Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Gourmet Ginger Pork Lettuce Wraps


  • 2 pounds lean ground pork
  • 1 T canola oil 
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce (use gluten-free for GF recipe)
  • 1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and slivered
  • 1 large leek, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Butter, Bibb, or Boston lettuce leaves

  • minced cabbage sprinkled with Thai chili sauce or Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce (Oriental dipping sauce)
  • pickled ginger
  • 1 apple, sliced thin, sprinkled with lemon or lime juice
  • 2 avocados, sliced thin
  • 1-2 large carrots, julienned
  • limes, sliced

Start browning ground pork in canola oil. Add red onion, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, water chestnuts, and leek. When cooked through, add sesame oil.

Serve warm with lettuce leaves. To eat, fill lettuce leaves with pork filling and top with whatever toppings you like. It's nice to have as many of these options as possible, and they all work together well, also.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Layered Butter Cake


2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp (plus more for pans)
3 cups flour (plus more for pans)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 T vanilla
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c water


Preheat oven 350 degrees. Butter 2 9-in round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

Whisk 3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl until combined. Beat 2 sticks of butter and the sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. (The mixture may look separated at this point.)

Mix 1/2 cup water with the cream in a liquid in a small bowl. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture a little at a time. Add in the cream mixture.

Divide batter between prepared pans and bake until cakes are lightly golden on top and centers spring back when pressed (25-30 min). Transfer to racks and let cool 10 min. Run a knife around edges and turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely. Remove parchment and trim tops of cakes with a long, serrated knife to make them level, if desired.

Spread a 1/4 inch layer of frosting on top of one cake. Place second cake on top of that one. Frost entire thing as desired.

Herbed Russet Potatoes

12 small red Russet potatoes
4 t butter, melted
4 t minced fresh parsley OR 1 1/2 t dried parsley
4 t minced fresh chives OR 1 1/2 t dried chives

Peel 1/2-inch strip around the center of each potato and drop them into a saucepan of cold water. Cover potatoes with water by 2 inches. Bring to boil and boil until potatoes are firm but easily pierced by a form. (About 20 min.) Drain water and place potatoes into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with herbs and  drizzle melted butter over potatoes. Serve warm. (Optional: you can also sprinkle over other things, like Parmesan cheese, crispy bacon pieces, and mince green onion.)

Fruit Ice Cream


2 quarts of half and half
3 cups of sugar
6 T lemon juice
3-4 cups fruit


Blend fruit and about one cup of half and half until smooth. Completely dissolve sugar into the remaining half and half. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar and half and half. Mix the blended fruit with the lemon juice, sugar, and half and half. Freeze the mixture in the freezer or use an ice cream machine. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts (per one cup serving)
Calories: 652.7
Total Fat: 28.2 g
Cholesterol: 89.5 mg
Sodium: 100.1 mg
Potassium: 440.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 98.7 g
Protein: 8.1 g

Cowboy Caviar


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 ounce) can super sweet corn, drained (see notes)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro (from 1 bunch) 
  • Tortilla chips


     Combine all ingredients, except tortilla chips, in a large bowl. Chill for about an hour to let flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Stuffed Tomatoes & Peppers

1 cup red quinoa (uncooked)
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup calamata olives, seeded and diced
1 can artichoke hearts, diced
2 T lime juice
1 t basil
1 t garlic
sea salt to taste
8-12 small, round tomatoes (like over-sized golf balls)
1 package sweet, mini-peppers

Cook quinoa according to package directions (boil for 15-20 minutes). Drain. Mix top 8 ingredients. Slice off top of tomatoes and hollow out. Slice a hole in the sides of the peppers and seed. Spray dish with olive oil. Place all tomatoes and peppers in the casserole dish. Top them with extra feta. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Quinoa & Lentils

Serves 15

2 cups (uncooked) quinoa
1 1/2 cups (uncooked) lentils
1/2 red onion, diced
2-3 T garlic, diced
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
ground black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste

Cook quinoa and lentils according to package directions (boil 15-20 minutes). Drain. Meanwhile, saute red onion and garlic in butter. Combine all ingredients and serve.

This makes a great side with marinated or roasted chicken, pork chops, beef roast, or fish. Add a vegetable, too, for a complete meal.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cardamom Chicken and Chickpeas

4 chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces each
2 T cumin powder (or toasted seeds, ground with a mortar & pestle)
8 cardamom pods (opened, pods removed, and seeds ground with a mortar & pestle)
2 T honey
1T fresh ginger, grated
2 t minced garlic
Pinch dried chili flakes (optional/You can also use jalapeno stuffed olives, below, instead of regular ones to add the spiciness)
6 T olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 large red onion, finely sliced
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
14 1/2 oz can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
Handful pitted green olives, sliced
1/2 - 1 cup chopped cilantro
Hot, cooked jasmine rice

1. Combine cumin, cardamom, honey, ginger, garlic, chili (if using), and 4 T of olive oil in a small bowl.
2. Place chicken pieces in a Ziplock bag and add combined seasonings. Mix well and allow to sit for 2 hours (or more) in the refrigerator.
3. Gently fry chicken in remaining oil until golden brown on all sides. Place in a tagine pot (or heavy casserole dish, or you can cook this in your crockpot). Drizzle remaining marinade mix on top.
4. Cover with onion, tomatoes, chickpeas and olives. Pour in the chicken broth.
5. Cover and cook in a 375 degree oven for one hour.
6. Stir in chopped cilantro just prior to serving.
7. Serve over rice.

Tip: If you are using a tagine or casserole dish, place a cookie sheet beneath your dish to catch unintentional drippings.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Cheese Cake Flan

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
6 oz cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Put sugar and 1/4 cup of water in microwave until melted and browned.
Pour this syrup into 8”-9” cake pan.  Let harden.

Mix remaining ingredients in blender.  Pour into pan. 

Bake in a water bath for 50 minutes @ 350ยบ.
Check with toothpick. Turn out upside down onto plate.
Allow flan to cool and be chilled before serving.

As per requested by Sarah M.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tornado Cake

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 20oz can crushed pineapple

* 1/2 cup salted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2/3 cup evaporated milk
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13" baking pan with butter
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs, vanilla, and crushed pineapple
3. Pour into your baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown
4. Poke several holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon
5. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat your butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and vanilla until it reaches a boil
6. Mix in your pecans and coconut and continue cooking for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring constantly
7. Pour your topping evenly over your cake, slice, and enjoy!

from Laurel Brown following Hurricane, Irma Sept 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Gluten-Free Broccoli Rice Casserole

1 Stick of butter, divided.
1/2 cup diced onion
1 T diced garlic
2 cups fresh broccoli heads and some stems, diced
1-2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups shredded cheese (cheddar & Monterrey jack cheese blend)
6 cups cooked jasmine rice

Melt 1/2 stick butter in large wok. Saute onions and garlic. Add broccoli. Cook 1 minute. Add cornstarch and mix well. Stir in milk, remaining butter and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese until it makes a thick sauce. Remove from heat and stir in rice until well blended. Pour into greased 9 x 13 casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

TIP: Add 2-3 cups shredded chicken to make this a full meal instead of a side dish.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Gluten-free Milanesa

Milanesa is a thin, delicious, Argentine, breaded beef steak. This, is the gluten-free variety. Click here for the original version.

8 thinly sliced beef steaks (pounded thin)
Lime juice
2 T milk
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups gluten-free rice 1-to-1 baking flour (Red Mill brand)
1 tsp chopped parsley (fresh is best)
2 cups almond flour/meal
Grapeseed oil for frying
lime wedges

Sprinkle each steak with lime juice and sprinkle with salt. Place them in a dish together and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Coat each steak lightly with a mixture of gluten-free flour, 1 t salt, and pepper. Dip steaks in mixture of eggs and 2 T milk. Dip steaks in mixture of almond meal, parsley, and 1 t salt. Fry each steak in oil until steak borders begin to brown, then flip and cook the other side. Should steaks be too thick, you can score the borders to avoid curling. Serve hot with lime wedges.

Moroccan Chicken

Give yourself a good two hours to prepare this meal. Serves 8-10.

2 lbs boneless chicken, cubed
2 T vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil, or sunflower oil
2 large Vidalia (or yellow) onions
1 T sugar
1 t nutmeg
1 t cumin
1 t coriander
1 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t red pepper
1/3 cup raisins
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
2 Roma tomatoes (or 1 regular tomato), diced
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 can chickpeas
4 c. chicken broth
Hot, cooked jasmine rice

1. Lightly cook chicken in oil, remove from pan, and set aside. Add onions and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.

2. Add sugar and all seasonings and cook for another 15 minutes on medium heat until onions are caramelized. Return chicken to pan, add raisins, carrot, celery, tomatoes, leek, chickpeas and chicken broth.

3. Transfer to a tagine pot (pictured above) and cook in your oven at 375 degrees for 1 hour. OR, if yo do not have a tagine, simply bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour until chickpeas are tender.

4. Serve over hot, cooked jasmine rice.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Cilantro Lime Salmon (Whole 30 Compliant)

I've been doing the Whole 30 diet (it's an elimination diet that helps you determine which foods are triggering other health issues). You have to eliminate dairy, sugar, alcohol, legumes (including peanuts, peas and soy), grains (including corn), and a few other things, such as additives. You can have meats, potatoes, eggs, vegetables, fruit, vinegar (except malt vinegar), healthy oils (coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, ghee, etc.), and nuts & seeds. It's been a challenge, but the benefits have been pleasing and interesting. Anyway--I've had to come up with a few dishes that comply with the diet, and some of them are actually pretty tasty. Here's one of my favorites:

Cilantro Lime Salmon
(Serves 4-6)

8 Fresh or frozen salmon fillets (thawed in warm water)
3/4 to 1 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup lime juice
Coconut Oil (or avocado oil or grapeseed oil)

Melt oil in pan. Place salmon fillets in the pan and sprinkle with salt. Pour lime juice on top and spread cilantro liberally over fillets. Fry lightly on one side for a few minutes, then flip and fry the other sides, being careful not to overcook. Fillets are done with they can be easily flaked with a fork.

Serve with a side of roasted red potatoes and asparagus.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Almond Cranberry Biscotti

2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 T grated orange peel (or lemon juice)
4 large eggs
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 cup dried cranberries
Melting chocolate

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar, butter, orange peel, & eggs together in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Shape half of dough into a rectangle on a greased cookie sheet. Repeat with second half of dough.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices (approx. 4 inches long.) Bake 15 minutes or until crisp and light brown. Cool. Drizzle melted chocolate over biscotti pieces and let dry.