Easy Make-Ahead Shrimp Cocktail

This is such an easy recipe and it really frees up your time so you can enjoy your guests since it can be made ahead of time.

You can either poach your own shrimp or do what I do and buy them precooked.

Then all you have to do is just portion out some commercial bottled cocktail sauce into pretty little glass shot glasses or these disposable ones, add a shrimp with the tail hanging over the edge and a lemon wedge on the rim and/or a pretty snip of fresh dill.  

An even easier presentation is to simply arrange the shrimp on a pretty platter with some sauce in a small bowl and garnish with lemon circles, wedges, dill or fresh parsley.

Keep refrigerated and serve immediately.

11-15 size jumbo pre-cooked shrimp, thawed rinsed and dried very well.

2 Tbsp. cocktail sauce per shot glass



Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime Recipe

This is my version of Milk Street Magazine’s Caramel-Braised Chicken with Ginger and Lime. This dish has spectacular flavor unlike anything I have ever had before. It is a time-consuming recipe but well worth it, especially if you do as I suggest and prep and then line up the ingredients in order of use.

Caramel-Braised chicken with Ginger and Lime (Vietnamese) adapted from Milk Street 2018

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup plus coconut water, divided
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced ( 1 cup)
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch matchsticks ( 1/3 cup)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of most of fat, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems + 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 small jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and finely diced. Use more if you prefer more spice. OR 1 ½ tsp finely diced serrano pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest. I like to use a microplanner like this
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Steamed rice, to serve

  • Prepare each ingredient, place in bowls and line up in order of usage. Reduce heat to medium and cook, swirling pan but without stirring, until sauce is mahogany and smokes lightly, about 5- 7 minutes. Set over medium heat and stir to combine all ingredients. Stir in chicken. Raise heat to high to bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered over medium, stirring occasionally, adjusting heat to maintain simmer, 15 to 20 minutes. Off heat stir in 1/3 c. cilantro, jalapeno, and lime juice and lime zest. Top with other 1/3 c. cilantro and serve with rice and lime wedges.
  • Increase heat to medium high and simmer vigorously until the sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Turn heat to high, add sliced shallots and ginger. Lower heat to low, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook 5 minutes.
  • Take pan off the heat and stir in fish sauce and ½ cup coconut water.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, combine 2 Tbsp. coconut water and ¼ c sugar. Boil, stirring until golden at edges, about 3 minutes.

Grilled Eggs in Peppers


Grilled Eggs in Peppers     Serves 4

I had originally intended this recipe to be something we could make for breakfast on our sailboat grill since we do not have an oven. And indeed it has been a wonderful addition to our boating trips’ menus.

Perfect Brunch Item

These eggs in peppers are so colorful, delicious and unique that I thought they would make the perfect brunch item. I enjoy having friends over for brunch and have served these eggs in peppers as the main entrée alongside, rice and lentils, a beautiful fruit platter, and some sort of a sweet bread.

Mimosa Bar

In addition, I like to create a mimosa bar with sparkling wine, three juices (for instance, range, pomegranate, pineapple, mango, cranberry) in carafes, three fruit purees (passionfruit, strawberry, peach, blueberry. Giada’s fruit puree recipes.) and three bowls of berries (pomegranate, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) for garnish. Choose a dry or semi dry sparking wine, an Italian prosecco or a Spanish Cava for mimosas since you will mixing with sweet juice. Add one part juice or puree to two parts sparkling wine in a champagne flute.

Grilled Eggs in Peppers Recipe

4 large red bell peppers (about 8 oz. each), leave stem on
About 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup coarsely shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pitted green olives
8 large eggs

Heat a grill to medium high (about 450°) with an area cleared of coals (for charcoal grill) or a burner turned off (for gas) to make an indirect-heat area.

Leaving stems on, cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and veins, keeping peppers’ shapes intact to make a “bowl” to hold the eggs. Brush insides with oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt.

Grill pepper halves, cut side down, over direct heat, covered, until grill marks appear and peppers are slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet while you grill bread.

Arrange one or two large sheets of slightly crumpled aluminum foil on indirect heat. Nestle peppers, cut sides up, into foil to keep them steady. Divide cheeses and olives among peppers. Crack an egg directly into each pepper, then sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.

Grill, covered, until white is set but yolk is still runny, 15 to 20 minutes.

Charred peppers with eggs on crumpled foil ready to go onto the grill.