Thanksgiving 2013

Just a quick post on what I am making this year for Thanksgiving in the Good Better Best test kitchen.  As a reminder, Running Daddy and I host Easter but we do our Best to make each holiday special.  Running Daddy is in charge of the wine and I bring my awesome stuffing and the Sweet Boy helped me with the gluten free carrot cake.
1) Cornbread, Sausage and Chestnut Dressing-A Good Better Best Thanksgiving-this has become one of my signature dishes.  Whenever anyone is looking for a new dressing (stuffing) recipe or one that is gluten free that will fool even the “gluten free phobic” I send them this recipe.
2) Gluten Free Carrot Cake- I started making gluten free carrot cake three years ago when I went gluten free and the Sweet Boy just loves it.  Today he basically made the whole mix by himself.  I grated the organic carrots but let him do the rest.  Simply Organic is my favorite brand but it is difficult to find.  The last two years I have used Namaste brand and it has worked out fine.  I use a prepared cream cheese frosting because remember….I am not a baker!
3) The Wine!-Running Daddy stopped at our favorite local wine shop as he is in charge of the wine.  They had a tasting of the Hillinger Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris which he was told would pair nicely with a Thanksgiving meal.  The tricky part of wine pairing on Thanksgiving is not the turkey…that’s easy.  The challenge is the varied flavors and balances of the sides.  I am looking forward to trying these wines tomorrow.
Have the Best Thanksgiving!  What are you serving?

Friday Five-November Things I Love

Today I came to the conclusion that I think November is a really underrated month.  Today was a little cloudy and breezy but it also started to take on the look that the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner and I love it.  It made me stop and think that this time in November is a really special time so I am going to stop and really appreciate this November.  So for this Friday Five, here are the things I love in November that I think are Good, Better, Best:

1) Butternut squash- I have been making a lot of my butternut squash with pear soup (see recipe) and every day when I eat it at lunch, I cannot think about how amazing it is and so easy. 

2) Simply Organic Carrot Cake Mix-Gluten free baking is very difficult and I am much more of a cook than a baker.  When I went gluten free almost four years ago I found this cake mix and it is amazing.  I make this in a brownie size rectangular plan and then frost the top with cream cheese frosting.  The Sweet Boy and I love it and I have even made it for some of his class parties at his request.  Gluten free baking does not have to be dry if you use this mix and can be a hit even among your non-gfree family and friends.

3) Beaujolais Nouveau-Beaujolais Nouveau is release on the third Thursday in November in France at 12:01 am only weeks after the grapes have been harvested.  I truly enjoy this light fruity red wine and each year’s production is truly different from year to year.  Beaujolais Nouveau Day is November 21 so be sure to mark your calendar and pick some up!

4) Skinny Peppermint Mochas-I love a Skinny Peppermint Mocha.  At about 130 calories for a tall size, it is pure joy in a cup.  I am actually one of those people who is glad that they don’t sell these all year.  As I said to the gentleman who waited on me at Starbucks on November 1…if I could get this in July, you would not see this look of pure joy on my face when I get my first Skinny Peppermint Mocha of the year.

5) Hallmark Channel Count Down to Christmas movies-Ok I know this is not a food item, but it is something that I love to watch and they run until after Christmas.  This time last year my health problems were really taking a toll and one thing that really helped me out was to crawl into bed and watch one of these sweet movies.  I also love that they are all rated G and nothing that I am embarrassed to watch around the Sweet Boy.  It’s nice to be able to watch a movie where men treat women with respect, when people have misunderstandings things work out in the end and in general people are kind to each other.  Right now I am watching “Love at the Thanksgiving Parade” which the Sweet Boy and I also watched together on Sunday afternoon.  It’s one of our favorites and Jack thinks the main character Henry is cool because he plays chess.  Running Daddy finds my love of these movies quite endearing.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

So these are the Five Things I love about November.  Leave me a comment with what you love about November.

Enjoy the Best Food and November!



Better Pasta Carbonara and a Wine Review

Better Pasta Carbonara and Armarone Wine Review

Who doesn’t love pasta carbonara with it’s smoky rich flavor but when you make the traditional way it can be high in calories and fat. This recipe uses milk cheddar cheese to help bind...but you still get all of that yummy bacon goodness. You may also use turkey bacon if regular bacon is not in your dietary plan. We paired this with a Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008 from our friends at Wine Chateu.
A wine review is below.

Better Pasta Carbonara

8 oz spaghetti or other pasta of choice

6 slices lean bacon fat trimmed and cut into small pieces

1T olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 T white wine (can use chicken stock)

2 T grated sharp cheddar cheese

2/3 cup skim milk

Freshly ground black pepper

Grated parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.

Heat a non-stick pan and add the bacon, cook on medium high heat for about five minutes until browned. Use a paper towel to blot any excess fat.

Stir in mustard and wine/stock and cook for three more minutes.

Reduce heat and add the cheddar, stir until melted.

Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly. Season with pepper to taste.

Gradually add the milk stirring continusouly until combine. Do not add any additional heat at this stage.

Drain the pasta and return to the warm pot. Pour the carbonara sauce over the pasta and toss gently. Add parmesan cheese to taste.

To make Better add one element of whole grain pasta, organic bacon or organic mustard. To make Best add multiple elements of whole grain pasta, organic bacon and organic mustard.

Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008 wine review.

My friends at Wine Chateau are always so generous and send me wines to review and create a recipe around. I love a challenge and this Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008 was no exception and a wonderful surprise. Amarone is not a wine I am typically familiar with but after some research I chose the carbonara recipe above as it is something I have been making for years and the Amarone was the perfect reason to share this recipe with you.

The Fratelli Recchia Valpolicella Classico Superiore le Muraie di Ripasso 2008  has lovely hints of dried fruit. In fact Amarone wine is make with partially dried grapes and the hints of dried grape, raspberry and cherry really shine thorugh. This wine is non-acidic with a smooth finish. One thing to keep in mind is that this wine has a higher alcohol level at 15% than most wines. All in all this is a lovely wine.

If you live in New Jersey stop into Wine Chateau for all of your wine needs. Even if you don’t live in New Jersey you can have wine shipped from Wine Chateau at very reasonable rates.

Enjoy the Best Food and Wine!



Friday Five-the grains/sides

For my second Friday Five, I wanted to share what grains/side dishes I always have on hand. You can be sure that if you walked into the Good Better Best Food test kitchen these items would either be in stock or on my shopping list. 1) Trader Joe’s frozen rice- They come in organic and non-organic. Right now I have both the organic brown rice and the jasmine rice on hand. The Sweet Boy loves jasmine rice and while we try to not eat too much white rice, this is perfect for a busy night like we had last Tuesday. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you pick some up. 2) Polenta-I always have the log style polenta on hand. You can find this in both conventional and organic. This is great to slice and grill on a grill pan with sausage or serve with meat sauce as an alternative to pasta. 3) Alexia sweet potato fries-These are a freezer staple in our house. All of the fun of French fries but with a little more nutritional value. Perfect when you are having burger night…Good Better Best style. 4) Canned Black Beans-Yet something else that I buy in multiples at the grocery store. This is a pretty cheap upgrade if you want to go from conventional to organic, usually it is about 10 cents more. I rinse and then heat in the microwave for about a minute. Low fat and high fiber for taco night. 5) Quinoa-I had never had quinoa before I went gluten free, but this is a fast side dish that is very versatile. Typically I just use a little butter and parmesan cheese but you can add olive oil, pine nuts, raisins. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy the Best Food and this Friday Five. Patty

Friday Fives-Proteins

One thing that readers keep bringing up to me is that they want to know more about where I get my ingredients and what I cook on busy weeknights. I think the best way to do this is through a Friday Five. This week I will start with Proteins.

1)      Thin Sliced Chicken Breasts: I always have multiple packages of these in my freezer. They cook up very quickly and there are many quick sauces you can make for these. The Sweet Boy loves they just pan seared in olive oil with salt and pepper.
2)      Boneless steaks:  I never used to cook steak on weeknights until a few years ago. Steak just seemed like a Saturday night dinner. How wrong I was. I typically cook small boneless steaks on a grill pan during the week with a little bit of olive oil and Montreal seasoning. In about 15 minutes you can have a great steak, just keep it small and lean.
3)      Boneless pork chops: These also cook up very quickly and there are a million ways to cook them. Add a sauce, bread them (I can do this gluten free) and pan fry in olive oil for milanese, use in stir fry. We eat a lot of pork chops in our house.
4)      Chicken sausage: I typically buy organic chicken sausage in either a sweet italian or sun driend tomato variety. I always remove the casing... Great for pasta, grilling, and served on polenta. Fast, healthier than regular sausage but with all of the flavor.
5)       Amylu Chicken Burgers: This is one prepared product that I always have on stock. They are low fat, high protein and downright yummy. Best of all they are precooked. They are awesome on a busy night. I promise you that you can either microwave or pan grill these as fast as you could make a drive-thru order and these are so much better. I buy them at Costco and when I go now I always buy two packages at a time.

So there is my first Friday Five. Enjoy the Best Food!

Grilled pork with peach salsa plus a review of Kendall Jackson 2011 Vintners Reserve Chardonnay

Nothings says summer like grilling and peaches!  Al at Wine Chateau and I were discussing summer grilling wines a few weeks back.  I typically like for Al to choose the wine for me to review and then create a meal around the wine.  Running Daddy says that way it is like my own version of Top Chef.  Wine Chateau always does an amazing job selecting wines for me to review and this time was no exception.
When the 2011 Kendall Jackson Vintners Chardonnay arrived I knew I wanted the meal to base around it to be fresh and light.

I chose grilled pork and then wanted to do some type of summer fruit to accompany the pork.  Since peaches are so beautiful this time of year I chose a peach salsa to top the pork.  I added basil instead of a traditional cilantro for the salsa.  The basil is a smoother taste and just feels like summer.

This pork with this wine is something that you can serve on a casual Sunday night like we did or even if you had a few friends over for dinner.  I honestly think this is one of the best things I have ever made and the wine paired perfectly with it.  Both are casual but will truly be there to impress.
For the Pork
-2 cloves of garlic minced
-2 tsp olive oil
-kosher or sea salt (enough to make a paste)
-ground black pepper
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin

For the salsa
-4 peaches, peeled and cut into small pieces
- ½ of a Vidalia onion chopped
-1/3 cup of fresh chopped basil
- juice of one lime

In a bowl combine garlic, salt, olive oil and black pepper so that it makes a paste.  Coat the pork with this paste and let sit on the counter before grilling for about 15 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium high.  Grill the pork for about 22 minutes total until it reaches 150 degrees.  Do not overcook.

While pork is grilling combine the peaches, onion, basil and lime in a bowl.  Set aside until pork is ready.

Once pork comes off the grill, let rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Top the pork with salsa and serve.

To make Better add one element of organic pork, organic or farmers market peaches or onions, or garden grown basil.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic pork, organic or farmers market peaches or onions, and garden grown basil.

Wine Review

I will admit that while I am now a white wine drinker, Chardonnay is typically not the variety that I run to first.  Its not that I don’t like Chardonnay, I just typically prefer something lighter and crisper like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Viogner.  When I do drink Chardonnay, my palate prefers more butter as opposed to oak.  Well, the Kendall Jackson 2011 Vinterner Reserve Chardonnay is the perfect buttery Chardonnay.  Running Daddy said that this is a buttery Chardonnay for people who don’t like buttery Chardonnay.  This wine was the perfect partner for the pork.

The Kendall Jackson 2011 Vintners Reserve Chardonnay has a wonderful buttery smell and taste without overpowering a crisp finish.  This wine was really brought alive with the flavor of the peach salsa and created a symphony of flavors around the whole meal.

This is definitely a wine to sip on your back deck with friends this summer.

Enjoy the Best food…and wine!

Summer Garden Gazpacho

Tonight I had the problem that all home gardeners dream of...too many tomatoes.  What to do...what to do.  Make this easy and healthy gazpacho!  Packed with vitamins and low fat you can whip this up in no time Good Better Best style.

5 tomatoes
1 cucumber peeled and seeded
1 small red onion
1 green or red pepper
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic crushed
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Chop the tomatoes and put in a large bowl.  Chop cucumber, onion, pepper and cilantro put in the same bowl.  Add vinegars and garlic.

Use an immersion blender or put in a blender or food processor in small batches.  Blend until desired smoothness.  Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Feel free to add Tabasco, crab meat, shrimp, lobster or avocado.  I topped with a little non-fat sour cream.

To make Better add one element of garden grown, organic or farmer market tomatoes, onions, cucumber or pepper.  To make Best add multiple elements of garden grown, organic or farmers market tomatoes, onions, cucumber and peppers.

Enjoy the Best food!

Good Better Best Organic Garden 2013 Update

Just a quick post on how the Good Better Best Organic Garden is doing this year.  We have had an interesting summer weather wise.  We will have days that are 100 degrees plus (like last week) and then this week we have no humidity and I have all of the windows open drinking in the cool air. Periods of crazy rain and then nothing.  But all in all the garden is fairing pretty well.

As loyal readers of this blog may remember, I put the garden in Memorial Day weekend.  I always want to get it planted earlier...but life always gets in the way.  We had a lot of rain while we were away the week of the 4th of July, and when we came back....oh my!  The tomato plants are as tall as I am (and I am not short), the cucumbers are out of control and everything else seems to be coming along nicely.

Once again we planted beans in pots, and they came out great.  I think next year I will add another large pot of beans and maybe even try peas.  Those that have known me since a child will be surprised about the peas...but it is only a concept at this stage.

The tomatoes pictured above are a combination of early girl, cherry and heirloom.  This is my first try at heirloom and I am feeling pretty fancy!  I have been picking them a little bit early as I have spotted more than one pesky squirrel sitting on the back fence eating my neighbor's tomato like an apple.  I have so many tomatoes and a decent amount of cucumbers (more about that in a bit) that I am thinking I might make some gazpacho this weekend.

The Sweet Boy loves cucumbers, and this is a byproduct of our garden in 2011.  He never ate cucumbers until we grew them that year and now he is hooked.  When we bought the plants this spring he talked me into getting a lot of cucumber plants.  Oh have they taken over our small space.  They are producing plenty of cucumber, I just hope they don't overpower the other plants.

We have two small yellow squash coming in, and I think tomorrow night might be the night to pick them.  Both the yellow squash and the zucchini have a lot of flowers on them.  In regards to eggplant, another Sweet Boy recent discovery, we have flowers but no actual eggplant.  At this point in 2013, I did have mini eggplants.  Patience with my garden is not my greatest virtue.  I also worry that if I don't pick things a little early...the critters will get them.

I am still a firm believer that the Coast of Maine Lobster compost mix that I top the garden off every year now is totally the difference in having a bountiful garden as opposed to a few small tomatoes all with blossom rot like I had in the past.  It's a hard product to find, but I will not garden without it if I can help it.

All in all I am pleased so far with the Good Better Best Organic Garden 2013.  My goal is still to not purchase a single tomato in August.

Feel free to tell me about your garen in the comments section below or via twitter @pcrichey.

Enjoy the Best Food!

Chicken, basil, tomato mozzarella in lettuce leaves

I came up with this recipe while driving home from work on the way to pick up the sweet boy from camp.  Honestly some of my Best recipes I think up on my daily commute.  And this is a dream come true for leftovers!  This could be a light dinner like I had it, lunch or even special occasion food.

Last night Running Daddy sent me a text that it was Chick Fil-A night at the pool and he was going to take the sweet boy over to watch the swim meet.  So with the boys out of the house for dinner...this gluten free girl cannot eat Chick Fil-A...I needed to come up with dinner.  Since we had a lot of great leftovers from a fun weekend...grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella and basil, I had some amazing ingredients.

Good recipe
Leftover grilled chicken
Fresh basil-about 4-5 leaves
1 Tbs light mayonnaise
1 medium tomato
Boston lettuce leaves, washed and dried
Fresh mozzarella

Chop chicken into bite size pieces.  Thinly slice the mozzarella.  Chop and deseed the tomato.  Combine these ingredients into the lettuce leaves.

Chop the basil and combine with 1 Tbs light mayonnaise and then place on top of the chicken lettuce leaves.

To make Better add one element of organic chicken, organic or garden grown basil, organic, farmers market or garden grown tomatoes, or organic lettuce.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic chicken, organic or garden grown basil, organic, farmers market or garden grown tomatoes, and organic lettuce.

Enjoy the Best Food!

A Tribute to Lilly Pulitzer (1931-2013)

This is not my typical blog post about quick¸ healthy recipes, a great new wine to try or what to grow in your garden.  This post is about a woman who passed away last week, and although I never met her, she had a great impact on my life.  This blog post is about Lilly Pulitzer.
Last Sunday afternoon I was on my way to a tea at my dear friend’s house. I had on one of my favorite Lilly Pulitzer dresses and carrying the straw Lilly purse given to me by Running Daddy.  All of a sudden my pink iPhone started buzzing with messages from friends that Lilly Pulitzer had died at age 81. 
People who know me know I love Lilly Pulitzer.  I have been wearing Lilly long before many in my generation.  I purchased my first Lilly skirt in 1998 in the Dotty Dolphin pattern and it has been my signature style ever since. 
In discussing Lilly’s passing, I told Running Daddy that some of the best days of my life have included Lilly Pulitzer.  I left our wedding reception in a yellow Lilly dress with blue rhinoceroses, monkeys and lions on it and the day the Sweet Boy came home from the hospital I was carrying my new Lilly diaper bag.  I own casual Lilly, dressy Lilly, work Lilly (yes there can be such a thing), I own Lilly bathing suits, sheets,  a picnic basket, wine glasses, a gardening bag, even pajamas and that is just the beginning.  I have joked that if Lilly made underwear…I would buy it. It’s not just about the clothes she helped design, (ok a lot of it is about the clothes) my devotion to Lilly Pulitzer is also about how she embraced life and treated those around her.  In many ways, Lilly is part of the reason why I created this blog.  I want people to be able to create beautiful easy meals, find a great new wine, and grow a beautiful garden to share with the ones you love and who make you laugh.

Lilly is even present in my holidays.  After a couple of years of making a few just ok hams for Easter, about three years ago I decided to try the ham in Lilly’s Essentially Lilly: A Guide to Colorful Holidays.  Well, that is now my famous ham recipe.  While I always give Lilly credit, I also tell people that the reason why I think the ham recipe is go good is that it is probably from the 1960’s, is not filled preservatives and is basted in ginger ale.  It probably does not hurt that I buy the ham at Whole Foods before I add the Lilly glaze…see you knew there would be a Good, Better, Best angle here somewhere!

This year we had a bunch of adults and five kids aged 1-6 out hunting for eggs in the rain but none of that mattered as long as everyone was having fun.  Design Gal loves the ham and asked me if I would consider making the ham at Christmas too.  Well, that was not something that I had planned on…but isn’t that what life is about…creating beautiful experiences for your family and friends.  So this year at Christmas stay tuned for a blog about transporting Lilly’s ham to dinner!

Lilly started her business with a simple idea, have a seamstress create a shift dress in a bold pattern to hide juice stains when she was working at a stand in her husband’s citrus groves.  What she then went on to do was create a fashion empire and a style that is still often imitated but never outdone.   All while doing this, she never let her business take away from her children and those she enjoyed.  Her daughter Liza was quoted this week saying: “Mom was an extraordinary cook and hostess, always entertaining the people she loved, which was a large, extended group,” said Liza. “And she had a wicked sense of humor. And while she was serious about her fashion career, she always put family first.”

Howell Conant

Ms. Pulitzer with her daughters Minnie, left, and Liza, right, at her home in Palm Beach in 1963

Ms. Pulitzer with her daughters Minnie, left, and Liza, right, at her home in Palm Beach in 1963

While she may have in fact created the first “life-style brand”, something that everyone is trying to do today, Lilly was successful because of who she was and how she treated people.  Her son Peter Pulitzer said: “How she loved, cared and gave us her all, while living her life to the fullest and having a pretty good time designing clothes is a mystery to me,” said Peter. “She was amazing, a grounding force of her extended family, which included many, many friends over the years.” 

Lilly Pulitzer didn’t have to be mean, rude or pushy to be successful.  She was who she was, comfortable in her own skin…I mean you have to be pretty fun and comfortable with yourself to wear clothing covered with lions, tigers, snapdragons and flying fish.  So while women today are being encouraged to “Lean In”,  I also want to make sure  we take the time to kick off our shoes, call a group of friends and their kids over last minute, wet down the floors and dance the night away Lilly style.

In reading the many amazing quotes about Lilly Pulitzer this week I can only think that while she was a trailblazer in the fashion industry, her greatest success is how she treated people whether they were walking her dog or were members of her own family.  Although we should try and break the glass ceiling, Lilly taught us that the most important thing in life is to have a great time surrounded by people who make you happy.  My goal is to continue to do the best work I can at my day job, but will never stop putting my family, friends and fun first all while wearing clothes that make me smile.  I will also take great pleasure in creating Good, Better, Best meals, wine reviews and garden advice for my wonderful readers who take the time to share in this blog.

God speed Lilly Pulitzer.  I have no doubt that heaven is a more beautiful, colorful and fashionable place now and thank you for blazing that pink and green trail.  Lilly Pulitzer was and is the Best! 


Good Better Best Food: Easter Prep and a Wine Review

Easter is right around the corner and this rack of lamb is perfect for a smaller Easter dinner (or go larger and double this recipe!).  You could also make this for a special dinner or for a great night with friends.  I call this lamb dish "lamb for people who think they don't like lamb." aka Running Daddy.  The secret to great lamb is two things 1)marinade 2) don't over cook it!  The Clarendon Hills Cabernet from Wine Chateau was the perfect addition to this meal and really enhanced the evening.

Good Recipe
1 (1 1/2 lb) French-cut rack of lamb (8 ribs)
3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 tsp salt, divided
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 small minced shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cornstarch

Combine vinegar, 2 tsp rosemary, and garlic in a Ziploc bag.  Add lamb to bag and close.  Marinate the lamb in the refrigerator for 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Remove lamb from plastic bag and reserve the marinade. 

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper.  Pat remaining rosemary into the meaty side of the lamb. 

Place lamb meat side up on a baking pan and bake lamb for 20-22 minutes until the lamb registers 145 degrees with a meat thermometer.  I started checking the temperature at around 18 minutes so as to not over-cook...I was obsessed with not over-cooking it  Let the meat rest on a cutting board.

Heat oil in a large non-stick fry pan over medium high heat.  Add shallots and cook 4 minutes.  Add wine and reserved marinade.  Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat and simmer around 8 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates.

Add broth and 1/8 tsp of salt and simmer about 5 minutes until reduced by about 1/3 cup. 

Combine honey and cornstarch then add to broth mixture.  Bring to a boil and cook about 1 minute while stirring constantly.

Slice the lamb into 8 chops.  Serve the sauce over the lamb. 

To make Better add one element of organic lamb, farmers market or home grown rosemary or organic chicken stock.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic lamb, farmers market or home grown rosemary and organic chicken stock.

I roasted potatoes along with the lamb and served with a beautiful salad. 

This meal really came together with the addition of the Clarendon Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Brookman from our friends at Wine Chateau in New Jersey.  This Cab is full-bodied, with hints of black cherry and  a smooth finish.  Definitely a perfect dance partner for the lamb.  Running Daddy even commented that the Clarendon Hills Cab went well with his Tag a Long Girl Scout Cookie he had for dessert.  While this Cab has a higher price point at around $42 (Wine Chateau currently has it for $34.97) you will not be disappointed with this selection for your special occasion meal.  Even if you don't live in New Jersey, you can order from them over the web and they will ship directly to you.  Put together a case or a mixed case and the shipping is on them!  You cannot go wrong.

Enjoy the Best Food and the Best Easter!


Good Better Best Food: Passover Prep and Wine Review

While I am a life-long Catholic, I have been blessed since I was a little girl to have been friends and surrounded by loved ones who are of the Jewish faith.  I love both of these religions so much and have deep appreciation for how the Jewish traditions also involve lots of amazing food. 

A few Sundays ago, this Irish-Italian-Slovak girl tried her first brisket.  It was time consuming, so don't try this on a weeknight, but turned out amazing.  In addition, my dear friends at Wine Chateau in New Jersey sent a kosher wine to try with the brisket.

So here is the a Passover Preview....Good Better Best style!


1 3-5 lb beef brisket
2 Tsp. olive oil
2 medium onions
6 carrots
8 cloves of garlic peeled
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
2 clementines or tangerines

Preheat oven to 325degrees.  Season brisket with salt and freshly ground pepper on all sides.

Place Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat and add oil.  Brown the brisket on all sides about four minutes per side.  Remove and set aside.

Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pot.  Cook until soft, feel free to add a little extra oil if necessary.

Add vinegar and scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add white wine, cook and stir for about three minutes while allowing the liquid to reduce slightly.

Return brisket to the pot and add stock.  Bring to a simmer, then add thyme, and bay leaf.

Slice clementines, add to the pot along with the zest of 1/2 of the clementine.

Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees.

Reduce heat to 275 degrees and bake 2-21/2 more hours.  Keep an eye and meat thermometer on this as you want to make sure you hit 185 degrees internally but not more.

Let the meat rest on a cutting board.

Slice meat on the bias.

Using a spatula, remove the carrots, onions and garlic from the pot and keep warm.  Strain the remaining items in the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat.  Simmer uncovered until slightly thickened.  Serve over meat.

I served this with carrots, Texmati rice and the amazing Alexander Syrah from Wine Chateau

While the kosher wines of the past were very good, the Israeli wines have come a long way.  This Syrah from the Galilee region was not only the perfect companion to this Passover prep brisket, it would hold its own at any other type of special gathering.  While a little more pricey at around $45 per bottle (although Wine Chateau has it right now for $32.89), it is a delightful wine to share at your table of family and friends.  In addition, if you brought this wine to a Seder, your hosts will be impressed and delighted!

The Alexander Syrah had definite tones of red. luscious fruits with a hint of spice and oak. 

If you would like to order the Alexander Syrah, reach out to Wine Chateau and they will ship anywhere.

To make your brisket Better add one element of organic meat, broth or organic/farmers market/home grown carrots, garlic or clementines.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic meat, broth or organic/farmers market/home grown carrots, garlic or clementines.

Enjoy the Best Food and Happy Passover!


New Years Resolution Check in

So how many of us have made a New Year's resolution to:

A) Lose weight
B) Eat healthy
C) All of the above

So we are 11 days into the New are you doing?  I mean really how are you doing?  I am eating too many skittles at the office which is a very starnge thing to eat right after my organic produce.

If you have made a resolution to eat better, to get healthier or lose weight and are struggling already, Good Better Best Food has some ways to get you back on track.  Incorporate one of these ideas and it will be Good, add two and it will be Better...three or more Best!

1) Eat at home more.  Eating out too often leads to too large a portion size causing you to over eat.  If you eat out or get take out two nights a week...cut that back to one and try a Good Better Best recipe that night instead.

2) Today, focus on the Fab Five...fruits and veggies that is.

3) Eat local.  Many farmers markets operate year round...vow to go once a week...heck once a month is even a good start.

4) Go organic.  This like all Good Better Best Food principals does not mean that you have to go organic all the time...pick a few things that you can change to organic that will fit your budget.  Good inexpensive organic items include things like carrots and canned black beans...these are typically only slightly more than their conventional counter parts.

5) Get a farm share.  In late November the Good Better Best household got our first box from Washington's Green Grocer.  Running Daddy says that this is the best new addition we have made in a long time.  Running Daddy is eating a lot more fruit which is always a plus and it has pushed me out of my side dish rut.  The small box lasts us two weeks with very little waste.  Check one out in your area.

6) Make over a recipe.  Find ways to take a family favorite and lighten it up.  If you need hints on this please send me your favorite recipe and I will help you make it over...maybe even feature it on GBB Food!

So if you are on track...keep it up.  If you not doing so well it is not too late and Good Better Best Food is here to help. 

Enjoy the Best Food!
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