The link to our campaign
Greetings & Salutations to all our friends & family & fans!
We are embarking on our first crowd funding campaign to create the Third Season of Dish It Out!! Your support for the past two seasons has nurtured our incredible cooking series that’s –
“….one part talk, two parts cooking, three parts garlic.”
please share wide & far! No amounts too small, unless it’s garlic and every bit helps, unless it’s cayenne.
(click image to go see our Indiegogo )
Truth. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you, I am a peach. People generally use this expression as a term of endearment, “Isn’t Jenny a peach? Look how she helps her Mom shingle the new barn”. It can also be a a sly dig in some circles, “Howard’s a real peach, finishing all of Auntie Lucy’s cobbler before she had any”. In my case it is more of a Dish! I am a peach. I am fuzzy with a stone pit in my core.
I will explain.
It took all of my twenties and most of my thirties to cultivate my beard (bane to my family). I endured relentless comments on the sprouting ‘peach fuzz’. Comparisons were made to dirty lollipop sticks, over-used QTips, sparse golf courses and broken Chia-pets. To wear my ginger whiskers in my forties, I glow. I am a peach, I sweeten with age. I am a peach, but not with a heart of stone. More of a head of it. More on that? Moron that.
I can be pretty obstinate, hard-headed if you will, in the kitchen. I hardly measure ingredients, will leave every cabinet open, cover every surface and risk bodily harm in pursuit of a perfect
taste. I fly by taste, sight and smell in addition to the seat of my pants. Sometimes the recipe will fly, sometimes not. Casualties are inevitable,
“….you can’t make an omelet without breaking any eggs. Any cook will tell you this.” – Clue, The Movie – Col. Mustard AKA Martin Mull.
I am a peach, if you work around the dense center the fruit is delicious. Sort of speak.
So I bore you with all of that to tell you about some recent quality time in the DIO! FoodLab, peachy-keen if you will. Our wonderful sponsor Melissa’s Produce sent us some gorgeous stone
fruit this season. We got to play with delicious white peaches, apricots, plums, plucots and stunning avocados. Yes, Virginia, avocados are fruit. We sautéed, pureed, basted, broiled and blackened.
We blended, froze, reduced and grilled. There was much merriment involving Melissa’s tasty treats and at least one botched juggling show. But I digress.
The fruits of our labors (you know that pun was coming) were tremendous. Condiments, side dishes, desserts, drinks and snacks smacked the lips of happy hungry DIO! staff. The team’s favorite recipes will follow for all to enjoy. Please let us know your success with the recipes and remember any pix of your efforts will be rewarded. We swag and shout out with the best of them. The first recipe was delicious…….
Grilled White Peaches, a side dish.
Pairing these lovelies with an Herbs de Provence rubbed pork chops was phenomenal. The grill char on the sweet flesh of the peaches was incredible side by side with the savory of the pork’s seasonings.
4 washed, dried peaches. Halved, stones removed.
1 T white granulated sugar, brown sugar is nice too.
1 t cinnamon (DIO! Season 2 Spices W/ Benefits)
1/4 t clove.
2 T canola oil.
4-5 T chopped fresh rosemary.
1. Pre-heat clean grill or grill pan.
2. Mix clove, cinnamon, sugar and oil.
3. Brush peach halves liberally with sugar mix.
4. Sprinkle dressed peach halves with rosemary. Let flavors mingle for several minutes.
5. Dress grill grates with canola oil, or spray.
6. Reapply sweet make-up to peaches.
7. Grill peaches, skin side up, 3-5 minutes. Don’t let them go soft on you.
8. Serve up immediately.
A little something on the side can make your day. Munch munch.
Come hungry, here’s Colleen Foy and Tony Spatafora doing lunch!
In honor of WVD we proudly remind you to “Press your tofu” and share some joy, with Foy.
“Consider the eggplant, shiny purple, tight skin. Like something Prince would wear.”
Aaaah, it seems like yesterday we uttered those words. They ring with the poignancy of Edison’s “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” It may just as well as been yesterday as it was three years, and four kitchens ago that we shot our first episode of DIO! Where does the thyme go, I tell you. It goes in the pantry, you know that.
Sista Sal and I lived together in a tiny little cottage on the sleepy CT Shoreline. Yes, Yankee Key West as I liked to call it. And I maintained the outdoors for she and I. We had hanging baskets, decorative barrels, pots, cans and window sills. There was a festive Perennial Love Garden chock filled with hasta, Allium and black-eyed susan’s. I grew giant-sized sunflowers that stopped traffic. There was bamboo. Side note, the bamboo grows spreads like, well you know, it spreads crazy like. It spread under the neighbors fence who thought he might harvest it. He was sure it was asparagus. Oh, Yankee Key West. My point was around here and I know it will resurface. Like bamboo.
The size of our vegetable garden grew each year. It was lined with brick (we’re Italian) and subject to many trips by Ma (The Tomato Thief). Eventually a fence was put around it to prevent rabbits, deer and
yes, Ma. Every fall I buried fish breakdowns in the native american traditions to fertilize the soil. Our bounty was always amazing. The tomatillo plants and the eggplant plants were the most amazing. Their leaves and branches had a jaunty raconteur nature to them. These plants were the “Zoot Suit Riot” of my 90’s garden life. Take a moment and smell the Seattle Coffee. Such a fun time.
Sista Sal asked recently if there was a great recipe for her bounty of eggplant and if it could be kid friendly. Sista Sal speaks, Li’l Bro listens.
- 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (I like Tillamook)
- 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 3 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup oil for frying
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Place eggplant in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on medium-high 3 minutes. Turn eggplant over and microwave another 2 minutes. Eggplant should be tender, cook another 2 minutes if the eggplants are not tender. Drain any liquid from the eggplants and mash.
- Combine cheese, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, onion, garlic and salt with the mashed eggplant. Mix well.
- Shape the eggplant mixture into Patties. Heat oil in a large skillet. Drop eggplant Patties one at a time into skillet. Fry each side of the Patties until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes on each side. Freezing Patties for half hour prior to frying help with keeping their shape.
You will absolutely love this elixir that Celebrity Chef-Healthy Lifestyle Specialist (say that 3X’s fast) JESSE BRUNE has turned millions on to.
Fountain of Youth Blue-Pom Smoothie
1 cup blueberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup ripe avocado
1 tbsp raw honey (we use Karma’s Agave, you should too)
1 cup vanilla coconut milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon (our addition)
Blend all ingredients until a nice, smooth consistency is achieved. Serve chilled.
I shared this recipe on Marie Osmond’s show “Marie”. Did you know that blueberries + pomegranate are really great for maintaining your skin’s youthful appearance? No jokin’ – check out this SUPER SIMPLE recipe and give it a try. You can make it in seconds and your skin will thank you for years to come!
– Jesse Brune, jessebrune.com
You heard me.
It’s March 16th and you better be loving all things green. Like artichoke hearts. Maybe they’re yellowish beige, for our content here today they’re pale green, from a green plant. For those who are green. We heart these hearts.
We first met a 1000 years ago in Yankee Key West (The CT Shoreline). We both had more hair then, me in a bi-level with a rat’s tail, Arty with a fibrous leafy covering. The chef at LL Chapman’s (more on LL another time) took three little hearts and put them in an oval ramekin. Splashed with white wine they then got a scoop of creamy italian dressing, creamy bleu cheese dressing and two pieces of swiss cheese on top. In that little Love Boat went to the oven. Ten minutes later you had Artichoke Hearts Roman (chef name) my favorite appetizer of the Summer of 1987. I couldn’t believe how easy they were to assemble, how easily they went down. Tasty tasty. The melted cheese on the side of the dish was crusty and delicious. The entire ramekin was sponge cleaned with loaves of hot Italian bread. This was of course back when carbs were something completely different. It was there we first met, in 1987. There went my heart.
Subsequently we’ve dallied together in saute with chicken, we’ve fried in a tasty breading. Arty Choke and I maintain our mutual admiration society to this day. Arty’s and mine latest spin is a great Gluten Free hors d’ oveur. In lieu of a cracker a halved artichoke heart makes a great base for tapenade or hummus or even a grilled shrimp.
Sometimes when I eat one of these little yummies I hear Celine Dion in the background crooning “……my heart will go on, and on……” and I smile about my rat’s tail.
Food For Thought:
“Almost every artichoke produced in the United States comes from California. Did you know that the town of Castroville, California crowned its first “Artichoke Queen” in 1947? The winner was a young actress named Norma Jean Mortenson who later changed her name to Marilyn Monroe!” National Artichoke Heart Day, punchbowl.com
A couple lifetimes and botox appointments ago, I was a gardener. I did it for the gladiolus, not as a source of income. Situated in sleepy Westbrook, CT (Yankee Key West) There was this little cottage by the sea with knotty pine. I lived there with Sista Sal in my, ha- ha, salad days. I was an ideal tenant with christmas flaire and a penchant for landscaping. The seasons were (ivy) covered in great style. My gardening included maintaining containers, bulb planting, vegetables, herbs, annuals and perennials. I had this mad idea that the lawn should be covered in daffodils every spring. Each year the lawn got a little closer to Holland. It was great recreation to bring color and produce to our table.
Every year the “Perenial Love Garden” running the length of the property was introduced to new and inspired cast members. Hosta, bleeding hearts, anemone, phlox, allium; we had them all. One magical day friend Robin asked if I wanted some bamboo. Sharing ‘starts’ of new plants is common practice in Yankee Key West. She brought me a couple innocent looking pots. The Garden was going to look so cool. The bamboo turned out to be a last straw (as it were). I didn’t realize it was so virile. So agro. Bamboo spreads like a, well, like a bad idea in your early twenties. And it popped up everywhere. The Love Garden, the lawn, the adjacent driveway. The second season it made it’s way into the neighbors yard who assumed it was free white asparagus and served it with lamb one night. 86 the bamboo from the Perennial Love Garden Sista Sal asked. DIO READERS: I moved it to the far corner of my folks yard, thinking the shade would keep it dwarfish. It’s proximity to the marsh brought it a new life. Here’s a pic from a recent visit.
Twelve years later it looks like a location shot for “Crouching Tiger, Sleeping Dragon”.
I would continue to experiment in my Garden Of Good and Evil. I had a corn period, fail. I got fascinated with castor bean plants, also known as mamones. They were freaky leaved tropicals that grew wicked gnarly (remember, it’s New England) flower buds resembling blackberries. We had to say “No to Mamones”. Mile high sunflowers and morning glories were a triumph. I planted broken down fish remnants in the steps of our New England forefathers as an amazing fertilizer. My garden beds came to be the stuff of Johnny Appleseed legends. They could turn it out.
Now I told you that story to tell you this one. Every year the veggie garden got a little bigger, a little more daring. There would always be a featured guest star for each growing season. After Habanero-Hot Summer circa 1977 I thought to cool it down with planting tomatillos. Tomatillos are little fruit popular in mexican cooking.
Tomatillos grow in this charming little husk that splits open as the fruit ripens. The husks resemble chinese lanterns that I thought would match the bleeding hearts and bamboo in nearby garden beds. They produce a lot of fruit in charming little lanterns. So much so that at you can’t keep up with them as they ripen. So they may have fallen into the soil and rotten. There was so much fruit. I didn’t even think it would matter. Until the next year.
I had moved to new digs a mile away but retained liberal visitation with the Gardens. Sista Sal calls me to come over and see the fruits of my labors. All that fruit seeded the veggie garden, now in her care. Tomatillo plants were popping up all over her well appointed vegetable garden. Bamboo Redux! Almost overnight they spread like crazy. For the remainder of the growing season, there were tomatillos for everyone. Sista Sal, the neighbors, friend Robin, Uno and Due all got there fill of the tasty fruit popular in Mexican cooking. We’d leave them on doorsteps with notes saying “Freshly grown, not to be thrown”. We had to get up on what to do with this bounty, actually I had to get up on what to do with it as Sista Sal had organized a mutiny on the bounty. I had left the garden beds better than I had found them and my fruit needed to be dealt with.
I pickled tomatillos. I fried tomatillos. I baked tomatillos. I made beautiful sauces for enchiladas.
My most successful recipe for the tomatillos was for salsa. People seemed to eat it up. It was easy to assemble and always thought of as a nice gift and not “here comes Tony again with his GD tomatillos”. I thought you might like to give this a try for your summer snacking.
When you take your first taste please think of a tiny cottage surrounded by little flowers and a madman burying fish carcasses in the backyard. You’ll understand what Sista Sal got to live with and some very special summers.
Taste a Better Life!!!!