Bologna to Bolognese: Adventures With Food

Food is necessary. Food is fun. Food is an adventure!

My name is Shannon and this is my adventure, my love affair with food.

I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Nifty New Year's Nibbles!

A few years ago my husband and I decided to mix it up for the New Year's holiday and instead of cooking a big meal so soon after Christmas we make an array of appetizers and finger foods to munch on throughout the evening.

This year, after eating leftover ham what feels like 14 different ways, I decided go with something fun and a little different. Buffalo Turkey Sliders! These delightful little sandwiches are just the right size for a light lunch or a hearty appetizer and they're a cinch to make.

Buffalo Turkey Sliders


1 package (12 count) dinner rolls
1 pound ground turkey
1 stalk celery
1 medium onion
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp mayonnaise
buffalo wing sauce of your choice


In a medium bowl grate the celery and 1/2 the onion. Add the turkey, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, the remaining spices and mix well. Preheat the oven to 375c Spray a small baking sheet or glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray and spread meat mixture evenly in the pan. Bake in oven until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. While the meat is cooking I like to heat a griddle pan on the stove, slice the dinner rolls and toast them. Mince the remaining 1/2 onion and place in a small skillet on the stove with 1/2 tbsp of butter. Saute until the onions are soft but not browned. When the meat's juices run clear remove it from the oven and allow to rest before cutting into 12 pieces. Mix the remaining 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper into the mayonnaise and spread a small amount on each bun before topping them with some of the sauteed onions and a slider. Top the sandwiches off with your favorite wing sauce and serve.

These little beauties will fly off the plate and you may just have to make a resolution to add this healthy and fun food to your everyday menu instead of saving it just for special occasions!

If you don't have wind sauce on hand you can whip up your own with some Tabasco or similar hot sauce and a bit of butter. Stick to the ratio of 2:1 and you'll be golden. For example, two tablespoons of hot sauce to 1 tablespoon of melted butter, mix well and voila buffalo wing sauce.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Spice up the Holidays

One of my favorite memories of Christmas is making goodies with my mother.
Cookies, Candied Citrus Peel, Hard Tack Candy, and Colorful Chocolates are just a few of the delectable treats we used to make. Then, after everything was done, we'd pile the goodies on plates and dress them up with ribbons and bows to be given to friends for the holidays.

Now that I am older I find myself nostalgic for those homespun Christmas traditions and I am keeping them alive with my own family. Friends, family, and visitors can expect tasty holiday treats made with tons of love!

This year I added a new treat to my repertoire, Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts. These will add some spice to your holidays and make a delightful gift or Hors D'Oeuvres for your holiday festivities.

Sweet and Spicy Mixed Nuts


2 cups Roasted Mixed Nuts
1 recipe Spice Mix
1 recipe Glaze

You can roast your own nuts or purchase pre-roasted mixed nuts. I use pre-salted nuts and omit salt from the spice mixture. If you choose to use unsalted nuts you will want to add about a teaspoon of salt to the final spice mixture.

Spice Mixture:
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less to taste)

    1 tablespoon water
    1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 tablespoon honey
    1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
      1. Heat the oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
      2. In a small bowl, stir together the spice mixture.
      3. In a saucepan, combine the glaze ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the roasted nuts and continue to stir until all the nuts are well coated with glaze, about 1 to 2 minutes. Move the glazed nuts to a mixing bowl, sprinkle on most of the spice mix (reserve about 1/2 tbsp), and toss them well to coat. Spread the coated nuts on a foil lined cookie sheet and place them in the oven for about 5 minutes; checking regularly to make sure they don't burn. Remove and let cool stirring often so they do not stick to one another or the foil. Once nuts have cooled place in a clean mixing bowl and toss with remaining spice mix.  Makes 2 cups.

      Dress these up prettily in decorated treat bags or quaint paper cones when giving as gifts.

        Sunday, November 21, 2010

        Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

        With Thanksgiving just around the corner I have been looking for new and different ways to prepare traditional holiday foods. One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is the sweet potato casserole. So you can imagine my delight when, while browsing "The Fresh Loaf" one of my favorite forums, I came across a recipe for Sweet Potato Rolls. A number of the other members commented on how nice they would be as sweet cinnamon rolls so I decided to give it a try. Judging by the rate at which they disappeared, I would say these were a complete success!


        Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
        makes 24 rolls (roll recipe by Floyd M of "The Fresh Loaf")

        1 sweet potato, baked
        1 cup milk
        1/2 cup white or brown sugar
        3-4 cups all-purpose flour
        2 teaspoons instant yeast
        2 teaspoons salt
        1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

        Bake the sweet potato for approximately 45 minutes at 375. Remove from the allow to cool and peel. Combine the sweet potato, sugar, and milk and stir to make a paste. Mix in 2 cups of the flour, the salt, the yeast, and the spices until thoroughly combined. Add more flour a quarter cup at a time. Mix in after each addition until you have a dough that is tacky but which you can handle with wet hands. When you hit the proper consistency, remove from the bowl and knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. Set the dough aside to rise in a covered bowl for 45 minutes to an hour.

        Since Floyd's recipe was for dinner rolls and not the sweet Cinnamon version I had to put together my own filling and I decided to stick to the same flavors you expect to find in a sweet potato pie or casserole. My mother makes a sweet potato casserole with a coconut pecan crust which is to die for. I didn't have any coconut to hand but I found ground pecans were a perfect fit for this filling.

        Cinnamon Roll Filling

        1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
        1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
        1 c brown sugar  
        1/3 cup pecans

        Divide dough in half and gently roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Spread  1/2 of the filling evenly across the dough and tightly roll it to form a long log. Adding some butter before laying down the filling will add richness. Cut the log into a dozen pieces and place in a buttered baking dish. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling and allow to rise for approximately another hour or until they have roughly doubled in size. Bake at 375 for approximately 20 to 25 minutes until they are beginning to turn brown.

        While the buns are cooling make the caramel sauce for the topping.

        Easy Caramel Sauce

        1/2 c brown sugar
        1/2 cup dark corn syrup
        1 tbsp vanilla
        4 tbsp butter

        Combine ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat stirring constantly. Once the sugar has completely dissolved remove the sauce from the heat and spoon over the rolls. Top with pecans  and a sprinkle of ground ginger.

        These were so delightful I think they will find a permanent place in my holiday repertoire. In fact they may make a repeat performance as Thanksgiving day breakfast, just perfect with a cup of hot coffee while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

        Saturday, November 20, 2010

        Adventures With Food: On The Road...Boston & Salem

        We weren't able to finish the whole Freedom Trail on our first day so we started day two in the Charlestown area. This is one of the most delightful neighborhoods I have ever been in but after visiting Bunker Hill and the U.S.S. Constitution we were ready for a hearty lunch. We took the ferry back across the harbor and found ourselves on the doorstep of Legal Seafood, begun in 1950 when George Berkowitz opened a fish market in the Inman Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1968, the family opened its first seafood restaurant, right next to the fish market and has continued to expand. they now have restaurants in many major cities and ship fresh seafood nationwide. Whatever you're looking for you'll find it on the Legal Sea Foods menu. The atmosphere is hip and very posh but they are just as comfortable serving a family of four as they are accommodating a working business lunch.

        Here we dove into a classic, a true east coast icon, the Lobster Roll. The debate of hot or cold, butter or mayo will remain ongoing for us as they only had the cold, mayo version on the menu. No matter, it was so succulent and delightful I'd be happy to go try it again "in the name of research" of course!

        Not a meal but almost as good, if you get a chance, take the time to tour the Samuel Adams brewery. They let you taste a number of different brews and are a lot of fun!

        After a busy day we traveled back to the North end where Italian food and culture abounds. We followed our noses to a charming out of the way spot called Antico Forno. My husband tried the Saltimbocca Di Pollo, a seared chicken breast topped with Parma prosciutto and fontina cheese in a Madeira mushroom wine sauce with sautéed garlic and spinach which was simply divine.

        I had my first experience with Gnocchi. These homemade potato dumplings are baked in a brick oven and come smothered in plum tomato sauce topped with mozzarella, cheese and basil.
        These Gnocchi were a little bit of heaven!

        After dinner we wound our way around to a North End icon, Mike's pastry. Even on a Thursday night there was a line out the door. We suggest a Lobster Tail and a Pistachio Cannoli.

        If you crave cannoli and can't get there in person or if once you've had it you can't get enough, Mike's will even ship cannoli kits anywhere in the US.

        On Friday we were back out of the city and after a short train ride we arrived in the sleepy town of Salem, birthplace of Parker Brothers Games, a once bustling shipping community and of course the infamous local of the 1692 witch trials. I say sleepy but because of the last, less than 48 hours from Halloween, Salem was anything but sleepy. We took a walking tour with local Historian Jim McAllister a well known author and speaker. After a brisk walk through town and a visit to the maritime museum we were ready for some lunch which we had intended to have at a spot we found on the Food Network's "Dinners, Drive ins and Dives." Unfortunately they weren't open yet so we wandered on and stumbled across Tavern in the Square, which was quite a find indeed. This restaurant not only offered an extensive menu with a great selection of creative foods but they also offered some fantastic local brews. We partook of a seasonal special served with a rime of cinnamon and sugar called Fisherman's Pumpkin Stout.

        This brew with pumpkin and coffee was dark, rich and full of character. Laced with hints of spice it was a sure winner with us. For lunch a Fig, Prosciutto and Gorgonzola pizza with balsamic reduction was a great pairing and the spicy sweet potato fries were a delightful escape from the norm.

        We liked Tavern in the Square so much in fact that we went back later for dinner. We found we were still a bit full after lunch so settled for a starter of lettuce wraps and truly decadent desert, fried snickers with ice cream!

        Overall our trip was wonderful and the delightful food along the way just added to the experience. So, the next time you go east I hope you will find culinary bliss at one of these delightful restaurants and share your best eats in return!

        Cannoli photo from Mike's Pastry Website

        Sunday, November 14, 2010

        Adventures with Food: On the Road... Plymouth & Boston

        I have been remiss in posting the rest of October's blog entries due to being in a persistent food coma. This comes from a delightful much needed holiday my husband and I took the last week of October. We traveled to the wonderful city of Boston where culture, history and iconic food abound. So settle in for a trip through some of the best eats in the greater Boston area.

        We started out journey in Plymouth Massachusetts with a trip to the Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock, Burying point, and an out of the way spot kept up by the local Antiquarian Society known as Sacrifice Rock. After working up quite an appetite we headed down to the shore for a bite to eat at the Blue Eyed Crab. This eclectic little restaurant is just off the waterfront and is a family owned establishment that puts a great deal of pride and creativity into their menu. They have an extensive list of drinks including a seasonal cocktail with cranberries, mint, Makers Mark and white cranberry juice.

        We ordered a starter of Alligator Bites which was so good it was gone before I got a picture. The mains were similarly fantastic and I only just remembered to get a pic of the fantastic seafood stew.

        The *Blue Eyed Crab Seafood Stew is made with chorizo, sweet potatoes and lots of seafood, including swordfish, fresh mussels, clams, scallops and shrimp, in a spicy tomato crab cilantro broth. It was delicate and robust at the same time and the scallops were the most tender I had ever had. Simply divine. My husband ordered the special, a seared Swordfish steak with mango salsa on a bed of tropical rice. Unfortunately I just wasn't quick enough to catch a shot of that tasty dish, it was so good I think he might have licked the plate clean?

        After we settled in to out hotel in the Brookline neighborhood of Boston we stumbled across a great local nightspot called the Beacon Street Tavern. With inviting decor and a good drink selection it was the perfect place for a nightcap.

        On our first full day in Boston we started our journey down the Freedom Trail. Not for the feint of heart this trail of 16 historic and momentous sites starts at the Massachusetts State House, just off the Boston Common. It is also the site of a well kept secret. We got there early for our scheduled tour and we directed by a helpful security guard to the fourth floor where secreted away down a long hallway of offices you will find a tiny coffee shop. Not much to look at, this was the perfect place for breakfast. The menu is short but the cook was a true gem. We asked what type of breakfast sandwiches they had and were told "Anything you want we can make!" So one sausage egg and cheese on dark rye later I am convinced they don't advertise because the legislators want to keep the place to themselves!

        We stopped for lunch at the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S.,the Union Oyster House.

        It was established in 1826 and many famous people have wandered it's floors including French King Louis Phillippe and President John F. Kennedy, who's favorite booth bears his name to this day.

        So at an Oyster house one must have oysters. It was our first experience with them raw on the half shell and our waitress made it a great one. After learning the technique we had a great time slurping these beautiful bivalves.

        We also enjoyed a great seafood sampler with Atlantic cod, fried scallops, and fried whole calamari. These scallops were even better than those from the night before which is hard to believe.

        We also shared some of their lovely clam chowder (chowd-a) which was rich and creamy without loosing the light flavor of the clams.

        Our lunch was so filling in fact that we were dismayed to find ourselves still full at dinner time. Instead we met up for drinks with friends and can highly recommend the Bell in Hand Tavern which was established 1795 by Boston's last known Town Crier Jimmy Wilson. Also on Union street, it has a good on draft selection and perfectly captures the ambiance of a traditional English pub.

        Saturday, October 9, 2010

        Beautiful Bhaji

        My husband and I LOVE Indian food and when we were in England a meal from the local curry shop was often accompanied by delicious Onion Bhaji, fresh from the deep fryer. Recently I found a great recipe for Baked Zucchini fritters and it seemed like a great starting place for a healthier version of the delicious Indian snack food I’ve been missing. A traditional Bhaji is thinly sliced onions combined with a chickpea flour batter and spices before being deep fried in hot oil. I don’t love frying things at home so this baked version is not only healthier but helps avoid the mess and hassle of frying.

        Ingredients (12 Bhaji)

        3 c. shredded zucchini, unpeeled
        1 tsp cumin
        1 tsp cardamom
        1/2 tsp garam masala
        1/2 tsp turmeric
        1 tsp mace
        1 tsp coriander
        1 tsp ginger
        1/2 tsp ground red pepper
        1/8 tsp salt
        1/4 tsp pepper
        1 egg, slightly beaten
        3/4 c. bread crumbs
        1 onion
        2 tbsp garlic
        1/2 c. feta (finely crumbled) or grated parmesan


        Preheat oven 425 F
        Shred the zucchini and onion with a food processor or box grater. Place shredded vegetable in a fine sieve or colander and press out excess water. In a bowl (not plastic), mix the shredded veg and remaining ingredients together. Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
        Each Bhaji should be about ¼ cup of this mixture. Place a scoop of mixture onto the baking tray and press gently into a round shape on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Once all the fritters have been placed on the baking sheet, bake for 10 minutes. Spray Bhaji tops with spray butter or drizzle with oil, turn over with a spatula. Cook for additional 10 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Top with a drizzle of lemon juice.

        These Bhajis have a very strong flavor and I like mine with a smidge of sour cream as well, though this is not a traditional Bhaji accoutrement. However, since Zucchini is not a traditional Bhaji ingredient I guess it’s all good!

        Wonderful White Chili

        Recently I’ve added a new segment to my daily radio program called “Mid Day Munchies”. Each week I pick a topic and daily talk about different recipes or aspects of a food as the week progresses. So a few weeks ago I chose Chili as my topic. It was a wonderful adventure discovering the rich history of the chili queens and chili parlors and delving into the controversy of beans or no beans in chili. However the most odd thing for me remains the concept of a “White Chili”. I really feel chili needs to be luscious chunks of red meat with rich tomato based sauce and lots of spices. Since I featured it on my show though I thought I should give it a shot in my kitchen. So after some adjustments I am happy with this Wonderful White Chili.

        Ingredients: (Serves 6)

        4 cups chicken broth
        32 oz beans, great northern
        1 lb ground turkey
        1/4 cup pearl barley
        1 onion
        2 cups celery
        1 tsp cumin
        2 tbsp chilies
        1 tsp bay leaf
        1 tsp pepper
        3 tbsp garlic


        Sauté the onions and celery in a deep pan on the stove until slightly softened. Add the ground turkey and garlic and cook until meat is no longer pink. De glaze the pan with some of the chicken stock and combine with the remaining ingredients in a crock-pot. Cook on high for two hours or until the celery is tender and the barley is cooked through. If you don’t have a crock pot add the remaining ingredients to your cooking pot on the stove, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer stirring occasionally for about 1-2 hours. I like the crock-pot because it’s more out of sight out of mind and I can do other things while I wait for the soup to finish.

        This is even better served in a yummy bread bowl but if you eliminate the bread you’ll find this dish is not only tasty but also chocked full of nutrients and very filling.

        Wednesday, October 6, 2010

        Zucchini Spinach Frittata

        We all have days where cooking is the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day. The next time you get a case of the kitchen blues instead of reaching for the takeout menus, take just a moment to toss together this tasty treat. The frittata is a glorious food that uses egg as a vessel with which to deliver any number of wondrous ingredients to your pallet. At first glance it looks a lot like a giant omelet or a quiche, but there are a few subtle differences.

        The omelet is almost universal in that most cultures have some version of it. The main difference from a quiche or frittata is it’s simplicity. Usually just egg with a very little liquid added, an omelet is cooked in a very hot pan with butter. the omelet is folded around it’s fillings which are often very mild, sometimes just fresh herbs salt and pepper.

        A quiche is a savory egg dish similar to a custard. French in origin the quiche incorporates milk or cream with the eggs to give a rich creamy texture and flavor to the finished dish. Quiche comes in many variations but is usually baked in a light pastry crust with meats, cheese or vegetables added before baking. The quiche can be eaten hot or cold.

        A frittata is commonly associated with Italian cuisine and differs from an omelet in that the eggs are whipped to incorporate more air and the fillings are added to the pan prior to the eggs. A frittata can incorporate milk or water with the eggs depending on the cook’s preference. It is usually begun on the stove top before being transferred to the oven to finish it off. Very versatile the frittata can be served hot or at room temperature and unlike the quiche a frittata has no crust which makes this a quick weeknight dinner fix.

        Ingredients: (Serves 4)

        4 large eggs
        1/2 cup ricotta cheese (low fat works great)
        2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
        1/4 teaspoon salt
        1 Freshly ground black pepper to taste
        1 tbsp basil
        1 teaspoon thyme
        2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
        1 zucchini cubed
        1 cup spinach roughly chopped
        1 onion diced
        2 tbsp minced garlic


        Whip your eggs until light in color. Add the garlic and ricotta cheese, combining gently so as not to deflate the eggs. Saute the onion and zucchini until soft but not browned. Add the spinach and spices stirring until the spinach is just wilted then pour on the egg and cheese mixture. On the stove top cook for another minute before transferring the pan to oven. Bake for another 10 minutes or until firm and slightly brown on top. Just before placing the pan in the oven top the dish with the shredded Parmesan. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

        This is a great dish you can whip up anytime with whatever is in your pantry. Sausage, cheese, veggies they're all fantastic in a frittata!

        Monday, September 27, 2010

        Spicy Butter Bean Dip

        Over the past couple weeks you may have noticed the lapse in new posts but I have been adventuring in unfamiliar territory and only now am ready to share again. That unfamiliar territory is the world of calorie counting. In the past I have tried, unsuccessfully, to keep a strict low calorie diet. Now with more restaurants offering healthier options and nutrition information on their menus it is easier to make informed and healthy choices. But what about snacking? When you have a craving for an indulgent snack how do you turn away creamy dips and crisp chips for something healthier? You make it of course and have I got a treat for you. While counting calories I have also had the opportunity to see what nutrients I am getting enough of and in what areas I am lacking. This brings us to the lovely Legume. They are a terrific source of nutrients and luckily they are awful tasty as well. So the next time you have a craving but want to keep it healthy try this scrumptious Spicy Butter Bean Dip. It not only tastes great but is high in iron, potassium, fiber and vitamin C.

        Ingredients : Makes 4 servings

        12 oz butter beans (1 can drained)
        3 teaspoons garlic
        1 tsp onion powder
        1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
        1/2 tsp ground cumin
        1 tsp parsley
        1 tsp olive oil


        Drain most of the liquid off the beans (reserve maybe 2 tsp) and combine with the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process for a few minutes until combined. Add the reserved bean liquid or a dash of lemon juice to adjust the consistency to your preference. I like raw veggies for snacking as long as I can dip them in something, so try this dip served with broccoli stems sliced like chips for a healthy snack.

        Sunday, September 5, 2010

        Hearty Harvest Pasta

        It may not be autumn quite yet but we are on the cusp here in the Ozark hills and I couldn't resist this wonderful fall dish. This Hearty Harvest Pasta is combines delicious subtle seasonings with healthy ingredients for a dish that can be served as a main or a side.

        This dish started off as a new way to cook squash. I was overseas and I needed a dish for a Thanksgiving potluck at work. I wanted something a little different and had only just started learning the joys of roasting vegetables but it sounded like a great way to prepare squash. The only squash I could find were butternut and acorn which I had only ever had with butter and brown sugar. I looked through some vegetarian recipes and got some ideas then basically smelled my way through the spice cabinet adding what seemed to feel right. Voila! Harvest roasted squash. It was a hit. Since then I have mixed it up, adding different things along the way but have found a new level of satisfaction by adding it to pasta.

        Squash pairs well with pasta and is often found as a filling in ravioli. It also works well instead of adding meat and adds not only a subtle mild flavor but also good nutrients.

        In this dish we are keeping the basic ingredients simple and expanding our use of spices. Many people have very few spices in their pantries but good use of herbs and spices can help you make almost any dish healthier.


        1 box garden vegetable rotini
        1 acorn squash
        1 butternut squash
        1 onion
        4 cloves garlic
        1 cup seedless red grapes



        Start by slicing the squash thinly (no more than 1/4 inch thickness) and laying it out on a foil lined baking sheet. (You can peel them if you like but I enjoy the contrasting colors and unless the outside is very thick, it softens enough with cooking to be an interesting texture.) Sprinkle some of each of the spices being careful with the clove, allspice, and sage which can be overpowering if too much is used. If you need to measure I would say a 1/2 teaspoon of each and salt and pepper to taste. Next slice the onions and garlic and layer on top of the squash. Add the grapes next then drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until tender. In salted water cook pasta until aldente, drain, return to pan. When the vegetables are done combine with the pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

        The beauty of this dish is that roasting brings out the natural sweetness in foods and with the addition of the grapes there is no need to add sugar. The spices add warmth and offer a familiar combination that is comforting and delicious. If you wants a little more diversity of texture add some toasted pine nuts to finish off the dish.

        Sunday, August 22, 2010

        Scrumptious Summer Squash Soup

        With the bounty of the summer garden continuing to ripen on the vine you are bound, at some point, to find yourself overwhelmed with too much of something. With this in mind I was at a loss when looking at the last of the summer squash hanging out in my fridge. I'd already fried some, used some with pasta and still had two lovely squash left. But what to do with them. (This is the point where things sometimes go terribly wrong.)

        I've seen a number of recipes over the years for squash soup, pumpkin soup carrot soup, they all SOUND great. Unfortunately, I've had a few bad experiences and as a result am a bit gun shy. There was this terribly greasy pumpkin soup, a gazpacho that not even a starving rabbit would eat and other watery concoctions that don't bear mentioning.

        So what makes a good soup. You have to start with good ingredients and plenty of flavor. Oh and a little bit o fat. I know it's such a dirty word, but fat adds flavor and improves texture. You don't have to have tons though as this soup will prove.

        Scrumptious Summer Squash Soup


        2-3 summer squash cubed
        1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color)
        2 lg shallots or very small onions sliced
        4 cloves garlic crushed and sliced
        16 oz Chicken or Vegetable stock
        Olive oil (for drizzling, about 2-3 tbsp )
        salt and pepper to taste
        ground ginger
        ground allspice
        ground nutmeg
        ground clove


        Prepare the squash, peppers, onion and garlic and arrange on a baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil. Season with ginger, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. place sheet in a preheated 350 degree F oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Carefully transfer roasted vegetables to a blender or food processor. (Be careful when blending hot liquids because they will explode if you seal them in tightly. I open the top of the blender or leave the insert out of the top of the food processor so steam can escape.) Blend vegetables while slowly adding your chosen broth until it reaches the right consistency. Some like it chunky some like it smooth, it's up to you!

        Once blended pour into serving dishes and garnish with a slight dusting of ground cloves. Sour cream is a tasty addition and if you'd like more texture you could put some diced peppers on top as well but truly, with no alterations this summer soup stands on it's own.

        Sunday, August 15, 2010

        Back to Basics Chocolate Cake

        What to do? You’re dying for a piece of chocolate cake but haven’t got a box mix to hand and the local bakery is closed. Don’t despair Better Homes and Gardens has got you covered.

        One of my favorite cookbooks is the “Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book” I received it as a wedding gift and it has been invaluable since. If you knew nothing about home cookery you could pick up this book today and be whipping up marvelous mains, scrumptious sides, and delicious deserts by tomorrow. This book has it all. You are guided through everything from setting a table, selecting quality ingredients and kitchen tools and making everything from home baked breads to more sophisticated meals. Better yet it accomplishes all of this without alienating the reader so even an inexperienced cook can feel comfortable making a foray into the wonderful world of food.

        So, back to the topic at hand, simple, from scratch, chocolate cake.

        This recipe is Better Homes and Gardens One Bowl Chocolate Cake


        1 cup flour
        1 cup sugar
        ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
        ½ teaspoon baking soda
        ¼ teaspoon baking powder
        ¼ teaspoon salt
        ¾ cup milk
        1/3 cup cooking oil
        1 tsp vanilla
        1 egg


        1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Grease and lightly flour a 9x1-1/2-inch round or 8x8x2-inch baking pan.

        2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pan.

        3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. To serve, top with Chocolate glaze or sprinkle with powdered sugar (or both if you’re feeling naughty) and transfer to a serving plate. Makes 8 servings.

        Chocolate Glaze

        4 oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate (or ss chocolate chips)
        3 tbsp butter
        1 ½ cup powdered sugar
        3 tbsp hot water

        Melt chocolate and butter together (you could do this on the stove over low heat…or you could give in to the temptation of the microwave like me. If you do use the microwave, melt them in short bursts and stir often say… 30 seconds then stir, rinse repeat till done) then stir in the powdered sugar and water and mix till smooth. (You can adjust the powdered sugar and water to get the right consistency which should be loose enough to drizzle but not runny. I only used 1 cup of powdered sugar and found it was plenty for me.) Now drizzle the icing over your cooled cake and dig in.

        Cakes baked from scratch have a different texture and flavor than box mixes and if you start with this simple recipe I’m sure it won’t be long before you’re back in the kitchen looking to stretch you wings.

        Sunday, August 8, 2010

        The "Ultimate" Burger

        When I first met my husband he wasn't much bothered with fancy foods or complicated recipes. Over the years, for better or worse, I seem to have rubbed off on him and now he is building his own repertoire of delicious recipes including this one for "The Ultimate Burger" which I think he got from a co-worker while we lived overseas.

        The Ultimate Burger Patties


        2 lbs ground beef
        2 lg eggs
        ¾ cup Brown Sugar
        2 Jalapeno peppers diced
        3 Green Onions finely diced
        6 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
        4 tbsp A-1 sauce
        salt & pepper to taste
        3-5 strips cooked crumbled bacon
        1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
        2 tbsp honey
        ½ tsp each of the following
        garlic powder
        onion powder
        black pepper

        Mix all ingredients together and form into patties (4 large, 6 average or 8 small)

        When making patties I like to flatten with a small plate to keep the burger from bulging in the middle or you can form them so the middle has a slight depression to compensate. Grill burgers on medium high heat until cooked to preferred doneness. On the side of the grill over a low heat place buns sliced and spread with butter or olive oil. The buns should brown nicely in 1-3 minutes. Just before burgers are done top with a slice of pepper jack cheese.

        I think you'll find the added ingredients make these burgers so good you'll have trouble NOT going back for seconds. We usually serve this with a side of onion rings and grilled corn on the cob. Somehow leftovers never seem to be a problem.

        Tuesday, August 3, 2010

        Heavenly Hummus and Perfect Pitas

        The first time I ate Hummus...I HATED it...I was in New York City and wanted to try something different. So, near the U.N. building, I stopped at a street vendor and bought a Hummus Pita Wrap thinking that since I liked pitas and I loved Baba Ganoush (roasted pureed eggplant) I would like the hummus. In retrospect maybe I should have asked more questions because what I had expected was a sandwich with something like Falafel and some hummus as a condiment, instead I got a grilled pita full of a course and smoky warm hummus and nothing else. I really think it was the discrepancy between what I expected and what I got that made it so bad but it was years before I gave Hummus another try. When I finally did...It was like finding nirvana!


        1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans (save some of the packing liquid)
        1 1/2 tbsp Tahini (sesame paste)
        4 tbsp lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
        2 tbsp garlic
        2 tbsp Olive Oil

        Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. adjust the thickness by adding packing liquid from the beans a tbsp at a time. I find about 2-4 tbsp is about right. Serve in a dish with pita bread for dipping. If you'd like you can drizzle some olive oil on top and add fresh herbs of your choice.

        Now that you know the basics just go crazy with it. Hummus is, in my humble opinion, the middle east's answer to sour cream. Americans use sour cream to make every conceivable type of snack dip and hummus can be used the same way. It's a great protein filled base for just about any flavor you can imagine. Caramelized onion hummus, roasted garlic hummus, olive hummus, roasted red pepper hummus, sun dried tomato hummus, basil hummus, hummus with pine nuts or just a dash of smoked paprika. Almost anything you can think of will be a good match. It also goes great on sandwiches, is delightful paired with roasted vegetables and couscous and is terrific for holding tabbouleh in a pita. Speaking of pitas, my favorite way to eat Hummus is as a dip and nothing beats pita bread for dipping.

        A few months back I decided to try baking my own bread. I'd gotten an old Southern Living annual cookbook and it had a whole section on bread. I tried a couple loaves and did alight but it wasn't until I found The Fresh Loaf website,, that I really got going. This forum has tutorials and a warm, welcoming community that will critique your work, offer suggestions and answer any question no matter how silly you may think it is. It was there, that I found the initial recipe for this pita bread. I have adjusted it by adding spices but the basics remain the same.

        PITA BREAD

        3 cups flour
        1 1/2 cup water
        1 1/2 tsp salt
        1 tbsp honey or sugar
        2 tbsp olive oil, butter, or shortening
        1 tsp each paprika, onion powder, dried basil (optional)
        2 tsp yeast (or 1 packet)

        Start by dissolving the honey in a half a cup of hot tap water then add the yeast and allow to proof for 5-10 minutes or until foamy. (You don't HAVE to add the honey here but the sugar in the honey helps the yeast to develop and I think it makes it easier to combine with the dry ingredients if the honey is dissolved) In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and spices. make a well in the center add the yeast water mixture. Add the rest of the water and the oil. Mix well until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a board and knead for about 10 minutes. (You can use a mixer to make this I just choose to make it by hand because I do not have a heavy duty mixer and I like to gauge the dough's readiness by the feel of it. If using a mixer, combine the ingredients in a mixer and once combined you can turn it out and still knead by hand or you can let the mixer do it for you which would be medium speed for about 10 minutes) Place in an oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes or until doubled in size. Punch down the dough then separate it into 8 pieces. roll each piece into a ball and allow to rise for another 20 minutes. Prepare your oven by moving the rack to the lowest shelf and place your baking stone or cookie sheet on it. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roll each ball of dough flat on a lightly floured surface. (You can let the rounds sit for another 15 minutes or so before placing in the oven but you don't have to.) When the oven is ready rub a bit of oil on your hands and pat each pita round a couple of times as you place them in the oven. Depending on the size of your baking surface you should be able to bake 2-4 at a time. Place the pitas on the hot surface and quickly close the oven door. bake for 2-3 minutes on each side. (I usually watch through the window and after the pita has puffed and gained some color I flip them with a pair of tongs.) Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

        **Note** In the past I have let the pitas cool completely before cutting them and later have had difficulty getting the pocket open. When I cut them while the pitas were still hot all the pockets remained open so it might be a good idea to halve them while they are still hot.

        Wednesday, July 28, 2010

        Ravishing Radishes!

        Planting a garden allows you to have beautiful fresh produce right at your fingertips, but sometimes you end up with more than you know what to do with such as the ranks of radishes that recently tried to take over my little garden plot. After I stopped the vegetable bullying I found myself with more radishes than I could eat in a month's worth of salads. So I went looking for other ways to fix the ravishing radish.

        I settled on four distinctly different preparations. I also found that the radish seems to be a love hate food and most people have a very strong opinion whether good or bad. For those that love the radish, embrace this experience and welcome the new ways to enjoy this delightful root veg. For those who are not fans of the rolly poly radish I challenge you to give it another go, you just might be surprised.

        Raw Radishes

        Let's start with the most basic way to eat a radish, raw in a salad. This is adapted from a recipe found at

        Radish, Olive and Orange Salad

        Ingredients (serves 2-4 as a small side)

        2 oranges
        1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
        1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
        1 teaspoon honey
        1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
        1/8 teaspoon cayenne
        1 bunch (about 8) radishes, trimmed and sliced thin
        Some (about 12) oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped


        Cut peel and white pith from 2 oranges with a sharp knife. Segment the oranges. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, honey, cinnamon, and cayenne until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Add orange slices, radishes, and olives and gently toss. Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

        I served this as is but I think in the future it would be better served with a salad of arugula. In a pinch baby spinach or tender salad greens would also be great. Also I would use a tad more cayenne and less cinnamon but that is personal preference.

        Roasted Radishes

        I had a good long think on how to cook a radish before I tripped across the idea of roasting them. Looking back it seems like a natural conclusion since I love roasted turnips and they're all in the same family, but it just never occurred to me before. I had a salad recipe that incorporated some great Mediterranean flavors and after tweaking it a bit I came up with this delightful twist on a radish salad that would compliment any number of Mediterranean main dishes.

        Green Pea and Roasted Radish Salad

        Ingredients (Serves 3-6)

        1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
        extra-virgin olive oil
        2 tsp dill seeds
        3 cups fresh shelled peas or 1 pound frozen peas
        1 bunch radishes, trimmed, halved
        1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
        1/4 tsp allspice
        1 small bunch of fresh mint finely chopped or 1tsp dried mint
        salt and pepper to taste


        Place halved radishes in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and add cumin, dill, allspice, salt and pepper. Toss gently. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender. If using fresh peas, cook in pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Drain; rinse under cold water, then drain well. If using frozen peas, defrost in cool running water and rinse well. You can cook them if you choose I do not.) Transfer to large bowl. Add radishes, feta, and mint; toss. Adjust seasoning as needed. Serve.

        The freshness of the mint is a wonderful accompaniment to the peas and will help balance the earthy sweetness brought out by roasting the radishes. Now onto something completely different.

        Braised Radishes

        I had never considered braising a radish or any other vegetable for that matter but this recipe is a keeper. It's a recipe from Rachel ray and I made it as directed with the exception of using beef stock instead of chicken stock. The result was a delicious rich sauce and tender sweet radishes that would be perfect served in Yorkshire puddings alongside a juicy beef roast.

        Sweet and Savory Braised Radishes

        Ingredients (Serves 2-4)

        2 bunches radishes, (about 1 pound) trimmed of tops and roots
        1 1/2 cups beef stock
        2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
        2 large shallot, thinly sliced
        2 tablespoons sugar
        1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
        salt and pepper


        Place radishes in a skillet with stock, butter bits, shallots, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Uncover the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook radishes 10 to 15 minutes and if the stock has not cooked away, remove radishes (when tender) and cook until thickened.

        This was such a delightful surprise and I could not get enough. At first I thought it would surely need more flavor but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was just perfect as is. This next dish I already knew would be wonderful before I tried it but I had no idea how easy it was to make.

        Sauteed Radishes

        If you've ever been to a Bulgogi house and ordered the Bulgogi, you have probably tried the variety of small side dishes that come with the meal. These range from exotic roots to kimchee and yes the humble radish. Usually made with a daikon, or white radish this Korean side dish is so simple yet eminently satisfying.

        Sauteed Radish Side Dish (Serves 2-4 as a small side)


        1 Bunch of radishes,
        salt to taste
        garlic to taste or about 1 tbsp. minced (2-3 cloves)
        sesame oil (a drizzle)
        vegetable oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan to keep the radishes from sticking)


        Grate radish into thin strips. Heat up a pan and the vegetable oil then add the radish strips, salt and minced garlic, and sauté it for a few minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and close the lid and lower the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add a few drops of sesame oil and mix it gently. Transfer it to a serving dish and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

        I hope you have as much fun exploring the radish as I did and don't be afraid to put your own twist on this tasty treat from the garden!

        Wednesday, July 14, 2010

        Fragrant Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

        While living in England I got into the habit of making a Sunday roast which was quite often roast chicken. I've tried many variations but one of my favorite remains lemon garlic chicken, it's like a little ray of sunshine on your tounge.

        STOP! Step away from the spice cupboard! I didn't say over salted, goes stale while your back is turned, premixed lemon garlic season salts. Real lemons and garlic are essential for this satisfying roast chicken dinner that will have your family and friends begging for more.


        · 1 (3- to 4-pound) roasting chicken, necks and giblets removed and discarded, rinsed and patted dry
        · 2 lemons, 1 ½ sliced, ½ quartered
        · 4-5 cloves of garlic smashed
        · 2 Tbsp Uncle Roy's Moffat Meadow flower petal salt or Fragrant Herb Mix or Herbs de Provence
        · 4 Potatoes peeled and cubed
        · 2 carrots cleaned and diced
        · 2-3 stalks of celery
        · Salt and Pepper to taste
        · Butter or Olive Oil

        Ok lets talk about the seasonings. What you're looking for here is a fragrant mix that will be brightened by the juice of the lemons and grounded by the earthiness of the garlic. I used 2 Tbsp "Uncle Roy's Moffat Meadows Flower Herb and Seed Seasoning Salt" which I bought from a village shop when we lived in England. You can order this online but for most people it won't be worth the trouble. I've listed the ingredients below and roughly it's 1 unit of measure of each. The only exceptions being the Rosemary, Sage and Nori (seaweed)which can be overpowering in too great a quantity. I may have underestimated how much you will want of these three but you can always add more where if you start with too much there is no going back. I suggest you make more than is called for here and store it in an empty (well cleaned) spice jar for future use. It's great on fish, potatoes, salads, pasta and all kinds of other stuff. You can include sea salt (the store bought variety includes it) but I prefer to have control of how much salt I use so when I run out I will remake it without the salt.

        Fragrant Herb Mix
        · 1tsp tarragon
        · 1tsp thyme
        · ½ tsp sage
        · 1tsp dill
        · 1 tsp chives
        · 1/8 sheet Nori (dried seaweed) finely diced
        · 1 tsp each dried marigold, rose and lavender petals (make sure they are food grade)
        · 1tsp each poppy sesame, dill and celery seeds

        Now if you don't have all that on hand or don't want to go to the trouble just get a nice jar of Herb's de Provence and you'll get a similar flavour.

        Preheat oven to 400°F. Place chicken on rack set in large roasting pan. Starting at each cavity end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen, being careful not to tear skin. Arrange lemon slices under skin to cover breast meat.

        Season the cavity with salt and pepper and 1/2 tbsp of herb mix, stuff with quartered lemons, garlic, and some celery. (I usually use the leafy tops as this will be discarded)

        Flip the chicken's wings back and tuck under the body. Rub butter or oil over the skin of the chicken, then rub with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Fragrant Herb Mix, salt and pepper. Tie legs together loosely with kitchen string. Add vegetables to the roasting pan with some chicken stock.

        Roast chicken, basting occasionally with pan juices, until skins are crisp golden-brown and juices run clear when thighs are pierced, about 55 to 60 minutes. (Instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast should register 170°F.) Remove from oven, then remove lemons, and garlic from cavity and discard. Reserve pan drippings. Transfer chicken to carving board and tent with foil to keep warm.

        While the chicken is resting I make some Couscous to serve with this by adding 1cup of hot chicken stock (or 1/2 cup pan juices and 1/2 cup hot water) to 1 cup of couscous. Stir well and cover to rest for 5 minutes.

        Carve chicken and serve over a bed of couscous with roasted potatoes celery and carrots. Use pan drippings to make a gravy if desired or simply spoon over chicken and vegetables. You can also eat the lemons rinds and all and you will find that while still tangy they are very tender and can be quite enjoyable.


        This recipe is also easily adaptable for use in a crock pot with just a few adjustments. In fact the pictured bird was cooked in the slow cooker and came out beautiful tender and juicy. I prepared the bird as described above except I did not use any butter or oil on the skin prior to putting it in the slow cooker. Arrange your vegetables on the bottom of your cooker, add about 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock (1 small can), arrange your bird on top and set your heat. I left this bird in on low for six hours. (Darn having to work on your day off!!!) When the bird is cooked through (or you get home from work) transfer the bird to a roasting pan, brush with some butter or oil and stick it in a 450 degree oven until the skin is golden and crispy. In the meantime remove the vegetables to a serving dish and pour the cooking juices in a saucepan. Allow it to cool enough for the fat to separate. Skim off most of the fat. The rest of these juices can be reserved for serving as is, made into a gravy or used to baste the chicken until the skin is done. I often take some of the fat and add it to the bottom of the roasting pan and once it is hot I add the potatoes and stir them around to get that lovely caramelized crispy outside for a perfect roast potato.

        Sunday, July 4, 2010

        Red White and Blue Shortcake

        One of my best summer memories is picking berries with my grandparents and my grandmother making strawberry shortcake. For the Fourth of July I decided to revisit this old fashioned favorite and dress it up a little for the holiday. So here is a simple shortcake recipe perfect for any summer fruit!


        2 cups flour
        1 tbsp and 1 tsp baking powder
        ¼ tsp salt
        ¼ cup sugar (I use just a smidge more)
        1/3 cup butter
        2 eggs separated
        ½ cup milk
        Dash of nutmeg

        Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, nutmeg and salt, cut in cold butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg yolks and milk and mix well. This should make a soft dough. Place the dough between two pieces of cling wrap and roll out into a ¼ to ½ inch thickness and cut with a pastry cutter or cookie cutter. Whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks and brush the tops of the shortcakes then sprinkle the cakes with sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes in a 450 degree oven. If the butter starts becoming too soft in the dough wrap it in cling wrap and place it in the fridge for a few minutes so it can firm up. Don’t over handle the dough or it will become tough. Allow the shortcakes to completely cool before serving.


        Sliced Strawberries ½ quart
        Blueberries ½ pint

        In separate bowls sprinkle a few tablespoons of sugar over the fruit. I gently squash some of the blueberries to release some juice. Then mix well and allow to sit for at least an hour. You can do this with any summer fruit.

        Whipped cream:

        I make my own by adding 1/4-1/2cup of sugar to heavy whipping cream and add some vanilla to make it a bit more luxurious.(You can buy it already made if you would rather.)

        To serve:

        Place 1 shortcake or 1 cut in half on a plate add some whipped cream and berries some more whipped cream and the other half of the shortcake or a second shortcake.

        Saturday, July 3, 2010

        Pizza with Pizazz

        My husband and I love to make our own pizza and a fun summer twist to your everyday homemade pizza is grilled pizza. Yep you heard right GRILLED! It’s so simple yet elegant, it makes a great meal to prepare when you have friends coming over. You can prepare whatever toppings you like but I find a Margherita pizza suites me best for grilling.

        I cheat a little on my crust because I like the boxed Jiffy Pizza Crust mix. I do doctor it a bit however.

        (makes 4 small or 2 large personal pizzas)

        2 Jiffy Pizza Crust mixes
        1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
        1 Tsp Garlic powder
        1 Tsp Onion powder
        1 Tbsp Parsley

        Before adding water to mix add all spices and mix well. Knead the dough briefly to bring it all together then set aside in an oiled bowl to rise. (following box directions) After initial rise, knead briefly then separate into two to four pieces. Gently stretch each piece into a circle and lay on a cookie sheet dusted with corn meal. Place rounds on a hot grill for 2-5 minutes per side or until almost fully baked. (It should be firm enough to flip gently with a spatula) Remove from the heat.


        1-2 Tomatoes Sliced
        6 Cloves Garlic diced
        1 Buffalo Mozzarella sliced
        7-8 large basil leaves cut into ribbons
        3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
        Salt and pepper to taste.

        In a small pan sauté the garlic in the olive oil over low heat. You want to infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. I usually crush the garlic before dicing it to release more of the juices.

        Topping the pizza

        Brush the crust with the garlic Olive oil (I also like to add the now crispy bits of diced garlic to mine) lay on some ribbons of basil and slices of tomato. I lightly sprinkle some salt and pepper over the tomatoes and then top with the cheese. Return to the grill for an additional 2 minutes (with the lid closed)or until cheese is hot and melted.

        Feel free to branch out and be adventurous. This is a great medium for trying new things and just perfect for a summer garden party with friends. It’s simple, inexpensive, everyone gets their own personal pizza plus the novelty will keep everyone entertained.

        Sunday, June 20, 2010

        Tradition With a Twist

        Probably one of my favorite things about summer is going on picnics and when I think picnics the first thing to come to my mind are all the great salads that are a staple of these outdoor feasts. We all have our favorites and there are endless variations but today I want to share a version of two of my favorites with a tangy common denominator. So freshen up your Mojito and dive into potato salad and a slaw with a twist.

        There is something satisfying and comforting about potato salad. It is hearty and creamy and delicious. all of those wonderful attributes also make it an enemy of the waistline. Have no fear there is help! This recipe for Lime and Thyme potato salad not only has less fat than your traditional potato salad but it also kicks the flavor up a notch.

        Lime and Thyme Potato Salad

        6-8 red skin potatoes
        1/2 cup mayonnaise
        1 cup sour cream
        1 lime zest & juice
        1 tbsp dried thyme or 1 bunch thyme finely chopped
        salt & pepper to taste

        *** A Note. You can cut the calories in this further by using fat free sour cream and lite mayonnaise but you will lose some flavor. If you do opt for the fat free condiments then I would suggest adding more Thyme and Pepper and maybe more lime as well.***

        Cook your potatoes until they are tender. I like to leave the skins on but you can peel them if you want. As soon as they are cool enough to handle dice the potatoes and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary. Allow to sit for at least an hour before serving.

        Now my second salad for you is new to me but oh so good. I adore coleslaw, or really anything involving cabbage. It is such a wonderful vegetable. While it has it's own distinct spicy flavor it is also a wonderful canvas for other flavors. Add in today's common ingredient, lime, and you are half way to heaven. So let's go all the way. This recipe has been altered slightly from it's original version (Creamy Cilantro Lime Slaw) which I took from

        Zingy Lime Slaw

        1/2 cup mayonnaise
        1 cup sour cream
        Juice of two limes
        Zest of 1 lime
        1 Serrano chili seeded & minced
        2 garlic cloves minced
        1 bunch chopped cilantro
        1 half green cabbage sliced
        4 green onions minced
        Salt & Pepper to taste

        Mix everything together and allow to sit for at least an hour before serving. (If the chili adds too much heat you can use less or add some sugar to compensate.)

        These delicious salads will freshen up any picnic menu and just in time for the Fourth of July they are sure to be the stars of the show!