Sweet, Crunchy, Salty! Halloumi, Red Pepper and Pineapple Appetizers!

Halloumi, red pepper and pineapple skewers are too easy not to make for a tasty appetizer on the fly!

Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’ and sheep milk, and sometimes also cows’ milk.

It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled and has a salty, chewy, rich flavor that makes it a great compliment to sweet and tangy flavors.

Warm the Halloumi in the oven at 250 degrees fahrenheit for about 15 minutes then just chop and skewer the ingredients.

I kept mine small; about 1/2 inch square makes petite and tasty little bites.

These work great with cocktails as hardy appetizers.

Try a cilantro, olive oil dipping sauce for a little added flavor.

Colorful skewers make these festive for entertaining and I could even see putting this together like a salad or as a side for rice and beans; almost like a salsa.

Try this for early Easter snacks and the perfect way to usher in the bright and sunny flavors of Spring!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes for Brunch at Prairie Fire in Chicago!

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

These pancakes were the star of the show.

Fragrant Lemon; light and fluffy, golden and warm with just a hint of sweetness!

Lemon Ricotta pancakes were heaven.

We shared these like dessert.

Smoked Salmon Benedict Two Poached Eggs, Smoked Salmon and English Muffin with Herb and Lemon Hollandaise

Brunch with wonderful friends in Chicago found us at Prarie Fire in the Loop.

A comfy and cozy atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon was a perfect backdrop for delicious food and yummy morning cocktails!

This is a comfort food hangout with a sophisticated twist.

Signature PGC Benedict Two Poached Eggs over Saut├ęed Spinach, Crumbled Bacon and English Muffin Roasted Tomato Hollandaise

Greek Omlette Feta, Tomato, Spinach and Onion

Look at how fluffy and moist this omlette is!

Fresh Raspberry Preserves and Whole Wheat Toast

The raspberry flavor was so fresh and…..raspberry-y!

This is a great brunch spot.

A must see when in Chicago!

Dinner and Drinks at Sugarcane in Miami!

335yellow mango cocktail at sugarcane
“Spice of Love”, fresh jalape˝o, passion fruit syrup, mango essence, Svedka, Cointreau.

Sugarcane in Miami is simply beautiful!

The plantation style decor and the outdoor patio dining area are absolutely amazing.

But I have to say that the food was disappointing.

Items were undercooked, bland or simply less than interesting.

Or, even worse, the dishes were too fussy with too many ingredients.

329hibiscus cocktail

“Hibiscus Blossom”, citrus essence, native mint, hibiscus infused cachaša.

I do, however, have no complaints about the cocktails!

These lovely concoctions were fresh and tasty!

Mint, mango, cucumber and spices were perfectly combined to create delicious libations of heavenly proportions!

327green cocktail at sugarcane

“Eden”, japanese cucumber juice, fresh cilantro, Herradura Tequila, aromatic celery bitters.

325peppers at sugarcane

Roasted Peppers.

These peppers were actually quite good.

411duck confit with waffle at sugarcane

Duck Confit with Waffle.

405grilled sweetpotato at sugarcane

Grilled Sweet potato with Maple and Soy.

397cauliflower at sugarcane

Caulifower.

384squid at sugarcane

Grilled Octopus.

361octopuss and watercress at sugarcane

Pan Seared Squid.

350fried goatcheese at sugarcane

Goat Cheese Croquettes.

344broccoli rab at sugarcane

Broccoli Rab.

This was another favorite.

340fish with papaya at sugarcane

Crudo with Papaya.

433ricotta cheesecake with nutmeg icecream at sugarcane

Ricotta Cheesecake with Nutmeg Ice Cream.

430ricotta cheesecake at sugarcane

This ricotta cheese cake was, also, very good and I learned something.

This cake was smooth and creamy.

The cakes which I have made in the past were always a bit dry and lumpy.

This one was wonderful and I am going to try to make it myself!

Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps and Beautiful Cheeses with Friends!

313cheese and crackers

What is better than cheese and crackers with friends on a sunny afternoon?

307afternoon snacks

Fruits and olives, beautiful cheeses and fresh whole grain bread and crackers take this afternoon snack to a whole new level!

308afternoon snacks

Fresh ripe papaya taste like honey and sunshine!

303cheese and crackers

These crackers are melt in your mouth fantastic. So much flavor in wholesome ingredients makes this guilt-free snacking at it’s best.

296afternoon snack

Lesley Stowe, Raincoast Crisps are my new favorite cracker!

These are unique, delicisious and worth the trouble to find!

302cheese and crackers

These photos with the sun streaming in bring back memories of great conversation and joy with friends.

301cheese and crackers

Fine dining does not have to be complicated.

Some of my finest culinary moments have been born of the simplest ingredients!

312cheese and crackers

Don’t forget to put the love into it to get the most of your food and friends!

Without a Doubt The World’s Best Mai Tai!

132mai tai glass

It is no exaggeration to say that these are the best Mai Tais of all time…ever!

095Mai Tais limes

With spring and summer right around the corner you may be looking for a special cocktail to celebrate the season!

To quote the creator, “This elixir is to be consummed in Miami, poolside!”

With special friends, I might add!

103Mai Tia Ingredients

But if you aren’t in Miami and don’t have special friends, you certainly will be feeling the magic if you make this cocktail!

105Mai Tai works

The recipe:

8 oz dark Gosling’s Rum

12 oz light Mount Gay Rum

4 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec

4 oz almond syrup

8 oz fresh squeezed orange juice

8 oz pineapple juice

4 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Just a splash of Heering Cherry Liqueur

4 oz Key Lime soda if you want

Lots of ice!

Fiddle with the rums. Add more if neccessary to taste.

106Mai Tai Man

116mai tai juice3

111Mai Tai Lime juice

130Mai Tai Limes 4

134Mai Tai glass and pitcher

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