Recipes

MANDARINS IN PROSECCO

I love to serve this cocktail as the very first course. I often use fresh orange segments in the prosecco, but you can substitute canned mandarins if needed. Who wouldn’t love the merry color of mandarins mingling cheerfully with prosecco.

Serves 6

  • 1 cup mandarin oranges

  • 1 bottle Prosecco

  • Cointreau (optional)

Divide the mandarin oranges among six champagne glasses. Pour over the mandarins and then top each glass with a splash of Cointreau if desired. Serve immediately.

BROILED LOBSTER TAILS WITH CILANTRO-LIME BUTTER

The title of this recipe sounds fancy and time-consuming, but I can make it in under 30 minutes. I’ve written the recipe instructions so that you don’t remove the lobster meat completely from the tail. The meat is pulled out lightly and then rests on the shell of the tail. This makes for a nice cooking surface as well as a lovely presentation when the lobster tails are served.

Serves 4

  •  lobster tails

  • ½ stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

  • 1 lime, zested

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon pepper

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

Directions:

To prepare the lobster, place the 4 tails, bottom side down, on a sturdy cutting board. At the front of the top of the tail, cut down the center of the shell, with kitchen shears, almost through to the tail.

Then carefully lift the lobster meat out of the shell, keeping the bottom part by the tail connected. Then rest the lobster meat back on the shell. The shell will be used as a cooking surface, and it makes for a beautiful presentation, too. Place the prepped lobster tails on a baking sheet.

Next, heat the butter and garlic in a small pot over medium-low heat. When the garlic butter is just melted, add the cilantro leaves and lime zest. Remove it from the heat and let it sit for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Reserve half the butter to brush over the lobster tails. Sprinkle the tails with a little salt, pepper, and paprika.

Preheat the broiler and then place the baking sheet on the center rack. Broil the lobster tails 5 to 8 minutes depending on the size of the lobster tails. My lobster tails were rather small, and only took about 5 minutes to be cooked through but still succulent. Overcooking lobster tails will cause them to be tough.

Once the tails are done, place them on a platter, drizzle with some of the remaining butter, and serve.

LIME AND CILANTRO BAKED RICE

This is my no-fail rice recipe. Lime zest adds more flavor with less tartness and coconut cream gives it a tropical flair. Cilantro completes the flavor profile.

Serves 4

  • ½ cup coconut cream

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 lime zested

  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup Jasmine rice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix together the coconut cream, water, lime zest, chopped cilantro, and salt.

Add the cup of Jasmine rice to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and then stir in the hot water and coconut cream mixture.

Cover with foil and then place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes and then fluff with a fork. Garnish the rice with additional chopped fresh cilantro and serve.

 

STUFFED DATES WITH GOAT CHEESE AND HONEY

This is one recipe I usually double. These stuffed dates are simple to make, and because they’re small, they disappear quickly! I typically garnish these stuffed dates with fresh thyme or finely chopped pistachios. But for extra flavor and a special treat, you might garnish them with finely chopped bacon.

Makes 24

  • 24 Medjool dates, pitted or pits removed

  • 5 ounces creamy or spreadable goat cheese

  • ¼ cup honey

  • Fresh chopped thyme or pistachios, for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Slice lengthwise down the center of each date to create an opening or pocket for the goat cheese.

  • Place the goat cheese in a pastry bag or baggie. If using the baggie, snip the corner. Then pipe the goat cheese into each date. Place the dates on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them for about 10 minutes.

  • Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and then drizzle with the honey and garnish with the fresh thyme or chopped pistachios. Serve immediately.

BLUEBERRY CARDAMOM OVERNIGHT OATS

If you’ve never knowingly tasted cardamom, you’re in for a treat. It’s a fragrant spice that’s typically found in Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Swedish recipes. With herbal notes and hints of citrus and pine, cardamom complements sweet and savory recipes. Here, you’ll get a slightly sweet breakfast treat. I’ve combined cardamom, fresh blueberries, and creamy oats. I’ve garnished this recipe with additional fruit and nuts for texture, but ultimately the oats are just as tasty with a simple handful of blueberries. What a delicious way to start the day.

Ingredients

Makes 1 serving

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats, not steel-cut oats or quick oats

  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1¼ cups milk or nondairy milk

  • ½ cup fresh blueberries

  • Sliced strawberries, for garnish

  • Chopped walnuts, for garnish

  • 1 (16-ounce) mason jar

Place the rolled oats, chia seeds, ground cardamom, maple syrup, and salt in the bottom of the mason jar. Then add the milk or nondairy milk and place the lid on the jar. Shake vigorously until the oats are well combined. Put the jar in the refrigerator overnight.

To serve, remove the jar from the refrigerator and give the oats a stir. Stir in the ½ cup of fresh blueberries and then garnish with sliced strawberries and chopped walnuts. Add additional warm milk or nondairy milk for thinner oats.

Additional garnishes that complement these oats are sliced bananas, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut flakes, and sliced almonds.

STRAWBERRY CHIA SEED PUDDING

I remember when I first discovered chia seed pudding—I was delighted, to say the least. It’s probably because I’m obsessed with food that boasts a creamy texture. But unlike a rich cream sauce or heaping portion of buttery mashed potatoes, this recipe is creamy and healthful, too. Think of chia seed pudding as a tapioca’s health-conscious cousin. Here, I’ve combined the pudding with fresh strawberries, yogurt, and milk to make it tasty and versatile for breakfast, a snack, or dessert.

 

Makes 4 (8-ounce) servings

  • 1 quart fresh strawberries (about 12 to 14 medium-size strawberries), tops removed

  • ¼ cup plain Greek or nondairy yogurt

  • ¼ cup milk or nondairy milk

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • ½ cup chia seeds

  • Fresh mint and sliced strawberries, for garnish

  • 4 (8-ounce) mason jars with lids4

Place the fresh strawberries, yogurt, milk, and maple syrup in a blender and blend until nicely pureed.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and then stir in the chia seeds. Do not add the chia seeds to the blender. You want the chia seeds left in whole form. This creates a nice pudding texture.

Divide the pudding among 4 (8-ounce) mason jars. Cover with lids and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, remove the lids and garnish with fresh mint and additional strawberries.

CAMPFIRE DUTCH OVEN CINNAMON ROLLS

To make camp mornings a breeze, I make this cinnamon roll dough at home, place it in an airtight bag or plastic wrap, and freeze it. The night before I make the cinnamon rolls, I take them out of the freezer or the camp cooler and let them thaw overnight. The next morning, all I have to do is place them in the Dutch oven and bake.

Makes 12 rolls

  • 1 cup warm milk

  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons + ½ cup melted butter, divided

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 large egg

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon + more for garnish (optional)

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice or milk

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt, 3 tablespoons melted butter, vanilla, and egg.

Using a dough hook, mix in the flour on low speed. Once the dough starts to come together you can increase the speed to medium. Add more flour if needed so that the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be a little sticky.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and then cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise until it’s double in size. Usually about 1 hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

Punch down the dough and then roll out to about a 12-by-18-inch rectangle on a clean floured surface. Then brush the dough with the ½ cup melted butter. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle over the melted butter.

Tightly roll the dough lengthwise until you have 1 long roll. Now cut the roll in half and place each half in greased plastic wrap. Then place the wrapped dough in the freezer.

To make the icing, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, softened butter, and orange juice or milk until thoroughly combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or cooler until needed.

Remove from the refrigerator or cooler about 2 hours prior to using.

The night before baking the cinnamon rolls, take the rolls from the freezer or the ice chest and let them thaw overnight.

Approximately 2 hours before baking, slice each roll into 6 slices. Butter the inside of the Dutch oven and then arrange the slices cut side up. Cover securely with the lid and let them rise in a warm spot for about 1 to 2 hours.

Approximately 2 hours before baking, slice each roll into 6 slices. Butter the inside of the Dutch oven and then arrange the slices cut side up. Cover securely with the lid and let them rise in a warm spot for about 1 to 2 hours.

Remove the Dutch oven from the coals and brush off the coal dust. Remove the lid and let the cinnamon rolls cool slightly. Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls, garnish with cinnamon if desired, and serve.

PESTO, ASPARAGUS, PROSCIUTTO, AND SHAVED PARMESAN ON ITALIAN TOAST
This toast recipe always makes a dramatic addition to the dinner table. The colors and textures make for a beautiful presentation, and it’s so tasty you’ll want to eat more than one. Although this toast is an ideal main dish when accompanied by a spring-greens salad, it makes for a fresh and flavorful side too.

Makes 6 toasts

  • 2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic

  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 lemon zested and juiced

  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or a blend)

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ to ¾ pound asparagus (2 to 3 stalks per toast)

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar

  • 6 slices of ciabatta bread or Italian bread, toasted

  • 6 thin slices of prosciutto

  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan

To make the pesto, add the basil, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest and juice, walnuts, Parmesan or Romano cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the ingredients several times and be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula. Once the ingredients look combined but not pureed, put the lid of the food processor back on and drizzle slowly with the ½ cup olive oil as you pulse the ingredients. Once the mixture looks pureed and somewhat smooth, it will be done. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the asparagus on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle the asparagus with the salt and pepper and bake until crisp tender, about 5 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Once the asparagus pieces are done, set them aside and keep them warm.

Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring it to a simmer and continue to simmer until the vinegar has been reduced by half. Take it off the heat and keep it warm.

To assemble the toasts, place each piece on a platter or individual plates. Spread 1 tablespoon of pesto onto each toast. Then layer each toast with 2 or 3 asparagus stalks, cutting the stalks in half if needed. Then layer with 1 slice of prosciutto per toast and top with shaved Parmesan.

Drizzle each toast with the balsamic reduction and serve immediately.

Note: The pesto can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days. It’s lovely tossed over pasta with the leftover asparagus and prosciutto.

BAY SHRIMP SALAD ON THICK WHITE TOAST

Bay shrimp may be one of the most underappreciated types of seafood. It’s readily available and can be used in a multitude of recipes. Bay shrimp shines in this recipe where it’s combined with chives, pimentos, green onions, and cheddar cheese. This is a hearty toast that boasts both incredible flavor and texture.

Serves 6

  • 1 pound bay shrimp (the small salad shrimp)

  • ⅓ cup good-quality mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives

  • 4-ounce jar of pimentos, drained

  • ½ cup thin sliced green onions

  • ⅓ cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • ½ cup sliced black olives (optional)

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 6 slices thick white bread, toasted

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives, for garnish

  • ½ cup microgreens or sprouts, for garnish (optional)

Place the bay shrimp in a single layer on paper towels. Cover the bay shrimp with a few more paper towels and blot the shrimp, removing the excess moisture.

Put the shrimp in a bowl and add the mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon chives, pimentos, sliced green onions, cheddar cheese, olives if desired, and lemon zest. Gently toss to combine. When all the ingredients are well combined, season to taste with salt and pepper. Most brands of mayonnaise vary in salt, so it’s important to season the shrimp salad to taste.

Set the thick white toast on a platter or individual plates. Spread a little mayonnaise on each piece of toast. Then top each toast with ¼ to ⅓ cup of shrimp salad and garnish with fresh chopped chives and microgreens or sprouts if desired. Serve immediately.

Note: You can make this shrimp salad up to 24 hours before serving. Keep it in the refrigerator until needed.

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