Shrimp Scampi in a Garlic Butter Sauce with Pasta

From The Kitchen of Kim & Mary Shrimp Scampi in a Garlic Butter Sauce with Pasta (Tom and Tracy Note: Two of our favorite places to dine on the road in Southern California or Northern California are at one of the homes of our intrepid traveling companions, Kim and Mary (we were very happy when they added their new location).  Both are wonderful home chefs, plus they don’t charge us a corkage fee. This recipe is their daughter’s favorite and just one of the numerous terrific recipes they have created for us throughout the years.)                     This is a super easy recipe, as long as you do all the preparation before you start cooking.  Once … Read more…

Donna Jean’s Tropical Pork Carnitas Mini Tostadas

Bet You Can’t Eat Just One Donna Jean’s Tropical Pork Carnitas Mini Tostadas Appetizer For Tom’s 65th birthday party in July, we decided to celebrate with a fiesta catered by the terrific La Cabañita Restaurant in Montrose (technically Glendale).  Since La Cabañita was only bringing dinner items, I needed to prepare a few appetizers for the party.  In addition to guacamole and chips, I made Grilled Watermelon Gazpacho served in shot glasses, Black Bean Salsa and Salsa Baked Goat Cheese Dip. However, I felt this just wouldn’t be enough food to soak up the muchas margaritas, sangria and cerveza we were also serving.  (Did I mention we were expecting 65 people?)                                    … Read more…

Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin & Lime

Some Like It Cold! Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin & Lime Appetizer or Main Course It’s been blistering hot here in Southern California lately…so scorching in fact that it’s too hot to barbecue or even turn on the oven.  So, what to make for dinner?  Soup…chilled soup that is.  I turned to my favorite soup cookbook, Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom, for a recipe.  Tom wanted a chilled cantaloupe soup, but I vetoed that, opting instead to make the Chilled Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime.   To make this a little more robust for a meal, I added a garnish of diced radishes, cilantro, lime zest and some crumbled Queso Fresco.  Avocado would be a nice addition too, but I … Read more…

Salsa Baked Goat Cheese and Chorizo Dip

Olé! Salsa Baked Goat Cheese and Chorizo Dip Appetizer This recipe is adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe that I found in a Williams-Sonoma booklet in 2002.  It has been a consistent winner over the years but I got bored with it and decided it needed something …. something to take it up a notch or two.  Hmmm, chorizo! Disclosure:  I am a reluctant fan of chorizo.  Tom loves it, but I don’t like to think about what it is made from, and I also hate cooking with it … too much grease.  But thank goodness for Trader Joe’s.  They sell a delicious soy chorizo (soy chorizo should also be available at your neighborhood grocery store) that has all the … Read more…

Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits  

Bone Appétit! Barefoot Contessa’s Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits As some of you may know, we have two Pembroke Welsh corgis named Frankie and Remi.  They are brother and sister from the same litter.  We adopted them when they were two years old. They are joyful and exuberant (although they were quite tired on that long drive home seven years ago). As seen in this Vanity Fair piece, corgis are Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dog. They are also super smart and athletic.  Because they are herding dogs, they need to be kept busy.  We have taken many agility classes over the years and even once took them to a ranch in Malibu to herd sheep.  That experience set us back … Read more…

Borough Market Cheese Toastie

Say “Cheese!” Borough Market Cheese Toastie Main Course Having recently returned from our London / Scotland holiday (trip report coming soon!), we were in the mood for the delicious cheese toastie we had at the Kappacasein Stall at the Borough Market in London on a previous trip.  We tried this sandwich on our first excursion to London in 2013.  Tom liked it more than I did, but I changed my mind after trying it again last month.                              Biting into the crunchy, toasted cheese goodness, I realized the addition of leeks and onions made for sheer perfection.  As you can see, Tom’s eating manners have not improved in the past four years. The sign hanging over the Kappacasein stall…          … Read more…

Mom’s Grasshopper Pie

Patience Grasshopper Mom’s Grasshopper Pie Dessert Grasshopper Pie is one of Tom’s childhood favorite desserts.  I make it for him every year on his birthday.  Today, we roll it out early in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, not because it’s Irish, but because it’s green! The easiest way to make this pie is with a 9” pre-made chocolate crumb crust.  However, I find those pre-made crusts aren’t really deep enough to hold the entire recipe.  Not to mention, the tin foil pan does not make for an appetizing picture. For today’s pie, I made the pie crust on the side of the box of Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. This is an old-school minty chocolate delicious dessert that will have your … Read more…

Skillet Cornbread with Hatch Chiles & Spicy Cheese with Hatch Chile Honey Butter

Cornbread With A Kick! Skillet Cornbread with Hatch Chiles & Spicy Cheese with Hatch Chile Honey Butter Category: Side Dish One of my favorite things to eat at Bandera’s or Houston’s Restaurants (part of the Hillstone group of restaurants) is their Iron-Skillet Cornbread.  They serve it as an appetizer, but it really could be a meal with a small side salad.   Cheesy rich and yummy on the inside, and crunchy on the outside from baking in the cast-iron skillet.  I was so excited to see the recipe in Bon Appetite  that Tom and I immediately made it, and it was every bit as good as the restaurant. With all the rain Southern California is (finally!) getting, I decided to … Read more…

Limoncello Orange Sugar Cookies

When Life Hands You Lemons and Oranges… Limoncello Orange Sugar Cookies Our next door neighbor, she of the fabulous fig tree, also has an incredible Meyer lemon tree (very pretty) that fortuitously hangs into our yard and provides us with lemons nearly year round.  After reading the recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies in Dorie’s Cookies, I decided to give it a try with Pat’s lemons. I wish you could smell these lemons!  Unlike many of the lemons you buy in the store, these exude the sweetest scent and are really juicy.  To maximize the amount of juice you can get from a lemon, roll it around on the counter with your palm a little bit before squeezing it. If you … Read more…

Steakhouse Spinach Artichoke Dip

Tracy’s “Secret” Recipe Dip Steakhouse Spinach Artichoke Dip There are lots of really good spinach artichoke dip recipes out there.  This one was given to me years ago and allegedly is the “secret” recipe of a famous steakhouse (although the restaurant was never divulged).  This recipe never fails and is a party favorite.  For large parties, I double the recipe and serve it in a crock-pot to keep it warm. The best thing about this dip is it is made ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld and to free up the kitchen and you.  Just bring it to room temperature before baking.   And because there aren’t enough calories and deliciousness in this recipe, next time I am … Read more…