I love this Southern spread made popular by Louisville’s Benedict’s restaurateur, Jennie Carter Benedict, who opened her restaurant in 1893. It can be used as a dip or for a sandwich and is perfect for either an afternoon tea or a light meal.
1 Large Cucumber
8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese
4 Tablespoons Grated Onion or 2 Minced Green Onions
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
Remove the cucumber skin and then grate it into a medium size bowl. Drain the cucumber and onion juice (unless using minced green onions). Add the cream cheese, grated onion, kosher salt and mayonnaise. Beat with a hand mixer on medium until all of the ingredients are combined. Place plastic wrap over the bowl and put into the fridge for 2 to 3 hours. If you are using for a vegetable dip then thin it out with a bit of sour cream. Makes about 1 1/2 Cups
Park Avenue Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes
I came up with this recipe while walking on Park Avenue two weeks ago. If you’re a fan of the humble PB&J then you’ll be a fan of these unique cupcakes. Most recipes have you piping in the peanut butter and jelly. You could even serve these cupcakes for breakfast.
3/4 Cup Softened Butter
3 Room Temperature Eggs
2 1/2 Cups Unbleached Flour
2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cups Milk
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Cups Strawberry Jam
1/2 Cup Peanut Halves For Garnish
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Line 1 large muffin tin with large muffin liners or the special parchment paper liners. Set aside. Allow the butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a medium size bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and kosher salt. Set aside. In a large size bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour the batter into the muffin cup just so it reaches 1/2 of the way up the muffin cup. Place 1 Teaspoon of the creamy peanut butter on top of the batter in the muffin cup. Then add 2 teaspoons of the strawberry jam on top of the peanut butter. Finish pouring the rest of the batter in the muffin cup (about 3/4 of the way to the top). Continue until the entire muffin cups are filled the same way. Place into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remember that all ovens heat differently so make sure to check at 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish the tops with the peanut halves. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and place the cupcakes on the wire racks to cool completely. Transfer to a serving platter. Makes 12 large cupcakes.
If you’re an okra lover then you’re going to love Smoked Okra. The “smoke” comes from the smoked paprika which I am a huge fan of. I love to eat them right out of the jar.
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Whole Mustard Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Whole Peppercorns
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Minced Garlic Cloves
3 Whole Dried Chile Peppers
Wash and dry a very large glass jar. Wash the okra and remove any of the prickly parts that are on the okra tops. Place the okra into the jar along with the dried chili peppers. You will probably need to pack the okra into the jar. Set aside. In a medium size pan add the vinegar, kosher salt, smoked paprika, mustard seeds, peppercorns, cayenne pepper and garlic cloves. Whisk the ingredients in the pan to combine well. Bring to a boil and then let the mixture boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the vinegar mixture into the okra filled jar. Add water to fill to the top of the jar. Put the lid on the jar and let sit on the counter until it comes to room temperature. Place into the refrigerator and let sit for 1 week before eating. These tend to be rather spicy so if you want to tone the spice down then leave out the dried chile peppers.
These Za’atar Pita Chips are really pretty addictive. They are baked so they are much healthier than deep fried chips. If you want to leave the za’atar off then just use kosher salt and pepper as your seasoning.
12 Pita Bread Pockets
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Victoria’s Za’atar
Preheat your oven to 400º F. Slice each pita bread into 10 triangles. Place the triangles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. In a small size bowl combine the olive oil and the za’atar. Brush each triangle with the oil & za’atar mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 6 to 8 minutes. You will want them to be light brown and crisp. Be careful because if left unattended they will burn. Serves 12
*If you need my za’atar recipe it’s on my website or send me an email and I’ll send you some.
What’s The Story Morning Glory Muffins
“What’s the Story Morning Glory?” It’s true. There are morning muffins that are good for you. Try these muffins and you won’t be sorry that you did.
1 1/4 Cups Unbleached Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Cup Uncooked Old-Fashioned Oats
2/3 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/3 Cup Skim Milk
1/4 Cup Molasses
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Large Egg
3 Shredded Carrots
1/2 Cup Chopped Prunes
Preheat your oven to 400º F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin liners. In a large size bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and kosher salt. Stir in the oats. In a separate large size bowl mix together the applesauce, milk, molasses, brown sugar, oil and egg until well blended. Stir in the prunes and carrots. Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until the flour is moist. You will see that the batter will be lumpy, but don’t worry about it. Pour the batter into the muffin liners. Place into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remember that every oven heats differently so check your muffins at 20 minutes. To test to see if they are done insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin and if it comes out clean then your muffins are done. Remove from the oven and immediately remove the muffins from the pan. Transfer to a serving platter and serve warm with butter on the side. Makes 12 muffins
For a beautiful salad use both pink and yellow grapefruit in this refreshing salad.
2 Peeled, Pitted & Chopped Avocados
1/4 Thinly Sliced Red Onion
1 Head of Bibb or Butter Lettuce
Carefully peel the grapefruit. Make sure to remove all of the white pith. Working over a large size bowl to catch any juice, cut along the side of each membrane to release the segments. Let the segments drop into the bowl. Add the avocados and onion and toss well. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter. Spoon the grapefruit, avocado & onion salad over the top of the lettuce leaves. Dress the salad with any dressing that you prefer or eat without dressing as the grapefruit juice may be enough for you. Serves 4
Dark Chocolate Macadamia Nut Crispies
The toasted macadamia nuts and dark chocolate are what makes these treats sing. They’re sticky to make, but you’ll have fun licking your fingers!
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips
10 Ounces Marshmallows
8 Ounces Toasted Macadamia Nuts
6 Cups Rice Krispie Type Cereal
Preheat your oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the whole macadamia nuts onto the baking sheet. Place into the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Cut the macadamia nuts in half and set aside. In a large size saucepan melt the butter over a low heat. Add the marshmallows and continue to stir until the marshmallows have completely melted. Add the macadamia nuts and dark chocolate chips. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the rice cereal. Coat the cereal well with the melted marshmallow mixture. Using a silicone spatula, press the mixture evenly into a 13x9x2 inch pan that has either been greased or lined with parchment paper. You will need to work quickly. Let cool and then cut into squares. Makes approximately 24 squares.