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Salad e Olivieh For Fiesta Friday #18

Salad e Olivieh,flat bread

Salad e Olivieh,flat bread

Last Friday I was a really good girl and brought vegetables, this week I’m gonna be bad and bring something not so virtuous, but oh so delicious, a small portion is all you need. Salad e Olivieh is the Persian equivalent of potato salad, I believe it has roots in Russia as well, there are a few different ingredients but it’s very similar to the Persian version,  this contains shredded chicken,  potato salad does not usually contain meat, although I have seen some with ham. I love this dish, it’s filling and so tasty, creamy and when drizzled with some good olive oil and scooped up with warm flat bread or lavosh it’s really wonderful. HINT: Make it the night before you are going to serve, to me it always tastes better after a rest in the refrigerator overnight, the flavors meld and its’ really delicious!

I used to make this dish all the time, it’s especially good for a pot luck or party because it serves a lot of people. I used rotisserie chicken for this which cut out some of the work and I’m all about side stepping some work as long as the results are good. I also had fresh spring peas and some homemade mayo. The  cornichon and lemon give it zing, the combination of all the components is a real treat.

Fiesta Friday #18 is as always hosted by Angie@thenovicegardener and this week it’s co hosted by Mr. Fitz@cooking with Mr. Fitz and Justine@eclectic odds n sods and with all the incredible food and great company we have the makings for a really fun party!


Iranian Potato Salad

Iranian Potato Salad

Makes a lot!! Serves at least 10 people


1 Small chicken (baked or boiled and shredded) or use a rotisserie chicken
6-8 Potato’s (I like Yukon Gold) If the potato is large use 6, medium-small use 8
4 Hard boiled eggs chopped
1 cup Cornichon pickles chopped
1 cup Baby Peas, canned, fresh or frozen your choice.
1-2 cup Mayonaise (homemade or bought) You can add how much you like
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 whole lemon depending on size)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread of your choice, I like with either warmed flat bread or baguette drizzled with olive oil and toasted
Lemon wedges
Olive Oil to drizzle
Garnish with snips of chives and a sprinkling of sumac

Prepare the chicken you can bake or boil. (I like to bake seasoned with some salt and pepper and thyme with a half lemon and shalot in the cavity. If you bake the chicken cover baking pan with aluminum foil, For a small chicken it takes less than an hour to bake. Boiling is approximately the same cooking time.
While chicken is baking peel potato’s and boil them whole until they are fork tender but not falling apart.When they are done drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Mash with one of those hand held mashers it’s a rough mash leaving lots of pieces of potato. Boil your eggs.
Chop your pickles, chop the hard boiled egg, shred the chicken add it all to the large mixing bowl along with the potato’s. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, mayonnaise starting with 1 cup add more as needed and according to your taste. Salt and pepper to taste and lastly add the peas gently incorporate so as not to mash them. Place in your serving dish and spread some mayonnaise on top, cover and refrigerate.
Refrigerate overnight. Before serving snip some chives on top and sprinkle with sumac. Serve with warm bread, squeeze some lemon on top and drizzle with olive oil.

salad e olivieh

salad e olivieh

Writing Process Blog Tour


I had heard a little about the Writing Process Blog Tour but only in passing, I wasn’t really sure what it was about but was intrigued. Fast forward about a week and I get an email from Prudy, in case you don’t know who she is, her wonderful and oh so lovely blog, Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs is one that I love and really look forward to reading. In the email Prudy asked me to participate in the tour and I said yes without hesitation. Prudy is inspiring, her upbeat nature, beautifully written recipes, the stories of her family, friends and background make for a wonderful read and lots and lots of mouth watering recipes and gorgeous photo’s..

I started my blog a little over 2 years ago, I wanted to do this because I love to cook and I love to share my food and recipes and thought this could be fun and a great way to meet other cooks and see what they are cooking. I had already gotten a taste of the global food community as an active cook on Food52, I met some good friends and fellow cooks there and cherish their friendship. I also wanted to include my two best friends and somehow incorporate them into my blog, Izzy and Nando are my sweet pugs that mean the world to me.  In the two plus years I have been writing here I have met some really wonderful people, we share a love of food and its preparation, feeding our families and friends and celebrating life, I have never personally met most of you but I know if I did it would be like seeing a good friend that I haven’t seen for a while. We let each other into our homes/kitchens and lives. It’s a close knit community we have and I love it. I follow a lot of blogs and try to read each one of them and comment, as a writer of a blog having the approval or nod from a colleague or pier is important, it’s validation.

Part of this process is to answer 4 questions so here goes:

1. What am I working on – Well, I take it a day at a time and am trying to balance work which is very busy, taking care of Izzy and Nando which is a full time job now that they are senior and not in good health, my work in my community and my blog. I am currently working on a recipe for a lovely and very generous company (I don’t really want to reveal too much now) who has sent me a delicious product. I know what I am going to make and you will too soon. Hoping it is good!! I also was asked to judge a doggie talent contest for charity so I am helping out with that.

2. How does my work differ from others– Wow, well I don’t think my work is any different really from other bloggers. I look at other blogs that are organized and focused and I guess the way mine differs is that it’s not organized or focused, not that thats necessarily bad. For example some people only focus on desserts, or vegan recipes or gluten free or health conscience. I post about something that I like or inspires me whether it’s food or something in my community or about my pugs. One day I will write about a  Middle Eastern recipes, another day Italian sometimes savory sometimes sweet.

3. Why do I write what I do – The answer is pretty simple I do this because I love doing it. I’m not getting paid to do this, it’s not a job, it is something I look forward to doing. I love cooking and creating and sharing and I can only hope that others like what I do enough to keep coming back and read my posts.

4. How does my writing process work – I wish I could say there is some formula or method to my madness but there really isn’t. I will see something that looks good at the market and decide I want to make a dish out of it, or I am talking to my Mom on the phone and we talk about food and her recipes and I decide I want to make it and share with you all. I guess you could say I work on inspiration not so much the need to cook, I will sometimes post a meal that I made but thats only a very small part of the picture. I like to enter recipe contests and post about those, the reason I like it is because (a) I’m competitive (b) it forces me to think outside the box.

I have invited 3 bloggers to participate, how do you choose when there are so many that are (a) fascinating (b) well written (c) total eye candy (d) chock full of delicious recipes. They run the gamut of varying topics, types of food etc… It was hard but here is who I chose. I wanted to choose bloggers from different parts of the world and across the US. I love reading posts from other countries, it gives insight into how people outside the US live and really, we bloggers are all pretty much cut from the same cloth no matter where we are from.


The Healthy Epicurian– Fiona’s lives an idyllic life in France with her husband, child and menagerie or I guess you could also call it a cast of characters of the animal world. Her roving doggie journalist Hugo, her horses and chickens (with attitude). I love her blog and always am entertained, enlightened and enticed by her writing (and Hugo’s) recipes and antics. It’s a good read and to top it off she is an expert in food and nutrition. Visit her, I know you will love it as I do. Fiona has so many incredible recipes but one of my favorites is her Salmon terrine, it’s delicious, light and so tasty a great summer recipe and is wonderful to bring to pot luck parties.


Liz the Chef– Liz and I go way back, from early Food52 days. She is a phenomenal cook with delicious, nutritious and heart healthy recipes. Her stories of family and caring and sharing are the driving force behind every single post. Liz hails from the beautiful state of California and lives with her miracle husband (read her blog and you will understand) and her two senior kitties. The tag line for her blog say’s it all “cooking from my family’s heart”. Liz has so many fantastic recipes but this is one of my all time favorites, it is a recipe from her Mom for Mango Chutney


Runnin Sri Lankan– Shashi is amazing, a force really. She never stops, a busy Mom to a daughter and 2 canines, a runner, she works, blogs, and is really an inspiration. Her recipes are healthful and delicious and so so creative. I know you will enjoy her blog as much as I do, she is smart, funny, kind and caring. Shashi’s oatmeal pancakes are so delicious and are in regular rotation in my kitchen, I make this recipe at least once a week, they are so good they even won a recipe contest. Thinking about them has made me hungry!


The Virtuous Lacto-Fermented Vegetable For Fiesta Friday

Mixed Vegetables

Mixed Vegetables

You will probably think I am terribly boring bringing lacto-fermented vegetables to a party. But wait until you taste them, they are absolutely delicious and go so well with any number of savory dishes. I found some beautiful carrots. kirby cucumbers, sugar snap peas and spring onions at the farmers market and decided to try my hand at lacto-fermentation. I recently read about the health benefits you get from eating vegetables preserved in this manner on the wonderful website Healthy Green Kitchen it sounded delicious and super easy to do, mind you I am not one who is adept at preserving anything. So this is my offering for the party, crunchy healthful lacto-fermented vegetables.

I am very excited to participate in Fiesta Friday #17  and this weeks hosts are Jhuls@the not so creative cook and Selma@selma’s table and Alex@Dinner Daydreams.  Of course I can’t forget the always effervescent Angie who put this whole party together. Thanks Angie and our lovely hosts.

Lacto Fermented Mixed Vegetables

Makes 2 large Weck Canning jars

3-4 kirby cucumbers cleaned and cut into quarters

4 small carrots. cut in half and halved again

4-6 scallions with part of the green cut off, cleaned and ends trimmed

approximately 1 cup sugar snap peas

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 tbs sea salt

2 tsp peppercorns, I used a mix

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Wash your jars with warm soapy water. Place all the vegetables, salt, garlic, peppercorns and crushed pepper in large non reactive bowl and toss to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes stirring frequently to coat the vegetables with the salt.

Fill the jars with the vegetables and top off with spring or filtered water leaving about an inch space at the top. Make sure your vegetables are covered or completely submerged in the water. Place lid on the jars and secure. Let sit on the counter for 2-4 days. They are now ready to eat. Refrigerate after opening.

Pretty vegetables

Pretty vegetables

Crunchy Nutty Granola And Mary’s Secret Ingredient Box



I received my Spring Box of Mary’s Secret Ingredient from the lovely Mary Frances at Love the Secret Ingredient a while ago, my intention was to write a post about it and use the ingredients in a recipe and do that right away, Shortly after I received my box I started working for a different company, that has taken up a lot of my time and energy and I also became sick and had to alter my diet significantly. Any food I have made I have had to give away with only a tiny taste for me to check on seasoning. Included in my box were some really fantastic items:

Calmer Sutra Tea- Peppermyntie Tea and Ginger Infused Honey

Flathau’s Fine Foods Chipotle Cheese Straws

Harmonium Oregano from wild crafted plants

Loacker Quadratini’s Dark Chocolate

Nueskes Applewood smoked Landjaeger sausages

Sweetwater Spice Company Pineapple Habanero Jerk BBQ Bath Brine

I decided to use the ginger infused honey to make some granola and it is probably the best granola I have ever had. It’s my own recipe and have posted it here before with a few minor changes. The boney is incredibly delicious and very gingery (is that a word???) Well anyway it really tastes and smells like fresh ginger and drizzling on the granola before you bake infuses the flavor into some of it, so it’s like a surprise in every bite.

NOTE: The amounts are approximate, I don’t measure when I make granola.  

Marys secret ingredient

Marys secret ingredient


Makes a lot of granola

Oats approximately 3 cups (Not quick cook) I used Quaker old fashioned

Almonds chopped or coarsely ground (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

pecans some whole some broken into pieces (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

Unsweetened Coconut flakes (approximately 1 1/2 cup)

Maple Syrup (approximately 1/2 cup)

Brown Sugar (approximately 1/2 cup packed)

olive oil (approximately 1/2 cup)

Ginger infused honey (about 2 heaping tbs)

Sea salt

Pour all ingredients except ginger infused honey into large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pre heat oven to 300 degree’s. Spread onto sheet pan and drizzle with the ginger infused honey. Bake stirring occasionally until golden brown. It takes about 30-40 minutes. Let cool on pan and then transfer to air tight container for storage.


Ginger honey

Ginger honey

Spaghetti With Broccoli And Garlic And Parmigiano Lemon Bread Crumbs

Pasta and broccoli

Pasta and broccoli

There are so many delicious sweet treats for Fiesta Friday #16 that I decided I would bring a savory dish.  I make this often, practically every week, it’s one of my favorite quick and simple meals. I find that making some of the components of the dish in the morning really help this to come together quickly for dinner. I like to make the breadcrumbs and steam the broccoli in the morning. The breadcrumbs taste so good when they are made a few hours ahead of the meal. I also steam the broccoli in the morning and saute in the evening before serving. There really is no recipe per say for this dish, but here are the list of ingredients and instructions.

Fiesta Friday #16 is hosted by Elaine@foodbod and Stacey@10 legs in the kitchen and to find out more about Fiesta Fridays and hopefully join the party visit Angie’s lovely site The Novice Gardener. I must say I am having a blast participating, there are so many great cooks, we all have fun!

Broccoli- cut into  bite size pieces

2 cloves garlic thinly sliced

pinch of red pepper flakes

spaghetti or pasta of your choice

approximately 1/4 cup chicken broth or pasta water

Bread crumbs (preferably fresh bread crumbs)

1 clove garlic minced

olive oil

parmigiano grated

pinch of lemon zest (zest of half a lemon)

black pepper a few turns of the pepper mill

salt if needed

Mix bread crumbs, lemon, parmigiano and black pepper. In saute pan heat some olive oil and add the minced garlic, now add the breadcrumbs and saute until toasted a golden brown. Remove the bread crumbs and set aside, don’t clean the pan use the same pan for the broccoli.

Steam broccoli to your desired doneness, for this dish I like it pretty soft, probably softer than most of you would want to cook it. I steam it for about 8-10 minutes. Put the water (be sure to add salt to the water) on for the spaghetti, when boiling vigorously cook to al dente and remove, save some of the water. To your saute pan add olive oil, garlic and pepper flakes, saute until the garlic softens and starts to turn a very light brown. Add the broccoli and stir until it’s covered with the oil and garlic, saute for a few minutes, add the chicken broth or reserved pasta water and cook for a few minutes, add the pasta and toss with the sauteed broccoli and cook for just about a minute. Remove from pan. Top the spaghetti with the bread crumbs and serve. I like to add more cheese.

Pasta Yum!

Pasta Yum!

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday






Semolina Yeast Herb Pancakes With Eggplant And Garbanzo Stew




A little different spin on the yeast and herb challenge for Fiesta Friday’s Challenge #1. These pancakes are Moroccan in origin, are so simple to make and really delicious. They are the perfect vehicle for whatever you would like to dip or scoop. I chose a roasted tomato,garbanzo and eggplant stew served with a cold yogurt, cucumber and mint salad. The pancakes only need one rise for an hour, the texture is different from your standard pancake because they are made predominantly with semolina. The basic recipe does not contain herbs but for this challenge I gathered some fresh herbs from the garden and added a little dried marjoram.

This very special edition of Fiesta Friday’s is hosted by the always wonderful Angie from The Novice Gardener and  co- host Catherine@Catherine Cuisine, Angie and Catherine will not only host, they will also judge, yes, there will be a winner and a gift. So exciting.


Serves 4-6depending on serving size

3 cups warm whey or water

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp instant yeast

1 3/4 cup semolina

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp honey

1 tsp salt

1 cup fresh herbs chopped (I used parsley, mint and chives) I used more parsley and chives than mint.

1 tsp dried marjoram

In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the warm whey or water with the baking powder. In a food processor, combine the semolina with the flour, yeast, honey and the remaining 2 3/4 cups of warm water; process for 30 seconds, until smooth. Add the salt and baking powder mixture and process for 30 seconds longer.  Pour the batter into a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. I made this in the morning and let it rise for an hour then refrigerated until ready to make. Be sure to let it come to room temperature before making the pancakes.

Heat a crepe pan or skillet coated with olive oil until its hot, a drop of water should dance on the surface. Add the chopped herbs and marjoram and stir to combine.  Ladle some of the batter, it’s fairly thin,into  the pan and quickly spread so it makes a thin layer. Let it cook until bubbles appear then flip and brown on the other side. Keep in the oven on warm until ready to serve.



Eggplant and garbanzo stew

1 large eggplant skin removed and cut into approximately 1 inch cubes

1 small onion or 2 shallot minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (I used canned)

2 cups tomato sauce ( I made my own from roasted cherry tomatoes pureed in the blender)

1/2 tsp turmeric

pinch saffron

juice of half a lemon or a dried lime (if using dried lime make sure to use a knife and make slits)

1 tsp harissa or add to taste and heat tolerance.

Salt and pepper to taste

A generous handful of parsley and a few mint leaves chopped

Toss the eggplant in olive oil and bake in 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes or until browned. In saucepan sweat the onion and garlic in some olive oil, add the garbanzo’s and saute briefly just to warm and coat with the oil, now add the tomato sauce, turmeric, saffron,harissa and lemon and let simmer for 30 minutes, watch carefully and add liquid if necessary, you don’t want it too dry.
Add the eggplant and simmer for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and mint right before serving.

Yogurt,cucumber mint salad

2 cups plain greek yogurt ( I like full or reduced fat not non fat)

1 cucumber peeled and cut into small pieces

1- 1 1/2 tsp dried mint

salt and pepper to taste

Delicious meal

Delicious meal


Fiesta Friday Challenge

Fiesta Friday Challenge



Happy Mothers Day Blueberry Waffles


Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast in Bed

Mothers Day Breakfast is homemade  blueberry waffles with melted butter and real maple syrup. My favorite waffle recipe is on Food52, Aretha Frankensteins Waffles of Insane Greatness. They really are wonderful, light, crispy and utterly addictive. I sometimes like to add blueberries either frozen or fresh to the batter. I always double the recipe because I freeze them and heat in the toaster or oven, they make a fantastic quick breakfast!

Serves 2 to 4
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (or a combination)
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Optional blueberries, frozen or fresh at least a cup
Butter and pure maple syrup, for serving
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
Heat a waffle iron. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and pure maple syrup or hold in a 200 degree oven, directly on the rack (don’t stack them or they’ll get soggy). These also reheat very well in the toaster.

I want to wish all of you a very Happy Mothers Day I hope you are going to relax and spend time with loved ones. Have a wonderful day!

Ready to Freeze

Ready to Freeze

Mothers Day

Mothers Day





Cherry Ginger Hand Pies

Cherry Ginger Handpie

Cherry Ginger Handpie

I am so excited, this is my first submission for Fiesta Fridays, the very fun and creative brain child of Angie from The Novice Gardener. I thought it would be fun to bring dessert to the party/fiesta, who doesn’t love dessert and cherry pie is one of my favorites. I had some preserved sour cherries that I got last summer and since this is a fiesta I decided to give them a little kick by adding some spicy ginger. It’s a delicious combination. Imagine flaky buttery pie crust with tart/sweet cherries with a kick. Serve warm with some ice cream.

I used my go to pie crust recipe from Julia Child, it never fails me, I love making hand pie’s not only are they cute but there is built in portion control, So dust off your tiara and feather boa and join the party!

Julia Childs Pastry Dough

Makes enough dough for a double crust 9 inch pie

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 tsp salt

6 oz cold unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

4 tbs shortening or leaf lard cold

1/2 cup ice cold water

You can make this either by hand or in the food processor. To make by hand, put flours, salt, butter, lard or shortening into mixing bowl, use pastry cutter to combine until it resembles pea size crumbs. Add water mix with fork, gather with your hands, divide dough into a 2 discs and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In Food Processor, add the flours, salt, butter and shortening or lard into the bowl of the processor. Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles pea size crumbs. Add the water and pulse a few times until it becomes a cohesive dough. Divide dough into two discs and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Cherry Pie Filling

1 quart cherries (I used sour cherries)

1 – 1 1/2 cup sugar (according to taste, you determine how sweet you like it)

1 – 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (depends on how assertive you want your ginger to be, add 1 tsp then taste)

1/4 cup water or juice

Place everything in sauce pan, bring to boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. If your cherries don’t thicken enough make a slurry with a tsp or two of corn or tapioca starch  and a splash of water and add to the cherries while cooking.

Making the pies

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment.

Roll your pie dough into a thin sheet and using a biscuit cutter or glass cut out rounds, you can make them whatever shape you like of course, square, rectangular or even a triangle. Place some of the cooled filling in the middle,  brush the edge of the round with egg wash and place another round on top, crimp, brush top with egg wash or cream, sprinkle with sugar and cut a vent in the middle, continue until all the dough is used and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack, serve warm with ice cream or heavy cream.