Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Triple Onion Dip with Caramelized Walla Wallas

This is the onion dip to top all onion dips. No packaged soup mix here. Imagine slow roasted caramelized sweet Walla Walla onions combined with crunchy green onions and organic dried minced onions all stirred into sour cream and mayonnaise. The fresh vegetables and herbs really make the difference. So, so good.

Of course, this dip is perfect with chips, pretzels or vegetables, but I also like to use as a sandwich spread with roast beef...or as a topping for roast chicken. Try stirred into mashed potatoes...as a dip for french fries or spooned on baked potatoes (Hmm, kind of a potato theme going on here). Keep this in mind for your next party or family get-together (Sunday afternoon football watching anyone?) Enjoy!

Triple Onion Dip with Caramelized Walla Wallas
(makes 2 1/2 cups)

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small Walla Walla or other sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp organic dried minced onion
1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 tsp paprika
sea salt
black pepper

Add the butter and olive oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium flame until butter is melted. Add sweet onion and stir to coat. Cook the onions for 35 to 40 minutes or until they are golden brown, stirring frequently. Add balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a medium bowl stir together the sour cream and mayonnaise until combined. Stir in the green onion, dried onion, parsley and a pinch each salt and pepper. Stir in the caramelized onions. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Spoon into a clean bowl and sprinkle paprika over top. 

It is "Dip" week at Food#Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite dip recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. Bloggers' recipes will be posted at noon on Thursday.


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Avocado & Grilled Shrimp Salad

Perfect for lunch or a light dinner, this salad is fast, fresh and delicious. Fresh shrimp marinated in a lime vinaigrette then grilled and added to a salad piled high with buttery avocado, spicy arugula and sweet red onion. This dish is also nice stuffed into warm corn tortillas for tacos or layered onto fresh, toasted french or sourdough rolls for a wonderful seafood sandwich. Enjoy!

Avocado & Grilled Shrimp Salad
(serves 4 as a main dish)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp coconut sugar
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper

In a medium bowl, add olive oil, lime juice, mustard, sugar and a pinch each salt and pepper. Whisk together until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

2 lbs uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 avocados, pitted and chopped (click here for technique)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 heirloom tomato, chopped
4 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/8 cup mint, chopped
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp paprika

Add shrimp to medium bowl of vinaigrette. Stir to combine. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat grill (or grill pan if cooking indoors) until hot. Remove shrimp from marinade. Grill until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill and set aside.

Meanwhile add avocado, onion, tomato, arugula, basil and mint to large bowl. Add 2 tbsp reserved vinaigrette and a pinch each salt and pepper. Toss. Add cooked shrimp and toss again. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Add additional vinaigrette if desired. Sprinkle paprika over top and serve.

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Other avocado recipes you may enjoy:

It is "Avocado" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite avocado recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Coconut Kale Salad with Avocado and Pickled Vegetables
Weelicious: Avocado Honey Dip
Devour: Why You Should Eat Avocados All Day Long
Dishing With Divya: Vietnamese Avocado Milkshake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Avocado and Grilled Shrimp Salad
Red or Green: Spicy Avocado Spread Sandwich
Taste With The Eyes: Tortilla Soup with Lobster and Avocado Virtually Homemade: Grilled Salmon with Avocado Salsa
Domesticate Me: Superfood Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
FN Dish: Go Beyond Guacamole (Avocado Recipes)

I have started sharing my "California Girl in Taos. Please visit and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Heirloom Tomatoes & Two Rice Salad

photo from the Napa Register
On Sunday, August 24th at 3:20 am, a very large (6.0) earthquake struck the Napa Valley of California with most of the damage occurring in the old, historic part of town. I am heartbroken to see the images of some of my favorite buildings "red tagged" and literally shaken off their foundations with roofs collapsed, walls crumbled and windows blown out. My facebook feed is filled with photos of my friends' homes and businesses and wineries in shambles. Picture the interior of your house. Now imagine someone picking it up, shaking it like mad, and then setting it back down. Everything fallen off the walls, dropped out of cupboards, broken glass and plates and heirlooms everywhere. No power...gas off because of the potential for leaks, no running water. That was downtown Napa this weekend.  But Napans are strong and resilient. My heart was full hearing all the stories of neighbors helping neighbors. I am so happy to report that Napa Farmhouse 1885 is doing just fine...so, if you want to help, visit Napa...eat...drink some wine...shop. Enjoy. (and if you can't visit, shop a website from a Napa store or winery.) #Napa Strong!

Now, on to the food! It is Labor Day weekend. (Where did the summer go?) I love the combination of these two salads. Perfect in-season August tomatoes with garlic and a handful of fresh herbs paired with a tangy, lemony wild rice and sprouted brown rice salad full of edamame, cashews and more herbs. This dish is hearty enough to serve as a main course but is delicious with grilled chicken, steak or fish. Added bonus the salad stays fresh for a couple of days so the leftovers make a wonderful lunch.  Have a happy and restful Labor Day everyone..especially Napans!

Heirloom Tomatoes & Two Rice Salad
(serves 10)

Heirloom Tomato Salad
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
coarse sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
2 pints yellow and red cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 cup basil, torn
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped

Using the flat side of a chef's knife, smash the garlic. Add a large pinch of sea salt and continue smashing until a paste forms. Scrape the garlic paste into a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, vinegar and mustard. Add a Tsp pepper. Stir in the tomatoes and allow to marinate at room temperature for 1 hour. Add the herbs and stir. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Two Rice Salad
3 cups vegetable broth or water
(1 Tsp sea salt if using water)
1 cup wild rice

3 cups water
2 cups organic sprouted brown rice*
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 Tbsp Meyer lemon zest1 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
3/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup edamame fresh or frozen. (if frozen, allow to thaw and follow package directions)
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/8 cup chopped dill
1/2 cup toasted whole seasoned cashews (I bought a
sea salt
black pepper

Wash uncooked wild rice. Place broth or water in a heavy saucepan and, if using water, add 1 Tsp kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Add wild rice and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 50-60 minutes or just until kernels puff open. Uncover and fluff with a fork. Replace the cover and set aside (off heat) until ready to use in the recipe.

Combine brown rice and water in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook 40 - 45 minutes until rice is tender and water has evaporated.  Fluff with fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Allow to cool. Set aside.

In the bottom of a large bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and soy sauce. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Stir in the wild and brown rice, green onions, edamame, all the herbs and stir to combine.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld. Stir in the cashews right before serving.

Mound both salads side by side on a large platter. Garnish with additional herbs if desired.

* I found sprouted brown rice in the grains bins at my local gourmet/health food store.  If you can't find it locally there are many sources available online

It is "Labor Day Recipes" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite Labor Day recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Hot Crab Dip with Jalapenos and Scallions
The Heritage Cook: Four Sauces Designed for Grilled Foods (Gluten-Free)
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Grilled Brined Chicken with Homemade Barbecue Sauce
Dishing with Divya: Baked Vegetable Sacks
Virtually Homemade: Roasted Summer Vegetables with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Weelicious: Heirloom Tomato Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Peach and Blueberry Baked Fruit Pizza
Devour: Cooking Channel's Ultimate Labor Day Party Menu
Dishin & Dishes: Grilled Chicken with Board Sauce
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Heirloom Tomatoes and Two Rice Salad
Domesticate Me: 10 Fabulous Summer Recipes for Labor Day
Taste With The Eyes: "End of Summer Rolls" Caprese-Style
FN Dish: Day-Off Desserts for Labor Day


I have started sharing my "California Girl in Taos. Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BBQ Pork Ribs

So, it is the middle of August.  The perfect time to invite a bunch of friends for a barbecue. Ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob and plum cobbler create a delicious menu that everyone will love. Best of all everything except the ribs and corn can be made ahead of time so you can enjoy the party while manning the grill. Add some cold beer or margaritas and party on!

I discovered this recipe for BBQ ribs a few years ago at Saveur Magazine and it has been my go-to version ever since. I have made very minor tweaks like subbing coconut sugar for brown and white sugar, adding Dijon mustard to the sauce and using fresh garlic instead of powder. And I wrap the cooked ribs in foil and a kitchen towel and let them rest for 2 hours before serving. I have been cautioned by a BBQ expert to NEVER skip this step to ensure tender, juicy, perfect ribs. Other than those minor edits...this is Saveur's recipe.

Happy Mid-Summer everyone...you should throw a party!

BBQ Pork Ribs 
(from Saveur)
serves 4-6

Rub Recipe

1 cup coconut sugar
½ cup paprika
3 Tbsp. ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tsp. cayenne pepper
2 racks St. Louis-cut pork spareribs (about 3 lb. each; see Barbecue 101. »)
Mix the sugar, paprika, pepper, salt, chili powder, garlic and onion powders, and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub onto all sides of ribs. Place ribs on foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. 
BBQ Sauce Recipe
2 cups organic ketchup
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup coconut sugar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1½ Tsp. cayenne pepper
1½ Tsp. celery seeds
1½ Tsp. minced garlic
1½ Tsp. ground cumin
¼ Tsp. fresh lemon juice

In a bowl, whisk together ketchup, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, celery, cumin, cayenne, garlic, and lemon juice; set aside. 

Prepare your grill using the kettle grillbullet smoker, or gas grill method, (see links for instructions) using oak wood chunks or chips (see Fuel and Flavor). Place ribs, meat side up, on a grill grate. Maintaining a temperature of 225°-250° (if using a kettle grill or bullet smoker, replenish fire with unlit coals, as needed, to maintain temperature; see instructions), cook, turning once and basting with sauce the last 45 minutes of cooking, until the tip of a small knife slips easily in and out of the meat, 3–4 hours. Remove from grill, wrap in aluminum foil, wrap the foil packets with a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 2 hours. Serve ribs with remaining sauce on the side.

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It is "BBQ" week at Food Network #Summer Soiree roundup. Do you have a favorite BBQ recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.  
The Lemon Bowl: Tart Cherry Chinese BBQ Pulled Pork
Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Lebanese Tomato Salsa
Weelicious: Southern-Style Pork Tenderloin
The Heritage Cook: Caprese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Gluten-Free)
Napa Farmhouse 1885: BBQ Pork Ribs
Red or Green: BBQ Salmon with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze and Marinated Tomatoes
Domesticate Me: Fiery Barbecue Flank Steak Tacos with "Summer Mess" Salsa
Devour: 5 BBQ Sandwiches
In Jennie's Kitchen: Ginger-Soy Marinated Flank Steak
FN Dish: The Beauties of Barbecue


I have started sharing my "California Girl in . Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mom's Potato Salad (the best ever!)

This potato salad is my all time favorite...and I mean that literally. My mom has been making this my entire life and, to me, no other version ever measures up.  My mom made a few edits to my grandmother's recipe (like adding the pickle juice) and a great recipe became a superstar.

I think part of the reason I love this salad is the freshness of the ingredients. We usually make it in summer using freshly dug up potatoes and onions with celery from the garden. The creamy dressing of mayonnaise married with extra virgin olive oil, mustard and pickle juice is creamy, smooth and tangy at the same time. Delicious and easy.
Sunday dinner in summer...ham, potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans

The other reason I love this salad is every time I taste it I am immediately reminded of family parties...and lazy, warm summer days...and the beach, or park, or my parent's backyard. But most especially being with family and friends. I visited my family last month and we had a big get-together for Sunday dinner. My mom is not able to do a lot of cooking anymore, but that does not stop her from planning the menu and inviting everyone in sight. We decided we had to have potato salad so I made it under her direction. I followed her instructions with measurements, chopping and gathering the ingredients. She stirred the salad and was the official taster.  Great party, even better memories. Cooking with my mom...dinner with my entire family. It just does not get better than that.
Even this butterfly bowl has memories. Has been in my family my entire life.

Mom's Potato Salad (the best ever!)
(serves 6-8) can be doubled, tripled etc

3 pounds small red potatoes, scrubbed
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp kosher pickle juice
1/4 cup chopped kosher pickles
1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1 tbsp paprika
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Add the potatoes and a large pinch of salt to a large pot of water over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes in a colander and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, olive oil, mustard, pickle juice, pickles and a large pinch each salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut the potatoes into quarters and add to the bowl with the mayo dressing.. Add the celery, red onion and olives. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Top salad with sliced eggs, paprika and celery leaves. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. 

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It is "Potato Salad" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup. Have a favorite potato salad recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Chez Us: Baked Potato Salad
The Heritage Cook: French Potato Salad with Haricot Vert (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Blue and White Potato Salad
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mom's Potato Salad (the Best Ever!)
Red or Green: Spicy Potato Salad with Jalapeno and Vinegar Vinaigrette
Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Greek Potato Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Creamy Potato Salad with Mint
In Jennie's Kitchen: Warm Smashed Roasted Potato Salad
FN Dish: 10 New Ways to Do Up Potato Salad

Domesticate Me: Warm Roasted Potato Salad with Pancetta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula


I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cucumber & Sage Cocktail

Hot summer days scream for a delicious hand crafted cocktail, especially one made with fresh, in season ingredients and best quality spirits.  This recipe is one of my new favorites.
My herb garden is overflowing with sage. I planted a couple of 4-inch pots last year and the herb came back with a vengeance this summer.  I have been experimenting with recipes to use the wonderful bounty. My favorite is gnocchi or pasta in a butter and sage sauce. I often roast chicken stuffed with fresh sage leaves. Sage pairs wonderfully with pork...and apples in fall. Lovely with white beans and loads of olive oil...or fried sage leaves crumbled on roast vegetables. But today's star is a cocktail with the sage muddled with cucumber and then added to a mixture of tequila, Chambord, lemon juice and topped with Prosecco. Light, tangy, refreshing and really, really good!  Man, I love summer.

Cucumber & Sage Cocktail
(This was inspired by the Silver Sage Cocktail at Blue Mesa Grill)
makes 2
4 slices cucumber (about 1 inch thick)
5 sage leaves
2 oz tequila (use a really good one)
1 oz Chambord
juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp agave nectar
2 cups ice
sage leaves for garnish
Add cucumber and sage to large cocktail shaker. Muddle to combine ingredients. Add tequila, Chambord, lemon juice, agave and ice. Shake vigorously. 
Strain in 2 champagne flutes or other tall glasses.  Top off with prosecco and a sage leaf garnish. Serve immediately.

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It is "Summer Cocktails" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup. Have a favorite summer cocktail recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one. 

Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Strawberry-Mint Bellinis
The Lemon Bowl: Raspberry-Ginger Bellini
Jeanette's Healthy Living: White Peach Sangria
The Heritage Cook: Refreshing Lime Coolers
The Cultural Dish: Pimm's Cup
Virtually Homemade: Frozen Lime Margaritas with a Sangria Swirl 
Weelicious: Strawberry Lemonade 
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Strawberry Gimlets with Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumber and Sage Cocktail
Red or Green: Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
Dishing With Divya: Caipirinha
In Jennie's Kitchen: Cantaloupe Lillet Sparkler
Poet in the Pantry: Pirate's Booty Call
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Watermelon Malibu Surf
Sweet Life Bake: Boozy Affogato
Devour: 5 Boozy Summer Coolers
Domesticate Me: Blueberry Mojito Royale
Haute Apple Pie: Classic Mojito
Daily*Dishin: Blackberry Rum Shrub
Taste With The Eyes: Korean Soju Kimbap Bloody Mary
FN Dish: Sip Your Way Through Summer (Recipes)

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.