Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cayenne Cheese Dip

1/2 cup mayonnaise
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 dash cayenne pepper
8 butter crackers, crushed, such as Ritz
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Corn chips, crackers or bagel chips, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper. Transfer the mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie pan. Top the mixture with the cracker crumbs and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven and top with the bacon. Serve immediately with corn chips, crackers or bagel chips. 
 Read more at:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sweet Potatoes with Mushrooms, Onion, and Thyme

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (about 1 lb)
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (about 1/2 lb)
1 (10 ounce) package white button mushrooms, wiped clean and halved or quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & fresh ground pepper

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Arrange the sweet potatoes, onion, and mushrooms in a large roasting pan or baking dish, about 13 X 9.
3. Drizzle evenly with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper, and stir to coat vegetables.
4. Roast vegetables until golden and tender, turning occasionally with a spatula, about 45 minutes.
5. Serve immediately.

Read more:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Place a medium dish in the oven to warm. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  3. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. 
  5. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven. 
  6. Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

1. Combine in a quart jar:
¾ cup water
1 cup vinegar (rice vinegar is my favorite mild vinegar and works well in this recipe)
2. Add and stir to dissolve:
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3. Add spices and flavorings. I used:
2-3 whole cloves
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
2 or more sprigs of fresh dill or tarragon
1 small red onion, quartered
2 or more peeled garlic cloves
4. Add cucumbers:
3 – 4 lemon cucumbers, quartered lengthwise
Optional: blanched whole green beans, ends trimmed
Cover the jar with a lid and refrigerate for a couple of days to allow the spices to flavor the vegetables.
The spices I used in my version of her recipe resulted in tasty pickles but there is a lot of room for experimentation and trying a variety of spices and flavors. Use herbs and vegetables right out of your garden or  have fun foraging at your farmer’s market for produce to use. The green beans are especially good – I cooked them in boiling water for only a couple of minutes, drained them, then added them to the prepared jar. They were crisp, tender and delicious.

A plate of fresh, chilled, pickled veggies makes a refreshing summer appetizer or is perfect for picnics, and as a garnish for salads.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Lemon Cucumber Pickles

3 Baseball Sized Lemon Cucumbers
1/2 Small Red Onion
1/2 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
1/2 Cup Water
3 Tbs. Kosher Salt (1 T. sprinkled through layers, 2 T. in vinegar and water)
3 Cloves Garlic Crushed
1/4 tsp. Coriander Seed
1/4 tsp. Black Peppercorns
1 tsp. Dill (or small bunch fresh dill)
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 tsp. Mustard Seed

Bring Vinegar, Water, and 2 Tbs. Salt to a boil.
While the brine is heating. Rinse and slice cucumber and prepare remaining ingredients. Layer Seasonings, Onion, Garlic, Cucumbers, and 1 Tbs. Salt in a jar or bowl.
Once vinegar has boiled, pour over the cucumbers and spices until bowl or jar is filled and cucumbers are completely covered. 

Eggplant Bruschetta

1 eggplant
Alessi Eggplant Appetizer
Parmesan to taste
  1. Slice eggplant into quarter inch slices.
  2. Coat slices with salt and let drain in colander for 30 minutes. Rinse. 
  3. Lightly coat the eggplant with olive oil in order that the breadcrumbs stick. 
  4. Pour 1 cup of breadcrumbs into a bowl and put the eggplant in, making sure the breadcrumbs stick. (If you need more breadcrumbs, add 1/2 a cup). 
  5. Warm topping in microwave safe bowl. Be sure to cover with paper towel
  6. Lightly coat the frying pan with olive oil, and put the eggplant in for no more than 3 minutes. 
  7. Once the eggplant on the side down begins to brown flip over and let the other side cook until beginning to get golden brown.
  8. Top eggplant with Alessi Eggplant Appetizer and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Place under broiler for two minutes or until cheese melts.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sautéed Zucchini Recipe

1 medium unpeeled garlic clove
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound zucchini (about 4 medium), trimmed and cut into 2-by-1/4-inch matchsticks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place the garlic clove on a cutting board and, using the flat side of your knife, smash the clove by pushing on the knife blade with the heel of your hand. Remove and discard the peel and set the garlic clove aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant but not browned, about 30 seconds. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon or tongs and discard (or save for another use).

3. Add the zucchini to the pan and toss until coated with oil. Let cook undisturbed until the bottoms of the matchsticks are golden brown, about 1 minute. Toss again and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute more. Remove the pan from heat and season the zucchini with salt and pepper. Transfer the zucchini to a serving dish and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve immediately.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, halved crosswise, seeded, and bottom trimmed to lie flat, if necessary (1 pound)
fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms, sliced (and chopped, if desired)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and season cut sides of squash with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, and turn cut sides down. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes.

 2. Meanwhile, in a medium straight-sided skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms, onion, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are golden, 8 minutes. Add rice and broth and bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 20 minutes.

 3. Remove squash from oven and heat broiler. Carefully scoop out 2 to 3 tablespoons flesh from each squash half and stir into rice; season with salt and pepper. Divide rice mixture among squash halves, sprinkle with Parmesan, and broil until melted, 2 minutes.

 Read more:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sesame Green Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
 1 pound fresh green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
 1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add sesame seeds. When seeds start to darken, stir in green beans. Cook, stirring, until the beans turn bright green. 
  2. Pour in chicken broth, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. 
  3. Uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.