Author: brenda-hill

Brie En Croute With Enhancements

We love cheese. Especially creamy Brie cheese wrapped in crust and baked to a golden butter crunch. You can the pastry from scratch, use refrigerated dough as I do, or buy the product ready made as I also do.  Keeping  a ready made Brie en croute in the freezer is handy for imromtu guests. Then there are the nights you  only want a glass of wine, ( a California Rhone red or French Beaujolais) is my choice, soup or salad makes it a meal. I have served this cheese on New Years Eve at home, when too tired to prepare my traditional fondue. Delicious as is, here are some of the ways to kick it up and make it even more special. When I bring this  enticing appetizer to a party, it is an instant hit and gone in minutes. Tips for Brie en croute toppings Sun dried tomatoes. Pine nuts, pecans or toasted almonds. Cranberries. Raspberry or Apricot jam. Tonight I tried caramelized onions for a tasty topping. Brenda C. Hill International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association Books By Hills Success With Writing Where And What in the...

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Sage Cocktail Advice

Since I am always looking for a new cocktail, and love to muddle, here is a fun one for the New Year holiday. If you have turkey, sage gravy, and stuffing for Christmas you may have extra sage for this tasty libation I adapted from a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens. I will be in Cabo San Lucas for New Year’s Eve, then Baja Mexico/California, searching for the best Margaritas. Sage Cocktail   Ingredients 2 grapefruit wedges 6 large sage leaves 1/4 cup of vodka 1/4 cup of gin 2 tbsp. simple syrup splashes of Prosecco Method In a cocktail shaker muddle the grapefruit wedges and sage leaves. Fill shaker with ice. Add the gin, vodka, and simple syrup. Shake 30 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Pour a few splashes of Prosecco on top…and say Cheers. Tips I like to fry sage and use as a garnish for soups, salads and to brighten mashed potatoes. Sage leaves, natural or fried, are delicious in those next day turkey sandwiches. Look for fresh sage with a vibrant color and aroma. Use fresh and juicy grapefruit wedges. I followed the recipe, except for a few extra splashes of Prosecco, but I think you could use all vodka or gin instead of half of each. I substitute basil for mint and sage on meat or in cocktails with good results. I  often buy Prosecco, and wine, at Trader Joe’s for...

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Basil-Lime Butter for Lobster

After a glorious late November of turkey, potatoes and stuffing I longed to be at the beach to walk and devour fresh sea food. My favorite spot is the Lobster Pot on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida. I first discovered The lobster Pot as a child on Cape Cod, Mass. In those days we gathered our cranberries from the bogs on old Cape Cod. Today, I am off to the Bahamas for some island style lobsters. They are smaller and sweeter than the Maine variety. This basil-lime butter will taste sublime. This butter baster is adapted from a little lobster cook book called – Lobster, by Brooke Dojny. She also wrote Dishing up Maine. She dishes up over 50 ways to fix lobster. The hill team enjoy our days heading out of Rockland, Maine harbor to catch lobsters with seasoned captains. Then at sunset we gather at old wooden tables on the wharf to devour the delectable “bugs” picnic style. Try it with a cold New England beer like Sam Adams,  Kalik Gold if on one the tropical islands, or a dark and stormy rum drink favored by sailors everywhere. Ingredients – for 2-4 4 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons slivered fresh basil 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest 1 tablespoon lime juice 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste Paprika Method Melt butter in small saucepan. Stir in basil, lime zest and juice, salt and cayenne. Brush the lobster meat  cut side up...

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Sweet Potato Energy Shake

While hoping to discover creative and healthful ways to enjoy the holiday bounty the day after, I found this smoothie in People Magazine, courtesy of Vitamix. My friends and seasoned home cooks, Caren and Colleen, prepared a fabulous feast, and then kindly gave me the equally delicious planned-overs. Autumn Sweet Potato Smoothie Ingredients 1 1/3 cups red grapes 1/2 medium orange 1/2 cooked sweet potato 12 apple 1/4 cup cranberries 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger 2 pitted dates 2 cups ice cubes Method Blend all ingredients  for about one minute until smooth. This smoothie is made high fiber carbs to keep you energized for hours.  Brenda C. Hill International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association Books By Hills Success With Writing Where And What in the...

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Caprese Burger

I know, there are so many burger recipes out here. Since the Hill team loves caprese salad, I tried this one over the weekend to a rave review. Caprese Burger Ingredients for 2 8 oz freshly ground beef 4 slices Italian bread 4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese 4 tomato slices Fresh shredded basil Salt and pepper to taste Method Grill bread. Arrange grilled burger with cheese, tomato and basil between toast for each sandwich. Tips I prefer bread about 1/2 thick or toasted English muffins to buns. Sometimes I add a drizzle of evoo and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning while grilling bread. My burger was larger, but it is good to have all ingredients about the same size. I like chuck for the tasty fat, but there are delicious leaner choices. My best tip is having my butcher grind fresh beef. Shredding the basil leaves keeps them from slipping and spreads the taste. I use whole leaves for garnish. Buffalo mozzarella is delicious. With these ingredients you have a gourmet burger, perfect for a backyard grilling party. This simple supper was hearty without soup, salad or fries. Fresh onion rings would be my side choice. My friend sipped  California red wine. I enjoyed a cold California beer, Sierra Nevada. Brenda C. Hill International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association Books By Hills Success With Writing Where And What in the...

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