Strawberry Salsa

I think there is universal agreeance (yes, its a word) that sweet & salty food are simply irresistible. The combination of juicy, sweet fruit and salt, lime and cilantro is perfection, and on a tortilla chip, totally addictive.  This time of year, we usually chop up a big batch of mango salsa as an addition to our Cinco de Mayo festivities.  To me, the mango is the sweetheart of all fruits.  I just cant say enough wonderful things about the sweet, pretty mango. But strawberries have been having a tough time lately.  They made it to the ever shameful dirty dozen list.  Poor strawberries... happens to the best of us.  Don't believe the hype and just hunt down some organic berries.  This salsa is too special to pass on.  Its kind of like a fresh strawberry daiquiri on a chip. Strawberry Fields Forever!     

Chop up the following:

  • 1 pint of strawberries, hulled   
  • 2-5 plum tomatoes, cored (discard the wet seeds with a spoon)
  • 1 (medium) red onion 
  • Bunch of cilantro 
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime, juice

Try to chop the berries and tomatoes to be about the same size.  Combine all ingredients and enjoy with tortilla chips.


xo & a pinch,




Weeknight Skillets: Light & Easy Eggplant Parmesan

Pam's favorite Italian meal is eggplant parmesan.  So, this quick & healthy version has her in eggplant heaven!  One night, Pam was flying home from God-knows-where on a business trip.  We did our quick usual check-in texts covering her ETA (12AM), random food thoughts (weekend eating plans) and what I was eating for dinner (this eggplant). Long story short, at about 1:00 in the morning, Pam crept up onto my porch to collect a Tupperware of this delicious mess for a very late-night dinner!

Make this when you want something quick, easy, light, vegetarian and Italian, or when your travel-weary best girl needs a healthy dinner after a long flight.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 1 large eggplant, cubed  
  • olive oil, about 2 tbsp
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella
  • parmesan, grated for topping
  • fresh basil, 5-6 leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, add a generous swirl of olive oil.  Add cubed eggplant. Season with salt & pepper.  Let cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened and browned a bit.

2.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, tomatoes and season again with salt & pepper. Let simmer for 10-12 minutes until eggplant is soft and tomatoes are cooked.

3.  Using a teaspoon, dollop ricotta around the pan, swirling slightly into the sauce.  (don't completely stir it in).  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top and put skillet into the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted. 

4.  Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Top with torn basil leaves and grated parmesan. 

(5. pack into a Tupperware and place in a secret, yet obvious place on your porch and go to bed, hoping for cool weather and exclusively carnivorous neighborhood wildlife!)

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,



Red, White & Blue Salad

Could this be prettier? And, perfect for the 4th of July! 

Once again, we're mixing fruit and cheese- the ultimate combo that tastes great in any variation... any variation.  Apple & Cheddar,  Strawberry & Feta, Cherries & Gorgonzola, Pear & Blue Cheese... Tomato & Mozzarella!   We have many of these delicious couplings on our weekly menu & on this blog.  We dare you to try it... any fruit, any cheese.  Try it and report back.

This salad is taken to the next level with blueberries, strawberries and goat cheese.  A fantastic mix of flavors and colors- very patriotic.  win-win! 

This may sound strange, but I have sentimental feelings about this dressing.  Its truly my favorite and an ode to my food hero, the wonderful, Ina Garten. There are few staples in my kitchen and one of them is Ina's book collection. This dressing is a version of hers so, if you love it (you will), give a virtual hug to Ina Garten and check our her cookbook collection. 


My salad: 

  • The mesclun mix in the plastic container, not the bag (it's a portion thing, nothing else) 
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1/2 pint of strawberries ( quartered )
  • 5 oz log of goat cheese (wait until the last minute to pull it out of the fridge, you want it cold when you crumble it 
  • 3.5 oz bag of Pecan Pieces (honey roasted) 
  • And, of course, 1/2 lb of bacon (optional)

When you put the salad together, the best bet is to layer it (I do two layers) that way it looks nice but, when you mix it you increase the chances of everyone getting a scrumptious bite!) 

And, my take on Ina's dressing: 

  • The juice of one large orange
  • One teaspoon of the orange's rind 
    • (use a microplane or other grater and remember if you see white, you've grated too much!)
  • One teaspoon of Dijon Mustard 
  • One tablespoon of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup
  • Kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • Olive oil (between 1/4 and 1/2 cup

Mix the first 4 ingredients, then salt & pepper, give it a taste. Now, stir in oil, whisking whisking feverishly. Taste it. If you love it, you're good to go. If you don't, add salt if you still don't love it, squeeze more orange.

Hugs & happy 4th,

xo Measure  

Green Goodness

green goodness salad.JPG

If you've read a word of this blog, you know that we think that adding cilantro and lime to anything makes it delicious.  Chicken, potatoes, shrimp, pork,  any taco, vegetable or fruit-  add a sprinkle and spritz of my green friends and you've got a party. 

This is a staple salad at the Measure & Pinch kitchens.  Its chopped green apples, cucumbers, avocado, salt & pepper, and of course toss with a sprinkle of cilantro and a spritz of a lime. 

Try it.  They don't disappoint.  We promise.

xo & a spritz of lime,

Pam & Kelly

green goodness salad 2.JPG

WW Rainbow Slaw

Rainbow slaw final.JPG

Rainbow Slaw-  2 PP per 1 cup serving.

I am not always on a diet, but when I am, I'm on Weight Watchers.

After having my kids, I needed to do something to get myself back in shape.  Being eternally gluttonous, but also pretty active, I'd never really been on a diet -diet.  In the past, I'd skip the third slice of pizza or put in some extra time at the gym if I felt squeezed in my jeans.   Now, being 40+, having two kids and a very full-time, sedentary job, my old plans were.. in a word, hilarious.

So, I went hard-core... well, not exactly.  I joined Weight Watchers on-line and (cue the angel music... aaaaaahhh)  my world changed.   I lost 30 lbs in about 4 months.  I was back into my pre-baby jeans and feeling great.   I've kept it off with a few slips here and there (wine weight).  The wonderful lesson from WW is that you know what you need to do to get back on "track" (see what I did there?)

My husband and I are taking a long-awaited, very necessary, island vacation this spring.  We planned it months in advance so that we can have time to dream about it (and get beach-ready).  Of course, I'm relying on my old friend, Weight Watchers  to get me there and I'm tracking my points as we speak.   

Today I'm sharing a great recipe from Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook.  Its a slaw with lots of color and extra flavors.  I love to make a big batch and munch on it all week.  It goes with almost everything.  I love the WW cookbook for its ideas, options and points value per serving, but I tweek everything like crazy.   I'm a tweeker, what can I say?  

Heres what you'll need:

  • 3 tbsp. reduced fat mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's Low Fat)
  • 3 tbsp. light sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups sliced red cabbage
  • 3 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 3 large carrots, spiralized (or grated)
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped into sticks
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, juice and finely grated rind

For the dressing:

1. In a large bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lemon rind and juice, salt and pepper until combined.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and toss until evenly coated.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.   You can also make this a day ahead and keep overnight.  Let stand for 20-30 minutes and toss again before serving.   Add additional dill sprigs to garnish, if you wish.

How do you get yourself "beach ready?"

xo & a pinch




Basil Harvest: Walnut Basil Spaghetti

Sometimes food has sentimental value.  For me, some recipes are steeped in comforting memories of my childhood home, fresh vegetables from the garden, mom in the kitchen or dad at the grill.  I'm lucky.

This pasta does something like that for my husband. Coming from a large family, he cherishes memories of big dinners and holiday gatherings.  Each year on Christmas eve, his grandmother served spaghetti with walnuts to accompany her seafood dinner, which was the biggest and most important holiday dinner in the Read family.  This tradition remains strong today. On Christmas eve, my mother-in-law recreates the dinner from years past, including walnut spaghetti.  We're lucky.

I don't wish to dilute a special tradition. So, as delicious as it is, I only make this pasta once per year when the basil is abundant and needing an edible purpose.  I also changed the recipe a bit for the same reason.

Heres what you'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of shelled walnuts, chopped
  • 2-3 anchovy fillets or 1-2 tbsp. of anchovy paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • salt and pepper

Here's what you'll do:

Spread the chopped walnuts on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake at 350 degrees until golden and fragrant, 8-10 minutes.

Bring a large pasta pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti 8-10 minutes until al dente and drain, reserving at least 1 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat swirl about 2 tbsps. of olive oil in the pan, add garlic and anchovy fillets. Heat through allowing the anchovy to melt and the garlic to lightly cook. Stir in lemon juice. Remove from heat and reserve.

Combine cooked pasta, walnuts and garlic together in the pasta pot.  Add most of the basil leaves, keeping some aside for garnish,  and some pasta water to obtain a lightly saucy consistency.   Transfer to a serving bowl and season with salt, pepper, grated parmesan, a few torn basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.   Enjoy this as a meat-free dinner or as a side dish with chicken, fish, beef or pork.

What recipes do you reserve for special traditions?

xo & a pinch,



Grilled Peach, Goat Cheese & Agave Nectar over Arugula

The perfect bite!

The perfect bite!

This was one of those recipes I was so proud of when I was done because it was "invented" along the way! Sounds easy to most people but, not me, I am measure after all.. My little pinch could come up with this in her sleep!

When peaches are fresh, there's nothing like them! A must and in the summer, grilled peaches are an even bigger MUST!

What you need for 4 servings:

  • 4 ripe peaches, halved & pitted
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • 1/4 cup Agave Nectar
  • 4 oz log of Goat Cheese
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper grinder

Fire up your grill, yay! Heat to medium-high, please :)

Once your peaches are halved, brush both sides with olive oil or drizzle it on, whatever is easier for you. I like the brush because it equally distributes the oil (there's a shocker!) but, not everyone has a brush for olive oil so, a drizzle is fine.

Place your peaches on the grill, juicy center side down and close the lid. Cook peaches for 3-4 minutes, flip to the other side for 2 minutes. Voila!

Sprinkle the arugula across the bottom of a shallow bowl, slice the halves into quarters and place on the arugula, now sprinkle your little yule log of goat cheese onto the rest of the ingredients.

Here comes the Agave Nectar! Sprinkle all around the top of the peaches, top with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.

Gently toss this together, as it's technically not a salad but, a side to whatever you're serving.

As always, enjoy & let us know what you think!  xo Measure


Close up 

Close up 

Homemade BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce Measure & Pinch

Why not?  Its simple and it goes a long way.   Also, don't you love a recipe that gets you using your measuring spoons and cups?   Come on, get them out!  Chances are, you have all of the ingredients in  your pantry already.  Well, ok.  Go buy some molasses...then get started.

This recipe is a mix-up of many that I've tried each summer since owning a grill (only about 7 years) eventually resulting in this sweet, savory, all-purpose BBQ sauce.  I like to make a big batch and keep in the fridge for burgers, ribs and of course, chicken.  Sometimes when a guest is especially happy with their dinner, I'll give them the spare jar of sauce that's always sitting in my fridge.  No worries, I have a stockpile of these Ball mason jars.  They're just so nostalgic and cute.  I cant resist buying them.  Some girls love shoes, I love glass food containers.

Your ingredients here:

These guys all get together for a BBQ

These guys all get together for a BBQ

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cups Ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Spicy Brown Mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan and let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it is.  Let it cool completely before you transfer to a food storage container.  I usually just let it sit on the stove in the pan.

(TIP:  before measuring the molasses, spray your measuring cup with non-stick spray. This way it wont live up to its name when you  p  o u r  it  o  u t...)

Like most BBQ sauces,  brush your homemade BBQ sauce on meat toward the middle to end of your cooking time.  If you brush it on before grilling, it will burn before your meat is cooked.  For chicken parts, cook low & slow and brush the sauce while cooking.

Do you make your own BBQ sauce, or do you prefer a particular brand of bottled sauce?

Best BBQ wishes,

xo & a pinch,


BBQ Chicken

BBQ Chicken

Awesome Ribs

Yes, it's a bold statement.  We'll want your opinion, of course (hence, the comment section) but there is no question about it, these really are awesome.  I hope you'll give them a try.

This recipe was inspired by my favorite time of the month; that special day when my Bon Appetit arrives!  It's a glossy paper party, really.  Due to some account mistake or overpayment, I get two copies (which works out pretty well for Pinch- more bedtime reading material).  

The very best glossy paper party is The Annual BBQ Issue.  A few summers ago, the BBQ issue cover was beautifully adorned with the most luscious rib picture ever.  I had to try.  Skip to now, here I am, several years later writing about those ribs and I realize, they've morphed into my very own luscious ribs!  Of course, I'd be remiss not providing you with my inspiration.  Bon Appetit, who couldn't love it?  Any who, the ribs...

First of all, you have to be a little daring because they're not "traditional" BBQ ribs in any way. The main ingredients are honey, ginger and soy sauce, with a ton of salt, pepper and garlic. That said, no one has turned down seconds on these babies.

The key to these ribs is the marination time and of course, like all things grilled, the cooking process.

What kind of ribs? Pork Baby Backs. I've shown a picture of the minimal rib prep but, thought some of you may want a visual to go with my instructions on "removing the membrane".

Kelly asks:  "why do you have to pull off the membrane?  Gross, by the way." 

Well, if you don't, the meat will be tough and Bon Appetit says to do it, so you do it.   It's no big deal really, most ribs come with a slice to make pulling it off easier for you.

4 people portion

  • 1 rack of ribs (generally 2-3lbs)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp ground pepper
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger (peel the ginger before you chop it) the little pieces I've shown you in the photo pretty much map to the size a 1/4 cup will be after it's peeled and chopped.
Fresh Ginger 

Fresh Ginger 

Toss all these ingredients into your baby Cuisinart (one of M&P's Kitchen Essentials, post coming soon!).  If you don't have a food processor, you'll need a blender blade.

Generally, I put the garlic and ginger in first, then throw in the rest.

The ribs. Rinse them in cold water and pat them dry before removing the membrane on the back. Cut them into 4 pieces (equal size if you can) and grab a one gallon zip lock freezer bag to marinate.

Membrane removal

Membrane removal

I rub the marinade on each rack before putting it in the bag, then pour the rest of the marinade into the bag. Marinate for 6 hours or overnight, whatever is easier for you.

Here is the consistency of the marinade:

Not too wet. Not too dry.

Not too wet. Not too dry.

When you're ready to grill, you want the grill to be on low (I know, it's counterintuitive but, it has to be the lowest the grill will go or they will burn.

The total cooking time is 24 minutes, with four flips during that time.  Grill one side for 6 minutes, then flip, then 6 minutes on the other side.  Repeat. It's a labor of love and you'll sweat over your grill, but its worth it.


xo Measure


very much worth it

very much worth it



Veggie Spice Chill

garden fresh!

garden fresh!

Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho

In my sweetest dreams, I have an enormous garden right in my back yard.  Each week, I fill the biggest basket I can carry with fresh, gorgeous vegetables to share will my family and friends.  In reality however, I have a tiny herb garden and a patio tomato plant.  This week, we were lucky enough to pluck three ripe juicy tomatoes off of our plant.  (see above mixed in with store-bought plum tomatoes)  Perfect timing after this long, wonderful weekend of hot dogs, chips, pies, ice cream(s) and various libations.   

Gazpacho is my favorite way to eat healthy.  Its spicy and delicious... with tortilla chips and a margarita! 

What you'll need:

  • 6-8 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped with the peel on
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, chopped (jarred is fine)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup of V8 juice
  • 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 the spicy-ness that you like.  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 a tiny swirl of sour cream or olive oil.

There are a ton of variations on this classic.  How do you make yours?

xo & a pinch,

All chopped up in a bowl.  Take a little taste now, before you start blending.


Eso Gazpacho!


rumson punch

Summer 7 Deadly Sips

The Rumson Punch is really just delicious island inspired rum punch made in our favorite town.

The Rumson Punch is really just delicious island inspired rum punch made in our favorite town.

Theres nothing like a summertime backyard BBQ.   Spaghetti strap dresses, hot dogs grilling, kids running around with Pop-ice streaked arms.  Yes, we really class it up!  But it gets even better when we carry out the star of the show.    This punch is the sweet, cool, refreshing beauty queen that all partygoers gravitate towards.  

Every time we serve this punch- every time- I get tons of requests for the recipe.  So here it is, by popular demand- our first of summer's seven deadly sips!

Please know- One can hardly call this a recipe.

In a large bowl add:

  • 1/2 bag of ice from the liquor store (cubes, a must)
  • Meyers Rum (1/2 bottle or pour and count to 15... "one Mississippi two mississippi... I'm not kidding)
  • Malibu Rum (1/2 bottle or pour and count 15 Mississippis)
  • 1 can of Dole pineapple juice
  • 3 cups of orange juice
  • grenadine syrup - a few drops and stir until you get your happy color.
  • cubed fresh pineapple, frozen ahead of time
  • cherries, fresh or maraschino
  • nutmeg - a sprinkle on top...and then add more rum (kidding, or not)

Enjoy responsibly and have a sweet summer!

xo and a pinch,