Monday, October 31, 2016

Secret Recipe Club Fall Theme - White Bean Dip

This is my next to last Secret Recipe Club post.  
It's actually the last themed post I will be making here.  Cause after next month, the Secret Recipe Club is no more. 
But in the meantime, I have this last themed post to do.   I was assigned Traci's blog, Burnt Apple as the blog to find and make a recipe from, for our Fall Themed Reveal.

When I think of fall, I think of the leaves turning, the air is crisper, if you're not in an inversion, the air smells so good, and you can start thinking of making heartier meals.   At least that was the way it was when I lived in UT.
However in Florida, it means finally, finally, turning off the air conditioning, and sleeping with the windows open at night.   There are leaves that turn gold and red here as well,  and the air, while not quite crisp, at least isn't soggy and humid, usually.
Which brings me to Burnt Apple.
Traci tells about a muffin that was so well done that her husband threw it against the wall and it went through.  My mom, who was a fantastic cook, used to tell about the hamburger she cooked for my dad when they were first married and how it would have made a dent in the wall if Dad had thrown it.  Knowing my dad, he probably, manfully choked it down and then thanked my mom for cooking.  I have my own crispy critter tale to tell as well, but that's for another day.

There were a lot of recipes on Burnt Apple, and I've got a few bookmarked.   Like her Boudin Sourdough Crackers or the Chicken Tortellini Soup or the Stuffed Sausage and Cheese bread.

They all sounded like great Fall dishes, but I got stuck here.
In the appetizer section.
Gee what a surprise?
And since it was Tapas this past weekend I decided to have fun.  I made her White Bean Dip 
I was conflicted though. 
The Healthy Chili's Queso Dip also looked good.   But I did an eeny meeny miney mo and the White Bean Dip won.
White Bean Dip
I also added a little fresh Rosemary and thought it complemented the entire dish very well.
yield: 6-8 Servingsprint recipe

White Bean Dip

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 10 MINStotal time: 20 mins
This fall dish is perfect, warm, rich tasting and full of beans and bacon.


  • 2 15 oz. Cans of Great White Northern Bean (=3 cups)
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked and chopped into little pieces (I used some frozen cooked bacon, and broke it up while it was still frozen)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced *
  • 1/4 cup chopped Parsley *
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest *
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. minced Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. *3 tablespoons Gremolata Since I still had some Gremolata in the freezer from the batch I made a month or so ago, I just measured out 3 tablespoons of it instead of the garlic, lemon zest and parsley. Place the beans, Gremolata, Rosemary and bacon into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, drizzling in the oil and water til it's nice and smooth. Transfer the mixture into a sauce pan sprayed with a little cooking spray. Heat through and serve with some nice Romano Crisps.
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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Tapas

I had fun last night. 
Well, I usually do have fun at Tapas, even when it's held at my house and I have to not only make food, but clean the house first. 
But last night it was held at a friend's house, and she's the one who gets to wash the glasses and think about all the fun she had last night.   People seemed to enjoy the party as well. Some came in costume, and some just came as themselves. 
And the food...

As usual, people outdid themselves.  We had our usual Pineapple, cause it wouldn't be a party without it.  There was Chile, an Indian Pork Stew, Stuffed Chinese Eggplant, Chicken Alfredo, Pork Chile, Potatoes, Hummus, a Cheese Ball, a Peppadew pepper spread over some cream cheese.  Plus more. 
Here's the before picture, full table of luscious eats.

and after...
Think we know how to eat well here?  
Here's a closeup of the various offerings, and not one burnt one to be found. 
Pineapple and candy...
Stuffed Chinese Eggplant, love these
Cheese Plate, always a welcome addition
Cheese Ball and Crackers
Peppadew Sauce over Cream Cheese
 Pork Chile 
Chicken Alfredo   I was given this lovely footed dish afterwards.  I think I see a Trifle or maybe a Tiramisu in my near future...
and then there was this, Potato Dish.  Did I mention lately that I love potatoes?  Well, I do.
Some Pulled Pork Sliders.  Look at that cool dish. 
 A Grape Salad.  I had a lovely helping of this. 
and some Trout Ceviche
There was also this Pork Stew which was aromatic with Garam Masala and other wonderful spices.
 There was also a huge pot of Chile, which was very tasty.
We did have a late arrival,  but I noticed inroads were made on it.  Smoked Salmon, Brie and Prosciutto wrapped Pineapple

I made a couple of dips and some other stuff, but I'll tell you about that tomorrow.  

You're just going to have to wait. 
So there.
And there were some desserts as well. 
You didn't think I'd forget about one of the major food groups? Sugar.
This was so good, a nice fluffy dessert.
And some Pumpkin Roll
And a Pumpkin Spice Cake
There was also this Strawberry dessert, which I neglected to get a close up of.
And this Pear Brown Betty
Needless to say, if you go home hungry from one of our Tapas Nights, it's your problem. 

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Halloween 'Pumpkin' Table Decoration

I have to share this, now. I carved a Orange Pepper for the Tapas Halloween Party for tonight.
I'm not hosting it this month, so I had time to play around a little.

Carved pepper Jack o' lantern
I got a case of Orange Peppers last week, and processed most of them, but saved a few out for tonight.

I'm putting some Roasted Pepper Hummus in one of them, but I also carved one of them up and put a flameless candle inside.

To start with, I took the top off of one of the peppers using a sharp knife.  Next up, I removed the seeds and membrane from inside.   Checked to see if the candle would fit and then...
Carved Pepper Pumpkin

Carved Pepper Pumpkin
Third, I drew a rough picture of the parts I wanted to cut out of the pepper, and proceeded to carve them out.
Carved Pepper Pumpkin
After I got all that done, I put a flameless candle in that I'd saved from previous Halloweens, and tried to find a dark spot so I could see how cool the 'pumpkin pepper' would look.
Carved Pepper Pumpkin

I think I nailed this one.   

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce

I love Broccoli, just about any way I can get it.  But I think this Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce is my new favorite.

Maybe my all time favorite?
Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce

For now at least.


Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce
Try to take pictures of it, while the steam is rising, give up, then sample a couple of pieces while it cools down a little bit.

Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce

I'm saving a few pieces for my Chicken Chow Mein I'm making for dinner.

yield: 4 Servings 
  print recipe

Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce

prep time: 20 MINS   cook time: total time: 20 mins


Roasted Broccoli with Sweet Soy Sauce
  • 2 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees or just turn on the broiler. Whisk together the Sweet Soy sauce, EVOO and the Sesame Seed Oil. Place the broccoli in a bag or container with a lid. Pour the Soy Sauce mixture over top of the broccoli, shake it to distribute it as evenly as possible. Pour onto a parchment covered pan, and place under the broiler on a low rack for 10 minutes, take out of oven and turn the broccoli over, roast it for an additional 6-8 minutes or until done. If roasting in 400 degree oven, turn the broccoli over after 5 minutes, then cook an additional 5-7 minutes. You want the broccoli to start to caramelize. The sugar in the broccoli along with the soy and sesame seed oil gives this a wonderful flavor.
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Monday, October 24, 2016

Blue Cheese Dress Up's

A few years back my sister Tania gave me these ideas for using Blue Cheese Dressing, other than just for salads.  

Blue Cheese dressing is still hands down my favorite Salad Dressing.

At least the one I ask for when we eat out. 

But why stop at just dressing a salad? Here's a few ideas she had. 

Blue Cheese Dress Up's

Some favorite ways to use blue cheese dressing:

Slice a large potato in half. Lightly oil and bake potato at 400 degree for 30 mins or until just done.  Generously spread with chunky dressing and continue baking 15 to 20 minutes.

Spread dressing over roast beef sandwiches in place of butter. (I tried some on my French Dip Sandwich and OMG was it good)

Add a couple of spoonfuls of dressing to ground beef before forming into burgers.
(and let me add,  pour a little on top after cooking them as well)

After removing steaks from the grill, drizzle dressing over top.

Blue cheese dressing makes an instant dip for cucumber spears, chicken wings, sweet pepper strips, bread sticks and pretzels. 

Toss a little dressing with hot green beans or green peas.

Drizzle dressing over hot cooked cauliflower or broccoli.

Stir a tablespoon or two into store bought Alfredo Sauce and toss with pasta.

Submitted by Tania

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles

It's still hot in my neck of the woods, well, my little corner on the shore, and I'm tired of the heat.  But I wanted to  make a nice dish for Fish Friday Foodies using Shrimp, of course, for this month's theme of Fish and Seafood Pasta. 
This month's inspiration came from Caroline Williams at Caroline's Cooking .

I actually made some Shrimp Piccata a few years ago and had never shared the recipe. YIKES!

I decided that since I'd never shared how to make it here, it would be perfect for our Fish Friday Foodies event, especially if I paired it with some Roasted Garlic Fettucine.  But then the fettucine didn't turn out, so I went back into the pantry and found these.  Rice Noodles and went, hmmmm, I wonder how that will work.
It worked.
Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles
And umm, I had to do it, make Shrimp again for my Fish Friday Foodies offering.  

Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles

Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles

print recipe

Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 30 mins


Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles
  • 2 lbs. Shrimp
  • 1 package Rice Noodles (14oz), cooked and drained, set aside
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 lemon sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/4 cup white wine (can substitute chicken stock here)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons Gremolata
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO


  1. Cook Rice Noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside. Saute the shrimp briefly over medium high heat in 1 tablespoon EVOO, just til turning pink. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the lemon juice, the capers and the wine, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the butter and the Gremolata. Next add the Rice Noodles, stir together and let them cook for another 2-3 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through, stirring very gently until the shrimp is cooked through. Sprinkle a little more Gremolata over top if desired. Serve.
Created using The Recipes Generator
This is the wine I used in the sauce.  Is that not a cool looking bottle?   The wine's pretty good too.
Shrimp Piccata with Rice Noodles

 If you'd like to join Fish Friday Foodies, please email Wendy at  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month. 

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Curried Carrot Hummus

I joined a new group, kinda trial run this month, called the Improv Cooking Challenge.   It sounded like fun.
Basically you are given two ingredients to make a dish from and post about it on a certain date, which this month happens to be today, the third Thursday of the month.
The ingredients for October were Carrots and Curry. 
I'm not late, am I?
Well, at any rate, when I saw the two ingredients my mind went, hmmm, I wonder how they would work in a Hummus.
Curried Carrot Hummus
They worked, very well.   Got along just fine, invited a couple more ingredients to join them that I wouldn't have thought of adding and well, I got a great new Hummus.
And I did it all by myself.

Curried Carrot Hummus

Curried Carrot Hummus
I have to admit to an oops here.   I thought I'd opened a can of Chickpeas, but discovered after opening it, that it was Navy Beans, but decided to use them anyway.   And guess what, they were so good.
You can definitely up the amount of curry powder here, I will the next time I make it, cause I love, love, love Curry.

I wonder how this would work for Halloween?   I decided to do a trial run, and put some of the Hummus into a Orange Pepper, and it was good.  Best of all, the bowl was edible.
Curried Carrot Hummus in Orange Pepper

Curried Carrot Hummus in edible Orange Pepper Bowl
I'm ready for Halloween now.

Yield: 2 cups

Curried Carrot Hummus

prep time: 15 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 30 mins


1 can Navy Beans, drained  (15 oz. size)
1 cup cooked Carrots
1 small Onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
1/2 teaspoon Hot Curry Powder
1 teaspoon Mild Curry Powder
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tsp. Lime Juice
1/4 cup Tahini
1/4 cup EVOO
1 tsp. Cumin Seeds


Cook the carrots til just done, then saute' the onion in 1 tsp. EVOO until translucent.  Set the carrots and onion aside to cool.
Put 1 can drained Navy Beans into food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and process.
Serve with a little toasted Pita Bread or Naan.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Processing Red Peppers

I got a gracious plenty of Red Peppers this week at Farmshare.   And then I had fun.

Red Peppers
I did share some with friends, and then I played with the rest.   I already had some washed and cut up when I took this picture.

Hey, if you can't have fun with your food, what's the point?  Really.  Just kidding, food is serious business and needs to be treated as such.  Nah.

To start with, I washed the peppers, then I cut them them up.
Like this.
Cutting Red Peppers
 Cutting them down either by thirds or quarters.  None of this cutting around the stem business. 
Red Peppers ready for roasting

Next up, I laid them on a rimmed cooking sheet and roasted them for about 10 minutes under the broiler.  Just til they started blackening a little and the skin started to bubble.
Red Peppers ready for roasting

I used a hint I got from my friend Harriett when I roasted some of the peppers.  She said she would roast them and then turn off the oven and come back when they were cooled before peeling them to freeze or to use.
Roasted Red Peppers
WOW, these were the easiest peppers I think I've ever peeled.  By leaving them in the oven, on a lower rack, not only did they cool down, but also they steamed themselves.    I didn't have to do more than just peel them when I took them out.  Easiest peppers I've ever peeled. All I used was my fingers, which are now orange in color.  Note to self, next time, use gloves, sigh.
Roasted Red Peppers

Hey it's October and orange is the color of the month.
Peeled and Roasted Red Peppers
I placed them in a single layer on some plastic wrap and put them into the freezer.  As soon as they're frozen, I'll be putting them into a ziploc bag and that way I can take out as much or as little as I need for a recipe.

Roasted Red Peppers
I restrained myself from eating all the roasted peppers.  I've got them earmarked for some Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  

I also cut some of them up into strips, and put them into a bag to freeze.  That way, all I have to do is pull out a handful or so at a time, dice them or leave them in strips for any recipes.  I'll use them in Fajita's or on some Chicken Quesadillas later on.  They'll also go well in Omelettes.  
Red Peppers

I even cored a few and left them whole so I can make some Stuffed Peppers later on. 
Red Peppers

And did I mention I made some rings and then cooked an egg inside of one for my breakfast.

Fried Egg in Pepper Ring
This roasting and cutting up business can make a person hungry.

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