I Promise To Make Your Mouth Water

Carnitas, Polenta, Pumpkin Seed Pesto, Avocado, Fresh Corn, Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Mexican Crema, Pickled Radish and Red Jalapeno, Cilantro, Cotija Cheese

Carnitas, Polenta, Pumpkin Seed Kale Cilantro Pesto
with

Avocado, Corn, Pumpkin Seeds, Mexican Crema
Pickled Radish and Red Jalapeno, Cilantro, Cotija Cheese

What started out as an idea to make a deconstructed pork tamale, morphed into one extremely mouth-watering dish. Creamy polenta with fresh corn is topped with a pumpkin seed kale cilantro pesto. Braised pork shoulder is fried in a bit of oil to give it crispy edges, then piled on top. A dizzying array of garnishes make the dish come alive – avocado, somewhat spicy pumpkin superseedz, pickled radish and red jalapeño, cotija cheese, mexican crema, cilantro.

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I am so pleased to be working with SuperSeedz and their marketing team to develop recipes utilizing their amazing pumpkin seeds. SuperSeedz is an innovative snack company that has reimagined the pumpkin seed – adding flavors like cocoa, cinnamon & sugar, cayenne, curry, and more.

Somewhat Spicy Pumpkin SuperSeedz

Super Spicy Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin SuperSeedz #superseedz

Super Spicy Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin SuperSeedz

Beyond scrumptious nutritious snacking right out-of-the-pouch, SuperSeedz make a great addition to all sorts of sweet and savory recipes. Let the creative juices flow!

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Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

Super Spicy Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin SuperSeedz

Add some spice to your next cocktail party. Sure, you will be serving a cheese platter and some type of charcuterie. But also give your guests something unexpected. A fruity-sweet-spicy option on the buffet.

Super spicy chocolate covered banana bites with pumpkin seeds will blow them way. This little snack-on-a-stick is absolutely not for kids. The chocolate and pumpkin seeds are indeed super spicy.

SuperSeedz is an innovative snack company that has reimagined the pumpkin seed – adding flavors like cocoa, cinnamon & sugar, cayenne, curry, and more.

Dry roasted in small batches without the shell, they have redefined the traditional plain pumpkin seed into a variety of creative flavors that provide a healthy, nutritious standalone snack.

Standalone, absolutely, they rock. But cooks like me will also be inspired to give them a try in all sorts of recipes.

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By the way, my banana bites are not frozen. As adults, let’s enjoy our cocktails and keep our teeth happy without having to bite into something frozen solid as a rock.

Chocolate Banana Bites with Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds

It really is super spicy…sweet & savory. And quite healthful too. One perfect bite on a stick. Irresistible.

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Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Do we really need another roast chicken recipe? Or more kale?

Let me tell you why we do.

First, perfect roast chicken is just that. Perfect. Crispy skin, juicy, flavorful. Second, healthful kale has two textures – the kale cooked under the chicken is tender, the kale surrounding the chicken is crunchy. Below the kale is a layer of velvety cannellini beans bathed in olive oil and chicken juices with oregano, thyme, and onion playing supporting roles.

Beyond deliciousness, this casserole is super-easy to prepare, economical, loaded with protein and fiber, nutritious, and low-carb too. Dinner tonight?

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Chickpea Lovers Pasta e Ceci #glutenfreevegan

Chickpea Lovers Pasta e Ceci

Chickpea Lovers’ Pasta e Ceci
Oil Painting Version

Not in the mood to shop for dinner? Nor spend too much time in the kitchen? This ultimate pantry dish is tasty, healthy, and satisfying without a lot of prep. Pasta e Ceci is made from ingredients that are usually in the cupboard – dried pasta, canned chickpeas, canned tomato. And if you have a rosemary bush in the garden, even the fresh herb is handy.

This is the “chickpea lovers” version – not only does it include whole ceci (chickpeas) plus blended ceci in the broth – the pasta from my friends at Explore Cuisine is made from chickpea flour loaded with protein and fiber. And it’s naturally lower-carb and gluten-free too.

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Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing

Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing with Grilled Okra, Celery, Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion, Herbs and Edible Flowers

Pretty Petite Potato Salad, Vinagre de Jerez Dressing
Petite Red Skin Potatoes, Grilled Okra, Celery
Peperoncini, Radish, Cucumber, Red Onion

Herbs and Edible Flowers

Complex and assertive, Vinagre de Jerez turns up the music on ordinary potato salad. Chef José Andrés says, “…you add just a touch of (sherry) vinegar and you have this wonderful flavor that sparkles.” Vinagre de Jerez is one of just three vinegars in the EU from a designated appellation. Spain’s classification system, Denominación de Origen, regulates the quality and geographical origin of the product.

Okra is excellent grilled. (Use a grill pan so it doesn’t fall through the grates). The mucilaginous properties that make people say they “hate” okra are mitigated by quickly cooking over a hot fire. Combine grilled okra and petite red-skinned potatoes with lively peperoncini, peppery radish, crunchy celery and cool cucumber. Toss with a vivacious dressing and an array of complementary flowers and herbs for a show-stopping summer salad.

Vinagre de Jerez Dressing

Recipe for Vinagre de Jerez Dressing. Excellent with Potato Salad. #saladdressing

  • 1/4 c. good quality mayonnaise
  • 1/4 c. yogurt
  • 1 T. vinagre de jerez
  • 1 t. dijon mustard
  • 2 T. fruity olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper. Thin with warm water so the dressing will make a smooth elegant coating for the vegetables (as opposed to a thick, gloppy mayo).

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Shrimp and Grits with Lobster Butter

Shrimp and Grits with Lemony Lobster Butter and Grilled Corn, Okra, Tomato, Shishito

Shrimp and Grits with Lemony Lobster Butter
Grilled Corn, Okra, Tomato, Shishito Peppers
Gremolata, Feta Cheese, and Chive Flower Garnish

Shrimp & Grits gets a make-over. White corn grits are topped with fresh summer vegetables from the farmers market. For a smokier-than-usual version, the vegetables and shrimp are grilled instead of sautéed. A heavenly lemon-lobster butter (try it on popcorn!) adds sophistication. Tangy sheep’s milk feta takes the place of the ubiquitous cheddar cheese, while gremolata makes the shrimp sing out with bright citrusy-garlicky notes. And it’s interesting how a single purple chive blossom in the center gives the whole dish a visual pop.

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Open-Faced Swiss Burger with Flower Salad

Colorful Open-Faced Swiss Burger with Flower Salad and Blistered Tomatoes

Open-Faced Swiss Burger with Flower Salad and Blistered Tomatoes

The idea started out simply to serve my grilled burgers with less carbs and more greens…and yellows, reds, oranges, pinks, and purples. And while there is nothing particularly extraordinary about a hamburger with lettuce and tomato, who wouldn’t be delighted with this vibrant presentation?

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Eat Flowers, Be Happy (Edible Flower Salad)

Edible Flower Salad with Wild Strawberries and Grape Tomatoes

Edible Flower Salad
Wild Strawberries, Grape Tomatoes, Chrysanthemum Greens
Texas Tarragon, Borage, Marigold, Lemon Thyme, Chive Blossoms

In honor of the first days of summer and the unveiling of a new category to my website menu, I present this EDIBLE FLOWER salad. A trip to one of our best local Farmers Markets, plus a stop at my favorite Korean supermarket, and a bit of foraging in my own garden resulted in a one-of-a-kind salad that just screams summer. Every ingredient has a purpose in the flavor/texture/color profile.

Wild strawberries and sweet little grape tomatoes have a particularly delightful affinity for each other. Their red color contrasts with the exotic greens. Radish brings peppery flavors while roasted sunflower seeds add salty flavors – eliminating the need for additional salt and pepper. Kimjaban, crunchy roasted seaweed takes the place of croutons while adding sweet and salty notes.

Dressing is not tossed with the salad mix, so the flower petals look fresh-picked and the seaweed retains its crisp texture. The dressing consists of three distinct high-quality oils – fruity olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and fiery chili oil that are balanced by aged balsamic vinegar. Using chopsticks, diners can coat the salad ingredients with the oils and vinegar. And they just may want to reserve a bit of the syrupy balsamic vinegar to pair with that last wild strawberry for a grand finale.

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Summer Squash Lasagna with Fried Basil #glutenfree

Summer Squash Lasagna with Fried Basil #glutenfree

Summer Squash Lasagna with Fried Basil
Made with Gluten-Free Green Lentil Lasagna Noodles
Crookneck Squash, Zucchini
Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan

Marinara Sauce, Italian Sausage, Basil

My friends at Explore Cuisine make an extraordinary noodle for lasagna recipes. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour. These no-boil noodles soak up sauce to two-and-a-half times their size to a perfect al dente texture. They are full of plant-based pea protein, a lovely olive-green color, organic and gluten-free. They are also higher in fiber and lower in carbs than traditional lasagna noodles.

I bake these unique noodles with roasted summer squash for a delightful seasonal dish, then top the lasagna with fried basil for snazzy garnish with an herbal crunch.

Summer Squash Lasagna with Fried Basil Recipe

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An Ode To The Fish Taco

An Ode To The Fish Taco - Panko Crusted Halibut, Cabbage, Fennel, Carrot Slaw, Fresh herbs, Baja White Sauce, Tortilla Strips

An Ode To The Fish Taco

Panko Crusted Fresh Halibut
Cabbage-Fennel-Carrot-Radish-Pepitas Slaw
Key Lime Serrano Cumin Vinaigrette

Pickled Red Onion, Fresh Herbs, Baja White Sauce
Mexican Lime, Tortilla Strips

Dear Fish Taco – you are irresistible. Your flavors conjure up spicy memories of our saucy adventures in Ensenada. Fresh-caught fried fish, crisp shredded cabbage, salsa, white sauce and a squeeze of lime on a corn tortilla. A fish taco and a margarita are una pareja celestial. Baja California is the birthplace of the fish taco and home to Hussong’s Cantina, where they claim to have invented the margarita in 1941.

Fast forward a several decades since your “invention” where I reimagine your essence. This is perfectly crusted local halibut topped with a cabbage slaw studded with organic rainbow carrots, peppery radish matchsticks, fennel slivers, and pumpkin seeds.  A zippy Mexican lime vinaigrette with sliced serranos, cumin, and fresh thyme dresses the slaw. Corn tortillas are sliced thin and fried for the topping. And it wouldn’t be a Baja taco without your salsa blanca – so here, tangy Mexican crema combined with mayonnaise and minced garlic provides a creamy balance to the crispy golden-brown fillets.

Fish Taco – you have aged gracefully. You are fabuloso! But we will still always crave your youthful side. See you in Baja!

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