The Perfect Brunch Drink


February 19, 2012

I have been having serious cravings the last few weeks for a really good Bloody Mary.  I have always been a fan of this drink, even when I was little and ordered the virgin version.  I love anything spicy and I’ve always been a sucker for celery, weird I know.  Hands down the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had was at a hotel in South Lake Tahoe.  I only wish I could remember the name of the restaurant!  I also loved the Bloody Mary Bar that 75 Chestnut in Beacon Hill would host every Sunday.  It was exciting folks, you could mix your own drink.

Now that I live far away from 75 Chestnut and South Lake Tahoe I am looking for a go to recipe that I can whip up at home to sip on a lazy Sunday or when I host guests for brunch.  Here is a recipe by Tyler Florence that was extremely well rated.  Does anyone else have a good recipe they could share with me???



Combine the lime juice, celery seed, and horseradish in a pitcher. Muddle the mixture with the end of a wooden spoon to blend and break up the celery seeds. Pour in the tomato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together to combine.

Divide the vodka among 6 tall, chilled glasses filled with ice. Fill the glasses with the bloody mary mix, stick in the celery and cucumber and garnish with the cilantro. Give the bloody mary a good stir and serve.


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  Chicken Cordon Bleu Two Ways


November 1, 2011

The Hofer-Shall house was an amazingly comfy place this past Sunday evening.  I typically like to pick out something special to cook on Sunday evenings, a recipe that takes a bit more time and that fills the house with yummy aromas, and gets everyone excited to sit down for good and conversation.  This past week my Mom was in town which provided an opportunity to make something even more special.  I have almost hit my year mark as a vegetarian so I am still learning how to tweak recipes into vegetarian safe versions.  Since I am the only vegetarian in the house we decided to make an all time family favorite, Tyler Florence’s Chicken Cordon Bleu (see below for complete recipe), with Smashed Potatoes and Sauted Mushrooms and Onions.  Obviously I would be fine with the potatoes and mushrooms but I had to figure out how to mimic the chicken cordon bleu.

Thanks goodness for soy!  The final dish was a smidge more processed than I would normally like but I think it turned out pretty well and I didn’t have to feel left out. Thank goodness for the Gruyere!

Swap the chicken for Gardein Seven Grain Chicken Tenders (bake in oven according to the instructions on the package):


Swap the bacon for Lightlife Smart Bacon (I toasted these up in a fry pan on the stovetop).


Chop up the cooked nuggets and bacon and toss into a saute pan to mix.  Just prior to serving added the shredded gruyere to the mix until melted.  Transfer onto plate and serve immediately.  Yum Yum!

My Mom always says we should leave photography to the professionals… but I couldn’t help sharing an image of the final product.  (Notice the awesome  John Derian for Target plate beneath all the yummy food.  This is my favorite of all the patterns.).

Food Network recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence:



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the plastic wrap. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and season so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned.

Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Side Dishes:

For our meal we served the two versions of Chicken Cordon Bleu with sauteed onions and mushrooms and red skinned mashed potatoes and a salad.  The whole meal from prep time to eating time took an hour.

Additional Recommendations:

Crackling fire, candles, and good conversation!



  Update: Feeling Cozy and Hungry


October 12, 2011

Review of Recipe:

This was an utterly delicious meal and just as I suspected it made the whole kitchen smell amazing.  I made a few modifications:

This is a very hearty meal and is sufficient as a standalone meal for both vegetarians and meat eaters.  If you are serving it for a group of people that don’t feel satiated without meat I would recommend serving the dish with a simple chicken dish, perhaps grilled with a simple marinade and a fresh green salad.  Oh, one last tip, if you don’t have a pressure cooker (which I do not) you can use a dutch oven and just double the cooking time and add an additional 1/4 cup of vegetable stock.

As I read all of my favorite blogs I’m seeing a lot of the same comments about the unseasonably hot weather in New England and how it is bumming us all out.  We’ve all been dreaming about is cozy sweaters, boots, sitting by the fire and sipping hot pumpkin spice  lattes.  Luckily for me it is finally starting to feel like fall in Maine.  The leaves have started to change and the high today is only going to be 59 degrees, yippee!!!!  When the weather starts to get chilly I love to cook something warm that will fill the kitchen with yummy smells and fill my belly with something substantial.  I was hunting around for a new recipe to try and Vegetarian Times came to my rescue by posting a delectable dish at just the right time: Curried Potatoes with Cauliflower and Peas.  My husband is not a big fan of cauliflower, but he happens to be traveling this week so I think I will take advantage of having the kitchen to myself and make this recipe.  I’ll let you know how it goes.


Preparation Instructions:

1. Heat ghee in pressure cooker over medium heat. Add onions, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Stir in garlic, ginger, curry powder, cumin, mustard seeds, and turmeric, and sauté 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cauliflower, sugar, and 1/2 cup water.

2. Close pressure cooker, and bring up to high pressure. Cook 5 minutes.

3. Release pressure with quick-release button, or transfer pressure cooker to sink, and run cool water over rim to release pressure.

4. Stir peas into cauliflower mixture, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot or at room temperature.



  Latte and a Brioche


May 17, 2011

It’s scheduled to be rainy all week in Boston.  It’s only Tuesday and I’m already depressed by the gray skies and the fact that I’m back to wearing my late winter attire.  I decided to treat myself to one of Boston’s breakfast luxuries as a means to perk myself up a bit,  a Flour Bakery latte and brioche.  Yum, yum!  If you live in the Boston area or are planning a visit to our lovey town I would highly recommend stopping by one of Flour’s three locations in the Seaport, South End and most recently the Kendall/Central/MIT area.  Happy puddle splashing fellow Bostonians!

Oh, for any of you out there that are talented in the kitchen the chef behind Flour publised a cookbook last year.  I have been debating getting a copy, but sadly it would just end up collecting dusk in the shelf of my cookbook library for baking.

*Update!  Just moments after I wrote this post my amazing daltile representative Ms. Elisa Franklin stopped by to drop off a Flour Gift Card to me.  How did she know!?!  I guess I was the lucky winner from a drawing at last weeks crazy 80s themed designers night at daltile.  Yahtzee!


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  Warm Up Your Winter Blues


February 27, 2011

With March fast approaching many of us in the Northern states are dreaming of Spring, but we still have at least another six weeks of winter to slug through.  It is tough to walk by all the shop windows that are advertising models frolicking around in the newest Spring dresses and shorts when we are standing calf deep in dirty snow.  It’s just not fair!

In an effort to trick my mind into believing it is still happy to be living in a winter wonderland I have been experimenting with a few new recipes.  One of my favorite wintertime meals is oatmeal.  It not only warms up your insides, but it also sticks with you throughout the morning, helping you to not grab one of those doughnuts or muffins that always seem to be lurking in the office break room.  Here is one of my favorite variations on the traditional morning dish.  Hopefully it will bring some warmth and yumminess to your wintertime kitchen.

Find the Pretty’s Wintertime Oatmeal Recipe:

1 Cup Steel Cut Oats (preferably organic)

3 Cups Filtered Water (use 2 cups for chewier oats or if you’re using a rice cooker)

1/2 Cup Hazelnuts

1/2 Cup Fresh or Dehydrated Blueberries

1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut

1/8-1/4 Cup Vanilla Flavored Almond Milk

1 T. ground flax seed

Cooking Instructions:

If you’re lucky enough to own a rice-cooker just toss everything in at once and select the porridge setting from the menu.

If you’re using the stove top, bring the water to a boil, add the steel cut oats and cook at a simmer until they plump up and begin to thicken (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Once they begin to thicken toss in the rest of the ingredients, except the almond milk and flax seed, and stir.  Cook another 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Helpful hint: continue to taste the oats starting at the 25 minute mark, every five minutes, and remove them from heat once they are at your preferred consistency.

Serve oatmeal into a bowl and add 1/8 to 1/4 cup almond milk (as desired) and sprinkle with ground flax seed.  Voila!  You have a deliciously warm and healthy breakfast.  You can store the rest in the fridge for up to 4 days.  It is delicious reheated.

If you want to add a bit more fun to your oatmeal cooking adventure it never hurts to use a pretty pot.  I would suggest one of Le Creuset’s Enameled Cast Iron French Ovens in teal.  Pretty!


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