Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa. New Music From Emily Capell.

Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa

Looking for something a little bit different to start off a meal or to serve with drinks?

Try this recipe for Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa.

The bright, fresh salsa with fresh herbs and a touch of lime is the perfect, if unusual, pair to the brined springy cheese just hot off the grill.

Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa
Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa


2 cups watermelon, diced
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 Tbs mint, chopped
1 Tbs basil, chopped
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper
3 (8 ounce) packages Halloumi, halved horizontally


1. Combine the watermelon, cucumber, green onions, basil, mint, lime zest and juice for the salsa.

2. Whisk together the oil and honey. Season with salt and pepper then toss with watermelon mixture.

3. Coat Halloumi with cooking spray. Season with pepper.

4. Grill Halloumi, covered, until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side.

5. Halve Halloumi and arrange on a platter with the salsa.

Serves 12 as a starter

Recipe from Cuisine At Home Magazine
Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa
Grilled Halloumi With Watermelon Salsa

Well, this is jolly cheerful. The music, anyway. The lyrics are kind of grim, but totally awesome.

‘Brixton Prison’ is from the new EP from 21 year old London-based singer Emily Capell. What a sweet voice.

Check out Emily Capell on her Website where you can learn of upcoming shows in the UK and buy her music.


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Rainbow Cakes. Listening To Flight Of The Conchords.

Rainbow Cakes

rainbow gif

I love Rainbow Cakes. (Like this one, this one, this one and these. Oh…pancakes, too.)

My son requested a Rainbow Cake for his birthday. I wanted to try something new. Cue in these beautiful cakes.

In addition to the rainbow layers, a little twist gives them a cubed color action.

The recipe for white cake produces a sturdy, yet delicious, cake which makes handling it pretty easy when making the surprise inside.
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes


2 recipes White Cake (recipe follows)
Red, orange, yellow, purple, blue, and green gel food coloring
2 recipes Basic Buttercream (recipe follows)


1. Prepare the white cake batter.

2. Divide the batter evenly among 6 bowls. Add 10 drops of each color of gel.

3. Bake each layer in a 6 inch cake pan (Baking time is about 25 minutes. Remove from oven when tester inserted in centers comes out clean.) Cool layers completely.

Note: I only have three of the 6 inch cake pans, so had to bake the remaining three colored cakes when the first batch were cooled.

4. Level all of the cakes so they are the same height. This is important so that the rainbow inside the completed cake matches up correctly.

Note: I made the cakes one day ahead and wrapped in cling film when cooled.

5. Prepare the buttercream.

6. Place 1/2 cup of icing in a bowl and mix in enough orange food color to match the orange cake. Repeat to make yellow, blue and green buttercream.

7. Place the red layer on a cake plate and frost top with a thin layer of the orange buttercream. Do not spread icing all the way to the edge.
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes

8. Add the orange cake layer and spread top with a thin layer of the yellow buttercream.
Rainbow Cakes

9. Add the yellow cake layer.

10. Repeat steps 7 through 9 to create a second cake with the purple, blue and green layers using the blue and green buttercream.
Rainbow Cakes

11. Gently push a 2 inch round cookie cutter into the center of one of the cakes to use as a cutting guideline. Use a long, sharp, thin knife to slice all the way through the cake and cut out a cylinder from the center. Repeat on the other cake. Place cakes on their sides and gently push out the cylinder using your fingers. Replace the cylinder from one cake with the cylinder from the other cake.
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes

Note: The easiest way to remove the cylinders is to start with a well chilled cake. I was impatient, but had luck with my warm, July kitchen cake cylinders. I just had to use my hands to even up the layers before frosting them since they got a little jostled when I turned the cake on side to remove the cut out column.

12. Crumb coat the cakes with the uncolored icing and chill.
Rainbow Cakes

13. Using a small offset spatula, cover the cakes in a smooth coat of the white buttercream.

14. Divide the remaining icing equally among 6 bowls and tint with each of the six colors. Fill six pastry bags with the icings.

15. Insert a star decorating tip into a pastry bag. Create a pattern of stripes down one cake. (They were supposed to be herringbone stripes, but I did the best I could with my icing which was getting runny from the very warm kitchen. I ended up piping onto the cake while it was on a shelf in the refrigerator!)

16. On the second cake, pipe out rings of stars or scallops on the top of the cake in rainbow order, starting at the center.

Makes 2 (three layer) 6-inch cakes.

White Cake


3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup milk
5 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened


1. Heat oven to 350℉. Grease cake pans.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

4. In a large measuring cup, combine the milk, vanilla and almond.

5. Add one third of flour mixture to the butter mixture and blend on low for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 of milk mixture and blend until just combined. Add in half of the remaining flour mixture and blend until just combined. Add the remaining milk mixture and blend for a few seconds. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and blend just until the ingredients are incorporated.

6. Pour the batter into a large bowl and clean the mixing bowl. Switch to the whisk attachment.

7. Add egg whites to the mixing bowl and beat on medium-high until firm peaks form.

8. Fold egg whites into the cake batter.

9. Pour batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

10. Bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 30 minutes.

11. Allow cake to cool to room temperature.

Makes 3 (6 inch) cake layers or 2 (8 inch) cake layers

Basic Buttercream


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt
7 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup milk


1. Cream butter, shortening, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl using the paddle attachment.

2. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk. If icing is too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar.

Note: This is a very sweet icing. I used about 5 cups of confectioners’ sugar. This was good to frost the cake. I had to add a bit more sugar to thicken the icing enough for piping.

Recipes from Surprise-Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes
Rainbow Cakes

I saw Flight Of The Conchords in concert this past Saturday. They were hilarious. So funny and so incredibly talented.

And this one from the TV show.

“I’m the mother flippin'”

Check out Flight Of The Conchords on the band’s Website where you can buy their music. There are two more concert dates this week in LA. If you can get tickets, I highly recommend going to see these guys.


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Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola. New Music From Leagues.

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

use it

Anyone else love House?

Or are you addicted to pasta?

You know a recipe is going to be good when it has over 300 positive comments about it. And, of course, since Ina Garten is involved then it’s a sure thing.

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola, which translated roughly to Old Tavern Penne, is an outstanding version of penne all vodka. The flavors are rich and balanced with the perfect punch of booze. It’s a bit of a weird color, but soooo delicious.

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola


1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic,minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
3/4 cup heavy cream
Shaved Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 375℉.

2. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.
Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe from Ina Garten
Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

C’mon friends…Dance With Me.

“Dance With Me” is the new single from Nashville-based band Leagues. Love that solid back beat.

“I need to feel human again”

Check out Leagues on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.


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Cherry Almond Crisp. New Music From Ruby The Rabbitfoot.

Cherry Almond Crisp

Q: Why did the rabbit keep hitting his head on the piano?
A: He was playing by ear.

Cherries have burst on the scene. My daughter brings home a bag teeming with the beautiful ruby fruit a couple times a week. Delicious.

Cherries are the star of this yummy crisp also packed with almonds and a hint of brandy.

Despite all of the fresh cherries in the house, I picked up some frozen ones because I am lazy and hate to pit the darn things. They bake up just as good.

Cherry Almond Crisp
Cherry Almond Crisp


2 pounds cherries, pitted (I used frozen)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
2 Tbs brandy
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract
3 Tbs cornstarch

Ingredients for the crust and topping:

1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 Tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup sliced almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. Line a baking sheet with foil.

2. Place the cherries in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Whisk together the apple juice, brandy, lemon juice and almond extract. Whisk in cornstarch dissolved then stir into the boiling cherry mixture. Boil until thick, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 crust and topping ingredients. Stir in the butter. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the mixture. Press the remaining into the prepared baking dish.

4. Place baking dish on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake until crust is browned, about 15 minutes.

5. Pour cherry mixture over the baked crust. Cover with reserved topping. Sprinkle with the almonds.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crisp is golden brown. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Serves 8

Recipe from Cuisine At Home Magazine
Cherry Almond Crisp
Cherry Almond Crisp
Cherry Almond Crisp
Cherry Almond Crisp

I was drawn to Ruby The Rabbitfoot for a number of reasons.

First off…the name. Quirky and cool.

Second, Athens, GA-based singer Ruby Kendrick aka RTR is strikingly pretty and rocks her fun hair in its myriad styles.

Thirdly, the new album is titled ‘Divorce Party’ which is definitely an attention grabber.

And last but not least, Ruby’s got a sweet, lovely voice.

“Beach Flowers” defiantly opens ‘Divorce Party’ with a blast of electro-pop. I love the reboot about 2 minutes in.

“I’m not afraid
I’ve been torn to shreds
I’d do it again”

Check out Ruby The Rabbitfoot on her Website where you can learn of upcoming US tour dates and buy her music.


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Skillet Chicken Nachos. New Music From Okkervil River.

Skillet Chicken Nachos
More about that later!

First, I’m sharing this easy, fast and fun recipe for Skillet Chicken Nachos. Veggies, beans and cheese join taco flavored chicken atop crunchy tortilla chips. Really good.

Skillet Chicken Nachos
Skillet Chicken Nachos


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1 package (1 oz) taco seasoning mix
8 oz tomato sauce
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (7 oz) whole kernel sweet corn, drained
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
6 oz tortilla chips
Chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream and pickled jalapeño slices


1. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink in center.

2. Stir in taco seasoning mix, tomato sauce, bell pepper, beans, corn and 1 cup of the cheese. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through and cheese is melted.

3. Divide tortilla chips between 6 plates. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over chips. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and the cilantro, sour cream and pickled jalapeño slices.

Serves 6

Recipe from Betty Crocker
Skillet Chicken Nachos

If you’ve been hanging around my kitchen for awhile, it’s kind of obvious that I adore Okkervil River. Maybe this post, this post, this post, this post or this post hints at the love.

Okkervil River are currently on a world tour ahead of the release of their new album ‘Away’ due out in September. I saw them last night in Burlington, VT at an intimate venue (i.e. I was able to secure first row standing as I had the last 2 times I saw them). The band members have changed up through the years, but Will Sheff remains the powerful voice and heart of the band.

The band played a few of the new songs from ‘Away’ and they were absolutely lovely. “Okkervil River R.I.P” is the opening track of the album and also the first song of the set. Enjoy the haunting video for it below and do try to catch Okkervil River if they are playing near you.

Check out Okkervil River on the band’s Website where you can learn of upcoming world tour dates and buy their music.


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Teriyaki Burgers. New Music From Auna Sims.

Teriyaki  Burgers

kinickie gif

You’re gonna want to take a big bite out of these mega burgers that are chock full of goodies. Teriyaki flavored cheddar cheeseburgers are layered with grilled portobello caps, pineapple, and maple glazed onions. Super good.

Teriyaki  Burgers
Teriyaki Burgers


1 egg
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
3 green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, divided
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound ground beef
1 tsp oil
1 large Vadallia onion, cut into rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs soy sauce plus extra for seasoning
1 Tbs maple syrup
1 can (8 ounces) sliced pineapple, drained
4 portobello mushroom caps
4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Sharp cheddar slices


1. In a large bowl, combine the egg, bread crumbs, onions, 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce and onion powder. Crumble beef over mixture and combine well. Shape into four 3/4-inch thick patties.

2. Place the onions and garlic in a skillet with the oil. Sauté the onions until they start to become translucent. Add the soy sauce and the maple syrup. Continue to cook until sauce thickens.

3. Lightly coat a grill rack with oil. Grill patties and mushroom caps, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 inches from the heat for 6-8 minutes on each side. Brush with remaining teriyaki sauce while grilling then top with a cheese slice during last minute of cooking.

4. Grill or broil pineapple slices for 3-4 minutes on each side or until heated through.

5. Serve burgers, portobello caps, glazed onions and pineapple on lettuce line buns.

Serves 4

Recipe adapted from Taste Of Home
Teriyaki  Burgers

It’s Friday! Let’s Dance The Extra Mile.

“It’s that kind of day
I choose to live out who I am”

Check out Auna Sims on her Website where you can buy the music.


Posted in Beef, Main Courses | Tagged | 2 Comments

Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies. New Music From FDMDXFD.

Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies

Q: How can a room full of people be empty?
A: If everyone in the room is married, there isn’t a single person in it.

Here is a fantastic chocolate chip recipe from the equally fabulous Joy The Baker. Pistachios and a sprinkling of smoked sea salt make them extra special.

Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies
Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used semisweet chocolate chunks)
1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Smoked salt for topping


1. Preheat oven to 300℉. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute. Add vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the mixture all at once to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed just until incorporated then mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

4. Scoop cookie dough into 2 tablespoonful mounds and space 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt.

5. Bake cookies for 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen

Recipe from Joy The Baker
Dark Chocolate, Pistachio & Smoked Sea Salt Cookies

Musician Chip Kinman’s new band, Ford Madox Ford aka FDMDXFD, is rocking out in their bluesy tune “Expect It”. I love the little homage to the 70’s Melanie tune.

Check out Ford Madox Ford on the band’s Website where you can learn of upcoming shows in Canada and California and also buy their music.


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