Raw Vegetable “Ceviche” Salad


Summer is winding down (was it ever here?).   That means its time to savor every bit of flavor from our summer harvest.    

What a better way to enjoy fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits than a terrific…..and colorful….salad.   What’s even better?  You don’t have to turn on your oven to make any of it.

This terrific raw vegetable salad is marinated in a lime vinaigrette.    Make it up to 6 hours before serving if you like.   Right before serving, toss in the fresh mint and cilantro and garnish with optional edible flowers.    

Don’t have all the vegetables listed?   Feel free to use what you have in our garden.   And the nectarines?   You can substitute peaches, strawberries, blueberries, apricots or raspberries.

Hope you enjoy this colorful, flavorful and healthy late summer salad!



Raw Vegetable Salad with Cilantro and Lime
Serves 8

1 cup edamame, shelled (thawed frozen)
Zest of 2 limes
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 green onion, roots removed, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and thinly sliced
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
one zucchini or yellow squash, cut into ¼ inch dice
corn from 3 ears of corn
3 nectarines, NOT PEELED, cut into thin wedges
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados cut into ½ inch cubes
a little salt and white pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh mint, julienned
edible flower garnish (optional)

In a bowl, whisk the lime zest and juice with the olive oil, scallion, jalapeno and shallot.  Season with a pinch of salt and white pepper.  Set aside while preparing the vegetables.

In a large bowl, combine the edamame, corn, tomatoes and nectarines.     Drizzle with dressing and carefully toss to combine.   Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 6 hours.   When ready to serve, add the avocado and fresh herbs.   Garnish with whole herbs and/or edible flowers.



Posted in Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Uncategorized, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Summer Appetizers

spring rolls

Summer is a great time for entertaining.    Here are a couple of my favorite summer appetizer recipes that you may want to try while entertaining friends and family members.     Best of all, you can make them all ahead (or have the components ready) so you can spend important “visiting time” with your guests.   Enjoy!

summer roll

Summer Rolls
Makes 6
You can make these several hours ahead of time.    Wrap the rolls individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.   You can find the rice paper and rice noodles in most large grocery stores in the Asian food area.  Poached shrimp are also a nice addition to the spring rolls.

2 ounces of cellophane or Thai rice noodles
6 rice paper rounds
12 basil or mint leaves
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup green onion, root removed, sliced on a diagonal using the white and tender green parts
1 red or yellow pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
4 to 5 leaf lettuce leaves or shredded cabbage
6 rice paper rounds or squares
Bring water to a boil and cook rice noodles according to directions   Drain, rinse and cool.   Set aside.*

Line up your ingredients in small bowls before beginning to make the rolls.  You should have the basil/mint leaves, carrot, green onions, peppers and lettuce leaves along with the cooked rice noodles.

Fill a pan large enough to accommodate the size of your rice paper.   Place 1 inch of very warm water in the pan.   Place a rice paper round in the pan.    Soak for between 30 seconds to a minute or until rice round is pliable and the pattern on the paper is barely visible (once you get good at rolling, you can do two pieces at a time!)    Remove and place on a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel.

Place 2 basil or mint leaves on the rice round about 1 inch from the edge and leaving about 1 inch on each side.    Top with some of the rice noodles.   Top with some julienne vegetables.    Put a lettuce leaf on top of the pile.

Bring the edge over the filling and tuck underneath.   As you continue to roll, fold in the sides.   Finish rolling, repeating with the other pieces of rice paper.    Wrap the completed summer rolls individually in plastic wrap so that they don’t dry out.   Spring rolls can be prepared several hours ahead and refrigerated.

Tipthe amount of cooking time for the rice noodles varies depending on the type of noodle you select.  Some don’t even need cooking…just hot water to plump.   I try to get very thin rice noodles which make rolling the summer rolls easier.

Peanut Dipping sauce
¾ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (to taste)
1 medium garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon sesame oil

Place ingredients in the bowl.   The sauce can be made in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or you can blend by hand using a wire whisk.   Process until smooth.   Taste.   Adjust seasoning as needed.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water.    Refrigerate until ready to use.

sweet pot quesadella

Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Quesadilla
Makes 6 servings

3 medium sweet potatoes, washed
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon oregano
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups chopped fresh kale
3 green onions
12 small to medium flour tortillas (use corn tortillas for a gluten free option)
2 ½ cups of grated cheddar cheese

Topping suggestions
Greek yogurt or sour cream

For the quesadilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Line a baking pan with foil or parchment paper.  Place the whole sweet potatoes on the pan.   Roast in the preheated oven until a paring knife goes through the potatoes easily.   This will take about 35 to 50 minutes depending on the potato size.   Remove and let cool to the touch.   When cool enough to handle, split the potatoes and scoop out.  Place sweet potato flesh in a bowl and mash with a potato masher.  

In a medium skillet, add the olive oil (it should be just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.   When hot, add the kale and green onions.   Sauté for 2 minutes or until the kale turns a bright green and is tender.   Remove from the heat.  Add to the potato mixture and mash to combine.  Keep the skillet out for finishing the quesadilla.

Have two cookie sheet pans ready.  Line them with foil or parchment paper. 

Fold in the drained black beans and the spices.  Evenly spread the potato bean mixture among 6 tortillas.  Divide the cheese over the filling.    Top with another tortilla and press gently.

Wipe out the skillet you used for the kale.   Set over medium heat.   Spray the skillet with a nonstick cooking spray (PAM).  Place a quesadilla in the pan and cook until lightly browned.  Carefully flip the quesadilla.  When lightly browned on both sides, remove and place on prepared pan.   Continue with the remaining quesadillas.   The quesadillas can be served at this point, or covered with saran wrap and rewarmed in a 250 degree oven for 7 to 8 minutes.

crab and corn cakes

Crab and Fresh Corn Cakes
Makes 12  to 16 depending on the size you would like to make
These delicious crab and corn cakes are a combination crab cake & fritter. Make them ahead and rewarm in a 275 degree oven.

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup crabmeat (checked to make sure it is free of shells)
One large ear of fresh corn
2 large eggs beaten
A pinch of cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup loosely packed herbs of choice (I like to use cilantro, mint, basil and/or sage)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for sautéing the cakes)

To make the crab corn cakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Line a baking pan with parchment paper.   Combine the onion, garlic, crabmeat and corn in a large bowl.  Toss well to combine.  Add the eggs and mix well.   Add the cayenne pepper, paprika, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

Add the flour, cornmeal and baking powder and mix just until the batter comes together.  Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a large, nonstick sauté pan until melted and bubbling.   Ladle cakes into the pan without overcrowding them and cook until golden grown—2 to 3 minutes per side.  Place on the baking pan and bake for 5 minutes to make sure they are cooked thru and hot.

To serve, place two cakes on each plate.  Garnish with citrus mayonnaise and salsa

1 ½ cups prepared mayonnaise
½ cup chopped herbs of choice (nice selections are mint, tarragon, oregano and/or basil)
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one lime

Combine and refrigerate until ready to serve.   If you like, you can place this mixture in a food processor and pulse to combine.   Then it can be put into a squeeze bottle so you can “decorate” your crab cakes!

Here are some SUMMER SALAD recipes you may enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Beet Infused Goat Cheese Salad

Avocado and Pomegranate Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Strawberry Salad with Montrachet “Truffles”














Posted in Uncategorized

Blueberry Chipotle Lime Ketchup



There’s more to ketchup than the all-American tomato version we have all come to love. 

In fact, ketchup isn’t American in its origin at all.  Instead, think Asian.   And  fish.

The creation of ketchup dates back to 16th century China.   The South China Sea was an international shipping hub, bringing a variety of European vessels to the area.    It’s here where Dutch and British sailors were introduced to a pungent sauce made with fermented fish.  Anchovies were often used, creating a highly salted, amber-colored liquid.

This original fish-based ketchup is similar to the Vietnamese sauce we now know as nouc mam or nam pla in Thai.    Chinese sailors called the sauce ke-tsiap.

European merchants brought the sauce to their homeland.   There it was transformed in to a variety of local renditions.  Though fish was often used as an ingredient, vegetables and fruit were frequently added to create new ketchup versions.    Vinegar, sugar, salt and spices were added to the mixture that was then cooked down to a thick sauce consistency and pureed.

Henry John Heinz, a Philadelphia native, created the tabletop version we have come to know and love.   Heinz insisted on clear containers which he felt showed the product’s purity.   Today, various brands of ketchup can be found in over 97 percent of American households.

Although the tomato-based product is still the most well-known version of the condiment, chefs across the country are creating their own versions of artisan ketchups.   Spices like curry and smoked paprika as well as fruits like peaches and blueberries are being added to create new flavor profiles.  These new ketchup versions are used to enhance everything from grilled fish and pork tacos to dipping sauces for french fries and roasted sweet potato wedges.

Here is a great ketchup recipe that uses blueberries instead of tomatoes.   Chipotle peppers are added along with lime for some extra spice and flavor.   Use this terrific ketchup on everything from sweet potato fries to grilled chicken and salmon.

Blueberry chipotle 3

Blueberry Chipotle Lime Ketchup
Makes 2 cups

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
3 ½ cups fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chilies in adobe sauce (about 2 chilies)
Zest and juice from one lime
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt

 Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart dutch oven or heavy saucepot.   Add the onion and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add all of the remaining ingredients.   Bring to a boil.   Reduce heat to a simmer.   Simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until the mixture is reduced by one third.

Let mixture cool slightly.   Puree the ketchup mixture in a food processor.  Store in a container and refrigerate for up to three weeks or place in sterilized jars and process for canning.

Posted in Appetizers, Recipes, sides, Vegetarian | Tagged , , ,