Care for Hunger Cast Iron Skillets Launch

Care for Hunger Cast Iron Skillets Launch

On December 1, FAIR CookwareTM will be launching a Kickstarter project, utilizing crowdsourcing to help bring cast iron skillets to your local food banks. The Christmas spirit project aims to provide 350,000 high-quality and competitively-priced cast iron skillets to both consumers and people struggling with everyday essentials, based on a ‘buy one, give one’ philosophy.

FAIR Cookware skillets are based on good value for money with four different models – 8.5’’, 10.5’’, 12.5’’ and a grill pan (10.5”) – you can prepare almost anything in these classic and durable pans. The skillets are sampled and tested to ensure the highest standards, pre-seasoned and have a very high heat capacity. They can be used virtually any heat source.

For every skillet purchased, the backer will donate the exact same one to someone in need.

More than 46 million people in the U.S. rely on food banks and food pantries. FAIR Cookware contributes to the fight against hunger with their Care for Hunger project, helping America’s local hungry during the holiday season by providing items that are essential to daily life.

You can support FAIR Cookware on their Kickstarter page on December 1st; starting at $15 for a donation and $59 for the Early Bird adopters. For more information, please visit FAIR CookwareTM on



When Chef Peter Minaki Cooks For You

When Chef Peter Minaki Cooks For You

Chef Peter Minaki
Photo Credit: Kalofagas

One of the best things about food blogging is connecting with interesting people. One of these interesting people is Chef/Author/Blogger Peter Minaki. Peter’s based in Toronto, Canada and his niche is Greek food, libations and travel. You can read his popular food/travel blog at:

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Peter several times, both in New Jersey/New York where I live and also a couple times in his beautiful hometown of Toronto. For selfish reasons, I kept telling Peter he had to come host some of his cooking classes/pop up dinners in my area and a few years back, he did just that. Greek food is by far my favorite cuisine, so Peter’s food is right up my alley.

I’m part of a 4-couple wine group that meets every 6-8 weeks for dinner over glasses of stellar wines. A couple years ago, I proposed to the group that we have Peter cook for us when he came down to teach cooking classes and to host pop up dinners, and, to my pleasure, all loved the idea. Peter cooked at my home and we shopped for food together. The evening was a huge hit and thus, we decided to do it again in early summer this year.

Peter and I shopped for the food items together again, a fun activity in itself, and he cooked at fellow wine group friends Jen and Harry’s home. We voted on our favorite dishes and I worked with Peter to create a very extensive menu for the evening. Some of the dishes featured were: my favorite – grilled octopus, grilled lamb chops, branzino baked in a salt crust and Peter’s signature chocolate ganache tart. There were MANY other memorable dishes that evening with some spectacular wines.

I highly-recommend this experience, ideally with Peter. The cost per guest is very affordable, especially when wine comes from our cellars and not a pricy restaurant.

Get to know Peter on social media (yes, you’ll be drooling on your keyboard over the amazing food and travel photography he shares):






Happy National Burger Day

Happy National Burger Day

Now & Tater Burger

Today’s National Burger Day, thus one of my favorite food-dedicated days of the year! While I’m typically a fan of ‘normal’ burgers, I couldn’t allow this day to go by without showing you what CALLAHAN’S Hot Dogs in Norwood, NJ is doing – wild, right? The Owner Daniel DeMiglio says the popular restaurant’s motto is So Big, So Good and after seeing these photos and sampling the Stuffed Truffle Gouda Mac N’ Cheese Burger, I buy into that concept!

Now & Tater Burger – House made tater tot bun – caramelized onion, queso dip, bacon, smoked whiskey ketchup, lettuce, tomato and pickle


Stuffed Burger

Stuffed Truffle Gouda Mac N’ Cheese Burger – smoked Gouda mac n’ cheese, white truffle oil, bacon, & two fresh Angus chuck burger patties

So Big Signature “BBQ Burger (see headline photo) – Angus beef, onion ring, caramelized onions with bacon, house made cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce

Callahan’s Hot Dogs: 10 Broad St. Norwood / (844) 468-3641.



Happy National Wine Day

Happy National Wine Day

It’s #NationalWineDay – have you tried a wine I should be sampling lately?

Tito’s Handmade Vodka to Give Back During New Jersey Pride

Image may contain: plantI love Tito’s and its branding efforts. Very worthy cause/event – hope you can all join!

WHO: Tito’s Handmade Vodka +  Garden State Equality (GSE), New Jersey’s largest advocacy and education organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

WHAT: As part of New Jersey Pride, Tito’s will host a pre and post parade party at Johnny Mac’s on Sunday, June 4. For every Tito’s cocktail purchased throughout the day,  $1, up to $5,000, will be donated to GSE. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Love is Love float in the parade.

WHEN:  Sunday, June 4

  • 10A.M. – 3PM: Pre-Party featuring $3 Bloody Mary’s & free omelets for Parade Volunteers

*$1 of every bloody mary purchased will be donated to GSE

  • 12 P.M – 2PM.: Parade

  • 7 P.M.: Post-party celebration with live music by The Nerds for parade-goers

*$1 of every cocktail purchased will be donated to GSE

WHERE: Johnny Mac

208 Main St.,  Asbury Park, NJ 07712

WHY: To encourage our fans to spread the love within our local communities.

Tailgating Party by Denville Meat Shop

Tailgating Party by Denville Meat Shop

I’ve written about Denville Meat Shop (see past post here) in the past and how amazing it is on all levels: to-go foods, meats, service, classes, etc….the past weekend, I was privy to its delicious, meaty catering via a tailgate party at MetLife Stadium.

The private tailgate party served about 15 of us with lots of leftovers. Denville Meat Shop owner, Jeff Orel, personally manned the grill, which was a treat, and served a variety of meats: ribs, brisket, steak, pulled pork, sausages, hot dogs and burgers. There was also potato salad and coleslaw. Note that the package of store-bought cookies and the bags of burger and hot dog buns in the photos were brought by me and NOT short cuts by Orel.

Not sure how this was possible, but the brisket was perfectly tender and juicy, not an easy thing to do via catering. The ribs were meaty and flavorful; the burger meat with bacon-packed; the hot dogs snappy and some of the best I’ve had; the steak was expertly-grilled and med-rare; the pulled pork was juicy with great porky flavors.

Denville Meat Shop offers tailgating packages, so don’t feel like this amazing lineup can’t happen to you too! Orel also offers a variety of catering options and even ‘rents’ himself out as a chef for private events – he was, after all, an executive chef before opening the shop.

Just a great experience with some amazing foods that my group is still talking about!

Denville Meat Shop – 28 Diamond Spring Rd, Denville, New Jersey 07866.



Maple Syrup Sugared Almonds

Maple Syrup Sugared Almonds

sugared-almondsDay 5 of my 12 Days of Christmas Baking compilation.

Warning – these nuts are uber addicting!!

I took an old recipe and gave it a Quebec twist by adding maple syrup. Double or triple the recipe for holiday gift giving or host(ess) presents. You could also double the recipe and eat them all yourself while lying on the couch watching Netflix…not that I’d know anything about that.


  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 cups of skin-on almonds, not salted (could use other nuts)


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and the maple syrup and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Shut off the heat, add the almonds and stir to coat them in the maple mixture.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Pour the almond mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow the almonds to cool completely prior to storing in an air-tight container.
  4. The almonds can be stored for up to a week at room temperature, in an air-tight container (not that they’ll last that long).

Makes 2 cups of nuts.

Going Formal for the Holidays

Going Formal for the Holidays

I love really dressing up my table around the holidays. If you’re thinking of pulling out grandma’s silver or unpacking those formal dishes you received at your wedding, here’s how the table should be set for a formal meal:


Want a very VIP dinner menu for that special meal? Here’s one I love for the holidays:

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter.

Simple & Festive Prime Rib.

Make-Ahead Twice Baked Potatoes.

Fail-Proof Yorkshire Puddings.

Elegant Key Lime Tart.



For Halloween – Put a Teal Pumpkin on your Doorstep

For Halloween – Put a Teal Pumpkin on your Doorstep

Food Allergy Research & Education

Food Allergy Research & Education

Trick-or-treating is an integral part of Halloween but with so many kids with food allergies, it’s gotten trickier (pun intended) for them to participate. Asking a kid to participate in trick-or-treating with a great costume but not being able to allow them to collect and eat most of the candy is simply no fun.

Approximately 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies and one in 13 children under 18 are affected. Between 1997 and 2011, there was a 50% increase in food allergies, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). Every three minutes, someone in the United States has to visit the emergency room due to a food allergy.

About Teal Pumpkin Project

FARE started the Teal Pumpkin Project in 2014 to help spread awareness of food allergies around Halloween time. Families interested in participating simply put a teal pumpkin outside their homes to show trick-or-treaters that they provide non-food items like small toys, stickers, glow sticks and other items that won’t trigger food allergies. This way, Halloween can be fun for all.

Make The Pledge!


Sign up your house to be included on Teal Pumpkin Project’s interactive map of homes offering non-food treats on Halloween by CLICKING HERE.

To learn more about the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit its website where you can get ideas on how to make Halloween safer at your house. There are tons of neat flyers, posters and other materials to download, free.

I adore this idea! Kids can get treats and parents don’t have to worry as much about their kids being exposed to allergy-causing foods.

Get involved!


Dreyfus Ashby Instagram Doggie Photo Contest

Dreyfus Ashby Instagram Doggie Photo Contest

dogsofinstagram-768x573Now through September 5th, Dreyfus Ashby, the national importer of fine wines and spirits, is running a fun, and rewarding, Instagram contest centered on man’s best friend – the dog!

Kicking off on #NationalDogDay, August 26th, the contest is easy to enter:

  1. Follow @dreyfusashby on Instagram
  2. Post a dog photo or any photo of your beloved pets
  3. Hashtag #DreyfusMeansFamily


  • The grand prize winner will receive a gift card to a pet-related retail outlet and gift basket of assorted dog treats and toys valued at $150.
  • The second prize winner will receive a gift basket of assorted dog treats and toys valued at $50.

Photo requirements:

  • Photo must be original, the sole property of submitter and not previously submitted in any other contest or promotion.
  • Photo must not include stock photography.
  • Photo must not incorporate/prominently display any third-party brands or trademarks other than that of the Sponsor.
  • Photo must not violate any third-party rights, including copyright and right of publicity.
  • Photo must not contain material which is (or promote activities which are) sexually explicit, obscene, pornographic, violent, self-mutilating or the mutilating of animals, discriminatory (based on race, sex, religion, natural origin, physical disability, sexual orientation or age), illegal, offensive, threatening, profane, or harassing, or otherwise unsuitable content as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. Photos containing such content will be disqualified immediately.

Contest runs from now through Labor Day (9/5/16) and is open to residents of the continental USA.

Complete contest terms and conditions can be found on the Dreyfus Ashby website.

Let’s have some fun with this!