Tag Archives: greek yogurt

Green Goddess Sauce ll

Green Goddess Sauce ll

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.

This green goddess sauce is so versatile because it literally goes with all foods! It’s heavenly on seared scallops…all fish for that matter, swordfish, rack of lamb, pulled beef tacos, Sweet Potato Fries , Baked Crispy Fries, or Baked Coconut Shrimp and even cut veggies!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I use Hellman’s)
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves (1 cup loose)
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • 1/2 jalapeño diced
  • 4 lg stalks, 6 small of green onion chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp sugar  – (NOTE: I forgot to add this in the show, but it really needs this for balance 🙂
  • s & p
  • If it’s not hot enough with the jalapeno add a dash of Siracha

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender an purée for 10 seconds…be patient – you may need to stop and stir everything to get it going but do NOT add any more liquid
  2. Stop blender and scrap down sides to get the larger leaf pieces and blend for 5 more seconds and violà!
  3. Taste here and add salt and pepper
  4. Add a dash of Siracha – you need to taste the sauce first, sometimes a jalapeño can be super hot and other times it can be a mellow hot
  5. This sauce gets even better if you can pop it into the fridge for an hour and let the flavors mingle, the sauce will thicken up a little too!
  6. Make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It stays nicely for days in frig.
  7. This green sauce is absolutely delicious on so many things…be creative.

Sweet Potato Fries & Green Goddess Dip lll

Sweet Potato Fries & Green Goddess Dip lll

IMG_3827The 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.

I hope you enjoy making the sweet potato fries and green goddess dipping sauce and that they will become part of your go to appetizer list. You may want to venture off and some other appetizer’s like my Feta-Basil Pesto Dip,  Crab CakesSpanakopita Triangle’s, or some yummy Homemade Hummus! You can end with my Chewy ChocolateChip Cookies!

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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
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425º.
  2. Peel and Slice sweet potatoes in 1/4″ sticks -CUT ENDS FLAT so they don’t burn
  3. Dab with paper towels to dry excess sweet potato moisture
  4. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic granules,  1 tsp onion granules  and 1/2 tsp salt
  5. Mixed with hands and then spread out into even layer on cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 15 minutes then flip and back into the oven for 8-10 more minutes
  7. 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)
  1. 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).
  2. 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
  1. Pre-heat oven at 425º.
  2. Wash pumpkins seeds to remove pulp.
  3. 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)
  4. Drizzle olive oil over seeds and sprinkle all of seasonings and toss to evenly mix
  5. NOTE: you can add in cumin, cayenne, chili powder … add your favorite seasonings
  6. 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

 

 

 

Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold Cucumber Soup

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!

This cold cucumber soup is an amazing way to start your dinner party or even have for a luncheon. If you are thinking of other course’s to add to your soup you should check out my stuffed mushrooms, yogurt chicken kabobs, bolognese sauce with homemade pasta and end with my perfect chocolate cake that will rock your world! Enjoy 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 European cucumbers peeled and cubed – 4 1/2 cups – you do not need to remove seeds with the European cucumbers
  • If you are using regular cucumbers, peel and slice down the middle and remove the seeds scooping them out with a small spoon and cut into chunks
  • 3 ex-lg green onions or 5 small sliced in 1″ pieces from green tips to whitish green stems
  • 1/4 cup of diced cherry tomatoes OR diced heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ an avocado cut in chunks
  • 1 jalapeño chopped (take out seeds)
  • 1 lg garlic clove put through garlic press
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp Greek Yogurt – whole milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned rice vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt – to taste  – (NOTE: I said 1 tsp in the show but I meant to say 1/2 tsp!)
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground pepper

         -FOR COLD CUCUMBER & FENNEL SOUP …ADD:

  • 1 cup cut up fresh FENNEL  …for a change up try this with the FENNEL – YUM!
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • seared scallops , cooked Lobster, Shrimp, or Crab to top the soup in the center

Directions:

    1. Add all the ingredients in the list above to your blender except olive oil
    2. Begin to puree while slowly pouring in olive oil through the opening at the top
    3. Continue to puree for 20-30 seconds
    4. Be patient, all the vegetables in the cucumber soup will begin to slowly puree
    5. Stop and scrape down any herbs or vegetables stuck on the side’s and pulse for 10 more seconds
    6. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour
    7. Serve with a sprinkle of dill, finely chopped tomato, cucumber and avocado
    8. Top the center of the soup with seared scallops – room temperature cooked lobster, king crab meat, or shrimp AND then a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Yogurt Chicken Kabobs, Tzatziki & Toum at Maria’s

Yogurt Chicken Kabobs, Tzatziki & Toum At Maria’s

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 salad but 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.

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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:

  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 1/2 hour
  2. Add paprika spices and ground red pepper to a small bowl with 1-2 tbsp warm water (to soften) 5 minutes
  3. Take next 9 ingredients in above list and add to large mixing bowl
  4. Add in spices when they have softened
  5. Mix everything with a spatula then add in chicken pieces and toss to coat
  6. Cover with saran and pop into the frig for 24 hours
  7. Take out and skewer 4-6 pieces of chicken onto each skewer
  8. OPTIONAL: Skewer cherry tomatoes and onion alternating pieces
  9. You can also alternate chicken, tomato, onion, chicken and repeat
  10. Grill on high for 7-8 minutes on each side (even with veggies in the mix)
  11. 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:

  1. Slice cucumber in half-length wise, then in half crosswise
  2. Scoop out middle seeds and discard
  3. Grate cucumber halves into a large bowl
  4. Put cucumber gratings into a Ziploc baggie and add 1/2 tsp salt, let sit for 1 hour or over night
  5. Unseal a small corner of the Ziploc & drain water from baggie squeezing the grated cucumber
  6. Add grated cucumber to a medium bowl, and pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess water
  7. Add fresh dill, garlic, s&p, cumin, lemon juice and Greek yogurt to grated cucumber, mix til creamy texture
  8. 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

  1. Add 1 cup peeled garlic and salt to food processor and pulse 3 times
  2. Scrape down sides
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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)
  6. You should see the volume doubling then quadrupling
  7. At this point the toum will be thick and foamy
  8. 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
  9. Just loosely cover with a paper towel til COMPLETELY COOLED
  10. At this point you can seal with a top
  11. It will last in the frig for a couple of weeks
  12. 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 🙂

 

Arancini Reuben Balls

Arancini Reuben Balls

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.

My thousand island dressing is fantastic as a dip for my baked sweet potato fries too. You might want some other appetizer’s to go along with the Risotto Reuben Balls like my crab cakes, or bloody Mary shrimp. You could even serve them as an appetizer to a homemade pasta dinner served with a Caesar Salad and some chocolate pecan pie for dessert! Hope you enjoy the show 🙂

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Risotto Ingredients and Directions – Total time to make approx. 30 minutes: (I halved my recipe specifically for the Arancini Reuben Balls but I usually make full (dbl) this amount) 

  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tbsp butter and a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 4 cups hot chicken broth – homemade or store bought
  • 1/2 cup grated Reggiano Parmesano

Directions: 

  1. In small pot heat 4 cups chicken stock til simmering
  2. melt 1 tbsp butter in different medium size pot 
  3. add onion to medium size pot and sauté on low til soft and translucent. 
  4. Turn up heat to med. and add in 1 cup Arborio rice and saute til the rice looks chalky while stirring all along
  5. Pour in 1/3 cup white wine, keep stirring and when wine is absorbed begin to add in 4 cups of the simmering chicken stock ONLY 1/2 cup at a time-it will be approx 4 minutes for each addition 
  6. ONLY add in chicken stock when previously addition is completely absorbed while STIRRING all the time
  7. Stir in 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup Reggiano Parmesano after the last of the chicken stock is absorbed, then let cool to make Arancini Reuben Balls.

Ingredients- Makes 20 – 1 1/2″ Arancini Balls:

  • 1 1/4 cup diced into 1/4″ pieces of corned beef
  • 2 cups cooked risotto (see below for recipe my recipe for risotto)
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated and packed Jarlsberg swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated and packed mozzarella cheese
  • 2 jalapeno’s finely diced and sauteed just til barely softened 2 minutes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Directions for Arancini Reuben Balls:

  1. Put all of the above ingredients into a large bowl and stir with spatula til mixed
  2. Use cookie scoop and from balls, roll in hands after scooping to get nice and round
  3. Whisk eggs in a med. bowl
  4. Add bread crumbs to another and begin the dip formed risotto balls into egg and them into bread crumbs and place on dish
  5. Put breaded risotto Reuben balls in frig for 20-30 minutes
  6. When the Reuben balls are chilled heat 1/2″ vegetable oil in medium size pan and begin to heat on low for 5 minutes and then turn up to med/high to 350º
  7. Add in Arancini Reuben Balls in 2 batches into hot oil
  8. Fry for about 2 minutes and then turn over for another 2 minutes til golden
  9. Remove to cookie rack covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil
  10. Plate up Arancini Reuben Balls with my homemade gourmet thousand island recipe below 🙂

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This Thousand Island Dressing is great on Reuben Wraps also

INGREDIENTS FOR THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING:

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I ONLY use Helman’s)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 Heaping tbsp finely chopped cornichons
  • 1 Heaping tbsp sweet relish
  • 1 Hesping tbsp grated sweet onion
  • 1 Heaping tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp creamy horseradish
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 2 dashes of Siracha

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk til combined

 

Cucumber Salad

Cucumber Salad

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 salsa and 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.

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Put sliced cucumbers and onion into a lg Ziploc with 1/2 tsp salt and let sit for 1-2 hrs. or over night
  2. Gently squeeze cucumber-onion mixture and drain liquid from Ziploc
  3. Put into a lg mixing bowl with the next 8 ingredients like in photos
  4. Mix with spatula
  5. Add desired s&p
  6. Can chill and serve or serve immediately …mangia mangia

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

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, or mango-avocado salsa.

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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

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375º
  2. Cook 8 slices of bacon for approximately 10 minutes on medium heat until they are cooked half way thru and golden on the edges
  3. Drain half cooked bacon on paper towels
  4. Put 3 Tbsp olive oil in a medium size dish with 2 garlic cloves put thru garlic press
  5. Add Sea scallops to garlic and mix, fully coating the scallops with the garlicky oil
  6. Add in the bacon strips and also coat with the garlicky oil
  7. 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
  8. Fasten a toothpick on an angle as shown in the photo above to hold the bacon in place while it’s cooking
  9. Heat a cast iron pan on high for about 2 minutes
  10. When hot add in bacon wrapped sea scallops and sear for 2 minutes
  11. Then flip them over and immediately put the pan into a pre-heated oven for 12 minutes
  12. Take out and serve with sun-dried aioli sauce

 

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli Sauce & Asparagus

Sun-dried Tomato Aioli Sauce & Asparagus

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.

In my baked asparagus wrapped in prosciutto appetizer there isn’t any need to peel the ends of the asparagus because they are covered with a cream cheese-grated onion & Parmesan mixture and then wrapped in the prosciutto so you don’t see the ends. Other appetizers that you may want to serve with this sun-dried tomato aioli sauce and asparagus are baked coconut shrimp, sea scallop ceviche, mussels in a lemon grass-fennel sauce, or best ever guacamole.

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Ingredients for SUN-DRIED TOMATO AIOLI SAUCE:

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AIOLI SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 lg garlic clove put through garlic press
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbps Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • Juice from 1/4 lemon
  • 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

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato aioli sauce into a blender an purée
  2. 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
  3. You can make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It stays nicely for days in frig.  Yum!

 

Ingredients:

ASPARAGUS

  • 24 asparagus – the larger the better
  • 1 Tbsp salt for cooking the asparagus in water

Directions:

  1. Bend asparagus to find the proper “break” point then cut the ends off to even them up
  2. Using a potato peeler, peel off the skins of the asparagus at the bottom – 2″ up from the ends as shown in the photo
  3. Put asparagus in cold salted water and bring to a simmer
  4. Cook til tender but NOT mushy …this will only take a few minutes once it comes to a simmer
  5. Drain and give them ice bath to shock …don’t need to make them ice cold just want to shock to retain vibrant color
  6. Dry off asparagus on a paper towel and place on a serving platter

Baked Spinach Wrapped Reuben’s

Baked Spinach Wrapped Reuben’s

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 and zucchini torta!

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Ingredients for Thousand Island Dressing with Horseradish:
(makes 1 3/4 cup of sauce…keeps for several days in frig)

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp prepared hosreradish (Inglehoffer cream style)
  • 1/3 cup drained pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp fresh zested or grated spanish onion
  • 1/2 Tsp Tabasco

Directions to Thousand Island with Horseradish:

  1. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk, set aside

Ingredients for Baked Spinach Wrapped Reuben’s – makes 4 Wraps:

  • 2 cups thinly sliced and chopped leftover corned beef
  • large spinach wraps
  • 1 cup drained Boar’s Head Sauerkraut
  • Swiss cheese slices
  • 4 small tomatoes thinly sliced (with out juice and seeds)
  • 1 recipe Thousand Island Dressing with Horseradish (above)

Directions for Baked Spinach Wrapped Reuben’s:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375º
  2. Lay out 4 spinach wraps
  3. Lay down 2-4 pieces of Swiss cheese as the base layer
  4. Spread 3 Tbsp Thousand Island Dressing with Horseradish sauce all over each wrap, keeping sauce in 1″ from the edges
  5. Put 3 or 4 slices of tomato down right across the middle
  6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup corned beef next running across middle to bottom…closer to to the bottom edge of the circle
  7. Add in 3 Tbsp drained sauerkraut to the middle of the wrap on top of the tomatoes
  8. Fold in the sides and begin to roll up from the bottom
  9. Place seem side down on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes
  10. A tiny bit of the stuffing will be sizzling out at the ends but that’s ok
  11. Use a spatula to remove spinach wrap and place on serving dish, cut in 1/2 and serve with the homemade thousand island dressing with horseradish and my baked Yukon potato fries and zucchini torta!

Frozen Berry Smoothies

Frozen Berry Smoothies

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!

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the blender and purée!
  2. You will need to stop the blender and stir once to move frozen berries around, then finish with the puree.
  3. If you want it a little thinner just add a little water or juice.
  4. Pour the mixture into a glass and serve with a spoon.

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