{Food} We tested your (salad) recipes.

We asked the FOFoodie Gurus for their favorite summer salads and received hundreds of ideas for out-of-the-ordinary greens. After much debating, recipe-testing and tasting, we narrowed it down to these four favorites. Add them to your recipe repertoire, ASAP.

1. Watermelon-feta-mint salad
FOF Amy Mayer: “This salad is refreshing, healthy and uses the ingredients I most associate with summer: watermelon and mint! The best part — no measuring necessary — add as much as you like of everything.”

Watermelon (cut into bite sized chunks)
Mint leaves (julienned)
Feta (cut into cubes or chunks)
Balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil

Mix together watermelon, arugula, mint leaves and feta. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

2. Grilled peach and arugula salad
FOF Cathy Barrow (of Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen blog): “There’s sweet fruit, salty pancetta and the crisp bite of arugula. It’s refreshing and complex — fancy and easy to pull together all at the same time.”

Serves 2

2 freestone peaches, quartered and pitted
8 thin slices of pancetta
8 oz baby arugula
Walnut oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Wrap the pancetta slices around each quarter of peach and secure with a toothpick or skewer. Grill the peaches for about 2-3 minutes per side, until the pancetta crisps. Divide the arugula between two chilled plates. Set four peaches on each plate. Scatter chiffonade basil leaves over the peaches.
Drizzle with honey, balsamic and walnut oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Fennel and orange salad
FOF Susan Van Tol: “It’s simple, stunning and satisfying — the way all summer salad recipes should be. It’s flavorful, elegant and when I serve it, I receive rave reviews.”

Serves 6

1 large fennel bulb
2 oranges
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t balsamic vinegar

Slice fennel bulb and oranges thinly.  Mix together or arrange artfully on a platter.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4. Rosemary sweet potato salad
FOF Karen McKinney: “I first tasted this salad at the University of Tampa’s Panache Restaurant and fell in love with the great flavors. The chef was nice enough to share it with me. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, do not use dried but, feel free to substitute fresh basil or mint.”

Serves 8-10

5 large sweet potatoes
1-1/2 cups diced celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions

For the honey rosemary vinaigrette:
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher or sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes with the skins on until just done (don’t overcook or the cubes will be mushy) about 25-30 minutes. Refrigerate potatoes until cooled.

Mix honey, vinegar, rosemary and garlic in a blender until smooth. With blender running on low speed, add olive oil very slowly until dressing is thick and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, gently mix sweet potatoes, green onions, celery and vinaigrette until evenly covered. Chill until serving time. The flavors intensify if the salad sits out at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Photographs by Katherine Miles Jones for FabOverFifty

{Giveaway} Secrets to a breathtaking bod

FOF Rosie Battista is giving away the secrets that transformed her body from this:

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Enter to win, by commenting below and answering: What part of your body do you love the most?

As she approached her 50th birthday last year, Rosie Battista experienced a true mid-life crisis:

“I had to sell my house in a bad housing market,” writes Rosie on her website. “I had a broken-up relationship, a lost, messy floundering business, topped off with seemingly insurmountable life issues… All of this toxicity evidenced itself in the most obvious symptom of a lifestyle gone awry, an overweight, uncomfortable body.”

In an effort to get her groove back, Rosie decided to tackle one long-held goal: Compete in a body-building contest. Over the next four months, she completely transformed her body through an intensive dieting and training program. She lost 35 pounds, toned up and placed 17th in the competition.

“I was the oldest one in the competition and my 19-year-old daughter who trained and competed with me was the youngest,” says Rosie. “At 50, I am finally comfortable in my own skin and have the confidence to say it. Confidence enables and entitles me to sleep naked!”

Now, Rosie spends her time spreading the love…teaching others how to love their bodies and enjoy their food. She authored three brilliant books: Sleeping Naked After 40, an e-book which includes Rosie’s weight-loss and confidence-boosting lessons, Cooking Naked After 40, a cookbook of the recipes that transformed her body and Mini-Treats, a collection of dessert recipes without refined sugar.

Bonus! Preview one of Rosie’s recipes from Mini-Treats by clicking here.

“I LOVE chocolate, but that doesn’t mean I have to eat chocolate bars, candy and sugar-laden layer cakes. It is possible to sweeten your life while reducing the sugar you consume.”

Chick Pea Brownies

These are a favorite in my house because they freeze so nicely and actually taste like fudge when you remove them from the freezer. With no white flour and no refined white sugar, these treats are delightful and your whole family will be amazed.

1 bag dark chocolate chips
2 cups of garbanzo beans
2/3 cups of agave nectar
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
Walnuts/almonds (optional)

1. Melt chocolate in double boiler
2. Mix beans, agave, baking powder, eggs in a blender and mix in chocolate.
3. Pour in pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

(These keep great in the freezer!)

Enter to win Rosie’s books, Cooking Naked After 40, Sleeping Naked After 40 and Mini-Treats plus a 30-minute phone consultation with her by commenting, below: What part of your body do love most?

(See all our past winners, here.)

(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes February 17, 2011

[Read more about Rosie here]

{Food} FOF Fall Dinner Party

Is it possible to create a dinner party menu that has the complex flavors of fall but is easy on the host? Three genius FOF caterers took on the challenge. Here, they share a make-ahead autumn feast guaranteed to leave your guests singing for seconds.

Honey-Pear Sparkler
FOF caterer Abigail Kirsch of Abigail Kirsch Catering

“The cocktail  is a great fall go-to – It showcases the best of the fall season, pear and honey with a touch of effervescence.”

{click here for the recipe!}

Sweet Potato and Green Apple Soup

FOF caterer Abigail Kirsch of Abigail Kirsch Catering

“The soup is made from familiar ingredients, but used in a unique way.  People like a new twist on a familiar flavor. It’s also vegetarian-friendly and has a lot of visual appeal with bright harvest colors.”

{click here for the recipe!}

Autumn Moroccan Chicken Beestaya
FOF caterer Alison Mesrop of Alison Mesrop Catering

“It’s a good party dish because you can make it entirely in advance and it can sit out for a long time on a buffet, it retains heat well. It makes for good conversation because people can’t quite pinpoint the flavors.  They are warm and interesting; a balance of sweet and savory and a tiny bit of heat that is universally appealing. It also makes wonderful centerpiece for a meal accessorized with couscous, roasted veggies or several fresh salads.”

{click here for the recipe!}

Pear Tarte Tartin
FOF caterer Susan Gage of Susan Gage Caterers
“It’s a great fall dessert. It’s seasonal, colorful and pears tend to be a little unappreciated. The cranberries are a wonderful tart contrast to the sweet pears.  We find that this dessert can add an elegant finish to any meal.”

{click here for the recipe!}

{Food} Top 5 FOF Cookbooks

We asked hundreds of FOFs for their favorite, no-fail cookbooks. The consensus: no book can replace years of trial and error. But, when referencing the basics in a pinch, FOFs tout these top kitchen tomes:

1. The Good Housekeeping Cookbook

FOF Shannon Darnell: “I have a Good Housekeeping cookbook that is approximately 25 years old. It has absolutely everything. From measurements to substitutions to setting your table for any occasion and endless recipes; it is like a mother in a book. I reference it all the time.”

FOF Lois Maassen: “I received Good Housekeeping for my tenth birthday in the sixties. I made oven-fried chicken–quite adventurous for a kid! It’s still my go-to for some family basics and traditions, like biscuits and popovers.”

2. The Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

FOF Marie Miller: “My old Better Homes & Gardens is falling apart. I’ve had it since my wedding… 41 years ago! I refer to it a couple of times a week.”

FOF Wendi Dusek: “The checkerboard book always seems to have the answer for me!”

3. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

FOF Kristie Godwin: “My mother gave it to me in the late 70s. I go back to it time and again when I can’t quite find what I want in my newer cookbooks. There’s a recipe for a cake called the “Dinette” that I’ve used for years. It’s easy, moist and tastes really great.”

FOF Hannah Beck: “I bought it over 40 years ago when I first got married and it was the only one I had for many years. My cookbook collection grew over time, but Betty still has a place of honor in my kitchen and I refer to it for all of my basic questions.”

4. The Joy of Cooking

FOF Alexandra: “It was the only American cookbook that my mother owned in Italy. She didn’t read English, so I would translate, and she would tweak the recipes with an Italian twist. Using the cookbook, she prepared the best apple pie, with the flakiest crust for my 16th birthday. All my friends were drooling over it. Years later I still think about it.”

FOF Rochelle Bitton: “It offers several options in its recipes so that you can easily vary a recipe depending on the ingredients that you have in the house.”

5. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook

FOF Donna O’Sullivan: “My mom’s is old and worn, with notes she made on some of the pages. When she and my father married, he gave it to her as a gift on their first Christmas together. She threw it at him! She was highly insulted that he thought she would need a cookbook!”

For a chance to win a premiere copy of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Good Housekeeping cookbook tell us below: What’s the best time-saving cooking trick or gadget that you use in the kitchen?

{Contest ends Friday, September 10 at midnight E.S.T. U.S. and Canada residents only.}

Note: Cookbook will ship to winner upon release in October
Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

{Food} 10 Dishes To Eat Before You Die

Want to know where to get “the best Napoleons on the face or the earth”? Or how about a B.L.T. “to die for”? FOFs dish out their “fave” dishes from across the country. (Bonus: We got recipes for three of the faves so you can try them at home!)

1. FOF Georgia Witkin: The Napoleon at Campagnola, 1382 1st Avenue, NYC

“I’ve been going to Campagnola all my life. It’s Italian food, and the kitchen cooks it like you want it. They have the best Napoleons on the face of the earth.”


2. FOF debann7858: Crabcakes from Dutch’s Daughter, 581 Himes Avenue, Frederick, MD

“Dutch’s Daughter is my favorite restaurant because they make the very best crab cakes. They are fat and full of crab meat with no fillers.”


3. FOF bjsst: Adult Macaroni and Cheese from Good News Cafe, 694 Main Street South, Woodbury, CT

“Adult Macaroni and Cheese is a favorite of my husband and myself–lots of lobster chunks in homemade macaroni and cheese with a sprinkle of truffle oil!”


4. FOF Wendy Foster: BLT & Coleslaw from Montecito Coffee Shop, 1498 East Valley Rd, Montecito, CA

“It has plain old good American food and is frequented by the locals. A BLT to die for and wonderful cole slaw.”


5. FOF Cheryls: Hard Boiled Egg Appetizer with Rock Salt and Caviar from Club XIX,17 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA

“Club XIX has best of the best food. It overlooks the ocean–beautiful views. They have this incredible hard-boiled egg appetizer with rock salt and caviar. My mouth is watering just talking about it.”


6. FOF Babbie Lovett: Hot Tamales from Doe’s Eat Place, 1023 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR

“I love Doe’s in Little Rock. There’s nothing better than their hot tamales. It was my daddy’s favorite place in all the world.”


7. FOF Ann Hand: Capellini Ann Hand from Cafe Milano, 3251 Prospect Street Northwest, Washington, D.C.

“There’s a sense of entertainment in the restaurant. [The owner] named one [dish] after me called Anne Hand Capellini. It’s a pasta with a light tomato sauce so I can eat it and not feel guilty.”

(recipe courtesy of Café Milano)

{click here for the recipe!}


8. FOF freestyleme123: Mango Tango Sushi Rolls from Fuji Yama, 1827 Midway Rd., Dallas, TX

“When you do go, have the Mango Tango. It is an explosion of flavors in your mouth! You can’t go wrong, and your tastebuds will thank you for it!”


9. FOF Elaina Spilove: Spinach Gnocchi from Vetri, 1312 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA

“Vetri is a very small Italian restaurant, and it’s very, very special Italian food. The chef, Marc Vetri, is a genius and the nicest person in the world. I always order the spinach gnocchi – it’s heavenly.

(recipe courtesy of Il Viaggio Di Vetri Cookbook, Reprinted with permission from Il Viaggio di Vetri by Marc Vetri with David Joachim, copyright © 2008. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Douglas Takeshi Wolfe © 2008)

{click here for the recipe!}


10. FOF Jayne Norwood: Heaven and Hell Cake from Stephan Pyles, 1807 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX

“It’s casual elegant and serves Southwest and Peruvian food. I like the decor, the people and the art. They know how to treat customers. The heaven and hell chocolate cake is to die for!”

(recipe courtesy of Stephan Pyles)

{click here for the recipe!}


Note: While all recipes on this site are used with permission from the restaurant indicated, the photo for the recipe (in some cases) is not the actual dish from the restaurant. If restaurants would like to submit a photograph for their recipe, please send us an e-mail.

Images via (top to bottom) ehow.com, West End Magazine, Neiman Marcus, self.com, Seattle.net, Irapuato, Lifes Ambrosia, Sushi Day, Country Living, and Stephan Pyles

Capellini Ann Hand

(recipe courtesy of Café Milano)

2 Tb. Extra virgin olive oil

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped carrots

½ cup chopped onion

1 can (approx. 16 oz.) plum tomatoes (Italian canned)

10 basil leaves

5 cloves garlic

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Angel hair pasta

Rock salt (for pasta water)

½ cup cherry tomatoes (fresh, cut in half)

5 cloves garlic

5-6 leaves fresh basil

2 Tb. extra virgin olive oil plus finishing drizzle

Tomato Sauce:

Heat 2 Tb. Extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan. Add chopped celery, carrots, and onions and sauté over medium heat until golden brown. Cover and allow to sweat. Add Italian plum tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan. Add garlic cloves and sauté until they are golden. Remove from heat and add fresh basil leaves. Add oil, garlic and basil into the prepared tomato mixture.

Process mixture through a food mill to produce a smooth sauce. Can be prepared ahead and held refrigerated for one or two days.

To Prepare Pasta:

Heat salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and return to boil.

Meanwhile, sauté garlic cloves in extra virgin olive oil with fresh cherry tomatoes. Remove garlic. Once the cherry tomatoes are cooked, add some tomato sauce and fresh basil and heat through.

Strain pasta and stir into sauce, continuing to heat for about a minute more. Add a splash of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves 2-3.