Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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Fry Baby, Fry! Beer Battered Fried Fish and Onion Rings, Avocado Fries

Recipes in this PostRice Flour Beer Batter Fried Fish, Onion Rings, Avocado Fries and Stuffed Wontons

I don’t eat a lot of fried food, but sometimes, you have to fry. I wanted to make Avocado Fries, and considering that there was already going to be a pan of hot oil, why not throw some other things in as well?

My friend, Amber Lewis, chief cook and bottle washer, and event planner extraordinaire at Cool Dreams, makes these wonderful Bacon Wrapped Dates and Artichoke Stuffed Wontons. She suggested we make fried onions to go with our other appetizers, and I said we should make beer battered fish to go with it.

Amber’s son, Zeik, helped make sauces, including Chipotle Lime Sauce, for the onions rings and avocado fries.

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Crab Shrimp Cakes with Louis Sauce

Recipes in this PostGarnished Crab Cake Picture by Stu Spivack at Flickr

When I was a little girl living in Germany, my mother used to get frozen crab cakes. I loved them. A few years ago, I found a package of Zatarain’s crab cake mix, and I made it with imitation crab. Yup, you heard me right – imitation crab.

Here’s my thoughts on imitation crab. What is imitation crab? Imitation crab is made from surimi, a concoction of fish, usually pollock, a binder and flavoring. I never think of imitation crab as crab, I think of it as Krab.

I went to the market yesterday, and stood there thinking about what to make for Friday Food. Krab was on sale, and there was a nice package of small bay shrimp on sale as well. Since I was going to be making this for Amber’s family as well as mine, I got both, and thought I would mix them together.

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Eggnog French Raisin Toast – Noël en Juillet

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Eggnog French Raisin Toast - Christmas in July

Eggnog French Raisin Toast – Christmas in July

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is eggnog. Spane and I love eggnog. I like mine with a little Jack Daniels, Spane likes his plain. If we have any left, I make French Toast with it. Well, it’s July now, and no hope of going to the market and getting eggnog.

What do you do when there is no eggnog at the store? You make your own. Some eggnog tastes strange – last year I wound up giving one I didn’t like to an unsuspecting neighbor – they liked it, so no harm done. Based on what I made today, I’m confident that this Christmas, I’ll be making my own eggnog. I have a friend who raises chickens, and always has fresh eggs – he even has a big orange chicken that I am waiting to get old – I’ve named her Coq au Vin (seriously).

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Barbecued Mexican Shrimp Stuffed Red Snapper Packets

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Barbecued Mexican Shrimp Stuffed Red Snapper Packets, with avocado, Roasted Peppers, tortillas and cilantro

Barbecued Mexican Shrimp Stuffed Red Snapper Packets, with avocado, Roasted Peppers, tortillas and cilantro

Well, our Weber is going South of the Border tonight, and I’m making Barbecued Mexican Shrimp Stuffed Red Snapper Packets with Roasted Red Peppers, Avocado and tortillas.

I’ve really been into grilling for the past few days, Barbecued Asian Pork Chops, Barbecued Fillet Mignon with Blue Cheese Crumbles, and last night I barbecued a chicken. Tonight is Friday, so no meat. But I did have some red snapper in the freezer, and some cooked shrimp as well. I thought I could stuff the snapper with the shrimp, and as I was chopping it up, it occurred to me if I added spices and cabbage, it could become South of the Border.

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Seafood Stuffed Avocado with Marinated Asparagus

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Shimp and Crawfish Nestled in Avocado - Asparagus Flanks Each Side

I am so happy that the warmer weather is here, and salads are the way to go. Composed salads made by stuffing a fruit or vegetable are a favorite in our house. I found crayfish at the store, and bought some shrimp to go with it. Since we usually eat seafood on Fridays, using the shrimp and crayfish to stuff an avocado seemed like a perfect idea. Spane and I also love asparagus, which looks lovely on a plate. It is also the year that Haas avocados are plentiful.

Avocados produce fruit prolifically every two years, that’s why they are expensive one year, and really cheap the next. Did you know that all commercial, fruit-bearing Hass avocado trees have been grown from grafted seedlings propagated from a single tree? The tree was grown from a seed bought by Rudolph Hass in 1926 from A. R. Rideout of Whittier, California. The mother tree stood for many years in front of a residence in La Habra Heights. The tree died when it was 76 years old and was cut down on 11 September 2002 after a ten-year fight with root rot. Two plaques by the private residence at 426 West Road mark the spot where it grew. Because of the avocado, just about any food with California in the name has avocados. I love ’em.

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