Test Kitchen

Ina & LPB

Well, Ina Garten’s new cookbook is out and it’s along the lines of the previous books, though the recipes look a little more complex. It’s another excellent addition to her series of books that have brought millions of people to their kitchens. The book starts off with our common theme of good ingredients being the heart of any delicious dish. As I go though the book, I see some familiar recipes, though of course I think ours are a bit more robust and flavorful, such as:

Our turn…

Baked Spinach and Feta Bucatini

As you might have guessed or are soon to learn, spinach, feta and herbs are staples in my kitchen.  I also am a huge fan of Mac ‘n Cheese but not so much in the summer mostly because I am grow tired of it after a long winter of making it all the time.  AsContinue Reading

Grilled Clams with Shallot Basil Butter

Growing up, once a year we would go clamming on the beaches of New Hampshire where we would literally use a long toothed hand rakes to pluck the clams out of the sand. This was no easy task as clams do not live in the soft beach sand that sunbathers put their towels on, ratherContinue Reading

Pimento Dip

Everyone is South Carolina has their version of Pimento Dip…here is our version of this cheesy treat that we either just serve with crackers, mix into cheese and grits, broil over crostini and on and on… Ingredients  1 cup yellow extra sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup white extra sharp cheddar cheese 4 ounces cream cheese,Continue Reading

Kielbasa & Cheese Sauce

If you make your way to New York City be sure to stop by Gramercy Tavern for a fancy dinner in the dining room or a casual meal in their tavern.  The appetizers at the tavern are amazing and they have had a constant string of delicious treats but the one that stands out asContinue Reading

Chicken & Sage Sausage Curried Stew

This is a great winter dish and really makes a one pot meal since it is veggie rich, packs a huge amount of flavor in each spoonful. (You can use turkey instead of the chicken). I love to serve this at parties as you can make in advance and just heat up in the ovenContinue Reading

Herbed Minty Pea Soup with Smoked Bacon

I only make fresh pea soup when the peas are available already shelled in the springtime. I just find it too much work to go through the hassle of digging through so many pea-pods, but if you have the time, go for it. For this recipe you’ll need four cups of fresh peas, or youContinue Reading

Chicken Stock

This is the key to so many recipes, I make gallons of chicken stock and store it in the freezer for up to sic months.  The difference between home-made and store-bought is striking and I really cannot imagine the process to make chicken stock by a commercial manufacturer.   Not pretty. Use the biggest stockpotContinue Reading

New England Clam Chowder

I love chowders in the early spring, late fall and winter when you can get access to fresh ingredients and it is cool enough to enjoy a warm chowder. Hot chowder in the summer never really made sense as that is time do get into gazpacho and other chilled soups. This is just another easyContinue Reading

Corn Soup with Lobster (or Shrimp)

The base of this soup is a silky corn stock made from home-made chicken stock, freshly picked corn and herbs of your choosing. I prefer basil or tarragon but many others will do. You can serve hot or cold depending on the weather. I like to add shrimp or lobster meat to finish off theContinue Reading


I love gazpacho in the summertime, especially to kick off a back yard BBQ.  After making the gazpacho, we pour them into little bottles and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to get them bone-chilling for serving.  I put them out on the table so people can be seated and pour their own soup.  WeContinue Reading

Tuna Poke

We always have a small issue when newcomers join for their first dinner at Le Poisson Bleu.  Many of the first timers think that the appetizer and cocktail hour is actually a buffet dinner so when it is time to sit for the meal they are completely full.  Ooops.  So over the years we haveContinue Reading

Cilantro Dipping Sauce

This sauce can be used with just about everwything from chicken wings, grilled shrimp…the list is endless. It’s a light sauce packed with flavor and some heat from Sriracha. Ingredients 2/3 cup zero fat Greek yogurt 2/3 cup sour cream 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped 3 tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped 3 to 4 tablespoonsContinue Reading

Lobster Rolls

If you ever make your way to Charleston or Nantucket, stop by 167 Raw for their amazing lobster roll. It is simple and delicious. To top it off they have their own brioche rolls made at a nearby baker and they use clarified butter to grill them. That said, I like to power-pack the lobsterContinue Reading

Roasted Tomato, Herbed & Parmesan Soup with Cheddar Croutons

This is best served with our world famous Borough Market Toasted Cheese Sandwich.  The classic mix of this soup and sandwich make for a great lunch on a cold day. Ingredients  4 Pounds of Roma tomatoes 1 tablespoon of chimichurri rub 1/2 cup freshly ground parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon olive oil with two tablespoons ofContinue Reading

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Borough Market sits in the heart of central London, in the shadow of the famous London Bridge, and is a playground for amazing food and drink.  There are food and specialty stands as far as you can see, well at least from the barrel we claim as ours at a wine bar.  We love to spendContinue Reading

Italian Fondue

It is important to be ready for your guests, we call it the five senses checklist. First up is to greet them with a cocktail or drink. Once that’s in their hands, at least one of the hors d’ouveres should be ready soon after they arrive.  I like this cheesy herbed dish that has aContinue Reading


A fondue party should always try to recreate an amazing restaurant in Verbier called Chez Dany.  This cozy chalet rests on the mountainside with panoramic views of the Swiss Alps.  They serve up some of the finest traditional swiss cuisine, excellent wines and a perfect place to rest as you prepare for the afternoon ofContinue Reading

Northeast Vinaigrette

I love this fresh dressing for salads as well as to marinate chicken and seafood. It’s simple and has an excellent flavor. I also use it as a base for my lobster or shrimp salads as well. Ingredients 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar 1 tablespoon chives, chopped finely 1Continue Reading

Curry Pasta Salad with Broccolini

I like simple side dishes that can be made well ahead of the crowd appearing and the advance work makes the dish all the better because the flavors intensify over time.   This  pasta salad can be made 6 hours in advance and I often mix a little more of the curry mayonnaise and tossContinue Reading

Tomato Cheese Tartlets

We use tomato tartar for so many dishes because it is just rich with flavor. This is a little bit like our pizza but packed with much more flavor and makes and excellent plated appetizer. This makes for an excellent dish when tomatoes are out of season. Makes for 8 tartlets Ingredients Double the tomatoContinue Reading

Tomato Tartar

A small group of us have, year after year, gone for a day of cooking with the infamous chef Patrick O’Connell at his Michelin three star restaurant, The Little Inn at Washington. Patrick is the ultimate chef and host so cooking with him is always a great experience. He showed us how to make thisContinue Reading

Italian Beef Stew

When the cold weather comes it’s time to turn to some classic hearty dishes like beef stew. I have had a lot of tasteless versions of this dish but the deep slow cooking of just a bit of hearty read wine and the beef makes for the base of a delicious sauce. The anchovy pasteContinue Reading

Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches

I love turkey burgers but they fall apart on the grill all the time.  So, to get around that, I make a herbed turkey meatloaf and serve them as a tasty sandwich.  This is a great recipe for a larger gathering.  You can do it mostly in advance and is a delicious lunch for aContinue Reading

Skillet Roasted Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are often overlooked as everyone is usually clamoring for skinless chicken breasts, which are also very tasty but you have to go back to the delicious crispy thigh that has some heat marinated into the meat. This is an easy, fast and inexpensive dish.  Be sure to cook it just before your guests arriveContinue Reading

Orzo Salad

The Barefoot Contessa has a great orzo salad that has been served over and over at LPB.  However, over the years I have made some changes to pick it up a bit.   We have added a few items, changed some of the veggies for a more flavorful dish.  It is perfect to make theContinue Reading

Shrimp & Fresh Kielbasa over Orzo Salad

If you don’t know it already, we love summer barbecues. I have dabbled in shish-kabobs but never liked the way the vegetables would be raw in the center the lack of variety of flavors in most mixes. We decided to do a pool party BBQ in the middle of the summer when all of theContinue Reading

Cheddar Parmesan Mini Smash Burgers

I turned away from burgers during that ugly period in culinary history when bigger was better. The ingredients took second to size so chef’s could showcase a burger the size of a Volkswagen and frankly they kind of tasted like one. Smaller is better. It is all about each ingredient that you use. Ketchup? NoContinue Reading

The Simple Cheeseburger

I have to admit that I did indeed get caught up in the burger craziness– with double, triple burgers, all kinds of ingredients mixed in…it just did not stop.  Big burgers, mini burgers, the option were and are endless. We have created some ourselves: Boursin Burger Mini Cheddar Bacon Burgers Herbed Chicken Burgers with CilantroContinue Reading

Kafta Burgers with Tzatziki

We make our world famous Lamb Kaftas so we thought why not make burgers out of the mix and add some Tzatziki with Fresh Herbs sauce on a brioche roll with some romaine and tomato.   Delicious.

Mini Cheddar Bacon Burgers

I have a love/hate relationship with mini-burgers that are also known as sliders.  They are served just about everywhere and though I do love our mini bourson burger there is also another tasty version that has Chimichurri Rub, chopped red onion, parmesan cheese, Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper mixed in.  We then  put extra sharp cheddar cheese, pickleContinue Reading

Herbed Mustard Jalapeno Tacos

This is spicy variation of LPB’s world famous Herbed Mustard Shrimp with some added heat. Using small locally-sourced fresh shrimp for the tacos makes for an amazing lunch. You can serve this with just about anything, from chips to couscous (see below.) It’s a great casual lunch for just about any occasion. Serves 12 tacos.Continue Reading

Fried Chicken Tacos

Yes, you read it correctly. we put together an amazing pool BBQ lunch that had a crunchy and spicy fried chicken strip, two toasted tortillas with Guacamole in between, our Cole Slaw and our world famous blue cheese dressing drizzled on top. It’s a lot of steps for sure but simplify it in your mind and do it for aContinue Reading

Crispy Shrimp Tacos

  As you might have guessed, we like to entertain a lot and summer holidays are some of our favorite occasions to gather friends.  Our annual Memorial Day Weekend đŸ‡ș🇾 party is always a spectacular time because it’s the first real party of the summer.  As I have said before, there is a 60-minute window at theContinue Reading

Mini Fish Tacos

My first fish taco was brought to me at the pool at the Delano Hotel on Miami’s South Beach.  The hotel is stark, with white on white fabrics and drapes flowing everywhere.  It was one of the first major overhauls of an iconic art-deco hotel from when the area was a lively and flourishing vacationContinue Reading

Short Rib Taco

Making short-ribs is simple but takes a while. When I make them for a dinner party, I always make a lot extra and freeze the meat and sauce to make raviolis or in this instance short rib taco served on a grilled tortilla, with tzatziki, cheddar cheese, grilled onions and cilantro. This really makes forContinue Reading

Grilled Sausages

When summer hits it’s time to take it easy and have some simple meals that can feed an army–and not rip up your budget. I love the simplicity of grilled sausages, caramelized onions on a brioche hot-dog bun with mozzarella cheese. The trick of it, of course, is the quality of the sausages. I highlyContinue Reading

Sicilian Salmon w/ Mustard Sauce

The Obstinate Daughter restaurant on Sullivan’s Island in South Carolina is a favorite stop for just about everyone who comes down to Charleston. Their menu is imaginative, using all fresh ingredients and locally sourced when possible. Many of their dishes have been the inspiration for some of our favorite recipes like this Salmon Milanese. (TheirContinue Reading

Spicy Herbed Little Neck Clams

I grew up on steamers with a big belly that you would dunk in clam broth to get the sand out, then dunk again in butter before eating. I had my first little neck clam when I ordered spaghetti alle vongole, and have never gone back to steamers. There are many ways to make theseContinue Reading


Double Stuffed Pizza

Claridge’s Hotel in London has had the tastiest pastry dough pizza on their late-night menu for more than a decade; it’s always been a great way to wind down at 3am. Here, we expanded on their original dish and turned it into a feast perfect for a casual gathering, or whenever you might want aContinue Reading

Mini Puff Pastry Pizzas

The after hours menu at Claridge’s Hotel in London is a spectacular celebration of late night food which is troublesome, especially with their puff pastry pizza option dangling out there at 2 AM or so.  It’s too delicious to pass up but do you really need a sheet of pastry dough drenched with cheese, sauceContinue Reading

Angry Lobster & Shrimp Pasta

Spicy pasta, lobster and shrimp topped with fresh basil make an great one dish dinner.  There is a heap of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes when you make the sauce and finish off the lobster and shrimp really wake this dish up. Ingredients  1 pound of bucatini pasta 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in halfContinue Reading

Shrimp Risotto

This is a great risotto packed with deep flavors and based on a hearty shrimp stock. You’ll want to buy fresh shrimp with the heads still on. This makes a great early spring dish when the peas are fresh, but it really can be made year long. Of course, the heart of this risotto isContinue Reading

Spicy Scallion Couscous

Couscous can be served straight from the stove or chilled in the refrigerator. Either way it’s a delicious side for just about any dish, but absolutely perfect for a BBQ. There are two styles of couscous, the larger Israeli (pearl) which are the size of small pellets, and the smaller version pictured above. Couscous isContinue Reading

Feta Lemon Dill Couscous

Light summer couscous served cold in summertime makes a great side to just about anything. This is a very easy and quick dish to make with fresh herbs and lemon to compliment the brined feta cheese and tricolor couscous. Ingredients 1 quart homemade chicken stock (or quality store or butcher shop made stock) 4 tablespoonsContinue Reading

Lamb & Clams

Clams are always an easy dish, and I prefer them to mussels – they’re smaller, have better texture and far tastier. A while back, I was making my Greek version of chili using ground lamb and other Mediterranean ingredients. I found myself grilling some clams and ladling the Greek chili on top to serve asContinue Reading

Lamb Chili & Clams

This is a simple recipe, especially if you have leftover Lamb Chili from the night before or you were smart enough to make extra and freeze it for future meals. The concept for this dish derives from the Seacoast of NH, one of the many places that I lived that had a huge influence in my cooking.Continue Reading

Lamb Chili

I love chili, but not to the extent that it deserves half a day of work and 50 ingredients, some of which must come from specialty stores.  So this is an easy, tasty and different take on Chili that brings Tex-Mex and Greek cooking to a crossroads. Serves 8 people Ingredients 2 cups red onions,Continue Reading

Summer Herb and Parmesan Pasta

This is a more flavorful version of the ever-so-famous Cache e Pepe, but we add a lot more herbs and red pepper flakes to raise its flavor profile. Ingredients 1 pound of bucatini pasta 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 6 shallots, peeledContinue Reading

Brisket Mac ‘n Cheese

It was a rainy night on Sullivan’s Island and no one could pick a restaurant so I pulled together a last minute dinner party.  However,  there was not a lot of time to cook and its hard to figure out if there will be 6, 10 or 16 friends coming over so a main dishContinue Reading

Zucchini Caramelized Onion Tart

Tarts can be a very boring endeavor that ends with a bland cheesy mess.  I like a punch it up so I throw in red pepper flakes and a host of other ingredients to really wake up the tart and make people want another piece.  This can be served as an appetizer or with aContinue Reading

Zucchini, Feta & Red Onion Pancakes

I like to start Sunday brunches by greeting guests with our variation of potato pancakes.  So many cultures and religions claim different variations of the original potato pancake, from Irish Boxty to Jewish Latkes, it is hard to remember the true origins of this dish. But regardless of where it comes from, it’s a deliciousContinue Reading

Herbed Carrots Sautéed in Brown Butter

Carrots get a bad rap and most often used to make a soup, compliment a salad but the flavor can really be released with some thyme, kosher salt and butter.  This is a quick, easy and delicious treat so accompany just about any main dish. Serves 6 Ingredients  1 pound of carrots, peeled and cutContinue Reading

Cream Corn

You don’t have to go to a steak house to have cream corn  anymore.  Plus, you can use this side dish for just about everything.  This is not a super healthy dish but I believe if you are going to make cream corn, then make cream corn.  No one calls it half and half corn orContinue Reading

Greek Cream Corn

I love creamed corn and it is very a simple and delicious side-dish.  The secret is to get as much milk out of the cobs by scraping it out.  If the corn is not fresh/ in-season then blanch them (before cutting off the kernels) for 2-3 minutes. Ingredients  12 ears of fresh farmstead, shucked andContinue Reading

Sunchoke Puree

We were cooking with Chef Patrick O’Connell at his famed Michelin 3 star restaurant and he showed us how to make a masterfully crafted and delicious, silky sunchoke puree. This is an amazing side to anything you would use a pureed potato but is just a bit more amazing. Ingredients 1/2 pound sun chokes, cleanedContinue Reading

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

There are a million ways to make a mashed potato, this is a simple way to make a delicious side dish to just about anything on your grill or in the oven. I like steeping the butter with some herbs to infuse flavors into the potatoes. Serves 8 Ingredients 4 pounds of Yukon potatoes, peeledContinue Reading

Potato “Latkes” (pancakes)

I love a delicious latke, they are a very simple dish to make but you have to be careful, as they can be pretty bland. There are a million ways to make them, especially with a wide variety of toppings but after a lot of research, here is what we landed on as our favoriteContinue Reading

Mini Twice Baked, Once Fried Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes were always a big hit at Thanksgiving though the skins were dry and tasteless.  At LPB, we do a twice baked, once fried version and switched to the more flavorful Yukon gold potato from the russet that was a staple growing up.  Forget the sour cream and open up some creme fraiche,Continue Reading

“Spanish” Tomato Bread

We have spent a lot of time in Spain from Barcelona to Madrid and just about everywhere else.  The one thing we look forward the most is the tomato bread which has now gone global.  In it’s simplest version is grilled bread with raw garlic rubbed on in, a little olive oil, then you smushContinue Reading

Gigantic Mustard Parmasean Breadcrumbs

When I start planning a menu, the first thing I do is take inventory of what is in the kitchen.  If I spot a loaf of crusty country bread that is past its prime, I immediately put Panzanella on the plan for dinner, which is basically our Cucumber Dill Salad with croutons, feta and some extra veggies.Continue Reading

Brownie Trifle

If you are having a big group over for a party, there’s a year round dessert guests devour. If you are in a hurry, you can find a good bakery and buy the brownies or make them yourself. Either way, once you layer them with whipped cream and toffee bars, you have a spectacular dessert.Continue Reading

Cookies & Cabernet during the Covid-19 Pandemic

I am a big believer in good cookies to end a dinner – and I mean very good cookies. Recently, I found a greater purpose for these tasty treats. When the lock-downs started to roll through the United States, it was tough to keep in touch with people beyond never-ending mass text chains. If IContinue Reading

Fudge, Cream Cheese & Butterscotch Fudge Brownies

A few weeks ago we created one of our favorite cookies, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies which then led to Ice Cream Sandwiches, both delicious desserts.  Someone then asked if we could make some brownies for a day party and I thought back to growing up and the cream cheese that would be mixed into brownies to bring themContinue Reading

Ice Cream Sandwiches

We do a lot of work related meals and hate to have them actually 100% work related.  Washington is known for the “salon” dinner where people sit around and talk policy all night, which can be important, but there should also be some room to just relax and enjoy the night.  I think the menuContinue Reading

Sweet Teensy Cakes

If you are in Washington and want to have a special cake for any reason there is one place to go:  Sweet Teensy Bakery.  They are masters at decorating their amazingly tasty cakes.  We’ve had events for all sorts of groups of people coming to visit or to celebrate just about anything, including with PopeContinue Reading

1 comment on “Ina & LPB

  1. Renee A. Meyer

    You’re a hard act to follow, Jim…even when it’s Ina! Keep plenty of garlic on hand! It’s going to be a fun Fall in the kitchen!

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