Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review Friday: Peter Engel Was 'Saved By the Bell'

The legendary Peter Engel (you know him as executive producer and creator of Saved by the BellLast Comic Standing, and much more), now in his eighties, has recently released his memoir titled I Was Saved by the Bell filled with energy, candor, wisdom and positivity.

His decades of experience in the television industry inspires those chasing their own dreams, and the grace with which he has overcome personal challenges resonates with us all. 

And who doesn’t remember watching this show every Saturday morning- goofy, funny, silly, happy, sad, heart-breaking.

I got to meet Mark-Paul Gosselaar a few years ago for a new show, and the first thing I said to him was: “I loved you on Saved by the Bell.” He laughed and hugged me, he was a total sweetie.

Read about Engel’s favorite moments of his life – from showbiz to personal accomplishments, fun behind the scenes glimpses into his popular work, including Saved by the Bell, entertaining stories of his most memorable encounters with famous figures throughout the times.

Peter Engel, one of the most prolific producers in television with more than 1,000 episodes produced under his banner, single handedly created the teen sitcom with Saved By The Bell, which he executive produced through all of its many incarnations, and which led to his many other teen series, including California DreamsHang TimeCity Guys, and USA High. As if defining and conquering the teen arena wasn't enough, Engel produced the iconic Last Comic Standing, enabling the discovery of an entirely new, fresh generation of comedians.

All of this would be more of a career than any producer could ever dream of having, and with more than 50 years in the television industry, Engel has forgotten more than most will ever know. Engel’s life and work touched and inspired an entire “Bell” generation, whose values and views of a diverse world were shaped by the stories and plain old fun of Peter’s shows.

I Was Saved by the Bell can be purchased from AmazonBarnesandNoble.com, and through all major booksellers.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Cook a Gourmet Dinner at Home on Valentine’s Day

“There are so many advantages to dining in on that special night,” says Chef Blakely Trettenero, who writes about her culinary adventures on her site, Everyday Gourmet with Blakely (www.gourmetwithblakely.com). 

“It’s more comfortable, less expensive and super exclusive, because you can have whatever you want – from the cocktails to the entrĂ©e to dessert. “And what better way to show you care than to cook a fantastic meal for – or with – that someone special?”

If the idea of pulling together a fancy dinner on a weeknight (Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday this year), fear not. There are plenty of delicious recipes that will tickle your true love’s taste buds without taking hours to make.
Just in case you want to save your energy for later ;)

Vanilla Bean & Bourbon Champagne Cocktail
Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
2. 1/2 cup water
3. 1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half

Cocktail
1 tablespoon vanilla bean simple syrup
2. 1 dash bitters
3. Squeeze of lemon juice
4. 1/2 ounce bourbon of choice
5. Champagne

Instructions
First, make the simple syrup. In a small pan over medium-high heat add the sugar, water and split vanilla bean. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and it has come to a slight simmer.
2. Turn it off and set it aside to steep and come to room temperature.
3. When the simple syrup is cooled it's time to make the cocktail. In your champagne glass add the simple syrup, a dash of bitters, a squeeze of lemon juice and the bourbon. Give it a stir to combine.
4. Top it off with cold champagne, add a lemon twist and serve!

Herbed Savory Palmiers
Perfect for Valentine’s Day – this pastry is heart-shaped!
Ingredients
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
2. 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, minced
3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
4. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
7. salt
8. pepper
9. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10. 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
2. In a bowl, add the finely chopped sundried tomatoes, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix until combined and set aside
3. On a lightly floured surface, slightly roll out your thawed puff pastry sheet and transfer to a cutting board
4. To the rolled out puff pastry add the sundried tomato and herb mixture evenly
5. Evenly sprinkle the top with the grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheese
6. Starting on one side, roll the puff pastry tightly, stopping at the middle
7. Roll the other side of the puff pastry tightly until you reach the middle
8. Cut into 1-inch pieces and place on a parchment-lined sheet tray. Put them into the oven and let them bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown
9. Once they're baked, serve them warm
            
Baked Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes, Artichokes & Capers
Ingredients
2 pounds chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
2. salt
3. pepper
4. drizzle of olive oil
5. 1 medium onion, diced small
6. 3 cloves garlic, minced
7. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
8. 1 teaspoon brown sugar
9. 1 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes
10. 1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
11. 2 teaspoons drained capers
12. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Instructions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, then preheat a heavy-bottomed pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium-high heat
2. Use paper towel to soak up any extra moisture on the chicken. This prevents the chicken from getting golden brown when you sear it.
Season both sides with salt and pepper and put the chicken in the preheated oil, skin side down
3. Cook the chicken until golden brown on one side, then flip to cook on the other side. You're not trying to cook the chicken through, only brown it!
4. Once the chicken is brown on both sides, take it out of the pan and put it on a plate and set it aside
5. If there is a lot of fat in the pan, drain most of it, leaving only about a teaspoon or so in the bottom
6. Add the diced onions with a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan and cook for a few minutes until opaque
7. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
8. Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan, scraping the bottom to get up any bits at the bottom. Add the brown sugar to the balsamic vinegar, stir to combine, and let it cook until slightly reduced, about 7-8 minutes
9. Add the can of tomatoes into the pan and turn off the heat. Use a knife to roughly cut up the tomatoes in the pan and then add the drained artichokes and capers. Give it a stir to mix everything together
10. Add the chicken thighs back into the pan, nestling them into the tomato mixture. Add the rosemary sprigs to the top and put the pan into the preheated oven uncovered
11. Let it cook for about 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through
12. Serve with a simple side and you have a gourmet dinner ready in no time.

Cherry Clafoutis

Ingredients
2 cups pitted cherries, cut in half
2. 2 tablespoons slivered almonds
3. 3 eggs
4. 3/4 granulated sugar
5. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
7. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
8. 1 cup whole milk
9. 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11. Powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions
The hardest part of this recipe is removing the pits from the cherries. I don't have a cherry pitter, so I just get the pits out the old-fashioned way. I cut the cherries in half, twist the two halves to expose the pit, and take my knife and cut it out
2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
3. In a 9-inch buttered and floured pie pan, add the fresh cherry halves and slivered almonds
4. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, salt, flour, milk, almond extract and vanilla extract until completely smooth. Pour the batter over the cherries and almonds and put in the oven
5. Let the clafoutis cook for 35-45 minutes depending on your oven.
6. Take the clafoutis out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.


About Blakely Trettenero
Blakely Trettenero, host of the Everyday Gourmet with Blakely (www.gourmetwithblakely.com) and Hungry for Travels (www.hungryfortravels.com) websites, is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando, Florida. She is a world traveler, having visited more than 30 countries, and is becoming a frequent guest on TV.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter Styles with Cougar Boots

Trendy booties, slip on slides and Snow/Rain boots galore – you will not go wrong this Valentine’s Day Cougar. Cougar boots have been known for providing their customers with warm cold-weather solutions for over 40 years. 

These boots are fantastic- perfect in the snow we got this week. They are comfortable, sturdy, and stylish. Cougar Boots all the way!