Sting Came Back For Seconds


Sting Came Back For Seconds. These are the words I want printed on a T- Shirt (and possibly my grave). Due to a bizarre set of circumstances last fall, I found myself cooking for Sting (yes, THAT Sting!). My friends were hosting a dinner party but were stuck in traffic coming back from a wedding in Baltimore and called to see if I could help which I was only too happy to do.


With no time to spare, I decided we should go with some very easy starters; a platter of mozzarella and tomatoes as well as one of Bresaola and Fennel. Then, I decided on a classic pasta that always goes down well; orecchiette with homemade pesto, green beans and ricotta. As a side note, it has always astounded me that I have never been able to find a good pesto in the city. How is this possible when all the ingredients are so readily available and can be whizzed up in a blender in no time at all. Budding artisans take note!



While my friends’ was one of the most beautiful of New York apartments, it was pretty clear no one had ever cooked a meal in it. So with 15 minutes to go before guests arrived, my friend and I found ourselves raiding their neighbor’s apartment, prying open shelves, digging through the pantry, and basically grabbing anything we could get our hands on. Everything from plates to chairs to pots and pans was pilfered and later returned (I hope). My accomplice then busied herself tidying while I started slicing the tomatoes and finding a pot big enough to boil pasta for 12 people. We were still running around when suddenly, out of nowhere, Sting appeared in the kitchen. He came right over and kissed me on the cheek and introduced himself. The furthest thing from a cool New Yorker, I tried desperately to remain calm and chat casually while slicing tomatoes. In reality, I was terrified that I would slice off a finger or that he would somehow inherently know that I had a poster of him on my wall throughout my teenage years.



Before I knew it though, with all my digits intact, the other guests had arrived and everyone was eating, chatting and having a wonderful evening thanks to the relaxed charm of our hosts. I have always believed that you can put on a dinner with minimal effort and time if you just have a few good ingredients. To paraphrase another of my heroes, Nigel Slater, the focus of a dinner should not be on the food but the people. The key to a successful evening is to stick a big vat of something delicious and unpretentious in the middle of a table and let everyone dig in. Serve plates that are impressively complicated culinary works of art and all anyone will be thinking is “how can I possibly have these people over to dinner and top this?”



I think Nigel would have been proud as large bowls of pasta were passed around the table never deterring from the chatter. But of course MY proudest moment was when Sting took a break from talking to a glamorous playwright to get up and serve himself a second bowl and declared the pasta delicious! So here’s a recipe for orecchiette with pesto, green beans and ricotta – if it’s good enough for Sting…


Orecchiette with Pesto and Green Beans

Serves 4 (as a starter)

1lb of Orecchiette

¼ green beans (trimmed)

1 tablespoon ricotta

2 cups of fresh basil leaves

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

1 clove of garlic (peeled and lightly crushed)

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ cup of grated pecorino

½ cup of grated parmesan

2 tablespoons of butter (softened)



1. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

2. Blend the basil, pine nuts, oil, garlic and salt in a blender until smooth.

3. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the 2 cheeses and butter.

4. Add the orecchiette to the boiling water.

5. 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the green beans to the water.

6. Remove a cup of water from the pasta before draining.

7. Drain the pasta and beans and return to the pan.

8. Add the pesto and the ricotta and mix well.

9. You may need to add some of the reserved water if it feels to dry and bring to the table to rehydrate for seconds (if there are any!)

The Maine Event


I was fortunate enough to escape the city and head North during this last heat wave. There’s something thrilling about trading the searing blacktop of NYC for the coastal breezes of Maine that just makes one feel decadent. The destination: Ogunquit, a small town in York County whose name translates to “beautiful place by the sea.” The name couldn’t be more fitting.


This is our second year in a row at this coastal retreat. Last year my husband and I attended a wedding and were utterly charmed by the town’s landscaped beauty, delectable food and white sandy beaches. From the picturesque inns to the many great established and emerging restaurants, the town is a delight for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing trip to the beach.


For those of you visiting for the first time, this is a true lobster town. Fishermen have been catching this delicacy since the 1600’s. It used to be so profuse that it was written into servant contracts that they could not be served lobster more than twice a week. Considered a poor man’s food, lobster didn’t always hold the place in our hearts it does now.


To find out more about the town and the lobster industry, take a cruise aboard the Finestkind, one of the many local ships. You’ll head out of Perkins Cove past fisherman bringing in their daily catch. Then you’ll head along the coast past a sea of buoys (each marked by its own signature color and each used to mark the presence of a lobster trap). If you have Pat Weare as a guide, you’ll certainly be in for a treat! My husband and I were fortunate enough to stay with the Weares this last trip and thanks to our friends, George and Taliesin, we were given the insider scoop on the ins and outs of Ogunquit. (Pictured below are the path to the beach and the beginning of Marginal Way- a 1 1/4 mile sojourn that takes vacationers on a picturesque walk to Perkins Cove)



(Below- on the right) Pat demonstrates how to differentiate between a male and a female lobster (both delicious by the way). Males have thick, hard swimmerets while females have softer and thinner ones.



As we were wrapping up our weekend, we were thoroughly spoiled with a full Lobster dinner by none other than one of the local lobster fishermen- Mike Weare. It doesn’t get fresher than this. He was up in the wee hours of the morning hauling in our dinner. As we greeted him after a relaxing day at the beach, he showed us a refrigerator full of lobsters. At dinner we learned the best way to crack these guys ourselves- from twisting off the tail, deveining it and savoring the favored meat to sucking the tender morsels from the legs. After we finished our first lobster we were even offered seconds!



For those of you not staying with a lobster fisherman- there is no lack of this local specialty to dine on. A trip to Maine really wouldn’t be complete without it. For a lobster pizza- check out Cornerstone, which makes delicious stone oven pizza. For a lobster tail check out Front Porch, and don’t miss the show upstairs. You may even be able to get some lobster tacos at Banditos the local Mexican joint (this may be a stretch- but they certainly have a great margarita :). The possibilities are endless but eating some lobster is mandatory.

Bunches & Bunches Ltd. – RED Chicken Tacos


Bunches & Bunches Ltd. – RED Chicken Tacos

Serves 4-6 generously


1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken (breast and or thigh)

1 jar Bunches & Bunches Red Mole

1 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

1 lime

queso fresco (cotija or sharp cheddar)

tortillas (corn or flour)

salsa fresca or chefs choice


black beans

sliced radishes



1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Cut chicken 4-6 like size pieces and season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large sauce pot or Dutch oven brown both sides of chicken.

4. Add Mole and coat all the chicken. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover and place in oven for 40-50 minutes until tender to the fork.

5. Serve with crumbled queso fresco, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, tortillas, black beans, salsa fresca, guacamole and sliced radishes. Enjoy!

Garden Fresh Bruschetta



My whole life I was led to believe that you could only get good tomatoes in Italy so I studiously avoided them anywhere else. To be fair, English tomatoes in the 70’s were notoriously bad. I can’t remember who first broke the spell and introduced me to my first home grown American tomato but I now can’t wait until they start turning up in farmer’s markets every summer and I can honestly say that they are better than any I’ve ever had in Italy. Top of the list of the best tomatoes I’ve EVER tasted are grown by Sam Butler in his Connecticut garden.



He gets them from Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT where they have been partially raised in a greenhouse.  I’m lucky enough to visit for a weekend every Summer and even able to take a couple of these wonderfully named ‘Big Boys’ home with me.



My only contribution is to make Bruschetta for the Butler family, which as you can see below is ridiculously easy so I’m definitely getting the better end of the deal.





Good white bread


Tomatoes, in season and sun ripened is the best

Olive oil




1. Toast the bread slices and rub with a little raw garlic.

2. Cover with chopped tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.

3. Sprinkle a little salt and some basil and then eat!