Archive | November, 2015


shrimp cakes (3)

Shrimp is always a welcome start to a celebratory Thanksgiving meal and these mini shrimp cakes are no exception.  You can sauté the cakes in olive oil pan spray or even broil them for an even healthier preparation.  The remoulade is made with Greek yogurt and spicy whole grain mustard for an enlightened sauce to serve on the side.  The cakes can also be made larger to serve as a light entrée.



2 t                                         olive oil

1 ea                                      medium sized sweet potato, scrubbed & peeled and grated

3 T                                         onion, minced

3 T                                        green bell pepper, minced

3 T                                         celery, minced

½  t ea                                onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, dried basil, smoked paprika and dried thyme

Pinch                                  cayenne

1 ea                                      egg white

1 T                                         Worcestershire sauce

2 t                                         lemon juice

2 t                                         ground mustard

1 C                                        whole wheat panko bread crumbs

¼ C                                        minced parsley

1 #                                        cooked shrimp

Olive oil pan spray for frying

Heat 2 T olive oil or olive oil pan spray in a large nonstick skillet.  Sauté grated sweet potato, bell pepper, celery, garlic and spices.  Cook until vegetables soften but are not browned.

Working in batches, PULSE shrimp in food processor until coarsely chopped.

In a separate bowl, combine egg white, Worcestershire, lemon juice and mustard together.  Add sautéed vegetables and chopped shrimp.  Add ¾ C panko and parsley.  Mix gently to combine.  If needed and mixture is too loose, add remaining panko to allow mixture to hold together sufficiently to form into cakes.


Scoop mixture into scant tablespoons and form into balls.  Lightly flatten into disk shapes.  Chill cakes, covered, for at least 45 minutes.

Sauté in nonstick skillet with 2 t oil over medium high heat until lightly golden.  Flip over and cook 2 minutes more or until heated through.  Drain on paper towel lined plate.  Serve with Creole Remoulade*




1 C                                         ROASTED RED BELL PEPPER

2 T                                         MINCED SCALLIONS

1 T                                         WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD

1 EA                                     ZEST AND JUICE OF 1 LEMON

1 t                                         HONEY

1 C                                        PLAIN NON FAT GREEK YOGURT





chocolate chili bark (3)


This is a great addition to a dessert buffet for the holidays.  The bittersweet chocolate is not too sweet and the unexpected kick of chili is just right after an (if you’re like me) over indulgent meal.  It also makes a lovely addition to the top of a pumpkin pie with cream.  The chocolate bark keeps well in the refrigerator if it’s wrapped well or in an air tight container.  Additionally, it makes an EXCELLENT hostess gift!


10 oz                                    bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces or chips

1 t                                          toasted, ground Fresno chili

¼ C                                        toasted pumpkin seeds

1 T                                         sesame seeds

 4 T                                       toasted coconut or broken pretzels pieces

Generous pinch           sea salt


Melt chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler.  Meanwhile, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  *It is helpful to tape one end of the parchment to the sheet pan so it does not move or curl while you’re spreading the chocolate.  When chocolate is melted, add ground chili and mix well.  Working quickly, pour melted chocolate onto parchment and spread it in an 1/8” thick layer.  Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds,  and pretzels or coconut evenly over  chocolate.  Press lightly to adhere.  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Let sit at room temperature for 2 hours or until set.  Break into shards and refrigerate until ready to use.



Apple Cinnamon Horchata

horchata (4)

Horchata is a traditional beverage often served in Spain and Mexico.  It is typically made with rice, blanched almonds or tiger nuts, cinnamon and water.  It is refreshing served cold but I’ve found strangely delicious served warm with a bit of milk added. In this recipe I swapped out some of the more authentic ingredients in favor of pumpkin seeds and apple cider resulting in a non-traditional nod to Dia de Los Muertos and Halloween. The recipe is a two day process, but once the ingredients are combined, it’s essentially a hands-off recipe.

***It can also be served as a cold sparkling beverage by omitting the 2C of water and combining the reserved horchata with sparkling water or Sprite and serving over ice.


1/2 C                                  uncooked long grain white rice

1 C                                        blanched almonds

½ C                                        pumpkin seeds

3” piece                            cinnamon stick

3 C                                        apple cider

2 C                                        water

1” piece                            fresh ginger, chopped


Blanch almonds in boiling water for 1 minute.  Drain and rinse well under cold water.  Slip brown, papery skin off almonds. Toast along with pumpkin seeds in dry skillet until dry and slightly browned.

Combine rice, almonds and pumpkin seeds in a spice grinder and grind until fine powder.  Place powder in a large bowl and add cinnamon bark and set aside.

Heat 3 C apple cider in microwave or on stove top until just hot. Pour over ground rice mixture and allow to cool.  Cover and let sit at room temperature overnight or at least 8-10 hours.

The next day, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor.  Process until mixture is very smooth and well combined.  Add 2 Cups cold water and chopped ginger,  process again.

Strain the mixture into a pitcher through a double thickness of cheesecloth set in a fine mesh strainer.  Squeeze the solids to remove as much of the rice flavor as possible.  The goal is to remove as much of the rice/nut pulp as possible while getting as much of the flavor out as you can.

Refrigerate and serve over ice or heat and serve like hot apple cider. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks if desired.

Serves 6



hasselback sweet potatoes (8)

Sweet potatoes are a part of every holiday meal in our family.  I love them, but can get tired of the same brown sugar, pecan (or even marshmallow) preparations.  Here’s a new idea that looks time consuming but is actually pretty easy.  They still have a hint of sweetness but lots of herb-y bread crumbs to round out the flavor.  I’ve come up with a clever trick to help in the prep work that yields perfect results every time!



6 ea                                      medium sized sweet potatoes, scrubbed & peeled

2 T                                         melted butter

3 T                                        whole milk or cream

1 C                                         whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ C                                       grated parmesan cheese

2 cloves                             garlic

1 T                                         fresh thyme, minced

1 t                                         fresh rosemary, minced

1 ea                                      zest of 1 tangerine

2 T                                         cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

2 t                                         salt and freshly ground black pepper

Special equipment ;   2    12” chopsticks and masking tape


Prepare bread crumb topping:  combine whole wheat bread crumbs, minced herbs, garlic cloves tangerine zest, parmesan, salt, pepper and butter cubes in the bowl of a food processor.  Process crumbs in quick pulses to a cornmeal-like consistency.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare sweet potatoes:  Tape chopsticks parallel to each other on a cutting board about 2” apart.  Slice  1/8” off the bottom of each potato.  Lay the potato lengthwise between them so that the potato is slightly elevated off the cutting board.  This will prevent your knife from cutting all the way through the potato.  Thinly slice crosswise in 1/8” slices taking care not to cut all the way through the potato.  After slicing, place potatoes in a foil lined baking dish.

Combine melted butter and milk and drizzle over potatoes.  Take care to get mixture between the potato layers.  Top potatoes with prepared crumb mixture, again making sure to get the crumb mixture between the layers.  Press remaining crumbs on top of potatoes.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake until almost fork tender, about 40 minutes.  Remove foil top and return to oven for 10 minutes longer to crisp the top of potatoes.