On an unusually warm day this past December, I took a drive to one of my favorite Long Island beaches. West Neck Beach in Huntington, New York is a small, private beach that becomes crowded in the summer but during the winter months is only appreciated by local residents.
Now that it is officially spring and the weather is warming up, my countdown to summer beach days has begun. In the meantime, I guess my photos from that unseasonably warm day in December will have to suffice.
One of my favorite things to make for dinner is quesadillas. They are relatively easy to prepare and can suit even the most discerning palate. I prefer mine with chicken, but you could substitute steak or even lobster as the main ingredient. For vegetables, you can add anything you like to make this a healthier meal.
My ingredients are as follows:
*Flour tortilla (can use whole wheat if desired – just make sure it is large enough to fold in half)
*Thinly sliced chicken breast
*Shredded cheese (I prefer a 3 cheese blend)
1. Salt and grill chicken. I typically begin preparing the vegetables while the chicken is cooking on the Cuisinart Griddler.
2. Once the chicken is cooked, cut into strips and dice into small cubes.
3. I like to pan fry the vegetables for a few minutes on low before adding them to the quesadilla.
4. In a large frying pan, add two tablespoons of Olive Oil over high heat.
5. Add tortilla to pan and cook on both sides (one minute per side). Lower heat to medium.
6. Add chicken, vegetables, and cheese to center of tortilla. Fold in half and let each side cook for 3 – 5 minutes per side.
7. Once cheese has melted evenly, remove from pan and let sit prior to serving.
Occasionally it is fun to reminisce about the past and do things you haven’t done in a while. For me, it was returning to a pastime that I haven’t engaged in since I was seven.
As a child, I skated regularly. First I tried rollerblades, then I graduated to ice skates. I took to the ice quickly and skating came naturally to me. Not too long after I began gliding on the ice, I was taking lessons–which included private ice time, an expensive proposition–and competing. But after a brief hiatus to attend a horseback riding summer camp, I sensed that my feelings for the ice weren’t the same. I spent the next 20 years as an avid equestrian.
Until two nights ago, I had not returned to the cold arena since my childhood days. However, after watching the Winter Olympics last month and wondering if I still had my ice legs, I welcomed the opportunity to lace up my skates once again.
Although the venue was not the same, the excitement I used to feel just before skating onto the ice was there. After an initial lap of unsteadiness, I felt like I had never left the ice at all. And, although I am now older and presumably wiser, my love of speed and competitive spirit have never left me.
This weekend’s sunny, warm weather was a welcome relief to the cold, snowy winter we have endured in the Northeast. One of my favorite things to do once the weather warms up on Long Island is to go to Sunday brunch. I have a couple of favorite standbys, but this weekend I felt like trying something new. After scouting a few locations, I decided to try The Fifth Season in Port Jefferson, NY. Within minutes of looking at the menu I was hooked: chocolate mascarpone stuffed French toast with salted caramel drizzle, almond butterfinger crunch and Vermont maple syrup. This was not your typical brunch menu, but the food was excellent.
After brunch, taking a leisurely stroll through historic Port Jefferson to check out the shops and see the water is always a nice way to spend an afternoon.