Put the handle of a spoon into the neck of the bottle and refrigerate. I've had it stay bubbly for an entire WEEK!

Favorite "can't wait" for 2009: From the owners of Fairfield's Fraiche restaurant, Fraiche Burger which will be opening in the early part of '09 on Main Street in Bridgeport.

What are YOUR favorites of 2008-----or things you can't wait for in 2009? Let me know by leaving a comment! I'd LOVE to hear from you!

Happy New Year and all the best in 2009!
Champagne photo by dotw.