Food & Wine, Home & Family, Sauces, Wine & Pairings


I was looking through my fridge last night making an inventory of things I need replenish this afternoon. My fridge is a bit different…you won’t find mayo, yellow mustard, ketchup or relish (ok, definitely no mayo or relish, but maybe ketchup or yellow mustard for the occasional child that refuses to eat what I cook and gets a hot dog) and I never have salad dressings or the traditional condiments. Once you start cooking in earnest there is no need to have them. With a well stocked pantry you can whip up most anything you might need.

I thought about a couple of things that I can’t live without. They take minutes to make and make a huge difference in the flavors of your dishes.

Next time you have the oven on at 325-375, cut the root end off and the top 1/3 off a few whole heads of garlic, leaving the skins (the papery part…but remove any excess loose skin that is damaged) and place them in a small pan with a bit of olive oil or water if you prefer no added fat. Cove them with some foil and pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes. You’ll have delicious roasted garlic! Just squeeze out the garlic and spread it on your bread instead of butter….you’ll be a lost soul! The roasted garlic also adds a wonderful flavor to salad dressings, on your burgers, in soups…it’s just a fantastic thing to have around. It will keep i the fridge for about a week.

The onion marmalade I posted last week is something you have to try…you won’t want to be without it.
Here is the link for the recipe.

I know that you are still wondering about the lack of mayo thing…I personally do not like mayo nor do I like recipes that are bathed in it. My husband and daughter are the same way. BUT, I do like to use an Aioli from time to time, which to me, tastes a whole lot different and whole lot better.

Classic Aioli (a version that I think came from Wolfgang Puck…I can’t read my own writing)

1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 egg yolks*
Freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cups safflower oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, basil, egg yolks, salt, pepper, and Dijon mustard and process to combine. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream until it is all added and the mixture is emulsified. Add the lemon juice and check the seasoning.

*using raw eggs does carry some risk. Be sure you use only the freshest eggs you can get that are clean and free from defect. We use our own duck eggs and they are fabulous. I wish there were a great egg yolk substitute for those who wish to avoid the use of the raw egg. I know there are soy products, and you can use other ingredients such a s lecithin in baking but the egg is key here.

Roasted Garlic Aioli
Use three of your roasted garlic cloves in place of the fresh garlic…yum!

Anchovy Caper Aioli
Add a tsp of anchovy paste to your to the recipe above. Stir in 1 tsp of capers to the finished aioli

The Special Olympics torch arrives in Greater Binghamton today! The events kickoff tomorrow night. Good luck and best wishes to all the Special Olympians that have worked and trained so hard to compete….you are truly the best and an inspiration to all of us!

We will be welcoming a new member to the family today. No, it’s not a dog. Ralphy was a huge part of us and we are still very much lost without him. It will take a long time to get over him not being here anymore. We will be bringing home “Puddles”. A sweet drake who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the right time and had his leg broken and good stomp by a horse. He will have his own “Duck Condo” (I swear, I have asked forever for a couple of things to be built around the house and they still aren’t done…but the ducks? They get everything! Lucky ducky ducks). I’ll post pictures of him tomorrow…he is the cutest.

Calling all cooks!

Would you be interested in helping me put together a cookbook for a good cause? Give me a call or shoot me an email and I will fill you in with the details. This is just a “thought” right now…but I would love to have it be recipes that come from families with special needs children, or from the children themselves as well!

So that’s all for now, must get outside and see the “ladies” and get everyone fed. I do believe we will be bottling some wine this weekend so stayed tuned if you enjoy the homemade wine saga.

Have a wonderful Thursday!


Creatively serving the Greater Binghamton area in the lovely Southern Tier of NY.

Colleen Cheechalk is a private caterer and personal chef, she also hosts the internet’s favorite resource for the home wine maker at Her blog is viewed by thousands each day who enjoy her simply explained, illustrated and photographed recipes and helpful tips.


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