Category Archives: Side Dish

Thai Spicy Pickles

These are my spicy refrigerator pickles, and I pray the last of my cucumbers for this season.

2 1/2 pounds cucumbers
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups rice vinegar
1  cup raw sugar
1  cup white vinegar
1  tablespoon kosher salt
20  fresh Thai chile peppers, halved lengthwise
5  or more cloves garlic, smashed
5  or more stalks lemongrass, peeled, trimmed.



DSC_0005Thoroughly scrub cucumbers. Cut cucumbers lengthwise into spears.
In a 4- to 5-quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy pot combine the water, rice vinegar, sugar, white vinegar, and salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar.

DSC_0008 2
Pack cucumber spears loosely into five hot sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Add 4 Thai chile halves, 1 clove garlic, and, if desired, one-fifth of the lemongrass to each jar.


DSC_0010 2Pour hot vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture, maintaining the 1/2-inch headspace.

DSC_0016 Cool for 30 minutes; seal and label.
Chill for at least 1 week before serving.

Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Peach Italian Ice

DSC_0002From my little tree that GIVES, and GIVES, and GIVES..

8 ripe  peaches, pitted and and peeled
1 cup water
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup water for 2nd blend
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
You can half this recipe, I just have an endless supply of peaches!

DSC_0003 Place your scored peaches and water in a large sauté pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Until your skins start to peel.  They will look like this where you scored them. From here you will place them in a bowl of ice water.

DSC_0006 Removed one at a time from ice water and begin peeling the skins off them.

DSC_0009 After you have removed your peels, cut up your peaches, remove the seed and toss in your blender.

IMG_3550Add the water, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, and process until smooth.

IMG_3553Once blended it will be this gorgeous shade of orange.

IMG_3554Pour the mixture into plastic cups, and freeze overnight.


DSC_0010The following day, break up your peach mixture and blend again in two batches.  Add 1/4 cup water to each batch.This step really softens the ice and prevents any sort of layering.

DSC_0011It will lighten during this second blend.

DSC_0014Pour the softened peach ice slushy into any small freezer safe container  and place back in the freezer. After a few hours, it’s ready when you are!

Watermelon and Feta Salad

DSC_0007It’s summertime in Arizona.  This is a refreshing salad that you can easily throw together for a gathering.


1/4 cup  orange juice
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2  cup diced red onion
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon  salt
1/4 tsp sumac
1/2 teaspoon  ground black pepper
1 watermelon  cut in 1-inch cubes
12 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1 cup whole fresh mint leaves, julienned
A sprinkle of Hawaiian Black Salt

Whisk together the orange juice, lime juice and zest, sumac, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. This can be made in a day in advance. Store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

Place cubed, watermelon, feta, onions and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat your melon and toss well.

Sprinkle with Hawaiian Black salt and serve at once.



Star Wars Popcorn

DSC_0098We recently had a backyard Star Wars movie.  Any child could help make this very simple recipe.

What you will need:

2 bag popped corn
2 cups Honey Graham bears for Ewoks
2 cups of white chocolate melted
1 cup Orange sticklets
1 cup Star Wars cereal shapes


DSC_0083Pop your corn and place in tub.

DSC_0089Pour half of your melted white chocolate  over the corn.

DSC_0097Find a willing participant to add the toppings.

DSC_0098Toss everything and add remaining half of white chocolate.  Spread out on wax paper and allow to dry for min. of 10 minutes.

DSC_0102Place in ziplock bags and seal. I made these about 6 hours prior to the movie and they tasted just fine.


Pomegranate Quinoa with Pistachios


3 cups cooked quinoa
1 jar sliced peaches, diced  ( you could easily substitute oranges, pears, cherries or cranberries)
1/2  cup chopped pistachios
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dates, pitted and diced
1/2 bottle POM pomegranate juice reduced
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
2 teaspoons sumac, divided
1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh mint



DSC_0077In a salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, peaches, pistachios.

DSC_0080Then add dates and mint.

In a small sauce pan reduce POM juice then  combine the olive oil, , garlic, 1 teaspoon of sumac, dried mint and kosher salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.

Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and toss so everything is evenly coated. Dust with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sumac and freshly chopped mint.

DSC_0088 Mix well and refrigerate.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_0953The mint and pistachios really bring this dish alive.  Salad can be served immediately or saved for up to 2 days.

Cream of Chicken with Poblano

DSC_0098This soup is like the best  chile rellenos you’ve ever had, in a bowl with extra cheese.
5 poblano peppers

2 tbsp butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

4 cups chicken bone broth

3/4 cup 1% milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

4 ounces 1/3 fat cream cheese

2  cups shredded cheddar cheese

DSC_0069Broil your  poblano peppers until skin is charred and blistered. I broiled mine for about 5 minutes per side.

DSC_0070Place poblanos in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let cool, then rub skin to remove as much as possible.

DSC_0081 Pull of your tops and cut out seeds then place in a food processor or blender to finely chop. I added around 1 cup broth to the poblanos to make sure they became very fine texture wise.  Set aside.

DSC_0079In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and poblanos and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

DSC_0091Stir in chicken broth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.


DSC_0096 Add cream cheese, cheddar and chicken pieces and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. At the end I had a few pieces of cream cheese that hadn’t fully melted so I place my immersion blender on the top to make it fully blended.

DSC_0101This soup is delicious and so simply to throw together ingredient wise. This is one of my new favorites just in time for snow.



Tropicranberry Granola

DSC_0093I love all things tropical. One of my favorite combinations is pineapple, toasted coconut and pecans.  So I couldn’t help but try this combo in granola.

4 cups old fashion or steel oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup oat bran
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pecans
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup dried pineapple
3/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup coconut oil



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, pecans, and walnuts, dried pineapple, unsweetened coconut flakes, and cranberries in a large bowl.

DSC_0069Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan.

DSC_0071Once it melts it should look like this.

DSC_0073Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat.

DSC_0076Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.

DSC_0084Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 45 minutes. Stirring every 15 minutes.

DSC_0096Cool, overnight on your counter and you will wake up to a wonderful aroma throughout your house.  Add some vanilla yogurt and enjoy a healthy tropical parfait.

Butternut Squash Queso Dip

DSC_0099I had some reservation when making this dish. I do have to say it’s great way to sneak some squash in,  and I doubt your guests will be able to detect it’s squash.  Our guests thought it had Chorizo in it vs. Squash.

1 teaspoon canola oil
¾ cup diced red onion
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted chicken stock
10 ounces frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
1/2 half of a can of chipotle chile in adobo sauce1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1, 7 ounce package of Mexican cheese
3 tablespoons sliced green onions
2 tablespoons thinly sliced jalapeño pepper
30 light tortilla chips

Heat oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium heat.

DSC_0083Add  onion; cook 5 minutes or until softened.

DSC_0086Add flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

DSC_0088 2Add stock, squash, chipotle, and adobo sauce; bring to a boil.

DSC_0093Puree squash and adobo sauce in blender then return to pan.

DSC_0096Reduce heat to medium-low; add your cheese until it starts to melt.

DSC_0097Preheat broiler to high.

Broil 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Top with , green onions, and jalapeño. Serve with chips and celery sticks, if desired.


DSC_0100Note: This dip is better the following day and adds even more heat.

Glazed Carrots with Walnuts and Cranberries



I love walnut oil and use it often when baking.  This is a great side dish with walnuts to take to your next family gathering.

1 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch diagonal slices
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup cranberries, dried
1 tablespoon thyme



Place juice in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.


Cook for 15 minutes or until juice is reduced to 1/4 cup.


Stir in honey.
While glaze is cooking, preheat oven to 400°F.


Coat Carrots with walnut oil, salt and white pepper.


Place carrots, oil, salt, and pepper on a small baking sheet; stir well to coat. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Drizzle glaze over carrots and stir to coat. Bake for 10 minutes more, stirring once or twice.

Stir in walnuts and cranberries and cook for 5 minutes or until carrots are nicely glazed and reach desired tenderness.

DSC_0041 Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with thyme. This is a great serving size for 2 to 3 people but if you are planning a holiday dish I would double the recipe.

Corine’s Kale with Butternut Squash and Hazelnuts

DSC_0259I have a neighbor that loves Hazelnuts.  She simply cannot get enough of them.  This dish is for her.  I have doubled up on the amount of Hazelnuts because I know she loves the so.


1 cup chopped hazelnuts

8 slices thick-sliced bacon
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 lb. butternut squash, peeled,  cut into small pieces
1 package  kale, cut in bite size pieces
1/2  cup chopped shallots
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
3/4  cup dried cranberries
Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees  and bake your bacon sprinkled with brown sugar.  You will flip the bacon around 15 minutes in and cook for another 10 minutes or so.  If your bacon still isn’t crispy you can place your oven on broil for a few minutes.  You want the bacon crispy and glazed.  Now bump your oven up to 400 degrees. Toast the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until fragrant and lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

DSC_0238Mix the allspice, coriander, paprika, and 1 tsp. salt in a small bowl. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with 2 Tbs. of the oil and the spices; spread in a single layer.

DSC_0240Roast, stirring once about halfway through, until browned and tender, 22 to 25 minutes.

DSC_0242Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Add the kale to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.

DSC_0243Then transfer to ice water.


No you will place Kale in bowl with paper towels over a colander to get as much water out as possible.  It can rest for a while if you are still baking your butternut squash.  DID I catch you getting ahead of the recipe?


Heat the remaining olive oil in a large heavy-duty skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 2 minutes.


Add the kale and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale and garlic are coated. Reduce the heat, add the squash and the lemon juice, cover, and cook until the squash is heated through, about 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and stir gently to combine.

DSC_0250Chop the bacon coarsely. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish the squash and kale with the bacon and hazelnuts, and serve.