Having my green goddess sauce ll at your next party will be sure to turn heads. It’s kind of like wearing a new party dress! This green goddess sauce is made in mere minutes in a blender. It’s a blend of Greek yogurt, mayo, fresh mint leaves and cilantro, garlic, green onion, lemon juice, olive oil and rice wine vinegar. You don’t even have to waste time chopping finely because it all get puréed anyways!
Decorating your party plates with my green goddess sauce will make for a lovely presentation, a more formal one, but having a bowl or pouring cup of the sauce on the table will do the trick quite nicely! In fact, the latter might be better since there’s a good possibility your guest’s will be going back for seconds.
The colors orange and green were stuck in my head for this Halloween episode and that’s why I decided to share my sweet potato fries & green goddess dip recipes with you! These baked sweet potato fries are so delicious all on their own but wait until you dip them into the green goddess sauce you’ll want to put green goddess dip on EVERYTHING! I make this dipping sauce when I cook up swordfish, shrimp, tuna, chicken and steaks also. Being able to make a homemade gourmet sauce like this in 5 minutes, in a blender is basically a no-brainer for me. I can’t wait until you taste this sauce. And here I go again, making my dipping sauce with Greek yogurt to balance out the mayo giving it yet another layer of flavor and tangy richness. I do this also with my pink remoulade sauce too.
Baking the sweet potato fries is definitely healthier then frying and a lot less work! Now if you don’t have cornstarch in the cabinets don’t let it keep you from making these fries because they will still be delicious. Dusting the raw sweet potatoes fries with a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch helps with the moisture content and gives them a little extra crunch.
Ingredients and Directions for Sweet Potato Fries:
3 extra lg sweet potatoes ONLY need 2 but I like to have an extra just in case
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion granules
Pre-heat the oven to 425º.
Peel and Slice sweet potatoes in 1/4″ sticks -CUT ENDS FLAT so they don’t burn
Dab with paper towels to dry excess sweet potato moisture
Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic granules, 1 tsp onion granules and 1/2 tsp salt
Mixed with hands and then spread out into even layer on cookie sheet
Bake for 15 minutes then flip and back into the oven for 8-10 more minutes
BE SURE TO keep an eye on them at this point so they don’t BURN 🙂
Ingredients and Directions for Green Goddess Dip lll:
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup mayo (I use Hellmans)
1 cup fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove put thru press
1/2 jalapeño diced
4 green onion stalks
1 tsp. grated vadalia onion ( or yellow onion)
1 tbsp ( 1/2) fresh lime juice
1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar ( “oops” – I accidentally said red wine vinegar in the show but it’s rice wine vinegar)
s & p
Optional: dash of Siracha (Siracha is a hot chili sauce sold next to Tabasco at the store)
Place all of the ingredients into a blender an purée and you will probably need to stop and stir everything a couple of times to get it going but do not add any more liquid (you will see that once it gets going it will be just right).
You can make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate. It gets thicker as it sits in the fridge chilling and stays nice for a few days… Yum!
Ingredients and Directions for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin Seeds for 2 pumkins
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion granules
1/2 sea salt (plus a sprinkle at the end for a pinch more seasoning)
2 tbsp olive oil
Pre-heat oven at 425º.
Wash pumpkins seeds to remove pulp.
Dry between paper towels and leave on cookie tray to dry further over night (can roast right away if you don’t have time – just by sure to completely dry seeds)
Drizzle olive oil over seeds and sprinkle all of seasonings and toss to evenly mix
NOTE: you can add in cumin, cayenne, chili powder … add your favorite seasonings
Roast for 10 minutes, take out and stir seeds, put back in oven for approx. 4 more minutes – Keep an eye on them at this point so they don’t burn
This homemade cold cucumber soup is out of this world! It has texture and flavors that won’t stop! Not one of the flavors in this soup over powers another, it’s the perfect balance. You actually find yourself trying to distinguish between them only because you are aware of all the fresh vegetables and herbs that went into this amazing cold soup.
Being a born and raised East Coaster I have to say I have never been a big “cold soup” kind of person. With our unbearably cold winters we have here I really appreciate a very hot bowl of soup to warm the bones. So when ever I’m making this cold cucumber soup I’m slightly biased going in, not willing to give merit where it is due, until I take my first spoonful and it all changes!
My cold cucumber soup completely stands on it’s own and is very satisfying not to mention the medicinal qualities that cucumbers offer. Cucumber’s can reduce puffiness, help to eliminate toxins in your body and we all know that slice’s of cucumber over your eyes can help to reduce dark circles! Some of the vitamin’s cucumber’s offer are A, C and folic acid and minerals of potassium and magnesium. All and all this homemade cold cucumber soup is a win win situation.
This homemade cold cucumber soup would be great for lunch with a side sandwich or grill up some shrimp like I did in the show. One of my favorite accents to this soup are seared scallops cut in half and placed right in the center on the soup. You can check out in my “Seared Scallop Show” to see exactly how to make the scallops.
King crab meat is also a lovely topping to this cold cucumber soup and was a big hit when I presented this soup this way to the tasting judges at my second MasterChef open casting call in NYC this past March (2016)! All of the MasterChef casting call judges didn’t have any critique for my soup during the tasting phase…they just said “they really, really loved it!” When I made my cucumber soup for the MasterChef casting call I added fresh fennel to the recipe to change it up and give it that je ne sais qua…that extra special something!
Wow, this gourmet yogurt marinated chicken kabob recipe is the most scrumptious marinade I have ever had on chicken. It will be my new favorite marinade for summer grilling! There is really nothing to putting together this marinade and the results are outstanding. The grilling goes really quickly here too because you cube up the chicken into small pieces so it only takes about 7-8 minutes for each side on high heat. I know I will be baking my chicken with this marinade over the winter months. Maria got this yogurt-marinated chicken kabob recipe from epicurious.com and of course making a couple of adjustments as I go through my own test kitchen adding in the fresh ground coriander and the “smoked” Spanish paprika giving it that hint of something extra that I was looking for.
The combination of these three gourmet recipes together are packed full of flavor! My favorite is actually having this dynamic combo on some warmed or toasted naan adding in a chewy soft texture to this heavenly dish. Using the toum, the garlic Lebanese sauce as a baster for the breads and vegetables when you are grilling in a no brainer.
This homemade gourmet sauce called toum is such an unusual sauce because it’s hard to initially imagine how such a thick and creamy texture can come about from peeled garlic cloves and vegetable oil! You must be patient with this recipe as the slow drizzling of the vegetable oil is crucial in the emulsification of this garlic-oil combo but the efforts are well worth it. Watching the show to see how I get the sauce thick and foamy I hope will help clarify the “how to’s” of it. This toum sauce will last up to 2-3 weeks in your frig and who’s better than you with this little hidden gem just waiting to put a flavor punch of silky garlic on your sauteed veggies, garlic breads, meats, fish, chicken… the options are really endless.
Maria’s homemade tzatziki sauce is a recipe I’m sure you will love and want to add to your go to recipes for summer. The way she has you drain the whole fat Greek Yogurt makes this sauce even creamier and gives your mouth a smooth silky texture yet refreshing at the same time with the grated cucumber, and vinegars and fresh lemon juice. This sauce can easily be used as an amazing dip with pita chips. It’s similar to my cucumber & Vadalia onion saladbut definitely different. So nice to have a couple different styles to choose from.
This Mediterranean night of exotic spices and flavorful recipes will not be easily forgotten. You just may start to crave these homemade dishes sooner than you think. I hope you enjoy the show and the gourmet yogurt marinated chicken kaobs, tzatziki and toum recipes.
INGREDIENTS for Yogurt Chicken Kabobs:
1 tsp ground red pepper flakes
1 tsp (Spanish) smoked paprika
1 tsp (Hungarian) sweet paprika
2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp fine ground black pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
6 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
2 whole lemons thinly sliced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole milk Greek Yogurt
2 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs
1 package extra-long wooden skewers (Can find these right at Stop & Shop)
1 package cherry or grape tomatoes
1 or Vadalia sweet onion sliced into 1″ pieces
Mediterranean Yogurt Chicken Kabobs DIRECTIONS:
Soak wooden skewers in water for 1/2 hour
Add paprika spices and ground red pepper to a small bowl with 1-2 tbsp warm water (to soften) 5 minutes
Take next 9 ingredients in above list and add to large mixing bowl
Add in spices when they have softened
Mix everything with a spatula then add in chicken pieces and toss to coat
Cover with saran and pop into the frig for 24 hours
Take out and skewer 4-6 pieces of chicken onto each skewer
OPTIONAL: Skewer cherry tomatoes and onion alternating pieces
You can also alternate chicken, tomato, onion, chicken and repeat
Grill on high for 7-8 minutes on each side (even with veggies in the mix)
Serve grilled chicken and tomato/onion on naan or pita bread with tzatziki, and hummus or rice ….YUM!
INGREDIENTS for Tzatziki Sauce:
1 16 oz. container of whole fat Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber
1 garlic clove put thru garlic press
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil in sauce and some to drizzle on top at the end
DIRECTIONS for Tzatziki:
Slice cucumber in half-length wise, then in half crosswise
Scoop out middle seeds and discard
Grate cucumber halves into a large bowl
Put cucumber gratings into a Ziploc baggie and add 1/2 tsp salt, let sit for 1 hour or over night
Unseal a small corner of the Ziploc & drain water from baggie squeezing the grated cucumber
Add grated cucumber to a medium bowl, and pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess water
Add fresh dill, garlic, s&p, cumin, lemon juice and Greek yogurt to grated cucumber, mix til creamy texture
Drizzle 2 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil on top and voilà you have tzatziki
INGREDIENTS for TOUM – Lebanese Garlic Sauce:
1 cup peeled white garlic
2 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
DIRECTIONS for Toum: Approx Time 12 minutes
Add 1 cup peeled garlic and salt to food processor and pulse 3 times
Scrape down sides
Begin the garlic-vegetable oil emulsion by SLOWLY beginning to drizzle in the oil – This will take about 12 minutes to slowly drizzle in all of the oil
When you have reached adding in 1/2 cup of oil you will need to stop and scrap sides one last time then start up processor again and resume adding in oil, at about 1 cup of oil mark begin to add 2 tsp of lemon juice – KEEP food processor going the WHOLE TIME
Go back and forth from oil to lemon juice until it’s finished (I begin to add 3 tbsp of lemon juice at a time after about 1 1/2 cup of oil mark)
You should see the volume doubling then quadrupling
At this point the toum will be thick and foamy
Since the food processor has been running for a while now you will need to let it COOL and put into a container but DO NOT seal at this point because any condensation will ruin the texture of the toum and all your hard work
Just loosely cover with a paper towel til COMPLETELY COOLED
At this point you can seal with a top
It will last in the frig for a couple of weeks
Serve with the yogurt marinated chicken kabobs, sauté vegetables, brush on grill items, naan, pita bread, ciabatta for garlic bread … the options are endless ENJOY 🙂
My homemade Arancini Reuben Balls are absolutely gourmet. Arancini balls, also called risotto balls, are an Italian appetizer made with left over risotto, stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto, then breaded and deep fried! Oh boy, they are out of this world. They are crispy on the outside, and creamy and cheesy on the the inside. You can eat them plain or serve them with a tomato sauce.
My homemade Arancini Reuben Balls are made with risotto, diced corned beef, Swiss cheese, cream cheese and sautéed jalapeño’s to incorporate that “popper” flavor! I serve them with my gourmet thousand island dressing which I make with Greek yogurt and a creamy horseradish to compliment the corned beef. The flavors of the risotto balls paired up with the thousand island dressing are outstanding!
Do you remember having poppers? You know, those deep fried jalapeno’s stuffed with cream cheese? Wow, I used to love those little morsels and I haven’t had them in ages so that’s why I thought it would be fun to put a twist on my Risotto Reuben Balls. It was a great idea too because the cream cheese lightens up the risotto balls and the jalapeno’s give it that something extra special!
You’ll be so happy when you make these homemade gourmet Arancini Reuben Balls with your left over St. Patrick’s Day corned beef. They freeze up really well too which will make for a nice little treat at a later date although I highly doubt you’ll have any left behind.
This homemade cucumber salad is my version of tzatziki sauce which is a Greek cucumber yogurt dip except I use 1/2 Greek yogurt and 1/2 sour cream. My mother has been making this dish since I was little although mine is a somewhat different version. You can have it as a side with lunch or dinner or even jazz up chicken and steak sandwiches or vegetarian dishes with humus and mango salsaand or guacamole…YUM! . It’s really refreshing and bright on your palate. The Vadalia onion, which is the sweetest, is a wonderful addition to a Tzatziki sauce and fresh dill is always best. The cucumber and onion can be grated instead of sliced to make it more of a sauce then a side dish.
I use thinly sliced cucumbers instead of grating here, garlic, onion and cumin granules in this gourmet sauce which really develop nicely in flavor as you let them sit for a bit. This homemade cucumber salad is certainly not for summer only! I promise you will be delighted with my cucumber salad recipe…let me know what you think. Enjoy.
2 cucumbers peeled with thin stripes left on them (only 3 – 1/4 ” stripes) AND sliced PAPER thin on Mandolin or carefully with a knife
1 lg Vadalia onion sliced paper thin with mandolin or sharp knife
1/2 c. Greek yugurt
1/2 c. sour cream
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion granules
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt to release water from cucumbers and onions
s&p to taste at the end
Put sliced cucumbers and onion into a lg Ziploc with 1/2 tsp salt and let sit for 1-2 hrs. or over night
Gently squeeze cucumber-onion mixture and drain liquid from Ziploc
Put into a lg mixing bowl with the next 8 ingredients like in photos
Mix with spatula
Add desired s&p
Can chill and serve or serve immediately …mangia mangia
Wow, these bacon wrapped scallops are a scrumptious hors ‘d oeuvre! They are wonderful by themselves but the sun-dried tomato aioli sauce just bring them to another flavor level. And you can make that sauce a day ahead of the scallops. It’s important to get the largest sea scallops you can find because they make for a perfectly filling appetizer without being over powered by the bacon. Boars Head Bacon is the best bacon to use for this dish because it doesn’t have a smokey or maple flavor that would compete with the taste of scallops. I have you cook the bacon half way thru too so you don’t end up with a piece of rubbery, under cooked bacon at the end. You don’t want to over cook the sea scallops worrying about the bacon being cooked thru. Since scallops are so rich you may want to serve some non-fish hors ‘d oeuvres like the best guacamole ever, zucchini torta, baked asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto, baked yukon potato fries with Greek yogurt remoulade, ormango-avocado salsa.
Ingredients – serves 4 people with 2 scallops each or 8 people with 1 scallop each:
1 lb. sea scallops (this will be approx. 8 ex-lg sea scallops)
8 slices of Boars Head Bacon (don’t use other brands because some are too smokey and some are heavy on maple flavor)
2 lg garlic clove put thru garlic press
3 Tbsp of olive oil
sprinkle of salt
Pre-heat oven to 375º
Cook 8 slices of bacon for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat until they are cooked half way thru and golden on the edges
Drain half cooked bacon on paper towels
Put 3 Tbsp olive oil in a medium size dish with 2 garlic cloves put thru garlic press
Add Sea scallops to garlic and mix, fully coating the scallops with the garlicky oil
Add in the bacon strips and also coat with the garlicky oil
Begin to wrap the scallops with the bacon, the bacon should overlap about 1″ and you will have to cut off the last 1 1/2″ because the bacon will be too long
Fasten a toothpick on an angle as shown in the photo above to hold the bacon in place while it’s cooking
Heat a cast iron pan on high for about 2 minutes
When hot add in bacon wrapped sea scallops and sear for 2 minutes
Then flip them over and immediately put the pan into a pre-heated oven for 12 minutes
Sun-dried tomato aioli sauce and asparagus is a tasty and simple appetizer that you make ahead of time. Aioli is a mayonnaise based sauce or dip flavored with garlic and sometimes herbs, and or vegetables. With this sun-dried tomato aioli sauce I cut the mayo in half with one of my favorites, Greek yogurt, like I do with so many of my sauces. It’s just such a “good for you” thing that I love to do, plus I really like yogurt and I added in sun dried tomatoes to the aioli which are packed with an intense flavor.
I have you peel off the skins at the ends of the asparagus because it makes for an elegant presentation when serving as an appetizer like this. You don’t want the asparagus too cold when you serve this. It’s best at room temperature so since you will be probably making this ahead of time and storing it in the frig to keep well you should take the asparagus out first to bring it closer to room temperature before serving. And I want you to use the largest asparagus that you can find because not only does it present well but it tastes great. The larger asparagus are just as tender and earthy in flavor as the tiny ones.
1/4 Tsp chile paste (OPTIONAL) – you can use a few dashes of Tabasco or Siracha (chile hot sauce sold with Tobasco at the market) if you don’t have the paste
Place all of the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato aioli sauce into a blender an purée
You will probably need to stop and stir everything a couple of times to get it going but once it gets going it will be just right…you can always add in another Tbsp of olive oil if you need to loosen it up a little
You can make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate. It stays nicely for days in frig. Yum!
24 asparagus – the larger the better
1 Tbsp salt for cooking the asparagus in water
Bend asparagus to find the proper “break” point then cut the ends off to even them up
Using a potato peeler, peel off the skins of the asparagus at the bottom – 2″ up from the ends as shown in the photo
Put asparagus in cold salted water and bring to a simmer
Cook til tender but NOT mushy …this will only take a few minutes once it comes to a simmer
Drain and give them ice bath to shock …don’t need to make them ice cold just want to shock to retain vibrant color
Dry off asparagus on a paper towel and place on a serving platter
These baked spinach wrapped Reuben’s from St. Patrick’s Day leftovers just melt in your mouth. They are zesty, creamy and tangy made with thousand island dressing & horseradish, melted Swiss cheese, thinly slice tomatoes and drained sauerkraut. They almost make you want to skip the bland corned beef and cabbage and call it a wrap! In this version of my thousand island dressing I add in prepared horseradish which compliments the corned beef so well, and I substitute 1/2 the mayo for Greek yogurt. It’s quite good, in fact it would be a great addition to a turkey, roast beef or fish sandwich and it will keep nicely in the frig for several days. These baked spinach wrapped Reuben’s would be delicious with my baked Yukon potato fries andzucchini torta!
Ingredients for Thousand Island Dressing with Horseradish: (makes 1 3/4 cup of sauce…keeps for several days in frig)
Making homemade fruit smoothies takes less than 5 minutes! They are healthy, satisfying, and scrumptious. What’s great about this smoothie is you use the frozen bags of fruit from the freezer section at your market. The frozen fruit and the Greek yogurt make up the thickness in the smoothie. You don’t have to worry about what season it is…..you can make them through out the winter. AND my very picky kids love them…what’s better than that! They say the smoothies remind them of my Fresh Berry Granita…..yeah!
2 cups frozen berries (I use medley-if seeds bother you buy 1 bag of stawberries and 1 bag of blueberries
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup Ocean Spray “Cran/Pomegranate” juice or unsweetened apple juice
juice from 1/2 lime
Place all of the ingredients into the blender and purée!
You will need to stop the blender and stir once to move frozen berries around, then finish with the puree.
If you want it a little thinner just add a little water or juice.
Pour the mixture into a glass and serve with a spoon.