September 17, 2019

(Baked) Australian-style Potato Wedges


3 lbs Russet potatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

to serve:
sour cream


Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the potatoes and cook until easily pierced with a fork (but not fall-apart tender), about 5 minutes. Drain. Place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together the oil, salt, paprika, garlic, and pepper.

Drizzle the potatoes with seasoned oil. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to arrange the potatoes in a single layer (skin side down) on the lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and cooked through.

To serve:

Pour chili sauce into ramekins. Top each with a dollop of sour cream.

My thoughts:
I read a fair amount of Australian books and watch a lot of Australian shows for someone who has lived in the US their entire life. I love seeing a glimpse of a different place and of course, I'm always interested in what they are eating! Australian food is a neat mashup of British food, food from many different Asian countries, Indigenous Australians and Pacific Islanders.

I noticed in one show the characters were at a pub eating potato wedges dipped in something but I couldn't make out what it was. Then I read about wedges in a mystery. Then last week, someone talked about having something called "Aussie wedges" at a restaurant in NYC. Well then. I had to investigate!

In looking up recipes in Australian food magazines, they seem to be a regular snack and often fried. You can fry them of course, but I find frying wedges a little tricky, even parboiled, they often aren't quite tender in the middle. Baking ensures the ultimate final product, in my opinion.

The dipping sauce is really what sets it apart. You can make your own sweet chili sauce but to be honest, it is just as tasty store-bought. I was skeptical about the combination but trust me (and millions of Australians!), it is really good!

It's a simple recipe but makes for a very satisfying and easy side dish.

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September 11, 2019

Nectarine Butter with Lemongrass and Ginger (Slow Cooker)


6-8 lb nectarines, pitted and coarsely chopped
zest of 2 limes
2 cups light brown sugar
1 2-inch knob ginger, peeled
2 3-inch pieces lemongrass, cut into 1/4 inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons white peppercorns
1/4 cup (bottled) lemon juice


Place the nectarines, zest, and sugar in a 4-quart slow cooker, stir. Note: you can fill the insert all the way to the top, it will cook down quickly!

Place the ginger, lemongrass, and peppercorns into a large tea ball and place in the slow cooker.

Turn the slow cooker on low and cook overnight  (8-10 hrs)  or until the mixture has reduced by nearly half, with the lid slightly askew to allow for some evaporation to occur. A chopstick can help keep the lid from closing if necessary.

Puree the mixture with an immersion or standard blender. Return the mixture to the slow cooker and continue to cook, with the lid slightly askew, as needed to obtain fruit butter consistency, about an hour.

Stir in the lemon juice.

Prep your jars and lids.

Pour the butter in the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: about 6 8-oz jars

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here are some of my other favorite canning books and supplies.

My thoughts:
Another year as canbassader for the Washington State Fruit Commission has come to an end! This year I was sent a whole case of nectarines! In previous years I've been sent plums and peaches which have been amazing but I'll be honest. nectarines have always been my favorite summer fruit. The fuzz on peaches makes my hands itchy so it's tricky to peel them myself and I always end up needed help making anything. No issue with nectarines! The skin is fuzz-free and so thin, you don't even need to peel them before canning unless you want to.

Apple butter is the most popular fruit butter out there, possibly followed by pumpkin butter but I like stone fruit butter the best. It really concentrates the flavors of the fruit. Apples are available nearly year-round (although of course, they are better when in season during the fall) but most stone fruit is only available during the summer, making it more attractive to can. There is nothing better than getting a taste of nectarines during the darkest part of winter.

For this butter, I used the classic combination of floral lemongrass and spicy ginger and tossed in some white peppercorn for just a hint of heat. They perfectly brought out the near tropical sweetness of the nectarine.

Making it in the slow cooker really makes it a breeze to make. You can just simmer it on the stove but it requires a lot of attention or it very easily scorches. No risk of that in the slow cooker and the only real hands-on time is cutting the nectarine and then briefly boiling the jars.

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September 09, 2019

Fig and Delicata Squash Salad

for the squash:
1 delicata squash, sliced into 1/4 inch half-moons, seeds reserved
1 tablespoon fennel pollen
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil

for the seeds:
1/2 cup raw delicata seeds, rinsed clean
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

for the salad:
10 fresh figs, halved
10 oz watercress
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 oz crumbled blue cheese (gorgonzola is good)
4 oz prosciutto

to serve:
prosecco or other white wine vinegar


Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the squash, a drizzle of canola oil, salt, pepper and fennel pollen. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together the seeds, oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and oregano. Place on the baking sheet next to the squash.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender. Allow to cool about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss together the salad ingredients. Divide between two plates for a meal, 4 four as a side dish. Top with squash and seeds. Drizzle with vinegar and serve.

My thoughts:

Our fig trees are doing so well this year! It's been a wet, hot summer but apparently, that is what all of the fruit trees in our yard love. They are all really producing! We have hundreds of beach plums, dozens of pawpaws and a huge amount of figs. This year is the first year we've been able to harvest anything from our "Little Miss Figgy" tree, which is smaller than the average fig tree, and the figs are great! Very flavorful and they have great stems which makes it easy to pick them off the tree without damaging the fruit. a major plus when you want to serve them raw.

Delicata squash is one of my favorites. It's in season this time of year. Many people think it's a winter squash like butternut but it is actually summer squash like zucchini that is consumed when it matures in the late summer or early fall. You can eat the skin which makes it a breeze to prepare. I hate having to peel the bumpy skins off winter squash! It makes meals with it much faster. I pulled this together for a quick lunch and it took only about half an hour, including cooling the cooked squash. Initially, I had thought to add nuts to the salad but then I thought--why not use the seeds? It's nice not to have them go to waste and the squash cooks so quickly, you can toast them on the same pan as the squash.

The flavors are perfect for late summer. The fresh sweetness of the figs, the peppery watercress, the creamy cheese, salty prosciutto,  floral fennel pollen, crunchy seeds, and the earthy squash hit all of my flavors and textures in a salad. I didn't feel the need to make a formal dressing, there is enough oil left clinging to the squash and seeds that just a quick splash of vinegar was enough.

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September 06, 2019

Fennel, Mushroom, Olive and Beef Ragout over Polenta


for the ragout:

1 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 bulbs fennel, sliced into half-moons
1 red onion, sliced into half-moons
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/4 lb cubed sirloin or stew beef
superfine flour (like Wondra)
quart beef stock
1/4 cup (drained) kalamata olives
1 tablespoon coarse herbs de Provence
1/4 cup chopped parsley
freshly ground black pepper

for the polenta:
6 cups beef stock or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups yellow stone-ground (polenta) grits
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
freshly ground black pepper


for the ragout:

In a medium heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat some oil. Add the mushrooms, fennel, onion, and garlic and saute until well cooked down. The onions and fennel should be near caramelized. Sprinkle the beef with flour and stir it into the vegetables, browning the cubes on each side. Add the stock until the meat is nearly covered (may have stock leftover) and add the olive and spices. Stir and simmer, covered for 1 1/2-2 hrs or until the meat is tender. Remove the lid, stir in the parsley and simmer until the liquid has reduced and the stew is quite thick if needed.

for the polenta:

In a medium pot, bring the stock and the bay leaf to a boil. Add the polenta/grits, butter, and oil then stir continually for about 10 minutes or until all the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fish out the bay leaf and stir in the cheese and spices--go light on the salt due to the olives in the ragout.

Divide the polenta up onto 4-6 serving dishes, top with ragout. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
It is still summer and I don't love fall because fall means winter is coming and winter is the worst season of them all.The last few weeks of summer are some of my favorites because it is still warm but not meltingly hot and some of my favorite foods are still in season: tomatoes, corn, summer squash and now, fennel. This is a very fall-like dish but the fennel is so fresh and sweet it is still a good fit for early September. It does take quite a while to make but it is 90% hands off and very easy. The flavors are rich and earthy. The perfect transitional dinner.

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September 04, 2019

Lemon-Dill Shishito Pepper Chicken Skewers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ChooseMazola #CollectiveBias
A clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see
  • Ingredients: 
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill 
  • 1/2 cup Mazola Corn Oil 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice zest of one lemon 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1-pint shishito peppers 
Directions: The night before you want to serve the chicken, place all ingredients EXCEPT the shishito peppers in a resealable bag or marinating container. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat your broiler as needed. Add the peppers to the bag or marinating container and shake to coat the peppers in the marinade. Place two pieces of chicken followed one (whole) pepper on a skewer and repeat until all of the chicken and peppers are gone, resulting about 4 large skewers.

Place on a broiler-safe pan and broil for 10-12 minutes, turning once, or until the chicken is fully cooked.

Serves 4

My thoughts:
My summer obsession with dill continues. I don't know why, but this summer, I have wanted dill in nearly everything I've eaten. So when Mazola Corn Oil got in touch about developing a recipe using Mazola Corn Oil as part of September's National Cholesterol Awareness Month, I knew it had to have dill!

I started using corn oil more last year and I like it a lot. It has a higher smoke point (450°F!) than many oils including olive oil and a neutral taste, which makes it pretty versatile. I've used it when grilling, sautéing, stir-frying, and in recipes like this when making a marinade.

Mazola Corn Oil is an all-purpose, cholesterol-free cooking oil that is a smart heart-healthy* choice for your family. *See for more information on the relationship between corn oil and heart health.

For this recipe, I swapped out a few ingredients to make them more health-friendly. Instead of marinating in sour cream or Greek salad dressing, I used cholesterol-free Mazola Corn Oil. Instead of the dry dill dip mix I was tempted to use but which was high in sodium, I used fresh dill, lemon juice, and spices. I also swapped out chicken thighs for chicken breast, which is lower in cholesterol. Broiling was a great choice, too. It was healthier than pan frying but not as dependent on the weather as grilling.
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August 30, 2019

Sardine and Summer Squash Spaghetti with Olive, Tomato and Capers

1 onion, sliced into quarter moons
2 medium yellow squash, cut into bite-sized wedges
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1-pint cherry or other small tomatoes, halved
2 4.4 oz tins sardines in olive oil
2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
1/3 cup (drained) Kalamata olives
1/2 cup (loose) coarsely chopped Italian parsley
red pepper flakes
3/4 lb spaghetti


Saute the onion, squash, and garlic until the onion is translucent. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

Add the tomatoes, sardines, capers, and olives to the squash mixture. Use a spoon to break up the sardines. Saute until the squash is fork-tender. Stir in the parsley, red pepper flakes and hot, drained spaghetti. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
Our trip to Portugal (five years ago, how did that happen?) renewed my interest in preserved fish. We went to two different restaurants there that were devoted to tinned fish. Since then, I've tried to incorporate it more into our meals. It's a great staple to have on hand. This month (whole summer, really) has been a very expensive one for many reasons so I've been trying extra hard to try and use up ingredients I already have vs buying new ones just for one dish.

This recipe is basically made up of odds and ends I had in the fridge and cabinet but is a real winner! It's really amazing what you can make out of basically nothing. It was light and super flavorful. Sardines have a reputation for being "fishy" but they really don't when prepared this way, they sort of create their own sauce. Tomatoes and squash are at their peak now and add a fresh flavor to the various preserved ingredients. Added bonus: this whole dish takes less time to make than it did for me to prepare the dried pasta.

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August 28, 2019

Spiced Okra Stew with Chickpeas and Tomato

1 onion, sliced into half-moons
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb small okra
28 oz canned diced tomatoes or 1 1/2 lb fresh tomatoes, cubed
1 1/2 tablespoons Lebanese 7 mixed spice mix*
14 oz canned chickpeas, drained
pinch salt


In a medium pot, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Add the okra and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Serve immediately.

*aka bahārāt, mine was a mix of allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and mahlab

My thoughts:

I know okra can be a bit of divisive vegetable but I love it. It's finally in season now so it is the perfect time to experiment with a new recipe. Frozen okra is fine in a pinch but fresh okra has such a delicate flavor and an amazing crisp texture that its a shame not to take advantage of its availability.

We went to a new to us Mediterranean grocery this weekend that had a ton of Lebanese ingredients so I stocked up with a few essentials including this spice mix and some mahlab. I had the okra at home so I thought I'd make a version of the okra stew that is so popular in that region. When I've had it, it has had beef or lamb in it but since we were also grilling some beef kofta, I thought I'd make a vegetarian version and used chickpeas to bulk it up a bit. Normally I think I'd serve it with rice but we are oddly out of all rice except Japanese short grain so I made some spiced couscous instead. I served it as a side and had a massive amount of leftovers but it would also make a wonderful main dish. It's fresh-tasting (bonus points if you use fresh tomatoes) and full of warm spices. A real pleasure in late August.

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August 23, 2019

Pickled Beet and Gorgonzola Deviled Eggs

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs
1 16-oz jar sliced pickled beets
3-4 oz crumbled gorgonzola
1 tablespoon dijon
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
freshly ground black pepper


The night before you want to serve:

Drain the beets reserving both the beets and the brine. Refrigerate the beets in an air-tight container. Return the brine to the jars. Halve the eggs. Add the whites to the jar, seal, and refrigerate. Place the yolks in an airtight container and refrigerate.

The next day:

Place the yolks, 1/4 cup pickled beets, 3/4 of the gorgonzola, Dijon, mayo, and pepper into a small food processor bowl or manual chopper.  Pulse until smooth. Drain the whites and discard the brine. Arrange on a platter. Fill with pickled beet yolk mixture, top with remaining gorgonzola and beet slices. Best served the same day. Refrigerate as needed prior to serving.

My thoughts:
This is a deviled egg for the bold. No simple sprinkle of paprika here! This deviled egg is packed with a pickley-sweet flavor that is wonderfully accented by the robust gorgonzola. Just as easy to make as the typical but with a vibrant pink hue and a more adult flavor profile. Perfect for snacking, a picnic or a retro dinner party.

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August 02, 2019

Lemon Dill Lamb Meatballs


1 lb ground lamb
1 shallot, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
3 tablespoons chopped dill
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
olive oil


Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Mix the lamb, shallot, garlic, parsley, dill, zest, oregano, salt, and pepper until well combined. Roll into 2 1/2 inch balls. Place on the baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes or until just fully cooked. For best results do not overbake! Broil for a minute or two if you want more browning for appearance (lamb stays pretty pink when baked!). Drain on paper towel-lined plates if needed. Serve hot or at room temperature.

My thoughts:

It has been quite a summer. A major family illness has affected not only the afflicted but all of us and I haven't been cooking as much as usual or as many varied things. I had picked up some lamb at Aldi and it sat in the refrigerator for over a week (it had a very good expiration date!) because I felt like I should make something super exciting with it and it seemed overwhelming to make lamb and then some worthy sides. Then I had the idea to take it easy on myself and make these delicious meatballs but serve them with some beet hummus (also from Aldi), mini pita (Aldi), mini cucumbers (Aldi), stuffed grape leaves (Trader Joe's), marinated eggplant and tomatoes (Trader Joe's), and feta (Aldi). It was a delicious weeknight meal and only took minimal effort. Perfect for hot days or times of crisis.

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July 31, 2019

Midsummer Orzo Salad

1 1/4 cup (dry) orzo
2 ears' worth corn kernels
1 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 "baby" cucumbers, sliced into half-moons
3 tablespoons minced dill
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
4 oz baby arugula, coarsely chopped
4 oz crumbled feta
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
freshly ground black pepper


Cook orzo according to package instructions. During the last minute, add the corn kernels. Drain and cool.

In a large bowl, toss the orzo and corn with the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I know, another pasta type salad. What can I say? It's summer. It is much quicker to cook than potatoes or rice and is tasty cold. For this salad, I used the best of what's in season now: tomatoes from my mom's garden, fresh herbs, cucumbers and corn and a few Greek ingredients, feta, olives, and orzo. I served with some lemon dill chicken patties. A lovely, easy weeknight summer dinner.

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July 24, 2019

Peppers and Olives Macaroni Salad

1 lb macaroni, cooked to package instructions
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon
1/4-1/3 cup coarsely chopped manzanilla olives with pimento (I used these which are prechopped)
splash of olive juice
1 large cubanelle pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, stir all ingredients together until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour prior to serving.

My thoughts:
Macaroni salad can be a tricky thing. I enjoy a deli-style macaroni salad as much as the next person but macaroni salad can easily go so wrong. I've seen too many that go too sweet (sweet relish and sugar?!), I've seen some that have raisins in them. Raisins. Who would do that to a person?

I don't make macaroni salad often but when I do, I like to go as savory as possible. Last night I was trying to think of a side dish after having rice for lunch and potatoes the night before. We had a ton of macaroni noodles in the house so I thought, why not make a pasta salad. My original idea was pretty different but I had to pivot quickly after realizing I didn't have some of the ingredients I swore I bought last week. Anyway, I decided to go with a more flavor-packed version of the classic deli salad. I loaded it up with olives, pimentos, Cubanelle peppers and nearly as much Dijon as mayonnaise. If you like a creamier salad, add a little more mayo to taste, in this version, the dressing just coats it. Tons of paprika and my fave celery seed round out the flavors.

It really is a flavorful salad. Even people who would normally pass it up (my husband) enjoyed it and is have more for lunch today.

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July 16, 2019

Cherry Orange Jam


3 cups crushed sweet cherries (I used a potato masher to crush the cherries)
1/4 cup candied orange peel (I used this)
3 tablespoons powdered pectin*
2 cups sugar


Evenly sprinkle the bottom of the Ball Jam Maker with the pectin. Spoon the fruit and peel in a relatively even layer over the pectin.  Press the jam button. You will hear a beep at 4 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit mixture while the machine is still running. Cover and wait for the jam cycle to complete. Press the cancel button and unplug the machine. If not using a Ball Jam Maker, make the jam on the stovetop using the traditional method as seen in this recipe.

Ladle the jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. I used my electric water bath canner which I use even for huge canning projects. It is amazing and doesn't heat up your house like boiling water on the stove for hours does.

Yield: about 4 8-oz jars

*I recommend these jars of flex batch pectin.

Note: A great source for canning information is the Blue Book guide to preserving. I highly recommend it for learning how to can. Here is a bunch of other canning books and equipment I find useful.

My thoughts:
Once again I came home to a huge box of fresh sweet cherries the Northwest Cherry Growers organization to can. So many cherries! I first thought of making some pickles, ketchups and shrubs but my mom has been asking for some homemade jam. I don't think I made jam at all last year! Jam it was! I think cherries are the star so I kept it simple and added some candied orange peel I had on hand to add a touch of citrus flavor. It seems odd to add candied peel vs. the fruit but oranges are not in season now and the ones you can buy are not so tasty or juicy. Citrus juice tends to lose flavor when baked or cooked for long periods of time (which is why you can add lemon juice to jam to make it safe to can yet not really taste it in the finished product) so using the peel is the best way to add actual fruit flavor. Sure, the peel is candied but you are already making jam with sugar, a little more doesn't make much difference. The result is a fresh-tasting jam full of cherry flavor and just a hint of orange to balance it out.

Note: I know some canners do not like the Ball Jam Maker but I really do. It makes just about 4 jars of jam (perfect for someone like me who mostly does small batch canning), frees my stove up to cook up other things to preserve, and makes the jam in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom. Which you can, because you do not need to watch the jam while making it. Of course, you can safely can this jam the traditional way if you so choose.

Bonus points: use the jam to make this.

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July 01, 2019

Barbecue Spaghetti


1 red onion, diced
1 cubanelle pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Memphis-style barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce*
1 tablespoon Memphis style dry rub
15 oz canned diced tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano
2 cups pulled pork (used pork that made with the dry rub using the method shared in this post)

to serve: 1 lb cooked spaghetti


In a large pan, saute the onion, pepper, and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, dry rub, canned tomatoes and pulled pork and simmer about 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens. Serve over hot spaghetti.

*Tomato sauce is oddly tricky to find at times. Look for it near canned tomatoes or in the Italian section. It's not tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes and it's not spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I can only find it in a 4- or 8-oz can but if you are local, Weis carries the store brand version in 28-oz cans.
My thoughts:
I freely admit the only reason I made the barbecue sauce, the dry rub and then smoked a whole pork butt for two people was to make barbecue spaghetti. My husband was very skeptical but I held fast (and didn't tell him at first I was just in it for the spaghetti) and he ended up loving it so much, we are making it again on the 4th of July.

Barbecue spaghetti is a little odd at first glance, it's pretty much only found in Memphis and I can't find a ton of info on the origins. If I had to speculate, I think it is some amalgamation of the plain tomato sauced spaghetti you can find at some (barbecue and) fried fish places served as a side and a bunch of leftover pulled pork. Whatever the origins, it's tangy, delicious and uniquely satisfying. Don't knock it until you've tried it!

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June 30, 2019

Memphis-Style Barbecue Dry Rub


1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
coarse salt
coarsely ground black pepper


Stir all ingredients together, store in an airtight container.

Grilling tip:

We cooked a 5 lb pork butt using the snake method on our charcoal grill for about 4-5 hrs. Then we wrapped it in foil and let it sit 45 minutes or so before pulling.

My thoughts:

You can use this on ribs, which I think is more traditional, but I really loved it on pulled pork. It might look dry in the picture but it was some of the tastiest, juiciest pulled pork I've ever had. 

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June 28, 2019

Memphis-style Barbecue Sauce


2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups plain tomato sauce*
2/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cup molasses
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
pinch celery seed
freshly ground black pepper

In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter. Saute the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. Whisk in the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes or until it has thickened into a sauce consitancy that will coat the back of a spoon. Place in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into a jar and allow to cool before using or refrigerating.

Yield: about 1 3/4 cups

*Tomato sauce is oddly tricky to find at times. Look for it near canned tomatoes or in the Italian section. It's not tomato puree, or crushed tomatoes and it's not spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I can only find it in a 4- or 8-oz can but if you are local, Weis carries the store brand version in 28-oz cans.

My thoughts:
I had the idea to make Memphis style barbecue last fall but we had so much rain, I ended up freezing the pork until now. I like making my own barbecue sauces because not only can I control the sweetness and flavor, I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand and it gives me something to do while grilling for 6+ hrs.

I actually used homemade  Worcestershire sauce in this (talk about being extra!) that I made while testing cookbooks as a judge for the single subject category in the IACP cookbook awards. It's from the winning book, Jerky, and it was surprisingly simple to make yet very delicious! Of course, you can use regular Lea & Perrins.

This is a thinner, tangy yet sweet barbecue sauce that I think would have wide appeal at your next cookout.

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May 29, 2019

Umami Lovers Salad


4 oz smoked salmon, cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz watercress
2 roasted beets, sliced
2 6 1/2 minute eggs, halved
3/4 lb thin asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved
2 "baby" cucumbers, sliced into coins

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon "everything" seasoning*
1/2 teaspoon Dijon
1 tablespoon nonpareil capers


Toss together the salad ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside. Place the dressing ingredients in a jar, cover and shake until emulsified. Drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

Serves 2, as a meal. Can be easily doubled or tripled.

* DIY it: "everything" seasoning mix:
1 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoon dehydrated minced garlic
1 teaspoon mixed black and white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
pinch kosher salt

My thoughts:
I've had the idea for a vaguely bagel platter inspired salad for a while now. Finally, I just had to make it. I'm not a huge green salad person so I loaded it up with everything I love: lox, beets, cucumbers, asparagus and peppery watercress vs the typical "salad mix" or lettuce. Then I made a bold, pickle-y dressing loaded with flavor from the everything seasoning. The result is a wonderfully flavor-packed salad. So many bold flavors in every bite--smoky, savory, salty. It is an umami lover's delight.

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May 24, 2019

Deviled Egg Smashed Potato Salad


2 lb whole baby Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup small diced thin asparagus
1/2 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup coarsely chopped hamburger dill pickles
2 tablespoons Dijon
1/2-1 teaspoons hot paprika (plus more for garnish)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 hard-boiled eggs
freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. Drain. Return to the pot and Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to crack and slightly smash the potatoes. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place the asparagus (or leave out, I don’t care. I’m not making another side) onions, and celery in a large bowl.  Stir to distribute the asparagus. Set aside to cool.

Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half. Chop the whites and place them in the bowl with the potatoes.

Place the yolk into a small bowl and mash it with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the mayo, onion, dill relish, mustard, vinegar, and spices until a dressing forms. Pour over the potatoes, stir to evenly coat the potatoes and asparagus. Refrigerate at least 1 hour prior to serving.

My thoughts:
This week marks the 15th year of creating recipes here on Coconut & Lime! Can you believe it? It seems like a long time and short time all at once. It's basically been my entire adult life. I was still a teacher back then and had just started dating my now husband. Now we've been married 14 years and I've written several cookbooks and develop recipes full time. There are just shy of 2,500 recipes on this blog.

I still like creating recipes that are classic with a twist so I guess it is fitting to post this recipe this week! Memorial Day is right around the corner and who doesn't need a potato salad recipe? We are planning to get crabs but you still need a side dish. Or so my husband tells me. Growing up we just had crabs.

This dish is quickly becoming one of my favorites because while it has a pretty classic flavor profile, the texture is softer and I've added asparagus so you get a bit of veggies in there too--eliminating the need for a second side dish, I think. And is there a better pairing than deviled eggs and potato salad? I think not!

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May 17, 2019

Mortadella Home Fries

1 1/2-2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1/4 lb thinly sliced (imported) mortadella, cut into bite-sized pieces
freshly ground black pepper
pinch salt


Parboil the potato in a medium pot. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large skillet. Melt the butter. Add the onions and mortadella and sauté until the onions are softened and starting to brown around the edges. Add the potatoes. Arrange the potatoes in as flat of a layer as possible. Cook until golden then flip and brown the other side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I have always been a home fries person. My grandpop always made them for me growing up (often alongside his meat cakes) and I think they are so much better than hash browns. Unfortunately,  a lot of restaurants don't seem to know the difference between hash browns and home fries so when I order home fries, I am often very disappointed.

I make them at home not terribly frequently but every time I do I wonder why it has been so long! Normally I make them with bacon but we had bought way too much mortadella shortly before our trip to NYC last week so I thought I'd swap some for the usual bacon. I'm so glad I did! The mortadella (the fancier, Italian cousin to bologna) crisped up around the edges and added a ton of flavor to the potatoes. It was a revelation. I think I might buy "too much" mortadella on purpose next time.

The trick to good home fries is to parboil the potatoes. I don't always do it, my grandpop never did, but it really is the easiest way to guarantee crispy, perfectly cooked potatoes.

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May 15, 2019

Spaghetti with Sardines, Asparagus and Capers


1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 onion, sliced into half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 tablespoons nonpareil capers
2 4.4-oz canned sardines in oil, drained
juice and zest of one lemon
3/4 lb spaghetti
2/3 (loose) cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley
Parmesan for sprinkling
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


Cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

In a large skillet, toast the bread crumbs until golden brown. Set aside. Heat some olive oil in the pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onion softens. Add the asparagus, capers, and sardines. Saute, breaking up the sardines with the back of the spoon until the onions are fully cooked. Stir in the cooked, drained spaghetti, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss in bread crumbs. Divide over four plates and sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
One of the best things about our trip to Portugal a few years ago was really exploring the world of tinned seafood. We went to two different restaurants that specialized in recipes using tinned seafood in interesting ways and a store that only sold canned seafood. It was so much fun!

Luckily, all sorts of canned and preserved seafood are available here in the US. Even the not so fancy supermarket had 10 different varieties and brands of sardines. Not to mention, tuna, anchovies, herring, even octopus!

It's easy to make a meal strictly from the pantry using sardines but since it's spring (despite being the 40s!! this week) I added some in-season asparagus and tons of parsley for a lighter, fresher dish. It was so good! Filling without being heavy and although sardines are a fishier smelling fish, the dish is surprisingly not pungent. The toasty bread crumbs and parm add a great depth of flavor as well. A truly satisfying weeknight meal.

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