Category Archives: Recipe

Easy Ad Hoc Avocado Soup

Cold soup made in the blender.

AvocadoI had two ripe avocadoes that needed to be but hadn’t planned to write a recipe when I threw together what turned out to be a nice mellow summer soup, so I didn’t measure anything and I didn’t take a single picture of this smooth soup that turned out to be lovely sea-foam green. But here, roughly is what I made — easy, flexible, not fussy.

Cold Avocado Soup

I placed in the blender the flesh of two ripe avocadoes, 3 cups of frozen turkey stock, generous splash of dry sherry, juice of three limes, 2 cloves of peeled and chopped garlic, 1/2 seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper, a cup of half and half, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high speed until frozen stock has thawed and the soup is smooth. Makes two sizable portions.

You could use chicken or vegetable stock from the freezer, the refrigerator or a package. You could use heavy cream, sour cream or plain yogurt. Lemon juice instead of lime juice. Or modify it in any other way. The important thing is to use those avocadoes before they pass their peak.


Caponata for a Summer’s Evening

Southern Italian appetizer a seasonal treat.

Photorealistic vector. Colorful fresh group of vegetables.
Photorealistic vector. Colorful fresh group of vegetables.

Caponata has long been one of my favorite summer appetizers. Eggplant, tomatoes and onions make for a heavenly combination. There are probably as many recipes as there are cooks in southern Italy. Over the years, I’ve made many different variations. Here’s the one I contrived for July 2015. I didn’t measure anything, but caponata is not a dish that requires precision, so have at it.

MIse en place for my latest version of caponata.
MIse en place for my latest version of caponata.


1 eggplant
3/4   cup +/- extra-virgin olive oil
1 half medium red onion, chopped
1 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2-3 celery ribs, chopped
1/3 cup large black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
2-3 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. sugar (or to taste)
1/3 cup red -wine vinegar
1 (14- to 15-oz) can whole San Marzano tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped

Peel eggplants, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Spread on half of a kitchen towel in a jellyroll pan. Sprinkle with salt, then cover with other half of the towel and weight with a second baking sheet topped with cast-iron pans for about 30 minutes.

Salting the eggplant and pressing out the moisture is a step in many recipes. Sometimes, it is also necessary to squeeze out any remaining water by hand.
Salting the eggplant and pressing out the moisture is a step in many recipes. Sometimes, it is also necessary to squeeze out any remaining water by hand.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup oil in a heavy  skillet over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, and cook stirring occasionally, until pale golden (6 to 8 minutes). Add celery and garlic, and cook, stirring, occasionally until onion and celery are golden brown and soft (about 10 minutes). Add eggplant cubes and cook about 10 minutes Add olives, capers and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-10  minutes. Stir in vinegar and tomatoes, breaking tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Caponata inrgedients simmering in the pan.
Caponata inrgedients simmering in the pan.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. If sauce is very acidic, add  a  bit more sugar (to taste). Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered. Cool room temperature and let stand, for at least 3 hours. Stir before serving.

Like many Spanish tapas, caponata can be eaten at various temperatures. I like it at room temperature, served with thinly sliced good-quality Italian or French bread,

A Sprightly, Simple Napa Slaw X 2

Asian flavors make the Flay-inspired slaw sing.

Potluck-linedrawingThursday evening potluck. Salads requested. What to bring? Slaw, but not any old slaw. One with a bit of zing. I found a Bobby Flay recipe online and tinkered with it a bit to match the “flavorating” ingredients that I happened to have on hand. This slaw was so well received that I tinkered with the ingredients a bit more a couple of nights later when I wanted something a little more Middle Eastern for a meeting of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project committee.

Asian Napa cabbage slaw.
Asian Napa cabbage slaw.

Below is the first version I made, and below that, the modifications:


1 lime, juiced
3 tablespoons Asian chili rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sweet Asian wine
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 to 4 drops of liquid hot pepper (or to taste)
3 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced snow peas
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the lime juice, vinegar, wine chili oil, mayonnaise, soy sauce hot pepper in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, peppers, snow peas and scallions and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

Version Two

This time, I used the juice of one lemon rather than one lime. I left out the sweet wine, snow peas and scallions. And I substituted finely chopped parsley and mint for the scallions.

Beaver Creek’s Cookie Contest

Beaver Creek selects this season’s official chocolate chip cookie.

Beaver Creek ResoBeaverCreek-logort opened on November 26 with 589 acres of terrain, six feet of snow in November and the new Centennial Express combination gondola/chairlift.  But for chocolate chip cookie addicts, perhaps the best part was the afternoon taste-testing of 5,000 cookies at the 11th annual World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Competition.

Cookie bakers submitted their entries to Beaver Creek Resort Company back in October, and the five finalists were chosen by local judges. Entries came from all over Colorado plus Texas, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Oregon and elsewhere. Conveniently, the finalists all came from Colorado, because each one had to bake 1,000 cookies to be judged. Finalists were Lori Lavicka of Avon, Cassie Sewell of Eagle, Kristen Gorrell of Gypsum, Hannah Bailey of Lone Tree, and Julianna Kopec of Avon. After sampling all of the cookies, guests had the opportunity to vote on their favorite recipe. Kristen Gorrell and her “baker’s Dozen” recipe took home the top honors and $1,000.

Her recipe is the new “official” Beaver Creek cookie for the season. Second place winner, Hannah Bailey won third place and $750 for “Hannah’s Mile High Chocolate Morsels,” and third place winner, Julianna Kopec  took home $500 for “Cookies of Prey.” Fourth place recipient, Lori Lavicka’s “2015 Champion Chip Cookie” earned her two tickets to Dancing Like Pros Live performance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, and fifth place netted Cassie Sewell two tickets to the Cirque Mechanics Pedal Punk at the Vila for her Cassie’s World Class Chocolate Chip Cookies.”

Beaver Creek's signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.
Beaver Creek’s signature daily cookie service begins on day one of the ski season.

Cookie Time is Beaver Creek’s guest service program daily at 3 p.m. when Cookie Time chefs in chef whites serve warm, fresh, chocolate chip cookies on silver trays.  The tradition started in 1985 and evolved into the cookie competition in 2004 providing opening day guests with a village celebration. More than 500,000 cookies are served annually and the new Beaver Creek Cookie & Crepe Company, located by Beaver Creek Lodge, now allows guests to purchase their favorite Beaver Creek cookies to take home  or to their resort accommodations.  

Kristen Gorrell’s Baker’s Dozen Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, partially melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons additional brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beaver Creek did not provide baking instructions, but typically all ingredients are combined (I’m guessing first dry ingredients, then butter, then sugars followed by eggs and finally chips). The dough is dropped in balls about two inches apart on cookie sheets often lined with parchment. Without instructions, I’m mystified by the divided brown sugar, but perhaps you will figure that out and post a comment. Bake at 350 to 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges begin to brown and crisp. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. Devour.

National Kale Day is October 1

Celebrating this nutritious green with pesto.

NationalKaleDay-logoComing right up on October 1 is  the second annual National Kale Day, and I am going to celebrate by harvesting and doing “something” with the kale in my garden that has continued to grow even as I’ve been traveling. That “something” will probably be kale pesto, thanks to a recipe from the country’s kale promoters, who remind us of the benefits of this leafy green superfood.  National Kale Day was spearheaded by Dr. Drew Ramsey and Chef Jennifer Iserloh, authors of the bestselling book 50 Shades of Kale. The recipe that follows is from the book.

Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts

2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings. Nutritional Information: Per serving (about 1/4 cup): 139 calories, 4 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat (2 g saturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 279 mg sodium.

A Julia Child Recipe, Tweaked & Updated

New York food company updates Julia Child classics.

JuliaHeadshotI generally only post recipes that I made and really liked– or have developed on the fly by modifying or combining others that I have found. Today would be Julia Child’s 102nd birthday, and for the occasion, Maria Zoitas, creator of the Made by Maria Homemade line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC, has shared her twist on several of the renowned chef’s beloved recipes. One is roast rack of lamb (carré d’agneau), an easy-to-prepare dish that is a tribute to the late, great Julia Child. (WordPress occasionally insists on crossing out a word or phrase with a link in it. Clicking still takes you to the site. I apologize, but I’ve tried to fix it — without success.)

Gigot de Pré-Salé Rôti (translated as Roast Leg of Lamb) appears on page 332 of my ancient copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia never shied away from fat, so it includes pork or beef fat, or a melted butter/cooking oil mix, as well as a carrot, an onion and stock that Maria pared down.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Roast leg of lamb, a Julia Child favorite.
Roast leg of lamb, a Julia Child favorite.

1 Semi Boneless Leg of Lamb (6-7 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
¼ Cup Olive Oil
¼ Cup Fresh Chopped Rosemary Leaves
2 Cups Water
1 Roll of Butcher Twine


Preheat oven at 400⁰F.
Open side of the meat and season with 1 tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tbsp. of kosher salt, 1 tsp. of ground black pepper, and kindly close up the two sides of the meat and tie it with a butcher twine.
Season the outside of the meat with 1 tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tbsp. of kosher salt, 1 tsp. of ground black pepper, the olive oil and rosemary.
Place the meat into a 16 X 11 X 4 roasting pan, add the 2 cups of water and place into a wire rack.
Roast the seasoned leg of lamb in the preheated oven for 1.5 hours or until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 140⁰F.
Yields 8 – 10 Servings



National Tequila Day with Don Julio

Nutmeg adds an extra zip to a margarita.

DonJulioTequilaThis evening, we broke out the Don Julio Añejo 70, a fine reposado that we save for such special occasions as National Tequila Day, which happens to be today. To sip a nip or mix it? That was the question, and the answer was, as if often is, a margarita. But such an important holiday merits an important marg.

We checked online, and the Don Julio site provided a recipe. Though other possibilities were also enticing, we happened to have agave nectar, lime and nutmeg  on hand, so Don Julio’s Reposado Margarita it was. It turned out to be very interesting and confirmed that nutmeg is good for more than eggnog and cappuccino:

Reposado Margarita

1 .5 oz. Tequila Don Julio Reposado
0.75 oz. agave nectar
0.75 oz. fresh lime juice
fresh nutmeg

Mix Tequila Don Julio Reposado, agave nectar and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and add a pinch of nutmeg over the top.

Gracias, Don Julio.