Hasselback Spicy Sweet Potatoes

sweet potato top.JPG

Besides their interesting looks, there are two other reasons that I love these potatoes. 

1.  I love, love, love sweet & spicy food.  

2.  I love a side dish that gets into the oven early and takes care of itself until your ready to eat.

We recently had a little dinner party that looked a lot like early Thanksgiving with a big, golden bird in the oven and delicious, fall inspired side dishes.  These potatoes were a hit with an unexpected spicy bite!   

Here's what you'll need:

  • 4 sweet potatoes, similar in size and scrubbed
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. chopped pecans
  • 1-3 shakes of hot sauce (we love Outer Limits Jalepeno Lime)
  • butter, about 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the potatoes:

1. Scrub well. 

2.  Create a "foot" on your potato for better control while cutting.

3.  Slice using pencils as a base on each side to prevent cutting completely through.

sweet potato cutting with pencil.JPG

4.  Make slices. Do your best with keeping each slice the same width, but don't make yourself crazy. Perfection is overrated.

5.  Place the potatoes in a medium roasting pan.

To make the topping:

sweet potato sauce ingredients.JPG

6. Combine honey, Dijon, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper flakes, rosemary, chopped pecans and hot sauce in a medium bowl.

7.  Spoon over the potatoes, pushing some of the sauce into the slices.

8. Add 2 pinches of butter to each potato.

9.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven for one hour at 350 degrees.  Then, remove foil and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

When to potatoes are tender, they are done.  Top with pomegranate seeds.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy with your favorite sweet & spicy friends!

xo & a pinch,



Sausage & Cannellini Stuffed Eggplant

During these gorgeous golden days of early fall, we are still enjoying summer's harvest and eating outside.  Every last minute cherished before it becomes completely Siberian and we are under blankets, eating carbs. 

This weekend I noticed that our basil is still full of green leaves and eggplants at the market are gorgeous and abundant through October.   I love stuffing eggplant this way. I've featured it here before with tomatoes, basil & cheese.  I love eating a half an eggplant as my dinner... and then the other half for lunch the next day.   

Here's what you'll need for two halves:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper or 3-4 baby peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • olive oil, 3-5 tbsp
  • 3 links of Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 16 oz can of cannellini beans
  • red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp
  • salt & pepper
  • mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup, shredded
  • parmesan, 1/4 cup, grated
  • basil, a bunch chopped or torn (some for cooking, some for garnish)

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

2.  Prepare the eggplant:  Cut the eggplant in half.  Scoop the meat from the halves and chop.  Coat the eggplant shells with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Place on a baking sheet, cut-side up and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes; until the eggplant shells are tender.  Remove from the oven and reserve.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the sausage, crumbling the meat at it cooks.  Once completely browned, remove the sausage from the pan and reserve.

4.  In the same skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tbsp. oil, garlic, cubed eggplant, chopped peppers, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.   

5.  Cook on the stovetop until the vegetables become tender.  Add the tomatoes and beans.  Return sausage to pan.  Stir in most of your chopped basil, combine and simmer about 15 minutes.  Taste to adjust seasoning. Add salt & pepper if needed.

6.  Scoop the eggplant/sausage mixture into the eggplant halves.

7.  Top each half with mozzarella and parmesan.  Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.

8.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with torn basil leaves and more grated parmesan.


xo & a pinch


Slow Cooked Asian Spiced Pork Lettuce Wraps

pulled pork lettuc wraps.JPG

We're not "paleo" but dinners like this remind me of the paleo concept... meat and greens in a big bowl.  Dig in Caveladies!

This one has an Asian twist, so you can feel a bit more sophisticated when you pile that luscious pork into a lettuce wrap and bite.   However you see it, you'll feel great eating it!

  • 22-3 lb. pork shoulder, cut into large chunks
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • soy sauce, 1/2 cup
  • rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup
  • chicken stock, 3 cups
  • fish sauce, 1 cup
  • brown sugar, 1/2 cup
  • chili paste, 1/4 cup
  • vegetable oil, about 4 tbsp
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 scallion, chopped (for garnish)
  • lime (for garnish)
  • butter lettuce, used as shells

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Pat pork dry and season with salt & pepper.  In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat, cover the bottom with vegetable oil and brown the pork on all sides.  Do it in batches if needed. Don't overcrowd the pot.   Remove the browned pork and reserve.

Discard any excess fat from the pot and add fresh oil.   Add garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.   Add soy sauce and vinegar.  Let simmer and reduce by half.  Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, brown sugar, chili paste and clementine zest and juice.  Let simmer 5 minutes.

Return the pork to the pot, cover and place in the oven for two hours.  After one hour, turn the pork pieces over.  After another 30 minutes, remove the lid and let cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes.    Remove the pork from the pot and shred, using forks.  Garnish with lime and scallions.  Serve with lettuce to be eaten as lettuce wraps. 

Eat beautifully,

xo Measure & Pinch



Grilled Figs with Fresh Ricotta Dip

Sometimes the most delicious food is the simplest.  This dessert is perfect for after dinner drinks with guests. Its easy to add to an already heated grill and its only 3 ingredients!

  • 8-10 figs, halved, skewed and grilled for 5-8 minutes
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • honey, drizzle

The key is the fresh ingredients.  Fresh ricotta really makes a difference here and if you have local honey, all the sweeter!


xo- Measure & Pinch


grilled figs ricotta 2.JPG

Avocado & Jicama Guacamole


In the world of Measure & Pinch, the avocado and the jicama are best friends.  They're cute, quirky and get along beautifully. They're not exactly beauty queens, but inside they are wonderful and delicious, but completely opposite.  Avocado's creamy, soft, buttery inside is a perfect match for Jicama's crunchy, light sweetness. Together they make a great team and thanks to our friend Chef Peter, who generously shares his recipes, tips and expertise with us home cooks,  we learned that jicama is the key to making the ultimate guacamole! 


Serving 4-6 Measure & Pinch people  you'll need: 

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 small white onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped, peeled jicama
  • 1 lime (zest,) 
  • 2 garlic cloves (pressed or finely chopped) 
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Jalepeno pepper (optional) 


Ripe avocados are not always in the store so, if your avocado is bright green, ask for a dark one. Squeeze to test ripeness. It should give a little when you squeeze it but, not squish it. To get the meat out of an avocado you want to take a large knife and press it lengthwise  into the avocado until you feel it hit the pit, you want it to touch it then drag the blade full circle. When the blade makes it back to the original cut, push the blade harder into the pit so that the knife sticks. Now, pull the avocado apart and one side will still have the pit in it. 

With a spoon, spoon out the first avocado half onto a cutting board. The one with the knife in it will need a little help but, the pit will come right out as it's stuck in the knife! (Good trick, huh?) 

Once you scoop out the three avocados give them a rough chop into eighths. Take a fork and give them a mash but, not so that they're smooth, just so they're not chunky. Add your lime juice.

(Keep in mind when you open the avocado it will immediately start to turn brown unless you squeeze lime on it so, once the avocado is free from it's shell, and diced  & pressed, squeeze the lime juice on it...)

Press your garlic and add, then add about 1/2 cup of jicama.  If you follow the "pamelita pico" recipe for everything except the avocados & jicama, just add it all into your bowl and you'll have your guacamole. 

This is a party favorite, for sure. 

Enjoy, xo 


Stuffed Eggplant

Vegetables are beautiful! I love making eggplant this way because you keep the gorgeous form of the fruit (Ok, yes. Its a fruit).   This recipe is a celebration of the summer harvest; using tomatoes, basil and eggplant.  Its also so rustic Italian, I'm compelled to blow the dust off of my Rosetta Stone discs!   

Heres what you'll need for three stuffed eggplant halves (pictured):

  • 2 large eggplants
  • 2 cupstomatoes, chopped (we used cherry tomatoes and sunbursts, but any tomato will do)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • basil, large bunch
  • olive oil, 3-5 tbsp
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock (or white wine)
  • red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp
  • salt & pepper
  • mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup, shredded
  • parmesan, 1/4 cup, grated
  • bread crumbs, 2 tbsp.  (optional)

Here's what you'll do:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

2.  Prepare your eggplants:  Halve both eggplants.  Scoop the meat from 3 of the halves and leave 1 half to chop for the filling.   Coat the 3 halves with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  (use your hands to season & coat the outside and inside).  Place on a baking sheet, cut-side up and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes; until the eggplant shells are tender.  Remove from the oven and reserve.

3.  Meanwhile, chop the remaining half eggplant into cubes.

4.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tbsp. oil, garlic, cubed eggplant, chopped tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper.   Add handful of torn basil. 

5.  Cook on the stovetop until the mixture combines about 20 minutes.  Add stock or wine to create a sauce-like consistency. Taste to adjust seasoning.  The mixture is done when the eggplant and tomatoes are softened.  

5.   Scoop the eggplant-tomato mixture into the 3 eggplant halves.

6.  Top each half with mozzarella, parmesan and bread crumbs.

7.  Return to the oven for 5-8 minutes until cheese is melted.

8.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Garnish with torn basil leaves and more parmesan.

stuffed eggplant roasting pan.JPG

Mangiare le verdue!  (& frutta)

xo & a pinch,


Fresh harvest, thank you Sickles Market!

Fresh harvest, thank you Sickles Market!

Today was one of those Saturdays where I go to Sickles Market in Little Silver, chat with Junior, my favorite cheese maker and when he asks me what we're making this weekend, without skipping a beat I said, Ratatouille! I made it last weekend for one of McSweeney's sides for the week and we all agree it was definitely "blog worthy!" 

The ingredients you see above along with some garlic, basil, thyme, salt & pepper are all you'll need! 

5 large Jersey tomatoes ( you can use them from anywhere but, in the summer I bet your grocery store has a "Jersey display!" ) 

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini 
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 large peppers, green or over ripe green ones that look red like mine! 
  • 6 cloves garlic 
  • 10 basil leaves 
  • 5 stalks of thyme 
  • salt, pepper olive oil

All you need to do now is chop! 

Peppers and onions saute

Peppers and onions saute

These are your peppers and onions, salt & pepper. Medium heat for about 10 minutes, move to another pan and add.... 

Zucchini and yellow squash

Zucchini and yellow squash

Again, same thing, olive oil in pan, throw in vegetables add salt & pepper, about 10 minutes stirring as you go... dump out into the bowl with the peppers and onions. Next up... 



Third verse, same as the first! :) Olive oil, eggplant, salt & pepper, 10 minutes and dump into the bowl. Here comes your last step. 

Tomatoes, with basil and 6 cloves of garlic 

Tomatoes, with basil and 6 cloves of garlic 

Yup, you know what's next. Olive oil, chopped basil, garlic and thyme. I always crush my garlic so, this is what 6 cloves crushed looks like. This should be on medium high heat for 10 minutes. When you hit 10 minutes, add everything back into the pot and stir well. 

One last hit with salt & pepper and into the oven it goes! If you don't have a pot that can go into your oven, feel free to put it into a slow cooker for the 4 hour setting. If you do, set to 400 and cook for 90 minutes cover on, then 30 minutes cover off - serve hot, cold or room temperature. 

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

You will love this but, I will give you one special tip... Eat it the next day!

And, feel free to serve it anyway you like, in the pot you cooked it in, in a 9x11 glass baking dish, or like this in little individual serving sizes. Totally up to you! 

Let us know what you think, we hope you love it!! 

Enjoy, as always.. 

xo Measure 

Greek Chopped Salad

Right now tomatoes are my middle name; beefsteak, plum, cherry, you name it in Jersey we're eating it! 

This salad is one of many I'm eating on on the weekends! It's super easy and it requires no lettuce. Is it still a salad without leafy greens?  We say YES and this salad is a must-have! The fresh, crisp cucumbers, sweet tomatoes and the salty, creamy feta! YES. Who else is in? 

  • 10-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 cucumbers, sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • Dill, 1 small bunch, chopped
  • Feta cheese, 4 oz crumbled

We dress this salad simply with the juice of a lemon, swirl of olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss and share with your friends! 

And, since I'm all about the salads lately, take this one if you love it only leave out the dill and add these next four ingredients instead. You'll still have an amazing salad just a different version! 

  • I can of chick peas, strained and rinsed
  • Mint, 1 small bunch chopped
  • Kalamata olives, about a cup and go for the ones w/out the pits! 
  • And, yup, one head of romaine lettuce, chopped! 

Two salads for the price of one entry! :) 

Enjoy, xo Measure! 



Mediterranean Summer Salad

I call all Greek food "Goddess food."  Is it because its usually so healthy and beautiful?  Or maybe its because I think that if I eat like a Greek Goddess, maybe I will start to look like one!   You are what you eat, so I'm sticking with the Goddess food...with my fingers crossed.   

This salad combines my favorite Greek elements; chick peas, cucumbers, mint and feta with a few local, fresh vegetables that seem to find there way onto most summer tables.; corn & tomatoes.  Its kind of Jersey Greek... or better, Shore Goddess!   Beautiful!

Heres what you'll need:

  • 19 oz can of chick peas, rinsed
  • 3 ears of corn, cooked, kernels removed
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 8-10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • mint, 2 tbsp chopped, plus a few sprigs for garnish
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 ozfeta cheese, cubed

    For the dressing, whisk these ingredients together:
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon dressing
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

 In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients together with the dressing.  Garnish with mint, extra cucumber or lemon wedge.  Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

chick pea salad 3.JPG

Eat Beautifully,

xo & a pinch,


Chicken Sausage & Garden Vegetables over Spaghetti Squash

Its a that wonderful time of year when gardens are bursting with delicious things!  Total summer abundance!  .. well, not in my yard.  One of my dreams is to have a gorgeous, healthy garden in my backyard.  Right now, I have only a couple of struggling herbs.  I blame it all on the squirrels.  

Until my garden dreams come true, I enjoy the farmer's markets and the generosity of my green-thumbed friends!    Here I used a bunch of local veggies and some chicken sausage to create a chunky "sauce" to put over spaghetti squash.  It makes a great, easy, healthy dinner.  It would be more delicious over regular spaghetti, but I also have bikini dreams... I blame it all on ice cream. 

  • 6  chicken sausages, casings removed  (we love Premio)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • garlic, 2 cloves, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large spaghetti squash
  • parmesan cheese, grated 1/4 cup, plus more for garnish
  • olive oil, 2 tsp
  • butter, 1 tsp
  • salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes, a pinch
  • parsley, for garnish
  • chicken stock or white wine, a splash

For the spaghetti squash:  

1.   Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2.    CAREFULLY cut the squash in half.   Spaghetti squash are really hard and round.  They are not easy to cut.  PLEASE do so with caution.  Scoop out the seeds. 

3.    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the squash, cut side down onto the sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes.

4.  To test for doneness, poke the squash rind.  If there is "give" its done.  Let cool. 

5.  With a fork, scrape the inside flesh from the squash.  It will release as threads (resembling our long-lost friend, spaghetti.)

For the sauce:

1.  In a large skillet over medium heat, swirl olive oil.  Add the sausage, casing removed.  Cook 5-8 minutes or until browned.   Remove from the skillet and reserve.

2. To the same skillet, add all vegetables.  Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3.  Add the sausage back to the vegetables, toss with splash of wine or stock and butter.  Stir in parmesan cheese. Taste to adjust seasoning.

To serve, spread spaghetti squash shreds in a shallow bowl.  Season lightly with salt & pepper.  Top with sausage and vegetable sauce.   Garnish with extra grated parmesan and parsley.


Sweet Dreaming!

xo & a pinch,


St-Germain Summer: The "Henke" Panky

Henke Panky 

Henke Panky 

Our St Germain summer continues with this little gem. Inspired by our friend Brian Henke, we've named it the "Henke Panky!"

You know how you meet someone and you just connect immediately?

Well, despite being a sweaty disaster after racing through New York dragging my roller luggage over a mile to catch the ferry home, with zero time to spare and falling into my seat, only to begin the mad search through my briefcase for God knows what, Brian and I started chatting and, of course laughing. We shared a ton of laughs that day (including me potentially being Janet from "Three's Company" aka Joyce DeWitt) with lots to follow! 

Today we're sharing the love of St Germain in the form of the Henke Panky! 


·       1.5 oz Pink Grapefruit Vodka (Belvedere) 

·       1.5 oz St-Germain

·       1.0 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice 

·       Shake in a shaker, with ice! 

·       Top off w/Soda Water (or in Brian's version, rose champagne!) 

When Brian & Mike tied the knot in the Spring, this cocktail was one of two signature cocktails at their wedding. Great idea for your wedding cocktail this summer or if you're just in the mood for something fresh & fabulous! :) 

While shown here in a cocktail glass we also love to serve it in a large Cabernet glass filled with ice or a Collins glass, also filled with ice with the St Germain spoon-straw!




Enjoy, Measure & Pinch xo 

Fiesta Corn Salad

This recipe is inspired (copied) from my father-in-law.  While preparing for a family party at my in-laws, I offered Mom my hand with cooking.   She asked me to prepare Dad's Corn Salad and I was really happy to do it.  I've always loved it and was curious about the makings. To make the salad, I was given a "recipe" that simply said:

1 bag of corn

1 can of beans


1 Jalepeno


1 Red Onion

1 Lime

Clearly, my father-in law is a "pinch!"  I threw it all of the ingredients together, then Dad added his magic touch and it was delicious, as always.  When I got home, I couldn't wait to try it on my own.  I made a few changes.  I left the peas and  jalepeno out because I'm feeding picky little boys and I used roasted corn (confession: I used left-over roasted corn).  I also tossed the salad with an agave lime dressing to give it my own spin.   Dad would approve! 

Heres what you'll need:

  • 8 ears of corn, roasted or boiled, cooled  (or a big bag of frozen kernels, defrosted)
  • 1 can (15 -19 oz) can of beans  (red or black beans) rinsed
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1-2 baby red and orange peppers, sliced (or a red pepper sliced)
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • Cilantro, a bunch, chopped

Cut the corn from the ears.  You should have 3-4 cups of kernels. 

In a large bowl, combine corn kernels, beans, chopped onion, sliced peppers, tomato and cilantro.

For the dressing:

  • 1 lime, juice and zest  (plus more limes for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped plus more for garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 

Toss all ingredients together and garnish with lime and cilantro.

Happy Summer!
xo & a pinch,


St~Germain Summer: The Vodka Germain Gimlet

"Have you tried St-Germain?" 

This has been the question of the summer.  We have been asking everyone because, quite honestly, its the best thing that ever happened to drinks... all drinks!

St-Germain is an elderflower liquor that has a wonderful, slightly sweet, delicious flavor that adds wonderment to any drink.  As the makers say:

"Neither passionfruit, nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly.  It is a flavor as subtle and delicate as it is captivating.  A little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavor of its favorite nectar."

So now, you have to try it.  Here's the perfect start.

  • 2 parts Vodka
  • 1 part St-Germain 
  • 1/2 part lime juice

Pour all into ice and filled shaker & shake with vigor.

Strain into a martini glass, garnish with lime twist, sip and enjoy.

We are St-Germain obsessed!  You will be too.

a votre sante! (cheers!)

Measure  & Pinch

* This is not a sponsored post

Garlic & Lemon Dijon Grilled Shrimp

My favorite recipes are usually the ones where I say "this can hardly be called a recipe."  They are the recipes that I usually describe as quick, easy, healthy and festive.  To me, all food should have those elements.  Why make things difficult?  More importantly, why not have a little fun?

And yes, to me, a pile of grilled, delicious shrimp is fun!

Heres what you'll need:

  • 2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail-on
  • 2 lemons, 1 for juice and zest, 1 for garnish.
  • parsley, bunch, chopped for garnish
  • garlic, 1-2 cloves, minced or grated
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil, about 2 tbsp

For the marinade:   Whisk the juice and zest of 1 lemon, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, olive oil, salt & pepper in a bowl.   Taste for proper seasoning.

Pour over shrimp and toss, coating all.  Place in a large food storage bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. 

For the grill:   Using a slotted spoon, transfer marinated shrimp onto a grill pan (a pan with holes).  On high heat, cook shrimp for 8-10 minutes, turning as needed to avoid over browning.   Grill until shrimp are curled and opaque.

Garnish with squeeze of lemon, lemon wedges and chopped parsley.  

Have fun!

xo & a pinch


Chilled Corn & Basil Summer Soup

I never believe it when people say "I'm too hot to eat!"  How could that be true?  Ok, maybe some days are too hot for meatballs and Chianti but... well, is that even true?   

Now, "I'm too hot to cook"  I get.  Hanging over the grill or the stovetop is not ideal during a heat wave.  This little chiller resolves that issue.  It also answers the old summer time question of "what do I do with all of this corn and basil?"  Its delicious and satisfying too.

Heres what you'll need for 4 small bowls:

  • 4 ears of corn, cooked (we roasted ours, but boiled is just fine)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk (fat content, your choice... we use whole organic milk)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil, for garnish

Equipment:  Standard Blender or Immersion Blender

Here's what you'll do:

1.   In a large bowl, combine the kernels from THREE ears of corn, (reserve the kernels from one ear for later), lime juice, minced garlic, milk, chopped basil, salt & pepper (about 1/4 tsp each).

2.  Blend everything together until you achieve your desired consistency.   Add more milk if you wish.   Taste for proper seasoning.

3.  Once youre finished blending, stir in the kernels from the last ear of corn.   Chill for at least an hour before serving.   Ladle into bowls and garnish with basil and olive oil.

Stay cool.

xo & a pinch,



Arnold Palmer Bar

For my step-son's 16th birthday celebration, we created an Arnold Palmer bar.   Iced tea, lemonade, ice and fruity add-ins!  Its hardly a recipe.  We didn't even brew the tea or squeeze lemons, but tiny effort sometimes bears festive results.  The birthday boy loved it. He loves a good Arnold Palmer and he's actually a golf caddy, so perfect!

For our bar, we had a pitcher of lemonade, a pitcher of iced tea and ice.   For our add-ins we chopped fresh cherries, raspberries and peaches.   We sprinkled a bit of sugar on them so that they macerate and get a little saucy.  We also sliced lemons & limes and picked mint from the garden.  The Ball jars are perfect for this because you do your little prep-work early, cover them up for the day, twist them open when your ready to set up and Voila! Instant Iced Tea Party! 

What add-ins would you use?

Oh, and did you know that a vodka-spiked Arnold Palmer is called a John Daly? 

Happy Summer!

xo & a pinch,



Stove Top Clam Bake

It was a gorgeous summer weekend here on the Jersey Shore.  From Friday to Sunday, we were in swim suits, slathered in sunscreen, eating ice cream and burgers, swimming, playing games, enjoying time with family and friends.  For us, its what summer is all about and we are truly grateful for these wonderful times. 

On Saturday, we celebrated my step-son's 16th birthday and this is what we served- a back yard clam bake!  All the deliciousness with no sand in your pants!  

Once you clean your seafood and do your chopping, it only takes about 30 minutes before you have a knock-out classic New England clam bake from your stovetop.  The end result is totally festive and shouts out "HAPPY SUMMER!" 

Heres what you'll need to generously serve 8-10 people.  We used two large platters. Only one is pictured here:

  • 6 dozen clams, washed
  • 4 dozen shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 polish kielbasa, chopped into chunks (we used Hillshire Farms)
  • 10 ears of corn, husked and halved
  • 3 lbs of red potatoes, chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • parsley, a large bunch, chopped
  • garlic,  5 large cloves, chopped
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 1  28 oz. box of chicken broth or seafood stock
  • Old Bay seasoning, 1 tsp
  • red pepper flakes,  1/2 tsp
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • salt, 1 tsp

1.   In a very large pot, over high heat add wine, stock, garlic, Old Bay, red pepper flakes, salt, 1/2 of the parsley.  Bring to a boil.

2.  Add potatoes, corn & kielbasa. Cover to cook for 10 minutes.

3.  Add shrimp. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes until opaque.

4.  Stir everything and add clams. Cover for 10 minutes or until clams are opened.  

5.  To serve, use a large slotted spoon to scoop everything into a large serving platter.   Spoon some broth over the entire dish.  Garnish with lemons and parsley.

6.  Accept kudos, compliments and maybe even, applause from your guests.


Happy Summer!!

xo & a pinch,


Planter's Punch

There's nothing like that dusting of nutmeg over an icey rum- spiked punch that transports you right into island mode.  Make a pitcher, sit back, sip & dream...

For a Pitcher, about 8 drinks:

  • 16 oz dark rum
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 12 oz orange juice
  • 12 oz pineapple juice
  • 4 oz lime juice
  • 4 oz agave
  • 1 oz grenadine

Fill a large pitcher with ice.  Add the above ingredients and stir.  Garnish each drink with orange slices, maraschino cherry and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

xoxo Cheers!

Measure & Pinch

Tomato Mango Gazpacho

A perfect pool-side snack or light lunch.  We love gazpacho.  This is a sweet, tropical variation inspired by Pam's mango salsa.

Tomato & Mango?  I know, sounds weird, but it really works.  Think mango salsa, chilly and on a spoon... its delightful!  

Gazpacho is the perfect way to fill up on good-for-you raw fruits and vegetables.  This one introduces mango to the mix.  Mango is my most favorite fruit.  (all apologies to my daily blueberries).  Mango's tropical sweetness adds a wonderful dimension to this slightly spiced gazpacho.  Its chilled and refreshing and as it rests in your fridge, it just gets tastier.  Make some today and enjoy it all week.  

What you'll need:

  • 6-8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped with the peel on
  • 2 ripe mangoes, chopped
  • 2 limes, zest and juice (we use a microplane to zest our citrus)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper


What you'll do:

Combine all of the above items in a large bowl.  Toss everything together and taste a few bits to be sure its on your level with salt and spice.   Then, blend everything.  I use a standard kitchen blender on the "pulse" setting until I get a small chunks.  I do it in batches and combine the blended gazpacho in a large Tupperware.  Be sure to CHILL your gazpacho at least one hour before serving ( a very important step ).   Garnish with cilantro and lime. 

xo & a pinch,

Repost: Lemony Pasta Salad with Arugula and Parmesan

lemony arugula pasta 1.JPG

We make this salad or something resembling this salad almost every weekend in the summer.  Its vibrant, delicious and versatile.  We sometimes use cavatappi or spiral pasta.  We sometimes add peas or green beans, but the base is always the same.; pasta, arugula, parmesan and a lemon- Dijon dressing.  Its a crowd-pleaser.  There is something about the fresh lemon and pasta together that's really addictive and comforting.  Its a great accompaniment for any BBQ.  Here it is... feel free to change it up and make it your own.

  • I box of pasta (bow ties, spirals, cavatappi)
  • 1 bag of baby arugula, about 2 cups
  • 1 lemon, juice and rind
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • olive oil, about 2 tbsp
  • parmesan, about 2 tbsp. for garnish
  • salt & pepper
  • OPTIONS:  1 cup of baby peas (my favorite) or green beans 

1.  Cook pasta according to package instructions in salted water.

2. Drain pasta, stir in a swirl of olive oil and let cool.   (Don't run under cold water, just let it cool)

3.  To make the dressing, in a medium bowl whisk together the rind of the lemon (we use a microplane), the juice of the lemon (no pits!),  the mustard, Worcestershire, salt & pepper.  Add olive oil, whisking until completely combined.  Taste for seasoning.

4.  To assemble the salad, toss together the pasta, arugula and dressing.  Mix in freshly grated parmesan and add some to the top for garnish.

lemony arugula pasta.JPG

Let us know how you make yours!

Happy Summer!

xo & a pinch