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Avocado Dip (Guacamole)

One avocado has about 165mg of omega 3 oils. Avocados also have a host of other good vitamins and minerals. They are filling and healthy. I often use avocados in cream soups in place of some of the cream–just smash and replace half the cream required in the recipe with an avocado. You’ll up your nutrition and even improve the depth of flavor.

As an appetizer, guacamole is much higher in nutrients than plain cheese or sour cream based dips. The cream cheese in this dip brings out the best in avocados.

In food processor:

1 clove garlic (you may want to mince this separately to avoid chunks)
4 oz cream cheese
2 avocados, peeled and pitted

Blend until smooth, add salt to taste (remember that when eaten with chips and salsa, less salt is required!)

Place in serving bowl and hollow out the middle. Spoon your favorite salsa into the middle. Serve with chips or crackers.

Posted: July 22, 2006
Filed in Appetizers, Dry Eye Recipes

Caesar Salad – Carrabba’s

I’m reposting this recipe because so many people ask me for it.

I fell in love with Carrabba’s Caesar salad the first time I tried it. Luckily, the owners of the restaurant published a cookbook with the recipe:

savingCiao Y’All by Damian Mandola and Johnny Carrabba

savingHere’s another Carrabba’s Cookbook–paperback. or in ebook form: Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Recipes from Around Our Family Table

If you want the exact recipe, I’d advise you to get the book. I tried the recipe, but even with perfection, I had to have my own additions/subtractions, tweaking here and there until the dressing I made was distinctly my own. That said, I certainly do recommended the recipe in the cookbook!

One other note: I keep getting questions by people who want to make caesar dressing without anchovies–try anchovy paste and/or worcestershire sauce as a substitute, but keep in mind anchovy is the heart of caesar salad dressing.

Here’s my version of Caesar Salad Dressing:

Open and drain 1 can (2 oz) of anchovies.

Mince 4 medium or 2 large cloves of garlic and put in bottom of blender with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Blend on low speed (you won’t get much blending at this stage).

Add to blender:
1 scant tablespoons capers (optional)
8-10 anchovies (1 can) –or 1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
Blend on low speed until completely mixed.

1 and 1/2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp sugar
Blend again on low speed.

3 egg yolks with a little of the egg whites (or two very large egg yolks)
Blend on low speed until everything is creamy and well-mixed.

After everything has mixed well, continue blending on slowest speed and drizzle slowly into the blender:

1 1/4 cups olive oil–more or less. Stop adding when it becomes too thick for the blender. (I substitute in Walnut Oil because I have dry eye and Walnut Oil is highest in Omega 3 oils.)
Adding it slowly allows the mixture to “cream.”

When everything is well blended:
Add 8-9 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice from 1/2 medium lemon


Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated (not packed) romano or asiago cheese and blend again.

For the salad, tear romaine lettuce and slice fresh mushrooms. Toss. Use about 2 tablespoons of the salad dressing per salad serving. Serve with extra romano, parmesan or asiago cheese on top!

If you like zany, fictional adventures that involve food, mysteries and potential romance, you might like the novel:
Executive Lunch.
You will definitely want to check out:

eclair_maria_schneider_avatarOne Good Eclair

Some alternate spellings for search engines: Carabas, Carrabas, Carraba, Carabbas, cesaer, ceasar, cesare, cesear

Creamy Jalapeno Sauce

This is a great sauce–I use it as a dip for chips or veggies as well as a great topping for enchiladas, burritos and tamales.

Chop the stems/tops off two jalapenos. Remove the seeds if you want to reduce the “heat” of the sauce.

In blender mix the following:

2 Jalapenos
1 envelope Original Ranch salad dressing mix (1.0 oz dry)
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup milk

Blend until smooth. You can eat it right away or refrigerate to thicken (twenty minutes to 1/2 hour).

If you take the seeds out of the jalapenos before blending, you may want to add a third jalapeno. Of course, the spiciness of jalapenos differs so some people may only want one!

Posted: August 2, 2006
Filed in Appetizers

Deviled Eggs

There are lots of deviled egg recipes out there. I took all my favorite ingredients for deviled eggs and made my own.

Eggs image

6 to 8 hard boiled eggs (immerse in cold water and heat until boiling. Boil for 10 minutes. Rinse in cold water and peel.)

1 strip of chopped, cooked bacon (preferably from a butcher shop that has center cut, double smoked bacon)
1 tablespoon finely minced onion
2 tablespoons finely minced celery
1/4 cup mayonnaise (to taste/consistency)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
sprinkle or two of black pepper (if the bacon is peppered leave this out.)

Mix the bacon, mustard, onion, celery, and mayonnaise in a bowl. Add the cooked egg yolks and mash together well. Drop the mix with a teaspoon into the eggs and sprinkle with paprika.

Posted: July 18, 2006
Filed in Appetizers

Garden Soup

Sometimes I just don’t know what to make for lunch. Mainly because I’ve just been to the store, but seem to have spent 100 dollars and come home with no food. At any rate, today for lunch I decided to make zucchini soup because I had two decent-sized ones from the garden and didn’t need them for dinner. I threw them, garden onions, garden beets, garden parsnips, some mushrooms that needed to be eaten, garlic, thyme, marjoram, pepper, tarragon, some celery and olive oil in a pan. I sauteed everything really well. Then I added some frozen chicken stock. When the mess was cool enough, I pureed it with an avocado and some half and half. The avocado adds creaminess without the “bad” fats of the half and half. Potatoes work as as substitute for some of the half and half too, but with all the other stuff in there, I left those out this time.

Back in the pan to warm and some cilantro for decoration and we had lunch from the garden.


Husband was very suspicious of the purple color, but he ate half the pan before all was said and done, so I guess it tasted okay. 🙂

Posted: May 30, 2013
Filed in Appetizers

Green Chile Sauce

This sauce is commonly used to smother burritos, tacos, and enchiladas (where green chile is already in the enchiladas, but the sauce is poured over the top for additional flavor). The sauce uses previously roasted and peeled green chiles.

In skillet, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute the following:

1 minced garlic clove
1 small onion, diced

When the onions are soft, add
1 small fresh roma tomato, diced (if you’re using canned tomatoes do not saute merely add at the end)

Heat until tomatoes have softened.

Add six to eight roasted, peeled and diced green chiles and ½ cup to ¾ cup chicken stock. (Note: If you do not have roasted chiles, you need to sautee the fresh chiles with the onions!)

Simmer on low heat for five to ten minutes so that the flavors merge. Serve on top of your favorite recipes!

Can also be served as a salsa. Can be eaten as a side dish lightly smothered with monterey jack cheese.

Look here for instructions on how to roast and freeze green chiles.

Posted: July 19, 2006
Filed in Appetizers, Mexican Dishes

Honey Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Bread is not all that easy to make. Around here it seems to depend on the weather. Or maybe I’m just tired of summer. At any rate, here’s a pretty simple recipe that doesn’t call for much kneading. I’ve made this recipe in 6 hours total with two rise times and I’ve also had to let it rise overnight to get it to rise correctly.

No matter how long it takes, once it gets there, this is a great tasting bread. It’s a bit denser than your standard store loaf, but most homemade bread is like that.

For One Loaf:
1 scant cup warm water (you should be able to put your finger in it without it burning.)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast (I use fast rising)
Stir gently. Do not beat the yeast to death; it’s fragile
I sometimes add the honey in with this, but if you do, don’t stir the honey in — it can smother the yeast. I always put in a little honey at this stage (the recipe calls for 1/3 cup. I put in a couple tablespoons on the side or bottom of the bowl, but DO NOT STIR or it will smother the yeast.)

Let the yeast froth. Usually takes about 5 minutes. If it doesn’t froth, start over. The yeast is dead. Dead yeast is usually because the water was too hot or too cold (or old.) I have also had problems with it growing when the honey is too agitated. The honey does feed the yeast, but I’ve had better luck adding it AFTER the yeast froths.

Mix in another bowl:
1 scant teaspoon salt
1.5 cups bread flour
1.5 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp wheat gluten

In a glass measuring cup mix:

1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 egg (you really only need the egg yolk, but it’s easier to just put the whole thing in there).
1/3 cup of honey (you can put the honey in with the yeast, but don’t stir it–put it in the bottom of the bowl, pour water on top and then the sugar and yeast.)

General Directions

   1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
   2. Mix oil, honey, and egg into the yeast mix. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough in the bowl until smooth. I add in a bit of extra flour (maybe another 1/8 to 1/4 cup depending on the humidity. This is the stage where a lot of people are kneading the dough on a floured surface. I just mix it while in the bowl. Yes, I sort of eyeball how it looks and feels.)
3. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
   4. Punch dough down. Shape into loaf, and place into a well oiled 9×5 inch loaf pan. Allow to rise until dough has risen 1 inch above pans. Sometimes this takes one hour, sometimes it takes overnight. I have set it on a warm surface (a warmed toaster oven) to help it along.
   4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe can be doubled.

If you use regular white flour in place of the white whole wheat, it may change the dynamics (the bread may also be fluffier.)
The white whole wheat is going to cause the crust to be fairly dark, but don’t take the bread out too early. Don’t baste or the top will burn.

Posted: September 1, 2012
Filed in All-American, Appetizers, Main Dishes

Humus and Tahini

Now here’s a step on the wild side. Humus is a very common middle eastern food. It’s the equivalent of Mexican refried beans, only it seems to be eaten more generally as a dip–as an appetizer, cold. It’s also served as a side to kabobs, but even then it was served cold.

It’s quite good, very mild and certainly a bit off the beaten path here in the US!

You’ll need:
2 cans of Chick peas (12oz.)
2 cloves of Garlic
Tahini sauce (made from sesame seed and sold in many supermarkets in the foreign food section or at Fiesta or a store called “Phoenicia”)
2 lemons
Food processor or a Blender

Drain the juice from the chick peas, but save the juice.
Crush and mince the garlic.

Place the peas in the food processor
Add 2 tablespoons of Tahini sauce.
Add the juice from the lemon and the garlic.

Blend the mixture until it becomes a thick sauce.
Add a little leftover juice from the chickpeas and more Tahini sauce to customize the consistency and taste.

Serve on a plate with a sprig of parsley for decoration and a sprinkle of olive oil. Use bread, chips or nan to scoop up these delicious beans!

Recipe provided by Amer Habda, a native of Lebanon. He also has a fascinating trip report of his travels to Saudi Arabia.

Posted: July 24, 2006
Filed in Appetizers

Potato Salad

I haven’t done a recipe for a while, but here’s another one where I’ve been able to add walnut oil to help get enough Omega 3 into the diet to help dry eye. Basically anything that uses mayonnaise is an excuse for me to substitute in some walnut oil.

The secret to good potato salad isn’t the walnut oil–it’s mixing the potatoes and oil/mayo while the potatoes are piping hot. This allows some of the cooked potatoes to “mash” a bit as they are stirred, and provides a nice sauce–as opposed to potatoes sitting in mayonnaise.

Summary Tips: Start by dicing the celery, onion and pickles. Add them to the oil and mayo. Then, when you dice the potatoes and the eggs, add and stir into the oils while the potatoes are still very hot.

Start 6 medium red potatoes and 3 eggs boiling. When the eggs are done (about 12 minutes in boiling water) take them out and set aside. Let the potatoes continue cooking while you prepare the vegetables.

Vegetable Ingredients:
1/2 to 3/4 cup minced or finely chopped celery
1/4 cup minced or finely diced sweet onions
1 to 2 tablespoon minced bread and butter pickles

Add the above to:
1/4 cup walnut oil
1/2 cup Miracle whip
2 tsp prepared mustard (I use a Dijon style)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons bread and butter pickle juice

Stir until lightly mixed.

Peel and dice the 3 hard boiled eggs and add to the mix while they are still hot/warm. Stir.

Test the potatoes. When they are ready, remove them and dice them one at a time. After each is diced, add to the mixture and stir. It is very important to stir them after each potato. After the second potato, you may need to add more mayo to keep things creamy. Continue adding hot diced potatoes and mayonnaise until you have added all the potatoes and have a nice potato salad! In total, I usually put in about a cup to a cup and a half of mayonnaise, but I add it as I mix so that I don’t end up with too much or too little.

The walnut oil is hidden in the recipe. Don’t use too much of it or it will thin the potato salad. The quarter cup here raises your Omega 3 intake and does nothing to change the taste. In fact, if you have a potato salad recipe you prefer over this one, simply make it as you normally would, but substitute in some walnut oil for some of the mayonnaise or Miracle Whip.

Posted: November 17, 2012
Filed in Appetizers, Dry Eye Recipes, Main Dishes


Salsa “al fresco” can really add personality to a dish. I prefer it to those that come out of a jar.

1 clove minced garlic
1/4 to 1/2 medium sweet onion chopped very small or minced
16 oz diced grape tomatoes or four large Roma tomatoes
Minced fresh leaves from cilantro to taste (1 to 2 tsp)
Salt to taste (or use 1tsp lime juice for added flavor and to help the salsa keep longer!)
1 tsp sugar (if the tomatoes are very sweet, you can use less)
1 or 2 medium diced or minced jalapenos including some seeds–the more seeds the hotter it will be!
1/2 cup of diced mild chiles (poblano, Anaheim)

Mix all ingredients with spoon. For longer keeping add a tsp of lime juice and refrigerate for up to a week.

To give salsa more color and a sweeter chile flavor, add a quarter of a diced yellow or red bell pepper. Banana peppers are also good in fresh salsa.

Posted: July 22, 2006
Filed in Appetizers
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