Broccoli Crunch Salad

July 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Taking a slight break from my emerging trends week. Hey, it’s a holiday. My mom asked me to make something with veggies for her birthday yesterday and I immediately thought of the broccoli crunch salad they make at Whole Foods. Partly because it has cashews in it which is my mom’s guilty pleasure, but mostly because it is an incredibly addicting crisp, sweet, delicious crunchy salad. Perfect for summer.

I scoured the internet to find the recipe but it seems like none is out there. I did find the list of ingredients provided by Whole Foods and I took on the rest. I made it once yesterday, and again today because we were supposed to save half for my aunt’s 4th of July party and well, that didn’t happen so here I am again making the recipe.  The recipe only takes about 15 minutes tops.

Broccoli, bacon bits, currants, golden raisins, and candied cashews in a honey-chipotle mayo dressing.

Cashews candy-ing on the stove. I remove them as soon as the sugar dissolves and they barely get that toasted look on the bottoms.

When chopping the broccoli I turned the head upside down and hacked fairly close to the head to get perfect bite-sized pieces.

For the recipe- I personally like my salad a little light on the dressing to balance out with the rest of the components. If you’re one of those people that likes the dressing to dominate the salad then I’d suggest doubling up. I got the best feedback from my two-year old nephew who, upon his first bite, actually did a little happy dance. Love it.

Broccoli Crunch Salad


  • 2 medium heads of fresh broccoli
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 strips turkey bacon
  • 2/3 cup roasted and salted cashews
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
  • 2 tsp honey


  1. Candy the cashews by cooking in a medium-sized skilled with sugar, dust with cayenne.
  2. Remove from heat and lay out on waxed paper to cool once sugar is dissolved and nuts are slightly browned.
  3. While the nuts cook, prepare the turkey bacon and allow to cool. 
  4. Wash and chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl.
  5. Once bacon has cooled, chop into small bits, set aside.
  6. In a separate bow, combine mayo, chipotle sauce, and honey.
  7. Stir dressing into broccoli, then add currants, raisins, bacon bits, and cashews.

Roasted beet salad with almond butter and gorgonzola pouches

July 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

I made a fantastic roasted beet salad for Father’s Day- the combination of flavors was unexpected but it turned out great! I tweaked a recipe I found on Epicurious by adding the “gorgonzola pouches”- a different way to incorporate the typical crouton and cheese.

For almond butter:
  • 1/2 cup toasted Marcona almonds
  • 1/2 garlic clove, chopped
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For beet salad:
  • 1 1/2 pounds small (2-inch) beets, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for roasting
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

For Gorgonzola pouches:

  • Frozen phyllo dough, thawed
  • melted butter
  • 2 oz crumbled gorgonzola

Make gorgonzola pouches:

On a greased baking sheet, lay out one sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter. Layer five more sheets and brush with melted butter between each sheet. Place 1-2 tablespoons cheese in the center and fold the corners in to make a pouch. Bake the pouches until corners are browned, about 7-10 minutes- you can throw them in the oven while the beets roast.

Make almond butter:
Grind almonds to a paste with garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne in a food processor. With motor running, add just enough oil to make a silky paste. Season with salt.

Make beet salad:
Rub beets with olive oil, wrap in foil, and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 60 minutes.

After beets have cooled you should be able to peel the skin off with your fingers. First slice horisonatally into rounds, then again into bite-sized wedges.

Whisk together vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl, then whisk in oil. Add shallot and chives and toss with beets.

Divide almond butter among 6 plates and top with beet salad. Put a gorgonzola pouch on each salad and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup with Sherry

January 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

I love mushrooms- especially wild mushroom soup. I searched far and wide for this recipe after lunching at the inconspicuous French bakery Belle Epicurean in downtown Seattle and had their mushroom soup puree- so delicious!  I was (and still am) such a klutz I accidentally knocked my soup over and spilled half of it on my new sweater. You know it’s a good soup when you’re more upset about losing the soup than having soup all over you! I got over it.

Serves 6 for a first course or 3 very hungry guests


  • 5 tblsp unsalted butter
  • 12 oz wild mushrooms (Chanterelles, Winecap, Portabella, Shiitake) chopped coarsely into bite-size pieces
  • 2 shallots finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Dry Sherry
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp Chives, chopped



  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Sweat shallots in pan.
  2. Add mushrooms. Coat mushrooms with butter and stir occasionally until they begin to express their juices.
  3. Remove 1/3 of the mushrooms allow to cool a bit and purée them. Lower heat on remaining mushrooms.
  4. Meanwhile, in a stock pot, add veggie stock, and sherry. Bring to a slow, rolling boil for about 10 minutes, allowing stock to reduce a bit.
  5. Lower heat to a simmer. Add mushroom purée and continue simmering for about another 10 minutes allowing the flavors to marry.
  6. Add the remaining mushrooms, season soup with salt, pepper to taste, blend well.
  7. Add milk, taste soup and season to desired flavor
  8. Add fresh chopped herbs.
  9. Just before serving whisk in 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Serve.
  10. Garnish with full sprigs of herbs.
  11. Serve with fresh popovers or french bread

Lessons learned:

  • This recipe was not the purée I loved from the restaurant- next time I’ll thicken by adding less liquid (milk and broth) and blending everything to a chunky pulp.
  • After adding the milk I poured up one bowl of soup then kept the stove on high and stepped away for a few minutes. When I returned to the pot the milk was all clotted and separated (it still tasted good!) Next time I’ll make sure to take the soup off the heat before adding the milk or at least lower the heat.
  • To make the soup prettier next time I’ll slice a couple of button mushrooms lengthwise and saute, then place a couple on top of each soup for a mushroom garnish.

Love mushrooms like I do? Here’s another great recipe: Wild Mushroom Pizza with Yukon Gold Potato, Arugula, and Rosemary

Roasted Beet Stacks with Balsamic Reduction and Panko Crusted Goat Cheese

January 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

The most interesting food display I have ever seen was the Roasted Beet Salad at Wine Cellar Restaurant in Los Gatos, CA. I had a huge craving for a roasted beet salad this week and wanted to recreate their display of the thinly sliced beets stacked on one another and came up with this recipe. They look like little volcanos or trees of some kind.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 2 large beets, scrubbed and tops trimmed off
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c panko
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp pecans, finely chopped
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Individually wrap each beet in foil, place in a baking pan or cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for about an hour
  3. Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine panko, parsley, and pecans
  4. Separate the goat cheese in half and roll each half into a ball
  5. Place flour, egg (beaten) in separate small bowls
  6. Roll the goat cheese balls first in the flour, then the beaten egg, then the panko mixture
  7. Place in a bowl or on a plate, cover and chill while you wait for the beets to cook
  8. In a medium saucepan, simmer balsamic vinegar until it is reduced to about half volume
  9. After the beets have cooked, wait for them to cool and peel. The skin should slide right off with your fingers, if they don’t the beets need to cook longer
  10. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium (panko is easy to burn!)
  11. Slice the beets in half crosswise, then slice from the center of each half, alternating halves and stacking the slices on a plate. This way the slices will be stacked from big at the bottom to small at the top
  12. Drizzle stacks with balsamic reduction
  13. In oil, quickly fry the goat cheese balls until golden brown. About 20 seconds per side. Place on top of your stacks and serve with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Lessons learned:

  • A combination of freezing the goat cheese balls and letting the oil get too hot not only burned the crust but the goat cheese was cold- not the oozy melty goat cheese I’d hoped for. 
  •  To make the dish prettier and add more flavor complexity, next time I’ll place the stack on a bed of arugula or spring greens.
  • I’d also like to try shaping the goat cheese into medallions so every time you get the same amount of crust in each bite.

What To Do with Your BBQ Leftovers- Three Recipes to Clean the Fridge Post-Party!

July 16, 2009 § 1 Comment

 BBQ Leftovers

One of my favorite followers, Michelle recently sent me a blog request and wrote:

“I have tons of chicken legs, corn and potatoes left over from a weekend BBQ.  Any idea on how to use the leftovers for another dinner party?”


Michelle, I have three awesome recipes that will put your leftovers to good use and still be mouth-watering to serve to your dinner party guests! I am keeping the recipes in line with the BBQ/southern cooking style to give a nod to the roots =) On the menu: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches,  Corn Fritters, and Cajun Roasted Potatoes. Make sure to note that these recipes assume the ingredients are uncooked, so adjust the cooking time to account for this.

 If you have a blog post request, email me at


Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Serves 4


  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2-1/3 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • 4 kaiser or French rolls, split
  • 3 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1-1/2 cups)


  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in a heavy pot with the onion, garlic and just enough water to cover (about 1 cup). Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and a few drops hot sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred with two forks.
  2. Boil the sauce, skimming occasionally, until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Spoon the mixture onto the rolls and top with the cheese.

Source: Everyday with Rachel Ray


Corn Fritters

Serves 4


  • 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed from cobs
  • 3 x eggs
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 tbsp cornmeal
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 x green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Whisk corn and eggs in a large bowl.
  2. Add flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper and mix well.
  3. Stir in green onion and cheddar.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over a medium heat then add batter by the spoonful and flatten to form a pancake.
  5. Cook until golden, flip and cook other side.
  6. Serve with sour cream or butter

Source: Food Network (Canada)

Roasted Cajun Potatoes

Serves 6


  • 2 1/2 pounds medium red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


  1. Cut each potato lengthwise into eight wedges. In a large bowl, combine the oil, shallots, garlic, salt, paprika, cayenne and pepper; add potatoes and toss to coat. Place in greased roasting pan.
  2. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until tender and golden brown, turning every 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.


Make Your Picnic a Little More Posh Part 2: The Menu

May 26, 2009 § 1 Comment

picnic menu

As promised- here is the menu to accompany yesterday’s picnic gear post.  Believe it or not a couple of these are interpretations of Weight Watchers recipes- I’m watching out for you during swimsuit season! And according to my wine and cheese pairing guide, the goat cheese in the sandwiches is paired best with a Gewurtztreminer. Recipes to serve 2 below.

  1. French Baguette Sandwiches with Grilled Zucchini, Portabello, and Herbed Goat Cheese
  2. Dill Potato Salad
  3. Grilled and Chilled Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Dip
  4. Chocolate Covered Strawberries


French Baguette Sandwiches with Grilled Zucchini, Portabello, and Herbed Goat Cheese


  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp shallot, (about 1 large)
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 oz portobello mushroom, sliced
  • 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 loaf/loaves French baguette bread
  • 1/2 cup(s) semisoft goat cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, diced
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced


  1. Combine first 4 ingredients; stir well with a whisk.
  2. Heat 11⁄2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place mushrooms in a single layer in pan; sauté 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until liquid is almost absorbed. Remove from pan and place in a large bowl. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan and place over medium heat. Cut zucchini slices in half crosswise. Place half of zucchini slices in pan; sauté 7 to 9 minutes or until zucchini is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining zucchini and 1 teaspoon oil. Remove from heat and place in bowl with mushrooms. Drizzle with sherry mixture and remaining 1 teaspoon oil; toss gently.
  4. Preheat broiler.
  5. Cut baguette crosswise in half; cut each piece in half lengthwise. Place slices on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and broil 1 minute or until toasted.
  6. Combine goat cheese, thyme and rosemary; spread evenly over toasted baguette slices. Layer toast slices evenly with 1⁄2 of mushroom mixture and tomato slices. Top with remaining baguette slices. 


lemon-potsalad-su-1634820-lDill Potato Salad


  • 1/2 pound new red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 2/3 green onion, chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste (optional)
  • Directions

    1. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool in an ice water bath until cold, about 5 minutes. Leaving skins on, cut into bite-size pieces, and place in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, dill weed, and green onions in a bowl and stir until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour mayo mixture over potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or overnight.


    Grilled and Chilled Asparagus with Roasted Red Pepper Dip


    • 1/4 pound fresh asparagus
    • 4 oz roasted red peppers, packed in water, drained (about 3/4 cups)
    • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
    • 1/8 cup basil, fresh
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • salt  to taste
    • black pepper, freshly ground to taste


    1. Grill asparagus until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate 30 minutes up to overnight.
    2. In a blender, combine roasted peppers, sour cream, basil and garlic powder; puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.



    Chocolate Covered Strawberries

    You can purchase ready-made microwavable chocolate, or if you want to do it like a real chef, follow below.


    • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons shortening
    • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
    • Waxed paper


    1. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
    2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
    3. Set the strawberries on waxed paper to cool.

    Bring it to your next BBQ- Sweet Onion Cornbread

    May 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

    Sweet Onion Cornbread

     This  is another easy-to-make recipe that I have since MEMORIZED due to how often I make it for family gatherings in the summer. It is very cheesy and oniony and will disappear before you know it!


    • 2 large Vidalia or sweet onions, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 (14.75 ounce) can cream-style corn
    • 1 (8.5 ounce) package corn bread/muffin mix
    • 4 drops hot  sauce

    In a large skillet, saute onions in butter until tender. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, milk, dill and salt until blended; stir in 1 cup of cheese. Stir into the onion mixture; remove from the heat and set aside.


    In a bowl, combine the egg, corn, corn bread mix and hot pepper sauce. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Spoon onion mixture over top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until the top is set and lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

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