Country Ham and Mozzarella Toasted Rounds

photo Country Ham and Mozzarella Toasted Rounds by Chef Alexis Hernandez

Ingredients:
  • French Bread, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
  • 10 slices of Country Ham, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 3/4-pound Fresh Mozzarella, sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 9 Sage Leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place an equal amount of country ham on the entire cut French bread.  Place a piece of mozzarella on top of the country ham.  Place in the oven for 10-14 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and bread is golden on the sides.  Remove set aside.

In a small sauté pan, place the butter and the sage and cook over medium heat.  Continue to cook until the butter turns brown about 3-5 minutes.  Drizzle the sage brown butter over each slice and top with one sage leaf.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

New years eve 2011!

This year I am in Key West for the New Year festivities.  It’s so much fun during New Years Eve because CNN is reporting from the Keys and all the wonderful Drag Queens are out in their splendor.

 

Key west is a place that you can really relax and not feel like you need to dress up or be “on” all the time.  It’s almost as if time forgot about Key West because once you arrive and let go of all the stuff in your life, 2 hours can seem like four days in the Keys.

The people there call it Key Time or at least that is what I was told 18 years ago when I started to go to the Keys. You have to chill out when you are in the keys, everything is lazy and slow.

They have wild roosters and chickens that are free to roam where ever they want on the island. 

The best thing to do when you arrive is to rent a bike or a scooter and tour the island.  It is the best way for you to get a feel for the island.  Most of the hotels or guest houses have bikes to rent by the day or the week or you can walk down to the nearest bike rental place and get our bike or scooter.

 

When I go to Key West I usually try to rent a house.  I like to rent a house because I am a chef and I like to cook my own food and it also helps me feel like I am part of the community.

If I can’t rent a house, then I head over to the Santa Maria Suites.  It’s a hotel that has condominiums for rent and it’s the best of both worlds.  You are in a hotel setting but have the option of cooking in a kitchen or you can go out for dinner. The hotel rooms are really condominiums and they have 2 bedroom 2 bath with a full kitchen.  They have two outstanding pools and there is a great concierge there that will get you anything you want.  

Cocktails are free between happy hours and any slushy without liquor is free all the time.  It’s a great place to stay if you don’t want to stay at the hotel.

There is one place that has great food.  The restaurant is called Mangoes.  It has indoor and outdoor seating. It has an outdoor bar and is great for a lazy late lunch.

It has no fancy food on the menu but the food is executed well and the prices won’t hurt your wallet.

There is another place that is on the water that the food is good and has great morning views of the ocean. It’s The Westin Hotel.  They have a basic menu and that’s ok by me.  You can’t beat the quiet, and the sunset and sunrises are amazing!

A place that I like to go to for cocktails in the evening is the “upper deck” at Louies Backyard.

The deck is right on the ocean and it’s great for afternoon cocktails

 

 

 

 

This year New Years Eve was so much fun.  One New Years eve, Duval street is filled to the brim with people having fun.  They slowly count down the last 60 seconds of the year as the drag queen named Sushi  is slowly lowered in a high heel shoe.