Menu of Deliciousness
Full Plate prepares recipes found hidden in the recipe boxes of my friends' and family members, gathered in my travels . I've marked client favorites with a double-asterisk (**), to help you spot them quickly.
But your Full Plate experience is completely customizable to whatever you want. So feel free ask me to make your family's favorite recipe, or a recipe that you found and want to try out. You’re not constrained to what’s on this list.
If you get overwhelmed with too-many choices, or figuring out which entree would go best with which salad or side dish, check out my seasonal featured meals. . . or, better yet, give me a call for some suggestions.
My aim is to make it as easy as possible for you to get a delicious Full Plate!
Winter / Spring 2019 - Featured Meals
South Of the Border
Pulled Pork Tacos with Red Onion & Orange Salsa, served with Cilantro Rice, accompanied by Nopales Salad w/ Avocado & Cojita.
Potential add ons: Mango-Pomegranate Guacamole & Chips or Tex-Mex Jalapeños as your appetizer; then serve Pecan, Chocolate-Chip Molè Brownies w/ Vanilla Bean Ice Cream as your dessert.
AMERICANA COMFORT... Pure delicious
New York Minute Meatloaf served with Oven-Roasted Broccoli Tossed w/ Lemon Viniagrette, accompanied by Party Potato Casserole.
Potential add ons: Jay's Beautiful Green Salad gussied up with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing; then serve warm Apple-Cheddar Crumble with a dollop of thick, tangy, slightly sweetened sour cream for dessert.
Northern Italian Lasagna, served with Spinach Sautéed with Red Peppers and Cherry Tomatoes, accompanied by Minted-Caesar Salad ala “Canlis” w/ Avocado and Pancetta.
Potential add ons: Italian Cheese and Salumi Board with La Panzanella Crackers as your appetizers; then serve Peach Tortoni with Frankie's Biscotti for dessert.
Spanish-STYLE PooLSIDE LUNCHEON
Tuna-Caper-Red Pepper & Olive Empanada, served with Gazpacho, accompanied by Quinoa-Caprese Salad
Potential add ons: Spanish-Style Cheese Board with Baguette Slices + Marcona Almonds as your featured appetizers; then serve Lemon Bars flavored with a hint of rosemary for dessert.
Oven-Roasted-Halibut with Shaved Fennel and Lemon, served with Ratatouille, accompanied by Minted-Caesar Salad with Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes, and Bacon Crumbles.
Potential add ons: Cheesy Artichoke-Dip Stuffed Mushrooms as your featured appetizer; then serve Olive Oil & Sherry Pound Cake w/ Orange Marmalade Whipped Cream for dessert.
Sautéed Mushroom Ragout, served over Herbed Polenta with a Broiled Taleggio Crust, accompanied by Zucchini-Avocado Salad.
Potential add ons: Avocado-Pea Spread with Pita Chips and Olive Puffs with Feta as an appetizer, then serve Atlantic Beach Pie for dessert.
Versitile Dill Dip (Vegetarian)
Two cups of a delicious dip that works equally well for veggies or with chips. Nothing exotic or fancy. . .this was the dill dip my mother made for parties. . . just terrific flavor! Leftover dip can be used as a sandwich spread, mixed into a salad dressing, or deviled eggs!
** Mango-Pomegranate Guacamole w/ corn chips (Vegan)
Creamy avocado with a sweet hit of mango, a bite of garlic and the heat of Serrano...plus crunchy-bursts of pomegranate. A crowd pleaser!
** Baked Brie Bread Bowl (Vegetarian)
Brie gets tucked into hollowed-out sourdough-bread basted with garlic oil, then baked until the cheese is hot and gooey! Garlic croutons are used to dunk-up the sinful goodness...then use a knife to carve up the cheese-soaked bowl. Leftovers for a brunch strata, or a frittata.
Avocado & Pea Spread w/ pita chips (Vegan)
Delicious, heartier alternative to plain guacamole. Leftovers are terrific spread on sourdough toast to accompany your breakfast eggs.
Tex-Mex Jalapeños (Vegetarian)
Jalepeños get split and filled with a cheese and bean mixture, then pressed into crushed tortillas. They're baked until the jalapeños soften and the filling gets bubbly. Great with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.
party platter 101 (Something for everyone)
Let's put together a simple but satisfying spread for your guests. How about a cheese board with two or three cheese; we could add a sliced salumi or even a thinly sliced roast pork tenderloin; a basket of sliced baguette rounds, a couple bowls of your favorite nuts, and a gorgeous, colorful veggie platter with my mom's wonderful dilly dip. Add cocktails and guests, mix well.. .the party has started!
** "Palace Kitchen" Olive Poppers (Vegetarian)
Adapted from Tom Douglas’s "Seattle Kitchen” cookbook, these are the ultimate cocktail-party appetizers. Jumbo green olives stuffed with either cheese, jalapeño, or garlic and wrapped in a delicious cheese-pastry crust… then baked. The recipe makes 24 (enough for 8 people)…so consider ordering a double batch if you’re hosting a crowd...or if you want to have a batch in the freezer for an upcoming event.
Sweet & Spicy Cocktail Meatballs and Sauce (Beef & Pork)
What's a bigger crowd-pleaser than a batch of cocktail meatballs in a crock-pot… who doesn’t love them!?? And these are SO much better tasting than those nasty frozen meatballs from the store. This sauce makes a tasty glaze that’s the perfect complement.
** CREAMY SAUSAGE-STUFFED MUSHROOMS (Pork)
Take browned Italian sausage and caramelized onions. Add four different cheeses. Then take large mushrooms. Combine them... bake them... and you've got a fantastic hot appetizer for a crowd.
Olive Puffs with Feta (Vegetarian)
Perfect appetizer to accompaniment to a cold martini. PItted kalamata olives and chunks of feta get pressed into individual squares of puff pastry and baked until golden and perfectly puffed.
Parmesan Asparagus Tart (VEGETARIAN)
Parmesan and lemon ricotta, spread over puff pastry and then topped with a layer of bright-green asparagus… more parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. A rectangular slice makes a lovely, rather-elegant appetizer, or a light, springy lunch with a salad and a cup of soup.
OTHER OPTIONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO Consider:
Amazing Caramelized Onion Dip
California Sour Cream & Onion Puffs
Egg Salad Spread with Rye Crisps
Hot Artichoke Dip
Hot Crab Dip
Mushroom Cream Cheese Canapés
Provençal Tomato Tart
Sweet & Spicy Bacon-Wrapped Lil Smokies
Jay’s beautiful Green Salad (VEgan)
I spent my childhood on “salad prep” duty—helping my working mom get supper on the table. Mixed greens tossed with lots of crunchy veggies like celery, radish, green onion, cucumber, plus tomatoes and/or avocado...with a vinaigrette that's made in the bowl.
** Classic CREAMY Caesar (Vegitarian)
This is my aunt Vonnie's tried-and-true recipe for Caesar dressing... and it's won over the hearts of everyone who tastes it. The dressing is a beautiful balance of lemon, anchovy, and parmesan-romano that cloaks ribbons of romaine.
Something for Everyone Cole Slaw (Vegetarian)
Colorful and delicious, this might be the best slaw I’ve ever tasted. Tart Granny Smiths and sharp daikon radish combine with honey and Dijon mustard to give it a rich, satisfying flavor…not too tart, and not too sweet. Perfect to accompany any casual meal.
** Quinoa Caprese Salad (Vegetarian)
This healthy, delicious recipe features summery bursts of tomato, creamy fresh mozzarella, and bright basil and lemon hits.
Greek Panzanella Salad (VEGETARIAN)
A terrific salad that combines the best of an Italian panzanella with the best of the traditional Greek salad. Serve it as a lunch entree or as a side to grilled Greek chicken, lamb kebabs, or baked Greek shrimp.
** Zucchini-Avocado Salad (Vegan)
A fun, fresh salad—slightly crunchy steamed cubes of zucchini get dressed in a light, lemony vinaigrette that gets creamy, thanks to diced, ripe avocados.
NoPalITO Salad (VEGETARIAN)
This colorful salad was introduced to me by my friend Diana, in Long Beach, CA. Nopales are the thick, meaty paddles of the prickly pear cactus. Once cooked, nopales have a fresh, mild flavor—somewhere between green bean, asparagus, and okra—and as a bonus, they’re loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants. They get joined by tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and crumbled queso fresco and dressed with a lovely vinaigrette... perfect for a Mexican meal, or your next BBQ.
Cucumber & Yogurt Salad (Vegetarian)
Refreshing, simple summer salad. Perfect accompaniment to almost any Mediterranean or middle European meal.
Watermelon & Feta Salad (Vegetarian)
What do you do when watermelon’s in season and there’s a LOT of it? This is a surprisingly delicious, refreshing salad.
Indian Cucumber & Coconut Salad (Vegan)
A really great alternative summer salad—refreshing with nice sweet and tart notes. Perfect with Indian tandoori chicken, nann, cilantro rice, and some raita.
** Green Goddess Salad with Avocado (Vegan)
A beautiful green salad…creamy…crunchy…perfect to accompany some grilled fish or chicken, or even a pasta dinner.
OTHER OPTIONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO Consider:
Arugula & Spring Greens Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts
Asian Napa Cabbage Salad w/ Mandarins and Almonds
Bagel & Lox Rigatoni Salad
Black-Eyed Peas & Arugula Salad
Crispy Butternut Squash & Spinach Salad w/ Bacon-Shallot Vinaigrette
Creamy Greek Salad
Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
Hot German Potato Salad
Green Bean and Potato Salad
Mexican Salad w/ Honey-Lime Jalapeño Vinaigrette
Polish Vegetable Salad
Roasted Red- and Golden-Beet Salad
Taffy Apple Salad
** Gazpacho (Vegan)
When the weather gets hot, this chilled tomato-cucumber-red pepper soup is the perfect foil, with the taste of Spain! Still chunky, blended with flavorful basil, two vinegars, and whirled together with herbaceous Monte Bellaria di California olive oil. If you want an added burst of flavor and protein, let’s top it with some garlic-sautèed shrimp. (This soup gets better after a day or two in your fridge)
** Cioppino (Seafood)
This flavorful Mediterranean seafood stew is great during the winter. It's hearty and soul satisfying without being full of fat. I've adapted it to use ingredients found in most grocery stores to make an aromatic stock, then add a mixture of canned broth and seafood topped with the very finest fresh seafood available. Serve with hot garlic bread (to sop up the juice) and a crisp, green salad.
Crab Soup Veracruz (Seafood)
This elegant, flavorful soup was prepared for me by my friend Rob in Desert Hot Springs, CA. With 1.5 pounds of crab, this substantial soup is spectacular for a dinner party, or a holiday gathering on a cold winter evening — provided everyone likes a nice spicy bite. Add some warm tortillas, and a black bean-mango salad and you're set!
Cream of Mushroom Soup (Vegetarian)
Hearty, rich, and warming. My friend Sharon in Woodinville, WA posted this recipe after she made a batch on a cold, rainy weekend. I tried it, and got raves. It's great for a winter evening with just a salad and some garlic bread.
Garden Vegetable Soup (Vegan)
You can’t beat simple, healthy, delicious vegetable soup. I make mine a little differently each time—sometimes it’s more like my friend Holly’s recipe (an adaptation from Silver Palate) and sometimes it’s more like my friend Sue’s (her mother’s).
CURRied BUTTERNUT SQUASH Stew (VEGAN)
I tinkered around, combining the best of 2-3 recipes, to create this great dish. Just a bowl on its own, like a stew, accompanied by a salad and a green veggie is perfect. Or serve it over steamed brown rice if you want to make it even-more of a main course.
Hearty Potato & Cheddar With Bacon (Pork)
Classic winter soup…thick and hearty with combination of cheese, potato, and bacon. Perfect with a green salad, crusty French bread, and a bold Zinfandel. Dutch-Apple cake with a slice of sharp cheddar would be a fantastic finish for this comforting meal.
Croatian Cuspajz ("chew-spice") Soup (Pork or turkey sausage)
I got this recipe from my college roommate’s mom, Betty Jo. It was her mother’s “poor man’s soup” from the Minnesota Iron Range. Hearty and soul-satisfying, with smoky kielbasa, green beans, spinach, and bacon.
Cincinnati Chili (Beef)
It’s chili…but with a molé twist. Served over spaghetti, this beloved-classic from the lower-midwest is fragrant with cinnamon and chocolate slowly simmered to a Bolognese / ragù sauce-like consistency. Tradition calls for toppings like shredded cheddar, chopped green onions, and oyster crackers.
** Uncle Jay’s Chili (Beef)
One of my clients, an avowed chili lover, told me this is the best chili he’s ever tasted. Great for football or basketball weekends. This chili is “good for what ails you..”
** Choucroute Garni (Pork / Alsatian )
This hearty bistro favorite combines German and French cuisine, since it originates in Alsace. Sauerkraut, green apples, meaty country spare ribs, and pork sausages slow-cooked with carrots and potatoes until tender. I’ve made this countless times..., and people who swear they won’t eat sauerkraut declare it to be delicious!
** Baby-Back Ribs with Stone-Fruit Barbecue Sauce (Pork)
The ribs get a delicious rub, then slow-roasted. A delicious sauce of seasonal stone fruit (plums, nectarines, or peaches) gets cooked, then blended into a smoky, spicy jam. The two meet on the grill for a final finish. These ribs are great with baked beans or fiesta-style corn, and a salad.
Beef & Ale Carbonnade (Beef / Belgian )
Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook, this is a fantastic, hearty Belgian-style beef stew. Delicious and perfect for fall or winter evening dinners served over buttered egg noodles tossed with fresh parsley accompanied by a sampler of Belgian-style beers, dark bread, and sautéed chard. (Since this needs hours of slow cooking, I’ll do advance work before arriving at your home, so you can enjoy it in the evening)
Beef Bourguignon (BEef / French)
This is perfect fall / winter weather fare adapted from Julia Child's classic recipe and a newer Bon Appetit; hearty and rich with slow-cooked beef and vegetables cooked in stock and red wine. The house smells amazing while it’s cooking!
BEEF & CHEESE ENCHILADAS (BEEF / Tex-mex)
This is my friend Mike’s mom’s recipe from the 1970s. Flavorful, cheesy, and filling. Perfect with cilantro rice and black beans.
Best Grilled Chicken…EVER! (poultry)
I’ve been making this for years. It’s a variation on the sauce that my mother made for grilled chicken when I was a kid: tangy (lemon juice and balsamic vinegar) and zippy (Tabasco, Worcestershire, and horseradish), with a hint of sweetness. The chicken thighs get a fast brine beforehand to ensure they stay juicy...but the oil-based baste ensures delicious crispy skin. Baked beans, and a salad...smashing!
CALICO BEAN Casserole (BEEF)
My mom's recipe. Three kinds of beans coupled with sautéed onions and ground beef in a tangy sauce. This casserole is great for feeding a crowd, plus it gets better after a couple days in your fridge (so you definitely want leftovers!)
Chicken Cacciatore (poultry / Italian)
This Italian hunter's stew was a favorite dish at the restaurant I worked in during college. serve this flavorful dish with buttered rice or pasta, and then Top with a generous sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Accompany with a green salad and a lovely bottle of Sangiovese, Chianti, or Merlot.
CHICKEN WITH SHALLOTS, DIJON & TARRAGON SAUCE (Poultry / French)
I got this recipe from my friend Nancy, in Walnut Creek. Since then it’s become my “go-to” chicken recipe. A great family-weeknight meal, but its company-worthy, too. Serve it with a salad, a green vegetable…and bread to sop the sauce. The leftovers are unbelievably good.
Chicken with 40+ Garlic Cloves (Poultry)
If you like garlic, this is a spectacular dish that’s elegant enough for company when served with mashed potatoes or oven-roasted root vegetables and either oven-roasted broccoli, or sautéd spinach / red peppers.
** Chicken-verde Tortilla CASSEROLE (POULTRY / tex-mex )
Shredded chicken and a creamy-zippy green enchilada sauce, layered between shredded whole-wheat tortillas and topped with bubbling cheese. This is a mouthwatering meal…perfect for your family, or company!
Chinese Garlic-Cashew Chicken Casserole (POULTRY / asian)
Onion wedges, bok choy, celery, carrots, and red pepper get stir-fried in a garlic, ginger, and hoisin sauce then mixed with sautèed boneless chicken-breast strips and cooked brown rice then topped with cashews and chow mein noodles before getting baked until hot and bubbly. Perfect with an Asian-style slaw.
CHINESE PEPPER STEAK (BEEF / ASIAN)
Adapted from a recipe my mom would make—which my sister and I would beg for. Serve this delicious entree with simple brown rice alongside sautéed greens (baby bok choy, brocollini, or spinach.
Cioppino (SEAFOOD / Mediterranean)
This flavorful Mediterranean seafood stew is great during the winter. It's hearty and soul satisfying without being full of fat. Terrific for a crowd, served with crusty hot, garlic-cheese bread and a green salad with Provençal vinaigrette..
** Cornish Pasties (ADD $15) (BEEF)
Pronounced "Past-ease," these savory meat pies originated in Cornwall, where miners took them into the mines wrapped tightly in lunch pails to stay warm—a complete hand-held meal. Full Plate's pasty is almost enough to serve two. It features diced sirloin, onion, yellow-Finn potatoes, turnip, and carrots tossed in seasoned olive oil then wrapped and baked in pie crust.
Greek Tuna Casserole (Seafood/Pasta)
A Mediterranean twist on the traditional favorite. Tuna and orzo pasta meet a medley of diced and roasted onions, red peppers, and zucchini. It gets tossed with chunks of artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese in a lemon and oregano sauce...capped off with an herbed Panko crust and baked until hot and bubbly.
ITALIAN SAUSAGES WITH PEPPERS, ONIONS, AND POTATOES (PORK / Mediterranean)
My friend Karen in Denver,CO introduced me to this tasty one-pan meal which is both healthy and hearty. Anything leftover can be made into an amazing brunch frittata.
ITALIAN Sausage, Bean, and Tomato Stew with Polenta (PORK / Mediterranean)
Slices of polenta get topped with a delicious, savory, slightly spicy stew and then broiled under a crust of parmesan and Panko. Serve with a side of sautéed chard or oven-roasted broccoli rabé and a rosé of Sangiovese or a nice cabernet franc.
Japanese Chicken, Mushrooms, and Rice (POULTRY / asian)
Japanese comfort food! Chicken is cooked with mushrooms and soy sauce, and then folded into perfectly steamed rice, and topped by shredded pickled ginger. This recipe was given to me from my friend Karen in Denver, whose Japanese mother frequently made this dish. It's great with some stir-fried baby bok choy, or snow peas, and a dish of extra pickled ginger that can be passed to enjoy on the side..
** LASAGNA (ADD $15) (BEEF / PORK SAUSAGE + Pasta)
I make either traditional Italian lasagna (with red-meat sauce and ricotta); or Northern Italian-style (with a white-béchamel, and the addition of prosciutto to the meat sauce).. Both are full of flavor, an abundance of cheese, and ready to feed a crowd (12 - 15 servings per pan). Break out a good bottle of red wine, toss a simple green salad, and serve hot, crusty garlic bread on the side.
** London Broil (Beef)
I used my Uncle David's famous London Broil as my base recipe...then I researched dozens of recipes to find the best possible flavor combination to bring to the party. This elevates grilled flank or skirt steak to a whole new level! (Since the steak needs 6-8 hours to marinate, I’ll do advance work before arriving at your home, so we can grill it to your liking in the evening)
** Mom’s Tuna Casserole…But Better! (Seafood/Pasta)
The ultimate comfort food. As a kid, I loved my mom’s, but hey, we can do better! I added more tuna (for more protein) and boosted the flavors to make a dish good enough for company, but perfect for a weeknight supper, too.
** "NEW YORK MINUTE" MEATLOAF (BEEF & PORK)
If you like meatloaf, then you’ll love this tasty free-form loaf. (One of my clients is an avowed meatloaf hater...and she loves this meatloaf!) It’s moist, delicious, and has a great texture. If it’s not gone in a New York minute, leftovers make awesome meatloaf sandwiches, or cut up large meatball-sized chunks and added to your spaghetti sauce.
** ONE-DISH CHICKEN & STUFFING (Poultry)
A fancy variation of a tried-and-true recipe that has been around FOREVER…and for good reason. Moist, savory stuffing gets topped by seasoned chicken breasts and then topped by a creamy, seasoned sauce before being baked. It’s company-worthy comfort food at it’s best. Consider some oven-roasted squash and roasted broccoli on the side.
Orange-Marinated Salmon with Brazilian Rub (SEAFOOD / Latin-American)
As soon as I tasted this at a dinner party in Palm Springs, I had to get chef Roland Petrov's award-winner recipe. He literally won the the "cooking with citrus" competition here in California a number of years ago with this, and it's still a winner! Terrific with rice pilaf
OVEN-ROASTED CHICKEN WITH TOMATOES, CAPERS, AND OLIVES (Poultry)
Moist chicken thighs in a flavorful, colorful sauce. Perfect with oven-roasted green beans and a rice pilaf.
** OVEN-ROASTED SALMON (SEAFOOD)
Jay’s secret salmon rub…and high-heat roasting (or grilling) produce a delicious salmon. Great with just a green salad or Quinoa Caprese salad and some oven-roasted broccoli.
Pasta Carbonara (Pork / Pasta)
This is classic Roman fare, with spaghetti cloaked in a rich, creamy egg-and-cheese sauce studded with sautéed pancetta and some red pepper flakes. (For a seafood-lovers' twist, I can sauté shrimp instead of pancetta in the garlic and onions. It's fantastic this way!)
Pork, Cabbage & Noodles CASSEROLE (Pork / Polish)
Pure Polish grandmother comfort food. Tender, sweet shreds of sautèed cabbage and onion…savory, browned pork sausage. They all get tossed with egg noodles and cloaked in a creamy, dill-sour cream sauce that gets finished in the oven until it's all bubbly. Serve with a salad of sliced cucumbers & onions; and a side of buttery dilled peas.
Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin (Pork)
What!? Pork draped over pork?!? Moist and flavorful thanks to a delicious herbed-olive oil and Dijon rub that then gets a prosciutto wrap. This definitely isn’t your grandparent’s dry pork roast. The recipe makes enough for six with leftovers.
** PULLED PORK TACOS WITH ONION SALSA (PORK / tex-mex)
Friends sourced this fantastic recipe during their walk on Spain’s famed El Camino de Santiago. Fantastic with cilantro rice and mango-pomegranate guacamole (Since this needs hours of slow cooking, I’ll do advance work before arriving at your home...then you can slice / shred it for tacos that evening)
Pumpkin Mac & Cheese (Vegetarian / Pasta)
Everyone’s favorite velvety, creamy comfort food gets a delicious addition of canned pumpkin. . . making it a wonderful dish for fall or winter. The pumpkin adds an earthy richness plus adds lots of fiber, few calories, and no fat. Add some sautéed greens, and meatloaf or oven-baked chicken and you’ve got an amazing down-home meal (heck, it’s a good meal all by itself!)
Red Cabbage and Pork Casserole (PORK / german)
Flavorful, The German-influenced dish was named America's best casserole back in 2002. It's a perfect dish for fall or winter accompanied by with boiled or roasted new potatoes, and a side of dilled, buttered peas.
Rigatoni & Cauliflower (Vegetarian / pasta)
My friend Karen in Tulsa, OK introduced my to this recipe by saying, “Even if you don’t like cauliflower, give it a shot…raisins, capers, and pine nuts bring a surprise to every bite!”
Roasted Chicken with Dates, Citrus, and Olives (Poultry)
My client, Nancy, in Palm Springs shared this. It’s her "go to" chicken dish for entertaining. Delicious, slightly exotic flavors. Serve it with rice pilaf or minted-couscous (to soak up the sauce) and an orange /avocado salad topped with with slivers of dried dates and almonds.
Salmon Fillet with Dijon Cream and Garlic Breadcrumbs (SEAFOOD)
This delicious salmon preparation that works as well for a weeknight family meal as it does for company. Accompany it with oven-roasted potatoes and spinach sautéed with cherry tomatoes and slivered red pepper. A crisp sauvignon or an un-oaked chardonnay would be delicious paired with it.
Santa Fe Garlic-Shrimp & Green Beans (SEAFOOD)
This dish features plump shrimp cooked with green beans in garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and lemon zest. Great with rice or risotto and a green salad
SAUTÉED MUSHROOM Ragout WITH HERBED POLENTA & TALEGGIO (VEGETARIAN)
My college friend Lee, in Sheffield, MA introduced me to this recipe. The polenta gets poured into a buttered dish and topped with slices of Taleggio. . .then broiled until the cheese melts before the mushrooms go on top. All you need is a green salad. Very satisfying.
Shepherd’s Pie (BEEF & LAMB / British isles)
Savory ground meat cooked with carrots and peas in a thick tomato and Guiness sauce. This gets topped by a crust of cheddar-mashed potatoes. Delicious accompanied by a green salad and some oven-roasted green beans.
Shrimp & Pork Dumpling Stir Fry (Seafood & Pork / Asian)
Shrimp, vegetables, and pork-vegetable dumplings get stir fried in a sweet-salty-tangy-sauce then served over bowls of steamed brown rice. Perfect with a side of steamed baby bok choy.
Smoky-Beef Tacos With Three Toppings (Beef / Tex mex)
Holy smokes, is this yummy! A perfect low-and-slow braise. Wonderful smoky flavor thanks to chipotle in adobo...you get to assemble small street-style, shredded beef tacos at the table accompanied by Avocado-Red Onion Relish; Corn and Tomato Salsa; and Cilantro-Lime Crema. ((Since this needs hours of slow cooking, I’ll do advance work before arriving at your home with fall-apart tender beef for you to enjoy that evening)
** Smoky Shrimp With Creamy Couscous (SEAFOOD)
Super delicious. Juicy shrimp sautèed in smoked paprika, green onions, and lemon juice served over a side of creamy Parmesan couscous. Perfect accompanied by oven-roasted green beans with cherry tomatoes or lemony zucchini-avocado salad.
The Soprano’s Sunday Gravy (ADD $15) (Pork & BEEF + PASTA)
Country-style spare ribs cook in a garlic-tomato-basil sauce for hours along with a batch of meatballs. Makes enough for 8 - 12 servings (and hopefully plenty of leftovers, because it’s only better over the next couple days)! Just cook up your favorite pasta, and toss it into this sauce and top it with the ribs and meatballs. Sautèed spinach and chard and a green salad perfectly round out this meal.
Spicy Grilled Fish With Mango-Black Bean Salad (SEAFOOD / caribbean)
This recipe works well with steaks of any fresh, firm white fish like cod or halibut. Serve with Mexican or Spanish Rice, hot flour tortillas with butter, and Mexican beer mixed with limeade.
Spicy Shrimp & Sausage Over Cheesy Grits (SEAFOOD)
This recipe came from my friends in Tarpon Springs, FL. It’s the classic Southern favorite with an Italian twist. Superb flavors.
** SPINACH & MUSHROOM ENCHILADAS (VEGAN)
My go-to recipe when entertaining vegans, because it tastes so darned good. It's “meaty” thanks to Portobellos, and flavorful thanks to a kick of lime and chipotle. Great with cilantro rice, and a salad. Throw in an extra side of black beans, and some guac if you're hungry!
Swedish Meatballs (Beef / Pork)
Rich, creamy sauce envelops tender, delicately flavored meatballs that get served over hot egg noodles that have been tossed in butter and chopped parsley. Serve with a green vegetable (consider dilled,-buttered peas), a side salad, and a dish of lingonberry jam to pass and enjoy.
** White Fish with Fennel and Lemon (Seafood / French)
This oven-roasted preparation produces moist, delicious cod or halibut. It’s great accompanied by my ratatouille and a salad. It could also be served with brown rice and spinach lightly sautéed in butter, garlic, with a squeeze of lemon.
OTHER OPTIONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO Consider:
Bourbon-Chile Basted BBQ Chicken
Braised New Mexican Pork in Red Chile Sauce
Braised French-Onion Chicken
California-Style Carne Asada
Grilled Asian Short Ribs
Herb-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin
Moroccan Lamb Tagine
Mushroom & Bacon Lasagna
New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp
Orecchiette with Sausage & Broccoli
Osso Buco Rustica
Polish Cabbage Rolls
Saltimbocca w/ Peas and Prociutto
Sherry Chicken w/ Mushroom Stuffing
South African Bobotie
** BEST BAKED BEANS...EVER (VEGETARIAN)
I often make and take these beans to potlucks or barbecues. Loaded with flavor from sautéed onions and slivered, roasted red peppers, a thick barbecue sauce, and a hint of cumin—they always gets scraped up (and scarfed down) with compliments and recipe requests.
Broccoli Puree (Vegetarian)
I’ve made this for Thanksgiving, and to accompany a holiday prime rib. Beautifully green, this vegetable takes on new meaning…with butter, sour cream, and a hint of nutmeg. It’s a great side for company-worthy main courses. (NOTE: This preparation requires you to have a Cuisinart)
** Cilantro Rice (can be vegan)
Flat out one of the best rice dishes ever — a great side dish for most meals, especially grilled foods or anything with a Southwest or Mexican influence. It gets its full flavor from a blended mixture of cilantro, garlic and jalapeños. (Requires you to have a blender.)
Corn Soufflé—aka “Corn Crap” (VEGETARIAN)
My cousin and her husband served this at a family barbecue and I got hooked. (There is disagreement over whether it's "corn crack" or "corn crap"). It's an absolutely delicious cross between scalloped corn and a moist corn muffin! Perfect for a barbecue, a potluck, or you can make it a family tradition at your holiday table.
Creamy Lemon Orzo (Vegetarian)
Light, lemony, and creamy this is a perfect side dish when you’re tired of the same-old rice.
** Holiday-Spiced Cranberry Sauce (VEGAN)
I’ve made this every year since I concocted it using port, satsumas, and Chinese five spice. This chutney-like sauce get’s rave reviews from even those “non-cranberry” people at the table (who inevitably take some… after the people around them are “oohing” and “aaahing"). It’s the perfect complement to your holiday-season dinners.
Lemony-Broccoli & Bow Tie Pasta (Vegetarian)
This is a healthy, tasty dish that gets topped with sautèed pine nuts at the very end. Perfect accompaniment to roasted pork, grilled chicken, or...anything.
Mexican Rice (Can be vegan)
This is a fantastic side-dish to accompany grilled fish or your homemade tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. Tomato, onion, and jalapeño gets blended into the cooking stock. Then the rice gets baked, and finally tossed at the end with lime juice and chopped cilantro. (Requires you to have a blender.)
** Party Potatoes (Vegetarian)
This cheesy, creamy dish is the perfect accompaniment to almost anything…roast beef; grilled salmon; chicken breasts…you name it. If you're interested, I can make a double batch, and you can freeze one to use in the future.
Penne All’Arrabbiata (Pasta / Vegetarian)
A spicy, flavorful Roman-style pasta dish featuring a chile oil and tomato sauce. If you like heat, this is a great accompaniment to seared tuna steaks, oven-roasted halibut, or grilled flank steak. Just add sautéed spinach with red peppers and you've got a meal.
** RATATOUILLE (VEGAN)
My take on the French classic—using zucchini instead of eggplant—to meld with tomatoes, onions, red peppers, and mushrooms. This is a great accompaniment to barbecued chicken, grilled flank steak, pan-roasted white fish. It’s even great as a vegetarian meal served over a bowl of rice and accompanied by a green salad.
Roasted Broccoli with Garlic-Anchovy Sauce (Vegetarian)
This recipe came courtesy of my friends in Tarpon Springs, FL. Even if you don’t like anchovies, you’ll love the depth of flavor and complexity that they bring to this awesome way to dress up ho-hum broccoli with the flavors of bagna calda.
Roasted Green Beans, Mushrooms, and Onions with Parmesan Breadcrumbs (VEGAN)
This is a healthy alternative to the traditional green bean casserole. A fresh, fun, flavorful way to enjoy green beans.
SCALLOPED POTATOES (VEGETARIAN)
Adapted from Southern Living... sliced potatoes enveloped in a creamy white sauce with a hint of white pepper and pimento (topped by a cheesy crust). A crowd pleaser... and the leftovers make a great frittata the next day! (Can be made into an entreé with the addition of ham.)
Souped-Up Green Bean Casserole (VEGETARIAN)
This new, and tastier, version of the traditional green bean casserole incorporates sautèed mushrooms and shallots, and gets topped with French fried onions and shredded cheddar cheese.
Sweet Potatoes with Ancho-Maple Glaze (VEGETARIAN)
Skip the marshmallows, nuts, and goo and try this delicious, streamlined sweet-n-spicy way to enjoy sweet potatoes. The recipe makes enough for a holiday gathering.
** UNCLE JAY’S OVEN-ROASTED VEGGIES (VEGAN)
Your choice of green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, baby potatoes, diced sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Tossed in olive oil, seasoning salt and pepper, and then roasted quickly at a high temperature to caramelize the natural sugars in the veggies. (My brother-in-law says my veggies, prepared this way, taste better than McDonald’s french fries).
Vegetable Tian (Vegetarian)
Beautiful and delicious, this dish combines sliced potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini topped with a fontina crust. A perfect side dish for practically anything! The leftovers are terrific in a frittata.
Wild Mushroom Stuffing (VEGETARIAN...if Veggie stock is used instead of chicken stock)
Perfect for Thanksgiving (or any holiday), this is the quintessential Pacific Northwest stuffing; rich with buttery brioche croutons, earthy mushrooms, and the sweet crunch of toasted, chopped hazelnuts.
OTHER OPTIONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO Consider:
Apple-Bacon Mac & Cheese
Celtic Potato, Cabbage & Cheese Gratin
Cuban Black Beans & RIce
Curried Chickpeas & Potatoes
German Red Cabbage & Apples
Greek Smashed Potatoes
Grilled Corn w/ Spicy Aioli
Savory Sweet Potatoes
Tomato Cobbler w/ Basil-Parmesan Bisquits
** Apple-Cheese Crumble
I found this gem in the Stanford Medical Wives cookbook from 1966-67. Thinly sliced apples get dressed in sugar, cinnamon, a little cream and bourbon. . . then topped with a crumble-topping that has shredded sharp cheddar cheese added. It's a delicious twist on apple pie.
** Atlantic Beach Pie
A sweet-salty twist on a classic creamy-lemon pie that's as lazy as summer on the shore. It's got a fun, shaggy crust made with saltines instead of the usual graham crackers. Garnish with freshly whipped cream and a dusting of coarse salt.
Buttermilk Chocolate Cake
This is Claudia's German grandmother's recipe, too.. 9x9 pan of moist and delicious, old-fashioned chocolate cake. Let's serve this topped with a dollop of thick, tangy, slightly sweetened sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Graham cracker crumbs, chocolate and butterscotch chips, chopped pecans, and shredded coconut get mixed-together with sweetened-condensed milk and baked. Once cooled and cut into small bars, these treats are perfect to accompany a scoop of gelato or ice cream.
Chocolate-Chip Pecan Blondies
Thee babies are part cookie and part brownie, but without the cocoa. Crunchy nuts; meet a mellow-sweet alchemy of butter-brown sugar-vanilla, and bourbon; then semi-sweet chocolate chips join the party! Just add a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. . . or a dollop of softly whipped cream flavored with creme de cacao. Mmmmmmmm.
** Chocolate-Walnut Crumb Bars
Absolutely delicious with a shortbread crust that gets a silky chocolate layer added and then topped with a mix of walnuts, chocolate chips, and shortbread crumbs. I made these for my neighbors in West Seattle at Christmas time back in the 1990s, and ended up with multiple requests for the recipe... which I somehow lost over the years. Waxing poetic about my memory of these with a friend, she smiled. A week later, I got a text, with a photo of the recipe, which she’d also clipped from a magazine all those years ago… and still makes annually!
This is my friend Claudia's German grandmother's recipe...unearthed in an old recipe box. Sliced apples get sandwiched between a cake on the bottom, and a wonderful pecan-cinnamon-brown sugar crumbled topping, and then baked. 9x9 pan of moist and delicious cake...just waiting for a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of boozy whipped cream.
Wondering what to do with all those lemons? So were my friends Sue and Steve in Tucson. When I visited them we determined that “If life gives you lemons, MAKE LEMON BARS!” Shortbread crust with a luscious lemon curd topping.
A vanilla and chopped walnut shortbread crust gets baked, then (while still hot), gets topped with a mixture of chocolate and butterscotch chips...then topped with a light-sprinkling of crunchy sea salt.
Think Rice Krispy treats...but imagine if they had peanut butter, chocolate, and salted peanuts added to the mix. Then, imagine if they got topped with a nice thick, glossy layer of chocolate. Yeah... imagine it. Then imagine a 9 x 13 pan of these babies in your fridge, even after your guests ate one or two squares!
Panettone Eggnog Bread Pudding
Panettone is a traditional Italian sweet bread readily available during the holidays. It's fluffy and cake-like, studded with candied fruit, so it makes a fabulous bread pudding. Eggnog lends itself perfectly to the festive holiday flavors…so if you’re looking for a holiday season desert…look no farther!
Pistachio Fluff (Dairy Free)
If you want just a little-something that's sweet, here it is. Very pretty served in footed bowls or stemmed glasses. This works equally well as a sweet, light salad with a heavy meal…or as a light dessert. Pistachio pudding gets folded with crushed pineapple and non-dairy whipped topping....then topped with crushed pecans.
RICH, CREAMY (AND HEALTHY) CHOCOLATE MOUSSE (VEGAN)
Totally delicious—with rich cacao, dates, honey (can substitute Splenda or Stevia if you're on a low-sugar diet), vanilla, a hint of salt—but built upon a base of pureed avocados and bananas! Try it…you’ll be a convert, too. (This preparation requires you to have a Cuisinart)
** Sherry and Monte Bellaria di California Olive Oil Pound Cake **
Gorgeous with a hint of orange and lavender and the grassy-herbaceous flavor of this first-press Sonoma olive oil. This subtle, flavorful cake isn't too sweet. Delicious topped with whipped cream flavored with a drop or two of lavender oil. If you want an over-the-top dessert, oven-toasted slices, get a thin smear of orange marmalade, then topped by a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of this olive oil. (I'll make two loaves...one for your dessert... another for you to enjoy later...since the texture and flavor actually improve as days pass!)
** Uncle Jay’s Brownies
These homemade, dark-chocolate cocoa brownies are moist and delicious…chopped pecans and semi-sweet and dark-chocolate chips add wonderful texture and flavors...topped with a light-sprinkling of crunchy sea salt. (I'm regularly told these are the best brownies ever!)
OTHER OPTIONS YOU MIGHT WANT TO Consider:
Mixed Berry Cobbler
Heavenly Lemon Pie
Mexican Ginger Cookies
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding
Peanut Butter S’More Bars
Vegan Key Lime Pie