Tag Archives: Food Network

Your Must Have Thanksgiving Dish is?

18 Nov

We are winding down, Thanksgiving is next week; so get your mind-set that the supermarkets, butchers and bakeries are going to be packed!

No need to think it’s going to be an in and out kind of day; everyone is on a mission.

For Thanksgiving Day, you may have a full house or you may say skip all that and made reservations at your favorite restaurant.

No matter what you decide, there’s that must Thanksgiving dish, you have to have!

Ok!  Back to MY must have dish, sweet potato souffle, passed down from generation to generation!  It’s the best!

I won’t be able to give you my recipe; in fear of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, I did find a similar recipe with a twist:


The video was taped during the Wine & Food Festival held in NYC this past October, it was great fun!  Do try to make it next year!

So what about you, what is the one item you MUST have for Thanksgiving?

Letia 🙂

FoodNetworkTV’ Channel via YouTube, photograph provided by fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com  

Wine & Food Fesitival: Brunch with the Neelys at their Barbecue Parlor in NYC!

1 Oct

The fourth annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine takes place September 29 – October 2, 2011. Once again, 100% of the net proceeds of the Festival benefit charity.

The Festival is hosted by and benefits the Food Bank For New York City, fighting hunger in the five boroughs; and Share Our Strength®, a national nonprofit working to end childhood hunger in America.

In 2010, the Festival raised more than $1.2 million for these charities, helping them better provide for those they serve and closing the gap on hunger in our country.

To help the cause, two of my favorite people, Pat and Gina Neely closed their NYC restaurant, Neely’s Barbecue Parlor and held a beautiful brunch today! The event sponsored by Tropicana and Corona Extra allowed their fans, family and food connoisseurs to help in the cause to raise money to fight hunger.

The menu displayed all the fixings that Pat and Gina have cooked on their Food Network show, Down Home with the Neelys, their cookbooks and family pass down recipes.  Their restaurant is located at 1125 First Ave. New York, NY 10065  212-832-1551 http://neelysbbqparlor.com/

The restaurant opened on 7/11/2011 and the reviews have been fantastic. When entering you feel like you’re home .  “A parlor is not stuffy, it’s supposed to be family”, Gina says.

There are warm wood tones, beautiful wrought iron patterned staircases and a red chandelier which catches your eye! <I said WOW!>  The windows also have the same wrought iron pattern, letting you know the design was carefully thought out.

The seating is comfortable, with the expectancy you are going to stay awhile…be comfortable!  Rooms are divided with a different feel, the wall paper defines it; for each room has a different pattern.  It sets an earthyiness and relaxing tone!

They have just completed their latest cookbook, The Neely’s Celebration Cookbook: Down Home Meals for Every Occasion, will be released in November.   They both are really excited about it.  There are a total of 120 recipes!!!!!

They have also partnered with Kraft for their Kraft Fight Hunger campaign. If you have a Facebook page, go to the Kraft Fight Hunger page and click the LIKE button, Kraft will give a meal for a child.

Now back to the brunch, the menu was superb!

To Start:

  •  Fried green tomatoes with Vidalia Onion Relish
  • Fresh Seasonal Fruit Compote
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Candied Thick Cut Slab Bacon    <——— can’t stop thinking about it!!!!  Gina and Pat were laughing, the Bacon will have you saying OINK!  It is so good!..


  • BBQ Spiced Seared Farm Raised Catfish with Eggs and Wilted Spinach
  • Pat’s Beer Can Chicken
  • “Wet” Memphis Ribs
  • Gina’s Kitchen Sink Quiche
  • Homemade Biscuits with Cream Gravy
  • Hush Puppies
  • Southern Creamed Corn
  • Spicy Pinto Beans with Burnt Ends  <———- had some kick to it!!!

To Finish

  • Blackberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream  <—–  WOW!
  • Mississippi Mud Pie with Rich Chocolate Sauce
  • Assorted Wines, Bellini and pomegranate Sour

The atmosphere had a happy buzz, family style, which gave you the opportunity to talk to the person sitting right next to you!  Food does that and good food does it even more!

The manager on hand, Alex Mitow was quite charming and made sure everyone was attended to!  While the fabulous general manager, Chris was making sure things stayed calm! The brunch was very, very nice and I met some wonderful people!

I was so into the food that I found my self daydreaming, thinking maybe…just maybe, I could cook one of the entrees!   I said maybe! Never mind!

If you are interested in the Wine & Food Festival, make sure to look out for the event next year!

Even if you cannot attend, think about giving.  Every dollar donated to the Food Bank helps provide five meals to New Yorkers in need.  If not this organization; you choose one to help in some way!

Here are some photos…please note there are no dessert photos, do I have to say why?  LOL

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Now if you are thinking about BARBECUE!!! And you are in NYC, please visit the Neely restaurant!  I guarantee you, you wont be disappointed at all!

And pssst!  Fellas, there’s a cigar parlor downstairs too!   Ssssh!

Letia 🙂

Photos by Neelys  Barbecue Parlor and Letia Mitchell LifeStyle and Design,

Taking Your Lunch in Style!

16 Feb

“I’ve been brown bagging it! Every morning, making my lunch! It’s boring!  I don’t want to carry a kid lunch tote!  Do you have any  recommendations? Donna from Brooklyn, NY

Like many, you have decided to forgo the highly priced lunches and brown bag it to save money.

I also have done the same thing!  By taking my lunch for 2 – 3 days out of the week, I’m able to put 6 more gallons of gas in the car!

Bringing your lunch….it’s really cool to do so.    And now there are many companies who would like to promote your sandwich in a fashionable stylish way!<smile>.

In late December, I myself did too buy a lunch tote from the Container Store by BUILT NY!

They are known for their stylish laptop slings bags, but have also provided the same fashion statement with their lunch totes.  They also have a lunch combo pack, where you have a lunch tote and bottle holder.

I would recommend you to go to their site and see if you see something you like! http://www.builtny.com/lunch-main-cat.html

After browsing, remember the totes can be used not only for lunch…..baby bottle warmer, hold ice packs and even keeping straight out of the oven muffins warm too!

I hope your brown bagging becomes more fun!  Also, go to www.foodnetwork.com for some great “lunch bag” recipes too!

Letia 🙂


http://www.containerstore.com, Built NY Gourmet Getaway Tote TM Tote.

Morocco! What a Surprise in a Tagine, Fez Style!

23 Jan

Well! I had the delight of experiencing a superb meal!   Invited to make a stop at my friend’s Mom house, before we headed down to the city.    He did say he’d call the day before and his Mom was expecting us.

Linni is her name and when we arrived at her building, as we got closer and closer to the apartment, the hallway had this superb smell of spices.

With a knock at the door, escaped more!  The home smelled wonderfully, leaving me to be awfully hungry.   For I was n’t even thinking of food before I’d arrived!

Here is this 5′ 3″ woman opening the door, quite beautiful, you can tell she was a head turner in her younger years!  Followed by four to five hugs, she said she was so glad to see us and she made a little something!

Arron headed straight to the kitchen, then I hear this yell of happiness!  His Mom made homemade bread and his favorite dish made of lamb, fez style I’m told with couscous!

“Come sit down”, Linni said.  You can tell she was so happy that we were there!   Her home is quite lovely, very warm from all the cooking, the windows were full of steam!!!   As I’m sitting,  Arron pours some wine and then returns with his Mom, with a beautiful pot like dish, one by one, I’m told it’s called a tagine.  We all sit and I’d removed the lid!

There was a beautiful lamb shank in a wonderful sauce, surrounded by an array of vegetables, a side of couscous; with a slice of homemade bread! Then I tasted it!  OMG! All the flavors were so good and powerful, I was trying so hard to familiarize myself with the seasonings;  for they all worked so well together!   I started to eat slowly, I wanted to savor it and did I!  Arron kept kissing his Mom!  AMAZING!!!

Linni was so happy that I’d enjoyed her dish, she kept hugging me!  I knew it was a treat for her to prepare it and Arron, he kept saying, “I have to be in the kitchen with her so I can perfect my cooking.   I just love her!”   I said “Linni, you are the best!”

We stayed a little longer than we thought; for we talked about childhood in Medina Marrakech, Morocco< this was not a typical stop by at all>.  Then we helped clean up, there were pots and pans everywhere!  It was truly a beautiful night!

What an experience! Moroccan food, a first for me and not my last!  Here’s the recipe for the dish, now I did NOT get it from Linni!  She just smiled when I asked; Arron may have told her that I burn, literally!!  So I looked for the recipe on the Food Network and surprised how many flavorings and spices used!! Guess what? It’s worth it!  Here’s to trying new things!!!!! 🙂

If you have some tips in making this dish, please share!

Letia 🙂

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked and peeled
4 cups couscous (1 1/2 pounds)
4 lamb shanks
1 stick butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and 1 tablespoon black pepper
Pinch of saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
3 onions, quartered
6 each cilantro and parsley sprigs, tied together
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered
1 pound carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 pound small white turnips, quartered
1 quince, peeled, cored and cubed
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 pound zucchini, quartered
1 fresh hot chili pepper
1 cup raisins
Ghee* Smen** (aged butter) or butter

In a saucepan cover chickpeas with water and cook, covered, until tender.  Drain, cool and remove skins. In bottom of a couscous, Pre-heat 5 tablespoons of butter and oil over until hot, add lamb, salt and spices, onions, herb sprigs and tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Add 3 quarts water and chickpeas and simmer, covered, 1 1/2 hours.

Cut meat into chunks, discarding bones. Add carrots, turnips and quince to lamb broth and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan cover squash with broth from lamb stew and simmer until tender.

To lamb broth add zucchini, chili pepper, and raisins. Top with colander containing couscous, cover and steam 20 minutes. Dot couscous with remaining butter during last 5 minutes of steaming.

To serve, spoon couscous on to serving dish and toss with Ghee*, Smen** or butter. Spread out to form a large well in center. With a slotted spoon transfer meat and vegetables into well. Add drained squash.

Strain broth, correct seasoning and moisten couscous and vegetables with broth.

*Ghee (Clarified butter) **Smen (Aged butter)

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