Sparkling Wine Tasting for the Bride and Groom

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We decided to do a sparkling wine tasting to select the wine that we will serve as an aperitif at my stepson Jeff and his fiancée Kristin’s rehearsal dinner.  What a great excuse to have a little wine and cheese — two things our family will never turn down!  Domaine Carneros Brut 2009 carried the evening, although the Roederer Estate Brut was a very close second.  We decided it would go better with food.

Dinner followed.

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 Find the gnocchi recipe in Bon Appetit magazine April 2014 edition.

Find the shortcake recipe in Bon Appetit May 2014 edition.

I’ve always wanted to try to make gnocchi.  Why I decided my first attempt would be right after drinking wine, I’ll never know.  (I usually don’t drink while I’m cooking so I don’t mess anything up.)  The recipe called for morels but I couldn’t find them and substituted shiitakes.  Jeff said:  “Mim when you can press the gnocchi into the roof of your mouth and it just melts, you did it the right way.”  I felt pretty good about that.  As for the dessert, the recipe did not call for rhubarb.  Jeff’s grandmother always made strawberry rhubarb and my husband and Jeff love it.  So, I took  creative license and added it to the dessert recipe.  Overall, I’d say the meal was a success.

Mimi Dreams of Tuscany

Roast Sea Bass with Chickpea Puree and Parsley Sauce

Roast Sea Bass with Chickpea Puree and Parsley Sauce

The May 2014 edition of Food & Wine featured “A Foodies Tuscan Fantasy”.  Even though my husband is not a fan of puréed beans of any kind, I decided to try this recipe.  What the heck, if he hated it we could reminisce about our own amazing visit to Tuscany in 2008 with Sue and her husband!!  We both loved the meal and relived the time of our lives in the Tuscan countryside.

…and a Diva Dishes.  When I saw this photo I said to Mimi:  “What’s all that green stuff on the fish?”  Parsley sauce!!  It’s not just a garnish anymore.  Sea bass:  high in protein, low in fat and chickpea purée with no cream or butter.  Hey Mim good job on following my advice and finding a healthy recipe to get swimsuit ready.

Sue’s Casual Cooking for Company


Having company?  Follow the Diva to our website for your own casual but easy and delicious meal!

I wanted to give the meal a little oomph and made soup to start.  I love to cook with mint and this soup just hits the spot.  The chicken recipe is juicy and tender … so easy you could make it for “What to eat Wednesday” (although doing chicken and soup might be too much work mid-week for some people.)

…and a Diva Dishes.  I’m usually not the one offering up short cuts but, I bet you could make both of these things ahead of time and serve them cold as a great summer meal.  Plus, I’d be adding a big blob of greek yogurt to that soup!


Green Juice for Dinner? Maybe Not.


Seared Cod with Baby Potatoes and Green Sauce

When I saw this recipe in the April issue of Bon Appétit magazine, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I’ve been drinking green juice lately and really love it so  assumed I’d love it with fish.  I couldn’t find hake so substituted cod.  Let’s just say, I’ve discovered I am more of a butter and white wine kind of gal when it comes to fish.  Naturally, I loved the baby potatoes and greek yogurt that went with the fish.  Give the recipe a try though, you might enjoy it and you’ll certainly feel virtuous eating so healthy!!

and a Diva Dishes.  Leave it to Mimi to find a way to use that new juicer of hers to make a dinner!  I’ve been on a health kick lately but, I prefer my fruits and veggies “au natural” not juiced.  It actually does look delicious though.  Maybe I need to get a juicer after all!

Low Cal for Swimsuit Season


Follow the Diva to our website to get swimsuit ready!

I’m on a salmon kick lately (and it’s my husband’s favorite fish. He doesn’t care if he has it for lunch and then I make it for dinner.)  So here’s two incredibly easy dishes for your “What to Eat Wednesday” celebrations.

Herbed Salmon 


Salmon with Herbs and Pistachios

and a Diva Dishes.   Lord knows with all the cheese and butter I eat I should think about “swimsuit ready”.  So, these recipes are really timely Sue, especially since I made my salmon with white wine and butter and there’s 3 heaping tablespoons of creme fraiche in those mashed peas!  WARNING:   my version is not low call for swimsuit season!


Salmon with Mashed Peas and Tarragon Butter

Mimi’s Passion for Pasta


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Homemade Pasta (before)

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Four Cheese Ravioli with Sugo Sauce

When I start to feel all self-righteous about making pasta by hand, I’ll just remind myself that Chuck’s nephew Danny made his own ravioli press to make the perfect ravioli.  Danny has me beat in the pasta department for sure!


Ravioli Press

and a Diva Dishes.  I mentioned to my son Johnny that Mimi made her own pasta and that when one batch turned out bad she threw it away and started all over again (which is insane!)  Johnny said you know for Mimi it’s cathartic, for me and you, not so much.  Although, there is nothing like homemade pasta, I’d rather buy mine from a gourmet store.

Sue’s Chilly Spring Weekend Meal


final_300dpiFollow the diva to our website for a shopping list, soup recipe and wine recommendation.



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This has been a chilly spring so far.  This is the perfect meal to enjoy hanging out with friends on a weekend.  You could serve the soup in mugs and have the charcuterie on the table for everyone to nosh on.  Drink your wine, eat your cheese and fruit and just relax.  Don’t forget the crusty baguette!  Mine happens to be an artisanal bread that won the 2013 best baguette in all of NYC.

and a Diva Dishes.  Oh Sue, you are killing me!  How do I get the best baguette in all of NYC now that I live in the country?  You have to bring me one!!  Wine and charcuterie is my favorite snack and to assuage my guilty conscience from indulging … a healthy vegetable soup.