Archive for the 'Project Update' Category

Halloween DIY – Play with Your Food


Typically I L-O-V-E to decorate the house for Halloween. All of the silly decorations and fun ‘spooky’ lighting add extra excitement to the holiday vibe. In our house we all have our favorite decorations. I love Continue reading ‘Halloween DIY – Play with Your Food’

Taste This! The Delicious Sequel Released- Tortellini Skewers Teaser

To say that these last few months have been a whirlwind of activity is a far cry from true. Life has not been uneventful or dull between all of the hats I juggle but that is the emblem of this decade, we multitask and walk a fine line to balance all that life throws our way. The exciting news is that amidst all of this activity a sequel to my first cookbook was released- Taste This! The Delicious Sequel.

Book signing and all, things are off to a very exciting start as we look down the barrel at 2012. In honor of this personal milestone (which was only possible due to the love and support of my family and friends) I wanted to share a wonderful holiday vegetarian appetizer recipe from the cookbook. And if you are tempted to try more of the recipes, your fingers are a few key strokes away from the online purchase button (look to your right hand side of this page) ;).

Tortellini Skewers


1 (16 oz) jar roasted red peppers

20 oz package tortellini, cooked and tossed with olive oil

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves washed/dried and removed from stem

4 (14.75 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, 1/8-1/4 inch slices

1 box large cocktail tooth picks

Cook tortellini according to package directions. On a large cocktail toothpick, layer according to above order.

Makes 4 dozen

A few out takes from the first cookbook signing held at the Golden Gate Yacht Club (Thank you Norbert and Madeleine)!

Just Let Me Lie Down

Have I stumped you yet? What on earth could I be talking about now? It all starts with an invitation to lunch at an adorable restaurant in Palo Alto called Vino Locale. The proprietor is the seventh son of a seventh son and had quite a personality. While the restaurant is typically closed on Monday, this colorful gentleman played host to a group of ladies serving his finest savory and sweet nibbles. The event was the then upcoming release of Just Let Me Lie Down – the necessary terms for the half-insane working mom – written by Kristin van Ogtrop, the editor of Real Simple.

The food-side chat not only gave great insight into her book, which is wonderfully witty and ironically realistic, she was kind enough to want to learn more about my first book and help me plan the next one! She had some great professional insight and ideas into the marketplace and now has me laser focused on book #2. Speaking of food, (go figure right? how unlike me- not!) one of my favorite excerpts from Kristin’s book Just Let Me Lie Down is a recipe…

Recipe for disaster: Things you believe you can accomplish in the kitchen during those deluded moments when you think devoting an entire day to cooking actually works with your schedule and lifestyle. Including, but not limited to, osso bucco, cassoulet, and pavlova. (She is a woman/mother after my own heart.)

And Kristin even manages to encapsulate my mobile dependency when she writes about Technical bipolarism: When you wake up in the morning and can’t imagine how you would get through life without your BlackBerry, but by bedtime, you want to strap a bomb to it and blow it to smithereens. (Heck yeah!)

I’ve selected this recipe from my treasure trove just might fit the bill- easy to make and allows time for the cook to ‘just lie down’ and take a nap. It makes a nice side dish or light stand alone meal. It is one of my favorite summer recipes taught to me by my Zia Maria Rosa when we spent some time one summer in La Maremma, Italy. The weather there is so hot in the summer that the dinner meal is typically prepared at breakfast when it is still cool enough to turn on the oven. This recipe can easily be modified to include most anything yummy in your fridge or pantry — the possibilities are endless, have fun with it and know that in some way this reflection of my time spent in Italy ties back to my chance meeting with Kristin to celebrate her new book and our discussion of my upcoming cook book – it’s really all just ‘Real Simple’.

Maremma Rice Salad


2 cups cooked rice
1 cup dry mozzarella, cubed
1/2 cup peas, cooked
1/2 cup pearl onions, cooked
6-10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
3 TBS red wine vinegar
2 TBS mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste


Cook rice according to package directions. Set aside to cool. Slightly under cook peas and onions and drain and set aside. In large size bowl, mix all prepared ingredients together. Then add Parmesan cheese olive oil, vinegar and mayonnaise.

Special thanks to my good friend Stacy Libby for all of her photos from the luncheon. For a great blog-time check her out on Laptop TV Mom at And thanks to the Silicon Valley Moms Blog for the wonderful opportunity to meet Kristin. You can order Kristin’s book on Amazon.

Gina von Esmarch, Kristin van Ogtrop & Stacy Libby

Drink to the New Year

This guest post is from the friend I’ve yet to meet in person. We speak to each other nearly daily via Facebook and Twitter – we share laughs, recipes and stories and we talk about spending time together when our lives finally collide. Until then, she honored me with her gift of words and mixology. This mystery woman – Ilina Ewen writes a wonderful blog called Dirt & Noise and can often be found on Twitter at @ilinap.

Thank you Ilina, for helping me drink this new year away with illusions of beach-side naps and fruity blissful beverages!

I haven’t yet met this fellow foodie and cocktail maven on the left coast, though I count her among my friends. I have a hunch that when we meet we could very well gab for hours on end whilst shopping and sipping, leaving little room for breaths and pregnant pauses. Gina perks me up, makes me chuckle, and whets my appetite. I’m dying to pull up a barstool in her kitchen and nosh and toast and laugh.

I imagine Gina has a lovely kitchen. I bet she has really cute aprons too.

A little bird, known as Facebook, told me that Gina will be blowing out candles on a cake this week. Nevermind just how many candles. Since she’s the one who inspired me to start baking from scratch (I’m telling you, her blueberry muffins are sinfully delicious.), I’m pretty sure she’s indulging in a damn good cake. Let’s just say that I’m a better mixologist than a baker. I’ve concocted a little birthday cocktail for my friend Gina.

I’d whisk her away to a blue hued sea with white sand beaches and red pedicures if I could. We’d eat fresh fish, succulent pineapples, and sweet coconut juice. This must sound like a romantic rendezvous to some, but for mothers who work work work, paradise is a beach replete with libations and girlfriends where no one calls us Mommy.

So to toast Gina on her big day, here’s my little taste of paradise. Cheers!

Gina Bina Bobeena

1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce coconut rum
1 ounce banana liqueur
5 ounces pineapple juice
splash of grenadine
pineapple wedge and banana slice for garnish

Pour first three ingredients over ice in a high ball glass. Add pineapple juice and an ever so slight dash of grenadine. Skewer a pineapple wedge and banana slice to plop in as garnish.

Happy Birthday, Gina!

Ready, Set, Prep…

Groceries purchased, lists made and bags are packed. Seems like a whole lot of organization for five minutes of tele but what do I know. This will be one for the books – no pun intended – okay, maybe just this time it was intended. Stay tuned and wish for the best – I certainly am hoping not to make a fool of myself.

If I only I could find the perfect opening line, let the cards (or spatulas) fall where they may.

Recap: The show went well and it really was a lot of fun. Prima and Secondo even got a bit of air time (which they loved)! Here is the clip…and the highlights: we ran out of time to make the second dish and Secondo managed to talk back to me while on camera. Classic! (and he lied by the way!!!!) To follow the show on Twitter go to @viewfromthebay

Click here to view the segment –>The View From the Bay: A Hassle Free No-Cook Meal

On the set at ABC

On the set at ABC

JerseyBites – Features Taste This!

Not only did Jersey Bites review “Finger Lickin’ Chicken” she liked the book so much she wanted to give her readers the opportunity to win a book for themselves.

Deborah Smith writes:
What I love about her book besides the beautiful pictures are the completely easy, no fuss recipes. Last night I made her “Finger Lickin’ Chicken.” All of 4 ingredients including the chicken. So easy and so yummy. Had the leftover for lunch today.

If you want to try to WIN a copy of ‘Taste This!’ go to Jersey Bites

    Deadline for entries is Tuesday, March 10th at 11:59PM/ET.

And if you Tweet It (@jerseybites) or Blog it- You Double Down with an extra point! Don’t hesitate on this one because time is running out.

Chefdruck- Reviews Italian Picnic Chicken

Italian Picnic Chicken from Chefdruck's Review

Italian Picnic Chicken courtesy of Chefdruck

This recipe was one that I remember my Grandmother (Nonnie) making for those casual Sunday night family dinners and we used to all want to scrape the pan for the yummy breadcrumbs at the bottom of the pan (AKA midiga – in her Sicilian dialect). Needless to say, with a family as large as ours was, she made more than one pan and there was plenty of ‘midiga’ to go around.

This past weekend Vanessa Chefdruck tried out the recipe and wrote a review that has some nice twists to her version of the dish. I excerpted a glimpse of her piece:

I had a tough time choosing which recipe to feature today, and I ended up choosing the Italian Picnic Chicken. I had never tried breading chicken breasts with corn flakes and I was eager to try it. The chicken was a huge hit, not only with Steve, but also with the kids. It was juicy and crunchy. I’m making another batch tomorrow night. I served it with some sauteed broccolini.

You really should check out the full article, not to mention her site (if you haven’t been there yet- please do visit)! Chefdruck Musings

It Really Happened

Today was a day of personal accomplishment – I received the first copy of the printed book at 10:30 am this morning and it looked really nice. Everything from the quality of the paper to the resolution of the photos is great. The layout looks crisp and clean and is easy to read. I feel a smile growing across my face…pins and needles are a thing of yesterday (and the past year!) Tonight it is time to smile. More hard work ahead but for this moment, I will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. I think you are going to like it!

Mailers, Postage and Knuckle Crunchers- Oh My

Let’s start by saying that this is not the post I thought I would publish. This post is inspired by one of the all time American classics – The Wizard of Oz. Great film, good core messages and solid Hollywood effects. Swap out the words ‘Mailers, Postage and Knuckle Crunchers’ and replace with ‘Lions, Tigers and Bears‘ and most anyone over the age of 25 can tell you what movie that line was from. After coming home from working for a relative last night, I found my children watching this movie. Fast forward to today and well you will see the path I am headed down…reflecting on the movie I am reminded of my tasks at hand. Classic! (no pun intended)

So this is where I am at this week – working with my WOM network to set up book signings, reviews, blog outreach, find relevant gift guides – and yes, this is just my night job/hobby. It is fun but seeing how the book does will be even more fun for me. Lots of interest, lots of excitement and the date is quickly approaching until the worlds collide. Book is printed and will be shipping any day now – stay tuned for updates from the Port of Oakland! (joking!)

It Continues

Okay- book is still not done yet and I am in pain. I am not alone. I can only equate this to child birth- at this point, it just needs to happen. No fear – no regrets – it’s time. The cast of those in pain is nearly everyone around me or anyone around those I am working with.

I’ve eaten some of the worst food imaginable since college…how is this possible. I am all about eating well, eating good foods with great flavors. Well I guess if there is zero option and it is 4AM you should just comfort yourself and eat.

Our printer has been nothing short of amazing. Talking about feeling like we were not in this alone.  Lorna Johnson has helped us at every turn and explained so many of the elements to us we could not have otherwise known. Where does she work? Global Interprint. Yes, I highly recommend her.

Maybe tomorrow- yes, it could happen – but maybe tomorrow. (I repeat this to myself at 4PM each day and so far, it is not true.) Feeling optimistic.. . or is that just being naive?!