Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza. Listening To Justin DiFebbo.

Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza

Q: Why didn’t the hills want to play hide-and-seek with the mountains?
A: Because the mountains peak.

Almost a year ago I made a skillet Deep Dish Sausage Pizza and really loved the technique. Today’s very veggie recipe for Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza differs in that it starts off by cooking the dough on the stovetop before transferring to the oven for the final cooking. This allows the crust to get even crisper.

Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza
Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza


1 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
12 ounces store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature
1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons sliced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
6 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
8 ounces broccolini, trimmed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pitted black olives, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450°F.

2. Sprinkle the cornmeal in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Place the dough in the skillet then press to cover the bottom and 1 inch up the side.

3. Cook dough over medium heat about 8 minutes 
until it bubbles and the bottom begins to brown.

4. Top the dough while it cooks with the tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon 
each of the salt and pepper. Top evenly with the mozzarella.

5. Toss the broccolini with the oil and the remaining salt and pepper then arrange over the mozzarella. Top with the olives.

6. Bake in oven until the crust 
is golden and the cheese begins to brown, about 18 
minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Sprinkle with the red pepper.

Serves 4

Recipe from Real Simple
Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza
Broccolini And Olive Skillet Pizza

How can you not smile when a song starts out with these lyrics over jaunty piano?

“If we find that in the middle of a sunny afternoon
That everything is feeling right
Gonna put on our favorite song
Gonna get it on”

‘Sons And Daughters’ is an end of summer tune from Philadelphia-based singer Justin DiFebbo. I only found it today as I work at catching up with the tons of unopened emails in my inbox. Now I am feeling the summer warmth in my cold kitchen. I’ve had ‘Sons And Daughters’ on constant repeat today because it is so freakin’ uplifting.

Check out Justin DiFebbo on his Website where you can buy the music.


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Toffee Meringue With Caramel Shards. New Music From Lionfly Secrets.

Toffee Meringue With Caramel Shards
My youngest son loves meringue and always requests some sort of meringue cake/Pavlova for his birthday. This version is out of this world.

The meringue is made with brown sugar. The crisp layers are covered with whipped cream and a sweet toffee sauce. Crackly shards of caramel add crunch and a fun decorative touch. The PC on the cake are for my boy’s first and middle name, but it could stand for ‘Perfect Cake’.

Toffee Meringue With Caramel Shards
Toffee Meringue With Caramel Shards


4 egg whites
1 cup light brown sugar
300ml softly whipped cream
Toffee Filling (recipe follows)
Caramel Shards (recipe follows)
Berries, to serve (optional but such a good pairing)


1. Preheat oven to 300℉. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk egg whites and brown sugar at full speed of an electric mixer until mixture forms stiff peaks.

3. Form a large circle of meringue on one of the prepared sheets using about 1/2 of the egg mixture. Form a medium sized circle and a small circle on the second prepared sheet using the remaining egg mixture.

4. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until crisp. The meringues should peel off the paper easily. Allow to cool.

5. Place large meringue circle on a serving platter. Spread a generous layer of whipped cream over the meringue circle. Spoon some toffee filling on top. Cover with medium meringue circle. Add some more whipped cream and toffee sauce. Top with the remaining meringue circle.

6. Transfer whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Decorate Meringue with rosettes of whipped cream and the caramel shards.

Serves 6

Toffee Filling


1 oz butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup sugar
2 oz golden syrup
60ml cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


1. Melt the butter with the sugars and golden syrup. Simmer for 2 minutes.

2. Stir in the cream and the vanilla and cook on low heat until smooth. Remove and allow to cool.

Caramel Shards


1/2 cup sugar


1. Line a baking tray with a Silpat liner or parchment paper.

2. Put sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is melted. Allow to caramelize briefly until a pale chestnut color. Remove from the heat and cool for about 4 minutes.

3. Drizzle the caramel over the prepared baking sheet in squiggles, shapes or letters…whatever you feel like.

4. Allow the caramel to harden then peel off and use to decorate.

Recipes from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course by Darina Allen
Toffee Meringue With Caramel Shards
Toffee Meringue With Caramel Shards

Upbeat. Uplifting.

“Epiphany” is exactly what you want to be listening to when eating something as divine as meringue. It’s new from Sweden-based band Lionfly Secrets.

Check out Lionfly Secrets on Facebook. You can buy their music here.


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Mexican Taco Pizza. Listening To Hardcastle.

Mexican Taco Pizza

Q: How many books can you put in an empty backpack?
A: One—after that it’s not empty anymore.

How I love silly jokes and delicious pizzas. One of each today.

Any recipe that has crushed tortilla chips on top is a winner in my book. In this taco-style Mexican pizza, the ranch-flavored variety of chips are tossed over a cheddar-refried bean base along with tomato, olives and lettuce. Yum.

Mexican Taco Pizza
Mexican Taco Pizza


1 onion
1 prebaked 12-inch pizza crust
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons sliced olives
1/2 cup coarsely crushed ranch-flavored tortilla chips


1. Slice half of the onion and chop the rest.

2. Place crust on an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Spread beans over crust to within 1/2 inch of edges. Top with cheddar cheese and sliced onion.

3. Bake at 450°F for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.

4. Top pizza with lettuce, Mexican cheese blend, chopped onion, tomato, olives and tortilla chips.

Serves 8

Recipe from Simple & Delicious Magazine
Mexican Taco Pizza

As I type this, my girl is home from college asleep in her bed. She’s in her second year away at school and I still find it paralyzing when she is not here.

‘Paralyzed’ by Hardcastle really resonates with me. It’s a song the band describes as about love and distance.

“I walk the line between insanity and
Complacency with where I am
I can’t wait for this feeling to end”

Check out Hardcastle on the band’s Website. You can buy the music here.


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Savory Noodle Kugel. New Music From Brian McSweeney.

Savory Noodle Kugel

Chick magnet. I can’t imagine my cat in this situation At All!

Noodle Kugel, a traditional Jewish dish, goes savory in this tasty version flavored with garlic and onions.
Savory Noodle Kugel

Savory Noodle Kugel


1 1⁄2 cups sour cream
1 1⁄4 cups cottage cheese
8 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
8 oz wide egg noodles
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, minced


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Whisk sour cream, cottage cheese, 6 tablespoons of the butter, and eggs in a bowl. Set aside.

3. In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles until al dente. Drain then stir into cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Heat remaining butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions. Cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. Stir in noodles, and bake until browned, 35-40 minutes. (Or transfer mixture to a 2 quart baking dish. I doubled the recipe and baked in a 13 x 9-inch dish.)

Serves 8-10 (doubles easily)

Recipe from Saveur
Savory Noodle Kugel
Chicago-based musician Brian McSweeney released a new album this month titled “As The Bluebird”. The tunes are mostly quiet, showcasing his lovely voice. I love the slinky romp of ‘Rollercoaster’.

Check out Brian McSweeney on Facebook and Bandcamp where you can buy his music.


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Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing. New Music From Average Joe.

Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing

Ha! High School Humor.

Nobody is going to say no to these Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing. They taste like amazing banana muffins with a fantastic Nutella surprise within. The creamy PB icing is the crowning touch.

Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup mashed bananas (2 to 3 bananas)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Nutella
Peanut Butter Icing (recipe follows)


1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl then set aside.

3. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the mashed bananas, eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, mixing well after each addition.

5. Fill the muffin cups about halfway with batter. Add about 1 teaspoon Nutella to the center of each, then top with more batter so the cups are about three-quarters full.

6. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of cupcakes comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 3 minutes in the pans, then carefully remove the cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

7. Transfer the icing to a pastry bag and pipe on the cupcakes.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes

Peanut Butter Icing


1 pound unsalted butter, softened
5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until creamy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until combined. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.

Recipes from Food Network Magazine
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing
Banana-Nutella Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing

Average Joe aka Ben Seaman, a student who attends high school with my sons, has a new release out. ‘White Noise’ is a 7 track collection of edgy hip hop tunes. I love the opening track “Won’t Slow Down”. The fun mashup opening morphs into a 70s style late night jam.

Check out Average Joe on Facebook. You can listen to the music on Soundcloud.


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Blue Cheese Pecan Wafers. New Music From Field Trip.

Blue Cheese Pecan Wafers

Q: What do you call a belt made out of watches?
A: A waist of time.

These Blue Cheese Pecan Wafers are the perfect, light starter to serve with drinks before a big meal. They are packed with flavor and look so elegant.

Blue Cheese Pecan Wafers
Blue Cheese Pecan Wafers


8 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup crumbed blue cheese
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped


1. Place the butter, blue cheese, flour and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 15 seconds. Transfer the dough to a small bowl and mix in the chopped pecans.

2. Place dough on top of an 18 inch long piece of waxed paper. Shape into a log about 12 inches long. Wrap the paper around the log and refrigerate until firm enough to handle, about 15 minutes.

3. Unwrap dough and place on a clean strip of waxed paper. Use your hands to stretch the dough into a longer log. Wrap the waxed paper around the log but do not seal the ends. Using light motions, roll the log back and forth on the work surface until it is about 15 inches long and 1.5 inches in diameter. Place log in freezer for 30 minutes to make it easier to slice.

4. About 20 minutes before baking, remove the dough log from the freezer. Preheat oven to 375℉.

5. Cut log into slices, about 1/4-inch thick. Place wafers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Some of the log was a bit crumbly as I was trying to slice. I rolled it a bit between my warm hands to soften.)

6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are turning golden brown.

7. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen

Recipe from What Can I Bring Cookbook by Anne Byrn
Blue Cheese Pecan Wafers

I could so imagine having ‘2 NY’ playing while serving cocktails and some delicious starters. It’s a little industrial and a lotta strange. I love it.

Check out Field Trip on the band’s Website. You can buy their music here.


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Chicken With Cranberry-Chile Sauce. New Music From James Edge & The Mindstep.

Chicken With Cranberry-Chile Sauce

Isn’t this a festive looking plate?

The sweet, spicy, tart cranberry sauce is perfect with cumin-scented pan-fried chicken. Couscous soaks up the last of the delicious juices.

Chicken With Cranberry-Chile Sauce
Chicken With Cranberry-Chile Sauce


4 boneless chicken breast halves
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tsp olive oil, divided
3/4 cup diced onion
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup honey
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Couscous, cooked to serve


1. Sprinkle chicken with cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 8 to 10 minutes until no longer pink in center, turning once. Remove chicken and cover loosely with foil.

3. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion and chiles and cook for 3 minutes until softened, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and honey. Bring to a boil.

4. Add cranberries and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 minutes or until most of the cranberries burst. Stir in cilantro and serve with couscous.

Serves 4

Recipe from Cooking Club Of America Magazine
Chicken With Cranberry-Chile Sauce
“Four Two Four” is new from London-based band James Edge & The Mindstep. It’s kind of a mash up of classical guitar, folk, and alt-strings. It’s different and it’s great.

Check out James Edge & The Mindstep on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.


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