Celebrating With Local Flavors

Between Gasparilla and Mari Gras, there are plenty of ways to find the flavors you need to keep the party going. Let’s start with a Tres Leches Cheesecake fit for a pirate and beyond. The video from Bassano Cheesecake Cafe is online, but Tom Bassano managed to take the humble slice up another notch again with the addition of one mouth-watering topping laced with Bumbu Rum. Just enough to give it a smooth taste, and Tom is even adding the caramelized topping to lattes. This is only available for a limited time at the Safety Harbor location, so along with brunch this weekend - dessert first. I did eventually get around to my fav Corned Beef Hash, of course!

But I must temper this happiness with the news that Tom and Cindy Bassano broke today, that they will no longer be at their location when the lease ends in a little over a year. When your landlord doubles your rent that hurts, and I’ve known more than one business owner over this past year that has had the same thing happen to them. It hurts, it’s unfair, and I know Bassano’s will overcome and rise above with news soon. They are NOT going away, they will reinvent and we must continue to support all local businesses. My heart breaks with this news, and I know it’s doubly painful for friends of Bassano’s. Please stop in, have a slice and show your love to a Safety Harbor favorite. Love to you both, and here’s to a brighter tomorrow.

It’s also my pleasure to introduce you to a new friend in Ann Kelly’s Kitchen. Erika Gomez is the owner of Nutty for Bread. Erika is a working mom with two boys, ages 20 and 5 yrs old, and can be found at her full-time job at Nutty for Bread which she operates from home with delicious, seasonal treats. This from-scratch bakery was Erika’s dream for a long time after she found her love for baking early in life. I thank her for a dreamy recipe that’s a perfect addition to the Mardi Gras menu - Pecan Pralines! I’ve never made them myself, so now there’s no excuse. Erika shares her story with me here. She’s also ready for more holiday fun like Valentine’s Day cake pops and. Put in your order today!

Pecan Pralines

- 1 cup pecan halves - 1 cup granulated sugar - 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar - 1/2 cup heavy cream - 2 tablespoons unsalted butter - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract - Pinch of salt


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature, and cook until it reaches around 240°F (soft-ball stage).

4. Remove the saucepan from heat, and quickly stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

5. Add the pecan halves to the mixture, stirring until the praline mixture thickens and becomes creamy.

6. Using a spoon, drop spoonfuls of the pecan praline mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

7. Let the pralines cool and harden before serving

I love it when you share your stories and recipes in Ann Kelly’s Kitchen, and welcome more at Ann.Kelly@cmg.com. I’m looking for special goodies Valentines Day and even St Patrick’s Day now. Send those along, and maybe we can chat about your business, too. Of course, include those photos!


What happens on the float, stays on the float! - Anyone on a float

Ann Kelly

Ann Kelly

Hello, I am Ann Kelly! I was born in Garfield Heights, Ohio (which is a suburb of Cleveland) as one of five children!

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