Oil Poached Spanish Sherried Shrimp

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 1.14.11 PM

Spanish poached shrimp1 Oil Poached Spanish Sherried ShrimpIf there were a self help group for overzealous cookbook collectors I’d be a charter member. You don’t even have to walk into my kitchen to know I am obsessed with food – my bookshelves proudly display the evidence. There is no rhyme or reason to my collection – and there is no organization either, but we’ll talk about that another time, ok?

So, my latest addition is “Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil” by Mary Platis and Laura Bashar – two very talented ladies that I have the good fortune to know personally. Recently, Melissa’s Produce invited to to a luncheon to launch the book and learn a little more about olive oil with George Menzelos of Arianna Trading Company.

Screen Shot 2014 10 22 at 1.14.11 PM Oil Poached Spanish Sherried Shrimp

I am sure you are all thinking “olive oil? What is there to know?’ But after this lunch I learned there is a lot!

Cooking Techniques and Recipes with Olive Oil is  chock full of fabulous information about olive oil –  from varieties to processing methods to how to buy it  to my personal favorite – techniques. You know, how to really cook with olive oil! One technique that intrigued me  though was the concept of oil poaching – literally using oil instead of water to cook foods.

Food. Cooked. In. Olive. Oil. Yesssssss………

Poached Spanish Shrimp Oil Poached Spanish Sherried Shrimp

Since I had a shrimp recipe I was working on, I thought the oil poaching technique would work so I toddled into the kitchen to give it ago.  Now, see those lovely shrimp on the plate?? Well, if you can get them to the plate after cooking them, more power to you – the first batch  didn’t make it that far….

So, I just had to make another batch because I couldn’t stop eating them so that I could show you!

Juicy, tender shrimp flavored with garlic, smoked paprika, tomatoes , preserved lemons and sherry bathed in that glorious olive oil.  Serve them with some crusty bread to sop up all that luscious oil or add a bed of pasta – to um… sop up all that luscious oil… or just eat ‘em out of the skillet- trust me, it is all good.

Spanish poached shrimp 4 Oil Poached Spanish Sherried Shrimp

And this technique? Magic I tell ya, magic. Salmon would be amazing done this way… sigh….

As you know the holidays are just around the corner and this book and a bottle of the Arianna Olive Oil would make a fabulous gift for both foodies and non foodies on your list… or for fellow members of the “overzealous cookbook collectors club”!!!

Oil Poached Spanish Sherried Shrimp
This dish works on so many levels - it makes a great hors d'oeuvre, appetizer or main dish!
  • 1 lb. shrimp (16 - 20 ct) peeled and deveined
  • 2 - 3 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup Spanish sherry
  • 2 Tbsp. minced preserved lemon (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ cups cherry or pearl tomatoes
  1. Add the olive oil to a large saute pan. Add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat until the oil reaches 180 degrees. Simmer shrimp for 10 minutes until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Remove shrimp and drain on paper towels.
  2. Pour off all but ½ cup olive oil. Warm the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes and saute for about 1minute - don't burn the garlic!
  3. Add the sherry, paprika, lemon juice, tomatoes and preserved lemon. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened. Quickly add the shrimp to re warm. Take the pan off the heat and evenly divide mixture between 2 plates. Sprinkle with the parsley. Serve with crusty bread or ladle shrimp and sauce over freshly cooked pasta.





Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots

Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots

Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots 1 Potato Cups with Mushrooms and ShallotsYes, I’ve done a little “redecorating” here at the Table and to be honest, it wasn’t by choice – my site broke on Tuesday and the only fix was to move it to a new platform. So, bear with me while I finish unpacking, hang the curtains, etc., etc.

But while I could  talk  “eloquently”  about this move  (sarcasm off)  – I’d much rather talk about potatoes.

Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots 2 Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots

I’m half Irish so you know it’s a  subject  near and dear to my heart – not to mention my appetite. So what is up with these potatoes?

Ok, a  few weeks ago, the U.S. Potato Board approached me about developing a a recipe for “potatoes Vegas style” – and it took me less than a “New York”  minute to say “YES!!”

So,  Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots. Yes, they are a “little over the top”.  Smooth and rich Duchess potatoes topped with sauteed pee wee potatoes, mushrooms and shallots,  wrapped with a luscious marsala and creme fraiche sauce – but it’s Vegas people! Now, before you go all “it’s going to take a cast of thousands to make these and will how will I still fit into my jeans and glitter top?” on me, let me assure you.  No it doesn’t take a cast of thousands to make these (c’mon, you know me, I don’t do 3 page recipes here!) and absolutely you will still fit into those jeans and glitter top – if you er wear a glitter top, that is.

potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots 3 Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots

I know, I know potatoes have carbohydrates – eek!!  But we need carbohydrates  and the key  is choosing carbohydrates that also provide good nutritional value. Did you know that an average sized russet potato (about 5 oz.)  with the skin has only about 110 calories, more potassium than a banana and provides about 45% of your daily Vitamin C requirement?  Potatoes also have zero cholesterol and are extremely low in sodium.

With the holidays rapidly approaching (yes, you’re welcome for that reminder!) you’re going to need some “show stopper” dishes and these Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots fit the bill perfectly!  Serve them with  turkey, roast beef or as part of a vegetarian feast – or if you are like me, you might just make them the main dish because it really is about the side dishes, right?

Well, all I can say is “Viva Las Vegas!”

Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots 5 Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots

5.0 from 1 reviews
Potato Cups with Mushrooms and Shallots
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
To speed things up, I cooked the russet potatoes in the microwave. I also used a piping bag and tip for the potato cups but you could also just spoon the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet and make a hollow with the back of a spoon! Depending upon how full you fill the cups, you may have some extra potato, mushroom and shallot mixture. This is great served on its own or as an omelet filling or even over a plain baked potato!
Serves: 4 generous cups
  • For the Potato Cups
  • 2 lbs. russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbsp. water
  • For the Potato Mushroom and Shallot filling
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1¼ cups Pee Wee potatoes cut into ½ dice
  • ½ lb. cremini mushrooms
  • ½ lb. wild mushrooms (oyster, shitake, porcini or a mix)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. white pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup marsala wine
  • ⅓ cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
  1. For the Potato Cups
  2. Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Prick the russet potatoes with a fork and cook in the microwave until the potatoes are very soft and a knife can easily slide into them.
  4. Remove the potatoes from the microwave. Scoop out the flesh and using a ricer, squeeze the potatoes into a mixing bowl. Add the softened butter, egg yolks, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Using a spatula stir the potatoes until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a star tip.
  6. On a parchment lined baking sheet, pipe acircle about 3 inches in diameter. Pipe the potatoes to fill the circle and then pipe 3 layers on top of the circle to form a cup. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture. You should have 4 potato cups.
  7. Mix the remaining egg with the water in a small bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly brush the cups with the egg wash.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 - 12 minutes until the edges are golden and the potatoes have firmed.
  9. Remove from the oven, fill with the potato and mushroom mixture and serve.
  10. For the potato, mushroom and shallot mixture:
  11. While the russet potatoes are cooking, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the Pee Wee potatoes and cook for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  12. In a medium saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms,salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until the shallots are very soft and the mushrooms and tender. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the marsala and thyme and cook for 3 minutes or until almost all the liquid evaporates. Stir in the creme fraiche and stir until incorporated. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the parsley and stir. Divide the potato and mushroom mixture among the potato cups.


Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters

Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters

Corn and Hatch chile Fritters 1 Hatch Chile and Corn FrittersThey’re here!!!! They’re here!!!!  Like a kid at Christmas I anxiously await the arrival of Hatch chiles to Southern California. So, when Melissas Produce graciously sent me a couple of bags I got to work – roasting and cooking! I put them in everything – margaritas, salad dressing, potatoes - you name it just about everything is better with Hatch chiles – especially these Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters.

Corn and hatch chile Fritters 3 Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters

Taking advantage of fresh corn and my haul of hatch chiles these Hatch chile and corn fritters come together in no time. Just blitz the corn in a food processor, add eggs, roasted hatch chiles, green onions, a little flour and cornmeal and my “secret” ingredient – Old Bay seasoning!

Corn prep Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters

Then fry them up in a little corn oil and viola – you have little cakes of hatch chile goodness! I love serving these as a side to just about anything I put on the grill -steaks, pork, chicken and fish all go wonderfully with Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters.

Corn and hatch chile fritters cook Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters

These fritters also make a delicious hors’ d’oeurve. Topped with a little bit of sour cream and fresh salsa makes an easy pre dinner snack. Worried that you be in the kitchen cooking these up while everyone else is relaxing? No worries – you can make these up to 4 hours in advance. Just  pop onto a rack set in a sheet pan and re heat!

To make these Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters even easier, get your chiles already roasted – and right now is the time, with roastings going on all over the country!  Here’s the list for a roasted near you!!

Corn and Hatch chile Fritters 2 Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters





Hatch Chile and Corn Fritters
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 roasted and peeled hatch chiles
  • 1 cup grated jack cheese
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cups corn oil
  1. Place corn kernels in the bowl of a food processor and process until coursely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add the eggs, chiles, onions and cheese. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add the flour, cornmeal, Old Bay and salt. Stir until incorporated.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (it should be shimmering) add a tablespoon of the batter and slightly flatter it out. Add 3 or 4 more tablespoons to the pan, making sure that the fitters don't touch. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes until the fritters are golden brown at the edges. Carefully flip them over and cook on the other side. Carefully remove them from the pan and drain on a paper towel lined rack.
  3. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and salsa.

Plumcot Tipsy Trifle

Plumcot Tipsy Trifle

Plumcot Tipsy Trifle 1 Plumcot Tipsy TrifleI was going to say that I’ve got another “lazy” dessert for you – but my friend Jane over at The Heritage Cook said that I was just being “smart”- so today I’ve got a”smart” dessert for you – A Plumcot Tipsy Trifle!

Ok, it’s not a traditional “trifle” – there isn’t loads of whipped cream – but it’s summer and when it’s this hot, tons of cream just doesn’t do it for me – unless of course it’s frozen… but that’s a whole ‘nother thing as they say. But making ice cream takes a little work, and as I said I’m lazy  er.. smart. So no ice cream today icon cry Plumcot Tipsy Trifle  Besides, when you have plumcots as beautiful, juicy and sweet as these from Melissa’s Produce, you  don’t want to go and bury them under a pile of cream- but doused with a little high quality booze??? Yessss!!!!!

Plumcot Tipsy Trifle 2 Plumcot Tipsy Trifle

I said this was a “smart” dessert and it is… especially if you are grilling! All you need is some angel food cake (purchased from the grocery store works for  me), some of these luscious plumcots from Melissa’s Produce, some Chambord or Cointreau (yeah, you are going to need the good stuff for this!) and a “little” whipped cream and marscapone cheese… oh, and some toasted almonds are a nice touch as well but if you don’t like almonds, pecans would work as well.

Plumcot Tipsy Trifle 3 Plumcot Tipsy Trifle

What makes this recipe work  – and makes it “smart” – well, aside from the plumcots, is grilling the angel food cake!  The heat not only adds texture but also caramelizes the sugars, deepening the flavor of the angel food cake – making this an ideal dessert for lazy evenings around the grill!

Plumcot Tipsy Trifle
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 6 Melissa's Produce Plumcots
  • 8 large slices angel food cake
  • 3 Tbsp. Chambord or Cointreau
  • ½ cup whipped cream
  • ½ cup marscapone cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ sliced almonds (I used the honey roasted ones from Trader Joes)
  1. Slice the plumcots into ¼ inch slices. Put into a bowl and drizzle with the Chambord or Cointreau.
  2. In another bowl, combine the whipped cream, marscapone, powdered sugar and vanilla.
  3. Place the angel food slices on the grill over medium heat. Grill for 3 - 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and cut into 1 inch pieces. If you don't have a grill, you can also place the slices under the broiler.
  4. To assemble: layer the angel food cubes and plumcot slices in a large goblet or a bowl. Top with a dollop of the marscapone and whipped cream mixture. Garnish with the sliced almonds. Serve.





Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls 1 Shrimp and Mint Summer RollsI’ve probably said it before, but I truly love what I do.  I love meeting people as  crazy passionate about food as I am. So, when Melissa’s Produce invited me to the  launch party for Katie Chin’s new book, Everyday Thai Cooking: Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes. I said “yes”!! – after doing the obligatory happy dance of course!! We of course got to try a number of dishes from the book as well as meet Katie and learn some tips and tricks  – such as how to use lemongrass and that “galangal is the friskier cousin of ginger”!!! Absolutely best line of the week, hands down.

Leaving the party  laden with wonderful Thai ingredients like  fresh limes, lemongrass, cilantro, mint, thai basil and garlic I got to thinking……

I need to have a party. With  Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls.  From Katie’s Book.

So I did.

Summer Rolls Party 2 Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls



Contrary to what you might think, Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls are perfect for parties. Prep your ingredients, make up a dipping sauce and set up a couple of stations and let everyone roll their own!

Summer Rolls 5 Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls


Deb’s first Shrimp and Mint Summer Roll – she did great!!!


Summer Rolls 3 Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls


One of the best things about this cookbook (ok, aside from the recipes!) is that many of the recipes come with step by step photos which really help illustrate (no pun intended, honest!) Katie’s clear directions.  So, if you been intimidated to make  Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls… get over it – just get Katie’s book. And if you  want to delve into more amazing Thai food –  Everyday Thai Cooking : Quick and Easy Family Style Recipes is an excellent place to start.

Spring Rolls 2 Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls

Oh, and I also recommend starting with the Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls….. party optional!!!

Shrimp and Mint Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The roasted sesame oil, rice paper wrappers and thai basil can all be found in Vietnamese grocery stores or in some large grocery stores.
  • For Rolls:
  • 2 oz. dried rice vermicelli
  • 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
  • 16 medium sized cooked shrimp
  • 1 package round 9 inch rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cup carrots, cut into matchstick size strips
  • 1 cup cucumber, cut into 3 inch by ⅛ inch pieces
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup fresh thai basil leaves
  • 8 large butter lettuce leaves
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. smooth peanut butter ( not natural - use a low sugar/sodium one like Jif)
  • 4 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. red curry paste or chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • Crushed roasted peanuts for garnish
  1. Place the rice vermicelli in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring saucepan to a boil. Boil for 2 -3 minutes until noodles are soft. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place into a medium sized bowl and toss with 1 tsp. dark sesame oil.
  2. Fill a large bowl with very warm water. Lay a clean towel in front or use a clean plastic cutting board. Dip a rice paper wrapper in the warm water, turning so that all parts of the wrapper have been dipped in the water. Don't soak it. It should still be firm but flexible. Lay the wrapper on the towel or the cutting board.
  3. Starting with the butter lettuce, layer a small amount of the carrots, cucumber,noodles, mint, basil and 2 shrimp on top. Fold the bottom of the wrapper over the filling, fold in the sides, and then roll, as you would with a burrito to make an egg roll shape. Place on a serving platter and cover with non stick plastic wrap. Continue with the remaining wrappers and ingredients. Serve with Spicy Peanut Sauce.
  4. For Sauce:
  5. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan . Stir to combine. Cook over medium low heat until the mixture begins to simmer. Transfer to a small bowl and garnish with roasted peanuts. The sauce can be made one day ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Tri Tip Salad with Bloody Mary Salsa


Bloody Mary steak Salad 4 Tri Tip Salad with Bloody Mary Salsa My grill has been working overtime this summer, has yours?  Lately, I’ve been throwing anything and everything on the grill and so I am always trying to come up with new dishes . With three confirmed carnivores in the house, trying to come up with dishes that everyone likes can be a  challenge!  Through all this exploration, each summer I   come up with my “go to meal”. It’s  the one I make for parties and get togethers, something that’s hearty enough for the carnivores but with enough vegetables and “plant material” to to satisfy those whose idea of a Saturday dinner is not a side of beef.

This  summer it’s this Tri Tip Salad with Bloody Mary Salsa. Capitalizing on all those luscious heirloom tomatoes in the farmers markets  (or hopefully in your backyard!!) gives the dish fabulous color and the sherry vinegar, worcestershire and horseradish are assertive enough to stand up to meaty cuts like Tri Tip but also works great with other beef cuts – flank steak, rib eyes, t – bones… pretty much any other cut you’d throw on the grill.

So what makes it a “go to” dish? Ah, let me count the ways! First, with the exception of grilling the meat, all of this Tri Tip Salad with Bloody Mary Salsa can be assembled in advance so it’s ideal for camp outs, beach BBQ’s, potlucks, etc., etc. It”s also really flexible – for those who don’t eat meat, you can just assemble the salad portion and you can add as little or as much meat as you like! Finally, this Tri Tip Salad with Bloody Mary Salsa plays really well with other dishes – grilled potatoes, potato salad,  rice salads and sides – which makes planning the rest of your menu really, really easy.

And as I’ve said, summer is all about keeping it easy!!!

Tri Tip Salad with Bloody Mary Salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Serves: 4 - 6 servings
  • 1 - 2lb tri tip roast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. onion powder
  • Salad:
  • ½ red onion cut into ¼ inch dice
  • 1 pint baby heirloom tomatoes, halved or 2 cups chopped large tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • ½ cup manzanilla olives, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp. tabasco
  • 1 Tbsp. olive brine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed, spun and torn into 2 inch pieces
  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic and onion powder. Stir to combine. Rub over the tri tip and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the onion with the sherry vinegar. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add the worcestershire sauce, prepared horseradish, tabasco and olive brine. Stir to combine. Whisk in the olive oil. taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and celery and toss.
  3. Pre heat one side of the grill to high heat. Sear the tri tip on each side - about 5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium and close the lid. Let the tri tip cook for about 25 - 35 minutes or until the internal temperature is 130 degrees for medium rare - the temperature will rise after you remove the tri tip from the grill! After removing the tri tip let it rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes. Slice.
  4. For the salad, place the romaine on a large serving platter. Spoon half of the tomato salsa mixture on top. Top with the tip tip and garnish with the remaining salsa.
This is also really good garnished with some crumbled blue cheese!

Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish


Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta 4 Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper RelishA couple of week’s ago, I posted this Lemongrass and Pepper Cooler from Melissa’s Produce new  book, The Pepper Cookbook! Leafing through the pages  of  The Pepper Cookbook started the creative juices flowing.. and the result????  Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish.

Notice anything a little different? Yup… no bread. Why I’ve never thought of using zucchini before…. sigh….. it was definitely one of those “duh!!!” moments.

I’ve been making bruschetta for … well, forever and up until now this had never occurred to me (que smacking forehead with hand)…

Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish

But once the idea entered my rather thick skull…. I got to work – with the ideas coming almost faster than I could write them down…. and a couple of hours later?  I had these Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish in my hand (and shortly in my mouth!).  So, a couple of notes about this recipe –

Grilled Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish 2 Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish

  • It works best when the zucchini have cooled a bit – that way the cheese is easier to spread – so you can prep all the ingredients  ahead!
  • You can marinate the zucchini with whatever marinade complements your topping of choice – if using an acidic ingredient in your marinade don’t let the zucchini marinate for more than 20 minutes – you need them firm to hold the toppings!
  • The pepper relish is really, really good with grilled chicken, flank steak, tri tip – so make extra!
  • This is a great solution to the problem of a very prolific zucchini patch!!!
  • You can grill the zucchini on an outdoor grill or inside on a grill pan.
  • The variations are almost endless – think regular salsa, corn salsa, olive tapenade, hummus – the mind truly boggles.

Oh, and a couple of other things – it’s gluten free, vegetarian and, if you just top it with the relish, it’s also a vegan!! Score!!!

I’d love to hear what you come up so feel free to share your creations in the comments!!!

Zucchini Bruschetta with Pepper Relish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The relish recipe will yield more relish than you need. Refrigerate the leftovers for topping grilled chicken, flank steak, tri tip or serve with tossed greens making a simple vinaigrette with additional olive oil and sherry vinegar!
Serves: 12 servings
  • For Zucchini
  • 2 medium to large zucchini, sliced ½ inch thick on a diagonal
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil plus 2 Tbsp. for oiling the grill/grill pan
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • For Relish:
  • 1 bag Melissa's Organic Vine Sweet Mini Peppers cut into ¼ inch dice
  • ¾ cup red onion, cut into ¼ inch dice
  • ¼ cup minced italian parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup ricotta or goat cheese, softened
  1. For the zucchini - in a medium sized bowl, combine the zucchini, olive oil and salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  2. For the relish: In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
  3. Pre heat grill or grill pan to medium high. Brush grill or grill pan with 2 Tbsp. canola oil. When grill/grill pan is hot, add zucchini. Cook for 2 minutes and then flip, grilling for another 2 minutes until zucchini is tender but not limp. Remove zucchini to a cutting board (if making ahead, place zucchini on a cooling rack so that moisture can escape).
  4. Top with a teaspoon or so of softened ricotta or goat cheese. Top with 2 tsp. of the relish and serve!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 zucchini slice





Lychee Cosmopolitan


Lychee Cosmopolitan Lychee CosmopolitanNope, there isn’t a drop of cranberry juice in this cocktail – so, just wanted to put that out there first thing.  So, how in the world can I possibly classify this Lychee Cosmopolitan as a  Cosmopolitan?

Good question – and we’ll get to that in a moment.

But first I want to talk about San Francisco – and no I haven’t had even so much as a  drop of this Lychee Cosmopolitan while writing this post and yes,  the two topics are related – sort of.

Ahem…. ok, so a couple of weeks ago my DH and I had  quick getaway to San Francisco – a  very last minute getaway which left me with very little time to plan – not what I was going to wear of course, but the far more important, nay critical part  - where were we going to eat??? and then the far more challenging task of making dinner reservations – in San Francisco and with less than  week’s notice – ha! Good one!!!

So, armed with the SF Chronicle’s list of top 100 restaurants and my own rather quirky list, I got to work….. first up, AQ restaurant.

And here, finally, is where we are going to start getting back to answering the question.

If you haven’t been to AQ, I highly recommend you visit the next time you are in San Francisco – but be prepared. The restaurant only offers a 4 course prixe fix menu or a chef’s tasting menu – and by that, you will literally get whatever has inspired the kitchen and there is no menu to peruse. Which I really wish more chefs would do!  My advice? Absolutely the chef’s tasting menu and the wine pairing (which should go without saying, but I’m always surprised how many people don’t do this when doing a tasting menu!) I won’t go into detail about the menu and wine pairings, except to say it was fabulous. If I had to summarize the entire meal the word “craftmanship” comes to mind – both the cuisine and the wine pairings were inventive, unusual and creative – and yet all were firmly grounded and perhaps even driven by a  craftmanship ethic.

Lychee Gimlet 2 Lychee Cosmopolitan

So, what exactly does that have to do with this Lychee Cosmopolitan? Well, after coming home and being immersed in the “craftsman” food vibe of San Francisco,   I was intrigued to start experimenting with “handcrafted cocktails” and, since Melissa’s Produce had sent me a lovely bag of lychee fruit, I had the perfect specimens to begin my experiments. Starting with  fresh lychee juice I wanted to really keep the flavor of the lychees intact – which meant my base spirit of choice would be vodka. Instead of Cointreau, I added a little mint simple syrup to round out the flavor and mouthfeel, and a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters for balance.

The result? A truly delicious cocktail – ah, but what to call it?

Being somewhat of a purist, I simply couldn’t call it a Martini – because  in my book Martini’s are made with gin. No lime juice, so it wasn’t even a gimlet…. ah, but what about the Cosmopolitan? Hmmm.. well, no cranberry juice in sight…. but, what about that cranberry juice? Well, after doing a bit of research on the history of the Cosmopolitan, it turns out that one of the earliest versions only used a few dashes of cranberry juice to give the cocktail a slight blush color but was not an integral part of the drink as it is today. So, in keeping with that practice, I added a few dashes of bitters for color and to add a little complexity to the drink.  So, you can call it a Cosmopolitan, or not – but whatever you call it, this is a lovely cocktail!!!

Lychee Cosmopolitan
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 cocktail
  • 1½ oz. Chopin Vodka
  • 1 oz. fresh lychee juice (about 8 lychee fruit)
  • ¼ oz. fresh mint syrup
  • 4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
  1. To make the lychee juice: - peel and pit 6 - 8 lychee fruit over a medium sized bowl. Using a muddler (or a potato masher!) crush the fruit to extract the juice. Strain.
  2. For the mint syrup: Combine ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from the heat and add ¼ cup fresh mint leaves. Stir and let infuse for approximately 3 hours. Strain. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. For the Lychee Cosmopolitan: Add the vodka, lychee juice, simple syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker. Add 6 large ice cubes. Cover and shake for 45 seconds - until the shaker is frosted over. Remove the cap and strain into a small cocktail glass.
The mint simple syrup can be made a week or more ahead of time. To extend it's life, you can add ¼ oz. vodka to the syrup - or you can freeze it as well.


Apricot and Arugula Salad

Pickled Apricot and Arugula Salad

Pickled Apricot and Arugula Salad Apricot and Arugula SaladSchools out for summer!”… Oh, happy day!

I love teaching… and I’m always a little sad to see my students go… but I am also more than excited to have a little more free time to spend here at the Table…  and to make dishes like  this Apricot and Arugula Salad.

Cooking, reading, and a little more time to exercise… the true joys of summer in my book. But really the best thing about summer? Stone fruit.

Yup – apricots, peaches,plums, nectarines, apriplums and pluots – enough variety to keep me happily munching all summer long! And to kick things off, Melissa’s Produce sent me a gorgeous box filled with organic apricots, plum bites (cute little plums that you can eat in 1 or 2 bites) plumcots and … lychees! So I have been cooking and concocting up a storm – starting off with this refreshing and simple Apricot and Arugula Salad.

Pickled Apricot Salad 2 Apricot and Arugula Salad


Sweet and succulent apricots are lightly “pickled” along with some sliced shallots and scattered over some lightly dressed arugula and garnished with burrata, some freshly grated pepper and a little fleur de sel.  This is the kind of food I’ll be making all summer long – easy, uncomplicated and yet bursting with flavor.

With fruit this good, you can keep it simple – and isn’t that really what summer is about?


Apricot and Arugula Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
the burrata I used was on the smaller side - each ball was about 2½ inches in diameter. So, depending upon how large the balls are (or how much you love burrata!) cut them into ½ or ¼ sized pieces! Salt - I used Fleur de sel but you could use grey salt as well - for this salad you definitely want the "crunch factor" that a salt like Fleur de sel brings.
Serves: 4 side salads
  • 8 Melissa's Organic Apricots, pitted and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1½ Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 4 cups baby arugula
  • 2 balls burrata cheese, each cut in half or quarters if large.
  • 1 Tbsp. high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. In a small bowl, combine the apricots with the white balsamic vinegar and toss gently to coat. In another small bowl, combine the shallots with the white wine vinegar and toss to coat with a pinch of kosher salt.
  2. Wash and dry the arugula and add to a medium sized salad bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat.
  3. Combine the apricots and the shallots along with any remaining vinegar.
  4. Divide the arugula among 4 plates. Evenly divide the apricots and the shallots, drizzling any remaining vinegar over the arugula.
  5. Place a piece of burrata on each salad.
  6. Sprinkle each salad with the fleur de sel and with the freshly ground pepper.