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Sometimes at the end of the day you just need to NOT eat Italian!  This recipe though it has all the Mediterranean goodness that we love on a daily basis – has a “bit” of French in it and came out wonderful!  I’m “all about the sauce”!  And I serve it over brown rice – but obviously can be white or basmati.  Whatever makes you happy!  I can tell you the CHICKEN was happy! With that 1/4 cup of Flaming Cognac!!!


  • 2 LARGE CHICKEN BREASTS – CUT IN HALF – I — USED ORGANIC-  I swear I can tell the difference
  • 1/4 CUP OF COGNAC-  You can buy fairly inexpensive one — it’s for cooking!  YES you can take drink!
  • BALSAMIC DRIZZLE –  in gourmet section of store— just keep on hand- great over Burrata cheese


1.  In deep skillet heat the oil and butter over high heat.  Season with Lawry’s Salt and Pepper.  when fats

are hot but not smoking add the chicken and cook on one side till even golden brown.  About 5 minutes.

Flip to other side and again brown till golden.  Another 5 minutes.

2.     Reduce heat to medium high.  Add shallots and garlic burying them under the chicken at the bottom

of the skillet.  Saute covered, shake pan a bit until shallots are brown and chicken cooked.  About

20 minutes.

3.      Heat the Cognac in small pan over medium heat for about 30 seconds.  Ignite with LONG match and

pour oven chicken,  Shake pan till flames subside.  It will flame like crazy and Chicken is SO very


4.       Stir in tomatoes and  continue cooking until sauce is nicely blended.

5.        Drizzle a bit of the Balsamic Glaze on top.  Do not mix!

6.        Serve over rice.

YUMALICIOUS!  .  I promise – simple yet great dinner party dish!

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NORTH PARK 2 Bedroom Plus Loft Townhome For Sale

31st-living-room-heroNorth Park has become one of San Diego’s most coveted neighborhoods with its restaurants, shops, breweries and just plain city living at every turn!  Friendly people and coastal weather add to what has become one of San Diego’s favorite place to live!  This Finberg Townhome is in the “hub” of North Park.  Beautifully maintained and lightly lived in the previous owner spent over $200,000 in doing a “build out” which adds extra square footage making this property slightly over 1700 square feet.  Light wood floors frame most rooms.  The living area with its wood burning fireplace opens up to the kitchen and dining room area.    You enter the home thru a private gated patio perfect for nightly glass of wine or morning coffee and of course our Southern California BBQ’s. Upstairs is the large Master Bedroom with adjoining light Master Bath.  A HUGE walk in closet is a plus in any townhome.  Adjacent to the master is an office space that is multi purpose.  Nursery?  Work Out room?  The second bedroom offers a loft bedroom area as well as room for large regular bed.  Fabulous for guests with children.  Or a children’s special area.  Full bathroom is en suite.  GO up another flight of stairs and there is an office/library space that leads to yet another small room/office with open views of  North Park rooftops!  The kitchen features Frigidaire six burner gas stove and designer tile cabinets and flooring.  A tankless water heater and furnace are both newly installed within last few years.

Again, live in one of San Diego’s greatest neighborhoods and yet be minutes from the Freeway, Beaches and all that San Diego has to offer! North Park not a secret anymore!

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As agents we are fortunate when we sell homes to sometimes be able to watch the transformation that happens when a home is remodeled.  The owners of this Torrey Point Estates home purchased the property because of its location walking distance to Torrey Pines State Beach and of course the sweeping white water and night views from most of the rooms.  The buyer always wanted an beautiful bathroom to soak in a bubble bath and just relax in an luxurious setting under her chandelier!  Using the services of an Interior Designer you can see from the photos the amazing transformation from 1986 to 2015!  It’s magic!  A complete demolition was done and granite and marble finishes were brought in.  Custom cabinets were built to fit the bathroom’s exact measurements!  Designer mirrors and lighting frame the exquisite chandelier that hangs in the middle of the room!  Luxury next to the beaches of Del Mar,

Above the living room was enhanced by adding Espresso Maple Flooring and enhanced fireplace.  The  hardwood was combined with the slate flooring to add warmth to the color of the sea.   The entire home was updated with again professional Designer making sure that all the surfaces and floors incorporated the feeling of coastal living with supreme elegance.

when you see the photographs above you  can really understand the value that a home commands once it has been lovingly and professionally designed with attention to every detail considered!  Quality and location are two main ingredients when looking for the perfect home in coastal Del Mar.

Call for private showing and watch the crashing waves for yourself!  Just sitting In the living room with its warmth and style while looking at the waves of the Pacific will make you never want to leave!  California living at its best!

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torrey-point-road-open-viewOFFERED AT $2,795,000

Designed to capture ocean views from almost every room this private and gated Torrey Point Home brings you not only water vistas but magnificent sunsets and night lights of the La Jolla Peninsula.  Rarely on the market this small enclave of custom homes is located overlooking the sand of Torrey Pines Beach where a short walk takes you to the beach and the village of Del Mar.  The feeling of living at the beach exudes not only from the inside vistas of the ocean but also from the multiple view outdoor living spaces.  A perfect home for entertainment flow.  Updated with beautiful finishes that blend in with the coastal feel include Espresso Maple Floors, Granite, Travertine, Slate and custom cabinetry.  A truly special space with sophisticated edge blending coastal living.  Kitchen and bathrooms all updated with the Master Suite offering white water views and walk out patio.  Master Bath also features a European Spa Shower with Jacuzzi and steam, Toto toilet with every feature imaginable and custom designed cabinets and gorgeous chandelier!

Fireplaces in the Great Room as well as the Master suite allow views of twinkling flames offsetting the views of the Pacific.  Formal dining room as well as again ocean view kitchen nook with views of the ocean and the semi private tennis courts.  Low maintenance living at its best with rolling landscaping being taken are of by the Association.  The private Jacuzzi areas has privacy wall of trees and is steps to tennis courts.

In pristine condition this home is a Del Mar gem and truly the best value on the market with this proximity to the sand, ocean, and Village of Del Mar.

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Spring Cleaning and Declutering Ideas

From selling houses for many years I have seen my share of “clutter”!  It’s easy to work with a client to declutter their home because we are both excited to make the house look as open and fresh as possible.  However when I walk into my own house I think “well this would look differently if I was putting MY home on the market!  We have two dogs that we adore!  So much there are “duplicate” dog beds in at least three rooms of our house.  TWO beds in each room.  Well – there are two dogs after all!  So here are some ideas that will help declutter your house.  I have more – check next blog as don’t want to overwhelm anyone!

We put a chalkboard up on our kitchen wall.  It’s great when we run out of something, easy off, bananas, whatever.  We write it on the board and the next person going to the store knows exactly what we need. It works great!  If you have kids it would be very useful for school activities so everyone knows when to be on the hockey field!

A shelf in a kids room with baskets or colored plastic boxes works great for a place for hiding toys.  Plus it makes the room light up!  If you have a high couch or bed baskets are also a great storage area that can be “shoved” underneath the couch.  Take your camera equipment – lenses, filter, etc.  Stuff that you don’t every day is very stashable!

My kitchen is a mecca for organization!  I am a “home chef” meaning I own multiple sets of plates, tons of bowls, cook books galore, kitchen “Roosters”… you name it! I have a “restaurant style Stainless Steel” shelf,  See above – that works great!  I love the look it gives my kitchen.  Sortoff like its a William Sonoma store!  My favorite is the Fondue pot that I have never used and most likely never will.  Why do I keep it?  It’s cute!  If you have the room look online for “restaurant shelving”.    Its super easy to put together and again gives kitchen a great look!

If you are like me and tend to buy the same thing over and over because I don’t remember what I have.  Pasta for instance.  Get some glass containers and stick the pasta inside.  Not its airtight and will stay fresh.  I have this mysterious “tiny moth family” — the moths are tiny – the family is NOT!  I have cleaned the pantry – sprayed- hosed.  They just come back.  If they can get past the glass container the suckers can STAY here!

More ideas to come but these can get you started.  (and me- going to buy glass containers)

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Asparagus Risotto Topped with Garlic Shrimp

This recipe is a little time consuming because of the “stirring” of the Risotto – but honestly it is totally worth while as the result is just as good as any four star restaurant (in my opinion) and this is after only a little bit of wine while I stirred!


  • 1 small onion – chopped
  • About 12 thin asparagus – NOT the giant disgusting size.  If you absolutely have to use frozen.  I used fresh!
  • Use only the flowery part not the thick stems.
  • 2 Tablespoon EVOO
  • little hunk of good quality butter
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian Risotto rice
  • Container of Swensen’s Chicken Stock –  I use low sodium
  • 1/4 cup White Wine — Any kind – just NOT sweet (ugh)


Sautee the onion and asparugus in heated Olive Oil and Butter – about 5 minutes

Stir in the rice – stir until the white dot appears on the kearnel(s)   (yes you can see it)

Stir in the white wine — let cook down

Heat the stock until boiling — then keep “really” hot

Stir in about a cup of stock – stir stir stir

Keeping adding the hot broth into the mixture and stirring as you add, little by little because the rice needs to absorb the broth as it cooks.  Stir Stir Stir…. drink little wine….stir!

When the rice is cooked (it should not be neither too hard, nor too soft) take the saucepan off the heat flame.  I know it’s tricky to cook Risotto but the right texture makes ALL the difference between a good Risotto and a great Risotto.

At the end grate about four big “grates” of Parmesan cheese.  (Reggiano please)

Set aside and make shrimp

INGREDIENTS:(serving for two)

12 large shrimp-  devein- –   (mine had blue veins _ I do NOT know what those shrimp eat??)

Take lemon and give a good squeeze on top before seasoning

About 12-14 Cherry Tomatoes

1 large Shallot – chopped

5 Garlic – chopped

Magic Seasoning Salt – Prudhommes

Shake of Red Pepper

2 tablespoons EVOO

Hunk of good quality butter


Heat Butter and Olive Oil

Add shallots and Garlic and sauté 5 minutes – Add Cherry Tomatoes for a couple of minutes

Season Shrimp with Seasoning Salt – Watch the “heat” –  taste with your finger as you shake

Add some seasoning pepper if you want a little more “punch”

Add shrimp and sautee

Finish with little pour of white wine and a shake of Red Pepper

YES you can taste the sauce and season to “taste”—

Serve over bed of Asparagus Risotto

AMAZINGLY GOOD !!!  Are you hungry yet???

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Ground Turkey Garlic Lettuce Wraps

HomesNCooking-Ground-Gsrlic-Turkey-in-Lettuce-LeavesGROUND TURKEY GARLIC LETTUCE LEAVES!  Easy and So Delicious!



1 cup Peanut Oil

1/4 Cup Chili Flakes

In saucepan heat the oil until very hot but not smoking.  Add the flakes and remove from the heat.  Let stand till cool.  Pour into jar and use as desired.  Store in refrigerator up to 3 months and remember – the hotter it sits – the hotter it gets!

1 Head of Iceberg Lettuce

1 lb ground turkey- (yes you can use lamb — but not my choice of flavor!)

5 cloves garlic – minced

1/2 small onion – minced

Lawry’s Salty and Seasoned Pepper

2-4 tablespoons of Chili Oil –  Remember COOK TO TASTE –   this is NOT a restaurant – you can TASTE the food!

1/4 cup Plum Wine

About 8 blanched scallion stems

red and orange bell peppers — the taste of green ones just too strong for my taste.  cut into brunoise – teeny teeny tiny pieces.  But still with some form so they won’t be soggy.

With the Iceberg Lettuce— I cored the sucker.  Then I BLAMMED it with a good thud and it makes the leaves much easier to separate.  Sorry I left out the blaming from the video as it was a “good time” in the kitchen!

Mix the turkey, garlic, onion and salt and pepper.  Let it for about 20 minutes.  flavors marry!

Heat a Wok until really hot.  I used Paella Pan – worked great.  Add a little of the Peanut Oil around the edges and in the wok stir fry the turkey until it is cooked through.  Add chili oil, the plum wine and the brunoise of peppers and stir fry for about 45 seconds or more.  Peppers should stay crisp!


Fill the lettuce cups with the ground mixture and top with blanched green onion strip for “style”  Add extra Chili Oil if wanted.  I personally like the “heat”!

I served with Brown Rice and Mixed Vegetables — stirred both in a little peanut oil and added soy sauce.  The dinner was beautiful as well as tasty.  And so darn healthy you can actually have wine and then Ice Cream!!!!

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Pasta La Norma with Pancetta and Camembert and Fig Appetizer

This Pasta a la Norma recipe has been “kicked” up a notch as I personally find the dish somewhat bland unless it’s smothered in cheese.  Since I was also making “Camembert and Fig Appetizer” I decided to keep the recipe lighter as to not kill the guests with cholesterol!  Both turned out fantastic and were a great addition to my Golden Globes Dinner for Four!  I love finding recipe ideas then making them my own— lots easier than laying in bed wondering how I am going to blend figs and cheese and make it yummie…I look for a basic recipe then start changing it to suit my taste.  Trust me my taste is fabulous:)


  • 1 round of Camembert Cheese – good quality
  • 2 packages of Pepperidge Farm- Puff Pastry Shells – TRUST me four of us eat them ALL!!
  • 1- container Organic Fig Preserves   (most stores – definitely Whole Foods)
  • tablespoon grainy mustard
  • tablespoon honey

FIXINGS Appetizer

Put pastry shells on ungreased cookie pan –  follow cooking directions – HOWEVER half way through the cooking TAKE shells out and PLUCK off tops.  Then fill with 3 pieces or Camberbert

and one tablespoon of Fig Preserves.  You can adjust size of cheese as you are cooking — it will make total sense!  I kept the little “tops” of the pastry and baked them for tiny little muffins.

Continue to bake until cheese is melted and pastry shells are brown.  i.e. photo.

Sprinkle a little tiny bit of mustard honey mix on top.

THESE ARE TO DIE FOR APPETIZERS THAT TAKE MINUTES…  Pretend you baked the dough and you will look like a cooking super hero.  I am a great home cook- but when I can take a short cut I totally take a shortcut!!!

INGREDIENTS- Pasta a la Norma – for four

4 – Japanese Eggplants (or Chinese)  you can use the big ones but they need to be cut into rounds and salted for 20 minutes or so – and then rinsed- makes them tender.  Use Japanese!

1- 1/2 cans of Italian tomatoes (I use San Marzano) which are the best in my opinion.  There are other brands.  Use the whole tomatoes and MUSH them in a bowl with your hands. (28 oz)

1 package Italian Pancetta (Italian bacon)

1/2 cup of EVOO –  could be more or less but its a start

1 onion peeled and chopped  (pre chopped – I usually use 3/4 container for one onion)

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 carrot – peeled and diced

1/2 tsp sugar

6 Basil Leaves- chopped

1 packaged Wheat Penne

Pecorino Cheese for shavings— you can also use ricotta salata- but its hard t find.

All purpose flour- tiny bit – see “fixings”



Cut eggplants into little bit than bite size — or in rounds if you prefer.

Sprinkle with tiny bit of flour— just DUST

Cover large heavy pan with olive oil and sauté eggplant- medium heat.  Do in bathes if need be.  Make sure they are Golden and tender.

Set aside

Cut Pancetta in little squares – easier for cooking – sautee until crispy –  set aside

Cook onions, celery, garlic and shake of Lawry’s Seasoning Salt in Pancetta drippings – won’t be much – add EVOO as needed.

Medium heat until golden.  Add tomatoes and sugar and cook over low heat blending flavors.  About 40 minutes.  YOU WILL HAVE 1/2 CAN OF TOMATOES LEFT – So if sauce starts

to go down too much add another one or two “smushed” tomatoes.

Add Basil Leaves – and if you want some Italian herbs— I just used Basil and Lawry’s salt and pepper.

Add Pancetta

Add Eggplant and put at very low heat – 20 minutes or so to keep blending flavors.

Boil large pot of water and add one package of Barilla Plus Multigrain Pasta- Penne

Add to boiling water – cook until aldente –  drain.

In large frying pan – non stick (very important) sauté the pasta in olive EVOO oil until slightly crisp.  This may be new to you – but its DELICIOUS!

Serve with slices of Pecorino of ricotta salata—-    I also serve with VERY finely grated red pepper flakes… that’s for my taste so I  let guests sprinkle their own amount.

There will no complaints

Serve with fresh green salad and your guests will love you forever!!!  At least until the next meal!

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Roast Loin of Pork with Vegetables

ROAST LOIN OF PORK WITH FRESH ROSEMARY AND VEGETABLES is again an easy to prepare flavorful dish!!  Using Organic Pork this is really a farm to table home cooked meal.  I cut a TINY bit of Rosemary from our garden as any fresh herb is pungent and in this house pungent doesn’t work!  I truly believe that using herbs should COMPLIMENT the meal and not DOMINATE the meal.  But if you like more of any herb in any recipe – hey go for it!!  This is just my taste!  I based my recipe on various ones that I have across— basically with a good cut of pork there will be some fat — fat acts as a transmitter for the herbs and coating into the meat.  Sounds gross – but is yummy!!!  I cook a lot of pork because it truly is the “other white meat” and we are staring to “cluck” with all the chicken that is eaten at this home!  I love fish but only the ones that seem to cost about $1000000 a pound – and a lot of pasta is great but pretty soon you have to keep buying  larger jeans.


  • 4 large garlic cloves – I have the 5 garlic rule – but these suckers I used were BIG
  • a pinch of fresh rosemary – finely chopped   (remember if you want more – go for it – but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
  • salt and pepper (Lawry’s) and Spice Hunter – all natural – steak and chop seasoning (salt free) – – about three shakes in the small bowl with rosemary and garlic
  • 1 bone in pork loin roast –  4-5 lbs  –  I could not find one with bone so I used one without-  it works!
  • 2 carrots,  peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk – chopped
  • 10 or so fingerling potatoes – cut into halves
  • white wine/red wine on hand for drizzling and deglazing
  • EVOO



Very finely chop together the garlic and rosemary.  Transfer to small bowl and add salt, pepper and three shakes of seasoning.  Add about 1 tablespoon of EVOO and make a paste.

Make slits of about 1/2″ deep – about 8 or so  all over the pork and insert some of the mixture into each slit.  With remaining seasoning mix rub all over the roast.  Add olive oil is needed.

( I find EVOO is always needed.)  Take some wine – Drink one sip – out of a glass of course – then sprinkle wine in bottle over the roast.  I actually only drank white but sprinkled a bit of each color.

I find that a little wine adds flavor to about any meat and just about every cook.  Enough wine and Poof – you are a chef!! (kidding)

Cook meat for about 30 minutes and then scatter vegetables around roast.  Pork should register about 155 degrees when done -as these days it is being served a little pink on the inside so DO NOT

overcook.  If your vegetables are getting done too quickly – cover with strips of tin foil and add a little chicken stock to the pan.  Even in the finest restaurant Pork is now pink.  I buy organic

meat so don’t worry about the pinkness at all.  Makes roast more moist.

Transfer to platter and cover and keep warm.  Place the roasting plan over low heat and add some white wine and a little chicken stock to make sauce stirring up any drippings.  I find that

pork roast with bone has better drippings but there just wasn’t one!  Sigh.

Carve the roast and arrange on warmed platter and pour pan juices over all.

If you like add some peas-   I used frozen and add to platter.   Also I served with Motts Sugarless Applesauce – added tiny sugar and stick of cinnamon which I left in sauce for a couple of

hours and its compliments dish really well.

ENJOY – Again – your are a CHEF!!!

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Absolutely the Best Chicken Soup Ever

Yes, I tend to cook with a lot of chicken.  I like to use organic because I truly believe the chickens are happier and healthier and not full of mystery stuff that my body doesn’t need.  I have had enough antibiotics in my life!  Don’t need extra helping!  So this recipe (sortoff) was handed down to me from a very old lady that I knew in New York.  I believe she has gone to heaven but the MAIN ingredient in this soup truly is what makes it the BEST CHICKEN SOUP EVER!!!!  On the left is my fabulous stove that I love with all my heart!  It’s a Wolfe and has RED knobs that I KNOW make my pretty good cooking even better!  Love Love my stove!


  • 3 Bone in Organic Chicken breasts
  • 2 Boxes of Organic Chicken Stock  (2 lbs is good-  3 lbs better )  With 2 lbs you night have to add some water as I like LOTS of stock
  • Lawry’s Salt and Pepper     (I should own stock in Lawry’s as I use it for everything – less salt – more flavor)
  • 3-4 carrots diced
  • 1/2 white onion – quarter pieces
  • 3-4 garlic cloves – smashed
  • 1/4 lb of green beans  (or more if you want)
  • Half bag of “yokless” egg noodles  ( made with egg whites and just as yummie)
  • Bunch of FRESH DILL-  or if it comes packaged a package will do



Remove most of the skin from breasts– cuts down on fat skimming

Season the breasts with Larwy’s and pepper

Sautee the breasts in about a tablespoon of vegetable oil — just cover bottom of pan

When brown remove the chicken and put aside

in Chicken flavored oil saute briefly the carrots, onion, and garlic

Put Chicken back into pot and cover with both boxes of stock

Eyeball the liquid— if you want a bit more add 1/2 cup water– it will gather flavor as it cooks

NOW the MAGIC ingredient — snip off about 1/3 cup of dill…  I swear I just add to taste as I go – but that gives you a beginning

Sprinkle little pieces into the stock.

Cover and let cook for at least 30 minutes on low before you start tasting

I am ALL about adjusting flavor when cooking — but I have been at it a LONG time— so don’t panic just add more Dill if you want but don’t OVER do it!!  The lady that told me about fresh DILL said in a pinch you can add Ginger Ale to the soup— but I have always just used the Dill.  Doesn’t seem like a very good substitute?  Ginger Ale?   I’ll try it someday.

Check soup for flavor — more salt?  More pepper?  More dill?  More stock?  I’m giving you the basics – you can adjust flavor.

When chickens starts to fall off the bone add the green beans and 5 minutes later add the noodles and cook till soft.

Take chicken off bones and shred.  Return to the pot.

When noodles are done you are FINISHED.  It should tastes heavenly and last for about two days for a family of TWO.  We eat it as a main meal!


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