Lowering My Cholesterol Intake

An all organic arugula salad with fresh beets, radishes, Persian cukes, pear tomatoes and shredded carrots tossed in a lime dijon vinaigrette. What better way to prepare the palate for 2 weeks in Italy at the Key to the Castle Workshop.  Follow our journey of writing, painting, yoga-ing and eating on IG @KTTCWorkshop 

Categorized as Recipes

Garlic-buttered-brolied Sweet Lobster Tails

These garlic-buttered-brolied sweet lobster tails were such a big hit on Thanksgiving, I may have to do them again on Christmas Eve. I ordered them online, delivered to my front door from Fulton Fish Market. Here’s the “recipe” to serve 8-12 people in addition to the rest of your menu – if doing as a single main course, do either one 6oz. or two 4oz. tails per person.


  • 16 petite lobster tails – from Fulton Fish Market online, they come in either 4oz. or 6oz. and are flash frozen
  • 1 pound Kerry Gold Irish salted butter, melted
  • 6 to 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 large lemon


  • Allow the lobster tails to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you plan to cook them. 
  • Once they are thawed, you will need to “butterfly” the lobster tails. Using a very sharp pair of kitchen scissors, cut a slit down the middle of the top of the lobster tail from the thick open end to just before the skinny tail end. Then use one hand to gently separate the shell a bit, while you use the other hand to maneuver the lobster meat out of the shell to then rest on top of the now hollow shell. Be careful not to pull the lobster meat out of the shell completely.
  • Arrange butterflied tails on a broiling /sheet pan and leave covered on counter while you prepare the garlic butter.
  • Unwrap and cut the pound of butter into 1-inch cubes and place in a small saucepan. Add the crushed garlic and paprika. Melt the garlic butter mixture on very low flame, stirring often.
  • Once all of the butter is melted, turn up the flame to high and stirring constantly, let the mixture come to a sizzle, browning slightly. 
  • Then remove from heat and immediately brush the garlic butter evenly onto the butterflied lobster tails with a basting brush.
  • Turn on broiler to high or oven setting to broil and pre-heat for 5 minutes. (You can also grill these if preferred.)
  • Place pan with the lobster tails under the brolier and cook for 7-10 minutes (depending on the size of the tails) until lobster meat is white throughout and top has a slight browning.
  • Remove from oven/broiler/grill, sprinkle the chopped parsley all over and serve immediately with a lemon wedge garnish.

Buon apetito!

Categorized as Recipes

Key to the Castle Workshop

Key to the Castle Workshop

Welcome to my newest endeavour – a generative storytelling workshop for writers and visual artists on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, May 20-27, 2023. I have partnered with authors Patricia Dunn and Kathy Curto and artist William Papaleo to form Key to the Castle Workshop, LLC and I am thrilled to share the details with you.

We are now accepting applications. Please go to the website to learn more and apply: keytothecastleworkshop.com and follow us on Instagram @KTTCworkshop.

In the coming weeks we will be hosting informational events via Zoom and in person. Please watch your email for invitations to those events, but in the interim, feel free to reach out to me here: keytothecastleworkshop@gmail.com with questions or to set up a time to talk. 

painting of an Amalfi coast scene by KTTC workshop art instructor, William Papaleo
painting of an Amalfi coast scene by KTTC workshop art instructor, William Papaleo
Left: a Cetara sunset with the Castle just to the left. Right: a view of the Cetara waterfront
Left: a Cetara sunset with the Castle just to the left. Right: a view of the Cetara waterfront
Categorized as Happenings

Potato Leek Soup

PREP TIME: 20-30 mins

COOK TIME: 40-60 mins

SERVINGS: 4 to 6 servings


  • 3 large leeks 
  • 2 pounds potatoes (Yukon gold or Russet) 
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 green onions (scallions)
  • 4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ stick Kerrygold (or any farm fresh) unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup fresh, heavy cream, allowed to come to room temperature on counter for 1 hour prior to using
  • 1 tbs. herbs de Provence
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh black and sea salt from a grinder 
potato leek

Cut off the roots and the tough dark green tops of the leeks and discard. Slice the leeks into ¼ inch circles, put into a colander and under running water, use your fingers to separate the leeks so that you can dislodge any dirt or mud hiding inside. Continue to agitate them with your hands until water runs clear. Then turn off the water and leave the cut-up leeks in the colander in the sink to drain some more.


Peel and dice the potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces. In a separate colander lightly rinse the potatoes to remove any dirt from the skins, then place in a bowl of fresh clean water and set aside.

Wash and slice the celery stalks into ½ inch pieces

Wash and slice the green onions (scallions) into ½ inch pieces

Cut up the ½ stick butter into 4 pieces and melt on medium heat in a 3 to 4 quart thick-bottomed stock pot. 

Add the celery and green onions, stir to coat with the melted butter, add 3 each grinder turns of black pepper and sea salt, and saute for 1 or two minutes until soft.

Add the white wine, stir for 1 minute.

Add the 2 quarts of the broth.

Add the leeks, stir, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, cook for 10 minutes. Check to make sure the veggies leeks are not turning brown.

Add  to the broth, diced potatoes, bay leaf, herbs de Provence and 4 twists of salt from the grinder. 

Increase the heat to high to bring to a boil, stirring a few times, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove and discard the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, blend about half of the soup if you want a chunky soup, or all of it if you want your soup to be smooth and creamy.

After the soup is blended to your liking, slowly drizzle in the room temperature heavy cream, stirring constantly

Add the parsley, and cook a few minutes more. 

Add freshly ground pepper and more salt to taste.

Serve with Crunchy croutons or Crusty bread. 


Categorized as Recipes

MY Story on the Moth Radio Hour

Thanks to all who tuned in this past week to hear my story “Finding YiaYia: A Greek Tragedy,” on The Moth Radio Hour. 

 If you missed it on the radio, you can listen on demand here at your leisure. I am one of 4 storytellers on the broadcast. My intro and segment begins at 20:00 and ends at 35:00 with a mention of my support of My Sisters’ Place, NY, a not-for-profit organization that provides housing and other vital services to victims of domestic violence.

my sisters place

I hope you will please consider a donation to mspny.org in memory of my grandmother, Maria Anastasiou Derecas.

Categorized as Stories