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Aug 8, 2015


Sancerre pairs perfectly with wine and cheese.
It's light, crisp, with hint of fruitiness, and has a well formed finish.

By TR Hughes, © 2012 - 2014 All rights reserved worldwide. Click here to view the homepage:

Nov 18, 2014

Tagine Cooking (Stove-Top Moroccan Slow-Cooking Vessel) Herbed Pork Roast w/ Apples & Onions

Fall is a wonderful time for Tagine Cooking. 
I made an Herbed Pork Roast with Apples & Onions

A Tagine is a traditional Moroccan slow-cooking vessel.  The unique design allows for condensation to rise and then fall back into the base - which is what makes the dishes prepared within the Tagine very moist and flavorful.

It is kind of like a self-basting mechanism, if you will.

Pictured above - is my own Tagine.  The Le Creuset Version.
I recently made a pork roast using the Tagine.


Sear the pork roast on all sides in a medium-high heated Tagine base.
(I used a 1 1/2 lb. pork butt roast)
Season with Salt, Pepper, and White Pepper. 
Add the vegetables: Fresh cut green apple slices and sweet vidalia onion quarters.
Add the herbs: Fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme.

Lower the temperature on the Tagine to a low and cover - cook for approximately 4 hours.

By TR Hughes, © 2012 - 2014 All rights reserved worldwide. Click here to view the homepage:

Coconut Milk Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Heat Coconut Milk in a Separate Frothing Carafe
Make a Double Espresso and Add 1 Tb. Pumpkin Spice Syrup
Add Coconut Milk and Foam to Top
Sprinkle with Pumpkin Pie Seasoning Spices

Enjoy ~

By TR Hughes, © 2012 - 2014 All rights reserved worldwide. Click here to view the homepage:

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc is a must have.  It's simple, clean, crisp flavor pairs well with most foods.  I keep this one on hand as an easy pick for a lazy Sunday afternoon.  Most often it is accompanied by fresh fruits, cheese, and olives.  It has a well balanced citrus note that lingers with a hint of subtle vanilla and a floral aroma that's refreshing.  A great, affordable find. Around $10 / Bottle.  

By TR Hughes, © 2012 - 2014 All rights reserved worldwide. Click here to view the homepage:

Coconut - Curried Lentil Soup

Amazing Lentil Soup

3 Cloves Garlic
1 Medium Onion
4 Stalks Celery
1/2 cup Leeks
1/2 cup Carrots
1/2 cup Chicken Stock 
4 cups Parboiled Lentils
2 cups Coconut Milk 
1 Tb. Curry Powder
To Taste: Salt, Pepper, White Pepper, Nutmeg

Chop the Garlic, Onion, Celery, Leeks, and Carrots
Simmer the vegetables over Medium - Low Heat in a Saucepan with 1/2 c. Chicken Stock until tender
All the Lentils, Seasonings, and Coconut Milk and continue to simmer (Covered). Serve and Enjoy! ~

By TR Hughes, © 2012 - 2014 All rights reserved worldwide. Click here to view the homepage:

Hoppin John - A Southern Tradition

This Southern Hoppin John is full of healthy fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
  • 2 cups fresh shelled, rinsed black eye peas (from produce section) - Boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes, drained, set aside.
  • 1 med. onion chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • dash celery salt
  • dash black pepper, white pepper, and sea salt
  • 1 package Uncle Ben's microwavable whole grain brown rice  (2 cups)
  • 2 cups washed, fresh chopped Kale
  • 2 Tb. butter to finish


    Absolute Best Homemade French Onion Soup

    Start with:
    1 c. Chicken Stock
    1 Large Vidalia Onion (chopped)
    2 Medium Shallots (chopped)
    3 Tb. Butter

    Saute the above on med heat (covered)After it starts to boil…uncover, continue for 10 minutes and reduce to Med-Low

    Add a few shakes of White Pepper and 1 Tb. Parsley

    Add 1 can Beef Consommé
    Add 1 can Beef Broth (Double Strength)

    Touch Salt
    1/2 dry packet of Knorr Au Jus
    1 Ounce Good Sherry
    Cover…simmer about 20 minutes
    Cut a nice crusty French Baguette into thick slices
    Toast the slices in a toaster
    Top each slice with a wonderful slice of Gruyere
    Broil until cheese is melted and a little bubbly brown
    Place each cheese toast on top of soup bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

    May 7, 2012

    Primal Roots 2010 Red Blend

    Primal Roots 2010 Red Blend ~

    A blend of Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel; Primal Roots is a smooth and yet full-bodied offering. 

    It serves up a nice combination of spice and berry, particularly raspberry, red currants, and clove.  It carries end-notes of vanilla and a hint of dark chocolate, thanks to aging in French Oak Barrels.  And, it rounds out with a velvet -smooth finish.

    At the average price of $9.50 a bottle – you really can’t afford to pass this one up!

    By TR Hughes, © 2012 All rights reserved worldwide.

    May 1, 2012

    North Scottsdale's GianFrancos Delivers Exquisite Italian Fare

    GianFranco Ristorante in North Scottsdale offers unadulterated and simple, yet exquisite, Italian fare. 

    “Franco”, as known by his regular customers, was born in Milano, Italy.  He received his culinary training at one of the best institutions in Lake Maggiore, Italy.

    After migrating to the US, he headed New York’s Rainbow Room and Prima Donna in New Jersey.  His first venture in Scottsdale was Un-Bacio, first in Old Town and then at Gainey Ranch.  After selling in 2005, he opened GianFranco in 2007 and has been serving up the locals and passers-by, alike, with grand reviews.

    The intimate atmosphere and welcoming feel greets you at the door and once inside you will experience a sense of casual comfort. 

    His menu offers Classic Italian selections as well as some Signature Creations that are sure to please.  There are a few seasonal offerings and his daily features are always a welcome diversion.

    Some selections you’ve got to try are:
    • Carpaccio di Manzo con Rucola
    • Scaloppine di Vitello alla Piccata -Veal Picatta
    • Fettuccine Fresche Bolognese
    • Risotto Primavera
    Some of the Daily Features you can’t pass up are:
    • Osso Buco
    • Stuffed Squash Blossoms (Very Limited Season)
    GianFrancos opens daily at 5:00 PM. 
    Reservations are recommended.  Dress is casual. 

    Visit the Website:

    View the Standard Menu:

    By TR Hughes, © 2010 All rights reserved worldwide.
    Click here to view the homepage:

    White Bordeaux Vairietals

    White Bordeaux makes a perfect partner for a variety of foods and is quite perfect for late summer evenings.

    I've had the opportunity to try several vineyard offerings recently and I have picked my favorite label.

    Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Selection Prestige Bordeaux Blanc 2010.

    Obviously from Bordeaux, France - It is a very nice blend of 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. 

    It retails for about $14 and pairs nicely with delicate fish, pork, and simply dressed pasta.

    It's got great legs and a beautiful light floral nose.

    It offers a hint of fragrant gardenia and spicy jasmine as well as subtle undertones of light citrus (lemon), inviting vanilla, and a touch of honey to finish clean and light.  Let it open a bit and develop. 

    I hope you get a chance to enjoy this little gem!

    By TR Hughes, © 2010 All rights reserved worldwide.
    Click here to view the homepage:

    Aug 4, 2011

    Stingray Sushi opens at Scottsdale Quarter

    Stingray Sushi, The Best Sushi in The Valley, Opens at Scottsdale Quarter

    I have been a fan of Stingray Sushi since moving the the valley over five years ago.
    I recently visited the new Scottsdale Quarter location.

    The swanky interior is pretty cool.  I like the Dijon mustard colored leather they used throughout.  At the risk of making fun of myself though...the door is super hard to find.

    The bartender, Paige Smith, made me feel a little better when she informed me that a lot of people have a hard time finding the door.  Paige is an Ohio transplant, who has a lot of personality and a natural flair for bar-tending.  Whenever she graduates, into her life's career path, I'm sure her experiences tending bar will help shape her character.

    She made me a marvelous "Sinful Orchid".
    It was quite refreshing and had a bit of sweetness, but not too much.

    I have tried multiple sushi venues around town.  I've had decent, even great food and service, but never has the quality compared to Stingray.  In my opinion, Stingray is by far the best sushi in the Valley.

    It could be the Hamachi with jalapenos, in particular.  It is pretty darn awesome; they call it "Hotty Hamachi".

    I will order it at Nobu (the original inspiration for the dish) or at Stingray.

    I have tried Hamachi at other places, but one of two things usually happens: either they try to update the dish with some sauce or they do not properly trim the fish.  Young, tender yellow-tail must be a little tricky.   

    Hamachi is actually not a standard fish offering at most sushi restaurants.  Though it is appearing on more menus - due to demand. 

    The original and signature dish of Hamachi with Jalapenos was created by the Chef-Owner of Nobu, Nobu Matsuhisa.

    Nobu has brought his signature style to many wonderful creations and this is one of my all-time favorites.  It deserves copying - but only if it can be properly executed.  

    Stingray does it perfect, without trying to improve upon the classic signature dish, they simply nail it!

    The new Stingray venue at Scottsdale Quarter  is very clean, airy, swanky, and a bit larger than their downtown location.

    Scott Piccioni, the GM, is doing a fantastic job!
    ~ I hope to be back there soon sipping on a Sinful Orchid and savoring some Hotty Hamachi!

    By TR Hughes, © 2008 - 2011 All rights reserved worldwide.
    Click here to view the homepage:

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    Best All-Time Cookbooks

    Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck (Knopf, 1961)

    The Joy of Cooking (Scribner, various editions 1931-2006)

    French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David (Originally published in 1960. Penguin Classics, 1999)

    Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant: Ethnic and Regional Recipes from the Cooks at the Legendary Restaurant by Moosewood Collective (Fireside, 1990)

    Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen by Paul Prudhomme (William Morrow, 1984)

    The Silver Spoon by Phaidon Press (First US edition: Phaidon, 2005)

    The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters (Clarkson Potter, 2007)

    James Beard's American Cookery by James Beard (Little, Brown and Company, 1980)

    The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph (Originally published in 1838. BiblioLife, 2008)

    The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins (Workman Publishing Company, 2007)

    Southern Table: Recipes and Gracious Traditions from Highlands Bar and Grill by Frank Stitt (Artisan, 2004)

    What's for Dinner?

    Turkey Zucchini Lasagna
    (Excellent Recipe - Healthy Too!)

    Sweet and Sour Meatballs Over Rice
    (Savory and Sweet - What a Combo...)

    Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Baked Potatoes
    (Guilty Pleasure - But NOT - A Healthy Carb Option)

    Stuffed Green Peppers
    (How long has it been since you've made these? - Too Long!)

    Easy Beef Stroganoff
    (Did I say EASY?- YES!)

    Homemade French Onion Soup
    (Secret Ingredient! - Must Have)

    Hope you Enjoy the Above Recipes ~ I did!


    Environmental Watch

    Tips, ideas, and information for making your kitchen more environmentally friendly.

    ~Coming Soon!

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    Get the inside scoop before you buy.

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    Reviews and Information about Markets...
    Big, Small, and Specialty Stores in your area.

    Who has the best prices?
    Who has the freshest ingredients?
    Where can you locate those Hard-to-Find Ingredients?
    What markets are making a difference in the environment?

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