Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Consider an Irish Ballymaloe Cooking Holiday

Consider an Irish Ballymaloe Cooking HolidayWhy sit at home & watch Martha have all the fun? Get on over to Shanagarry in County Cork, Ireland for a fantastic cooking experience!

Ballymaloe Cooking School was founded in 1953 and surprisingly is Ireland’s oldest private cooking school. Ballyaloe prides itself on welcoming chefs of all ages & talents to its doors. The school offers demonstrations & practical courses where you will work with groups of only six to eight people and produce a variety of dishes.

You can choose between half-day courses, full day, five day or if you’re in it for a longer a haul,a take the 12 week course. The classes range in interests from entertaining large groups, organic cooking & even keeping bees and honey recipes.

The main chef at Ballymaloe is founder Darina Allen, who is considered to be one of the best cooks in Ireland, in 2005 she was named the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Cooking Teacher of the Year. Allen takes on cooking with a concentration on healthy ingredients and stylish meals.Â

Enjoy an Irish holiday & leave with not only culinary & travel experience, but cooking too!

Eat well & Laugh often.

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The Best Cinco De Mayo Watermelon Margarita Recipe

The Best Cinco De Mayo Watermelon Margarita RecipeHappy Cinco De Mayo! Now let’s really celebrate with this wonderful watermelon margarita recipe!


  • 4 cups watermelon, seeded & cubed
  • 1 6-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1/2 cup tequila, your pick
  • 3 tablespoons sugar &Â lime wedges for garnish

In a large zip-lock bag- place watermelon cubes inside & freeze for 8 hours.

Take out your watermelon bag & get your blender ready. In the blender combine half of your watermelon cubes, limeade & tequila. Process until smooth.

Repeat with the remaining half.

To garnish: Place the sugar in a wide, shallow bowl. Moisten the rim of a margarita glass with a lime wedge.

Dip the rim in the sugar. Pour the watermelon mixture into the prepared glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and get ready to party!

Eat well & Laugh often!

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Cinco De Mayo Recipes & Party Menu

Cinco De Mayo Recipes & Party MenuNow that we know the history & why we celebrate Cinco De Mayo, let’s eat & drink & be merry!

We’re staring with a Belizean Seafood Ceviche for an appetizer, moving on to the main course of Chicken Adobo & ending with a delicious dessert of Cream Sherry Flan.Â

Belizean Seafood Ceviche Recipe here we come….


  • 1 pound tilapia, grilled
  • 1/2 pound tiger shrimp, boiled
  • 1/2 pound small scallops, boiled
  • 1 purple onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 green onions, including green parts, chopped
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  • 1 poblano chile, roasted
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and sliced into very thin rings
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • juice of 4 to 6 limes
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • crisp lettuce
  • avocado slices for garnish
  • tomato slices for garnishÂ

What’s Next:

Cut fish into bite-size chunks, peel shrimp & cut scallops in half.Â

In a large bowl, add remaining ingredients and stir gently. Refrigerate at least 3 to 4 hours before serving. Pile onto bed of lettuce and garnish with avocado and tomato slices. Now you’re ready to enjoy this dish with chips or toasted pita.


Chicken Adobo Recipe


  • 4 chicken breasts, halved
  • 1Â cup orange juice
  • 2Â tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon achiote seeds
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepperÂ

What’s Next:

Cover achiote seeds with boiling water, cover and set aside overnight.

Drain seeds. Place seeds, 1/2 tablespoon orange juice, vinegar, cayenne, pepper and garlic in a food processor. Grind until coarse but mixed well. Place chicken breasts in a shallow dish and cover with achiote mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill. Grill chicken about 10 minutes on each side over a medium flame or until done.


Cream Sherry Flan Recipe


  • 12 large egg, just the yolks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1Â cup sugar
  • 1/2Â teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cream sherry Â

What’s Next:

Go ahead and preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C.

In a large saucepan- pour 1 cup of milk with cinnamon stick. Heat at medium and remove from the burner just as a skin forms across the top.

While milk is heating, melt and caramelize 1/2 cup of the sugar in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Carefully spoon sugar into 12 individual custard cups or ramekins. Don’t worry about coating the bottom evenly, it will automatically do that while the custard cooks.

In a large bowl- whisk the egg yolk with the other 1/2 cup of the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the sherry. SLOWLY (to avoid scrambling the eggs) pour the cooled milk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the custard mixture into the 12 custard cups and place the cups into a large roasting pan. Add enough water into the pan until it comes about half way up the cups. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The custard will appear set when done.


Now you’re on your way to a true Cinco De Mayo celebration!Â

Eat well & Laugh often!

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Cinco De Mayo: A Short History With Recipes to Follow

Cinco De MayoMost people believe Cinco De Mayo, or the 5th of May, to be Mexico’s Independence Day, however, this is not true.  At midnight on September 15, 1810 is when the country actually gained its independence from Spain.  So, what did happen on May 5, 1862 to cause such a holiday? Well, my friends, it was the Battle of Puebla.

As a new country just recently claiming independence from Spain, things weren’t always easy. You know, with war around every corner: the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), the Mexican Civil War of 1858 & many other political uprisings left the fledgling country with only a few coins in the bank. The summer of 1861 saw President Benito Juarez issue a two year moratorium on foreign debt payments, which hoped to restore financial progress.Â

Of course, this didn’t go over so well. The English, Spanish & French were not wiling to allow Mexico this two year delay and instead invaded to get their monies by whatever means necessary. While the Spanish & English, being the good guys they are, eventually withdrew, the stubborn French patriots stuck with their financial goals and added establish an empire in Mexico under Napoleon III in the pot. The tricky French also had their eyes on the US states and were seeking aiming to help the Southern rebels in the Civil War.

Which now leaves us to the answer to our Cinco De Mayo query. A most important battle took place on May 5, 1862 when the French army was defeated by a small army of Mestizo & Zapotec Indians under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza. This battle victory symbolized freedom to the Mexican people and gave them hope. After the end of the US Civil War, the Union sent support to the Mexican army and succeeded in driving out the French.

And there you have it, the Cinco de Mayo history. The reasons behind this wonderful holiday. And what would a holiday be without festivals & food? Cinco De Mayo festivals are known for their delicious food & drinks as well as music & dancing. I cannot give you the dancing, but let’s step into my kitchen for food & drinks!

Watch out for the ‘Cinco De Mayo Recipes & Party Menu’ post coming soon.

Eat well & Laugh often!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Just Can’t Live Without My Ratatouille Recipe

I Just Can’t Live Without My Ratatouille RecipeForget about the fizz & try this delicious ratatouille recipe, because I just can’t live without it.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, quartered & thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons parsley

What’s Next:
In a large saucepan- heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic & onions. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened- about 5 minutes. Add eggplant; stir until coated with oil. Add peppers; stir to combine.
Cover saucepan & cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking. Add tomatoes, zucchini & herbs; mix well. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not too soft.
Eat well & Laugh often!

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