Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I'm a carnivore. I LOVE meat...any kind, any time. I decided to try eating less meat this year. I know this will be hard for me but I think I can find some recipes where you will not even notice that meat is missing. Like this taco. These were so good and Ron gave it a two thumbs up. I must add that all the ingredients in the recipe must be used or it will not be good. I mean that. The taco filling was not so good on it's own but when combined with a delicious salsa and topped with avocado this taco will rival any beef taco in town. I found some really good tortillas that I topped with cheese and warmed in the oven.

These are my favorite tortillas from Trader Joe's.

I topped the tortillas with cheese and put them in a 200~oven until the cheese melted, about 5-10 minutes. If you take them out as soon as the cheese melts they will stay soft and really tasty. Watch them carefully, you don't want to toast them.

1 tsp. chipotle powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 package firm tofu
12 corn tortillas
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
Chopped cilantro
Your favorite salsa
Sliced avocado
Shredded cheese

Put the chipotle powder, cumin, and lime juice in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the tofu and mash with a fork until crumbled and coated with marinade.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions and garlic until onions are soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the black beans and corn and cook until heated through and thickened, 5-10 minutes. Add the tofu mixture to the beans and corn and stir until liquid has reduce about 5 minutes.

Lay the tortillas on a baking sheet and sprinkle tortillas with shredded cheese. Put in a 200~ oven until the cheese has melted.

Spoon bean mixture into corn tortilla, top with chopped cilantro, sliced avocado and salsa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This is a fantastic recipe. The roasted chicken is moist, spicy, and flavorful. The chicken is cooked with garbanzo beans and tomatoes. What a treat! For a wonderful side dish or vegetarian meal, roast the tomatoes and garbanzo beans with the spiced oil and leave out the chicken. The beans and tomatoes were awesome. I used Sweet Grape Tomatoes from Trader Joe's. Give this dish a try. Ron said it was one of the best fusion meals he has ever had. I thought so too. The dish has some spice to it but the yogurt sauce is just the right compliment.

The bone in, skin on breasts are coated with a spiced oil mixture. Garbanzo beans and tomatoes are tossed in the same oil, and topped with chopped cilantro.The chicken is roasted at 450~ for about 20 minutes for a nice crispy skin. When it is served it is topped with more fresh cilantro and topped with a yogurt sauce.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 TBSP. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

4 chicken breast halves, skin on and bone in

1 15oz. can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 12 oz. container cherry or grape tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided in half

Preheat oven to 450~.

Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Pour 1 tsp. spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce.

Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 TBSP. spiced oil mixture over chicken. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean  mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Recipe from Bon Appetit

Thursday, January 12, 2012


These zucchini pancakes along with a green salad and some crusty warm French bread made a wonderful meatless meal for us. The pancakes are topped with roasted tomatoes and tucked inside is some decadent melted Double Cream Brie cheese.

The pancakes are made with grated zucchini, eggs, flour, Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg. After making the pancake you fold it over and put some Brie inside, top it with roasted tomatoes and chopped chives. Right before serving I gave them a quick zap in the microwave to be sure the cheese was warm and gooey. I like brie in these but you can use any kind of your favorite melting cheese.


2 cups grated zucchini
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 TBSP. melted butter (more for greasing pan)
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 TBSP. water
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

6 1/2 ounces double cream Brie cheese
Roasted tomatoes (homemade or from a jar)
2 TBSP. chopped chives

Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Combine zucchini, eggs, butter, flour Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until smooth, then add enough water to make a thin batter. Mix until combined.

For a 6 inch pancake add bout 1/3 cup of the batter to a greased pan and cook 1-2 minutes per side. When pancake is still hot, fold in half and spread some soft brie inside, top with roasted tomatoes. Continue until all pancake are finished. Give pancakes a minute or so zap in the microwave to melt cheese and warm tomatoes. Garnish with chopped chives.

Recipe from Sol of the Garden Web

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I think cauliflower is terrific. For me, it is a blank canvas that you can flavor any way you like. This soup is nothing more than cauliflower cooked with garlic in some water, pureed, and seasoned with salt, pepper, truffle oil and gruyere cheese.

If you don't like truffle oil skip this recipe. It needs all the ingredients. There are some truffle oils on the market that are synthetic and not very good. Make sure to use a good Italian truffle oil. You usually will have to pay around 20.00 for a good quality oil, but a little goes a long way. Below is one brand that I really like.


1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
White Truffle Oil (about 1 tsp. per bowl)
Gruyere cheese, grated ( about 1/2 cup)
Chopped chives (about 2 TBSP.)

Put the cauliflower in a sauce pan along with the smashed garlic. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is tender (about 10 minutes).

Drain cauliflower and garlic reserving about 1 cup water. Puree the cauliflower and the garlic in a food processor or blender. Add a little water to loosen the mixture. Puree until smooth, adding water to bring the mixture to the consistency you like.

Transfer mixture back to sauce pan and gently heat. Add salt and pepper and taste. This dish needs quite a bit of salt.

When cauliflower is hot, spoon into soup bowls, drizzle truffle oil on top and top with grated cheese and chopped chives.

Recipe adapted from www.tastespotting.com

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


My sister Lee made this super delicious Caesar salad. It had a nice zesty, lemony flavor. I'll be using her recipe next time I'm craving a salad.


2 cloves of garlic, very finely mashed into a paste with 1/4 tsp. coarse salt

1 TBSP. anchovies, rinsed, patted dry and finely minced
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 TBSP. fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP. red-wine vinegar
1 TBSP. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 hearts romaine lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed and patted dry
1 large egg, boiled for 1 minute
3 TBSP. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups croutons, homemade or store-bought

Combine garlic, anchovies, lemon zest and juice, vinegar and mustard. Whisking constantly, drizzle in olive oil until thickened. Season with pepper. Reserve.
Before serving, place the lettuce leaves in a large salad bowl. Toss with 1/3 cup of the dressing to coat. Break the egg into the salad. Sprinkle with cheese and croutons and toss well.

Recipe by Sheila Lukins

Thursday, January 5, 2012


 For New Years Day we had the World's Best smoked Salmon, Cambridge House. The New York Times agrees with me.

We had some leftover so I made Deviled Eggs. They were delish! 

Cambridge House uses premium quality fresh Scottish Salmon, hand cured and smoked right here in Santa Barbara. Treat yourself to some Cambridge House Smoked Salmon or Santa Barbara Smoke House Salmon. You can find it at Whole Foods or Lazy acres in Santa Barbara.


 8 extra large eggs
1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 TBSP. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 TBSP. freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)
2 TBSP. minced fresh chives
4 ounces smoked salmon, minced
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish with capers and chopped chives 

Place the eggs in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the eggs to rest in the water for 10 minutes. Drain the eggs and cover with cold water; set aside to cool.

Peel the eggs and slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place them in the bowl of a food processor or blend with a hand blender.

Place the whites on a serving platter. To the yolks, add the creme fraiche or sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, Dijon, and lemon juice; process until smooth and completely combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and fold in the salmon and chopped chives. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Using a spoon or a piping bag, fill the whites generously with the yolk mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

When ready to serve, sprinkle with optional garnishes.

Recipe adapted slightly from www.thegalleygourmet.net

Monday, January 2, 2012


Sharon and I chose the Fish and Shellfish chapter for our adventures in cooking The Essential New York Times Cook Book. This recipe appealed to me because I have a Kaffir Lime tree in the yard and the flavor of the leaves are amazing. Amanda Hesser, the author of the book wrote "The kaffir lime leaves infuse the salmon cakes with an irresistible herbal aroma that's difficult to describe". She was right, these salmon patties were delicious.

I went down to the fish market at the harbor to buy fresh salmon for this recipe. It calls for a pound of salmon. The salmon prices down at the harbor are around 15.00 to 20.00 per pound. I don't mind paying this if I'm cooking a nice, whole piece of salmon but these were patties with a lot of strong seasonings so I asked the fish monger if he had any salmon trimmings.


You can buy fish trimmings or salmon trimmings at most fish markets for around 3.00 per pound. He brought out a one pound bag and they were just perfect for this dish.

The salmon is chopped and then combined with egg white, rice flour, lime leaves, ginger, wasabi paste, and chopped chervil or parsley. The recipe called for each patty to have about 2 TBSP. of salmon mixture but I made mine larger.

The patties are cooked in hot vegetable oil until lightly golden, only about 35 seconds per side. After draining them on paper towels they are served with lime juice dipping sauce.


One pound skinless salmon fillet, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 TBSP. rice flour
2 Kaffir lime leaves, chopped, or 6 thin strips lime zest, chopped
1 TBSP. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. wasabi paste
3 TBSP. chopped chervil or flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP. brown sugar
Oil for frying (something neutral, like corn, canola, or vegetable)

Combine the salmon, egg white, rice flour, lime leaves, ginger, wasabi paste, and chopped chervil in a medium bowl.

Combine the lime juice, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix well.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. For each patty place 2 TBSP. of the salmon mixture into the hot oil, and cook for 35-45 seconds on each side, or until lightly golden; do not overcook. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining patties.

Serve with lime juice dipping sauce.

Makes 15 to 18 small cakes.

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe from The Essential New York Times Cook Book

Sunday, January 1, 2012


The best way to bring in the New Year 2012 is with the world's BEST smoked salmon. Cambridge House Smoked Salmon, made right here in Santa Barbara. I'm not the only one who thinks it's the best, the New York Times also called it "the best smoked salmon in the world".

This smoked salmon is made from fresh premium Atlantic Scottish salmon. It is hand cured and smoked only a few miles from my home.

I like this delicious melt in your mouth, with a smoky over-tone salmon served on a toasted bagel with cream cheese, tomato, onion, fresh dill, lemon, and capers.