Avocado Relish

This is a very  versatile relish to have on hand . It is a super accompiniment to Chilis , quesadillas or even on its own with tortilla chips . It ie elegant and nutritious and completely vegan.

Bobby Flay

1 cup

1 ripe Haas avocado , coarsely chopped

1 tbs finely diced red onion

1 tbs minced jalapeno

2 tbs fresh lime juice

1 tbs coarsely chopped cilantro

salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the avocado , onion , jalapeno , lime juice , and cilantro . Season to taste with salt and pepper . Cover and refridgerate for up to 1 day . Bring to room temperature before serving.


Baked Crab , Brie and Artichoke Dip

This decadant hors d’oeuvre  comes from  the popular steak and seafood restaurant Tangos in Vero beach ,Florida. Their seafood is always delicious and fresh and the food presentation suberb. Although the recipe does contain crab meat ,I have successfully prepared this dip without.

Serves 6 to 8 as a first course

1 medium leek (white part only)

1 medium vidalia or other sweet onion

1/2 cup drained canned artichoke hearts

1/2 cup thawed frozen chopped spinach

1 lb Brie

2 tbs minced garlic

2 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup Riesling or other medium -dry white wine

2/3 cup heavy cream

3 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

2 tbs finely chopped dill leaves

1 tbs finely chopped tarragon leaves

1 lb fresh jumbo lump crab meat

2 tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp Tabasco or to taste

Accompaniment : toasted thin baguette slices

Preheat oven to 425*F and lightly oil an 11 inch gratin or other shallow baking dish (about 6 cup)

Trim and finely chop leek. in a large bowl of water wash leek well and lift from water into large sieve to drain. Finely chop onion, rinse and finely chop artichoke hearts. Squeeze dry and finely chop spinach. Discard rind from brie and cut into 1/4 inch pieces.

In a heavy skillet cook leek ,onion and garlic in oil over moderate heat, stirring , until pale golden and stir in artichoke hearts and spinach. Add wine and cook, stirring , 3 minutes. Add cream and simmer, stirring 1 minute. Add Brie ,stirring until it just begins to melt. Remove skillet from heat and stir herbs into mixture.

Pick over crab meat . in a large bowl stir together crab meat , mustard, Tobasco and salt and pepper to taste and stir in cheese mixture. spread mixture evenly in baking dish and bake in middle of oven 15 to 20 minutes or until golden.

Serve dip with toasts.

Roasted Red Pepper , walnut and goat cheese dip

Oftentimes when preparing a dinner for entertaining ,I like to prepare as much as possible ahead of time, this is the secret to great entertaining.This dip is creamy and delicious and can be prepared 3 days ahead of time. Just store it refridgerated ,in an air tight container,just be sure to return it to room temperature before serving.

one 15 oz jar of roasted red peppers ,drained and rinsed.

8 oz goat cheese ,at room temperature

4 oz cream cheese , at room temperature.

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tsp fresh thyme ,leaves only

1 tsp fresh flat leaf parsley ,finely chopped

Place 3/4 of the peppers ,both cheeses ,salt ,herbs  and walnuts

 in the bowl of a food processor. Process till just creamy and mixed.Pour onto a bowl and stir in the rest of the red pepperswhich are finely chopped.

Store refridgerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature prior to serving.

Spicy cilantro hummus

Hummus is great as a dip,spread for sandwiches and in wraps. This particular recipe is super for those who love the added freshness of cilantro and the spiciness of chilis. Try this,I gurantee it won’t last long in your home.

31/2 cups garbanzo beans,drained,reserving 2 tablespoons of liquid

1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves

3 tablespoons feshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons diced jalapenos

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic,peeled

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pita wedges or crackers (optional)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for garnish

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place beans,reserved liquid,cilantro,lemon juice,jalapenos,olive oil,garlic,cumin,and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Place in serving bowl,make an indentation in the center and pour in 1 tablespoon olive oil,sprinkle on aq little cayenne pepper and serve with pita wedges.

Pesto Torte

When entertaining I try to balance the menu with a variety of Vegetarian and non vegetarian appetizers. It is always great to serve something that your guests can help themselves to and the bonus is it can be made 1 day ahead ,cutting down your work load the day of.

Make your own pesto or purchase store bought.


12 oz cream cheese ,room temperature

3/4 cup Rikotta cheese,room temperature

3/4 cup butter,room temperature

5 tablespoons pine nuts

Assorted breads and crackers

Blend cream cheese,rikotta and butter in processor until smooth. Line deep 6 cup bowl with plastic wrap. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon pine nuts in bottom of bowl. Spoon 1/3 of cheese mixture into bowl;smooth top. Spread pesto over cheese. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons pine nuts,smooth over 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat.

Cocer with plastic wrap and refridgerate until firm,about 4 hours. or up to 24 hours.

Uncover torte and unmold onto serving platter,Serve with breads and crackers.

Serves 8

Adapted from Kathleen’s Kuisine

Chunky Onion Harissa

Traditionally Middle Eastern Harissa is a smooth fiery pepper sauce. I love this version,although fairly spicy,better as a condiment to grilled meats or as a dip.

Courtsey Bon Appetit

Makes 2 cups

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

6 green onions,chopped

1 small red onion,chopped

2 large garlic cloves,minced

Combine tomato paste,crushed red pepper and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Whisk in vinegar. Mix in onions and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper.


Roasted onion,garlic and bean dip

My husband simply adores onions. i think probably as much as he enjoys a heathy snack. This dip just fits the bill. The roasting of the onions and garlic give theym a sweet and mellow flavor. This is great served with pita chips or mixed raw vegetables.

2 medium Vidalia or any sweet onion,cut in half down the stem,skin on

4 large garlic cloves,skin on

1  15 oz cannellini beans,drained,rinsed

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped Dill3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce (use the vegetarian version available at healtfood stores ,if vegetarian)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayanne pepper

oilve oil

On a 16 inch square piece of foil lay down the onion and garlic. Wrap tightly and eith place over a medium hot grill or a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes,till a knife pierced through the onion slides out easily. Remove and cool to room temperature.

Open packet and discard peels of both onion and garlic. Place in a food processor and puree till smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse to incorporate full. Transfer to a serving bowl or refridgerate till ready to use.