Cincinnati Lamb Chili





Now that the weather is starting to turn, or supposed to be anyway, we finally can get to some comfort food and this is one of my favorites, Cincinnati Chili.  For those of you who thought chili was strictly a southwestern dish that Texans and Arizonans feuded over you are in for a treat.  The story of Cincinnati Chili, made famous by the world recognized Skyline Chili which now boasts restaurants all over Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, begins with a Greek immigrant who wanted to incorporate the tastes of his native country.  Cincinnati Chili is a bit different than what many of you might be used to.  First, there are no beans although you can add them if you want to the recipe or as a garnish.  Most versions use a bit of chocolate or cocoa to enhance the flavor but we will skip that in my recipe.  Lastly, most Cincinnati Chili recipes will use ground beef instead of ground lamb but I remember many days going to the food courts in Grand Central Station and ordering the Cincinnati Lamb Chili at the now defunct Manhattan Chili Company and I got hooked.  I always prefer the taste of lamb to beef so out first Chili entry will be made with ground lamb.

Cincinnati is the first city in this series I’ve yet to visit which is a shame.  I had a great aunt who lived there her entire adult life and loved raising her family there.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to sample some of the good stuff at a Skyline Chili Restaurant in another part of the great state of Ohio.  Believe me it’s worth the stop.  Our chili recipe is very similar to what they serve at Skyline and of course it’s served over spaghetti and not rice as I suggest.  After all this is a Mediterranean dish not a Southwestern.  I also use some of toppings they use at Skyline although cheese is always the key topping for any chili.  Because we use lamb instead of beef I do not recommend the more traditional Cheddar but it works fine if that’s your preference.  So, get that chili pot simmering on the stove this weekend while you take in some games and get ready for some great easting during the second half!





2 TBSP Olive Oil

2 lbs. Ground Lamb

2 medium Yellow Onions finely chopped

4 Garlic Cloves finely chopped

Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

2 TSP Dried Oregano, divided

2 TBSP Tomato Paste

3 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar

1 15 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes

6 cups Lamb or Beef Stock or Water

¼ cup Dark Brown Sugar

3 TBSP Pure Chili Powder

½ TSP Cayenne Powder

1 TSP Ground Cinnamon

½ TSP Ground Allspice

¼ TSP Ground Cloves

1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce



  1. In a large stock pot heat the Olive Oil over medium high heat
  2. Add the Ground Lamb and brown a bit while breaking up the meat. About 5 minutes.
  3. Add the Onions and cook another 10 minutes or so until the Lamb is brown and the Onions are soft
  4. Season the Lamb and Onions with Salt, Pepper, and 1 TSP Oregano
  5. Make a well in the middle of the pot and add the Tomato Paste. Stir into the Lamb and Onions and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the Vinegar and cook for 1 minute longer
  7. Add the Tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes
  8. Add the Stock or Water and raise heat to high
  9. Add the Sugar, Chili Powder, Cayenne, Cinnamon, Allspice, Cloves, 1 TSP Oregano, Salt, Pepper, and Worcestershire and stir
  10. Heat to boil and then cook on very low simmer uncovered for about 2 ½ hours until desired consistency. Add more Stock or Water if needed or cook longer if too watery.  You want the Chili to be able to simmer at least 2 ½ hours for the flavors to blend.


Serve over Cooked Spaghetti.  Top with any combination of; Shredded Provolone or Asiago Cheese, Chopped Red Onions, Red Kidney Beans, Scallions.


My recommendations in BOLD type


WINE PAIRING:  This is a Mediterranean dish as I keep mentioning so you could certainly drink this with a red wine.  However, it’s still chili so I would still recommend your favorite Beer or Ale.  Even a fruity beer or ale would go nice with this recipe.  If you only drink wine I would suggest a nice Tuscan Red Table Wine which is usually a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other regional grapes.

The Beatles – Glass Onion Soup





Was there ever a doubt I was saving The Beatles for “Number 9”?  And for this week’s entry we borrow the title from another track from The White Album.  What I have in mind for this idea really could belong to an upcoming series, I promise, for cross-cultural cuisine as I’m taking aspects from classic French onion soup sans the croutons and melted Gruyere cheese and Japanese clear soup that sushi lovers have come to enjoy as an appetizer.  The result is a very delicious and healthy recipe that I think you will enjoy.

The Beatles mean so many different things to so many people.  They defined a generation.  They are and always will be the most iconic group of all time.  I was born when The Beatles were at their height so it is impossible for me to relate to this but as a child of the seventies their legend continued to linger and with all members of The Fab Four still alive and producing new music they were still very familiar.  Even today The Beatles prove that all glory is not fleeting as their music still is a very important part of our culture and existence.

This soup is more of what the French call a consommé meaning it is made from stock.  I strongly urge you to make your own stock for this recipe rather than skip this step and purchase vegetable stock or broth from your grocer.  But if you don’t have the time you can move on to making the soup.  To make the stock you should use mainly root vegetables that you may have lying in the crisper for a few days that you are not sure what to do with.  Carrots, celery, turnips, leeks, etc. can all be used and substituted for what I’ve included as can the herbs.   This is a very simple recipe for feel good food just like every time a Beatles song comes on the radio or TV it’s all smiles.





For the Vegetable Stock:

3 TBSP Olive Oil

2 Carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

3 Celery stalks, ends cut off and cut into chunks

1 Leek, green and white parts roughly chopped

1 Yellow Onion, peeled and cut into chunks

4 Garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 small bunch of Italian Parsley leaves

6 Thyme sprigs

1 TBSP fresh Oregano leaves or ½ TBSP dried Oregano

5 quarts of Water

2 Bay leaves

Salt, to taste

Ground Black Pepper, to taste


  1. In a large stockpot heat the Olive Oil on medium
  2. Add the Carrots, Celery, Leek, Onion, and Garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add a little Salt and Pepper to the Vegetables while they cook.
  3. Add the Parsley, Thyme and Oregano and sauté for another minute.
  4. Fill the pot with the Water and bring to a boil
  5. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer and add the Bay Leaves, Salt, and Pepper. Let simmer gently for about 2 ½ hours.
  6. When the pot is cool enough to handle strain the liquid into another pot or container. Press down hard on the herbs and vegetables to squeeze out as much liquid as you can.  This is where the best flavor exists.
  7. Discard all the herbs and vegetables
  8. Let the Stock sit while you start the soup


For the Onion Soup:

1 Large Vidalia or Maui Sweet Onion, sliced thin

2 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TBSP Butter

Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

½ cup Dry Vermouth or White Wine


  1. In a 3-qt sauce pan heat the Olive Oil and Butter over very low heat
  2. Add the sliced Onions and season with Salt and Pepper
  3. Sauté over very low heat allowing the Onions to slowly caramelize. About 15 to 20 minutes.  Do not brown the Onions.
  4. Add the Vermouth or Wine and cook an additional 5 minutes till the liquid is reduced by about half
  5. Add 2 quarts of the Stock to the pot and raise the heat.
  6. Bring the Soup to a gentle simmer. Let simmer an additional 10 minutes to combine flavors.
  7. Serve into soup bowls with a ladle. Reserve the remaining Vegetable Stock for another use.


WINE PAIRING:  A lot of white wines will work with this soup.  My top choice would be a Riesling from either Germany or Alsace.  Rieslings have a very lot of variety from dry to sweet.  I would stay on the drier side for this recipe and choose a Kabinett or a Spatlese.  I am not a fan of new world Rieslings but that would be a good choice too.  Look for a dry, fruity choice and you won’t go wrong.

BALTIMORE – Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Balsamic Vinegar and Old Bay Seasoning





You don’t have to save your Old Bay Seasoning for just crab cakes.  It is a great accompaniment to many dishes and really adds tremendous flavor if used wisely.  And yes, it is the main seasoning for the signature food of Baltimore, the crab cake.  I have chosen to stay away from anything crab related for our entry this week.  Shocking, I know, as crabs are so synonymous with the entire Chesapeake area.  I make this dish so often and it is such a great side dish for so many entrees that I thought I would share this simple recipe with you this week.

If you’ve never been to Baltimore in the past 25 years you are really missing something.  There is a significant reason many cities looking to recapture some of their past glory use Baltimore as their role model.  The Inner Harbor is a real treat with many great shops, restaurants, and museums to stroll around.  Not far is Camden Yards which is a fantastic place to take in a ball game.  Baltimore is not just about crabs when it comes to seafood.  I’ve had some of the best oysters I’ve ever tasted on the shores of Maryland.  The Chesapeake boasts many jewels of the sea.  I urge you to pay a visit and have a tall frosty one and enjoy some of the good stuff.





2 lbs. Sweet Potatoes or Yams

1 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar

3 TBSP Old Bay Seasoning, plus more if desired



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Peel the Sweet Potatoes and cut into 3” inch pieces. Place into a large bowl.
  3. To the bowl add the Olive Oil and with clean hands massage into the Sweet Potatoes
  4. Add the Vinegar and Old Bay Seasoning to the bowl and mix well
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper large enough to fit all the Sweet Potatoes in a single layer
  6. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until Sweet Potatoes are nice and toasty brown
  7. Adjust seasoning if you desire by adding more Old Bay after roasting


Serve as a side dish to your favorite meat, poultry, or seafood entrée


WINE PAIRING:  Since this is a side dish it depends on what you are having as an entrée.  To really capture the Baltimore experience, serve the Sweet Potatoes alongside your favorite burger or sandwich with one of Maryland’s famous local Beers.  I am particularly fond of National Premium Beer which has been in the area for decades and is now making a great comeback.

Black Sabbath – R.A.T. Salad






This was supposed to be last week’s entry so we continue with the salad trend.  This not so appetizing sounding name comes from an entirely instrumental piece from Black Sabbath’s second album, Paranoid, which featured many well recognized tunes like the title track, War Pigs, and Iron Man.  With a little poetic license, I’ve turned the name into an acronym to a delicious, Italian salad featuring two types of lettuce, one green and the other purple, and of course tomato which produce a very colorful and attractive salad.  But of course, it is the taste that’s the star attraction here as you will see.

Black Sabbath created a lot of controversy back in the seventies being the first real Heavy Metal band to incorporate Satanism into their music and persona.  This seems very tame by today’s standards but taken in context to the time it was quite disturbing for the older generation to absorb what their children might be getting into.  When you get past the commercial gimmickry associated with early Heavy metal and strip it down you realize how innovative Black Sabbath was to the genre and Rock N Roll music in general.  They are well deserved members of the Hall of Fame.

Since both radicchio and arugula have somewhat of a bitter taste it is necessary to compliment them with sweetness which is why I am using sweet cherry tomatoes.  Roma tomatoes will work as well but they are not quite as sweet as cherry or grape tomatoes.  I have also elected to use a very sweet, fruity dressing for the salad.  The Parmesan cheese adds a nice salty and creamy taste to balance between the tartness and the sweetness.  I’m always striving to find harmony among the different taste categories in one dish just the way bands like Black Sabbath can combine art and music with a little touch of humor.  Enjoy!





For the Salad:

1 head of Radicchio, leaves cut from the core, washed, and coarsely chopped

4 oz. Baby Arugula, pre-washed or washed

1 cup Sweet Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half

2 oz. Parmesan Cheese shavings

Salt and Pepper, to taste (optional)

For the Dressing:

½ cup Fresh or Frozen, thawed Raspberries

1 TBSP broken Walnut pieces

1 TBSP Raspberry Vinegar

1 TSP fresh squeezed Lemon Juice

½ TSP Honey

½ TSP Coarse Salt (Sea or Kosher Salt)

¼ Coarsely ground Black Pepper

4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

About 4-5 fresh Mint leaves



  1. Make the dressing while the Radicchio and/or Arugula dry. In a blender or food processor combine the Raspberries, Walnuts, Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Honey, Salt and, Pepper and pulse a few times.
  2. Turn the blender or food processor to on and with the motor running slowly add the EVOO. Blend for a few seconds until smooth.  Remove from the blender and place the content in a salad cruet or small bowl.
  3. Finely chop the Mint leaves and add to cruet. Shake well.  If using a bowl add the Mint and stir.
  4. In a salad bowl combine the Radicchio, Arugula, and Tomatoes. Stir a bit with salad tongs.
  5. Add as much of the Dressing as you like to the Salad and retain the rest for future use. Stir well with the tongs.
  6. Add the Parmesan Cheese and stir lightly once or twice more
  7. Adjust the seasonings and add more Salt and Pepper if desired



WINE PAIRING:  A light Italian or French white is the call here.  I’m not a big fan of Pinot Grigio but it would certainly work well.  There are better varietals from northern Italy in the Veneto or Piedmont that I think would be more enjoyable.  I am partial to Sauvignon Blanc and the best choices come from Sancerre in France.  There are great ones in New Zealand too in the new world and in California.  In truth if you stay white and fruity you can’t miss with this salad.


New York – Waldorf Salad 1.0





No city has more recognizable foods due to its high density of different ethnic cultures than my hometown New York.  Most people don’t even realize that a lot of food synonymous with The Big Apple was introduced by immigrants from Italy, Germany, Greece,  I will not go into the history of the Waldorf Salad but I think you can guess where it originated.

The Waldorf Salad has many variations to it but all agree that apples and celery are the main components and the dressing is mayonnaise based.  My version does not deviate from the original in that regard but it does have some additions that many purists would reject as a proper Waldorf Salad.  Nevertheless, this is the recipe I bring to you this week.

I also promise to you that as long as I keep this blog going there will be a great deal many entries with New York connections in the future.  I can also swear this will not be the only or last and final Waldorf Salad version you get from me.  The basic recipe really allows for some loose interpretations and amendments that can bring some pizzazz to the New York classic.



THE RECIPE (This serves two)



For the Salad:

1 small head of Boston, Butter, or Bibb Lettuce

2 oz. slab of Bacon or Pancetta, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 Fuji or Gala Apples, cored and peeled (if desired) and cut into ½ inch cubes

2 Celery stalks, washed, ends removed, and chopped into ½ inch slices

3 TBSP chopped Walnuts, toasted


For the Dressing:

            ¼ cup Mayonnaise

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ TBSP fresh squeezed Lemon Juice

1 TSP Dijon Mustard

½ TSP Honey

Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste




  1. Pull the leaves of the Lettuce head out from the core and wash thoroughly. Let dry while you cook the Bacon and make the Dressing.
  2. Heat a medium frying pan on medium high. Fry the Bacon until your desired level of crispness and let rest on a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Make the Dressing: In a small bowl combine all ingredients and whisk or still till mixed well
  4. In a salad bowl add the Lettuce leaves once they are dry enough and then the rest of the Salad ingredients
  5. Pour the dressing over the Salad and stir gently with salad tongs
  6. To serve: With the tongs methodically fill 2 salad plates with the Dressed Salad evenly


Tip:  Don’t cut the Apples too much in advance.  They will oxidize quickly and begin to brown.


WINE PAIRING:  This recipe is tailor made for Chardonnay.  My advice is to pick your favorite brand.  Nothing compares to Old World chardonnay from the Burgundy region in France but it also the most expensive.  If it’s New World you desire I am partial to the Napa region of California.  You can still find good value in American chardonnay but I would stick to California.  There are some good value wines in Chile for chardonnay too.  I like some of the chardonnays from Australia but not as much from New Zealand.  Sauvignon blanc is the grape for the Kiwis.  I’m not a fan of some of the South African chardonnay wines.  So, to summarize; Old World = France (from Burgundy), New World = California.

Tom Petty – Jam The Torpedoes





I can’t believe that since I recently launched this site that I already have to post my second eulogy to another classic rock legend gone down.  I got to see Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers only once many years ago sharing the stage with Bob Dylan one night at Madison Square Garden.  He gave a great performance with a lot of high energy and complimented Dylan very well.  It is a sad day to lose someone who contributed so much to the genre with his own compositions, his many cover tunes of The Byrds et al, and his collaborations with other artists like The Traveling Wilburys and Stevie Nicks.

This week’s entry compliments Tom Petty well.  A simple yet tasty American classic the sandwich or hoagie or sub, etc.  The torpedo roll makes the perfect bread choice for a sandwich on the go.  There is no limit to what you want on your sandwich.  You can stuff it with all the deli meats and cheeses you want and any spread you prefer like mustard or mayonnaise.  You can even do a real American classic like peanut butter and jelly.  What I’ve included for you are my recipes for tuna and egg salad.  So, get busy and make those sandwiches and jam out to two great American legends.  We will miss you Tom!






3 cans Solid White Albacore Tuna drained

Half of a stalk of Celery chopped

2TBSP chopped white or yellow Onion

½ cup Mayonnaise

Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

¼ TSP Ground Nutmeg



  1. In a medium bowl add the Tuna and break apart a bit with a fork
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix together well breaking apart the Tuna further until your desired consistency




6 Eggs

¼ cup chopped Red Onion

1/3 cup Mayonnaise

1 TBSP Dijon Mustard

Salt, to taste

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1 TSP Paprika


  1. In a 3-qt. sauce pan fill the pan about ¾ full of water. Heat to boil.
  2. Place the Eggs very carefully in the boiling water and boil gently for 10 minutes
  3. After the Eggs are done remove them with a splotted spoon and let them rest till cool enough to handle
  4. When the Eggs are cool enough to handle peel them and discard the shell. Place the inside hard-boiled Egg flesh in a medium bowl and break apart a bit with a fork.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir together well to combine breaking apart the Eggs more to get to your desired consistency




Torpedo Rolls (as many as you want)



  1. Cut a slit on the side of each Roll and open a bit with your fingers
  2. Stuff the opening in the Roll with as much of the Tuna or Egg Salad as you can fit
  3. Repeat as often as you need to make enough Sandwiches for your picnic, road trip, etc.
  4. Eat fresh or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and add to your picnic basket, cooler, etc. If not traveling till later be sure to refrigerate until departing.

WINE PAIRING:  This is all about you and where you’re going or where you’re going to be.  Wine, beer, or whatever you feel like drinking are all good.  Please remember above all things: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE PLEASE,

New England Baked Potato Stuffed With Lobster





There are so many choices when it comes to food in New England.  Baked cod, apple pie, clam chowder, and of course baked beans.  But the granddaddy of them all is the lobster and that is the choice for this week to represent the charming region we call New England.  Lobster is of course a coastal delicacy for the area mostly known in Maine but also all the way down the Atlantic seaboard to Cape Cod.  For those of us like me from the New York metro area don’t always see eye to eye with New Englanders when it comes to sports we sure tip our Yankee caps to you when it comes to lobster.

There are many ways to prepare lobster that are becoming more and more popular these days.  This is something I’ve been doing for a while now and it’s a great way to do a Surf N Turf combination with steak.  You can either buy a fresh lobster from your grocer or fishmonger and boil it yourself (the proper New England way), or have it steamed and place in the refrigerator until ready to use (to make a New Englander cringe), or buy pre-cooked lobster meat already shelled (immediate exile from the Massachusetts/Connecticut state lines).  This dish is good enough to eat by itself for lunch or a light dinner with a salad to accompany it.  Or you can serve it as a side dish with steak like I suggest.  It all depends on the size of your potato.

This is a twist on twice baked potatoes.  If you really want to be Boston Irish after the butter melts throw a little Irish Whisky in the pan and reduce for a minute or two before adding the potato flesh and the rest of the steps to make the filling.  That is known as Dublin Lawyer back in the old country but without the potato.  I guess lawyers eat better than the rest of the Emerald Isle.  Across the Irish Sea is where I learned how to do a proper baked potato from the wonderful Delia Smith introduced to me by some London colleagues.  They are called Jacket Potatoes in the UK and you can see that recipe and many other great delicacies on her website at .  But this is New England and nouvelle cuisine.  Ay-yup, I think you will enjoy this very much.



THE RECIPE (This serves two)



2 Medium to Large Russet Potatoes scrubbed and dried thoroughly

Olive Oil

Very coarse Salt (Kosher or Sea Salt) or Rock Salt if you can find it

Cooked Lobster Meat from a 1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb. Lobster

1 TBSP unsalted Butter

½ cup Heavy Cream

Salt to taste

Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste

1 small bunch Tarragon leaves



  1. Boil the Lobster ahead of time or while the Potatoes roast if using a live Lobster
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. If your oven has a bake and a roast option you want to roast the Potatoes first and then bake after stuffing.
  3. Meanwhile rub the Potatoes with a little Olive Oil to coat then sprinkle and/or rub in the Coarse Salt depending on which kind you use. Poke a few holes with a fork in the Potatoes to let breathe.  Let sit until the oven is ready.
  4. Place the Potatoes directly on the middle rack in the oven and roast for 1 hour and 40 minutes
  5. When done remove the Potatoes from the oven and let cool for a bit until they can be handled
  6. Switch the oven to bake at 400 degrees F
  7. While the Potatoes cool shell the Lobster (if not done already) and chop into small, bite-sized pieces
  8. Delicately chop the Tarragon
  9. When the Potatoes are cool enough to handle cut an oval shape at the top of each Potato and remove. Scrape off any Potato parts from the skin you just removed and place in a medium bowl.
  10. Using a spoon scoop out most of the flesh from each Potato leaving the skin whole and place in the same bowl.
  11. In a medium frying pan melt the butter over medium low heat
  12. Once butter is melted put the Potato flesh from the bowl into the pan and mash the potatoes a bit
  13. Add the Heavy Cream and continue mashing until creamy. Don’t overmix.  A few lumps are good.
  14. Turn off the heat and season with Salt and Pepper
  15. Add the Lobster Meat and season again with Salt and Pepper. Stir together.
  16. Put the contents of the pan back into the bowl and add the Tarragon. Mix well.
  17. Fill the Potato skins with the Lobster and Potato flesh mixture and place on a non-stick baking pan
  18. Bake for about 15 minutes until heated through


WINE PAIRING:  The biggest challenge with Surf N Turf is what to drink.  Steak calls for a big red like Cabernet Sauvignon while Lobster demands a sophisticated white that further depends on how its served.  If not paired alongside with any meat dish go for a Pouilly-Fuisse or Montrachet from France.  If not in your budget a good Chardonnay from Napa or Sonoma will suffice.


Foghat – “Honey Hush” Puppies





If Frank Zappa Veal Scallopine with WPLJ Sauce was my first inspiration for this series then this recipe was surely the second.  I don’t know anyone from the seventies who didn’t own a vinyl copy of Foghat Live back then.  That album featured a classic blues tune, Honey Hush, attributed to a bluesman named Big Joe Turner which lends its name to this week’s addition to our series.  Hush puppies are a southern treat not well known in the northeastern United States where I reside.  We’re gonna sweeten ‘em up here just a little bit and get everybody initiated into some good ole country cookin’,

Foghat have become the butt of all jokes in the entertainment industry and the moniker is so undeserved.  During the time of the release of Foghat Live in the mid-seventies Foghat endured one of the shortest runs at the top while the giants of Classic Rock like Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Pink Floyd were on hiatus.  But the return of Robert Plant to the stage after recovering from his injuries sustained in a horrible car crash and the others returning to the studios to put out some of their best works yet left bands like Foghat to fall faster than their rise to stardom.  Thus, came the term, “Fresh as a Foghat concert” and the band has never lived that down even though “Lonesome” Dave Peverett left us many years ago.

Making Hush Puppies is really very simple.  The recipe is basically the same as making pancakes from scratch which is what I prefer to do.  The batter is deep fried and made into little shapes if you’ve never seen them before.  The result tastes more like a donut than a pancake especially when you sweeten them a bit as we are doing the natural way using honey.  Use a deep fryer or electric frying pan if you have one so you can fry at a set temperature.  If you don’t use a regular frying pan and heat the oil on high for several minutes but avoid splattering and then turn the heat down a little.  Peanut oil is really the best oil for deep frying but it’s a lot more expensive than vegetable or canola oil.  I use the latter or a blend of both for cost purposes.  There is no right time to eat Hush Puppies.  They make a nice side dish at breakfast, lunch, or dinner or even on their own as a snack or appetizer.  Hi Yo Silver! Enjoy!






Vegetable or Canola Oil for deep frying

            1 cup Yellow Cornmeal

¼ cup Flour

1 TSP Baking Powder

½ TSP Salt

1 Egg lightly beaten

¾ cup Buttermilk

¼ cup very finely chopped Maui Sweet or Vidalia Onion

1 TBSP Honey



  1. Pour Oil into a deep fryer or electric skillet and heat on high until temperature reaches 375 degrees F. If you don’t have either use a large, deep frying pan and fill with Oil about ¾ of the way.  Heat on high till the oil is very hot and then turn down the heat to medium high.
  2. In a large bowl combine the Cornmeal, Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt and mix together
  3. In a medium bowl combine the Egg, Buttermilk, Onion, and Honey and mix together
  4. Pour the contents of the medium bowl into the large bowl and whisk together until the batter is smooth but still is a little lumpy. Don’t over stir.
  5. When the Oil is good and hot and ready for deep frying with a teaspoon start dropping spoonsful of batter into the Oil.
  6. Fry each Hush Puppy until golden brown turning once or twice in the process. About 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Remove the Hush Puppies from the Oil with a splotted spoon and drain on paper towels before serving.


Tips:  Don’t overcrowd the Oil while frying.  Only do a few at a time until you are comfortable with the process.  Clean the teaspoon occasionally with water while dropping the batter into the Oil to avoid sticking.


WINE PAIRING:  Since Hush Puppies are often eaten at breakfast time there is no real choice of beverage to recommend.  Whatever you happen to be drinking at the time with your meal will suffice whether it is grapefruit juice, ginger ale or a Mimosa.



MIAMI Grilled Grouper Sandwich





This is shaping up to be one of the worst hurricane seasons of all time so Miami may be the last place you want to visit right now.  So, let’s bring a little bit of one of America’s most fun cities to party down right into your home.  Miami has many culinary options from which to choose especially Cuban inspired dishes but for this entry I have decided to explore one of the more popular items in the city of recent times, the grouper sandwich.  I am not a great lover of fried seafood therefore we use a grill pan for this recipe.  If you don’t have a grill pan using a frying pan but remember to grease it first preferably with butter.

Grouper has a wonderful taste and there’s no better place to get it than in sunny south Florida.  It can be hard to come by in other parts of the country so if you can’t find it I recommend substituting red snapper.  If you want a cheaper option there’s always cod or hake or even tilapia or catfish.  Any white, flaky fish will suffice if you cannot locate or want to pay grouper prices.

I love the taste of white fish with blackening spices.  If you can’t find them online or at your favorite spice shop I have included the recipe for making your own blackening spice blend.  I also like the chipotle aioli spread with the blackened fish.  Lettuce, tomato, and onion complete the sandwich but you can use any combination you like that you prefer.  C’mon admit it just like me you always laughed at the kids who ordered the Filet O Fish at McDonald’s when you were young.  This recipe competes with many burgers and a heck of a lot less calories.  Check those waistlines – who’s laughing now?


THE RECIPE (This serves two)



2 Kaiser Rolls or your favorite sandwich bread roll, hero, hoagie, etc.

2 Grouper filets about 5 oz. each or cut a 10 oz. filet in half to fit the Rolls

1 TSP Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Ground Black Pepper to taste

2 TBSP Mayonnaise

¼ TSP Ground Chipotle Pepper

½ TSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Blackening Seasoning (*See recipe below if you can’t find)

1 Lemon

Sliced Tomato (Optional)

Sliced Red Onion (Optional)

A few Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce Leaves (Optional)




  1. Slice the Rolls in half
  2. Rub the Grouper filets with the Olive Oil and then season on both sides with Salt and Pepper
  3. Make the Aioli: Combine the Mayonnaise, Ground Chipotle, and the EVOO in a small bowl and mix well.
  4. Grease a grill pan with cooking spray or rub a little cooking oil on the grooves. Heat on high for a few minutes then lower the heat to medium high.
  5. While the pan gets hot sprinkle half the Blackening Seasoning on top of each filet.
  6. Grill on the seasoned side about 5 to 6 minutes depending on the thickness and sprinkle the remaining Blackening Seasoning on the other side of the filets
  7. Flip the filets over and grill the other side for about another 5 minutes
  8. Turn off the heat and slice the Lemon in half. Using one half of the Lemon and a sieve or cheesecloth squeeze the juice over the filets.
  9. On the bottom half of the Roll place one filet on each half
  10. On the top halves of the Rolls spread the Aioli. Top each filet with Lettuce, Tomato, and/or Onion if desired then with the top half of the Roll.
  11. Cut the other Lemon half in half again and serve as a garnish

Serve with French Fries, Cole Slaw, or any other accompaniments you normally enjoy with a burger or sandwich



1 TBSP Paprika

1 TSP Salt

½ TSP Ground Black Pepper

1/8 TSP Cayenne Powder

½ TBSP Garlic Powder

½ TBSP Onion Powder

1 TSP Ground Thyme

½ TSP Dried Oregano

½ TSP Dried Sweet Basil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly


WINE PAIRING:  This being a Miami specialty where it’s always warm I’m going to recommend a BEER to go with this meal.  But make it a special one brewed with a little fruit or add a little citrus to enhance the flavor.  If you only drink wine then I would recommend a dry, light white that likes spice such as a Sauvignon or Fume Blanc or a Chablis.

Pigs on the Wings





The love affair with the chicken wing continues in our next installment and as before we stay on the grill for those of you, like myself, in the north who have limited good weather days remaining this year.  We also include my love affair with Pink Floyd this week which has lasted since childhood.  Our last recipe was about wings with classic Buffalo Sauce and this time we shift to a barbecue sauce that is very popular in the south which incorporates the great taste of bacon to fulfill our motif for this entry.

Pink Floyd has been one of my all-time favorite bands for life and I certainly am not alone in this call out.  Unparalleled in innovation and creativity, Pink Floyd remains the greatest exercise in the progressive rock genre ever engineered.  I love all their work from the early days with Syd Barrett as the lead to David Gilmour’s splendid voice and incredible guitar work as Barrett’s replacement to Roger Waters assuming the lead songwriting duties and taking the band from the underground pubs of London to worldwide superstardom.  Pink Floyd will forever remain in a class by themselves.

This sauce I have created for the wings is more traditionally used on ribs but I find that a bit redundant.  You will have plenty leftover so you can try it on ribs or pork chops and certainly over any type of grilled chicken.  The version I am doing for you is a little different than what you would normally make on your own or buy at your grocery.  I cut down on the acidity by using crushed tomatoes instead of all ketchup.  I also incorporate the great taste of apples in addition to the bacon which I find to marry very well with any tomato based sauce.  It’s a great combination of sweet, savory, and spicy that I think you will enjoy and appreciate the creativity.  Ergo, it’s a prefect testimony to the divine Pink Floyd.





For the Barbecue Sauce:

6 slices Applewood Smoked Bacon

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

½ TBSP chopped Garlic

½ cup Laird’s Applejack or other Apple Flavored Brandy

15 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes

1 cup Ketchup

¾ cup plain Applesauce

¼ cup Cider Vinegar

1 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

2 TBSP Dijon Mustard

3 TBSP Maple Syrup

¼ TSP ground Cinnamon

1 TSP ground Sage

1 TSP Salt

½ TSP ground Black Pepper

½ TSP crushed Red Pepper flakes

For the Wings:

2 lbs. Chicken Wings separated into drumsticks and wings

1 TBSP Olive Oil

2 TBSP Smoked Paprika

1 TSP Celery Salt

2 TSP Salt

½ TBSP ground Black Pepper

¼ TSP Cayenne Powder

½ TSP Garlic Powder

Handful of Applewood or Hickory Chips for grilling



  1. Make the sauce well ahead of the Wings even a day or two ahead if you like
  2. In a grill pan or large skillet grill or fry the Bacon until very crispy. Do not discard the grease in the pan.  Drain on paper towels and rest until cool enough to handle.  Crumble the Bacon into small pieces.
  3. Meanwhile in a 3-qt. sauce pot heat 2 TBSP over medium heat of the reserved Bacon grease discarding or saving the rest.
  4. Add the onion and celery and sauté for about 4 minutes
  5. Add the garlic and cook another minute
  6. Pour in the Applejack or Brandy and increase the heat. Reduce by half.  About 3 minutes.
  7. Add the Tomatoes, Ketchup, Applesauce, Vinegar, Worcestershire, Mustard, and Syrup and stir
  8. Add the Cinnamon, Sage, Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper flakes and stir. Increase the heat to medium high.
  9. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered or partially covered to avoid any splattering until rich and thick to your desired consistency. About 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  10. Add the Bacon crumbles to the pot and let the Barbecue Sauce rest until nearly room temperature
  11. Place all the contents of the pot into a food processor and pulse several times until mostly smooth but still a little lumpy. Pour the contents back into the pot and let rest until you make the Wings or refrigerate if not using the same day.
  12. Soak the Wood Chips in water for a half hour to an hour
  13. To make the Wings pat dry the Chicken Wing pieces with paper towels then place in a bowl and drizzle with the Olive Oil and spread evenly over all the Wings.
  14. In a small bowl combine the Paprika, Celery Salt, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne, and Garlic Powder and mix thoroughly
  15. Rub the spice mixture all over the Wings distributing evenly
  16. Remove the Wood Chips from the water and place in the smoker box or if you don’t have one fold them in some aluminum foil and poke a few holes so smoke can escape. Place the foil in a corner of your grill that will be lit.
  17. Prepare a gas grill by oiling the grate and then turning on one side to high and leaving the other side off for indirect grilling
  18. When the temperature reaches about 300 degrees F place the Wings on the grill as many as can fit on the cool side of the grill or in the upper rack(s) away from the flames.
  19. Grill turning occasionally for about 45 to 60 minutes.
  20. Move the Wings to the hot side of the grill and start basting with the Barbecue Sauce. Turn often and keep basting each time you turn.
  21. Grill the Wings until crispy and cooked through about 10 to 15 minutes.
  22. Repeat the process until all the Wings are cooked. You will have Sauce left over for future use.  Remove from the heat and serve hot.


WINE PAIRING:  I still recommend your favorite BEER brand for this recipe but if suds are not your thing a nice Riesling would be a good wine choice for the Wings.