Super Bowl Super DIp

Erik will tell you I spent most of my January when he was growing up searching and creating new recipes- then on Super Bowl Sunday it was feast away! Now I spend a good part of January with my feet up but it gives me plenty of time to scour magazines and books for new recipes. Since I happened to have Velvetta cheese in our refrigerator I thought this was worth a try. We made the dip yesterday at the store and couldn't stop eating it. You still have time to make a batch for the big game tomorrow. Let us know what you think.

Super Bowl Super Dip

1 3/4 Cups Onion, diced

2 Tbsp Butter

1 Cup Salsa, pureed until almost smooth if very chunky

1 Lb Velveeta Cheese

1/2 Cup yogurt

hot sauce ( optional)

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, saute the onion and butter until softened-8-10 minutes.

Stir in salsa and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and add cheese stirring until almost completely combined and smooth.

Stir in yogurt and return to heat until blended.

Adjust for taste and add hot sauce if necessary.

NOTE: Our Salsa has a good amount of heat, but if you select a mild salsa you might want to 

add a few dashes of hot sauce.





Posted on February 4, 2017 .

Rainy Day Rice Timbales

Last week I had dinner with John Govoni and Dorothy Giarla. John made a beautiful rice timbale as a take off on the Panzanella salad we made in Tuscany last spring. When I posted the photo, my dear friend Valerie in CA said I had to send her the recipe. Of course, there really wasn't a recipe but since today was a rainy day and I couldn't work in the garden, I went to work on creating one. I hope John thinks I did justice to his rendition.

Before I could begin cooking, I had to make a trip to the hardware store where I bought 2" wide by 3" tall pvc piping for my shape. I bought 12 for under $5 but found out that I really only needed 1 or maybe 2 since I created a timbale, pushed it out on the plate and used the mold again for the next one. (I could see the need for more than one tube  if we were doing this  presentation  at an event with more than one chef in the kitchen.-but for less than $5 I can live with my over abundance.)

Rice Timbale

  • 2 Cups white rice , cooked in 4 C water
  • 3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small shallot or red onion, minced
  • ½ English cucumber, seeded and diced
  • ½ Cup fresh basil leaves, minced,plus garnish
  • ¼ Cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Balsamic glaze for decorating the plate or olive oil and balsamic vinegar


1. In a saucepan bring to a boil 2 Cups of rice and 4 cups of water.( If using Uncle Ben’s cover and simmer 20 minutes until tender If using Arborio rice do not cover and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.) Let cool. slightly.

2.Combine diced tomato, cucumber, shallot or red onion and ½ C fresh chopped basil with cooked rice.Fold in parmesan cheese and garlic.

3.In a separate bowl mix red wine vinegar and olive oil. Stir into rice mixture until coated but not wet.

4.Pack the rice into timbale molds or pvc tubes open at both end. (I bought 2” wide by 3” tall pvc tubes for my recipe- a good hardware store will cut them to whatever length you want) Un mold onto serving plate and garnish the top with a sprig of basil.

5.To finish the look of the plate, drop five dots of balsamic glaze around the base of the rice timbale and drag a knife through to make a tear drop effect. 

Or squirt a ½ moon of olive oil on the plate and dot with balsamic vinegar .

This recipe is really just a launching point- think about turning it into a main course by adding diced shrimp or chicken to the basic recipe. 


Posted on June 5, 2016 .

The" Boss' " Decadent Chocolate Pudding

In the early 90's I had a wonderful chef cooking for me named Sormany Justen. He later moved home to Petropolis, Brazil where he now owns two upscale Italian restaurants. This past week he came to visit with his two lovely daughters ,Gabriella and Rafaela. For lunch I served this pudding and Sormany declared it would have to go on his menu at home. He aways calls me "Boss" hence the title of the recipe. 

This pudding is  for the true chocolate lover- it is very rich. I tweaked the original recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine  by adding instant espresso - the perfect compliment to the original recipe.  The ingredients are not your typical pudding mixture. No cooking necessary and the finished product stays creamy for at least a week in the refrigerator.(provided it lasts that long). Enjoy! Avocados in chocolate pudding? Who would have thought???

Decadent Chocolate Pudding serves 4

2 large avocados,seeded and removed from skin

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 C pure maple syrup

1/4 Cup agave nectar

1/4 fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

3/4 very hot ( but not boiling) tap water

1/2 Cup heavy cream for the top

2 Tbsp sugar


In a large blender, mix avocado, vanilla, cocoa, maple syrup, agave, orange juice, espresso and beat to a chunky puree. Slowly add the hot water and blend until smooth. Spoon into individual serving glasses and refrigerate until firm-( at least 2 hours) .

My choice for instant espresso-available at the grocery store

My choice for instant espresso-available at the grocery store

When ready to serve combine heavy cream and sugar and whip until firm. Place a dollop on top of the pudding. and serve.


Posted on April 9, 2016 .

Cauliflower Tabouleh (serves 6-8)

My sister in law Donella introduced me to traditional tabouleh when we were both in collage. Fast forward to last weekend and she, my brother John and I were sharing a dinner at Cava in Olney, MD and cauliflower tabouleh was on the menu . We ordered it and scoffed it down! Here's my take on the recipe-maybe not exactly  the recipe we tried last week but delicious! A new addition to our store offerings.


Since tomatoes are still not super,I use fresh plum tomatoes in this recipe;

Since tomatoes are still not super,I use fresh plum tomatoes in this recipe;

Cauliflower Tabouleh ( gluten free!) serves 6-8

1 1/2 Cup fresh cauliflower, stems removed and pulsed in the food processor until fine

10 plum tomatoes, diced in 1/2" dice

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley ( a generous cup full when cleaned and lightly packed)

1 bunch fresh mint ( a generous cup full when cleaned and lightly packed)

3 bunches of scallions ( 12 stems per bunch) chopped fine (white and light green parts )

3 lemons- juiced ( lemons at room temperature will yield more juice]

1/2 Cup olive oil

1 clove minced garlic

1/2-1 tsp  allspice

1 tsp salt

Combine tomatoes and minced cauliflower in a bowl.

In the food processor with the chopping blade in place, add mint, parsley, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until mint and parsley are fine but not pureed. Add to tomato mix.

Add lemon juice, remaining olive oil, garlic, all spice, salt and toss to combine. Taste to adjust spices as you like. Serve at room temperature or chill. 


Posted on April 2, 2016 .