Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cranberry Apple Sauce

Year long I look forward to Thanksgivings; as many know it’s my favorite holiday outside of my birthday of course. Whether I trek to Florida to see the family or stay right here and cook for my preferred friends (which is anyone who shows up) I just love it. The long lines at the market, the smell of Sage, Rosemary, fresh celery and Turkey roasting just makes me all gooey inside.

So in true tradition, this year was no different. I began to cook Monday, contributing Greens and my famous Chicken Apple stuffing to my office Thanksgiving potluck. This would continue every night through Thursday morning, brining, marinating, chopping, and occasionally sipping a great full body South African Boudreaux. I was in my happy place.

Another ritual I’ve adapted over the years is naming my Turkey, I mean come on you clean, rub, pat and damn near molest the bird; you should name her. This year it was Betty -don’t know where the name came from it was a feeling she gave me; I mean she truly looked like a Betty.

Anyway after Betty was stuffed I slid her in the oven at 6am and mapped out the rest of dinner and dessert menu.


Mozzarella Tomato and Fresh Basil Salad


Smoke Cheddar on Crostini


Sage Rosemary Roasted Turkey w/ Chicken Apple Stuffing (Betty)

Garlic Truffle Mash

Greens w/ Smoked Turkey

Yams in Maple Whiskey and Kaluha

Sautéed Mushroom

Macaroni casserole w/ Broccoli and Shrimp

(My dear friend’s contribution)

Fresh Cranberry Apple Sauce


Chocolate covered Strawberries and Apples

Deep Dish Pecan Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

(Of course)

Strawberry cupcakes

(Another great contribution of a dear friend)

The scene was set, and the friends started to pile in around noon fully equipped with Tupperware and spandex pants, and no sooner did I say gang “its chow time” was everyone circled hand in hand blessing the food. Most may not know this, but I’m extremely sentimental and going around the table giving thanks with my friends literally brought tears to my eyes.

For the next hour I would hear nothing but crickets, and an occasional “damn”. With all that was on the menu, the Cranberry Apple sauce seemed to be the fan favorite and the first to go.

The eating and laughter would move from noon till the wee hours of the morning. We played Taboo, Spades, watched TV and told funny “for these walls only stories”. The last of my crew stumbled out around 5am after many plates and several shots. Really I could not have dreamed of a better day or a different set of friends to share it with.

So I will leave you with this: “Thank you for blessing me with such an amazing friends over the years. I’ve prayed to have at least one person I could share the present you bestowed upon me with. Instead my cup overflows with love and true friendship. I am truly thankful and humbled by your gift and take not one moment as a millionaire of love for granted. My last pray is that you continue to afford me the opportunity to feed the world. That is my return gift to you. Thank You.

Cranberry Apple Sauce


  • 1 (12- ounce) bag cranberries, fresh
  • 1 ½ cups of water (enough to slightly cover fruit)
  • 2 chopped red apples
  • 1 peeled chopped orange
  • orange zest
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground ginger
  • 5 cloves


In a sauce pan combine cranberries, apples, orange, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Bring to boil and stir occasionally as cranberries begin to pop. Allow sauce to thicken and remove from fire.

Cranberry apple sauce can be served cold or warm. And after Turkey day can be a great Sunday brunch addition.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grandma's Sweet Potato Pie

Where do “Sweet Potato Pie Dairies” and “Ms Sweet Potato” derive from? And when will you post your recipe? Are questions that I have been asked several times. It was my intention this past New Years to write a blog as a sort of food therapy for myself and to get those in my peer group to appreciate the dynamics of food and what it can do in your love, friend and family life. This particular blog has really taken time for me to write because the name isn’t something I shot off the top of my head. A lot of thought and deep meaning is behind it.

As most may know already, I come from a crazy background and upbringing. Never being in one school or town long enough to have long lasting childhood friends; I befriended the adults in my life-Great grandma being one of them. Even before daddy’s banana pancakes and mom’s extravagant weekend dinner parties, Grandma showed me love through aroma and taste.

There was nothing this woman could not create. All the while her little sugar pie (me) stood upon stools and chairs just to get a glimpse of her next great creation.

In May of 2007 my grandmother passed and since then I have hated myself for several reasons. You see, this is the woman who taught me how to be a lady. With both parents absent for the first few years of my life, it was she who did my hair and walked me to the bus stop. She, who wiped the blood from my knees after falling off yet another tree, She who gave me a spanking because I yet again managed to ruin a brand-new, white Easter dress. She, who pretended to love my dirt pies and she, who I laid next to every night scared to sleep in my own room because I was terrified of the dark.

So I hated myself because my grandmother was sick for many years before she was finally gone and because I was so caught up in my own personal life and ambition, never went to see her. There she lay in that very bed we shared for many years, paralyzed by a stroke and me running the streets of New York trying to prove to my friends and family that I can be great against all the odds that I had faced while growing up.

I will never forget the day that I got that phone call. My friend and I were in a Soho eatery celebrating the opening of my 3rd restaurant, tipsy and flirting with the men at a nearby table - ironically I was wearing an all white sundress.

The call was from my dad who had a very faint distraught voice. (Faint and distraught? – oxymoron?)
- “Yes daddy? What’s wrong? Hold on….I’m walking outside; it’s loud where I am”
-“Daddy can you hear me?”
-“Iman…. Grandma’s gone.”

There I stood in my white dress flowing in the spring air speechless. I guess my face read what I was feeling because my friend was by my side in minutes. I couldn’t even get the words out. My dad was repeating my name over and over
- “Iman?”
- “Iman?”
- “Are you there? Did you hear what I said? She’s gone.”
- “Iman say something.”
- “Daddy I have to go. Call you back.”
I was on the road the next morning to North Carolina.

Sweet Potato Pie was the idea my great-grandmother had for a restaurant; a dream that would never come true. So when taking the chance on my dream to penetrate hearts with my candid stories and dishes; the name was only fitting and how more fitting than to take on the persona of Ms. Sweet Potato?

A letter to you grandma: thank you for being such an influential part of my life. Thank you for wanting me when no one else did. And even though I was not there for you; thank you for forgiving me. I love you…. your sugar pie Iman.

This recipe is not exactly as my grandmother’s, similar, but some ingredients I just have to hold close to my heart.

I do hope you understand.


3 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
5 cloves
5 star anise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2-3 graham cracker ready to use pie crust

1. Boil potatoes with star anise (discard star anise and cloves when finished boiling) until tender; cool slightly. Slit the skins and scoop the potatoes into a bowl. Mash until smooth. Whisk in the cream, brown sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and scrape into the pie shell.
2. At 350° bake for about 40 minutes or until the filling is set.
3. great to serve with a dollop of whip cream

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Brown Sugar Brownies

My blogging has been few and far in between for some time now. I realize that though I love to write I get these extreme writers block patches and since I’m not currently being motivated by some amazing world wind love affair or sexy acquaintance I’ve been flat. Now since this is my dairy of how food correlates to events in my life I never wanted to give some faint daydream stories that have no real validity. Heck if that was the case I would write all day everyday.

If you can’t tell by now my summer fling has fizzled.

Well since I’m in my chill off period I have had much time to reflect, create new recipes, cook and bring leftovers to work. My team loves me right now by the way.

Anyway I guess this entry is just to reflect on my un-amusing love life. I’m really tired of hearing from men and women alike:

- Why aren’t you married by now? Damn girl (licking fingers) I would have snatched you up longtime ago.

- Don’t you think if I knew that answer I would be married? And who says I want you to snatch me up?

I mean come on really?

Recently I had what most would consider a breakdown. So bad that I had to call my friends at 4am to talk me through this crossroad. You see that question is one I ponder on most days. I’m young, easy on the eyes and completely open to life and what it has to offer- not to mention I can whip up pretty much any dish of your desire in 4inch pumps with a flash of light. And here I am single.

To most that question is valid because there are women who run around here mean, nasty, that can’t cook and always have their hands out swept off in love. I’m starting to feel like it’s just the nature of life.

I wonder if there is some site like Monster.com where you can post your personal resume and be called to interview with the best suited emplovers (I know it isn’t a word-playing on employers.. work with me here) This site would have to cover everything from timeline to desired salary.

Now most will read this and say there must be something wrong. There isn’t I assure you, but I continue to get the ones I don’t want and chase away the ones I want because they too are at some crossroad in their life and don't know what they want.

WHAT GIVES??? Ok I’m clearly just on a rant right now so I’ll stop and go make some Brown Sugar Brownies. But in the meantime riddle me this?

Why do men and women have this ideal mate conjured up in their minds then once given the chance to live happily ever after they chicken out? Am I naïve to think there is such thing as love and happily ever after?

Brown Sugar Brownies


2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans (4 ounces), coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and lightly flour a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. In the top of a double boiler, melt the butter with the chocolate; let cool. You can substitute this with putting 2 cups of water in a large sauce pan and chocolate and butter in a smaller sauce pan. Boil wataer and let vapors melt chocolate and butter.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until thickened; beat in the vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate mixture until combined. Sift the flour over the batter and fold it in. Fold in the pecans.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let the brownies cool in the pan for 45mins before cutting into squares

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

As women, even men on the path of feeling someone of the opposite sex we will most times jump off the curb and do some of the craziest things in the name of “potential love”. Yes I said it “Potential Love”. It’s a mere prospect, probable, likely impending chance this will turn out the way you have conjured it up in your mind.

A couple months ago I was sweep off my feet; so much so that he inspired me to write, create new dishes and even step out side the box with the way I was going to receive the type of courtship he was ready for. He had just got out of a relationship and never been single at the age of 32. All those signs should have resonated but in the same breath he would bring me flowers if I was having a bad day, take 60 block walks with me talking about any and everything under the sun, call several times a day to my office just to hear my voice and shoot the shit, even spend time with my crazy friends. And they are no walk in the park for new comers.

So the blow of not wanting a relationship was soft. Heck I was like this is the best non relationship ever. Well his non relationship-relationship behavior made me jump into me and what I enjoy doing for my man- Taking care of him by any means necessary.

This all starts 3 weeks ago and 4 months in-things were flowing as usual. Though our time together was slowing down I was fine with that. The summer is over, fall is here and its time to get serious; no problem works for me. Well it was a Thursday and he had been craving a steak all day. So of course I ran straight to the market after work.

Picked up the 2 meatiest T-Bones I could find grab some Baby Red Potatoes and figured Brussel Sprouts would do this meal right. But it just didn’t seem like it was enough- I wanted him to have something sweet and sensual. Yes me of course but something else. As I looked up I saw the ripest Strawberries I have ever seen and knew that was it. My Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Jetting home I get a call and he says baby I will be there in an hour “shit” an hours???? Ok you can do this. I got dinner done, Strawberries chilling in the refrigerate, and 5 minutes to spare to jump in the shower.

Dinner of course blows his mind so much that he sits sucking on the bone for minutes before he realized what he was doing. I let out a chuckle as I remove the plate from the table and the bone from his mouth. Heading to the refrigerator I tell him to retire to the couch as I remove the bright red strawberries dipped in chocolate and sit beside him.
We sit there for hours talking rubbing releasing into each other.

The next day its business as usual we join some friends after work for drinks and dancing but the air if weird it’s different I’m feeling detached and I can’t place a finger on it. 3 weeks would follow and I think my finally installment of my summer love….

To be continued …. Sweet Potato Mash

Chocolate Covered Strawberries


3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces milk chocolate chips
3 ounces white chocolate chips
2 Tblspn of butter
1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried

Combine 1 tblspn of butter, semisweet and milk chocolate chips in one heat proof medium bowl and the other tblspn of white chocolate chips in another. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth.

Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.
Set the strawberries in refrigerator until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Taco Bar

Though I love to mesmerize my lovers with tantalizing dishes I also trap the people I know into lifelong friendships lured in by food. About 6 years ago I move to Jersey City into this amazing penthouse duplex with an awesome rooftop deck where I host annual summertime BBQ’s. I do 3 major- 50 plus and a few smaller ones less than 15.

The last one I would say was the biggest yet. There had to be at least 90 guests all of which I absolutely adore. It was so amazing because there where people I haven’t seen in years that happen to hear about the event through another old friend and decided to surprise me. There were people who I was once close to but because of life and growing fell out of touch with. There were old and new acquaintances, there were some strangers and of course the regulars. For me the energy and sexiness alone confirmed why I love to cook and bring people together.

This particular Soirée was a Mexican theme. Weeks before the event I sent my guest sneak preview of the menu just incase they thought they would make other plans- I know I know crafty huh? Well anyway the idea of the Taco bar was to make all the fillings complete with a variation of soft and hard taco shells as well as tostadas and have everyone make them as they feel. A month later I’m still getting calls about how great it was.


Curry Shrimp
Grilled Lamb
Mexican Tilapia Ceviche
Orange Mango Chicken
Beef Carnitas
Grilled Red Pepper Corn
Dusted with Pecorino Cheese

Yellow Rice
With Black and Red Beans

Tomato Salad with Chile and Lime

Strawberry Salad
With Lemonade dressing

I would have to say the crowd favorite was the Mexican Tilapia Ceviche. It was the first time I had made this particular dish with Tilapia; I usually use Snapper, or Salmon. But that seemed not to matter.

Now the end of the summer is near and the calls have started to roll in all wondering when the next one will take place and what’s on the menu. All I know is whatever it is it has to knock the mid summer Taco Rooftop Rendezvous out the box… I just keep making it more difficult for myself, but oh well I LOVE IT!!!!!

Mexican Tilapia Ceviche

1 pound fresh, skinless Tilapia, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
1/2 cup finely diced red bell peppers
1/2 cup finely diced yellow bell peppers
1/2 thinly sliced small red onion
3 minced garlic clove
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
Salt for taste
Bundle of cilantro
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of brown sugar

In a large bowl, toss the diced fish with the lime juice, lemon juice, jalapeño, red and yellow bell peppers, red onion, garlic, brown sugar, crushed red pepper and season with salt. Refrigerate the Tilapia ceviche for about 5 hours or until citrus has cooked fish. Stir in the cilantro and extra-virgin olive oil and serve.

Mexican Layout

Monday, August 17, 2009

Spinach Seafood Lasagna

So I’m in a wooing state right now. I’ve been dating this guy that I’m totally enamored by and what makes it even better he loves to be spoiled and I love to spoil. Match made in heaven. Well anyway Saturday was date night and since we always have these really great nights on the town I thought I would slow it down this weekend. A candle light dinner, and movie sounds good.

Well totally blocked as to what I was going to make I called my uncle Omar who is the next best thing to cooking outside of me of course. (Love you Unc-O-Diggity.) His suggestion was seafood lasagna. I was like yeah that’s going to be a hit. But of course because I have to always do things my way I decided to make it a spinach seafood lasagna.. You know there has to be some originality.

Now I’m off to the market to get all the fixings and my thoughts started to wonder. What if this night was a play on 5 of his senses? -Sight, taste, touch, smell, hearing. I would be the visual draw, the food would take care of the taste factor, I could play some slow romantic tunes to satisfy his audible, light aromatic candles for smell but what would I do for touch. Of course anyone would say the obvious. But I didn’t want to go there that’s too typical. So I thought to myself who wouldn’t like a home done pedicure? By George I think I’ve got it.. Pedi it is…..

Back at home now prepping dinner I’m totally excited about tonight when a text comes through. “Just wanted to say I miss you and I look forward to seeing you tonight” That makes my efforts all the more worth it.

Spinach Seafood Lasagna now in the oven I can prep the rest of the evening. So I run around the house lighting my many candles, the ones on the steps, and in the bookshelf, the ones on the wall and in the bathroom -A completely sexy fire hazard I say to myself but yet I continue. I jump in the shower, spray a little fragrant perfume in the right places (you know the spots grandma use to tell you to dab your smell goods.) Now off to the closet. What could I wear that wasn’t to over the top like I’m trying yet sexy enough for me to appeal to his visual sense? Then I see the perfect short peachish pink H and M dress that really complements my fading tan- note to self, must lay out some time this week because your color is fading fast.

Dressed and smelling good I gather the foot tub and all my tools. As I put them out the bell rings. I take a look in the mirror give myself and wink and say Showtime.

As soon as he enterers he grabs me and kisses me passionately. Take a look around and sits at the table and ask
-so chef what’s on the menu tonight?
-Spinach Seafood Lasagna with rosemary garlic bread.
-Why do you always have to take it there? What ever happened to meat and potatoes? He laughs.
-What do you mean babe?
-I’m just joking I love always anticipating your next creation but I must admit I’m not a fan of lasagna

Smile back on my face because I know he’s going to love this one I serve him and my self and we sit down for dinner. Cocktails crisp, conversation flowing dinner A HIT!!! We sit there talking enjoying each others company. Pedi time… Him not knowing I tell him to go upstairs get comfortable and come back in a minute. By the time he returned to the living room the warm water was out complete with rose peddles and his jaw dropped.
-“you continue to amaze me”
I smile, sit him down and begin to give the best damn pedicure I have ever given. (FYI: this was a first for me so it was also the only one I had given….)

All done and half asleep I rub his shoulders and usher him off to bed. We lay there for the rest of the night me caressing his head and him playing in my hair talking and just enjoying each other. I couldn’t have planed the evening any better.

The next morning I woke up to him in the kitchen making breakfast!! He’s a keeper!!!

Spinach Seafood Lasagna

Pound of jumbo shrimp chopped
Four healthy slices of filleted and cubed flounder
Can of real lump crab meat
Bag of fresh uncooked spinach
¾ cup of white wine
1 ½ bottles of Alfredo sauce
12 -14 pre boiled lasagna noodles set aside (depends on the size of your pan)
Whole chopped onion
5 chopped cloves of garlic
1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Ricotta cheese
1 egg
Table spoon of parsley
2 ½ cups of mozzarella
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
Salt and pepper for taste

Seafood mix
In a separate boil combine crab meat, flounder and shrimp. Sprinkle salt and pepper sparingly.

In a skillet heat onions and garlic until tender, add white wine and reduce. After wine has reduces slightly add Alfredo sauce and blend with wine. Let heat and add Gruyère and Swiss. On a low heat allow cheese to melt into the sauce stirring occasionally. Add seafood mixture and nutmeg. Let simmer on low. In another bowl beat one egg add parsley and ricotta stir until completely mixed together. In a lasagna pan lightly cover the bottom with your ricotta mixture. Then layer noodles, followed by sauce, cover sauce with uncooked spinach then cover with mozzarella. Repeat layers

Monday, January 26, 2009


Throughout my restaurant career I have had the opportunity to work under some of the best chef at the hottest New York City eateries. One in particular that brings back many memories is Nobu- the trendy hard to get a table at Sushi place in Tribeca.

Well one memory that would years later come back to me was late April of 2002. A co-worker of mine hosted her brothers’ birthday party at Nobu. I remember having my head down in the reservation log when this tall sun kissed man with a hint of grey threaded through his curly dark sand hair approached me. His smile had me in a stupor-you ever get caught in a trance and hear everything go on around you but can’t quite put the words in sequence? That was me.

Anyway as the night went on I would pass by his table on purpose so he could catch a whiff of the over indulgent perfume I sprayed several times throughout the night. What was I thinking? I was trying to get him to flirt but really none of that mattered because hello earth to Iman I was very much in love and living with someone.

Fast-forward to 2005 no longer with the man I thought I would marry but out with a guy who was like my homie lover friend (you remember R. Kelly’s 1993 hit? Anyway he’s a whole other recipe maybe 5) when who should I run into; Mr. Kissed by the sun himself. He was with some fellow industry people that we all knew in common. Next thing I know my group of 2 was now a group of 10.

A fight was on that night so we retreated to one of the guys houses that lived close by in Battery Park City, followed by dancing at a trendy night club. During that time I said to myself I have to get this guys number. So on a sly we need to network convo (still with homie lover friend) I exchanged numbers with him. We would lose touch again till mid 2006, where he would visit me at another location I was opening; Sofrito. He’d come in sit at the bar order 2 glasses of sangria, watch me work the room and with a little drunken swagger walk out the door. This would happen a few times a month; the interest was there on both parts but nothing came of it.

Finally one day I invited him to my house to watch some sports eat and chill (my favorite pass time) I lured him in with the promise that I would teach him how to make the Sangria he loved so much. He showed up with all the fixings ready to learn. What was on the dinner menu is a blur because the Sangria was the headliner. I do recall however one of the most romantic evenings of my life.

The TV never went on; after eating we went up to the deck armed with sangria, a couple cigars and blankets to shield us from the slight spring breeze. Our evening which stared at 7pm would spill over till the wee hours of the morning without as much as a kiss. The clear star filled sky evoked dialogue I didn’t know was possible between two human beings. Nothing was off limits.

We still have occasional nights like that but I am puzzled by him. Though our time is great I’m left feeling like we are in eternal friend zone.

One bottle dry red wine, such as Grenache, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup brandy
1/3 cup peach snaps or pomegranate snaps
1/4 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec
2 navel oranges—peeled, halved, seeded and cut into large dice
1 Granny Smith apple—halved, cored and cut into large dice
1 Bartlett pear—halved, cored and cut into large dice
5 Strawberries with cut steam
Ice Cubes

Pour the red wine into a 3-quart pitcher. Stir in the orange juice, snaps, brandy, Cointreau. Add the diced oranges, apple pear and strawberries; refrigerate. Serve the sangria in tall glasses over ice. Garnish with a tablespoon of the diced fruit.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner for those who didn't go home for the Holidays!!!

The way to a man's heart

As a single girl I look back at what my dad use to say to me growing up. “Iman the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach, topped with an education, hard work and a clean house you will have to fight the men off of you.”

Dad where is the army? I feel like I’m stranded on Gilligan’s Island without Gilligan and the professor. I mean I just don’t get it.

A few months back I meet this really hot guy. I’m talking 6’4”, chocolate, and just plain sumptuous. Of course he’s a sports fan like me so naturally our first date I took him to the neighborhood sports bar Dorrian’s. So you understand- Dorrian’s is like Cheer’s, I know the whole staff, all the regulars and not a Sunday goes by without me and the gang (street magic is what they call us, that’s another blog) firmly planted at 12pm.

Subconsciously I wanted to get the thumbs.

Anyway that date was followed by several more till I figured now its time to hold the bull by the horn and bring the team in to home base. Yes, it was time for me to make one of my delectable meals. Nervous as to what to make I turned to one of my favorite food sources William Sonoma. There I found this great dish “Shrimp in Coconut Cream Sauce”. I was like this is it, this is the dish. However I have put my own spin on it so it became “Chilean Sea Bass and Shrimp in Coconut Curry Milk”.

The house illuminated with candle light and the aroma made pedestrians salivate as they walked by the window. Me on the other hand I choose not to compete with the more lavish décor. I decide to wear a floor length navy jersey dress that flirted with my curves toped off by my favorite apron; hair pulled up in a messy ponytail and not a stitch of makeup just a dab of chocolate lip gloss to give my face that fresh look.

As the final touches were complete, buzzzz – there’s the bell (and he was on time). He walked in we hugged he looked around in amazement, complimenting my home and spicy fragrance of curry. After poring him a glass of Jonnie Walker Blue I sat him down placing a napkin on his lap- the type of treatment fit for a king.

Curtin time -drizzling the sauce in a circular motion in the center of the bare plate I scooped a perfect mound of coconut tomato rice in the center. Atop the rice I placed the Sea Bass and Shrimp and lined the top of that with a few asparagus tips. I wanted to make-out with me; it was beautiful. The whole time he watched in astonished by the live presentation.

We ate, drank, talked and really connected. The night could not have been better till he kissed me, at that moment I exhaled.

We hung out a few times after that but it was just that, hanging out.

Now once again I’m left on the island waiting for the army.

Thanks Dad

Chilean Sea Bass and Shrimp in Coconut Curry Milk

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound cubed Chilean Sea Bass
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, curry powder, cumin, coriander and cardamom; cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 2 minutes more. Reduce heat to low and add evaporated skim milk and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, stirring to prevent scorching. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add Sea Bass cook for 2 min, add shrimp cook uncovered, until the shrimp are pink and curled, 10 to 12 minutes.
Combine lime juice and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Add to the shrimp mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I am the girl that loves everyone no matter what. To my friends and family probably one of my biggest down falls. I will open my heart, my home and my oven for whomever.

Growing up was not the worst however it certainly wasn’t the best. Before the age of 9 I had already lived five different States, attended several schools with in those States and no one was in the military. So I had to learn early on that in order to make friends quick before the next destination I should be as friendly as possible. This remained true throughout my life.

Some time around 8 I lived next to this girl by the name of Sara- at 8 last names weren’t important so hers I can’t remember. Sara was my best friend for the 3 or 4 months my mom and I lived in Deer Park which was this complex in San Diego. On most days we would hang out after school at her house because her mom was always home. She would make us something tasty to eat and Sara and I would retreat back to our tent house under her loft bed. I use to love tent houses- it was my home away from home.

Well anyway one afternoon as we got off the bus and into the house dragging our rainbow bight book bags I remember this amazing aroma hit me as we entered the house. We dropped our bags as we usually did and B-lined for the kitchen. There on the counter laid tacos, with all the fixings. I soon realized that since her mom did give us the same speech “girls wash your hands and don’t drop your bags on the floor take them to the room” something was wrong.

There in the kitchen she stood lightly sobbing and mixing this green concoction at the same time. I would later find out that it was this tasty guacamole, which we refused to give a chance at first because it looked mussy. We ate we played and carried on as usual all the while noticing that Ms. Lisa was not her usual self- but I was to young to even care or ask.

The next day Sara wasn’t at the bus stop, she wasn’t at school and no one answered when I knocked at the door. For some reason I thought I heard voices but to this day I cant be quiet sure. I do know that I would sit at her door everyday for a week and still no Sara. Till finally one Saturday while in my room I caught a glimpse of Ms. Lisa getting in to this big truck – I rushed to get out the front door but by the time my legs could catch up with my thoughts she was to far for me to catch.

My last thoughts are of us making fun of the guacamole and that is how I have held her since. I still love you Sara wherever you may be.

Mango Guacamole
3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
2 jalapenos or Serrano chilies, seeded & chopped
1 ripe peeled mango
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat. Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated. Using a potato masher add the salt, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, mango, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Serve with chips

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Introduction

For far to long friends, family and new acquaintances have all uttered mmmmm ooooooo wooooow, this is great!!!!
-What is this?
-How did you make it?
-You know you are now the official cook at my next event, right?

(“Come to think of it I don’t know if I’m invited or just my special ingredients.”)
Well all the praise and impromptu invites has made me continue to come up with new exciting dishes and presentation to knock my taster’s socks off.

Daddy's Girl

As far back as I can remember I have loved food. My most vivid childhood memories are of my dad waking up at the crack of dawn on the weekends to make me and my siblings’ mounds of pancakes...I mean, there were banana, strawberry, blueberry, chocolate chip…. You name it whatever he could put into that batter he did. Oh those piping hot fluffy pancakes, with eggs, sausage (turkey or beef-dad didn’t let us do the pork thing) and a cold, sweaty glass of orange juice.

Early on I realized that the way to share time alone with my dad (yes I’m a daddy’s girl) with out my younger sister and brother, was to get in the kitchen. So after my homework, I’d gather all my dads’ favorite ingredients and have them laid out ready to make that night’s tasty fare. We laughed, we joked and I made a mess. His favorite saying was “Iman you must clean as you go, no one wants to eat from a dirty kitchen.” I still made a mess...and sometimes I still do.

Confirmation presented by Mom

Now my mom…. My mom was the presentation… She could take crackers and peanut butter and turn it in to a gourmet meal for twelve. I mean, I still have dreams about her Split Grilled Artichoke Heats with Lobster Butter. Any other child at six would have said "I’m not eating that, it’s green." Not me, it was as vibrant as a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal.

Then one day something truly magical occurred. While sitting on my mother’s vanity table watching her do her hair and slip in to this knee length red dress with shiny jewelry, I asked mom...

- Where are you going?
- Iman she said, "Go to sleep, it’s past your bed time and anyway, mommy isn’t going out, I’m having a dinner party with some friends."
- Dinner party??? You mean people give parties for food?
- "No silly, we are going to enjoy each others company and have dinner at the same time."

This concept was most unusual but I just said ok and pretended to go to bed. Sometime later that night I peeked out my room and watched as my mother and a girlfriend set the table, lit candles and poured the most fragrant red drink (remember I was 6). Minutes later I could hear laughter and kisses collide as people gathered one by one. Before I passed out in that same spot, I remember saying to myself, "is that what food does to people? I want to do that"!!!!!!!

Grilled Artichoke Hearts with Lobster Butter

Grilled Artichoke
6 large artichokes
1 half lemon
3/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Fill a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze the juice from one half lemon into the water.

Trim the tops from the artichokes, then cut in half lengthwise, and place halves into the bowl of

lemon water to prevent them from turning brown.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat

Add artichokes to boiling water, and cook for about 15 minutes. Drain.

In a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil, salt and pepper.

Brush the artichokes with a coating of the seasoned oil, and place them on the preheated grill. Grill the artichokes for 5 to 10 minutes, basting with oil ever so often to keep moist, or until the tips are a little charred.

Lobster Buter

2 1/2lb Lobster 1small Onion, coarsely chopped

4 Garlic clove, peeled, crushed

1/4tspn Thyme, dried

1/4tspn Tarragon, dried

1 Bay leaf

2tbl Cognac

2lb Butter, unsalted

Steam or boil lobsters until just tender, 10 minutes
Cool, and then remove all lobster meat from shells cool and chunk meat …set aside covered

In large saucepan, heat butter slowly adding onions, garlic, thyme, tarragon, and bay leaf; toss over high heat 3 minutes.

Add Cognac (away from heat) and stir for 3 minutes.5. Add chunked lobster meat. Stir 1 minute

Server over Hot Grilled Artichokes