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Thursday, June 11, 2009

EARLY IN THE WEE HOURS..AS EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD DREAMS...


Yes, one can feel quite alone when it is 4am in the morning, and it's not as though you don't WANT to go to sleep.

You SO would love that.
You SO would have loved that hours ago...

But you are a person that quickly learns survival techniques when needed...

If you want to work nights and make the big bucks, you gotta stay up the night
before you begin your stretch, to make sure that you sleep before you work the
next night..
The following days to sleep take care of themselves...

Simple..

Or you would think so, yet honestly, it appears as though many do not adhere to that simple technique, hence the incredible number of night shift employees literally falling over in an almost unconscious state...

I have actually heard slight snoring, thinking that it was one of the many patients,
only to turn around and see the head nurse in a slightly catatonic state...

This is simply not going to be me...I would rather suffer the night before, and
stay awake during my shift...

I have never been a "public" sleeper...
Kind of a private thing for me...
Any extremely vulnerable state is and this is no exception...

Drooling is just not attractive, unless controlled, (i.e. my avatar of red lips
with a slight drip of drool...that's artistic...if not downright fabulous..)

As far as an uncontrolled amount of drooling, I will avoid it as long as any self respecting woman can!
(Hence the difficulty in TRULY getting any serious sleep on a plane...)

So, here I am writing a new entry at a peculiar time...

Lucky for you, I am going to post three really great recipes...
You're gonna love em...trust me....

Why?

Well they're all three what I like to call "summer friendly" ones...

Two of them are cool and tasty beverages....

What's not to love about that during these sweltering times? (and it's just beginning !)

For those of you that don't have 100 plus degree weather for months on end, then
as we like to say in these here parts....
Bless yer little hearts! (this is Texas slang for you know what...)

I digress...
Back to the beverages....

One of them has alcohol, or as we say in the hospital biz...ETOH
Gotta love that for brunch...
You know you do!

(I used to as well, but do try to stay away from it these days, unless a large
nap is on the menu after brunch)
Something about a cocktail or two at 1PM...Not the same effect as an evening one..

Well, honestly, I find a great Bloody Mary hard to pass up...
Where I live, great and spicy Bloody Marys are the standard at a lot of places...

I still contend though, that the VERY BEST SPICY Bloody Mary (my favorite) can
be found in Manhattan...

Yep, Manhattan in the Flatiron District at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill...
Try not to miss a Brunch opportunity there when I am visiting...

Always a toss up...Norma's or Mesa? Two favorites...

Now I also love a place that my family likes to brunch that has a "Bloody Mary
Bar"...

Very nice, all set up with the "fixins" and after you get your vodka and
ice from the waiter, you go to the "Bar" to make your own version with a large variety of great ingredients...

I KNOW that it is why we love this place for brunch, though the small jazz band
and the food IS delicious as well...

I will also post a beverage that is non alcoholic and wonderful..
Peach Iced Tea...the very name screams SUMMER

Finally a very refreshing Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken, Arugula Pesto, Feta
Cheese, olives, and seasonal red, yellow, and any color grape tomatoes...
We have Emeril to thank for this one...

These recipes work well for a light brunch/lunch.
Round it out with some great crispy rolls and maybe a light fruit dessert...You decide...

I'm thinking Key Lime Pie, but then again, I've been on that same note lately,
so do take that into consideration...

SOUTHWESTERN BLOODY MARY (VERY SPICY)

6 SERVINGS

3 CUPS CANNED VEGETABLE JUICE
2 TABLESPOONS FRESH LEMON JUICE
1 TABLESPOON MINCED FRESH CILANTRO
1 TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
1 TEASPOON FINELY MINCED SEEDED CANNED CHIPOTLE CHILIES
1 TEASPOON GROUND CUMIN
1 TEASPOON SUGAR
2/3 CUP CHILLED GOOD QUALITY VODKA (LIKE GREY GOOSE OR CHOPIN OR BELVEDERE)

ICE CUBES
6 CELERY STALKS WITH LEAFY TOPS
6 FRESH RED CHILIES

MIX FIRST 7 INGREDIENTS IN PITCHER.
CHILL MIXTURE UNTIL COLD, AT LEAST 2 HOURS OR OVERNIGHT (BEST)

MIX IN VODKA

FILL 6 TALL GLASSES WITH ICE.
POUR BLOODY MARY MIXTURE OVER.

GARNISH WITH CELERY AND CHILIES





PEACH ICED TEA

3 ORANGE PEKOE TEA BAGS
4 CUPS COLD WATER
5 (5 OUNCE) CANS PEACH NECTAR (ABOUT 3 1/3 CUPS), CHILLED
1/4 CUP CHILLED SIMPLE SYRUP OR TO TASTE

SIMPLE SYRUP
1 1/3 CUPS SUGAR
1 1/4 CUPS WATER

PEACH SLICES AND BASIL SPRIGS FOR GARNISH

PLACE TEA BAGS IN A QUART SIZE GLASS MEASURE OR HEATPROOF BOWL.

IN A SAUCEPAN BRING WATER JUST TO A BOIL AND POUR OVER TEA BAGS. STEEP TEA 5
MINUTES AND STRAIN THROUGH A SIEVE INTO A HEATPROOF PITCHER. COOL TEA AND CHILL, COVERED, UNTIL COLD, ABOUT 1 HOUR.

STIR IN NECTAR AND SYRUP. SERVE TEA OVER ICE IN TALL GLASSES AND GARNISH WITH
PEACH SLICES AND BASIL SPRIGS.

TO MAKE SIMPLE SYRUP:
IN A SAUCEPAN BRING SUGAR AND WATER TO A BOIL, STIRRING, AND BOIL UNTIL SUGAR
IS COMPLETELY DISSOLVED. LET SYRUP COOL AND CHILL, COVERED. SYRUP MAY BE MADE 2 WEEKS AHEAD AND CHILLED, COVERED.

YIELD: MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS
CAN DOUBLE OR TRIPLE



PASTA SALAD WITH ARUGULA PESTO, GRILLED CHICKEN BREASTS, AND FETA

1 LB. BONELESS, SKINLESS, CHICKEN BREASTS
OLIVE OIL
SALT
PEPPER
EMERIL'S "ESSENCE" SEASONING
1 BUNCH FRESH ARUGULA, TOUGH STEMS REMOVED, WASHED AND SPUN DRY, PLUS BABY ARUGULA, FOR GARNISH
1/2 CUP PACKED FRESH PARSLEY LEAVES
1/2 CUPS LIGHTLY TOASTED WALNUTS
2 TEASPOONS MINCED GARLIC
1/2 CUP GRATED PARMESAN
1 TEASPOON FRESH LEMON JUICE
1/2 TEASPOON SALT
1/4 TEASPOON GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1/4 CUP EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/4 TO 1/2 CUP OLIVE OIL
1 LB. PENNE PASTA
1 PINT RED GRAPE TOMATOES, HALVED
1 PINT YELLOW GRAPE TOMATOES, HALVED
1 1/4 CUPS CRUMBLED FETA CHEESE (BEST TO USE GOOD QUALITY)
1/2 CUP ROUGHLY CHOPPED PITTED OLIVE-CURED OLIVES

PREHEAT A GRILL. DRIZZLE THE CHICKEN WITH OIL AND SEASON WITH SALT, PEPPER, AND ESSENCE. PLACE ON THE GRILL AND COOK UNTIL COOKED THROUGH, ABOUT 4 MINUTES
ON THE FIRST SIDE, AND 5 MINUTES ON THE SECOND SIDE.
REMOVE THE CHICKEN FROM THE GRILL AND CUT INTO CUBES.

IN A FOOD PROCESSOR, COMBINE THE ARUGULA, PARSLEY, WALNUTS, GARLIC, CHEESE, LEMON JUICE, SALT, AND PEPPER, AND PROCESS ON HIGH SPEED UNTIL THE GREENS ARE FINELY CHOPPED. WITH THE MACHINE RUNNING, ADD THE EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL AND 1/4 CUP OF
THE OLIVE OIL IN A STEADY STREAM AND PROCESS UNTIL SMOOTH.

BRING A LARGE POT OF SALTED WATER TO A BOIL. ADD THE PASTA AND COOK UNTIL AL DENTE.
DRAIN THE PASTA AND SHOCK IN AN ICE BATH AND PLACE IN A BOWL. TOSS WITH SOME OLIVE
OIL SO IT DOESN'T STICK.

TOSS THE PASTA WITH THE ARUGULA PESTO TO TASTE. LET COOL WITH PLASTIC WRAP, AND REFRIGERATE UNTIL WELL CHILLED. TOSS THE CUBED CHICKEN, RED AND YELLOW TOMATOES, FETA, AND OLIVES TO THE PASTA, AND TOSS TO COMBINE. ADJUST THE SEASONING TO TASTE, AND SERVE GARNISHED WITH BABY ARUGULA.

SERVES 4-6 MAINS

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