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

Cinco De Mayo Salsa

Fresh salsa.  Simple but irresistible. This Cinco De Mayo inspired salsa is easy, fresh, and delicious.  Served alongside some guacamole, chips, and a refreshing, ice-cold margarita you have yourself the perfect starter for any Cinco De Mayo celebration.  Store bought salsa is fine but why not blend up a quick batch of your own?  It only takes a few minutes and a couple of ingredients that you may already have on hand.  And if there are any leftovers....not that there will be... I 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

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

Creamy Crab Dip with a Kick

This creamy crab dip is different than other crab dips out there.  It has plenty of fresh crab in it, and that's the star of the dish, but it also has a complexity and layers of flavors from a variety of freshly roasted peppers.  I used a blend that ranges from mild to medium hot to get the most in terms of different flavors and colors.  I think it should have a building heat that doesn't overpower the crab itself.  But feel free to change it up and use any peppers that you like.  And if ... Continue Reading

Super Bowl Bites – Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp, Paprika & Pepper Jack Cheese Dip, and Candied Pecan Crostini with Gorgonzola & Honey

Looking to wow your guests with a super bowl menu that is both delicious and a little bit sophisticated?  This one has it all.  It’s perfect for a gathering of both sexes – a little something for everyone.  If you are having a larger crowd you can certainly double or triple the recipe to meet your needs.  And if you want something more substantial to round out the menu I’d recommend a slider bar.  Mini burgers served on slider buns or brioche rolls and then an array of fixins’ so ... Continue Reading

White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic, Pancetta & Spinach

I gave a bite of this one to one of my main taste testers, my five year old son, and got the immediate nod of approval.  He could be a professional tester one day, I swear.  The moment something hits his mouth he either says 'mmm'' and nods in approval or basically says 'yuck' and literally spits it out.  Stand clear.  He's either all in or all out.  He has a grown up palette at age 5 and I've been able to test countless recipes with him.  I ... Continue Reading