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Persian Cantaloupe Drink- Ab Talebi For Dessert


I used to make this drink years ago but have not made for such a long time. It’s really delicious and refreshing and chock full of vitamins and minerals. I think I have mentioned before my love of Persian Food and I  follow several blogs  that have wonderful Persian recipes Fae, Azita and one I discovered recently through Instagram is  Ahu Eats, Ahu knows a thing or two about Iranian or Persian food and I love perusing her blog, her photographs are amazing and the food is too. When I saw this drink on her site I knew I needed to make it again, I used to often serve it as dessert with ice cream, it’s wonderfully cool and refreshing in the heat of the summer . There really is no recipe required, all you need is ripe canaloupe, ice and sugar or honey. You put it in the blender and voila a cantaloupe smoothie.

I am bringing this cool and refreshing dessert/drink to Fiesta Friday #121.   I hope everyone enjoys. It’s exciting that we will all be celebrating Memorial Day with Angie and her wonderful co hosts are all of us, yep we all get a chance to vote on the features for this party.

Happy Memorial Day to Everyone!!

Persian Cantaloupe Drink- Ab Talebi

One cantaloupe makes approx two or three 8 oz glasses (depending on size)

1 cantaloupe flesh removed and cut in pieces

1 cup crushed or cubed ice

1-2 tbs sugar (optional) depending on the sweetness of the melon and to taste

Place everything in the blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with a sprig of mint.



Chocolate Chip Cookies, Not Re-Inventing The Wheel And A Garden


IMG_0910Chocolate chip cookies are iconic, delicious and probably the most made cookie in the US. There are probably as many recipes as there are cookies made, well maybe not but close. I have a couple of recipes that I like to use and they always produce a great cookie. The other day I got an email from King Arthur flour, The Bakers Catalog disecting, demystifying and decoding the chocolate chip cookie.

It is actually a great article with suggestions for different types of cookies from chewy and soft to crisp and crunchy. I decided that I would make her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and see what all the hype is about. I was a little put off that it contains some shortening, mind you I have nothing against vegetable shortening but really like my cookies made using only butter for the most part. This uses butter and shortening. The method is also very different,creaming the butter straight from the fridge (love not having to bring to room temp) with shortening, vinegar, baking soda, sugars and vanilla.

The cookies are really fantastic crispy edges with a soft middle. You know that the butter is there but using some shortening gives the cookies a wonderful texture. All in all a really good recipe that I will add to my favorites and will be making again.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by PJ Hamel for King Arthur Flour

2/3 cup light brown sugar packed

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup, 1 stick, 8 tbs or 4 oz butter straight from the refrigerator

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3/4 tsp salt or 1/2 tsp if you used salted butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar

1 large egg

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups chocolate chunks or chips (I mixed milk and dark chocolate)

In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix the butter, sugars, shortening, salt, vanilla. baking soda, and vinegar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and contine mixing until combined.  Add the flour and mix gently only until the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Remove bowl from stand and mix in chocolate by hand. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour before baking. Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s while dough chills and line baking sheet with parchment or silpat.

Scoop onto baking sheet using a 1 1/4 inch scoop placing each ball about 2 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes edges will be golden brown.


In closing I wanted to share photo’s of the garden which right now is in full bloom. The flowers are just beautiful and I have hundreds of beautiful fragrant roses, peonies and the annuals that I bought. I am also very excited that my tomato plants are doing well and already have those yellow blossoms.

IMG_0941 IMG_0950 IMG_0952 IMG_0961

Community Meeting, Half Marathon, Bark Fest And a Noodle Bowl


It has been a crazy few weeks. Have to say it is kind of a blur. Our neighborhood has been fighting a proposal by DOT to change Clinton Ave a two way street into a one way street with TWO buffered bike lanes. Safety for everyone on that stretch came into question. There are many big coop buildings with MANY elderly and disabled residents and we saw flaws in the plan because (in a nutshell) they did not take into account emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, access-a-ride- fire trucks, sanitation trucks not to mention how the elderly and disabled can cross two bike lanes to get to their vehicles or service car.  The plan was ONLY considering cyclists. The 2 way (NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE IN BROOKLYN) buffered bike lane would be curbside thereby eliminating curb side parking for residents with cars, the city has long been trying to make it as difficult, unsavory and as expensive as possible for those who drive. Limited parking would be in the middle of the street and the one lane would be going north bound. Traffic from the eliminated lane would be diverted to my street and one other.  My opposition to this plan is because of safety issues for the residents but also the block I live on CANNOT safely sustain any more traffic, it is already a bumper to bumper traffic nightmare during certain times of the day and it would get much much worse.

Even the elected's had concerns

Even the elected’s had concerns

I don’t own a car, I walk, take public transporation or even bike from time to time and I am all for safety for cyclists but this plan is only taking them into consideration and not the needs of the community as a whole. We fought back and fought back hard, opposition was HUGE and loud and it got ugly because the people from Transporation Alternatives, a very powerful and wealthy lobbying group for the cyclists were there to try to discredit us. In the end DOT temporarily withdrew their proposal and promised to go back to the drawing board, we will see but we are still mobilizing and fighting because the battle is has not been won there is only a short reprieve. More to come on this one.

Brooklyn Half Marathon

I had the honor and priviledge of holding the tape for the winners of the Air Bnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. What a great day it was, beautiful weather for running and over 27,000 runners started at the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway and the race ended at Coney Island. The race started at 7AM and I had to be at the finish line before 7:30AM, a very early morning, Percy is not used to having his morning walk at 5AM but he was a really good sport.


Bark Fest

Percy is ready for bark fest

Percy is ready for bark fest

My friend Carla and I took our dogs, Percy and Olive to Bark Fest. It was in Manhattan on Pier 97 on the west side of the city. We bought VIP tickets which gave us some perks. It was my first bark fest, last year Nando was very ill and I couldn’t go, I have heard it’s fun so thought we would give it a try.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot a little over cast which was good for the dogs. I would have preferred it were held in a park with grass rather than a concrete pier. The people from Bark Box were the people who organized it. Honestly, it was ok but we were a little disappointed, It was packed there were thousands of people there, only 2 food trucks we had to wait in line almost 2 hours to get something to eat, there was a long line for everything. We got there right when it opened at 2 PM and got a few minutes in the VIP lounge  but after that there was over a 1 hour wait to get in. Would I go again? Doubt it.


Spring Roll Bowl

I saw this on Pure Wow and thought it looked easy, delicious, light and fresh and I wanted to immediately make it. I did just that and it was really good, so good in fact that I had to make it again and tweak a bit. The first one I made I used chicken which I sauteed in sesame oil as called for in the recipe, the second time I marinated a pork tenderloin in soy sauce, lime, sesame oil and ginger. It really is a wonderful light meal.

Spring roll bowl with chicken

Spring roll bowl with chicken


¾ cup smooth peanut butter

2 teaspoons sesame oil

3 tablespoons soy sauce

¼ cup rice vinegar

⅓ cup water

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon agave or honey

2 teaspoons minced ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Sriracha

Salt, to taste


1. In a blender or food processor, combine the ingredients for the peanut sauce and process until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. Set aside.

carrot, cucumber,watermelon radish spiralized

carrot, cucumber,watermelon radish spiralized

The bowl

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or you can use pork tenderloin

sesame oil

boston lettuce


carrots ( I spiralized a purple carrot you can grate or cut into strips

straight thin cut rice noodles

cucumbers cut into strips

Avocado cut into slices

sesame rice crackers (optional)

Place some rice noodles in a bowl and fill with boiling water add some salt, add a little salt and let sit until noodles soften.

Clean lettuce and place in bowl, saute the chicken in sesame oil, season with salt and pepper and slice.

Cut cucumber into strips, spiralize or cut carrot into strips.

toasted cashews chopped as a garnish

lime wedges

Add whatever you like, avocado, eliminate meat entirely if you like. Drizzle with peanut sauce and enjoy.

The second time I made it I used pork tenderloin which I marinated in sesame oil, soy sauce and ginger and pan seared then finished in the oven. Takes only minutes.



Looking For Inspiration And Sorry No Recipes…….

My neighbors lilacs

My neighbors lilacs

When I want inspiration I go no further than the neighborhood I live in. Walking around and talking to people, looking at the shops and restaurants, visiting the farmers market on a Saturday morning all serve as a source of inspiration for me. Every morning I walk Percy and we are out for an hour and a half to two hours. It’s a long slow walk and has become a morning ritual. He decides which way to go and we never go the same way 2 days in a row. It’s hysterical.

This week is going to be very busy, I wanted to give you all a little something, sorry no recipes or cooking I simply have too much going on. Today and tomorrow I am prepping for a big community meeting which will take place tomorrow evening and then again on Thursday evening. On Saturday I was chosen by Air bnb to hold the banner at the finish line of the Brooklyn Half Marathon,  and then on Sunday my friend and I are taking our dogs to Bark Fest. In between I am working at my real job, hosting air bnb guests that are staying with me and then there is the stuff that we all do daily, shopping, cleaning etc…

I love this house, it's so cozy and beautiful

I love this house, it’s so beautiful

Percy admires the beautiful flowers in the tree pit

Percy admires the beautiful flowers in the tree pit

It has been pretty crazy around here, lots going on in the neighborhood, we are fighting the DOT regarding sweeping and ridiculous changes they want to make to the beautiful streets in our neighborhood which will result in major traffic nighmares on my block. We organized a town hall meeting at a local church last Thursday to prepare for the community board meeting this Tuesday. We are getting letters, petitions, affidavits whatever we can but fighting city hall is hard especially with the current administration. We had about 200 people come to the meeting, it was standing room only. I spent the better part of Sunday working with my neighbors to put together notebooks with petitions, letters from the community and other information to hand out to our electeds and community board. Tomorrow, Tuesday is the big meeting and it should be rowdy and loud and contentious. This is going on all over the city and is a hotly contested issue, even Woody Allen has gotten involved.

I went to the farmers market this morning and inspiration fell flat, sort of. I really hoped to see stands full of vegetables, fruits, strawberries etc and there was almost nothing there. Some apples left over from the Fall, some vegetables, herbs and flowers in pots.



So I bought some basil since mine has died, some flowers and I found some nice looking cherry tomatoes, asparagus and cucumbers.


I also bought some flowers, geraniums, pansies and others that I thought were pretty. On my way home I stopped at a dear friends house, she is a big time animal lover like me and she told me should bought Percy a gift. She had a little hat custom made on Etsy and I went to pick it up. What a great gift, thank you so much Morrissa.

Percy's hat

Percy’s hat

I was really hoping to be blown away with inspiring stands full of fruit and vegetables that I would use to make something wonderful for Fiesta Friday. Instead of cooking I planted the flowers and put the basil in the same pot as the basil that has a DNR, pretty sad looking.

sad basil

sad basil and some thyme

love flowers

love flowers

Flank Steak With Chimichurri


These last few weeks have been really kind of crazy busy. With the Continuing Ed classes I had to take, my work schedule and community work, I barely had time to breathe. With all that I discovered I am not great at multi tasking, that I am the type that does one thing at a time and when there is too much to do instead of going with the flow and tackling the multitude of tasks I become flustered and end up not doing anything well. During all this hoopla I felt bad about not blogging and made a cake which was a HUGE flop, so bad it ended up in the trash. At that point I decided to concentrate on my courses and I neglected not just my blog but all of yours as well and I am sorry about that. I had to focus and thankfully it paid off I finished the course and some of the planning for a big community meeting, as well as scheduling a block association meeting (another group I neglected). I feel like I am getting back on track, Percy is a dream dog, so well behaved and such a sweetheart, because he is so easy going it allows me time to do the things I need to do.


I don’t eat a lot of meat, I am not vegetarian but my choice of food for the most part is meatless, however when I want meat this is one of my favorites. The chimichurri is taken from a recipe I developed for Food52 back when I first joined their site. It was my first contest win and this recipe was added to their second cookbook. I made a sandwich using thick cut brioche buttered and grilled, marinated flank steak, tomato, mayo mixed with chimichurri. It’s a really good sandwich, big and juicy and thick, my Flank Steak On Texas Toast With Chimichurri was what I wanted but I did not want the calories/carbs from that thick bread so I just made the steak marinated in chimichurri and served with mashed potatoes and salad.

I like to let the steak rest in the marinade overnight, the flavor is pretty incredible when it sits that long in the chimichurri. My steak was uneven in thickness, thin in some parts and quite thick in others. I let it cook almost 5 minutes on each side. The thickest part was a nice medium rare.


The chimichurri and flank steak:
1 1 1/2 to 2-pound flank steak
1 cup flat leaf parsley cleaned and large stems removed, finely chopped (by hand or use food processor)
1/2 cup baby arugula, finely chopped (by hand or use food processor)
2 cloves garlic, minced (you can add to parsley and arugula in food processor)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
For chimichurri, place the parsley, arugula, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, olive oil and red wine vinegar in the bowl of the food processor, pulse until everything is chopped and somewhat homogenous, when done scrape into a bowl.  Cover both sides of the steak with some of the chimichurri, put in ziplock bag and refrigerate for one or two hours or overnight. Cover and refrigerate the rest of the chimichurri.

Remove steak from refrigerator approximately 30-45 minutes before you are going to cook it. Scrape off some of the chimichurri, salt the steak and let rest. To sear the steak: First with a paper towel pat the steak to remove any excess moisture. In a very hot fry pan lay steak, let it sear without disturbing it. Cook approximately 3-5 minutes on each side for a medium rare steak. (You will have to judge exactly how long to sear based on the thickness of the steak.) Remove from pan, lay on cutting board, pepper the steak now, let rest 5-10 minutes.


Mashed Potatoes

4 large yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into thick slices

sour cream- full fat (approximately 1/3-1/2 cup)

Butter (approximately 4 tbs)

Snipped chives to garnish optional

salt and pepper

Place potato slices in cold salted water and bring a boil. Continue to boil until the potatoes are fork tender. You can mash however your preferred method is. I use a food mill scooping out the cooked potatoes and grinding in the food mill using the finest disc. I don’t like lumps unless I choose a rough mash. Add the butter first to the potatoes stir to make sure butter is melted, now add the sour cream. Season with salt and pepper. I keep the potatoes in a warm oven covered with foil until ready to serve.

Spoon some of the chimichurri that you didn’t used for the marinade onto the steak and enjoy!!


Mom’s Texas Chocolate Cake, Happy Mothers Day



A few years ago I got an envelope from my Mom that was chock full of her recipes. Most are hand written, some are clippings from magazines and newspapers. I saw this hand written recipe for Texas Chocolate cake and immediately knew which cake it was, I remember it vividly it was one of my favorites that she made. Deeply chocolate, moist and rich, it’s a fantastic cake that is so simple and so delicious. I decided to make this cake as an homage to my Mom, she is brave, determined, kind and caring and I am so lucky to have her. She is a cancer survivor, she surpassed her doctors expectations and surprised them by remaining cancer free now for over 10 years. She is a great cook,  recipe developer and an inspiring woman.  She has a kind heart, loves animals and was always ready to rescue an animal in distress, her example of love and kindness was engrained in me and from her example I also am an animal lover and try to do my part with rescue. She taught me to love and appreciate and make good food, that it was important for the family to sit down to at least one meal together every day, she was the backbone of our family and thinking back I don’t know how she did it with 5 children only a few years apart. I wish I could be with her this Mothers Day and that we did not live so far apart, we talk often and I am trying desperately to convince her to use the ipad she has that still sits in the box 2 years after she got it. She’s stubborn, smart, and has more energy than I do, still mowing her lawn and gardening, that is how she stays young. She devoted her life to her family, left college when she met and married my Dad but she always emphasized the importance of learning, and when we were all old enough to fend for ourselves Mom went back to college and finished her degree in accounting. Happy Mothers Day Mom (even though she refuses to use a computer and will not see this).

The top picture is some of the recipes she has sent me, I included the cookbook from the Global Family Reunion, they published 5 of the recipes I got from my Mom and I am immensely proud of that.

I asked Mom where she got the recipe for this cake,  she thinks it was circulating at a ladies bridge club thing, she loved playing bridge and was very good at it. It really is a fantastic cake, great to bring to parties or anywhere where you need to feed a lot of people. It is is substantial in size.

Wishing a very Happy Mothers Day to all of you, you don’t have to be a Mother of human children to celebrate this day, how about our fur kids, they count right?  I think Mothers day is a celebration of women, all women who love, nurture and nourish.

I am bringing this Texas size cake to Fiesta Friday #118, I am not just celebrating Mothers and Women but I finished my courses and passed and renewed my Real Estate License. YAY!!! This week sweet Angie has 2 great co hosts  Kaila @ GF Life 24/7 and Laurena @ Life Diet Health!

Thank you all for being here on the sometimes rocky road with me, sticking with me and being so supportive. Happy Mothers Day to all!!




Makes One 9×13 cake
The cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks salted butter or margarine
1 cup water
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons good quality unsweetened cocoa
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
In large mixing bowl whisk together the flour and sugar and salt, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour (to optimize chocolate flavor instead of flour use cocoa powder) a 9×13 baking dish.
In saucepan combine butter, cocoa and water. Bring to a boil stirring frequently. When it comes to a boil and is smooth turn off heat.
Lightly beat your eggs in small mixing bowl, measure your buttermilk and add the baking soda to the buttermilk,  stir to combine. Add this to the eggs along with the vanilla. Add the egg buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients along with the butter and cocoa,water mixture. Mix with hand held mixer until smooth approximately 2 minutes. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. A few minutes before the cake is done start making the frosting. You pour the frosting on the cake right after it comes out of the oven.

1 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 box confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In saucepan on med/high heat add the butter, cocoa and milk,whisking to combine let it come to a boil then remove from heat and add confectioners sugar and vanilla mix well. Pour over hot cake. Let cool on rack. The frosting will be soft and gooey. Serve while cake is slightly warm or room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream




Bear With Me

Percy has taken up reading

Percy has taken up reading

I just wanted to drop you all a quick note to let you know I am still here just TERRIBLY busy. I have not cooked at all except to make myself and Percy something to eat. As some of you know I am a Real Estate Agent and I have to renew my license every two years and in order to renew I have to take continuing ed courses, 22.5 hours and a Fair Housing course. I am taking the courses now and that takes up a lot of my time. There is also so much going on in our community which I am involved in. So, sorry for the absence from blogging hope to be get back into the swing of things next week after I finish my courses.

Suzanne and Percy