I am not a fan of sweet potatoes so I shy away from recipes with this vegetable… but this soup is beyond delicious.  It is a recipe from “Stonewall Kitchens” and I find all their recipes are proven winners.  I made it with fresh corn and peppers from the farmer’s market.  The aroma and flavor of the saffron cream finishes this soup to perfection.  It is a must try for the cold nights ahead, let me know if you enjoy it.  It can be served as a first course, for lunch, and don’t forget to include a crusty bread, homemade cheddar biscuit or oyster crackers.


• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch squares
• 1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch squares
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch squares (about 2 cups)
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 4 cups low-sodium canned chicken or vegetable broth
• 6 large ears fresh corn, or 3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
• 1 cup heavy cream
• About 1 teaspoon crumbled saffron
• 3 scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped



• In a large pot, heat the oil over low heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

• Add half of the red pepper and all of the yellow pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

• Add the sweet potato, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

• Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.  Raise the heat to high, stir in the broth, and bring to a boil.

• Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 12 minutes until the potatoes are just tender.

• Meanwhile, if using fresh corn, shuck it and remove the silks. Using a sharp knife remove the kernels from the cob by standing each cob on one end of the cutting board and working the knife straight down the cob; you should have about 3 cups of kernels.  Mix in the kernels; set aside.

• In a small saucepan, heat the cream and saffron over low heat for about 5 minutes, until just simmering.

• Add the saffron cream to the chowder and stir in the corn.  Heat over low heat for 5 minutes.

• Taste for seasoning.  Serve piping hot, topped with the scallions, and the remaining red pepper.

 PANTRY STAPLES: Trader Joe’s Soup & Oyster Crackers (Click to Read)


fall container

September 25th, 2012 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (0 Comments)

I love these big iron containers; they tend to eat the plants up!  Meaning I can never have enough fun material to use each season.  This time of the year we used mums, ornamental peppers, assorted cabbages, and a variety of perennials.  I accented with interesting wooden accent sticks and bittersweet.



recipe: nan’s gazpacho

September 19th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Appetizers | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This past weekend was an adventure in food and activity.  I spent the weekend with six couples that are all in better shape than me, but I kept up!  We could ski, paddle board, kayak, swim, water ski, bike, sail, hike… and read.  We all shared our cooking skills each assigned a night to make a meal.  This was my very favorite appetizer served by my friend Nancy.  At 5:30 every evening we met at the dock for appetizers, drinks, and eagle watching cruising the lake. What a treat this was, served with a variety of beers.  Enjoy!



• 1 32oz bottle of low sodium V8 juice
• 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
• 6 green onions, finely chopped
• 1 green pepper, finely chopped
• 1 yellow or orange pepper, finely chopped
• 2 English cucumbers or 4 small pickle cucumbers, finely chopped
• ½ cup of shredded/chopped carrots
• ½ cup of ketchup
• 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
• 2 large 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes with juice
• Tabasco to taste
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Optional – 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro or parsley



• Mix all of the ingredients in an extra large bowl.

• Let sit overnight in fridge.

• Serve in individual “ball jars” with cooked shrimp and sour cream.  Serves 12



bannockburn garden club

September 7th, 2012 | Posted by admin in TABLE DRESSING - (0 Comments)

I was invited to speak to the Bannockburn Garden Club this week.  It was such a lovely group of women.  I feel at home with people who love to garden and cook.  Many of these women live a few blocks from me but we have never met.  It is always a gift to get to meet your neighbors especially those that share your interests.  I live in Deerfield so I’m just a block away from joining this great group of women on their yearly adventures relating to gardening.

We spent our time discussing recipes that worked with our end of season vegetables.  I made Gazpacho filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of peppers, served in mason jars.  We discussed table dressing… a favorite accent to entertaining.  I brought three fun settings for this amazing kitchen that’s accented in red.  I hope to get some recipes promised and I am so fortunate to have met all these women.

A special thanks to Joanne, who is a gracious host and has one of my favorite kitchens.

RECIPE: Nan’s Gazpacho  (Click to Read)



value wine of the week: artezin 2010 zinfandel

September 7th, 2012 | Posted by admin in WINE - (0 Comments)

Zin wins the value wine of the week once again. As a reminder, my goal is to find high quality to price ratio wines for you. That means I’m looking to keep the price under $20 and in most cases keep it under $16. In addition these wines should be widely available so that you can find them relatively easily.

Here’s a California Zinfandel from Mendocino County that recently scored 90 points from the Wine Spectator. It has beautiful dark berry and licorice aromas that make you want to take your time pondering these and other nuances while the wine opens up in the glass.

After about 15-20 minutes the zesty and spicy flavors really begin to take over leading to a medium length finish that leaves you wanting to savor every last drop. We enjoyed this wine with marinated grilled chicken that enhanced both the chicken and the wine.

There were close to 13,000 cases of this Zin made and I hope there’s some near you. You should be able to purchase it in the $15-$17 range. As I’ve said previously, high quality Zins in this price range are hard to find, so this one won’t last long on the shelves. Get some to enjoy now while you can find it, or you can cellar it for about 5 years.