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Strega Sun Witch (drink)

Monday, June 30, 2008

Strega Sun Witch (drink)Recipes


1 fluid ounce strega liqueur
3/4 fluid ounce white Creme de Cacao
1 fluid ouncewhipping cream
3/4 fluid ounceorange juice


Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with an orange slice.
Remember not to drink and ride your broom.

Dracula's Blood

Dracula's Blood Recipes


2 fluid ounces vodka
3/4 fluid ouncepeach schnapps
3-4 fluid ounces cranberry juice

Shake ingredients together with ice.
Pour into a tall glass.

Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Selecting: Sweet potatoes range in skin color from light yellow to orange to copper, and in flesh color from light yallow to red-orange. In this country. Yam is used interchangeably with sweet potato and refers particullarly to a sweet potato variet with copper skin and orange flesh.
Uniform shape,uniform skin color,and firmnes are characteristics to look for when selecting sweet potatoes. Dont choose decayed, soft, or shriveled vegetables. store sweet potatoes in a cool (about 55*), dry place rather than in the refrigarator,and plan to use them within a few days.
Preparing: Scrub sweet potatoes; remove ends and woody portions. Peel sweet potatoes before or after cooking ,depending on their use.
Cooking: Bake whole sweet potatoes at 375* for 40 to 45 minutes; allow a little less time for thickly sliced sweet potatoes. Or, in covered pan cook whole sweet potatoes in enough boiling salted water to covered till tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Serving: baked , mashed ,or candied-sweet potatoes are a holiday tradition.Marmalows are the perfect topping for a sweet potatocasserole. Sweet potato pie,bread,and biscuits are aloso favorates, particulary in the south.
Sweet Potto - Cashew Bake
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup broken cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (5 or 6 medium),cooked,peeled,and cut crosswise into thick pieces.
  • 1 8-ounce can peach slices well drained.
  • 3 tablespoons butter or marmagarine
Combine brown sugar, cashews,salt and ginger. in 10×6x2-inch baking dish layer half the sweet potaoes, half the peach slices , and half the brown sugar mixture.repeat layers. Do with butter or margarine.

Bake, covered at 350* for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake mixture about 10 minutes longer. Spoon brown sugar syrup over before serving. Make 6 to 8 servings.

Baked Crab Potatoes

Baked Crab Potatoes
  • 2 cup crabmeat
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup onion; chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms; sliced
  • 1 ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 tablespoon low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup gruyere cheese
Clean and bake potatoes. Cool slightly and cut in half, lengthwise.Place pulp into bowl, leaving about 1/4-inch shell.

Reserve skins andmash pulp. Melt butter in skillet and saute onion until it takes on alight coloring (about 15-20 minutes).

Add mushrooms and sauteanother 5 minutes. Add the crabmeat and pepper.

Add vermouth andbring to a boil. Make sure you stir frequently.

Cook mixture untilliquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and add yogurt and sour cream,then add half and half. Combine crabmeat, onion mixture, pulp frompotato, and about 1/2 of cheese.

Add additional ground black pepperand a bit more half and half if desired. Place the mixture into thepotato skins.

Sprinkle with additional 1/4 cup cheese. Bake at 400degrees F. until cheese bubbles. This is yummy good!

7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Complete Collection Of Food Recipes

7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe

Refried beans should not be eaten cold.

There, I've said it. I don't usually put my foot down about food preferences, but cold refried beans are about as appealing as a cold hamburger. This is why I make 7-layer dip starting with a layer of hot refried beans. Shredded cheese is added directly to the top of the beans so it melts from the heat of the beans. Then the layers of tomato, avocado, olives, and chilies, onions (mostly room temp) are added. The only cold part of the dip is the topping of sour cream (or crema Mexicana). Served this way and the taste delightfully mimics
tostadas or homemade nachos
, but in an easy-to-serve dip form.
By the way, depending on what you have on hand, your 7-layer dip may have 8 or 9 layers, or 6. The basics are refried beans, grated cheese, avocados (or guacamole), chilies (or salsa), sour cream, and olives. Improvise with more or fewer toppings to your own taste.

7 Layer Bean Dip Recipe
  • 2 cups of refried beans, either from one 15-ounce can or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) of bacon fat (or 1 strip of bacon, cooked and minced) optional
  • 1 teaspoon of chipotle powder, Tabasco chipotle sauce, or adobo sauce, more to taste (or plain chili powder to taste)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green Anaheim chiles (canned) OR a Tbsp of chopped pickled jalapenos (more to taste)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 hot house tomato, cut in half horizontally, seeds and juice gently squeezed out and discarded, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of sour cream, or if you can get it Crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream)
  • 1/2 small can of sliced ripe black olives

1 Heat the refried beans in a medium sauté pan or cast iron skillet. Stir in enough water to get a creamy, easily dip-able consistency, about 1/4 of a cup. The taste of refried beans is greatly enhanced by bacon fat; we'll add a teaspoon to canned beans or a tablespoon or more to taste if we are making the beans from scratch. If you don't have bacon fat, you can cook up a strip of bacon, chop it up fine and add that to the beans. If you are trying to avoid pork, note that most canned refried beans are made with added lard, so check the ingredients. You can use olive oil instead, to help the consistency of the beans.

Mix in the chipotle chili powder (or Tabasco, or adobo, or regular chili powder) and cumin to taste. Note that the avocados and the sour cream will cool down the spiciness of the beans considerably, so you can afford to be a bit more spicy than you might think. Stir in salt to taste, depending on how salted your refried beans are to begin with, and depending on how salty the tortilla chips are that you are serving with the dip.

2 Once the beans are hot and bubbly, spread them over the bottom of a warmed serving dish. Immediately add the shredded cheese so that the heat from the beans helps melt the cheese. (The cheese doesn't need to be completely melted, but even if it is just a little, it will help the dip stay on the chip.)

3 Layer on the chopped green chilies, chopped avocado, chopped tomato. Spoon on the sour cream (or crema Mexicana, crema fresca, or even cream fraiche). Top with sliced green onions and olives.

Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Serves 8.

Baked Brie Recipe

Baked Brie Recipe
Filed under
Appetizer, Quick

Brie wrapped in pastry and baked until it has thoroughly melted inside is one of the world's easiest yet tastiest appetizers. In this recipe the brie is topped with raspberry jam, surrounded with pastry and drizzled with maple syrup.

Baked Brie Recipe
Can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.


  • 1 large sheet of puff pastry dough or 1 tube of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 round or wedge of Brie cheese
  • Raspberry Jam, or other sweet jam
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup


1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 On a stick-free cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry or the crescent rolls flat; put brie round or wedge on top.

3 Spread jam on brie, fold dough over top. Drizzle maple syrup and place a handful of brown sugar on top.

4 Bake at 350º for 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with crackers and apple slices.

Buffalo Wings Recipe

Buffalo Wings Recipe

Filed under
Appetizer, Chicken, Low Carb, Wheat-free

Football (American) championship season. Sports bars, beer, and spicy things that make you want to drink more beer. Darts, pool, loud conversation, an either ill-spent or well-spent youth, depending on your perspective. Once in my early twenties I happened to be in Buffalo, New York for a wedding of a dear friend. On our site-seeing day the gang of us revelers happened to drive right by the
Anchor Bar, home of the "Original Buffalo Chicken Wings". Did you know that Buffalo wings are so called because they were first invented in Buffalo, NY? I didn't, and it had always been one of those oddities that gnawed at the back of my brain during these beer filled nights. In San Francisco we had Tommy's Buffalo Burgers made with real buffalo meat. But buffalo wings? Hah! Mystery solved.

Buffalo wings are traditionally deep fried. But we don't have a deep fryer here at home, nor do I intend to risk my kitchen to cobble together one (once you've had one kitchen fire you don't want to repeat the experience.) So, this recipe calls for broiling the wings after they've been marinating in a spicy sauce.

Buffalo Wings Recipe



  • 2 lbs chicken wings (about 12 wings)
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp bottled hot pepper sauce (like Crystal or Frank's Original)
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Celery sticks (optional)

Blue cheese dip
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


1 Cut off wing tips (discard or reserve for other use such as making stock). Cut wings at the joint. Put chicken wing pieces in a plastic bag. Set aside. Food safety note: when cutting raw chicken it is best to use a cutting board reserved just for cutting raw chicken. Wash thoroughly when finished. Do not let raw chicken juices come in contact with other food.

2 Create a marinade by stirring together the melted butter, hot pepper sauce, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the marinade over the chicken pieces in the plastic bag. (Reserve marinade for coating after the pieces come out of the oven.) Seal bag and let marinate at room temperature for half an hour. When marinating is finished, drain marinade and discard bag.

3 Place wing pieces on the rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat for about 10 minutes on each side, until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove from oven and baste with reserved marinade.

Serve with Blue Cheese Dip and celery sticks. Makes approximately 24 pieces (about 12 appetizer servings).

Blue cheese dip

Combine dip ingredients - sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, vinegar, and garlic - in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until smooth. Cover and chill up to a week.

Ceviche Recipe

Ceviche Recipe
Filed under
Appetizer, Low Carb, Mexican and Tex Mex, Seafood, Seasonal Favorites: Summer, Wheat-free

The first time I made ceviche, I was amazed. I could actually see the lemon and lime juice turning the color of the fish from translucent pink to opaque white. The acid from the limes and lemons change the structure of the proteins in the fish, essentially "cooking" the fish without using heat. I love ceviche rolled up in a freshly cooked, still warm corn tortilla with lettuce and salsa.

Ceviche Recipe

Preparation time: 15 minutes to prepare, 6 hours to let sit.


  • 2 lbs of firm, fresh red snapper fillets, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 purple onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of fresh peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • dash of ground oregano
  • dash of Tabasco or a few grains of cayenne pepper
Tortillas or tortilla chips

1 In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend.

2 Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.

Optional: Can use shrimp and or scallops as a substitute for some of the fish. Can use a firm cod in place of the red snapper.

Cheesy Bread Recipe

Cheesy Bread Recipe

Filed under Appetizer, Cheese, Comfort Food, Quick, Vegetarian

My friend Michelle loves to throw big parties, with plenty of food and plenty of friends. I think it must be the large Italian family thing, one is never at a loss for food or great company at her house. One of my favorite dishes that usually makes an appearance at Michelle's is this "cheesy bread", a sort of cross between garlic bread and pizza. It's a great way to help feed a lot of hungry people, and easy to pull together, even at the last minute. Big thanks to Michelle, who tracked the recipe down from her friend Mark, who is happy to share it with us.

Cheesy Bread Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • 8 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped green onion (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream (optional)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup, 4 ounces), softened to the point of being slightly melted
  • 1 to 2 loaves of French or Italian bread (I used Ciabatta), depending on the size of the loaves


1 In a large bowl, mix together the cheeses and the green onion. Stir in the mayonnaise and sour cream. In a separate small bowl blend the butter and garlic until smooth. Add the butter mixture to the cheese mixture.

2 Preheat broiler. Slice loaf of bread in half horizontally, lay crust side down. Spread cheese mixture over the bread. Place under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

3 Remove from broiler and let sit for 5 minutes until cool enough to handle. Slice the bread with a bread knife. Serve.

Makes 30 to 40 slices.

Chipotle Lime Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Recipe

Chipotle Lime Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Recipe

Filed under
Appetizer, Low Carb, Seafood, Wheat-free

When I put the call out a few weeks ago for July 4th
grilling suggestions, Simply Recipes reader Chuck mentioned bacon-wrapped shrimp. I'm sure this is a standard fare for many of you, but I can't remember ever eating bacon-wrapped shrimp, let alone making it. But boy, it sounds good, doesn't it? Wonderfully indulgent. You actually don't need anything beyond some good quality jumbo shrimp and bacon; they were perfectly delicious paired on their own the first time I made them. That said, dressing them up a bit with some lime juice and chipotle seasoning adds some fun layers of flavor.

Chipotle Lime Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Recipe

  • 12 large, raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • Juice from one lime (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (or more to taste)
  • 6 strips thin bacon, cut in half (12 pieces)
  • Skewers (for grilling) or toothpicks (for oven)


1 Mix together in a small bowl the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, and chipotle powder. Put the shrimp in the lime chipotle mixture; make sure each piece is well coated.

2 Spread the bacon pieces out over several layers of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with another layer of paper towel. Microwave on high until the bacon fat begins to melt but the bacon is still pliable, about 1 1/2 minutes.

3 Prepare grill on high, direct heat (if grilling) or preheat the oven to 450°F.

4 Working one at a time, wrap a half piece of microwaved bacon around each piece of shrimp. If you are grilling, thread the shrimp onto long, flat skewers (flat skewers make turning the shrimp on the grill easier). If you don't have flat skewers, I've used two thin bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes beforehand) to the same effect. If you are using the oven, secure each the bacon onto the shrimp with toothpicks. Place the bacon-wrapped shrimp on a slotted baking pan (lined with foil inside for easy cleaning). Brush remaining lime chipotle mixture on the outside of the bacon-wrapped shrimp.

5 Grill uncovered for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes, until shrimp is pink and the bacon is crisp.

Makes 12 pieces.

Crab Dip Recipe

Crab Dip Recipe

Filed under
Appetizer, Low Carb, Seafood, Wheat-free

Winter is fresh crab season here in Northern California. When our local Whole Foods gets in a shipment, we're first in line for the biggest (anything greater than 2 lbs) fresh, cooked crabs, already cleaned and broken. Dad calls it "nature's fast food". We've been known to go through a couple 2 pounders just for lunch. Note that as with all seafood, the crab's freshness is imperative. I had to take one back to WF a few weeks ago, because it just wasn't edible. My bad, I forgot to check. Although your fish monger should be checking before handing it over to you, you really do need to inspect it before paying for it and taking it home. The best way to test is to smell. If it smells too fishy, not good. What to do with leftover crab meat when your eye is hungrier than your stomach? Mix it into a fresh crab dip, refrigerate it overnight and eat it the next day. If you are no where near a place that sells good, fresh crab, you can of course use canned crab. Trader Joe's has a good product. I've also mixed this dip up with pasta for a lovely crab pasta salad. Yum!

Crab Dip Recipe


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cooked crab meat
  • 2 Tbsp minced shallots (or green onions or red onions)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill or 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper


Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, shallots, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Fold in the crab meat. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 2 hours or overnight. Serve with crackers or carrots and celery.

Crab Mango and Avocado Salad Recipe

Crab Mango and Avocado Salad Recipe

Filed under
Appetizer, Breakfast and Brunch, Low Carb, Salad, Seafood, Seasonal Favorites: Spring, Wheat-free

I first encountered a crab mango salad at Fringale, the exquisite French-Basque restaurant on 4th St. in San Francisco. Recently at a restaurant in LA I had another delicious crab mango salad, this time with avocado and surrounded by peeled ruby red grapefruit sections. I've been dreaming about it ever since. Scouring the Internet I came up with several recipes and decided to create my own from the ideas of several. It turned out delicous, though my grapefruit sections fell apart completely and ended up being too much of a bother to include with the salad this time.

Crab Mango and Avocado Salad Recipe


For the sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • For the salad: 1 lb of fresh lump Dungeness crabmeat, picked through to remove the small pieces of shell or cartilage
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot or purple onion
  • 1 medium sized mango, peeled, pitted, and diced (See How to Cut a Mango)
  • 1 firm but ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional: ruby red grapefruit sections, peeled


Sauce directions:
Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the mango, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until the fruit is very tender. Add water, bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a blender and purée until smooth. Chill.

Alternatively, if you are pressed for time, put all of the sauce ingredients into a blender and purée.

Crab salad directions:
In a bowl add the crab meat, 2 tsp of the cilantro, 1 tsp of the mint, the chopped shallot, a Tbsp of lime juice, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 10 drops of Tabasco sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix carefully with a fork, to avoid breaking up the larger lumps of crab meat. Set aside.

In a separate bowl add the mango, avocado, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 Tbsp of lime juice, the remaining cilantro and mint leaves, 10 drops of Tabasco, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently with a spoon, taking care not to mush the avocado pieces.

Using small tureens or desert bowls for individual molds, layer the crab mixture and the mango avocado mixture. It doesn't really matter which you layer first. In the photo above I've layered the mango avocado mixture first. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

When you are ready to serve, gently remove the salads from the molds onto individual plates. Serve the sauce on the side. Garnish with cilantro leaves. For a tasty added touch if you have them, arrange peeled sections of ruby red grapefruit around the salads. The grapefruit provides a flavorful complement to the crab salad.

Serves 4.

Dad's English Muffin Pizzas Recipe

Dad's English Muffin Pizzas Recipe

Filed under Appetizer, Quick

Back in 7th grade home-economics, the cooking segment consisted of learning how to make pizza with English muffins, some spaghetti sauce, a little cheese and a toaster oven.

Relax. These aren't those pizzas. These are cool, a little fancy, English muffin pizzas. When my father came home with a bag of English muffins announcing that he was going to make pizzas with them, I sort of rolled my eyes and stepped away. (Okay, dad, whatever you want.) But when the aroma of caramelizing onions, ham, bubbling Mozzarella wafted through the house, I got my plate ready. We'll be having these again soon.

Dad's English Muffin Pizzas Recipe


  • 6 muffin halves (want to make your own English muffins? here's how)
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese, packed
  • 1 Tbsp butter1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3/4 cup diced ham
  • A pinch of chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon stoneground mustard

Optional: A few slices of fresh tomato

1 Preheat oven to 425°F.

2 Melt butter in a medium skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced ham, cook 5 minutes more. Mix in the sage and mustard. Remove from heat.

3 Put muffin halves, open side up on a sturdy baking pan. Distribute the cheese evenly, sprinkling over the muffin halves. Put the onion ham mixture on top of the cheese. If you want to use tomato slices, layer them between the cheese and onion mixture.

4 Bake at 425°F for 8-9 minutes, until the muffins and toppings are nicely browned, but not burnt. Cut into quarters for appetizers or just leave whole for a meal or snack.

Deviled Eggs Recipe

Deviled Eggs Recipe

Filed under Appetizer, Egg, Low Carb, Quick, Seasonal Favorites: Spring, Seasonal Favorites: Summer, Wheat-free

Deviled eggs. Easter egg hunts and summer picnic potlucks. I have been known to devour a dozen of these in one sitting. These were quick and easy. If you want them to be a little prettier, put the egg filling into a freezer bag, make a cut off of one corner of the bag, and pipe them into the egg white halves.
What follows is a basic recipe, though there are so many wonderful variations you can make. See the comments for some great ideas submitted by Simply Recipes readers. Do you have a favorite deviled egg recipe? If so, please add yours in the comments.

Deviled Eggs Recipe


  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion or shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon tabasco
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika


1 First hard boil the eggs. (See how to make hard boiled eggs.) Fill up a large saucepan half-way with water and gently add the eggs. Cover the eggs with at least an inch of water. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water (this will help contain egg whites from leaking out if any of the shells crack while cooking). Add a pinch of salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil. Cover, and remove from heat. Let sit covered for 12-15 minutes. Drain hot water from pan and run cold water over the eggs. (At this point if you crack the egg shells while the eggs are cooling, it will make it easier to peel the shells.) Let sit in the cool water a few minutes, changing the water if necessary to keep it cool.

2 Peel the eggs. Using a sharp knife, slice each egg in half, lengthwise. Gently remove the yolk halves and place in a small mixing bowl. Arrange the egg white halves on a serving platter.

3 Using a fork, mash up the yolks and add mustard, mayonnaise, onion, tabasco, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Spoon egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika.

Makes 2 dozen deviled eggs.

Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj) Recipe

Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj) Recipe
Filed under Appetizer, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

Here in the San Joaquin Valley, the eggplant season is in full swing. At our local farmers market last weekend one could find eggplants of every variety - globe, Japanese, striped, white, even eggplants that looked like tomatoes. I have a couple still on the vine, after picking the one used for this recipe that was just begging to be eaten. Here is a wonderful recipe for baba ghanouj (also spelled baba ghanoush) a middle eastern eggplant dip. It is typically served with pita bread. The recipe comes from
Field of Greens, the cookbook from the beautiful vegetarian restaurant Greens at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

Eggplant Dip (Baba Ghanouj) Recipe


  • 2 globe eggplants (about 2 lbs)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp roasted tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of one lemon - about 2 1/2 tablespoons
  • 3/4 teaspoon saltCayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro


1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and brush the cut sides lightly with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast until very tender, about 35 minutes. Place the eggplant in a colander to drain and cool for 15 minutes, then scoop the flesh out of the skin.

2 Combine the eggplant, remaining olive oil (about 2 Tbsp), tahini, garlic, cumin, 2 Tbsp of the lemon juice, the salt, and a pinch of cayenne in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the eggplant is somewhat smooth but retains some of its texture.

3 Allow the baba ghanouj to sit for an hour at room temperature, then season to taste with additional lemon juice, salt, and cayenne. Toss in cilantro and serve.
Serves four. Served traditionally with pita bread, and can also be served with crackers, toast, sliced baguette or celery.

Eggplant Relish Recipe

Eggplant Relish Recipe
Filed under Appetizer, Condiment, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

Tucked away in funky Bernal Heights, my old neighborhood in San Francisco, used to lie
Palatino, an Italian trattoria which served unexpectedly exceptional Italian food. I used to go there regularly and became addicted to the eggplant caponata condiment they served with bread sticks that accompanied every meal. I have no idea if this is even close to the same recipe that the restaurant used, but it is certainly in the right direction. Palatino's version chops the veggies a bit finer.

Eggplant Relish Recipe


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium sized eggplant - about 1 lb, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pinenuts
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook a couple minutes more.

2 Add eggplant and tomatoes. Cover. Cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is very soft, about 15 minutes.

3 Add vinegar, nuts, olives, raisins, sugar, and capers. Cook uncovered over medium-low heat until vegetables begin to break down, about 10-12 minutes.

4 Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mix in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Relish can be refrigerated, covered, up to 5 days.

Makes 4 cups. Serve with toasted French baguette slices, bread sticks, on a sandwich, or with fish or chicken.

Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic Recipe

Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic Recipe
Filed under
Appetizer, Vegetable, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

fava beans require patience. You have to shuck them twice, once to remove the thick shell, and then again, after cooking the beans, to peel the outer skin. Are they worth the effort? You tell me. Fresh favas, or broad beans, are only available for a short time in spring, so it's not an effort that you have to, or get to, make that often. I kind of like the meditative aspects of plopping out the beans from their pods like mini-green-bean rocket ships. Cooked in salty water, they taste a lot like edamame, and can be just as deliciously addictive. Here is a recipe for a simple fava bean dip with garlic and goat cheese. It's terrific with jicama, and cucumber slices. The cool crunchiness of the jicama or cucumber works well with the creamy beany-ness (for lack of a better word) of the dip. Many thanks to fellow Sacramento food blogger Hank Shaw for supplying me with bunch of fava beans from his garden.

Fava Bean Dip with Goat Cheese and Garlic Recipe


  • 2-3 pounds fresh fava (broad) beans, shelled (about 2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped green garlic (can substitute 4 cloves chopped garlic)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup or more water
  • 5 ounces goat cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Remove the outer shell from the fava beans.
The easiest way to do this is to work over a large bowl, bend the fava bean pod near one of the beans, squeeze the bean with your fingers, to have it shoot out into the bowl when the bean snaps. Keep squeezing, pinching and snapping, until you've de-beaned all the pods.

2 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the shelled beans, simmer for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove beans from the hot water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to shock the beans into maintaining their bright green color. When the beans have sunk to the bottom of the bowl of ice water, fish them out and remove and discard the outer peel.

3 In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the chopped green garlic (or chopped regular garlic cloves) and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3 or 4 minutes.

4 Place shelled and peeled beans in a food processor with softened green garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water. Pulse until smooth. Stream in a tablespoon or two more of olive oil while puréeing.

5 Scrape mixture out of food processor into a bowl. Mix in the goat cheese until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Serve with sliced cucumbers or jicama.

Makes about 2 cups.

Garlic Bread Recipe

Garlic Bread Recipe
Filed under All Seasons, Appetizer, Side Dish

Spaghetti just seems lonely without garlic bread, and it's so easy to make. There are several methods and twists for making garlic bread, the most simple being just rubbing a cut clove of garlic over slices of Italian or French bread, spreading the bread with butter and heating in the oven. Here are a couple of methods that make wonderful garlic bread, depending on how you like it, either toasty or soft.

Garlic Bread Recipe

  • 1 16-ounce loaf of Italian bread or French bread
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Method 1 - Toasted
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Cut the bread in half, horizontally. Mix the butter, garlic, and parsley together in a small bowl. Spread butter mixture over the the two bread halves. Place on a sturdy baking pan (one that can handle high temperatures, not a cookie sheet) and heat in the oven for 10 minutes.

3 Remove pan from oven. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over bread if you want. Return to oven on the highest rack. Broil on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the edges of the bread begin to toast and the cheese (if you are using cheese) bubbles. Watch very carefully while broiling. The bread can easily go from un-toasted to burnt.

4 Remove from oven, let cool a minute. Remove from pan and make 1-inch thick slices. Serve immediately.

Method 2 - Soft

Preheat oven to 350°F. Make the butter, garlic, parsley mixture as above. Make 1-inch thick slices into the bread, but do not go all the way through, just to the bottom crust. Put a teaspoon or two of the butter mixture between each slice. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil and heat for 15 minutes in the oven.

Greek Meatballs Recipe

Greek Meatballs Recipe
Filed under
Appetizer, Lamb, Low Carb, Wheat-free

I found this recipe in the weekend edition of the Wall St. Journal as good "noshing" food for New Year's and had to give it a try, with a few minor changes. It comes from chef Michael Symon of the
Parea Greek restaurant in New York and Lola & Lolita Bistro in Cleveland. The meatballs are quite tasty and work well dipped in a little yogurt.

Greek Meatballs Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 4 ounces
salt pork, ground or finely minced
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Greek yogurt for dipping
  • Method

    1 Heat a small pan over medium heat and add oil, garlic, jalapeño and shallot, and cook for 1 minute, then let cool.

    2 Meanwhile, crumble lamb into a large bowl. Evenly scatter salt pork, orange zest and mint over lamb, and season with pepper. Sprinkle the cooled garlic mixture over lamb. Gently mix until just combined, then form into 1¼-inch balls and transfer to a plate or sheet pan.

    3 Heat a large cast iron pan over medium to medium high heat. Working in batches if necessary to prevent crowding, brown meatballs on all sides until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve warm with toothpicks or skewers with plain yogurt.Note: Meatballs can also be cooked ahead, refrigerated and reheated in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.

    Makes about 20 meatballs.

    Hot Crab Dip Recipe

    Hot Crab Dip Recipe
    Filed under
    Appetizer, Quick, Wheat-free

    Winter. Dungeness crab season. Super Bowl.

    Need I say more?
    It's been raining and in the 40s for the last month now (okay, no need to tell me that I'm a California wimp, I know it's probably worse where you are, heck, dad is from Minnesota, he knows) and any excuse to make something hot and cheerful in the oven is welcome. Here's a quick, easy, and delicious, piping hot crab dip, perfect for a winter gathering. The base is cream cheese, mayo and crab. We've dressed ours up with green onions, parsley, horseradish, slivered almonds and Tabasco. The proportions are guidelines, really this is to taste.
    Do you have a favorite hot crab dip? If so, what's in it and what do you serve it with?

    Hot Crab Dip Recipe

    • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp water
    • 2 green onions, sliced, greens included
    • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley, or 1 Tbsp dried parsley
    • 1 Tbsp horseradish
    • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco or more to taste
    • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
    • 1 cup of fresh lump crab meat (or a can of crab meat)


    1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, water, onions, and parsley until smooth. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, and horseradish. Fold in the slivered almonds and lump crab meat. Place in an oven-proof casserole serving dish.

    2 Bake until bubbly and heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve with crackers or thinly sliced baguette.

    Hummus Recipe

    Hummus Recipe
    Filed under
    All Seasons, Appetizer, Quick, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

    This basic hummus recipe calls for using canned garbanzo beans. I've made hummus using dried beans, soaking them, cooking them, etc. but the results just weren't as good. The canned beans actually mash up pretty well.

    Hummus Recipe

    • 4 garlic cloves, minced and then mashed
    • 2 15-oz cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
    • 2/3 cup of tahini (roasted, not raw)
    • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    • Pine nuts (toasted) and parsley (chopped) for garnish


    1 In a food processor, combine the mashed garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and olive oil. Process until smooth. Add salt, starting at a half a teaspoon, to taste.

    2 Spoon into serving dish and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley.
    Serve with crackers, raw dip vegetables such as carrots or celery, or with pita bread. You can cut the pita bread into thin triangles, brush with olive oil and toast for 10 minutes in a 400°F oven to make pita chips with which to serve the hummus.
    Makes about 3 cups.

    Liver Pâté Recipe

    Liver Pâté Recipe
    Filed under
    Appetizer, Low Carb, Pork, Wheat-free
    I love baked liver pâté, or "pâté maison" as it is sometimes called. It is especially good with French rolls with lettuce and tomato.

    Liver Pâté Recipe

    • 1 lb ground lean pork
    • 1 lb of liver - (chicken, calf's, or pig's), diced
    • 1 Tablespoons of cognac or brandy
    • 1 Tablespoons of dry Madeira or sherry
    • 1 cloves garlic
    • 2 sprays of parsley
    • 1/2 shallot or small white onion
    • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
    • 1/8 teaspoon clove
    • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • Dash of Tabasco or cayenne
    • Sliced bacon - about 1/2 lb

    Variation: Use chicken livers, lean pork, and sausage meat in equal quantities. See my

    second recipe for paté maison.

    Grind the pork through a meat grinder several times on a fine setting.
    Place in a blender cognac or brandy, Madeira or sherry, garlic, parsley, shallot or onion, ginger, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add diced livers and blend a cupful at a time. Season with salt and pepper, adding a dash of Tabasco or cayenne. Mix the ground pork with the blended liver.

    Line a casserole or terrine with strips of bacon, fill with mixture, and cover with bacon. Place the casserole dish in a larger baking dish and fill the larger dish with water up to the halfway point on the side of the paté dish. This "water bath" will help the paté retain moisture and make for a smoother consistency in the texture. Bake uncovered in a moderate oven, 350 degrees F, for about 1 1/2 hours. Cool the pate under a weight so that it will become firm and fine-textured. To do this, lay a piece of waxed paper or aluminum foil over the pate and set on top of the entire surface a board weighted with a heavy object. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

    At serving time bring the terrine to the table, slice, and serve with crusty French bread or rolls and a glass of wine. Also good with lettuce and tomatoes.

    Serves 8-12

    Mushroom Caviar Recipe

    Mushroom Caviar Recipe
    Filed under Appetizer, Vegetarian, Wheat-free

    Whoever came up with the term "mushroom caviar" must have been in marketing. Mushroom caviar just sounds so much more catchy than "mushroom spread" or "minced mushrooms and shallots sautéed in butter", even though that's basically what it is. Pretty good too, especially if you love mushrooms the way we do.

    Mushroom Caviar Recipe

    • 3 Tbsp butter
    • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1/2 cup of minced shallots
    • 1 Tbsp dry white wine (e.g. Sauvignon Blanc)
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
    • 2 Tbsp sour cream
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
    • A couple dashes of cayenne pepper, to taste


    1 Melt butter in a large skillet on high heat. Add the mushrooms and shallots. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring frequently.

    2 While the mushrooms are cooking, heat a small skillet on high heat. Add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to get a little toasted. (Keep your eyes on the nuts, they can burn pretty quickly.) As soon as they begin to toast, remove the pan from the heat and put the pine nuts into a small bowl. Set aside.

    3 While the mushrooms are cooking, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Once they have cooked for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and a tablespoon of dry white wine. Cook for an additional minute and remove from heat. Put mushroom mixture in a bowl, add the toasted pine nuts, and set aside to cool.

    4 Once the mushrooms have cooled down a bit, mix in the lemon juice, sour cream, and parsley. Add more salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Sprinkle on cayenne pepper, to taste. Chill before serving.

    Spoon onto a large butter lettuce leaf and serve with crackers. (Use rice crackers for wheat-free option.)

    Makes about 1 1/2 cups. Serves four.

    Nachos Recipe

    Nachos Recipe
    Filed under Appetizer, Cheese, Mexican and Tex Mex

    Nachos are considered more "Tex Mex" than Mexican, being an invention of one Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya, a restaurateur serving American servicemen in the 1940s. At their essence, they are simply a layer of tortilla chips with melted cheddar cheese and jalapeño peppers. Unfortunately, the sports stadium concessionaires got a hold of the nachos idea and ruined it by using melted, processed Velveeta cheese, instead of real cheddar. So now, many people think that that's what nachos are. How distressing! Nachos are all about the ingredients - the best tortilla chips, freshly made refried pinto beans, grated cheddar cheese, jalapeño peppers, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and fresh cilantro.

    Canned refried beans can be used for this recipe, of course. But you are truly missing out by not trying to make your beans fresh. It's a whole other world. Regarding the salsa, there are two kinds of tomato salsa that we use often, one with fresh tomatoes and one with cooked. We used to make the cooked tomato salsa from scratch, but there are so many great prepared salsas on the market these days, that we don't ours from scratch very often. This recipe works best with the cooked tomato salsa, but really, you can use any salsa.

    Nachos Recipe



    1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange a layer of tortilla chips along the bottom of a wide, shallow baking pan. It will make things easier if this baking pan also can be used as a serving pan, such as the ceramic platter shown in the photo above. The layer of tortilla chips can be a couple chips thick. Spread the refried beans over the chips (this is why you need extra thick chips, so they don't break when encountering the beans). Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of chips and beans. Sprinkle slices of jalapeño peppers over the cheese. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. 5 minutes in a convection oven.

    2 Serve with dollops of salsa, sour cream and guacamole, with chopped cilantro sprinkled on top.

    Serves 8. What is pictured above is a half-recipe.