Pimento Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Pimento cheese is essentially a cheddar and cream cheese mixture with a few spices thrown in there and little bits of jarred pimento, which is just a sweet cherry pepper that has a very mild heat.  It's a southern classic and, having spent a few years of my life in the south, one that is nostalgic in the way only Virginia ham biscuits with butter can come close to.  It's so easy to make and it keeps well in the fridge. There are probably lots of great recipes out there for this spread but I ... Continue Reading

Tomato and Red Pepper Feta Spread

Tomato and Red Pepper Feta Spread. Fresh tomatoes! It's the peak of summertime and once those tomatoes start ripening on the vine they just keep coming don't they?  At first you are excited to see those first few ripen on the vine and turn from pale green to a perfectly ripened, sweet, juicy red.  But after a few weeks of non-stop tomatoes you are practically giving them away to anyone who will take them. And even if you aren't growing them in your garden they are in season and on sale in ... Continue Reading

Whiskey Caramel Sauce

Father's Day, or any occasion really (like Tuesday), is just better with a little whiskey caramel sauce to drizzle on top of your ice cream, on top of brownies, over fresh fruit, or to lick right off the spoon.  Not to mention packaged in a glass jar it also makes a great hostess gift or a little bonus Father's Day gift.  I packaged the whiskey sauce with a bottle of beer and a little glass jar of the same whiskey that I used in the sauce.  It's a trio that most any dad would love! ... Continue Reading

Roasted Poblano Crema

What is a crème, you may ask?  It's very simply a thick, creamy sauce that is seen in Mexican cooking (think Fish Tacos with crema) similar to crème fraiche (French cultured sour cream).  Crema is thinner than the American version, sour cream.  This Roasted Poblano Crema is my twist on a regular crema because it really packs in the flavor with the roasted Poblano pepper mixed into the puree.  I also add in some cilantro, garlic and lime juice for a balance of flavors.  And I used ... Continue Reading

Heirloom Carrot and Purple Cabbage Coleslaw

I make this coleslaw year round and use regular carrots when I can't find the heirloom variety.  It's such a light and refreshing side dish that comes together in mere minutes and pairs especially well with my pulled pork tacos with fried plantains!  But really it goes with any picnic or BBQ as an easy crowd pleasing side dish.  Even the kids love coleslaw, right?  The heirloom variety of carrots are nice because they add some additional color to the dish which makes for a vibrant ... Continue Reading

Olive & Artichoke Tapenade

Tapenade is traditionally made with Kalamata olives and capers and is a delicious, briny/salty spread that pairs really well with cheese.  My version is the same idea but with a few extra flavors that make this tapenade especially addictive.  I may be biased so please, you be the judge.  A great thing about tapenades are they are super easy to make.  Just a few seconds in a food processor and you are done.  And they keep for days or even up to a week or more (thanks to the acidic nature ... Continue Reading

Roasted Garlic & Parsley Spread

Roasted garlic is one of my favorite ingredients to use in sauces and spreads because it has a mellow, sweet nutty flavor from the roasting process that doesn't give off that big raw garlic punch.  Don't get me wrong - I personally love the raw garlic punch - but this is a more toned down way to use this ingredient for those who may not share my views on raw garlic.  Because you first roast the garlic you can use a LOT more of it than you would if it were raw.  For this recipe I tried it ... Continue Reading

Walnut Basil Pesto

Walnut basil pesto is a wonderful twist on a classic pine nut pesto.  And if you live in Northern California, like me, then Walnuts are actually a local product and all the more reason to use them. But even if you don't, they are available year-round in any grocery store anywhere and are a healthy way to jazz up your pesto sauce.  They actually give the pesto a heartier profile and more texture and are less expensive than pine nuts.  Win-win.  But don't just take my word on it, try it!  I ... Continue Reading

Roasted Artichoke and Fennel Butter

It's artichoke season and every time I go to the grocery store I see a big beautiful display of green artichokes on sale.  Sometimes I shy away from cooking them just because they are a bit more labor intensive than other veggies, but I have to say .... it's really worth it to get to that delicious, tender little center of the artichoke. And it only took me a few minutes to do it. I thought I'd try something completely new by making a butter based spread that can ... Continue Reading

Sweet and Spicy Cashews

Spiced nuts - any kind of nut it doesn't have to be cashews - are such a great addition to any holiday gathering.  They are great starter to have with cocktails before dinner or as an addition to a cheese plate.  I even like to serve them as part of a dessert course with port wine and port soaked cherries dipped in chocolate.  Or another idea is to include these great little homemade treats as part of a gift basket.  Just add some crackers (see yesterd... Continue Reading