½ ea. onion, diced

1 T garlic, minced

2 t smoked paprika

1 T ground cumin

2 t dried oregano

1 t ground coriander

½ t cayenne (or to taste)

Pinch of granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

3 C chicken or vegetable stock

2 t sherry vinegar

3 tomatoes with accumulated juice, chopped


½ C pineapple, diced

½  C banana, diced (not too ripe is better)

3 T red onion, minced

1 small orange, supreme (see how @

2 t jalapeno, seeded and minced (or to taste)

2 T cilantro, chopped

½ lime, juice


Sauté sofrito – onions, garlic and seasonings – in 2 T olive oil over medium high heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the garlic from burning. Add sugar and salt and sauté briefly.

Deglaze the pan with sherry vinegar scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Add chopped tomatoes and their accumulated juices. Simmer to soften tomatoes and reduce mixture slightly.   Lightly mash tomatoes before adding rinsed and drained beans and chicken stock.  Simmer for 30-40 minutes.

While soup simmers, prepare banana-pineapple garnish. In a bowl, gently combine all ingredients.  Set aside to allow flavors to blend before using.

Using an immersion blender, lightly puree the soup. You are after a slightly thickened broth with some whole beans. (Alternatively, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor.) Season soup with a little more vinegar and salt if needed.

To serve, fill shallow soup bowl with soup and top with a generous spoonful of banana-pineapple relish.

Serves 2

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½ ripe, honeydew melon, cut into ¼” cubes (you may also substitute cantaloupe or watermelon)

1 T fresh mint or basil, chopped

2 t sherry vinegar

2 t   honey

2 oz. thin sliced prosciutto, torn into bite size pieces

2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” cubes

½ ea. high quality baguette, sliced into ¼” thick slices.


Prepare crostini:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sliced baguette on rimmed baking sheets and brush with olive oil or spray lightly with olive oil pan spray.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake 12-15 minute or until crostini are browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and cool slightly before proceeding with recipe.  Alternately, grill baguette slices on the grill until lightly charred.

Prepare topping:  Combine honeydew, mint (or basil) honey, sherry vinegar and cubed mozzarella in a medium bowl.  Let flavors combine for 5 minutes.  Add torn prosciutto and place on top of crostini.

Serves 4-6



2 C Blackberries

3 T granulated sugar

2 T warm water

Juice of 2 limes

1 handful mint leaves

2 ¼ C Bourbon (you may substitute Vodka or Rum if you prefer)

2 C club soda

Crushed iced


In a 1-quart covered container, combine blackberries, granulated sugar, water, lime juice, and mint leaves. Using a spoon, crush berries lightly to release juice. Place lid on container and shake vigorously to combine ingredients. Add bourbon if using and shake again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a glass pitcher, being sure to press out all the liquid with the back of a spoon. Add club soda. Stir in ice to fill pitcher. Garnish each drink with additional mint sprigs.

*Note: if you prefer a mocktail, omit the bourbon and add 4 ¼ C club soda.


Spread thin slices of baguette with extra virgin olive oil and pesto. Top with slivers of sundried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  Broil briefly until cheese melts.

Top whole grain bread with a mild creamy cheese (such as goat cheese) and garnish with sliced kiwi and berries.

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3 T non-fat Greek yogurt

¼ C non-fat or reduced fat mayonnaise

1 clove garlic minced

½ t Worcestershire

1 ea. anchovy filets or 1 t anchovy paste (or to taste)

3 T parmesan cheese, grated

1 ea. juice of 1 lemon

1 t red wine vinegar

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Water to thin if needed


½ slice whole wheat bread

2 t   olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T parsley, minced


½ # Brussels sprouts

2 T parmesan cheese, coarsely grated

2 ea. grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast


Prepare croutons. Process bread in food processor fitted with metal blade until fine crumbs form. In small skillet, over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add garlic and bread crumbs.  Toast until crumbs are crispy and fragrant.  Remove from skillet and salt and pepper liberally.  Toss in chopped parsley. Set aside

Prepare Caesar Dressing:  Combine garlic, Worcestershire, anchovy, parmesan, lemon juice, vinegar, and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until well combined.  Add mayonnaise and yogurt and pulse gently.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Add a little water if dressing seems too thick.  Dressing may be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Prepare the sprouts.  Trim the rough ends off the sprouts and carefully remove outer leaves.  Shave remaining inner bulb into thin ribbons.  Alternately you can use a food processor to shred sprouts. Combine Brussels sprouts and remaining parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl.  Lightly toss with ¼ of the prepared Caesar vinaigrette.  Add additional dressing as needed. *Take care not to overdress the salad.  Serve the salad on top of grilled chicken breast topped with seasoned breadcrumb croutons.

Serves 2

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3 T plain Greek yogurt

1 T mayonnaise (homemade or high quality store bought)

1 T honey

1 T cider vinegar

1C  cabbage, shredded

1 T cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


1 1/2 C water

¾ C brown lentils, rinsed

½ # chicken breast, ground

1 clove garlic, minced

½ large yellow onion, chopped

1 T olive oil

Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 C ketchup

1 T prepared yellow

½ T brown sugar

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1 T molasses

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 whole wheat hamburger buns split with bottom half hollowed out and toasted


COOK LENTILS: Combine water and lentils in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium.  Cover and simmer until lentils are tender – about 20 minutes.  Take care not to overcook.  Drain and set aside.

PREPARE COLSLAW:  Whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper together.  Toss with shredded cabbage and cilantro.  Set aside.

PREPARE SLOPPY JOES:  Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook until the onions have softened and are translucent.  Stir in ketchup, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and cayenne.  Simmer 5-7 minutes until thickened.  Set aside.

In a separate skillet, heat olive oil and sauté ground chicken over medium heat until cooked through.  Add cooked lentils and reserved bbq sauce.   Simmer 5 minutes.  *You may need to adjust consistency with a little water.

ASSEMBLE SLOPPY JOES: Spoon chicken-lentil mixture into slightly hollowed out bottom bun.  Top with slaw, pickled vegetables and bun lids.

Serves 2

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1 T vinegar – good quality red or white wine, champagne, balsamic, sherry

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 t shallot, minced

Pinch of sugar (optional)

½ t salt

½ t Dijon mustard

2 ½ T – 3 T extra virgin olive oil


Whisk by hand: Combine minced shallot, sugar, Dijon and salt in a small mixing bowl. If you are adding other aromatics or seasonings, add them now. Squeeze lemon over the bowl. Add the vinegar and beat with a wire whisk. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk until the mixture turns opaque and the seasonings are suspended. Tip: To prevent your bowl from spinning while you whisk, you may want to shape a slightly damp tea towel or piece of paper toweling into a small ring and nestle your bowl inside.


Immersion blender or Mason jar: You can use an immersion blender (for larger quantities) or a Mason jar with a tight fitting lid to make vinaigrettes too. Blend or shake up the acids and other ingredients first. Then add the oil. Shake or blend again until an emulsion forms. *Note: If you are adding fresh herbs, I prefer to add them at the end when using an immersion blender. That way you keep the fresh herbs recognizable rather than crushing them into a paste.

Enough to dress a green salad for 2.

Recipe may be scaled up without issue

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6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces

1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 ½ t sugar

¼ C ice cold water + more if needed


Cut chilled butter and shortening into ½-inch cubes and place in freezer.

In the work bowl of the food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar and frozen butter and shortening. Pulse in 1-second bursts, about 5-7 times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces remaining.

Remove the lid and sprinkle the ice water (minus the ice) over the flour mixture. Replace lid and pulse again until mixture comes together slightly and is evenly moistened.  You should be able to pinch a portion of the pastry together and have it hold its shape. If it won’t hold shape, carefully add more water one tablespoon at a time and pulse until proper consistency is achieved.

Turn out dough onto a sheet of plastic film, cover and form into a flat disk.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using.


2 T olive oil

½ onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ¼” dice

1 small zucchini, cut into ¼ “dice

1 ea. red and green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼” dice

1 t kosher salt

2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 T sherry vinegar

1 large sprig of fresh thyme

Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste

¼ C fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

3 T fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat.  Sweat the onion and garlic until softened and just beginning to color.

Add the eggplant, squash and bell peppers.  Stir in salt and sauté until vegetables have softened but still have a bit of bite.

Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, thyme sprig, and hot sauce to taste. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat and cook, about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened.  Remove from heat and discard thyme sprig.

Stir in basil and parsley. Set aside to cool or refrigerate for up to one week. The filling may also be frozen for up to one month.


2 cloves garlic, minced very fine (if you have roasted garlic –see VDP #22 for recipe – on hand, this would be a good place to use it)

¼ t saffron threads

Juice of ½ lemon

½ C homemade or high quality mayonnaise

2 T bread crumbs

½ t cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

3 T high quality flavorful olive oil


Warm lemon juice in the microwave for 10 seconds. Add garlic and saffron swirling to combine.  Allow saffron to bloom for 2 minutes.  *The longer you steep saffron the more pronounced flavor and color your rouille will have.

In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, breadcrumbs and cayenne. Add lemon-garlic mixture. Using an immersion blender pulse until mixture is smooth and creamy. Then, while blending, slowly add olive oil in a thin stream blending until well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. 

Rouille may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Preheat oven to 400. (Video prep for making and rolling out pate brisee:

When ready to assemble pie remove pastry from refrigerator and cut off 1/3 or disk and set aside to use for lattice top. Quickly reshape remaining dough into a rough circle.

Sprinkle countertop with 1T flour and place remaining pastry on it. Sprinkle top lightly with flour. Use a rolling pin, roll from the center off the edge of the dough.  Try to avoid back and forth rolling – by rolling from the center off the dough, you’ll prevent the rolling pin from bringing the dough back onto itself.

Continue rolling until you get a circle large enough to cover your pie plate with a 1 ½” overhang. Use rolling pin to transfer dough to pie pan.  Gently nudge pastry into shape. Refrigerate while rolling out smaller disk for top crust.

Roll out remaining dough and cut into 1” wide strips. Fill pie with vegetable filling spreading evenly. Arrange strips in a lattice pattern on top of filling. Tuck edges of pastry strips and overhang under and crimp edges. Brush lattice top with egg wash if desired.

Place pie on baking sheet to catch any drips.  Bake pie on bottom oven rack for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 45 minute or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.  Cool 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4-6

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1 T         extra virgin olive oil

3         avocados, halved and pitted

 Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper


1 small        Onion, diced

2 cloves        garlic, minced

1 ea.        jalapeno pepper, minced (or to taste)

1 T         ground chili powder

1 t         ground cumin

1 C         canned tomatoes, chopped

1 #         ground turkey

2 C         fresh corn kernels

¼ C        cilantro leaves, chopped

Pico de Gallo for serving (store bought or homemade)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions, jalapeno, garlic and spices.  Sauté until onions are tender and spices are fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add ground turkey and cook until the turkey is no longer pink and cooked through.  Add canned tomatoes and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly.  Stir in cilantro and corn.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside while you prepare the avocados.

Prepare Avocados:

Heat grill to medium high heat.  Cut avocados in half and remove pit. Brush cut avocado halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill avocados, flesh side down until bright green and grill marks appear.  Remove from heat and squeeze cut lime over the top. 

Fill cavity with seasoned turkey mixture.  Top with Pico de Gallo and spicy lime aioli (recipe follows)


4T        sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt

2T        Fresh lime juice

2T        Honey

2T        homemade or high quality mayonnaise

1T        Ketchup

1T        Chipotle chili in adobo, minced (or to taste)

½ clove        Garlic, minced

¼t        Ground Cumin

2 T        Cilantro, Minced


Mix the yogurt, lime juice, light mayonnaise, honey, ketchup, minced chili, garlic, and cumin in small bowl or with an immersion blender until smooth.  

Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in chopped cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.  

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2 eggs

2 T milk, half and half or cream

1T water

Pinch Cayenne, or to taste

1 t olive oil

2 oz. asparagus, cut into ½” pieces

2 oz. ham, cut into small cubes

2 scallions, minced

¼ roasted red pepper, diced * see previous VDP link

¼ C goat cheese, crumbled

2 T chopped fresh herbs                                                                                                                                                                                   


Whisk eggs, milk, water,cayenne and a pinch of salt in a bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Heat a 6” non-stick or well-seasoned sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add asparagus, ham and scallion. Cook until asparagus is tender and scallion is fragrant. Add custard to pan and cook while gently stirring eggs. Nudge the custard toward the center of the pan with a spatula, while loosening the eggs from the bottom of the pan. Tilt the pan to allow the uncooked eggs to flow to the bottom.  You do not want to cook the custard entirely at this point – the custard should still be slightly wet. Add crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Shake pan to distribute custard and filling evenly. Allow frittata to cook undisturbed for 30-45 seconds or until bottom is set and lightly browned. 

MASTER THE FLIP: When golden, loosen the frittata from the bottom of the pan using a rubber spatula. Then, remove the pan from the heat and tilt the pan forward to allow the frittata to slide to the rim of the pan. Then toss the frittata up (to get the eggs airborne) while at the same time pulling the pan back slightly. This ‘jerk’ will allow you to catch the frittata more easily after the flip. Place pan back on heat and cook until bottom is browned and custard is cooked through.

MASTER THE COOK-INVERT-TRANSFER: When golden, loosen the frittata from the bottom of the pan using a rubber spatula. Then, remove the pan from the heat. Invert a dinner plate over the pan. Then, invert the pan and plate together; lifting off the pan once the frittata is on the plate cooked side up. Slide the frittata back into the pan. Place pan back on heat and cook until bottom is browned and custard is cooked through.

MASTER THE BAKE:  Using an oven proof pan, cook the filling ingredients as directed. Add custard and then slide pan into a preheated 350 oven for 14-16 minutes or until frittata is cooked through.

Loosen the cooked frittata from the skillet and slide onto a cutting board.  Sprinkle lightly with S & P. Cut into wedges to serve with green salad if desired.

Serves 2

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2 C                           (1/2 C dried) cooked white beans – you may substitute canned beans, drained and rinsed)

2 C                           cherry or grape tomatoes

2 t                            mashed anchovy fillet or anchovy paste (or to taste)

1 T                           roasted garlic (about 3 cloves)

¼ C  + 2 t                 extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 T                           red wine vinegar

1 T                           capers, drained, rinsed

¼  C                         red onion, thinly sliced

1 C                           Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

2 T                           fresh mint, chopped

1 C                           romaine, chopped

salt and pepper


Roast Garlic: Cut off the top ¼” of a head of garlic to expose the cloves.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Place on double thickness of aluminum foil and wrap well.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until garlic is very soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Set aside.  You may roast garlic ahead of time and store in refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Prepare Salad: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss grape or cherry tomatoes in a bowl with 2 t of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Place on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until tomatoes are wrinkled and browned, but still firm.  Set aside.

Mash capers, roasted garlic, and anchovies with a mortar and pestle until you have a somewhat smooth paste.  Add vinegar and a few of the roasted grape tomatoes to paste and mash well.  Slowly add remaining olive oil and whisk until incorporated.  In a large mixing bowl, toss cooked white beans, red onion slivers, kalamata olives and chopped mint with the prepared vinaigrette. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve the bean salad on chopped romaine lightly dressed with a bit of oil and vinegar.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Serves 2 generously

*Roasting the garlic for the vinaigrette may seem like an unnecessary step, but the big-time flavor payoff is totally worth it. Once roasted, garlic loses its raw, sharp flavor and mellows to something that is subtle, sweet and positively addictive. *Video prep   It is such a versatile ingredient that I consider it to be a kitchen essential.  Roasted garlic is often my go-to ingredient when I need to amp up the flavor of a soup, sauce, marinade or dressing. You can even spread it on a toasted baguette or crostini for a delicious hors d’oeuvre. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and can be frozen for much longer. So, while you are at it, I suggest roasting a couple of heads so you will always have this miracle ingredient on hand. Then when a recipe needs a little zing, stir some in, have a taste, and give yourself a hearty back-pat for being so smart!

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1.25 # (3 cups)   seedless watermelon, rind removed – cut into chunks

1 basket               vine ripened grape or cherry tomatoes

1 C                          cucumber, peeled, seeded and rough chopped

¼ C ea.                 red and yellow bell pepper, rough  chopped

3 T                          red onion, minced

½ C                         artisan bread (not sourdough)

1 clove                  garlic, minced

1 t                           jalapeno, minced (omit or to taste)

3 T ea.                   fresh basil and parsley, chopped

1 ea.                      juice and zest of lime

2 T                          Sherry vinegar

2 T                          very fruity olive oil, plus more for finishing the soup

¼ C                         feta cheese, crumbled

2 ea.                      shishito peppers

Salt and ground white pepper to taste


Rough chop all vegetables.  Place each vegetable separately in the food processor fitted with steel blade and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Take care not to over-process vegetables.  You want a chunky texture rather than a puree.  As each vegetable is chopped, add it to a large mixing bowl.  Pulse bread in the food processor until it is ground fine.  Add to the vegetable mixture. 

Add watermelon to food processor and puree.  Add puree to vegetable-bread mixture. Add minced garlic, jalapeno, herbs, lime, sherry vinegar, olive oil, salt and white pepper.  Mix well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Longer refrigeration will intensify flavors.

While soup chills, roast peppers. Heat a heavy flat-bottom skillet over medium high heat. Add 1T of vegetable oil and whole shishito peppers (or sliced bell peppers) and toss well. Cook until peppers are blistered and nicely browned but still crisp. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Ladle chilled gazpacho into bowls, top with crumbled feta, roasted shishito or bell pepper.  Drizzle with additional olive oil.

Serves 2 generously with leftovers

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