Friday, August 31, 2012


It’s Labor Day weekend, the last long weekend of summer; and for many the last big barbeque of the summer!
I’ve put together some short cut sauces to take your barbeque from ordinary, to extraordinary.


Easy Peasy Peachy Barbeque Sauce is great on grilled pork, poultry, shrimp, meaty fishes (salmon, swordfish, mahi-mahi), and even grilled tofu!  You can just as easily substitute nectarine, apricot, or mango for the peach.  Whatever floats your boat.


  I didn't have a food processor available to puree the peaches, so I just minced the fruit with a knife, then mashed it with a fork.

Jalapeno Mayonnaise is delicious on burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.  It’s not super spicy; like a love tap, not like "Kapow!"

 I removed the seeds.  Leave the seeds if you do want "Kapow!"


Dilly Green Bean, Potato Salad came about when I looked in my mom’s refrigerator and saw the world’s largest jar of pickled green beans.   

She was lured in to that trap so many of us fall into at Costco; we go in for T.P. and come out with the world’s largest jar of pickle green beans, and a giant jar of mayo ( don’t ya just hate scraping the bottom of the jar and being up to your elbows in mayonnaise?)   Mama says they are to put into Caesar cocktails.  Caesars are a Canadian thing, like a Bloody Mary but made with Clamato juice, lime, and celery salt instead of tomato juice, lemon, and salt.  Well that’s an awful lot of Caesars. 
I think potato salad is an ingenious way to use those beans up, if I do say so myself.
This potato salad hints at being mustardy, with out the mustard being thrown in your face.  A little honey balances out the sour of the pickled beans.  The dressing is not too gloopy, also not to dry, it’s juuust right.

Use a waxy potato so that there isn't any peeling.  These potatoes I cut into quarters 

Mix the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl.  Why do more dishes than necessary?

Add the potatoes, the pickled green beans, celery, red onion, and scallions to the bowl.


Toss gently to coat all the potatoes and vegetables. 

Happy Labor Day! 


Serves 12-15

5          lbs        Waxy potatoes with thin skin, such as Yukon Gold or red potatoes.  Cut into large, 1 to 1 ½ inch pieces, no need to peel the potatoes.
1 ¼      cups     Mayonnaise
2          Tbsp    Grainy, or dijon mustard
2          tsp        Honey
2 ½      Tbsp    Pickle juice
1                      Medium red onion, small dice
1          cup       Celery, about 4 stalks, small dice
1          cup       Scallions, 4 or 5 scallions, chopped
1 ½      cups     Pickled green beans, cut to about 1 inch pieces *or dill pickles
                        Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Start the potatoes in a large pot of cold water, put on the stove over high heat.  Once the potatoes begin to boil, add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook the potatoes until they are cooked but still firm; about 10 minutes.  Drain well
  2. Mean while in the bottom of a large bowl mix the Mayonnaise, mustard, honey, pickle juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  3. Add to that large bowl the cooked potatoes, onion, celery, scallions, and pickled green beans; stir gently.  Coat all the potatoes and veggies without breaking up the potatoes. 
  4. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Refrigerate, serve cold.


Makes 1 ½ cups

1          cup       Fresh peaches, pureed.  About 3 peaches; mangoes also work well
½         cup       Barbeque sauce, your favorite
2          tsp        Dijon mustard
4          tsp        Honey

  1. Put all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix.
  2. Just kidding...there are no more steps, except to enjoy.
  • If you don’t have a food processor to puree the peaches; mince the fruit as fine as you can with a knife, and then mash it with a fork.  Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. 
This is great served on grilled poultry, pork, meaty fishes, shrimp, or tofu.

                                                  JALAPENO MAYONNAISE

1       cup        Mayonnaise
1/2    cup        Pickled jalapenos,  remove the seeds from the jalapeno, and dice fine.  If you like it quite       spicy, then leave the seeds in. 

1.  Mix the mayonnnaise and jalapenos together in a small bowl.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


 Oh the glorious fig.  No, not the dried fig that you’ve had the cookie made famous by Newton (which is delicious).  But the fresh fig that is both sexy and sophisticated. 
Sexy because, the fresh fig seduces us with its honey like sweetness, supple skin, J.Lo like curvy bottom.  If you think about it, the fig is everything a girl wants have (especially if your bottom resembles a pancake; like mine does.), and everything a man wants a girl to have. Women have been using the fig to lure their men since ancient Egypt.  It’s no wonder Mark Anthony loved Cleopatra so; he didn’t stand a chance against the fig.
Sophisticated because, I personally feel so grown up to be eating figs that aren’t just in a cookie.  The only place I’ve seen fresh figs on a menu is at a fancy restaurant...never seen it at Friday’s…just sayin’.  Doesn’t it sound sophisticated to order the “Fresh figs with Lavender Honey ice cream?”
Now the practical part:  Figs are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, manganese, and are a fruit source of calcium. Who knew?
Figs are highly perishable, which is why so many of us have not experienced fresh figs.  Buy figs only 1 or 2 days before you will use them, and store them in the refrigerator.
Look for figs that are plump and tender, but not mushy, with a slightly sweet fragrance.

On to the Fresh Fig and Prosciutto Pizza Topped with Arugula. 

I start with caramelizing the onions, they take about 40 minutes. 


In a large skillet over medium high sweat the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt.  Be sure to stir, you don’t want to brown the onions.


When the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes) add the garlic, fresh thyme, and sugar.  Turn the heat down to medium, and stir often.

Pre heat the oven to 450 degrees, if you’re using a pizza stone put it in the oven now.
If you’re using a pizza pan or a sheet pan, then grease the pan with olive oil and dust with cornmeal.  This will give you a crisp crust. 

Give the olives a rough chop. 


I wanted to use Taleggio cheese, but there was none at the market, so the cheese monger recommended Morbier…it was really yummy!  If you love, love blue cheese, you could use that instead, I love all cheeses.  Cut the cheese into about 1 inch cubes.


Told you figs are sexy!

I sliced the figs in thirds, but next time I will quarter them length wise, it’s prettier.


Here’s my store bought dough.
Cut into four, for individual pizzas if desired.


Dust the peel (or the back of a sheet pan) with cornmeal.  Use more than this, because my first pizza was difficult to get off the peel and onto the stone, the next one came off easily because I was more generous with the cornmeal.
Drizzle with olive oil, and spread the oil around.


First put the caramelized onions.


Then tear the prosciutto and place that over the onions.  If you like crispy prosciutto, don’t put it on the bottom.

I forgot the olives, put them on here please.


Now for the sophisticated/sexy part.  Da da da daaaa…the figs.


The love of my life, the cheese.


Oooh!  Aaah!


Rest the pizza for just a minute while you toss the arugula with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Top the pizza with the arugula.

Excuse me while I get all foodie on you; the sweet onions and figs are perfectly complimented by the saltiness of the prosciutto and olives, the pungency of the cheese and the peppery arugula.  Get all the ingredients in one bite, for that perfect bite!

Makes 4 personal pizzas, or 1 large pizza.

1                                Pizza dough (my grocery store sells pizza dough in 1 lb portions, or make your own)
Extra virgin olive oil
2                                Onions, caramelized (see the recipe below)
4                    Slices of prosciutto, (optional)
1/3 cup       Pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
8                                Fresh figs, quartered
8    oz         Morbier, Taleggio, or blue cheese, cut or crumbled into about 3/4 inch pieces
                  Corn meal
4    cups     Arugula
1    Tbsp    White, or Red balsamic vinegar
                  Salt and pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven now, before the oven gets hot. 
  2. *If you are using a pizza pan or a sheet pan, grease the pan with olive oil, and sprinkle corn meal over the bottom.  Doing this will ensure a crispy crust.
  3. Stretch the dough out to your desired shape and size.  Because the dough will contract, I stretch mine as thin as possible.  If making personal pizzas, cut the dough into 4. 
  4. *If using a pizza pan put the dough into the pan.  If using the pizza stone, then dust your peel or the back of a sheet pan generously with cornmeal.  Place the pizza dough on the peel or sheet pan and you’re ready to assemble pizzas.  (If making individual pizzas you will have to do this one at a time.)
  5. Drizzle olive oil over the dough, and spread it to cover all the dough.  Then distribute the caramelized onions over the bottom of the pie.  Tear the prosciutto and place it over the onions (if you like crispy prosciutto then put it on last instead), now sprinkle the olives, place the figs and the cheese.
  6. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your pizza.  (My pizza stone will only hold 2 individual pizzas at one time, so keep that in mind when deciding what size pizza to make.)
  7. The pizza should rest just a couple of minutes.  While it’s resting toss the arugula with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of white, or red balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Top the pizza with the dressed arugula.

Serve with Italian style chicken wings.


1    Tbsp    Olive oil
2                Medium onions, sliced
¼   tsp        Salt
2    cloves   Garlic, minced
2    tsp        Fresh thyme leaves
½   tsp        Sugar

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sweat the onions in the olive oil, add the salt.  Stir often as not to brown the onions.  Cook until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, thyme, and sugar.  Turn the heat to medium.  Stir often and cook about another 20 to 30 minutes to caramelized.  You may need to turn the heat to medium-low.  The onions are done when they are a nice caramel color. 
Check this recipe and alot more at the Weekend Potluck by clicking on the button below!

Monday, August 27, 2012


“Chica, you just did a grilled veggie recipe” you say.  I know but I have veggies to use up, and trust me this is a totally different dish.
The veggies take on a whole new flavor when you add smoked Gouda.  Gouda makes pasta and veggies good-ah.  Sorry, cheesy joke…opps, I did it again.  Oh well, who doesn’t like at least a little cheese.
My sister, Kel is bringing the boys over for dinner and I ask the O-Dog what he likes for dinner?

“Who me?”

Yes you, cutie petutie!
( Is that how petutie is spelled?)

“Well I like noodles, ‘cuz I just really like noodles.”

“Hey!  What’s down there?”

All right, I’m making noodles for dinner.


I can't resist this angel face?  I'd make him anything he asks for.

Big brother Jakers is cool with anything I make.  He’s the real angel!

Here goes...
Start by putting your big ol’ pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

Combine the olive oil, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning in a small dish.  You can use equal parts garlic powder and salt if you don’t have garlic salt.


Brush the seasoned oil onto the veggies, don’t discard the remaining oil, toss in the pasta at the end.


Heat the grill to medium, and put the onions on first.  Grill the onions about 5 minutes, and then put the rest of the veggies on the grill.


Turn the veggies when they have nice grill marks.  Remove them as they are done.  The tomatoes are done when the skin begins to split.


Remove the skin from the bell peppers.


Cut the veggies into about 1 inch bites.


Cut the mushrooms in half.


Toss the veggies, the smoked Gouda, the remaining seasoned oil (you may need a little more olive oil), salt and pepper, into the cooked pasta. 

I cut the cheese a little too large, cut yours into about ½ inch cubes.  The smoked Gouda is what makes this sooo yummy; the smoky, creamy cheese is perfect with grilled veggies.

Serve the pasta warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 6

1/4       cup       Olive oil
½         tsp        Garlic salt, or ¼ tsp garlic powder + ¼ tsp salt
1          tsp        Italian seasoning
1 ½ to 2           Zucchinis, cut into wedges
1 ½ to 2           Bell peppers, seeds removed and quartered
1                      Onion, small, quartered and the outside skin removed.  Leave the ends intact, in order to hold the onion together on the grill.
8          oz         Mushrooms, leave whole
½         pint       Grape or cherry tomatoes, look for larger tomatoes that won’t fall between     the grate of the grill.
1          lb         Penne pasta
8          oz         Smoked Gouda, cut into about ½ inch cubes
                        Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Combine the olive oil, garlic salt and Italian seasoning in a small bowl.
  3. Brush all the veggies with the seasoned oil.  Do not discard the remaining oil; it will go into the pasta at the end.
  4. Heat the grill to medium and put the onions on first for about 5 minutes.
  5. Now put the remaining veggies on the grill. Keep the lid down. 
  6. Turn the veggies when they have nice grill marks on the bottom, about 3 minutes.  Remove the veggies as they are done.
  7. Mean while; add a generous amount of salt to the boiling water, and cook the pasta to al dente.
  8. Remove the charred skin from the bell peppers, and cut all the veggies into about1 inch pieces.  Cut the mushroom in half. Remember to discard the ends from the onions now.
  9. Toss the veggies and the smoked Gouda, as well as the remaining seasoned oil with the cooked and drained pasta.  The pasta may need about 1 more tablespoon of oil. 
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
*This pasta would be great with grilled or roasted chicken added.  It can be served at room temperature,so it would be great for a picnic or a party!