Thursday, June 23, 2011


Ceviche is a wonderful way to enjoy fresh fish, and it is very simple to make.  Depending on your personal taste, ceviche can be made with a wide variety of seafood.
I prepared a batch using fresh Red Snapper from the gulf.

1.5 pounds fresh snapper, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
approximately 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
approximately 1 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice (I used Key Limes)
1 avocado
4 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or parsley) chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small can sliced black olives (optional)
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce (to taste)
salt and pepper
1 medium red onion, chopped

This dish must be prepared in 2 steps.  Plan for the first step to be hours before serving!
First, slice and cube the fresh fish, place in a bowl.
Cut lemons and limes in half, then squeeze the juice until you have enough to cover the fish.  The acid in the citrus "cooks" the fish.  You must allow at least 4-6 hours for this process, and be sure to stir the mixture occasionally so all the fish is exposed to the juice.  I prepared this mixture the day before I planned to serve the ceviche.

Prior to adding the remaining ingredients, drain the juice from the fish.
Add onion, chopped herbs, tomato, olives, avocado seasonings, hot sauce, and mix well.  Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference.
I covered and placed the ceviche in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to allow the ingredients a chance to meld together.
Serve with chips, crackers, or romaine lettuce leaves.  Refreshing and delicious!  Try it!
(This mixture would be amazing as a fish taco!)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Simple and delicious: beautiful fresh peaches and a fresh tomato salad

It is so easy to eat beautiful, delicious food in the summer!

Here is a slightly different way to make a summer salad that tastes fresh and delicious:
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
mixed greens
basil leaves, preferably sliced into thin ribbons
fresh vinaigrette (grapeseed oil, splash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper)  well shaken

Slice tomatoes.  In a salad bowl, toss greens with vinaigrette.  Place greens on a serving plate.
Slice the basil into thin strips.  Place tomato slices over greens.  Salt and pepper tomatoes, then sprinkle the basil over the top.  Serve.

Beautiful ripe peaches
These are halved and a blackberry is nestled in the core of each one.
Presentation can add a special touch to the simplest of food.

Take advantage of the fresh bounty of summer!
Eating well does NOT have to be complicated.  

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Alissa's Sugar-Free Peanut Butter and Banana Cookies

Sugar free PB & Banana cookies

by Alissa Rowinsky Wright on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 7:28pm

1/2 cup peanut butter (at room temperature)
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs milk (if using protein powder)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup  Splenda Granular
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (OPTIONAL)

Additional Splenda for rolling dough balls.

1. Cream peanut butter, margarine, mashed banana, egg, vanilla and milk (if using) until light and fluffy.

2. Mix remaining ingredients separately.

3. Blend the mixture of dry ingredients into peanut butter mixture until smooth.

4. Form into 1 inch balls.

5. Put some Splenda on a plate and roll dough balls in the Splenda.

6. Place Splenda-covered dough balls on baking sheets.

7. Flatten with fork to desired thickness.

8. Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown on bottoms. Cool on rack.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Squash Blossoms stuffed with cheese and basil

The first time I had squash blossoms was in Rome.  This is a very popular Italian delicacy.
I have never cooked them until now.  I can report that it is not difficult at all.

squash blossoms (between 8 and 2 dozen)
shredded cheese (I used a white cheddar)  approximately 1 cup for a dozen squash blossoms.
fresh basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons (6-8 leaves per cup of cheese)
corn meal (1 cup) (add salt and pepper to taste.  Mix together well.
salt and pepper
1-2 eggs, beaten
cooking oil

Gently open the squash blossom part way to add the cheese mixture.  Shred cheese and slice basil leaves, mix together.  Place cornmeal in a shallow bowl and beaten eggs in another, preferably near stove.
Gently insert between 2 tsp and 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture into each blossom, and twist the petals  gently closed afterward.
In a wok or saute pan, add oil to cover bottom of pan about 1/2 inch.   Heat to medium-high temperature.
When oil is hot, quickly roll each squash in egg mixture, then corn meal, and place in the hot oil.  These delicate blossoms will cook quickly.  You will need to turn them when they begin to brown.  Once they are gently browned and look crispy, remove and drain.  Serve immediately.

partially opening the flower

adding cheese/basil mixture to the squash blossom

twisting the top to contain the cheese during cooking

roll the blossom in egg
then roll it in the cornmeal mixture
place in hot oil

turn to brown both sides


This is a great way to use some of your squash.  These make a very nice side dish or appetizer.
I believe the prep work up to the point of coating them in egg could be done hours in advance.
Enjoy!  Let me know if you try them.  

*I think these could be made with flour instead of cornmeal.  I prefer to minimize my use of wheat flour as much as possible when I cook.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quail with Cherries and Brandy

This is a recipe adapted from the following:

Sauteed Quail in Door Country Cherry Sauce

Recipe Courtesy Inn at Kristofer’s, Sister Bay, WI
Show: The Best OfEpisode: Holiday Recipes

Total Time:
35 min
10 min
25 min

4 servings


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 semi-boneless quail, approximately 4 ounces each
  • 3 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (plumped in warm water with a bit of brandy then drained)*
  • 1 cup cherry juice*
  • 1 tablespoon sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch (dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt butter in large saute pan. Add quail and saute on both sides. Carefully add brandy and flame. Let flame die down and flip the quail in the brandy. Remove quail and place in a small oven-proof pan.Roast for 8 minutes, until internal temperature of quail is 150 degrees F. While the quail are roasting, add the drained dried cherries to the pan along with the cherry juice, sugar and thyme. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the arrowroot mixture and simmer until thickened. Arrowroot will produce a clearer sauce than cornstarch although both will work well. Return quail to the sauce mixture and simmer for 1 minute.

*I substituted Wholesome Organic Zero for sugar.  I used  fresh cherries, and omitted the need for cherry juice since I was using juicy fresh fruit.  I limited the amount of cornstarch to about 1/4 tsp to minimize the starch in the dish.  I think a combination of fresh and dried cherries would be interesting, too.
I added the balsamic vinegar to the cherries in juice.  
I would quarter the cherries next time I make this, and I slightly crushed them 
so they would release their juice
partially de-boned quail
pat them dry with a paper towel prior to sauteeing
melt butter in pan
Add the quail. Sautee for 3-4 minutes, then turn and repeat
add the brandy to the pan
light it!

remove quail from saute pan and place in the oven (preheated to 350 degrees) for 8 minutes to finish
add cherries, juice, and balsamic to saute pan
add salt and cornstarch slurry and mix on medium heat setting.
Add thyme
remove quail from oven and place in pan with cherry sauce

serve quail with a generous portion of sauce.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pimm's Jelly Shots

My friend, Alisa, shared this link.  I think she did it because I was the one who introduced her to Pimm's.  I haven't tried these, yet, but I'm betting they are refreshing and a fun item for guests.  

This recipe is on the Serious Eats website.  

Drink The Book: Pimm's No. 1 Cup Jelly Shots

[Photographs: Amy Webster & Michelle Palm]
As you may have noticed, we have a thing for Pimm's. We've long been fans of the Pimm's Cup, a citrusy sweet, lightly bitter refresher traditionally garnished with cucumber and sometimes strawberries and orange, and lately, we just can't resist a Pimm's concoction, whether it's mixed with whiskey or muddled with mint and Hendrick's gin. But a jello shot Pimm's Cup had never occurred to us until we saw these Pimm's No. 1 Cup Jelly Shots from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.
In order to incorporate all of the flavors of the Pimm's Cup into the shots without veering into chunky Jell-O salad territory, cucumber, strawberries, orange and mint are muddled together with the Pimm's to make the base. A tart lemon syrup and ginger ale are mixed in along with the gelatin to mimic that sparkly tartness of the classic cocktail.
Once jelled you can get fancy with all sorts of elegant garnishes like slivers of strawberries and individual mint leaves or serve them on top of little discs of cucumber for easy popping.
Adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen by Michelle Palm. Copyright © 2011. Published by Running Press. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
Special equipment: 1-pound loaf pan (approximately 8” x 4”), large cocktail shaker and cocktail muddler


serves 12 to 18 jelly shots, active time 30 minutes, total time 3 hours
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 orange slice (about 1 inch), coarsely chopped
  • 2 large sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 (1-inch) piece cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
  • 6 ice cubes
  • 2/3 cup ginger ale
  • 2/3 cup lemon syrup (recipe follows)
  • 2 envelopes Knox gelatin
  • Slivers of cucumber, strawberry, orange, and mint for garnish if desired
  • Lemon Syrup:
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 medium lemons, each cut into 8 wedges


  1. 1
    Make the Lemon Syrup: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Muddle the lemon wedges. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain immediately. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
    Short cut: A 50-50 mix of frozen lemonade concentrate and water may be substituted for Lemon Syrup. Make sure to strain to remove any lemon pulp!
  2. 2
    Muddle fruit together the strawberries, orange, mint, and chopped cucumber in a large cocktail shaker. Add Pimm’s and the ice cubes and shake vigorously. Strain liquid through fine mesh strainer and set aside (you should have approximately 2/3 cup of liquid).
  3. 3
    Combine ginger ale and lemon syrup in saucepan in a medium saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the reserved Pimm’s liquid, stirring well to blend. Pour into pan and chill until fully set, several hours or overnight.
  4. 4
    To serve, cut into rectangles. To garnish, peel “ribbons” from cucumber using a vegetable peeler. The ribbons should be about 6 inches long for easy handling. Group the slivered fruit and mint as desired, and tie each bundle with a cucumber ribbon. Trim the ribbon ends to desired length. Place a fruit bundle on each jelly shot.