Tag Archives: Recipes

Rosemary and Spiced Nuts

11 Dec

These are no doubt THE BEST EVER spiced nuts I’ve tasted! The recipe comes from one of my most beloved friends, Dene Rosemeyer, who is an AWESOME home chef. They are a perfect, savory nibble with a glass of wine or for a scrumptious homemade gift (as well as a practical one if traveling).


  • 2 1/2 Cups Raw Mixed Nuts
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin (Toasted)
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper


  • Preheat oven to 300 (°F) degrees.
  • Place nuts in a bowl.
  • Pour the oil into a small, heavy sauce pan and warm over medium-low heat until warm.
  • Add Rosemary, stir until the mixture is aromatic (1 minute).
  • Pour flavored oil over nuts.
  • Add Sugar, Cumin, Salt, Black Pepper and Cayenne. Stir to coat evenly.
  • Transfer to baking pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, until nuts are toasted, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Makes 2 1/2 cups.


Gluten-Free Peanut-Butter Chocolate Cookies

9 Dec

I found this recipe from Martha Stewart and it was so easy (perfect for me, who has little patience for measuring too many ingredients!).

You probably have all the ingredients on hand (if you stock chocolate chips and peanuts) which means you can whip up a batch anytime. I prefer bittersweet chips so swapped them for semi-sweet in the recipe.

One of the reviews said chunky peanut-butter works too, if you don’t have creamy peanut-butter. The peanut-butter and peanuts almost makes me feel like I’m eating something healthy! Next time, I’m going to try using Coconut Palm Sugar which is less processed than white sugar. Some sources suggest it has a lower glycemic index, although there is also some controversy on this (one factor is the time of harvest). I think they’re going to be gobbled up quickly!


  1. 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  7. 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, stir together 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg (lightly beaten), 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well combined. Stir in 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts.
  2. With moistened hands, roll dough, about 1 heaping tablespoon at a time, into balls. Place 2 inches apart on two baking sheets.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

No Time to Bake? Host a Cookie Swap!

3 Dec

I love the idea of a cookie swap and can’t ever forget about the voracious Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. This time of year is super busy for most of us, and this is an delectable way to divide and conquer! Of course you can plan one any time of the year, but a Holiday Cookie Swap can be particularly festive and a relatively easy way to celebrate the season together.

The idea, as you probably know, is that you invite friends and/or coworkers together and each person brings their favorite homemade cookies. Depending on the number of people and how many cookies you want to take home, I suggest each person brings 2-4 dozen cookies or perhaps 6 dozen if you want to use them for gifts.

Then, everyone swaps their cookies and you end up with a wonderful variety of delicious treats! You may want to suggest that people bring their own containers as well as their recipe to share.

Below are some resources for cookie recipes and inspiration:

Holiday Cookie-a-Day Slideshow from Bon Appétit

Martha Stewart Cookie App for iPad and iPhone

Martha Stewart’s Easiest Cookie Recipes

14 Guilt-Free Cookie Recipes from Whole Living

No-Bake Cookies from Martha Stewart


Bundt Pan Cornbread

23 Nov


Super easy! Looks fancy doesn’t it!? I used this as the base for a Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing on Thanksgiving.

Into a bowl, coarsely crumble the Cornbread and add finely chopped Celery, Onions, small diced Spanish Chorizo and a little Broth to moisten; Bake at 350 F for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the top is lightly browned.

Berta’s Southern Cornbread Recipe:

In a mixing bowl, place:

1 Cup each flour and cornmeal
1 Tablespoon each baking powder and sugar (1/2 Tablespoon works fine too if you are trying to cut back on sugar)
Pinch of salt

Mix all with whisk.

Preheat oven at 400 degrees somewhere along the way.

Mix in 1 Egg
Mix in 1/4 cup safflower oil
Mix in 1 Cup milk
Mix with whisk

Pre-grease modest size pan (or lower half of Bundt Pan), put mixture into pan and place in oven for baking at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (check at 20 min if using Bundt Pan). Enjoy!

Searching for Simple Sides

20 Nov

Cauliflower Gratin | Barefoot Contessa

If you’re like me and scrambling to finish your menu for Thanksgiving, time is running out! I’ve searched out a few recipes to share. Due to limited time, I’m sharing the links to ones I’ve found online, rather than typing up my own recipes, but hopefully you will enjoy them nonetheless.

Cauliflower Gratin from Barefoot Contessa. Since more nutrients are retained by steaming vegetables rather than boiling them, you may want to consider modifying the recipe (you could steam the florets a day ahead too).Try to avoid ground Nutmeg from the spice rack–it’s really much better adding freshly grated Nutmeg! I also suggest using Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs for extra crunch.

Pan-Roasted Balsamic Onions from Martha Stewart. This recipe includes Leeks, but as much as I love Leeks, I think I’ll substitute Shallots so they’ll fit more easily on everyone’s plate. Shallots will also take up less space than Leeks in a very full refrigerator and can be stored in a cool pantry. Adding a touch of honey or brown sugar would help caramelize them too.

Lemony Brussels Sprout Slaw from The Minimalist. I like the idea of having a raw side dish. It’s one less pot or pan for the stove or oven, plus it’s light and refreshing. The addition of apple in this recipe adds a pleasant sweet note. I think I’ll use Parsley instead of chopped Mint–one less ingredient to buy, plus I’ll be chopping Parsley for Stuffing. To shred the Sprouts, use your food processor with the slicing blade or a hand Mandolin. I do love roasted Brussels Sprouts, but the best technique involves cooking them a very high oven (500 degrees) which means you have to keep your eyes on them so they don’t burn, and with everything else going on in the kitchen during the final 30-60 minutes before getting ready to serve, I don’t want to worry about that…

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes from Alton Brown. I would use a bit of caution and hold back on the amount of Chipotle Pepper, adding it to taste. A touch of Heavy Cream or Crème Fraîche, or perhaps 1-2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup would also be good additions.

And last, there is the Cranberry Sauce…there are so many options here. You can’t go wrong adding some Orange Juice or Zest. Try a dash of Chinese Five-Spice Powder which typically includes Star Anise, Cinnamon, Cloves, Sichuan Pepper and Fennel. I like to mix Whole Grain Mustard into my sauce which makes it a perfect pairing for a Turkey Sandwich the next day. If you go that route, consider saving some of the Cranberry Sauce separately, before adding the Mustard, since it’s tasty to layer into a Yoghurt and Granola Parfait.

Do you have any favorite Sides for Thanksgiving? Share your ideas!

Thanksgiving 2011 – SiriusXM Radio and Martha Stewart Cookbook

18 Nov

Thanksgiving 2011 – SiriusXM Radio. This link is for the free cookbook offered from Martha Stewart and SiriusXM Radio. You can download it from your computer. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Scrumptious Salads for Thanksgiving

12 Nov

The photo above is a Frisee & Arugula salad with Walnuts, Fourme D’Ambert and Dried Apricots from the recently opened Broadway by Amar Santana (former Executive Chef of Charlie Palmer) in Laguna Beach. Very tasty!

What I love about salads is that you really don’t need a recipe, so I hope you won’t be upset that I don’t give you a specific one. Think about a few components, and then compose!

First of all, for the base of the salad, this time of year, I especially like using Escarole, Arugula, and Belgian Endive. I enjoy their slightly bitter and peppery flavors. Of course, Spinach is great year round and easily accessible. It’s nice to toss in a bit of Radicchio for color, or thinly shaved Fennel for crunch.

Next, think about what pairs well with these type of greens or in the case of Radicchio, the lovely magenta leaves…

Fruits that are in season are perfect to pair with them. Here’s a list of options:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Tangerines
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Persimmon (the Japanese Fuyu Persimmon, available at farmer’s markets, is best for slicing–do not use the Hachiya as it’s too soft)

Dried Apricots, Cranberries, Cherries, Dates, Figs, or Golden Raisins are also tasty alternatives.

Cheese is another wonderful component to add to a salad. I am particularly fond of Blue cheeses like Gorgonzola, Roquefort and Cambozola. Shaved Parmesan is another great one to add, as a garnish. Using a vegetable peeler works the best!

A handful of Nuts or Seeds mixed in or tossed on top is not only healthy, but delicious! Try any of the following:

  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower or Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cashews or Sesame Seeds are nice if you’re doing an Asian dressing

Speaking of dressing, I prefer my vinaigrettes on the sharp side. You can’t go wrong with the traditional French ingredients (Dijon Mustard–1 teaspoon, a small Shallot–finely minced, 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar–I like Sherry Vinegar the best, a good pinch of Sea Salt and a few coarse grinds of Black Pepper, and 6-8 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil).

If you’re interested in changing the flavor a little, remember freshly squeezed Lemon, Lime or Orange Juice, Nut Oils, a dash of Soy Sauce or Sesame Oil, Apple Cider or Rice Vinegar, grated Ginger or Garlic, Honey, fresh Herbs like Parsley, Tarragon or Chives, dried Herbes De Provence and lastly, Truffle Oil–one of my favorites.

Of course there are all kinds of other options to add into your salads. Radishes are always nice for a bit of color and Celery, which is often underappreciated, is another good one for adding texture. Crispy bits of Bacon or Pancetta–need I say more?

The next time you make a Spinach salad, try adding Mushrooms, grated hard-boiled Egg and Sunflower Seeds.  Shaved Fennel, sliced Mushrooms and shaved Parmesan with some Lemon juice and Olive Oil is another nice combo.

I could go on and on, but as you can tell, the possibilities are endless!

Easy & Elegant Appetizers for Thanksgiving

5 Nov

Thanksgiving is less than 3 weeks away so it’s time for me to start doing a bit of menu planning. Every year, I tell myself “keep it simple!” but for someone who enjoys being creative in the kitchen, it’s hard not to go overboard when I’m entertaining for people I love. But of course, I want them to be hungry for dinner!

Below are a few ideas I have in mind…

Smoked Salmon with Black Pepper Potato Chips and Lemon Crème Fraîche from Bon Appetit

Blue Cheese and Walnut Spread from Martha Stewart. I think I’ll serve it with Celery sticks and sliced Apples, in lieu of crackers, to keep it light.

And last,  my own version of Tomato Olive Tapenade on Zucchini Rounds, inspired by a Vitamix Raw Food Recipe:

  • 1 small jar of Sun-dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil (Trader Joe’s has a good one)
  • 3/4 cup of Kalamata Olives, pitted
  • 1 Tbsp of Capers
  • 1 small clove of chopped Garlic
  • Fresh Basil leaves (approx. 3 sprigs)
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon (zest the Lemon before juicing and use it for garnish)
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

Place all ingredients except Zucchini into your Vitamix or food processor and blend until creamy (if it’s too thick, you can add a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, water, or some of the brine from the jar of Capers). Top your Zucchini rounds with the Tapenade and garnish with some Lemon Zest.

I’ll probably make the Blue Cheese Spread and Tapenade in advance for convenience.

Next, what to make for the sides? I’ll keep you posted!

Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch

7 Oct

You’ve probably heard that seafood is healthy for us and should be part of our diet (although there are some concerns about elevated levels of Mercury in certain fish, like Tuna and Swordfish). The Monterey Bay Aquarium provides valuable information about seafood recommendations to promote sustainability. They offer a seafood watch program suggesting what seafood to buy and what seafood to avoid. Download the pocket guide or get it on your iPhone or Android via Apps.

One sustainable fish is the Anchovy. You probably love ’em or hate ’em! If you like them but haven’t tried Anchovies in recipes other than topping a Pizza or in a Caesar Salad, I highly recommend the House-cured anchovies at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco or create your own version at home, although the House-cured Anchovies are more mild than canned.

Try this simple appetizer with a few staple ingredients:

Good quality anchovies (note, a small bottle 0r can of anchovies will be more salty than Zuni’s house-cured so I would suggest rinsing then drizzling Extra Virgin Olive Oil over them and let them marinate about 10-15 minutes before eating. Save the oil to drizzle over the dish)

Celery, sliced thinly on a diagonal

Nicoise olives (Kalamata would be a suitable substitute if you can’t find Nicoise)

Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced

Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

Lemon juice, to taste (optional)

Serve with sliced Acme Levain bread (or other Artisan Sourdough) and a glass of Champagne or Sancerre. It’s great for  a light lunch too!