Friday, April 29, 2022

Something Blue Cheese and Creamy

This wonderful recipe, from Abrams’ recently released Colu Cooks; Easy Fancy Food by Colu Henry is, as the author indicates, halfway between a dip and a dressing. She advises us to use it any way we please. Personally, she says, she likes putting it on top of fried chicken or onto an iceberg wedge salad with bacon and thinly sliced quick pickled shallots. Me? I thought it was absolutely brilliant on top of a salad of organic kale, baby spinach, and chard. Whatever way you use it, this is a must make.

Something Blue Cheese and Creamy

From Colu Cooks

1 c. full fat yogurt
¼ c. mayonnaise
¼ c. sour cream
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
2 T. thinly sliced green onion
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, and green onions until well combined. Season to taste with lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a few aggressive turns of coarse black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking as needed.

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 Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Colu Cooks; Easy Fancy Food from Abrams Books as a member of their Abrams Dinner Party 2021-2022.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Broccoli, Corn, and Bacon Salad

For whatever reason, I tend to shop for a family of four. I’m not sure why I do that. The various sales just draw me in, eager to use those sale ingredients in the vast pile of recipes I have stacked up to try. Because of this I tend to over buy on vegetables, and I’m talking BIG time. When you over buy on vegetables, you end up eating a lot of them, often forced to use them in a variety of ways. Hence, the broccoli and corn salad was born. I have to say that this is a delicious combination, so good, in fact, that I ate it as a main dish. Use fresh corn in the summer, grilled if you like, to enjoy it all year round.

Broccoli, Corn, and Bacon Salad

1 lg. head broccoli, chopped

1 lg. carrot, shredded

2 c. frozen corn, thawed

½ c. golden raisins

½ c. pecans, toasted, roughly chopped

1 T. fresh chives, minced

½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ t. Frank’s Hot Sauce

slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

¼  - ½ c. favorite Ranch Dressing

 Combine all ingredients, toss to coat with dressing, and serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Chipotle’s Guacamole

Cinco de Mayo is just a little more than a week away, and you cannot think about celebrating without guacamole. Two years ago last week, Chipotle published their recipe for guacamole on Twitter. I am sharing that tweet with you below. This is, indeed, an excellent recipe, that I like to tweak a bit by using Melissa’s pickled jalapeños because I enjoy that extra vinegary tang. I also tend to have a heavy hand with the cilantro because I love it. I realize that not everyone does, so leave it out if you prefer. Do make this recipe, it's a winner!


Chipotle’s Guacamole

 2 ripe Haas avocados

2 t. fresh lime juice

2 T. cilantro, chopped

1/4 c. red onion, diced

1/2 jalapeño, including seeds, diced

1/2 t. salt

 Cut avocados in half and remove pits carefully. Scoop the flesh of the avocado into a bowl; toss and coat with lime juice. Add the salt and mash until it’s a smooth consistency (I use an avocado masher.) Fold in remaining ingredients and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

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Monday, April 25, 2022

Blue Cheese, Tomato, and Herb Salad


There are days when I want to cook fancy…some days…not many days…perhaps none. Honestly, I can’t remember when I last made something fancy. For me, it’s all about comfort. Once I hit a certain age I made some declarations that included flat shoes, comfort cooking, and wearing pants only when necessary.

Abrams Books recently released a new cookbook by Anna Stockwell. It is called
For The Table; Easy, Adaptable, Crowd-pleasing Recipes. I knew from the sound of it that it was a book that I could warm up to. I have been planning summer meals, being careful to consider making as much use as possible of fresh summer produce as it becomes available. Consequently, I decided to try her cover recipe Blue Cheese, Tomato, and Herb Salad. It was delicious! Honestly, I couldn’t believe how good the salad was considering the small amount of effort. Fresh herbs, blue cheese, sliced tomatoes, and a little sherry vinegar and oil, make this light, tasty, and pretty enough to serve to company. 

Blue Cheese, Tomato, and Herb Salad
From For the Table

4 lbs. mixed heirloom tomatoes,* sliced into ¼” thick rounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ c.
good olive oil
1 T. sherry vinegar
½ lb. mild and firm blue cheese,** sliced into shards
1 c. dill fronds
1 c. parsley
¼ c. finely snipped chives

Place the tomatoes on a large serving platter and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, then drizzle with the oil and vinegar and let sit at least 10 minutes. Add the cheese and herbs to the platter of tomatoes, and nudge gently to combine; taste and season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Serves 6 to 8, recipe easily halved to serve 2 to 4 or doubled to serve 12 to 14

* I didn’t have heirloom tomatoes, so just used red ones
** I used blue cheese crumbles

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 Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of For the Table from Abrams Books as a member of their Abrams Dinner Party 2021-2022.


Friday, April 22, 2022

Danish Meatballs with Creamy Dill Sauce

I was craving meatballs the other day, but looking to do something different. That’s when I came across this recipe on for Danish Meatballs with Creamy Dill Sauce. It had been ages since I last had Danish meatballs, and had never had them with dill sauce. Having bought much more fresh dill than I ended up needing, this worked out beautifully. Whether you want to make your own meatballs, or prefer to buy to those frozen from the market, I won’t judge. I would, however, encourage you to make this delicious sauce, and be certain to use fresh dill. Both meatball and sauce recipe can be halved or doubled to suit your needs. 

Danish Meatballs with Creamy Dill Sauce
Slightly adapted from


1 ½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
2 t. salt
½ t. freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 c. finely chopped onion
½ c. heavy cream
2 c. dry
bread crumbs
½ c. melted butter


½ c. butter
1/3 c. flour
2 c.
chicken broth
2 c. sour cream
2 - 3 T. chopped fresh dill
½ t.
ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl mix the meat, salt, pepper, eggs, onion, and cream. With moist hands (mixture will be sticky), shape into 1 inch balls (as you can see, because I was having this as a main dish, I made large meatballs). Roll the meatballs in breadcrumbs until well coated.

Arrange in a single layer on shallow baking pan. Drizzle melted butter over the meatballs. Bake at 375°, turning three or four times, until evenly browned, about 35 minutes

Meanwhile, make the sauce:

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the chicken broth. Continue stirring until thickened and bubbly, and then blend in sour cream, dill, and seasonings.

Place meatballs in a serving dish and cover with sauce.  Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken or Turkey Salad

I decided to make myself a turkey dinner on Easter Sunday, so I bought the smallest turkey breast that I could find. My plan was to cook it in the crockpot, enhance poultryseasoning with lots of herbs and vegetables, leave the potatoes to Bob Evans, and roast some carrots. It was just me, and the St. Louis Cardinals, and I quite enjoyed the meal. The trouble with turkey is that you continue to enjoy it for lunch the next day, dinner the next day, and on and on and on.

I was paging through a new book from Abrams publishing, scheduled for release next Tuesday, April 26, called
Gullah Geechee Home Cooking; Recipes from the Matriarch of Edisto Island, by Emily Meggett. I didn’t have to turn many pages to fall in love with this book. One of her recipes was for chicken or turkey salad stuffed tomatoes. I overbought on tomatoes, and heaven knows was looking for something new to do with turkey, so I thought I would give this recipe a try. The addition of hard-boiled eggs was new to me, but I really liked it. I also liked the mustard that gave it a nice tang. It’s easy to put together, make ahead, and makes a lovely presentation.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Chicken or Turkey Salad

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ c. sliced scallions
1 c. chopped celery
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 T. mustard
1 t.
celery salt
1 t. poultry seasoning
2 c. Hellmann’s mayonnaise, plus more if needed
10 large tomatoes

Boil the chicken breasts and scallions in a pot of water until the chicken is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the skin from the chicken, and let cool. When the chicken is completely cooled, cut it into small pieces and put in a large bowl.

Add the celery, hard-boiled eggs, mustard, celery salt, poultry seasoning, and mayonnaise, and stir to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add more mayonnaise. Stir, taking care not to break up the chicken pieces.

Place the salad in the refrigerator to chill (you may make this chicken salad a day ahead.) Cut the tops off of the tomatoes. Use a small paring knife to remove the inside of each tomato. A spoon may be helpful in scooping out the insides. Once you remove the insides of the tomatoes, fill the tomatoes with chilled chicken salad. Be generous — it’s called stuffed tomato for a reason!

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 Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Gullah Geechee Home Cooking from Abrams Books as a member of their Abrams Dinner Party 2021-2022.


Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Whipped Pimiento Cheese

As God is my witness, this will be the LAST recipe that you get from me for pimiento cheese…probably. This whipped version just barely qualifies as pimiento cheese, in my opinion, because it contains so many ingredients, including a wide variety of different cheeses. Despite that fact, it goes together easily by tossing everything into the food processor, and the results are wonderful. It’s great as a sandwich spread, it’s a wonderful burger topper, but I like it best as a part of a charcuterie board because it is so delicious when spread on slices of apple, or when grapes and/or cornichons are used as dippers. If you prefer savory to sweet in such instances, tiny cherry tomatoes are perfect as dippers here. The smoothness of this cheese makes it more versatile than the classic version. You are going to love it!

Whipped Pimiento Cheese
Adapted from Chef Steven Goff

1/3 jar
Melissa’s roasted red bell peppers
½ lb. aged cheddar cheese, shredded
2 oz. triple-cream brie
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 oz. cream cheese
¼ c.
Duke’s mayonnaise
¼ c. yogurt*
1 T.
TexasPete hot sauce
1 T. Texas Pete hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
½ t.
Melissa’s minced garlic
King cobra malt liquor to thin (8 ounces or so)**

 Drain peppers and purée in a food processor. Add cheeses, mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, and seasonings and purée until combined. Slowly add malt liquor blending until smooth.

* I used Greek
** I used Guinness

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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Mandarin Orange Slaw

What does one do when she has way too much cabbage and an excess of mandarin oranges? Combine the two in a similar fashion to the Mandarin Orange Salad, and make one whale of a delicious, refreshing coleslaw. I wasn’t quite so sure how this was going to work out, but I have to say this is my new favorite way to make coleslaw. Savory, tangy, and sweet all in one, the Mandarin oranges give it a burst of citrus flavor while the mustard and cayenne add a peppery punch. With barbecue season coming up (It IS coming, isn’t it?), it’s time to start looking at recipes for new and different summer salads. Let this be one that you try this year.

Mandarin Orange Slaw


1/3 c. Duke's mayonnaise

1 T. sour cream

2 T. granulated sugar

2 T. cider vinegar

1 t. dry mustard

½ t. celery salt

Pinch cayenne pepper

 1 small head Melissa’s organic cabbage, shredded

1 large carrot, grated

¼ c. chopped scallions

10 oz.can mandarin oranges, drained

 Combine all dressing ingredients together in a bowl, whisking until well blended.

 Place the shredded cabbage, carrot, and scallions into a bowl, and toss with dressing until thoroughly coated. Gently fold in mandarin oranges.

 Refrigerate to for at least one hour allowing flavors to meld.  Lightly toss again before serving.

 Make coleslaw at least an hour before serving. For best results let it sit 2-3 hours.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Butter Pecan Cookies

In my wizened old age, I have come to the conclusion that there are butter pecan people, and non-butter pecan people, and there is just no in between. Case in point, the late Mr. O-P used to LOVE butter pecan ice cream. I mean, he couldn’t get enough of it. Me? Frankly I could take or leave butter pecan anything, as well as ice cream. Just don’t care for either one. But the other day I was thinking about him and his butter pecan interest, and wondering how something like that would translate into a cookie. So, with him in mind, I set to work, and I may have just become a butter pecan convert. These are so buttery and flavorful. Toasting the pecans is key, as well as a hefty amount of butter emulsion. If you have butter pecan fans in your family, these are a must make.

Butter Pecan Cookies

2 c. pecan halves
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
¾ c. dark brown sugar
¾ c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 t. vanilla flavoring

1 t. butter flavoring
 2¼ c. flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt

Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray baking sheets with cookiescoop or use a Silpat; set aside

Toast pecans. Generally, I like to do this in a 350° toaster oven for 5 to 7 minutes, but ovens can vary. Just make sure to watch them because they can burn easily, and, if they do, they turn bitter.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add sugars, beat again for 2 - 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flavorings, beat again. Whisk together flour, soda, and salt, and, with mixer running on “low” slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture, beating just until combined. Fold in toasted pecans.

Use a 2-tablespoon
cookie scoop to put mounds of dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes, or until degree of doneness is desired.

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Sunday, April 10, 2022

Margarita in Retrograde; Cocktails for Every Sign, Reviewed

 Sometimes it’s not easy to find something new in cookbooks. There are days when I feel as though everything has already been done. That is certainly not the case in this new, cute little volume Margarita in Retrograde; Cocktails for Every Sign by Vanessa Li and Bowen Goh, co-owners of Mood Ring, scheduled for release on April 19th.

While I must admit to reading the occasional horoscope in the newspaper, and I did have my astrological chart plotted when I was in college, it’s not something that I tend to be totally on board with. That said, this book, divided into categories by astrological sign, really had me pegged when it came to cocktails.

The PLUR (an acronym for peace, love, unity, respect), is a measured combination of a cocktail that I have poured for myself, willy-nilly. The wonderful mix of aviation gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and topped with Prosecco, is unexpected, complex, and refreshing, much like this Libra girl herself.

Each astrological sign featured has four signature cocktails suitable for the personality of the individual who possesses that star sign. Names range from the humorous “Butt Massage” (Taurus), to the more apologetic “Sorry I Ghosted You” (Sagittarius), to the innocence of “I Like You a Latte” (Virgo), to the whimsical “Miss Piggy Fan Club”(Gemini). There are also cocktails specific to the period when mercury is in retrograde and Saturn returns. Suggested dates for the various star signs are also included although, truth be told, mine was way off the mark.

The book is clever, and will certainly be a great topic for conversation, but it is useful as well. It provides information on how to set up a homemade bar, what glassware to use, as well as information as to the possible personality types you can expect from various star signs.

While there’s nothing scientific to this at all, it is great fun, and the plethora of recipes is cleverly named, uncommon, and delicious. The authors are co-owners of Brooklyn’s bar, Mood Ring, a bar that is, allegedly “astrologically attuned.”  If you’re familiar with that bar, then this is a must have. If you’re not, I think it would certainly be a worthy addition to your cocktail bar or cookbook library.

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 Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Margarita in Retrograde from Abrams Books as a member of their Abrams Dinner Party 2021-2022.


Thursday, April 7, 2022

Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe

You’re probably looking at this post and thinking, what is WRONG with this woman?! Another pimiento cheese recipe?! Yep, that’s what this is. But, I do love a good recipe with a checkered past. This recipe is, allegedly, a clone of the original Masters recipe. Its posting today is significant because the 2022 Masters Tournament (the 86th edition of the Masters Tournament and the first of the men's four major golf championships held in 2022) is being played from April 7-10, 2022, at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

 Pimiento cheese sandwiches are a major staple among the foodstuffs offered at the Tournament, and have been from the very beginning. The sandwiches, with the cheese filling developed by long-time cheese vendor, Nick Rangos, were initially sold for a dollar a piece (now $1.50). When Ramos' contract was not renewed, he refused to part with his recipe, left in a huff, and took that iconic recipe with him to his grave in 2015. Enter replacement, Ted Godfrey, who worked tirelessly to replicate the recipe, only to suffer a similar fate, being replaced by in-house catering in 2013. He took his recipe with him as well. Saving the day was Augusta food blogger, and lifelong Masters enthusiast, Gina Dickson, who reverse engineered the recipe based upon ingredients listed on the package. There is so much more to this story than what I've written here, but it is intriguing, no? Here is her version of a copy of the original.

 Masters Pimento Cheese Sandwich Recipe

From Intentional Hospitality

 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup mayonnaise (“just don’t use Miracle Whip—that’s a Northern thing”)
4-ounce jar pimiento peppers, drained and diced
1 tablespoon onion, very finely minced
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate the mixture for at least an hour to allow it to become firm. Serve on white bread.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Peanut Butter Heavenly Hash Squares

Easter is on the way and, as usual, thoughts of the heavenly hash eggs that I would annually give to my dad, come to mind. He loved his sweets, particularly when studded with marshmallows and nuts. I added peanut butter to this version, taking it over the top. Dad would have loved it!

Peanut Butter Heavenly Hash Squares

 1 11-oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips

1 11-oz. bag butterscotch chips

1 c. Jif peanut butter

½ c. roughly chopped pecans, toasted

2 c. mini marshmallows

 Prepare a 9” x 9” baking pan by lining it with parchment paper, allowing 2”-3” excess to hang out over two sides of the pan. This will allow you to lift the whole block out of the pan once it has cooled, making slicing a breeze.

Prepare a makeshift double boiler by using a 6-quart saucepan half full of water, and a large metal mixing bowl. Into this bowl place chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and peanut butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture has melted. Add the marshmallow and nuts, folding them together until they are well coated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it out, and flattening the top as well as you are able. Allow the chocolate to firm at room temperature before slicing. Do not refrigerate at this stage, or you whist risk getting white streaks in your chocolate.

Once it has firmed (3 - 4 hours on the countertop) you may then store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

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Monday, April 4, 2022

Blueberry Broccoli Salad

Let’s start the week with something healthy and nutritious, savory and sweet, chewy, crunchy, juicy, and bursting with flavor. I bought a lot of broccoli to use in a couple of new recipes I had discovered. A couple days after I bought the broccoli, those “discovered” recipes were nowhere to be found. Time to get creative. The first thing that came to mind -- other than enjoying broccoli as a vegetable with my evening meal -- was to make my mom’s broccoli salad, but I didn’t have grapes on hand. Enter the fat, juicy, and ever-so-sweet blueberries that I had, and this wonderful combination has become one of my new faves. The crunch of the toasted pecans, the chewiness of the broccoli, the peppery onion, the sweet blueberries, salty bacon, and the tasty dressing, make this a salad you’re going to want to enjoy again and again. It doesn’t get much healthier than this.

Blueberry Broccoli Salad

2 c. fresh broccoli florets
1/3 c. diced red onion
½ c. diced celery
2/3 c. fresh blueberries1/3 c. broken pecans, toasted

3-4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/3 c.
raspberry vinegar
2 T. sugar
2 T.
raspberry vinegar
Pinch of dry mustard

 In large salad bowl, combine the broccoli, onion, celery, blueberries, and toasted pecans. In another bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, and dry mustard; pour over broccoli mixture; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Stir in bacon just before serving.

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