Archive for the ‘peeps’ Category



barefootMy girlfriend brought the most delicious roasted rosemary cashews to a shin-dig last Saturday night. After I took my third trip back over to the bowl, I noticed these tasty nibbles were just about gobbled up and everyone was raving about them. The next morning, we were delightfully surprised to find an extra stash in a ziplock baggie in the pantry! I’m adding these to the goodie baskets I give away for Christmas; they would also make a wonderful hostess gift.

Apparently, these cashews were inspired by the bar nuts served at Union Square Cafe in New York City. The recipe is from Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot In Paris, Easy French Food You Can Make at Home.



Rosemary Cashews
by Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 pound unsalted cashews
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  1. Spread the cashews out on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven until warm, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, sugar, salt, cayenne, and butter.
  3. Throughly toss the cashews with the spiced butter and serve warm.

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A few weeks back we hosted a little fall soirĂ©e weekend for our friends and family. We were particularly floored and extremely flattered our buddies from Amsterdam drove all the way to be here with us. The weather was crisp but not too cold with the sun streaming down on the course – perfect for golfing.

Along with Fattie’s help, I made a large Italian feast Saturday night for 40 peeps…..

This pasta disappeared fast.

Penne with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Recipe from Giada’s Family Dinners, by Giada De Laurentiis

You’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tablespoons of oil reserved
  • 1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 8 ounces water-packed fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium high flame. Add the sausage and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth , wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces slightly, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse).

Add the pasta, sausage, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the basil, and the parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

My Adaptation

  • Replace Italian sausage with spicy chorizo, sliced diagonally and browned on both sides
  • Omit artichokes
  • Add an additional 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • Add 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Add asparagus, sliced in 2 inch pieces

The small changes I made were due to the fact that it was a bit challenging to find two of the ingredients readily available here in Sweden. I know, are you kidding me right now? It proved hard to find frozen artichokes, and since canned/jarred artichokes lose their shape when cooked too long, I omitted them altogether. It’s a rare sight to see ‘Italian sausage’ in the grocery store, so I substituted with chorizo sausage.

At just about the final point when you toss all ingredients together, add the heavy cream, the additional Parmesan, and the asparagus. Heat through for 2 minutes while cheese melts, asparagus are warmed, and cream is incorporated. *All other steps are the same*

Get your forks ready.

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Amaze me.

Jeez; my girlfriends constantly amaze me….

After 9 hours hard work preparing for a big day tomorrow, I was welcome home by a surprising evite in my inbox. I think I even squealed when I set my brown eyes on the email. My lovely Stinky is hosting a shin-dig the weekend after Thanksgiving to welcome us back to the states. Not only did we not ask for this, we certainly didn’t expect it!

What a tremendous surprise.

We are honored to be in the presence of my amazing and amazingly missed friends catching up, laughing, and drinking good wine.

My gorgeous girls. My friends. They are so wonderful to me. I know it’s cliche and may sound trite, but I am truly blessed; I just wish we didn’t live 5000 miles apart.

I’ll bring the wine Stink!

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Here we are.

My first entry for the hookedinamsterdam blog.

Funny; I didn’t think I would be “blogging” but I find myself here with curious delight.

I must dedicate this first blog to my loyal friend ‘Hollywood’. Anytime we would hear someone in our close vicinity rant on & on about something ridiculous we would mutter to each other, “why don’t you blog about it”. Of course, we thought this was hysterical (well, it really wasn’t that funny but for some reason it made us giggle a lot) especially since most people hardly knew what blogging was about back then.

So, here’s to you Hollywood! Cheers.

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