Peach Caprese Salad

Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 (4-ounce) balls fresh, water-packed mozzarella
4 ripe peaches, unpeeled, each cut into 8 wedges
½ cup fresh basil leaves

To prepare dressing, combine lime juice, zest, vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil and set aside.
Cut cheese into 1-inch pieces and gently toss with peaches and basil leaves.

Whisk mint into dressing and toss about 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) with salad. Season with freshly cracked pepper and serve.


Texas Caviar Dip

2 (15 oz.) cans Bush’s black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans Bush’s pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz.) can Bush’s cannellini beans
2 (15 oz.) cans white corn, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies, do not drain
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2-3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1-2 avocados (optional)

In a large bowl, mix the black beans, pinto beans, white corn, green chilies, jalapeno, red and green peppers, red onion, celery, and cilantro together.

To make the dressing, stir the rice vinegar, olive oil, sugar, cumin, and garlic powder together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and cool. Pour dressing over bean mixture and toss to mix evenly.

It is better after it has been refrigerated for an hour or two.

Pimento Cheese

8 oz extra sharp yellow cheddar
8 oz extra sharp white cheddar
7 oz jar pimentos
Salt to taste (I use very little)
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on taste)
Approximately 2/3 cup Duke’s mayo (I’m a firm believer in Duke’s)

Grate cheese relatively fine

Strain pimentos and then chop. No needed to strain juice created when you chop.

Add chopped pimentos, juice created, salt, pepper, and cayenne and give a light mix.

Add mayo and continue to mix until it reaches consistency you desire.

Chicken and Andouille Sausage with Rice

2 t oil
1 c chopped onion
½ c chopped green bell pepper
¼ c chopped celery
chicken breast cutlets (boneless, skinless)
salt and fresh pepper, to taste
1 T all-purpose flour (rice flour for gluten-free)
2 c water
2 links (6 oz) andouille chicken/turkey sausage (Applegate)
1 bay leaf
¼ c chopped scallion

Heat a large deep non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the oil, onions, peppers and celery. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring.

Push the vegetables to the edges of the skillet and add the chicken, season with salt and pepper. Brown 2 to 3 minutes on each side, then sprinkle the flour over the chicken and vegetables.

Add the water, sausage and bay leaf, adjust salt and pepper to taste, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30 to 35 minutes, remove bay leaf and top with scallions. Serve with rice.


2 T olive oil
1 ½ lbs Andouille or kielbasa sausage, diced diagonally ½ in thick
8 chicken breast cutlets
Salt and pepper
2 T unsalted butter
1/12 c onion, chopped (1 onion)
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 c celery, diced
1 28oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained and medium diced
2 T minced, seeded jalapeno pepper (2 peppers)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T tomato paste
2 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
½ t ground cayenne pepper
1 c dry white wine
5 c chicken stock
3 c extra-long-grain white rice, such as Carolina
3 bay leaves
1 lb shrimp
½ c chopped flat-leaf parsley
½ c scallions
¼ c freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the olive oil in a very large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the sausage and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, turning the pieces until browned. Remove the sausage to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pot and cook over medium high heat until browned (5 min). With tongs, turn and cook for another 5 minutes, until browned. Remove to the bowl with the sausage and set aside. Don’t be tempted to cook both together – they won’t brown properly.

Add the butter to the oil in the pot, then add the onions, bell peppers, celery, 1 T salt and 1 t pepper and cook over medium to medium-high heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, cayenne, and 1/12 t salt, and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the white wine and scrape up the browned bits in the pot. Add the stock, rice, sausage, chicken and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduced the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer covered for 5 more minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parsley, scallions and lemon juice. Cover and allow to steam for 10-15 minutes, until the rice is tender and the shrimp are fully cooked. Discard the bay leaves, and sprinkle with extra parsley and scallions, serve hot.

(from Barefoot Contessa’s Foolproof)

Autumn Chicken Pot Pie

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups)
1 shallot, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried crumbled sage)
2 sheets frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge farm or Dafour’s), thawed in the refrigerator
Egg wash (2 tablespoons milk beaten with 1 egg)

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

2. Toss the squash with the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter, season with salt and pepper and spread evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven to bake until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

3. While the squash is cooking, melt the remaining butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the mushrooms and shallot, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes until lightly brown.

4. Add the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly brown, about 2 minutes longer. Slowly whisk in broth and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly.

5. Add the chicken, sage and cooked squash; season with salt and pepper and stir to mix. Reduce the heat and simmer about 5 minutes or until thick and creamy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

6. Meanwhile, flatten the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface, cut into a shape to fit the top of the container you are using (to slightly overlap). Fill the containers with the chicken filling and place the pastry over the dishes, allowing excess to drape about 1/2- inch over the sides. Repeat with the remaining cups. Brush the pastry with egg wash and place in the refrigerator to chill at least 1 hour.

7. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place bowls on baking sheets and cut several slits into the tops of the pastry.

8. Place in the oven to bake 20 to 25 minutes until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown and the filling is warm through. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving, serve warm.

(courtesy of Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen)

Truffle Mac and Cheese

2 T unsalted butter
good olive oil
½ lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
½ lb cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced 1/2-inch
3 T cream sherry
Kosher salt
1 lb pasta such as cavatappi
3 oz white truffle butter, such as D’Artagnan
½ c all-purpose flour
1 qt whole milk, scalded
12 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 1/2 to 3 cups)
1 t freshly ground black pepper
½ t ground nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 T chopped fresh parsley
½ c fresh white bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan, add the mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are tender. Add the sherry and continue to saute for a few more minutes, until the sherry is absorbed. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the truffle butter in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Combine the pasta, sauce, and mushrooms in a large bowl and pour them into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.
Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until they’re minced. Add the bread crumbs and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

Gruyere Tomato Pie

2 T dijon mustard
2 large sweet onions
8 oz gruyere cheese
precooked pie shell
2 T balsamic vinegar
3 whole ripe tomatoes
salt and pepper

Cut tomatoes into ½ inch slices and drain on a paper towel.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in balsamic until very soft and all liquid has evaporated.  Let cool slightly.

Brush piecrust with mustard and spread cooled onions over bottom of crust.  Sprinkle grated gruyere over onions, and then top with sliced tomatoes (touching, not overlapping).  Sprinkle more gruyere if desired over tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 for 1 hour.  Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Skillet Corn

6 ears of corn, shucked
4 basil leaves +
4 T unsalted butter
½ c. water
salt and pepper

Cut kernels off cob into a bowl.  After removing the kernels, hold each stripped cob over the bowl and scrape with the back of a knife to release the juices.  Cut basil into thin strips.

Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until foamy.  Add kernels and their juices, rinse the bowl with water and add the rinsing liquid to the skillet.  Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the kernels are tender and the liquid thickens – 3-4 minutes.  Stir in basil and serve warm.