Monday, July 28, 2014

Farfalle with Grilled Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives and Capers

My high school friend Pat shared a recipe of her mother-in-law's with me when she saw a Facebook post of my shopping cart from Trader Joe's loaded up with lots of good food including several packages of their frozen artichoke hearts.  I made the pasta earlier in the week and we loved it, but the second time I made it, I added grilled chicken. (Pat said her mother-in-law must be spinning in her grave! But what the heck is wrong with grilled chicken??)    

The oohs and aaahhs just kept coming, so I guess this will become a staple in my household!  I actually split the dish, omitted the cheese to keep it allergy friendly for my boys who are allergic to dairy.  I also substituted black olives in their plate because the jar of kalamata olives listed lactic acid and I was unsure if it was derived from vegetable sources or dairy so we decided to err on the side of caution. 

When Pat gave me this recipe, she didn't give amounts of ingredients, I just threw in what I thought looked and tasted good.  I tried to adjust the amounts to something measurable, but you may want to adjust to your own taste!  This made approximately 6 hearty servings and I accompanied this with a garden salad.

Farfalle with Grilled Chicken, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives and Capers

Box of Farfalle  (1lb)

3 whole boneless chicken breasts cut in 1/2 (or 6 thin sliced boneless chicken breasts)
1 envelope of Good Seasons Italian Dressing
olive oil

1 - 2 packages of frozen artichoke hearts (or 1-2 cans of artichoke hearts)  or if you are daring, use fresh artichoke hearts!

several cloves of garlic (to taste)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup white wine
capers (to taste)
crushed red pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Fresh parmesan cheese

Wash and trim chicken breasts.  Place in a bowl.  Mix 1 envelope of Good Seasons Italian Dressing with 4 tablespoons of olive oil.   Pour over the chicken breasts, mix well to coat chicken.  Grill, chop up in bite size pieces and set aside.

Cook Farfalle.  Reserve some of the pasta water.

In a medium to large skillet or fry pan, add garlic and artichoke hearts (right from the freezer if frozen) to approximately 1/2 cup olive oil.   Saute on medium heat until cooked, approximately 10 minutes.  

Add 1 cup of white wine (I used a single size serving bottle of pino grigio).  Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low/medium.  Add salt, pepper and hot pepper to taste.  Add the olives and capers just before adding to the Farfalle.  Add some of the pasta water if dish needs more liquid. 

Grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top!  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chocolate Sushi

Chocolate Sushi?  Oh yeah...  

Now to clarify, there is no fish.  This dessert is a creative take on sushi and for an admittedly 'not a big dessert person', I am utterly in love with this tasty sweet concoction.

My husband took me to Jamestown for dinner at Simpatico Jamestown, recently renovated and under new management (formerly Trattoria Simpatico).   All of our food was delicious, but when our server listed the desert options, Chocolate Sushi piqued my curiosity.

The 'rice' is actually coconut which circles the rich, chocolate center.  Carmelized banana and fresh berries with whipped cream garnish the 'sushi'.  It was rich, decadent and delicious.  I absolutely must go back soon for more.

Located on Narragansett Avenue in Jamestown, Simpatico is a short walk to the harbor and the beautiful views of the Pell Bridge (formerly the Newport Bridge).   This restaurant is most definitely worth a visit if in the Rhode Island area, but be sure to call for reservations.  And don't forget to try the chocolate sushi!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Woody Allen Brings Hollywood to Rhode Island

Rhode Island is hosting Woody Allen and crew this summer for the filming of a new movie.  Details are pretty hush hush.  No title or plot has been disclosed and locations have not been freely revealed although the move is rumored to be a murder mystery.  This spring, a casting call had been announced for college-aged extras and earlier in July, filming was underway in Newport with Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix.  

A photo was posted of Woody Allen filming in Providence on a Facebook group page in which I am a member.  Since the location was literally 10 minutes away, the kids and I scrambled to the car, camera in hand and drove up to the East Side where they were filming.   The boys were so excited to hopefully get a glimpse of Woody Allen and watch some movie making in action.  

And.....they were out to lunch!

I spoke with a camera woman and a couple of lighting guys who said they'd be filming again at dusk.  We went home, came back a couple of hours later, and they were filming.  It was well before dusk.  Luckily we had decided to return earlier.

Emma Stone was walking down the street with Jamie Blackley in this scene.  Since there hadn't been much talk about what's going on, we hadn't heard that Jamie Blackley was in town at this point and thought at first it was Joaquin Phoenix.

We didn't see Woody Allen.  He was not in the director area that was set up and when the filming wrapped for the weekend, I saw him quickly get into a car, too quick for a photo.  The boys were disappointed, they really wanted to see him! 

However, when Emma Stone came out of the house they were filming in, she graciously took a photo with my sons.  They were thrilled!

Filming continues for the next few weeks so we possibly may get a glimpse of the elusive director!  It's always exciting when Hollywood comes to Rhode Island.  Can't wait to see this movie!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Let's Go On a Whale Watch!

The boys were watching JAWS yesterday while I packed a bag to go out on a whale watch yesterday. The water has been relatively calm and we had been itching to spend an afternoon on a boat, so we figured the whale watch would be fun.   We had no illusions about actually seeing whales, they are really not that often seen around here, but if we did, it would be a bonus.  

I had spoken with some of the locals and asked if it was really a rough ride and everyone said, no, it's fine.  I have been on boats, as have the boys, and we've never had any issues with seasickness.  Of course, my husband rolled his eyes and said I was crazy to do it.  But David and Mikey wanted to as well, so we figured we'd give it a try. 

We were so happy while waiting for the boat to leave.
The ride was 2 hours out, 2 hours back.  The ocean looked pretty calm, however the boat was jumping up and down.  David was the first to hang over the rail.  I was next.  Then Mikey followed.  Apparently, about 1/2 the passengers were sick and a woman whose husband works on the fishing boats in Narragansett, said this crew said it was pretty calm and she was surprised as so many people were sick.

We didn't see any whales, but did see some birds.  I'm not sure what they are but based on my search online, I believe they are either a species of Petrel or Shearwater. 

But most of the time, we were hugging the side of the boat or leaning over the rail.  

Land Ho!  (thank goodness)!

So they say the family that plays together, stays together, or plays together and pukes together or whatever.  I think we may have gotten distracted if we had seen any whales or dolphins or sharks or something, but that just wasn't happening.   

When we got in to shore, we still were upset to our stomachs, but our senses of humor were slowly coming back.  David said, "I puked 5 times."  Mikey said, "I puked 4 times."  I said, "I puked 2 times."  

And when we filled in my husband as to our fun family day at sea, the Monday morning quarterback stated, "I told you."   

But because so many were sick, the crew handed out tickets to every passenger for a free whale watch.  Do you think we should go?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oh Deer!

While deer are a pretty common sight in Narragansett, our neighborhood is not overly rural.  I have never seen any in this immediate vicinity during our four years at the beach until yesterday.  My son was sitting at the table eating his waffles and said, "Mom, look.  A deer."  I said 'yeah, right', as he is always the comedian.  I looked out the kitchen window and sure enough, there was a doe just standing there.  I grabbed my camera and took two photos from the window.  I went outside, but as soon as she saw me, she ran. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


While I normally have no trouble photographing sunsets during our month at the beach, I have found it nearly impossible to get up early enough to catch the sun rise.  The other morning, my husband woke me up early and I was able to grab my camera, run out the door and drive the couple of miles to see the sun rising near the Point Judith Lighthouse.  I then drove down the street to Scarborough State Beach and collected a few more photos.  And while I was actually a little later than I would have liked, I did enjoy my first attempts!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Don't Leave Food Laying Around At The Beach!

Seagulls.  Rats with wings.  One of the beaches most hated creatures.  Beach goers are constantly complaining, shooing them away, hope they don't get shit on as the seagulls fly overhead.  But I don't hate the gulls.  I think they are beautiful.  To me, sea gulls signify the beach which is my favorite place in the whole world.

The gulls are pretty damn clever too.  They fly around and scope out the blankets, waiting for the opportune moment to grab a snack.  Last year a group of people were laying on the beach fairly close to us and one of the guys fell asleep with his mouth open.  His buddy thought it would be fun to put a tortilla chip in his mouth.  Within less than a minute, a huge seagull swooped down and took the chip out of the sleeping man's mouth, waking him up with a start. I'm not sure if he is still friends with his buddy!  

This year, a group of 4 were swimming and left two bags of chips on their blanket.  One seagull came over and began trying to get at the Doritos.  A few of us nearby chased it away.  It didn't work.  He came back with several of his friends and soon there was a flock of seagulls attacking the bag of Doritos.  One got daring and grabbed a sandwich wrapped in aluminum foil.  I was amazed to see how quickly and deftly he got it open and devoured the sandwich.  It just goes to show, don't leave open food lying on the beach.  Packaged or wrapped food isn't safe from these birds if it's just sitting out on a blanket.  One even came and swiped a piece of sandwich from a woman's hand while she was holding it, but looking away, talking to her friend!  These gulls really have a knack for finding food!

Don't shit on me!