Mac-N-Cheese Bites

These mini bites of mac-n-cheese are hit in our house.  Whether it's a snack before soccer practice or served as part of my Back To School Party menu cooking mac-n-cheese in mini-muffin tins seems to bring new excitement to a classic.  It's the creamy, cheesy flavors you and your kids crave but with a little crunch from the breadcrumbs and parmesan. My recipe for these little gems starts with a traditional homemade mac-n-cheese.  I freshly grate medium cheddar and white cheddar, but use ... Continue Reading

Peach and Blue Cheese Puff Pastry Bites

Wondering what to do with all those fresh, juicy summer peaches you are seeing on sale in the grocery store?  This peach and blue cheese savory appetizer will have your mouth watering and may just become your new summer 'go-to' app for any gathering.  The sweet, ripe peaches tossed with a little bit of fig jam (to help sweeten the deal) and a little bit of balsamic vinegar (to balance it all out and give it some depth of flavor), and just a tiny hint of rosemary (why not) is everything you ... Continue Reading

Pulled Pork Tacos with Fried Plantains

Slow roasted pork tacos....tender, juicy and fork tender.  Is there anything better?  Really?  Yes, there is.  These tender pulled pork tacos with perfectly golden brown fried plantains (think not sweet bananas) topped with a crisp carrot and cabbage slaw and a slightly tangy, creamy sheep's milk feta cheese.  I mean...there is a reason this taco is my most requested dish when I entertain.  Seriously just the perfect bite. So here's the lowdown on this awesome taco.  The pork can be ... Continue Reading

Fresh Tomato Soup and Mini Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

When it's summertime and tomato season this is the perfect recipe for any cocktail hour or tapas night.  There is nothing like the sweet, tangy flavor of a fresh tomato soup with an ooey-gooey grilled cheese to dip into it.  And served in these soup shot glasses it makes a really elegant and fun presentation that can work for a casual tapas night or a wedding reception or engagement party! I used heirloom tomatoes but you can use any type of fresh tomato you like if you can't find ... Continue Reading

Beef Short Rib Mini Tacos with Pickled Radish

Looking for that great appetizer that will make you look like a chef?  This is that kind of a dish.  It's not a traditional taco with Mexican flavors.  It's has more of a hearty beef flavor to it from the slow cooking process with wine and herbs and tomato paste.  By itself it's not spicy at all.  But I definitely recommend serving it with an array of toppings including the pickled radish.  When you serve something as rich as slow cooked beef you need something to cut through that ... Continue Reading

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Pineapple

These sweet and spicy grilled pineapple skewers may be the easiest recipe I've ever posted.  But easy doesn't mean it's doesn't bring the wow factor with the flavor.  I made a super fast glaze for the pineapple by combining honey, Sriracha sauce, and soy sauce.  That's it!  Brush some one before you grill it, a little more while grilling, and the last little bit after.  The honey gives it that sticky sweetness you want and the Sriracha adds a little heat.  The soy sauce brings the balance ... 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

Prosciutto Egg Cups – Easter Brunch

These prosciutto egg cups are actually simple to make but they really lend an elegant look to any brunch buffet and is the perfect addition to my Easter Brunch menu.  I am going to serve this along with a walnut pesto to really make them extra special.  I am also serving a Caprese Salad that is my own twist on a traditional Caprese Salad because I add thinly sliced red onions, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and chopped pistachios for crunch. This recipe can be found in my cookbook, The ... 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