Month: January 2015

Naan with Greek Yogurt and Veggies


I purchased Naan at Costco. Freshly made in their bakery, these are delicious. Naan is also available at most grocery stores in the deli area.

Greek yogurt

English cucumber, peeled and diced small

Radishes, thinly sliced

Serrano peppers, thinly sliced


Green Zataar for sprinkling


Green Zataar. Dried herbs and seeds.

Himalayan Pink Salt

Spread a generous schmear of yogurt on Naan. Sprinkle with cucumber, radishes and peppers. Drizzle EVOO on top. Sprinkle with Zataar and pink salt. Slice and serve. Delicious.



Curried Zucchini and Red Pepper Soup

serves 8-10


1/4 C olive oil

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6-8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
2 small yellow onions, diced
2 red bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed, diced


1/4 C tomato paste

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6 C chicken or vegetable stock
2 t ground coriander
2 t cumin
1 T turmeric
2 t curry
1 t red pepper flakes

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6 medium-sized zucchini, cut into chunks

juice from one small lemon
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped

In a preheated soup pot, add olive oil. It should shimmer and ripple from the heat. Add garlic slices and sauté to flavor the oil. Add onions and red peppers. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow vegetables to sauté for a minute or so before stirring. We are looking for a little bit of “pan sticking” from the vegetables. The salting will pull out moisture in the vegetables. Allow vegetable liquid to mostly cook out before adding tomato paste. Mix paste in well. Watch your heat. You don’t want to burn the paste, but you do want some “pan sticking” and depth of color. You can smell the sweetness and caramelization from cooking the paste. See photo. Add 2 C of stock, coriander, cumin, turmeric, curry and red pepper flakes to the pot. Mix well. Add zucchini. Add remaining 4 C of stock, lemon juice, parsley and cilantro. Mix well. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Cover and simmer until zucchini is tender. At this point, remove the soup from the burner and allow 30 minutes of cooling. Place soup in the refrigerator and allow to cool overnight. The next day, puree the soup in batches until smooth. For service, heat pureed soup over medium to low heat. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with yogurt sauce, toasted almonds and chopped cilantro. A winner.


Yogurt sauce:

1 C Greek yogurt, thoroughly strained
3 T heavy cream
zest of half a lemon
pinch of salt

Whisk ingredients well and top your soup.

Bibb Salad with Avocado, Papaya and Blood Oranges

serves 4

half a  head Bibb lettuce, rinsed and dried

half a papaya, peeled, seeds scraped out and diced

one small avocado, diced

two blood oranges, peeled and segmented

half of a small red onion, thinly sliced and rinsed

1/4 C roasted and salted pumpkin seeds

1/4 C of grated Queso Fresco

On a serving platter, arrange lettuce leaves. Top lettuce with papaya, avocado, blood orange segments and sliced red onion.  Spoon orange blossom vinaigrette over salad. Garnish with pumpkin seeds, Queso Fresco and fresh cracked black pepper.


Orange Blossom Vinaigrette

gourmet neighbor strikes again….


2 T orange blossom champagne vinegar

2 t Dijon

1 t honey

pinch of salt

fresh cracked black pepper

zest from half an orange

1 T chopped fresh dill


6 T olive oil

In a small bowl, add vinegar, Dijon, honey, salt, pepper, orange zest and fresh dill. Whisk well. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while vigorously whisking. Whisk until smooth and emulsified.


So here is a menu we shared several years ago at one of our cooking classes. Inspiration comes from a Spanish cookbook. Some tweaks have made this menu friendly and delicious. I realized the other evening while dining with neighbors how much more interesting it is to share many small bites instead of larger portions of two or three items. Many of these recipes can be made days ahead. In fact, they improve with age. A lesson for us all. 

Bornos Verdejo and Lechuza Granacha accompanied the tapas. Don’t forget the crusty bread. A Spanish Cava opened the evening with Manchego, quince, and Marcona almonds.

Give this a try. 


Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce


Olives & Thyme


Potato Salad with Capers and Dill


Roasted Peppers in Vinaigrette


Pickled Cucumbers


Meatballs in Saffron Sauce

Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

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4 T olive oil
1/4 C sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t flour
1 t paprika
¼ C marinara sauce
¼ C dry white wine, plus 2 T
¼ C clam juice
½ t red pepper flakes
1 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 T minced parsley
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
Pinch of sugar

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½ pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Add 2 T of olive oil to a preheated skillet and sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add flour and paprika and stir blending thoroughly into the onion mix. Add marinara, 1/4 C wine, clam juice, red pepper, thyme, bay leaves, parsley, s&p and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Sauce should thicken slightly.

In a separate preheated skillet, add remaining 2 T of olive oil. Add shrimp to skillet. Sprinkle with salt and cracked pepper. Sauté over medium high heat until just cooked through. Add cooked shrimp to the tomato mixture and deglaze the shrimp pan with 2 T of white wine. Scrape up shrimp bits and cook off alcohol. Add deglazing liquid to tomato/shrimp mix and continue to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and serve.

The tomato mix can be made ahead.  Then, sauté shrimp prior to service and add to warmed tomato sauce.


Serve with lots of crusty bread for sauce sopping.

Potato Salad with Capers and Dill

Serves 6



2 pounds new potatoes, boiled and cut into chunks
Zest from one orange
2 T minced parsley
2 T minced fresh dill
1/4 C small capers
½ small red onion cut into slivers
Fresh cracked pepper

Boil potatoes (skin on) in salted water until fork tender.
Cool and cut into one inch chunks.
Combine remaining ingredients and homemade mayonnaise with the potato pieces. Use enough mayonnaise to evenly coat potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow potato salad to thoroughly chill before serving.

If you are squeamish about raw eggs, regular mayonnaise can be used flavored with lemon juice and Dijon.

Homemade mayonnaise:

1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 t Dijon
1 t salt
2 T fresh lemon juice

1 C olive oil


Combine everything except oil in the bowl of a food processor and blend. While machine is running, slowly pour oil through feed tube until a smooth and creamy consistency forms.


Meatballs in Saffron Sauce

Photos show a doubled recipe.

Photos show a doubled recipe.

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Serves 4-6

For meatballs:

1/4 C olive oil
½ pound ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1 slice bacon, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T minced parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 slice bread, soaked in water, squeezed dry
1 ½ t salt
2 t pepper

For sauce:

2 T olive oil
2 T minced onion
2 t flour
1 t paprika
½ C mix of beef and chicken broths
2 T white wine
Several strands of saffron

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1 T minced parsley for garnish

In a bowl, combine beef, pork, bacon, garlic, parsley, egg, bread, and s&p. Thoroughly combine ingredients forming a smooth sticky consistency. Using an ice cream scoop, shape into 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Add olive oil to a preheated non-stick skillet. Brown meatballs completely. Remove meatballs to a paper towel lined plate. Pour off excess oil. Place skillet back onto the stove and proceed with the sauce recipe.

Add remaining 2 T of olive oil to skillet. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add flour and paprika to the skillet. Mix well with pan drippings and onions and cook just a bit. Add broths, wine and saffron strands. Bring to a boil. Lower heat. Return meatballs to the pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning with s&p. Garnish with parsley just prior to service.

The recipe can be prepared several days in advance and reheated.

Olives and Thyme

1  7-ounce jar of large green Spanish olives

¼ C olive oil

1/2 t red chili flakes

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 T dried thyme


Combine all ingredients in a container and mix well. Cover and keep at room temperature for 24 hours. Then, refrigerate for several days. Bring to room temperature before serving. The olives will keep well for several weeks.

Roasted Peppers in Vinaigrette

Recipe photos show a doubled recipe.

Recipe photos show a doubled recipe.

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Serves 4-6

3 tri-color sweet peppers whole

½ t paprika
1 T water

2 T red wine vinegar
1 t salt
1 t freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T minced parsley
1 t orange zest
2 bay leaves
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced


Place peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 17 minutes. Turn peppers over and continue cooking for another 17 minutes or until skin is browned and wrinkled. (See photo) Place cooked peppers in a bowl and cover allowing them to sweat. Once cool enough to handle, remove skin/seeds and coarsely chop.

For vinaigrette, dissolve paprika in water. Add paprika mix to the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour vinaigrette over peppers and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Bring to room temperature before serving.