Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 lb. baby carrots

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all in a bowl and mix. Put on baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes, until slightly charred and fork-tender. I found this wonderful recipe on


Grilled Cheese with Corn and Calabrian Chile (Vegetarian)

From Food and Wine magazine, July 2020

Serves 6 (I made two large sandwiches and saved extra cheese mixture for another time)

1 cup fresh corn kernels

3 oz. English-style cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 oz. caciocavallo cheese or provolone cheese, shredded (about 1/4 cup)

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions

1 medium-size jarred Calabrian chile, stemmed and finely chopped (about 2 tsp.)

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter (3oz) softened

12 (1/3 inch-thick) sourdough bread slices

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add corn kernels, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer corn to a large bowl, and let cool 10 minutes. Wipe out skillet, and set aside.
  2.  Add cheddar, mayonnaise, caciocavallo, shallot, scallions, chile, salt, and garlic to corn; stir to combine. Spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Place 6 bread slices, buttered sides down, on a piece of parchment paper, and top evenly with cheese mixture (about 1/3 cup each); spread cheese mixture in an even layer. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered sides up.
  3.  Heat cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook sandwiches until golden brown and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve immediately.

Skillet Shrimp

Taken from the June edition of Southern Living magazine this dish is quick, easy and impressive. My only comment would be: don’t skip the lemon zest, it  fuses all the flavors together in a surprising way!


1 bunch scallions

12 ounces medium-size peeled deveined raw shrimp

2 tsp. lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)

2 cups uncooked orzo (1 lb.) *it usually comes in a 1 lb. box, use the whole box

2/3 cup dry white wine

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill


  1. Slice dark green scallion tops to equal 1/4 cup; slice light green and white bottoms to equal 1/2 cup. Set aside, keeping scallion parts separate. (reserve the remaining scallions for another use) Toss together shrimp, lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp. of the kosher salt in a large bowl.
  2.  Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and scallion bottoms. Cook, stirring often, until translucent. 3 minutes. Add orzo; cook, stirring often until lightly toasted. 2 minutes. Stir in wine. Cook, stirring constantly. 1 minute. Add stock and remaining 1 tsp. salt; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  3.  Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, undisturbed, until orzo is tender, about 12 minutes, adding shrimp during the final 3 minutes of cook time. Remove pan from heat. Sprinkle evenly with scallion tops, parsley and dill.

Limoncello Cheesecake Squares

From Giada’s Family Dinners book, and I quote: “Refreshing, light, and decadent, these squares are a cross between mini cheesecakes and everyone’s favorite lemon bars.


Nonstick cooking spray

8 ounces purchased biscotti

6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

3 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

1 (12 ounce) container fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temp.

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup limoncello

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom of a 9x9x2 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Break the biscotti into pieces and grind them to fine crumbs in a food processor. Add the melted butter and 1 Tbsp. of the lemon zest, and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture over just the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool the crust completely.

Clean out the food processor bowl and blend the ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sugar, and blend well, stopping the machine occasionally and scraping down the sides. Blend the limoncello, vanilla, and the remaining 2 Tbsp. of lemon zest. Add the eggs and pulse just until blended.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the baking pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the smaller pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden but the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. (the cheesecake will firm up as it cools)

Transfer the pan to a rack, cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours, and up to 2 days. Cut the cake into squares and serve.


Potato Pizza ~ A specialty from Puglia in southern Italy ~ Vegan

This “pizza” is made with mashed potatoes, and contains a tasty filling of garlic, tomatoes, capers and Kalamata olives.

4 large russet potatoes

1.5 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

2 Tbsp. capers, rinsed

1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives

  1.  Cut up and boil the potatoes in salted water until tender. Hand mash, adding 3 Tbsp. oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2.  Heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a medium pan. Add garlic and chopped tomatoes. Cook until softened and tomatoes begin to dry out a little. Fold in capers and olives. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3.  Oil a shallow baking dish. Spread half the mashed potatoes in the dish in an even layer. Cover with the chopped tomatoes/capers/olives/garlic combo.
  4.  Spread over the rest of the potatoes in an even layer. Brush the top with the remaining oil and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top in golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley.

Thai Coconut Chicken and Rice Soup

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

3 cups chicken broth

1 large onion diced

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, stems removed, sliced and sauteed

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup cooked rice

1 can coconut milk (about 13 oz.)

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp. grated lime peel


  1. In a large Le Creuset pot combine chicken, broth, onions, mushrooms, ginger and sugar. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until heated through.
  2.  Stir in rice, coconut milk and bell pepper into soup. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in cilantro and lime peel before serving.