Citrus Punch – Party Favorite!

In time for your weekend plans we wanted to share a no-fail party punch recipe. Last fall, we were lucky to meet with the charming celebrity chef Bradley Odgen a James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and restauranteur who had just published his second cookbook, Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden.

One recipe that we have sampled and approved is the Winter Citrus Punch a spinoff of classic sangria and can be made up to three or four days in advance in big batches to share with a crowd at a party. While the official name is Winter Citrus Punch, it can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

Winter Citrus Punch With Spiced Pomegranate Ice

Serves 8


3 star anise, crushed

2 cups pomegranate juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups tangerine juice, freshly squeezed
8–10 peppermint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 cups pineapple juice, freshly pressed
2 cups blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
8 shots of rum or Cointreau (one per person) or sparkling wine or champagne to taste, optional

To Make
1 In a small noncorrosive pan, combine the pomegranate juice, star anise and peppermint leaves and heat to a high simmer. 2 Turn down the heat and steep for 15 minutes, then strain. 3 Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. 4 Combine the remaining juices and refrigerate until needed. 5 Place juice and frozen cubes in a large punch bowl with slices of fruit on top or serve in individual glasses over the frozen cubes of pomegranate ice. 6 Garnish with peppermint sprigs. 7 For holiday cheer, add desired spirit.

Fleet Week Recipes

Screenshot from

If you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend you can’t ignore the roar of the Blue Angels practicing for Fleet Week, and buzz from sailors (and sailing enthusiasts) around the world excited for the America’s Cup pre-races. It’s such a party, in fact that Humpback Whales have been spotted nearby getting in on the action.

The whales have been spotted over the past two weeks gallivanting just outside the Golden Gate and, in several cases, venturing inside the bay, raising concerns that there could be a collision.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a warning to all boaters, ship’s captains, para-sailors, paddlers and other water recreationists to watch out for whales and other large marine mammals this weekend.

Here are some fun Fleet Week Recipes gathered from around the web.

From Good Morning America U.S. Marine’s Barbeque Chicken. This recipe comes from a cook off between the U.S. Navy. We tried this one and it was delish!

  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken (broiler fryer), cut up into 8 portions.
  • 4 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1 16-ounce bottle tomato catsup
  • 4 ounces cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 ounces prepared mustard
  • 2 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the chicken on a shallow baking pan with space between the pieces. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Stir with a wire whisk until completely smooth.

Reserve half of the sauce for dipping. Spoon the sauce over the chicken; reserve 1/4 cup to spread over the chicken for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Bake in the oven until nicely browned and cooked through, 50 minutes to one hour.

Place on a serving platter and serve the sauce along with the chicken.

We also suggest Texas Caviar and make your own potato chips!

For dessert has a slew of cake type recipes (as seen above), our favorite is the angel food with berries (of course!).

Gotta have the signature drink! From one our favorite sites on the art or drinking, Drink of the Week here are their picks for five blue drinks:

  • The Aviation: Since it’s San Francisco and our bartenders are way into old-timey cocktails, prohibition and pre-prohibition era cocktails, try this yummy and delicious cocktail with crème violet that turns a pretty shade of blue.
  • The Blue Hawaii: For some reason, this drink makes me think of Top Gun and Top Gun makes me think of the Blue Angels.
  • The Red, White and BlueThey are our men in uniform. Need we say more? They bleed red, white and blue.
  • The Blue Moon: A pretty awesome drink. Give the boys in blue (or white) something new to try.
  • The Blue MotorcycleAgain, it brings back images of Maverick from Top Gun, which makes me think of the Blue Angels.

Have we missed one of your favorite recipes or Fleet Week party ideas?  Let us know 😉

Recipe: Spicy Tofu Bites

We’ve got a tasty vegan recipe for your weekend munching needs — and with only three ingredients it’s easy and doesn’t break the bank!

Spicy Tofu Bites

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Cut Firm Tofu into even squares

3. Toss Tofu with your favorite spicy buffalo wing sauce.

4. Sprinkle whole wheat bread crumbs and toss.

5. Lay evenly on foil lined and nonstick sprayed cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 45 minutes.

Weekend Skinny Mojito Recipe

Just in time for the summer season our favorite ex-housewife Bethenny Frankel unveiled a skinny mojito recipe that’s just as good as the original but replaces the sugar with honey. Plus—as a drink choice mojitos do double-duty—they are packed with vitamins. A single lime gives you 32 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs and half a cup of mint provides about a third of your Vitamin C needs and 2 grams of fiber.






  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. gently warmed honey
  • 2 oz. clear rum
  • 4 oz. club soda
  • mint and lime for garnish


  1. With a long spoon or a pestle (from your guac-making mortar and pestle collection) muddle 1/2 fresh lime cut into six wedges in a martini shaker.
  2. Add 1 cup ice and 1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice.
  3. Combine 1/2 tsp. gently warmed honey, 2 oz. clear rum and 4 oz. club soda. Add this combination to muddled mixture.
  4. Stir all the ingredients together with your long spoon until they get cold. Strain the beverage into a glass filled with ice.

Be the BBQ Star: Make Your Own Chips!

Heading to a barbecue this weekend? Why not dazzle the others with a batch of your homemade potato chips. According to chef Justin Everett of Murray Circle at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, it’s easy! Here’s his recipe.

Fresh Kennebec Chips

3 quarts of peanut or vegetable oil
5 each kennebec or yukon gold potatoes salt

1 place oil in a large pot and turn on medium heat. heat to 350°f. 2 clean the skin of the potatoes with warm water and a brush. slice the potatoes width- wise very thin with a sharp knife or a mandolin into warm water. 3 once all the potatoes are sliced, they can be removed from the water and placed on a sheet tray lined with paper towels. set up another sheet tray lined with paper towels; this is for the potato chips to land after they come out of the oil. 4 once everything is set and the oil is at 350°f, test out one chip by placing it in the oil. The oil should bubble gently and the chip should float to the top. 5 Gently fry the chips 8 or 9 at a time until golden brown. 6 remove the chips from the oil and place on the clean paper towels; salt to taste.

Let us know if you make ’em… now we just need the ultimate dip recipe 😉

Rainy Spring Recipe: Chocolate Matcha Coconut Tea

Image by sdshaffer via flickr.

We’re close to the summer solstice (June 20, 2012) but in typical spring fashion it’s raining here in California! What better way to get cozy than with our “enhanced” version of the traditional hot chocolate? Read on for the easy recipe — and we couldn’t resist a little trivia: The first chocolate beverage is believed to have been created by the Mayans around 2000 years ago!


4 Cups Water

1 Tsp. Ground Matcha Tea

2 spoonfuls of Palm Sugar

2/3 cup Light Coconut Milk

3 spoonfuls of grated Dark Chocolate (from a bar)

1. Heat first four ingredients over stop-top (do NOT bring to a boil) and constantly stir.

2. Melt grated chocolate in microwave (only heat every 10 seconds and take out to stir, until perfectly smooth).

3. Add melted chocolate to stove top mixture.

4. Make sure the mix is cool enough to drink and pour into mug.

5. For Adults Wanting to Imbibe – add a bit of the optional ingredient: Tuaca Liquer

Thomas Keller’s Lobster Roll Recipe

Unfortunately the French Laundry isn’t quite in our every-day restaurant budget, which is why we love Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and French Laundry Cookbook. We have to admit—most of the recipes in this two-tome collection are a bit over-the-top (even with the step-by-step instructions they can be overwhelming). But the traditional lobster roll (with no cooking actually needed) was ideal for a first attempt. The recipe was easy, turned out fantastic and took less than 20 minutes to put together—but beware—precooked lobster is pricy so look for special promotions (like we did) before scheduling this meal into your routine.

What you’ll need:

1.5 pounds of cooked lobster meat (call around for the best price and availability)

3 tablespoons of mayo (we used reduced-fat and 2.5 tablespoons would have been better)

2 tablespoons of minced red onion

2 tablespoons of chopped celery (you could double this to add extra crunch)

2 teaspoons of finely chopped tarragon

2 teaspoons of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (make sure you get the right type of parsley, there is a difference!)

2 teaspoons of finely chopped chives

little salt, little pepper

1/2 lime squeeze

6 hot dog buns (the really soft, oversized kind)

Some butter lettuce leaves

To prepare:

Make sure the lobster is in quarter-sized chunks. Place in a large bowl and add in all the ingredients. Place in fridge while you are preparing the buns.

For the buns, cut in half and slice the outsides to they are flat. Butter and place on pan to grill the buns. Open up, place butter leaf lettuce pieces and then top with lobster meat.

We added sweet potato fries (frozen from Whole Foods), which were a pretty addition to the plate, and a great source of vitamin A.

Makes six rolls at a cost of about $10 per roll—it’s not the cheapest meal, so save for a special occasion like a spring dinner party.

Lunch on the Cheap: Avocado Soup with Citrus-Shrimp Relish

Image courtesy of California Avocado Commission

We’re in a lunch rut. While we’ve been loving the Amy’s organic/vegetarian frozen meals we wanted to give the microwave a break. Hence, when we read that the team at Cooking Light posted these 22 Healthy Lunch Ideas, we were relieved. Our favorite is  The Avocado Soup with Citrus-Shrimp Relish. It is creamy, filling and has less than 300 calories per bowl! While avocados do pack more calories than most fruit (a medium sized avocado has about 50) it also has a huge nutritional punch with monounsaturated fatty acids including oleic acid, (which has recently been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer) as well as significant amounts of folate, potassium and Vitamin E.


For the topping: Relish, a little cilantro, a teaspoon of grated lemon rind, a little bit of chopped red onion, teaspoon of olive oil, 8 ounces of peeled and deveined shrimp (steamed and chopped).

For the soup: 2 cups of fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (if you try this recipe with vegetarian broth comment on this post and let us know the result!), about 2 avocados (chopped), 1 cup of water, 1 cup of rinsed and drained canned navy beans, 1/2 cup of fat-free plain yogurt, 1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, little salt, little pepper, little hot sauce, little jalapeno (chopped) and 1 ounce of crumbled queso fresco cheese (about a shot-glass size full).


To prepare relish, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, tossing gently. To prepare soup, combine broth and next 9 ingredients (through jalapeño) in a blender; puree until smooth, scraping sides. Ladle 1 1/4 cups avocado mixture into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1/4 cup shrimp mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese.

Green Eggs – Make Them This Weekend Surprise someone special in your life with Green Eggs and Ham this weekend. In our day jobs, we get to interview some amazing people -including chefs. This recipe by Balboa Cafe’s Rick Edge was supposed to be for St. Patrick’s Day, but got held until April -hence it became an Earth Day Celebration.

Green Eggs and Ham

Serves 4


8 large eggs
4 tablespoons clarified unsalted butter
4 slices Caggiano artisan ham (3–4 ounces each)
8 ounces green garlic hollandaise (recipe follows)
4 servings home-style breakfast potatoes (recipe follows)

For the green garlic hollandaise:

For the home-style breakfast potatoes:

1/2 pound green garlic tops, cut 6 medium unpeeled large red potatoes, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 inch thick 2 tablespoons salt (for blanching water)
1 tablespoon canola oil 2 tablespoons canola oil
8 ounces vegetable broth Salt and pepper for seasoning
4 egg yolks 1 red onion, diced
3/4 cup clarified unsalted butter, melted 3 cloves garlic, minced
Dash of Tabasco 1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste 1/4 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

To prepare:

  1. Sear ham in a cast-iron skillet until caramelized and heated through and set aside.
  2. Heat a small nonstick fry pan over medium heat and add the clarified butter.
  3. Crack two eggs into the pan, cook eggs until the whites start to set, then jiggle the pan to make sure eggs are not sticking.
  4. Flip eggs and cook for about 10 to 15 seconds.*
  5. Place eggs on a plate, garnish with green garlic hollandaise and serve with ham and home-style breakfast potatoes.*This process will have to be repeated unless multiple

To make the green garlic hollandaise:

  1. In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook the green garlic in the canola oil until the color starts to turn.
  2. Add the vegetable broth and bring the liquid to a boil until liquid is reduced by half.
  3. Transfer green garlic and liquid to the bowl of a blender and blend on high until smoothly pureed.
  4. Over a double boiler* whisk the egg yolks along with the green garlic puree until the eggs have doubled in volume.
  5. Being careful not to let the eggs get too hot, slowly drizzle the melted butter into the eggs while continuing to whisk.
  6. Once all the butter is incorporated into the eggs and the sauce has doubled in volume, remove from the heat and whisk in the Tabasco, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  7. Cover sauce and place in a warm spot until ready to use.*If you do not have a double boiler, you may whisk the eggs in a stainless steel bowl over a sauce pot containing simmering water. Be sure not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water or the eggs will get too hot.

To make the home-style breakfast potatoes:

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with salted cold water and bring to a boil.
  2. Cook until tender but still slightly firm, about eight minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes, allowing them to cool and dry.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the potatoes and let them sear for two minutes or until they start to color on the bottom.
  6. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.
  7. Stir the potatoes to allow them to brown as evenly as possible.
  8. Once potatoes are evenly browned and crispy, add the red onion and minced garlic, and stir mixture for about a minute to allow the onion and garlic to perfume the potatoes.
  9. Add the spices and herbs, season again with salt and pepper and set aside.

Thankgsiving tips from an uber chef!

Yikes.. Thanksgiving is coming up too fast for us. If you don’t have your recipes figured out yet – check out what pro -Michael Mina is doing at his house.

Anyone who has hosted a Thanksgiving dinner can agree– it is a day of moving parts. The guests; some familiar, some new such as uncle Bob’s latest girlfriend.  The ‘traditional’ side dishes can include many forms of potatoes, something made with jello and cranberries fresh or from a can. And then the turkey –breast side up or down?  Last month, in preparation for Marin Magazine’s November issue I was lucky enough to visit the Mina family in their new West Marin home and watch uber chef, Michael Mina, along with a few of his top chefs, prepare a table full of mouthwatering dishes with the help of his sons Anthony and Sammy and wife Diane.

To ensure a day of ease and glasses always full, Diane shares her hosting tips.

Mina shares six of his recipes including my favorite three.

Brussels Sprouts

Marin Chicory Salad

Olive oil crushed potatoes

And finally center piece of the evening… the Turkey!  While I was there I took a very C- video of chef Mina explaining the process.

Michael Mina’s Three Things Not to Forget for Making the Perfect Turkey
1 Preheat your oven.
2 Season (or brine) generously.
3 For really nice crispy skin, leave the turkey uncovered in the refrigerator two days prior to cooking to let the skin dry out.