Thursday, May 26, 2016


Wedding Day 3 Dec 1942 
Mrs. Theodore Robert Casazza

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


You can cook the mushroom mixture the morning or day before and refrigerate.
When you are ready to serve, heat it up in a skillet and make sure your gorgonzola cheese is room temperature. I love the addition of sun-dried tomatoes for that little bit of sweetness along with the woodsy flavor of the mushrooms, and the robust cheese.

12 thin slices Italian or French bread
2 T extra-light olive oil
2 cups diced wild mushrooms (shitake, oyster, and I also used cremini)
1 shallot, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ t red pepper flakes
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, diced
2 T chopped Italian parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

⅓ cup gorgonzola cheese, room temperature
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. 
Flip over and bake another 2 or 3 minutes. Don't let them burn, because they are thin.
Remove and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat oil and add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently. This can take up to 15 minutes.
Add the shallot and cook another 3 minutes.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and sun-dried tomatoes. 
Continue to cook another minute or two.
Add the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

Spread about a teaspoon or a little more of the gorgonzola cheese on each crostini.
Top with about 2 teaspoons of the mushroom mixture.
Garnish with a little basil and serve warm.

Makes 12

Friday, May 20, 2016


The Black-Eyed Susan cocktail got its name from the blanket of Black-Eyed Susan flowers that is draped over the winning horse at the Preakness Stakes. The 2000 flowers that make up the blanket are actually mums. Black-eyed Susans do not bloom until summer. This Maryland horse race is held the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course, in Baltimore. There are several recipes for this cocktail but I think this is closer to the official drink. I tweaked it a bit by giving it another ounce of St Germain and a little more lime juice. Some recipes call for vodka and bourbon, as well as a sour mix, but I think this is delicious and refreshing and you can actually taste St Germain.

1 cup vodka
3 oz St Germain Liqueur (elderflower liqueur)
1 cup pineapple juice
2 oz lime juice
3 oz orange juice
4 Maraschino cherries, with stems
8 orange wedges         

In a pitcher or large cocktail shaker, mix together the vodka, St Germain, pineapple juice, lime juice, and orange juice.

Fill four glasses ¾ full with pounded or crushed ice.

Divide mixture between the four glasses.

Put two orange wedges on a cocktail pick and add a cherry.

Makes 4 drinks

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Whenever I think about making brownies, I think of Wolf Trap Park for the performing arts in Virginia. In the summer, we would pack up a picnic dinner and I always made brownies for dessert. We'd sit on a blanket in the grass or, if we were lucky, we would find one of the very few picnic tables. After the picnic, we go into the building for the show. The addition of a small amount of espresso powder is a perfect partner for rich chocolate. These brownies are bittersweet and my opinion, perfect brownies!

½ cup unsalted butter
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (½ bag)
3 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate, broken into small chunks
1 T espresso powder 

⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ t baking powder
¼ t sea salt
1 T cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 t pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a heavy large saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
Stir in the chocolate, and espresso powder.
Remove from heat and set aside to let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

Whisk the eggs into the chocolate and butter mixture.
With a wooden spoon, beat in the sugar and vanilla and mix thoroughly. 
Add the flour mixture and mix again. 

Bake for 25 minutes. 

Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into squares with a knife dipped in water.

Serve with vanilla gelato.

Friday, May 13, 2016


The first time I had boysenberry sorbet was in a restaurant in New York City. I had it again in Sconset, Nantucket in a restaurant called Chantecleer. They served it along with other delicious sorbets.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze your sorbetto in plastic ice cube trays and put in a blender to puree and then refreeze in a covered container.

4 cups fresh or frozen boysenberries (blackberries can be used)
2 cups water
½ cup granulated sugar
2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T limoncello

Rinse the berries and place in a blender along with the water.
Puree until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a large mesh sieve set over a saucepan.
Press with a spoon to until liquid is released. Discard the seeds.

Whisk together the berry juice along with the sugar.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook a couple of minutes, until sugar is dissolved.
Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Stir in the lemon juice and limoncello.
Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill completely.

Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer to a covered container and place in your freezer, until firm.

Serves 4