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Happy Monday everyone. Yes, I’m happy even though I am on my way to work. The fact that I am on my way to work is one of the reasons I’m so happy! I like having a job and being employed not to mention the fact that since the hurricane missed us the place is still standing as well as my house!

I did not do a whole heck of a lot of cooking this weekend. In fact I barely did any cooking. I don’t really remember Friday except I’m sure I ate something. I just don’t think I was the one who cooked it cooked it.

Saturday morning, bright and early, I went with Jennifer to get acupuncture for her back pain. Then later that same day we had a wedding. Yes, a wedding! This had originally been planned exactly one year ago and Covid had stopped it. Now it was almost canceled by a hurricane but the hurricane was scheduled to make landfall until the early morning hours of the next day. SO to the wedding we went.

It was a beautiful affair with a lovely couple that looked totally in love. It was just like a Hallmark movie! It was nice to see this and it raised my faith in humanity just a little bit.

The event was held right on the water with the boats bobbing on the waves from the encroaching storm as the wind pickup just outside. Dark storm clouds slowly filled the sky but love was in the air and it felt good to be doing somthing normal again after a crazy year. I liked being here with all these people, in this closed space, with doom on the horizon and a beer in my hand.

The first thing I did was hit the bar for a beer and get Jennifer a plain seltzer with three cherries as she does not usually consume alcoholic beverages. Next we found our seats and watched the ceremony. The ceremony itself was almost as beautiful as the bride. The groom was a handsome young man and I envied his long happy life ahead, just for a bit. I prayed that their life would be filled with children and much happiness. I figured she wanted kids, being she is a kindergarten teacher who loves her job.

After the ceremony it was onto the food and cocktail hour. We found our table and we knew one other couple we were sitting with. The cocktail hour food was ready almost immediately whisked Jennifer off to the buffet line. Jennifer was already in pain from sitting through the ceremony but standing seamed to help a little bit as we waited in a short line. In the first chaffing dish we came up too was shrimp and scallop marsala. I placed two shrimp and two scallops on my plate with some sauce. The very next chaffing dish was baked clams so being a glutton I only placed one of those on my plate as well. I could always come back for seconds I thought. Since this was a seafood restaurant I was looking forward to these two items in particular.

Both the clam and the seafood marsala was not as hot as I would like but it was not cold either. The shrimp and scallops were cooked well but the marsala sauce seemed a little bland. Perhaps they ran out of wine? The baked clam however was just the opposite. It was over seasoned with spices, particularly pepper . I think it was the cayenne that made them almost inedible, so I didn’t finish it. So much for seconds.

I could not even drink any more beer as I would be the one driving us home. Jennifer was already in pain and it was getting worse. Next we headed over to the caving station. It was beef. Yum, love beef. I asked for a nice slice off the center and Jennifer asked for the end slice. There too I also saw some mashed potatoes so I added that t my plate. Jennifer later pointed out that the table it was set up as a mashed potato “Bar” with bacon, broccoli that looked like it was over cooked and some sour ream. I missed it, didn’t I didn’t even see gravy. In the end it did not matter. This whole round of food was cold. Mash potato’s suck when they are not hot.

I was not there for the food I told myself but there to share in the fun and joy of our friends wedding. Hell who am I kidding I used to LOVE to eat catered food. What happened to me? I glanced at the small menu of the table to choose my entrée. Fish not beef. That’s my choice and I’m sticking with it, I thought. Funny at weddings they always serve beef, fowl and or fish.

I choose fish and when the waiter came (who I knew from Scouting) I stuck to it. In the mean time Bill from the couple I knew asked if I wanted to join him outside for a cigar. I wanted to even though the weather looked nasty but I could not leave Jennifer alone and in pain so I sat back down next to her. She chatted with the gentleman we both knew sitting next to her. The music was too loud to hear him across from Jennifer so I was left out of the conversation. To my left was one of the groomsmen so he was not there often enough to have any conversations with. Besides he was with his wife and another couple and they all didn’t need me honing in of there good time. SO I sat and watched as the storm roll in and as the cocktail hour wrapped up and was rolled out through the storm and back to the main restaurant. Did I mention we were in a separate building? We were and it was lovely.

The wedding party was back from their picture adventures and dinner was soon served. It started with a salad of spring greens with strawberries. Did I ever tell you Jennifer is allergic to strawberries. I snatched hers off her plate with my fork but she still didn’t touch her salad. She didn’t miss anything as far as a good salad. It was not cold. Mine had no dressing and yet it was one of the best things so far. The strawberries were delicious.

Next was the ravioli course. These were spinach pasta ravioli with a mushroom stuffing. This sounded like something I would order off a menu. They came to the table in a butter sauce with freshly parmesan cheese on top. Again not hot, but well cooked. The first thing i noticed was the color the the pasta. They (to me) didn’t look like an appetizing green. It was the color green that almost look artificial. They tasted okay and I ate most of this dish but could not get past the color. I’m getting weird and picky as I get older, huh. DONT answer that Sam!

Next was the entrée. The music was softer during dinner and I had finally noticed it when a plate with a small piece of swordfish was placed in front of me. I tasted it. It wasn’t bad. If it were hotter I would have even liked it more. After all this is a seafood restaurant, they should be able to get a piece of fish right. Correct? So yes, I can recommend the swordfish at Captain Bills Restaurant.

Then it was time for dessert. Mmm. Coffee. And cake. I’m not a big cake person. I’m not a big dessert person in general. I am usually finishing up my beverage, either wine or beer. I usually have coffee and rarely eat cake. This however was a wedding. The whole cake thing is a must! We all watched as the bride and groom fed each other cake. Jennifer was happy just to be standing again after sitting so long in a folding chair and was now in more pain. I tried to rub her back as best I could through her beautiful dress but I don’t think it helped much. She did find two Tylenol in the woman’s room courtesy basket and took them with her seltzer.

The cake came and it was a cannoli cream cake. It looked wonderful and if it were not so humid because of Hurricane Henri coming it would have been delicious but between the storm and being on the water it didn’t go well for the cake. Again, I’m not here for the food but the fun, so I asked Jennifer if she wanted to dance. Right after that she gave me that look like “Are you f-ing kidding me! NO!” So I rubbed her back and sipped on my coffee.

We left shortly after that. It had been the latest we were out in a long time and Jennifer could not wait to get home and put an ice pack on her back.

I, in true form, took no pictures except for one of Jennifer and the bride. I really need to get better at that. So Saturday was a day of not cooking. Sunday was not much better. We ordered take out finding the only place open after a hurricane was Chinese restaurant. I picked up the food and we all headed over to my sister in-laws for dinner.

On the bright side of a dreary rain filled day, she made some delicious scones and coffee for dessert. I should have skipped the coffee as it kept me up ALL night. So until tomorrow have a good day and may all your food adventures be good ones.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)


Ahhh yes, good morning. It’s been dreadfully dreary and raining the last few days here on Long Island. Perhaps that’s why I’m feeling so tired, or maybe it’s that I am waking up at all hours of the night. I remember my mother complaining about such things, but never thought I would live long enough for this stuff to happen to me! Well, I’m awake and getting ready to go to work. BLAH. Thank the gods for coffee. Who invented this stuff anyhow? I should really look that up one of these days when I have nothing to do, which lately seems like it will be never. At least I have managed to keep cooking something every day.

Lunch yesterday was a salad of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and grilled chicken with Green Goddess Salad Dressing . I don’t know if I even took a picture of it, but the recipe is surprisingly simple. That is provided you have a blender, otherwise I imagine it would be very difficult. I should start to put together a small appliance list, huh? Okay, maybe tomorrow’s post could be that. Let get today’s recipe —



Electric Blender

Wooden spoon

Chef’s Knife

Cutting Board


1 cup of watercress (stems removed)

1 cup flat leaf parsley (stems removed)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup Italian Salad Dressing (Vignette)

1 tablespoon Tarragon

3 tablespoons chives

1 clove garlic chopped

3 small or 2 large anchovy filets packed in oil

Fresh squeezed lemon juice (approximately 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon of cider vinegar


Wash and destem the parsley and the watercress then add to the blender. Remove the tarragon from its stems and place it on the watercress. Next, layer on the chives. Add the chopped garlic and the three anchovies. Add the mayo on top. Now, pour over all your liquids, like the lemon juice, canola oil, and salad dressing.

Cover the blender with its top and PULSE the blend until it starts to chop up the greens. You may need to stop and stir the dressing using a long wooden spoon. Make sure the blades have stopped before adding the spoon to stir. Continue pulsing and stirring until it begins to blend smoothly. Continue to blend on low for one to two minutes. Pour into a condiment bottle and serve. Makes about a cup and a half of salad dressing.

This is one of Sam’s favorite salad dressings. I think it’s perfect for the spring and summer when all these fresh herbs are in the local farm stands abundance! Does it make a good dip for carrots sticks and celery?

Enjoy life, stay healthy, and may everyone be kind to you.

The Drunken Chef (Russ)


© Russ Ahrens and The Magic of a Perfect Pairing, 2021


Where did the week go? I’m even a little bummed that it went by SO very fast. I need to take the time and slow down. It just seems I have been so busy lately. The weekend is here and I have a full schedule. I think I’m sad too because Sam is going camping this weekend and won’t be home.

Well that means beef and pork are on the menu since those are two things Sam does not like. Tonight will be a trip to the Babylon Carriage House or as we like to call it, “BCH”. Our friends are back from Florida and it will be nice to see them again. It will also be fun to here all about their wonderful culinary and wine experiences.

Yesterday for lunch we all had tacos (see below). Everyone seemed to like them or they were just being nice and said they did. Either way at least they ate and went back for seconds, so it could not have been terrible.

Last night I didn’t eat anything amazing. After a short early evening Scout meeting, I made plain old cheese ravioli and heated up my left over meatballs and sauce to go with it. We all (Jen, Sam and my mother -in-law) all watched Jeopardy and Samantha Brown’s vacation spots to love. Then we called it a night and went to bed.

Up early this morning to get ready and come to work.

So that’s all for now. Enjoy the weekend!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)


I was wined and dined at the Basil Cafe in Saint James, New York yesterday by our good friends Ken, Bebe, and Will. This is a Persian and Mediterranean Restaurant. The restaurant is owned by a husband and wife.

From the the small exterior, you would never expect such capacious space for seating with their newly built outdoor patio just behind the restaurant.

This is a BYOB restaurant, so if you want wine, bring it; they even encourage it here. Jennifer, Sam, and I met Bebe, Ken, and Will here after Bebe had been raving about this place for well over a year or more. They were very excited to have us join them and share in their favorite North Shore restaurant.

The three of them were already seated and had not one but two bottles of Menage a Trois wine chilling in a ice bucket next to them. It is a terrific wine at about $10 a bottle. This is a Pinot Grigio that is very nice to drink on its own. I nonetheless was hungry and looking forward to dinner here.

I had this wine for the first time last night and it is very good.

Before we even ordered, the dish below was brought to our table.

This flat bread dish was a pesto, cheese and tomatoes combination that was delicious.

I don’t even think anyone even looked at the menus when the waitress was there asking if we wanted an appetizer. Having listened to Ken and Bebe’s tales of their culinary adventures here, we all knew, aside from Jennifer, what we were having to eat last night. Bebe’s favorite appetizer is the Hummus served with a lightly seasoned flat bread, carrot sticks, and celery, so we started with that. As usual, everyone loved it but me. I found that there was a bit too much Tahini in it for my taste, as I do not like the extra peanuttyness (my own word) that everyone else did. They however liked it so much I would recommend trying it. It did go excellent with the wine. We were so busy talking we didn’t even finish it, so Bebe had it wrapped up for us to take home.

,This is the hummus appetizer. Sorry, I didn’t notice Ken’s fingers before, as he reached for his wine glass.

Before the appetizer pictured above was gone, our waitress had returned; she was a lovely and affable woman, and came to take our dinner order. Bebe, Sam, and Will all ordered the Rack of Lamb and Basmati rice (non Jeweled). Ken and I both ordered the Lamb shank. They don’t always have this, so it is a true treat when they do. This also comes with a large portion of saffron rice, and we also did not get it “jeweled”. If I remember correctly, and I probably don’t, jeweled rice is where the chef adds sautéed onions and peppers to the top. I will try this next time. For now, I wanted to taste it the way Ken and Bebe enjoy it. Jen ordered the strip steak.

When our meals came to the table, they looked beautiful.

These dishes were ALL as good as they looked. I do not get to eat lamb as often as I would like, and this lived up to everything Ken had boasted about in previous conversations. It is probably no surprise I am constantly talking about food with family and friends, or to complete strangers for that matter. I had also tasted Sam’s rack of lamb and would certainly not have been disappointed if I had gone with that as an alternative. Jennifer offered me a piece of her steak but I declined, as I had enough on my plate already (pun intended).

Ken did not finish his lamb shank and carefully added it on top of his remaining rice with the perfectly cooked roasted broccoli on top. We both even ordered that same side dish. I could not help my gluttonous self and managed to finish the entire lamb shank but could not fit in all the rice and broccoli, as Bebe was insisting I must try the dessert.

The waitress wrapped up Jennifer’s half steak and Ken’s Lamb shank. Sam, Will, and Bebe all finished their rack of lamb entrées. Once the table was cleared, the waitress she took our dessert orders. Bebe ordered rice pudding, even though it was not on the menu. What was on the menu was a Poached Pear on rice pudding with a Chambord Liqueur reduction drizzled over the top. Sam ordered the bread pudding.

This was the most decadent and delicious thing I have eaten in months. It was not only exquisite to look at, but it tasted superb. If this is one of the chef’s family recipes, I am surprised he is aa svelte as he is. It must be all the hard work and long hours he puts in at this fine dining establishment keeping him so thin. I will certainly be going back with everything being this good. I will also have to try all new dishes next time. I may go with one of those fish specials as that is something I don’t get a chance to cook at home either. I can’t wait to try more of his cooking, and THAT’S a sign of a really really good restaurant. So don’t go there, otherwise I may not get a table. At lease don’t go there when I’m planning on being there, but do please help support this local and wonderfully owned little family operated restaurant. They truly do a magnificent job at making you an old fashioned yet sophisticated family meal you will remember!

When we finally got home, Sam promptly finished the hummus, carrots, and bread before going to bed.

Until next week. Eat well, stay healthy, and OH enjoy life!

The Drunken Chef (Russ)


Onsen Shushi

597 Montauk Highway

Oakdale, NY 11769

(631) 567-1688

Friday for lunch, six people ordered take out from Onsen Shushi in Oakdale and I went to go pick it up.

I had the three-roll lunch consisting of the spicy tuna roll, Alaska roll, and shrimp tempura roll. It also came with Miso soup and salad for $13.50. I started with the miso soup. Luckily for me, my office air-conditioning is pretty high so eating soup on a hot summer day at lunch time was not a problem. Next, I tried the Alaskan roll. There was salmon and avocado in it. It was very good. I had the Spicy tuna roll next. It included some “crunchies” in it and was very tasty. Then, I had the shrimp tempura roll. There was shrimp tempura, avocado, and red leaf lettuce in it. I suspect there was just a bit of sand on my red leaf lettuce. I tried two pieces of this roll and both had a gritty texture like a clam with sand in it. A coworker of mine had the same exact order as mine and he had no issue. Therefore, it was only my one roll that had this issue.

Two people ordered the two-roll lunch. They choose the tow California rolls, a Tokyo roll and a shrimp tempura roll. No issue with the shrimp tempura roll in that order. My boss ordered the three-roll lunch special too. He had the California roll, Boston roll, and fried sweet potato roll. He loved his lunch.

The last order was a three-roll lunch special and it included a Boston roll, spicy tuna roll, and a fried sweet potato roll. All delicious.

I ate most of the sushi but could not finish it. Lastly, I ate my salad with ginger dressing. It was good too.

Although I had an issue with the one sushi roll, I understand shit happens. Since no one else had an issue, I will try them again.

The only thing missing was a bottle of Bluefeld Riesling but we were still at work, so that will have to wait until my next sushi adventure!

Until next week, be well and be happy.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM for live shows and updates as to where I am or what I am drinking.


Sorry this post is late. I took Monday off. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are my pictures. You should have many of the recipes by now to make all these dishes shown above. I will add the corn recipe of course, but I am not allowed to divulge my families secret barbeque sauce recipe for chicken, sorry. You also need a smoking how to article.

Did I have wine with all that food? Yes, both white and red wine were served. The white wine was Beldell Vineyards Viognier with the wings, their rose went well with the legs. Then, there was a St Francis old vines red Zinfandel for the ribs and burgers. I love this red Zinfandel.

Be well & eat well

The Drunken Chef (Russ)

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is simply to go onto a Tossed Salad.


Cruet Bottle

Measuring spoons


1       cup Filippo Berio olive oil (yellow label)

¼      cup Modennaceti balsamic vinegar

2       tablespoons water

½      teaspoons lemon Juice

½      teaspoons sugar

¼      teaspoons Gulden’s Spicy Brown mustard

1/8    teaspoons garlic powder

1/8    teaspoons onion powder

1/8    teaspoons parsley

1/8    Salt

1/8    Black Pepper


Add dry ingredients to a cruet bottle. Add vinegar, water, olive oil, mustard and lemon juice.  Shake well.  Let stand for one hour for best taste.

Macaroni Salad


1 pound elbow macaroni
1 ½ cups mayonnaise
½ small red onion, minced
1 celery rib, chopped fine
¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch white pepper


Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot. Stir 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta into the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until cool, then drain shake and drain again. Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the onion, celery, parsley, mustard, garlic powder, and pepper and let sit until the flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the mayonnaise and let sit until the salad is no longer watery, 5 to 10 minutes.

Baked Beans


Chef’s knife or Vegetable Chopper
Measuring Spoons
Liquid Measuring Cup
Wooden Spoon
2 quart casserole dish


4 slices bacon
1 onion, diced
2 (28 ounce) cans baked beans
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place bacon and onions in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl combine beans, molasses, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, onions and crumbled bacon. Mix well and transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish.

Bake in preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 1 hour more.