Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arugula and Orange Salad

Its no surprise that I love Arugula. I enjoy it so much more than those played out Mesclun greens. Arugula and oranges make a great culinary combo. We serve this salad often as a first course at our "Tuscan" vineyard style weddings. The guests always love it. Let me inspire you to make this delicious salad recipe at home.


1 orange peeled and separated
1 red onion, shaved
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup Ricotta Salata cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Lemon juice
Pinch of sugar
White wine vinegar
Chopped garlic( 1 clove)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine arugula, orange, red onions, pine nuts, and cheese . In a bowl, mix together lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, vinegar, chopped garlic and olive oil and salt and pepper.

Toss Salad with dressing and serve.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad is a fantastic tasty treat. It is a dish that one often orders for lunch in a restaurant. Most of us would never consider making it at home.Let me inspire you to make it and serve with dinner or on the buffet at your next gathering. We use the "Cobb salad" concept in many different ways. The photo above shows mini Cobb salad towers with we often present as a table top appetizer at afternoon functions. All of our guests fall in love with it. I urge you to try this at home..

8 slices bacon cooked
3 hard boiled eggs
1 cup cooked chopped chicken
1 head iceberg lettuce chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup Gorgonzola
1 avocado - peeled pitted and diced
3 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Salad dressing of choice( creamy) blue cheese, ranch, etc .


Mix all of the above ingredients together in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chicken Waldorf Salad

Elegant Affairs operates a cafe in the Nassau County Museum of Art. I set up a lunch meeting there the other day and entertained some clients. I ordered the Chicken Waldorf Salad. Boy was it was awesome!!. This chicken salad is great on a sandwich or scooped onto a bed of greens or in the shape of a stylish tower ( for a seated luncheon plate). Let me inspire you to make this recipe at home. The family will love it!!


1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, sliced
1 sweet apple, cored and chopped
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper


In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and the lemon juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of fresh ground pepper. Mix in the apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts. Serve on a bed of fresh lettuce, or on bread

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lemon Oregano Potatoes

I love roasted potatoes. My Aunt Paula married a restaurateur of Greek decent. When I visit my parents in Florida , we often get together. Uncle Simon made these amazing potatoes at a dinner party, I was in heaven. The recipe below is very quick and simple to produce. Serve these potatoes with roasted chicken, pork, beef, or veal.


4 large baking potatoes peeled and cut into pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock or chicken stock


Preheat oven to 500°F.

Place the potatoes in an oven proof skillet. Add the oil, garlic, lemon juice,dried oregano, salt and pepper and toss

Add the stock to the skillet, enough to come halfway up the sides of the potatoes. Cover and Boil for 5 minutes.

Take skillet off the stove and place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes until tender.

Cauliflower Au Gratin

Enough with the boring side dishes. Green beans, Carrots, and Peas are all great but soooooo ordinary. We often serve Cauliflower Au Gratin as a side dish when presenting a buffet. Cauliflower is healthy and delicious. The recipe below is very simple to produce,just mix and bake... It is that easy!!! Serve this great dish with steak, lamb, fish, or chicken.


1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes..Drain and set aside

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, 1/2 cup Cheddar, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining cheese and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Steakhouse Menu at Home

Everyone loves the food offered at a New York style steak house. Perfectly seasoned porterhouse steaks, creamed spinach, wedge salad, and mashed potatoes. Why not serve this exact meal at your next gathering? Your guests will be pleasantly surprised by your originality in serving this restaurant favorite in a home setting. Below are some tips on grilling the perfect steak..Good luck and let me know how you make out.


Step 1: Preheat your barbecue to medium high. Rub both sides of the steak with olive oil and generously season with "season salt".

Step 2: Cook the steak on the barbecue until desired temperature, then drizzled the top with melted butter. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before serving


The time needed to cook a steak varies depending on its thickness, and how you like it. Dont cut into a steak to see if it's done.

Grill to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Rare - 120 degrees F
Medium Rare - 125 degrees F
Medium - 130 degrees F


For steak 1.5cm-thick:
Rare - 1-1 1/2 minutes each side
Medium - 2-3 minutes each side
Well done - 3-4 minutes each side

For steak 2-3cm-thick:
Rare - 2-3 minutes each side
Medium - 4-5 minutes each side
Well done - 5-6 minutes each side

Tongs test
Rare - soft
Medium - slightly firmer and springy
Well done - very firm with no spring

Friday, April 2, 2010

Glazed Ham

Ham is a very popular choice entree for many of our Holidays. Very often people will glaze their ham with the traditional combination of ingredients pineapple, cloves, brown sugar,and honey. I wont deny that the traditional glaze is delicious. However, at Elegant Affairs we try to think out of the box and offer our clients something a little different. Below is a list of some of our favorite marinades.Let me inspire you to try one of them at your next family gathering...

Orange Glaze
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

Pear Ginger Glaze
1 teaspoon dry ginger
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
canned pear or peach syrup to make a thick paste

Marmalade Glaze
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
add enough pineapple juice to create a thick paste