Asian Slaw

3 cups finely shaved and chopped green cabbage

1 cup finely shaved and chopped red cabbage*

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. black sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients together and chill for about 45 minutes.  Serve.

TIP:  If a creamier consistency is desired, add 2 – 3 tbsp. plain greek yogurt

*if your not a fan of red cabbage, you can delete and just add another cup of the green cabbage.


Scotch Eggs with Curry-Lime Mayonnaise

I have always wanted to try making scotch eggs.  I found this very easy recipe in Victoria Magazine.  Typically, they should have a runny yolk.  I find it is difficult to get the timing right to make that happen, regardless, they are delicious either way.

My tip – I used a deep fryer, I it easier to control the temperature and the mess!  See my link below.  Also, make the mayonnaise ahead of time, it is an easy recipe and stores very well.

8 large eggs

12 ounces ground sausage

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

vegetable oil, for frying

Place 6 of the eggs in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium high het, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 3 minutes. Drain, and return eggs to pan. Fill with ice and let stand for 10 minutes. Peel eggs and pat dry. Wrap a thin layer of sausage around each egg. Place flour in a bowl. In a second bowl combine the panko crumbs, salt and pepper.  In a third bowl beat the remaining two eggs. Dredge eggs in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in beaten egg, then roll in panko crumbs to coat. In a saucepan, pour oil to a depth of 4 inches and heat over medium high heat until temp. reaches 350.


Fry eggs in batches, if necessary until deep golden brown, about 6 minutes, turning frequently. Let drain on a wire rack.  Serve immediately, or let cool and serve at room temperature with Curry-Lime Mayonnaise.


Curry-Lime Mayonnaise

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

2 tsp. curry powder

2 tsp. stone-ground mustard

1 tsp. lime zest

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. hot sauce

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients well.  Cover and refrigerate up to 4 days.



Oven baked fresh tomatoes with caramelized onions and fresh herbs

3-4 medium tomatoes sliced into 1/2″ rings

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 medium onion sliced into rings

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

small bunch fresh herbs – basil, parsley, rosemary, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place the tomato slices on a baking sheet covered with paper towels.  Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 15 minutes to “sweat” out excess moisture.

Meanwhile in a fry pan, melt the butter and add the olive oil.  Add the onions and sauté on medium heat until glossy and softened.  Sprinkle the sugar over the onions evenly and continue to sauté until golden in color.  Add the vinegar and cook until moisture is absorbed.  In a 9″ round baking dish sprinkle the panko bread crumbs evenly.  Layer the tomato slices as shown.

Spread the onions over the tomatoes.

Sprinkle over the chopped herbs, then the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.  Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove and serve.

Can also be served at room temperature with crusty baguette slices!

Stuffed Grape Leaves – Dolmas!

Stuffed grape leaves or dolmas are a traditional middle eastern delight!  My very good Lebanese friend makes these regularly.  I was always a little intimidated to make them myself, until one day another good friend, my Greek neighbor, inspired me!  I never realized that you can use the wild vine-growing grape leaves that I regularly curse because of how they grow so prolifically all over my property threatening to choke out anything in their path! She gave me a brief tutorial and I had an aha moment!!  I set off on my mission. 

If you plan on using the wild grape leaves, be sure they are not torn, have any lesions, etc.  They should be the size of an average hand.  Be certain to cut out the stem before blanching, see pictures.  I you’d rather skip that step you can always buy prepared grape leaves ready for stuffing.  Amazon does sell them, and I will provide the link at the bottom of this post.

I found this recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine, which is a meat and rice recipe.  Some dolmas are just rice, I suppose it is a matter of preference.  I like to serve mine with a side of tzatziki.

Meat & Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves
Author: Olivia’s Cuisine
Cuisine: Lebanese
Serves: 50 stuffed grape leaves
  • 50 to 60 grape leaves (fresh or jarred)
  • 6 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut into large rings
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • ½ tsp all spice
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a skillet, heat 2Tbsp of the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the chopped onion and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the spices and let them sweat for a couple more minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the meat, the rice, the onion mixture and the parsley. Mix everything together with your hands until everything is incorporated. Reserve.
  3. Drain and rinse the grape leaves.
  4. Take the stems off of every grape leaf and blanch them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  5. To roll the grape leaves, place a leaf with the vein side up on your work surface. Add one tablespoon of the filling mixture to the center of the leaf. Fold the edges in and up and roll the grape leaf until it looks like a cigar, tucking the edges under the roll. Proceed with the other leaves until you’ve run out of filling or leaves.
  6. Line a heavy bottomed pot with (unrolled) grape leaves. On top of that, add the onion rings.
  7. Proceed to arrange the stuffed grape leaves in rows, alternating the direction of each layer of rows
  8. Fill the pot with the chicken broth (enough to cover the rolls) and the remaining olive oil.
  9. Place a plate on the top to prevent the rolls from floating.
  10. Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  11. When it boils, lower the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes, until meat is cooked and rice is tender.
  12. Remove the rolls from the broth and serve warm or at room temperature.

“Crust-less” Summer Tomato Tart

This version of a tomato tart uses freshly grated small potatoes as the “crust” rather than pastry, resulting in a lower carb version of this delicious favorite!

5-6 small red potatoes (boiler size, approx. 2″ in diameter)

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

scant 1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp. herbs d’provence

5-6 roma tomatoes

drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the tomatoes thinly and place in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside for about 15 minutes.  This process allows the tomatoes to release excess moisture.  Meanwhile prepare a 9″ tart pan with removable bottom by lightly spraying with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper*. Grate the potatoes.  Mix the potatoes with the cheese, olive oil, and herbs.  Mixture will be loose. Press into the tart pan covering the bottom in a very thin layer.  Place in the oven and bake approx. 20 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and layer the tomatoes slightly overlapping on the crust (see picture).

Lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place back in the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Remove and cool slightly.  Can be served warm or even at room temperature.

*The parchment is an option.  I do this regularly now with many recipes, even with non-stick coatings.  It protects your pans with the Teflon coating and also makes removal so much easier, food just slips off the parchment and onto your serving dish of choice.

Cheese and Mushroom Tart

I found this recipe in a resort magazine.  It is absolutely fabulous and so easy to make.  A perfect side to a hearty bone-in pork roast or served alone with a salad for a luncheon.


1 frozen piecrust shell, thawed

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lb. baby bella or wild mushroom mix, sliced

2 tsp. fresh or dried thyme leaves

3 tbsp. dry sherry or white wine

4 oz. sour cream

2 oz. blue cheese

4 oz. goat cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust with a fork and bake 9 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

Melt butter in a large sauté pan.   Add onion and cook until soft and translucent.  Add garlic, mushrooms, and thyme.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add sherry.  Stir, then cook an additional 5-6 minutes until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are cooked down.  Remove from heat.

Whisk together sour cream, blue, goat, parmesan cheese and egg.  Spread on the bottom of prepared piecrust.  Top with mushrooms.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Broccoli Casserole

This recipe has been one of my go-to recipes for decades now.  It is sure to win over even the most “non-broccoli” fan.

3-4 medium sized broccoli stalks

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 eggs slightly beaten

1 cup low fat mayonnaise

1 cup low sodium cream of mushroom soup

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 cup cracker crumbs (either Ritz or Salteens)

Cut up and cook the broccoli until almost tender.  Drain and place in a casserole dish.  Mix the onion, eggs, mayonnaise and soup together.  Spread over the broccoli.  Sprinkle over the cracker crumbs.  Bake at 350F for approx. 30 – 35 minutes.  Remove and sprinkle over the grated cheese.  Return to the oven and cook until the cheese has melted.


Salt Potatoes

Hinerwadels is a Syracuse establishment famous for their clam bakes....and their salt potatoes!

Hinerwadels is a Syracuse establishment famous for their clam bakes….and their salt potatoes!

Salt potatoes are a true native dish to the upstate New York area in the summer.  I never realized this until friends that had moved away requested them when they came to visit.  My sister-in-law actually saw someone in the airport with 4 bags of them in their carry-on!! Served in the summertime, they are a staple at a clam bake, or back yard barbeque. They are small potatoes that are more dense than most potatoes when cooked.  They are traditionally boiled with a good amount of salt which forms a salty crust when they are drained and allowed to cool slightly.  They are served with melted butter either on the side or poured over the potatoes.  There really isn’t much of a recipe, other than to put the desired amount of potatoes in a large pot (to prevent boil-over) an enough salt to create a briny water.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender.  Pour off the water and allow to cool slightly.  Enjoy!

This picture is from 'This Old'. She gives a bit more history behind the origin of the salt potato.

This picture is from ‘This Old’. She gives a bit more history behind the origin of the salt potato.

Asparagus Season in Germany! Spargelzeit!

While on our trip along the Rhine this past June, we discovered that it was asparagus season, particularly white asparagus.  There are special “Asparagus” menus placed inside the regular menu in most restaurants.  The white asparagus are large and thick and ever so delicate in flavor and texture.  We decided to have them everywhere they were offered!  Here they are served quite fancy with cod, chanterelles, polenta, green asparagus and the creamiest of hollandaise sauces.  We found them also served very simply in small cafes with a side of small boiled yellow potatoes, this was the most traditional way of having them, but always with creamy hollandaise.  The season starts in mid-april (depending on weather) and running through the end of June.  Spargelzeit!

At the market, note all the white asparagus, and green as well.

At the market, note all the white asparagus, and green as well.

Rustic Vegetable Tart with Bacon Marmalade

I found this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine.  It is a recipe adapted by Timothy Hollingsworth. I’ve tweeked it here and there to make it a little simpler.  The crust and the marmalade can be made ahead of time to save on last minute preparation. A delicious appetizer served with a crisp oak-y chardonnay.

For the Bacon Marmalade:

12 slices of bacon, finely chopped

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 medium shallots, minced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup chicken stock

salt and pepper

For the Crust:

1 cup flour

1 tbsp. sugar salt

4 tbsp. melted butter

1 large egg, beaten

egg wash – 1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tbsp. milk

For the Roasted Vegetable Topping:

3/4 lb. chopped mixed mushrooms

1/2 lb. halved small Brussels sprouts

4 ounces pearl onions (I buy these in the freezer section to eliminate the peeling)

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

For the fresh toppings:

1 cup torn tender escarole leaves

1/2 cup torn radicchio

Marmalade – in a large skillet, cook the bacon in the oil over moderately high heat until browned and crisp.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Pour all but 2 tbsp. of the fat from the skillet into a heatproof bowl.  Add the shallots to the skillet and cook over low heat until softened bot not browned.  Add the vinegar and brown sugar and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until vinegar is reduced by half.  Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until reduced to a thick syrup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and whisk in 1/3 cup of the reserved bacon fat. Let cool until thickened slightly, then season with salt and pepper.

Crust – Preheat oven to 350F. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt.  At medium speed, gradually add the melted butter and the egg until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press the dough into a disk. Working on a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough to a 12 by 10″ oval, about 1/8″ thick. Slide the dough on the parchment onto a large baking sheet.  Brush with the egg wash and top with another sheet of parchment paper and another baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes. remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper and bake the crust for 10 minutes more until browned and crisp.  Transfer to rack to cool.

Topping – On a large baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the brussels sprouts, onions and oil.  Season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 35 minutes until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned.  Let cool slightly.

To Serve – Transfer the crust to a platter and spread half of the bacon marmalade on top. In a large bowl, toss the roasted vegetables with the escarole and radicchio.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Pile the vegetables on the crust. Drizzle a bit more of the bacon marmalade on top and serve.