ramblings from my little kitchen

Olive Tapenade


I LOOOVE olives.  as does my child.  She would literally eat 10 of them if I would let her.  I made this the other night to go on some grilled Cod.  It was super tasty!  The bitter capers mixed with the salty olives and sweet basil leaves made such a wonderful flavor combination.  Make it and enjoy.  It takes no time at all and is a perfect topping for any grilled seafood and I also think it would be great on chicken.

Olive Tapenade

  • 10 kalamata olives, diced
  • 8 green olives, diced
  • 1TBS capers
  • 1/2 TBS diced sun dried tomatoes
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 8-10 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp (or less) red pepper flakes

combine all ingredients and serve 

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Caprese Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

I don’t like raw tomatoes.  At all!  That is unless they are organic heirloom tomatoes drizzled in balsamic dressing hugged by hoards of mozzarella cheese and basil. Go to your local market and buy some summer tomatoes and make this ASAP.


  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Mixed Greens
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Minced garlic
  • Raspberry Balsamic reduction (recipe to follow)
  • salt and pepper


Slice tomatoes and mozzarella and layer over greens. sprinkle with fresh garlic and sliced basil. drizzle with dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.

Raspberry Balsamic Reduction

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1TBS  raspberry jam
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt and pepper


Place vinegar in a small pot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. add raspberry jam and let the mixture continue simmering for another 5-10 minutes until it is reduced by half.  whisk in olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.  let cool.  serve over caprese salad.

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Black Bean Burgers

Matt frequently gets burger cravings.  While I don’t eat meat, I don’t mind preparing it for him.  However when I told him I was going to make a veggie bean burger for myself, he quickly said that he wanted one too!  These were really delicious. I used cornmeal as my filler, but I think I would like these even more using panko. They were slightly spicy, had a ton of good flavor and a lovely crunchy crust.  The corn relish added a bit of heat and another layer of flavor and the avocado cream acted as the glue to hold it all together.


Black Bean burgers

  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed divided
  • 1 cup white or brown rice, divided
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 chipolte seasoning cube
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup cornmeal, breadcrumbs, or panko
  • salt and pepper
  • Canola oil

Place 1/2 can of drained black beans, 1/2 cup rice, 1 coarsely chopped red pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic, and chipotle seasoning in a food processor. Pulse process until combined.

Finely dice the remaining red pepper. In a bowl, mash the rest of the black beans and rice.  Add the diced red pepper, onion, lightly beaten eggs and the mixture from the food processor.  Season with 3/4tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.

Stir in the cornmeal/breadcrumbs a little at a time, and mixing until the mixture firms up. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet with a little canola oil over medium heat. Add the mixture in patty form in batches and cook until done, flipping halfway through (about 5-6 minutes total for small patties and 8-12 minutes total for bigger burgers).

Corn Relish

  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1/2 small red onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 seeded jalapeno, minced
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 TBS lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. Stir in the corn, and let it sit for about 1-2 minutes before stirring. Continue to saute until lightly browned.

Stir in the garlic and jalapeno, just until fragrant – about 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat and add the tomato, lime juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado Cream

  • 1 and 1/2 avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

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Homemade ranch dressing


1/4 t kosher salt
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 c good mayo
1/2 c greek yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 c milk or buttermilk (depending on how thick you want the dressing)
handful chopped flatleaf parsley
small handful fresh chives, chopped
handful fresh dill, chopped
1.5 TBS white vinegar (or only 1/2 TBS if you used buttermilk)
1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
juice of one small lemon
1.5 tsp dijon mustard
2 TBS olive oil
dash of hot sauce


Smash garlic clove and dice as finely as possible, sprinkle kosher salt over smashed garlic and with the back of your knife smoosh them together until the garlic is really broken down. Put this into a jar. add all the other ingredients and close the lid. Shake until mixture is combined. add more milk if the dressing is too thick.


pictures coming soon.  this will be served with tons of delicious blue cheese and some lettuce, maybe some bacon or roasted salmon.


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Mustard Cheddar Pull Apart Bread

I saw this on one of the blogs I follow and HAD to have it, immediately. It wasn’t quick, but boy was it good.  I made no adjustments to her awesome recipe, but I think next time I will ease up on the paprika, it was a little strong for my liking.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup beer
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup rye flour (i used whole wheat because i didn’t have rye)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon Dijon or a mustard of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dash of hot sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon table salt
Several grinds black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

Make dough: In a small saucepan, heat the 4 tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup of beer, just until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and add the remaining 1/3 cup beer. Set aside to cool down slightly. You want the mixture warm- around 110 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast and table salt. With the mixer on low, pour in the butter-beer mixture, mixing only until the flour is moistened. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined. The batter will look lumpy, but will become smooth in a moment. Add the remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and all of the rye flour, mixing until just combined. Replace paddle with a dough hook and let the machine knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes on low.

Oil a medium/large bowl and transfer dough to it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside for 50 to 60 minutes, until doubled. Meanwhile, prepare fillings.

[Do ahead: You can also rest the dough in the fridge overnight — wrapped tightly with plastic. The next day, let it rest at room temperature for an hour before rolling out.]

Make fillings: Back in the same small saucepan you used for the butter and beer, melt the 3 tablespoons butter. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard, Worcestershire and hot sauce until smooth. Set aside.

In the bottom of a medium bowl, stir together mustard powder, paprika, table salt and several grinds of black pepper. Add shredded cheddar and toss until grated strands are evenly coated with spices. I like to keep this in the fridge until needed so it doesn’t get soft and clumpy, making it harder to sprinkle over the dough in a bit.

Assemble bread: Either coat a 9-by-5 loaf pan lightly with butter or a nonstick spray and set aside.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured counter and roll the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle, making sure it doesn’t stick to the counter by lifting sections and re-flouring the counter as needed. Brush the butter-mustard-Worcestershire mixture evenly over the whole surface, right up to the edges. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips; each should be 12-by-4 inches. Sprinkle the first one evenly with a heaping 1/4 cup of the grated cheese (which is now fine to leave out at room temperature). Gently place another strip on top of it, coat it with another heaping 1/4 cup of cheese, and repeat with remaining strips until they are stacked 5-high and all of the cheese is used.

With your very sharpest serrated knife, gently cut your stack into 6 to 7 2-inch segments (each stacked segment should be 4-by-2 inches).

Arrange stacks of dough down the length of your prepared loaf pan as if filling a card catalog drawer. I make this easier by standing my loaf pan up on its short end to make the next part easier. If, when you finish filing all of your dough stacks, you ended up with less than needed for the dough “cards” to reach the end of the pan, when you return the pan to rest flat on the counter again, just shimmy it a little so the dough centers. It will all even out in the final rise/oven. If you ended up with toomany dough cards, before you add the last stack, simply press gently on the dough already filed to make room for it.

Loosely cover the pan with more plastic wrap and set it aside to rise again for 30 to 45 more minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Bake loaf for 25 to 35 minutes, until puffed and brown. Transfer it to a wire rack and let it cool for 5 minutes before flipping it out onto a serving plate/cutting board. Serve warm.

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cheddar dill scones

I totally stole this from Ina Garten.  I am not much of a recipe follower but when it comes to baking, I am fairly clueless.  I think the only thing I did differently was add a lot more cheese, and that was on accident.  These are rich and delicious.  There is so much butter in them, you don’t even need to put anything on them.  I served them with a very light soup and salad because there are enough calories in these to account for a meal. They are perfect for a day like today when there is a foot of snow on the ground.  Comfort food is good. 


4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

4 extra-large eggs, beaten lightly

1 cup cold heavy cream

1/2 pound extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, small-diced

1 cup minced fresh dill

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash


oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the Cheddar, dill, and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the Cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to make triangles. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully baked.

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Egg Salad

I either have no eggs in my house or 2 dozen…  if you ever find yourself in a similar position, please make this!



12 peeled hard boiled eggs

(put eggs in cold water, place over high heat, once water is boiling, cover and turn off heat.  let sit for 13 minutes then immediately cover in ice bath.  perfect eggs every time, no green ring, no soft centers.  also, older eggs are easier to peel, so don’t use the freshest ones in your fridge)

1/2 cup mayo (i usually add a dash of lemon juice to mayo to make it taste a little more homemade)

2TBS dijon mustard

2 tsp chives

1TBS fresh dill

2TBS pimentos

salt and pepper to taste



smash up eggs with your hands, or a fork, or if you are really fancy, a food processor.  Then, add all other ingredients and stir until combined!  Serve on warm toast, with crackers, or a hollowed out tomato.  Pretty and yummy!


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Cheeseburger salad

Oh YUM!  I mean I am pregnant, so most food is delicious.  But this was so good I hardly had time to take a breath between bites.  And it is super simple.


1/2 pound lean ground turkey

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

1TBS olive oil

salt and pepper

1TBS ketchup

1TBS dijon mustard

2tsp BBQ sauce

1TBS pickle juice

romaine lettuce

Diced dill pickles

Cheddar Cheese

White bread


Heat olive oil in medium skillet add sliced onion and cook until softened. Add pinch of salt and pepper.  Place ground turkey into pan and add a smidge of salt and pepper again.  Cook for 2 minutes then add ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce and pickle juice.  Stir until meat is browned and cooked through. Serve over chopped romaine lettuce then sprinkle with tons of cheddar cheese and as much dill pickle as you like.  I turned the white bread into croutons by cooking them over high heat in some melted butter and salt.  But you could just toast it and serve on the side as a scooper to help shovel this delicious meal into your mouth. Enjoy!

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