Salads & Appetizers

Black Bean, Corn & Baby Squash Salad

½ cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
¼ teaspoon seasoned pepper
¼ teaspoon dried cilantro
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15 oz.) cans whole kernel corn, drained
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 baby squash, sliced


1. In a small bowl, mix together vinaigrette, seasoned pepper, cilantro, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Set dressing aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together beans, corn, onion, scallions, and red bell pepper. Toss with dressing. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, toss again, and place baby squash slices on top.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: about 269 calories, 2.6 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 1058 mg sodium, 52.8 g total carbohydrates, 11.1 g dietary fiber, 11.7 g protein.

Burek with White (Feta) Cheese

Home-made filo dough (ready-made filo dough may be used instead, but purists argue that home-made filo dough yields better taste)     
     1 pkg dry yeast
     1/4 cup lukewarm water
     1/4 teaspoon sugar
     3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     3/4 cup lukewarm water
     1/2 stick of melted butter
     9 eggs (slightly beaten)
     1/2 lb crumbled white cheese (feta)
     3 tablespoons melted butter


1. Butter a large round pan (15-16 in) and set aside. Prepare yeast with 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 1/4 tsp sugar. Set aside. Sift flour and salt into large bowl, leaving a well in the middle. Add prepared yeast mixture into well.

2. Begin mixing by hand and slowly add lukewarm water. Knead until dough forms a ball of medium consistency (approximately 10 min). Divide dough into 14 equal parts, roll into round balls, cover and let stand for 1/2 hour.

3. Melt 1/2 lb butter in saucepan. Roll out 4 balls into 6 in. circles, stack one on top of the other, brushing each layer with melted butter excluding the top layer. Let stand briefly, then roll out on slightly floured table to just a bit larger size than the bottom of your pan. Place in pan and brush top with melted butter.

4. Mix filling and spread evenly to edge of pan. Now roll out one ball as thinly as you can; sprinkle with butter and gather it loosely into folds, and with a slight pull, elongate it. Starting from the center of the pan, place this dough over filling, circling it to look like a pinwheel.

5. Repeat with remaining balls until you have reached the outer edge of your pan. Sprinkle generously with remaining butter. Cover with a tea towel and set burek over a pan of very hot water for about 20 min.

6. Bake in a preheated oven of 300°F for about 45 min. or until nicely browned.

Makes 4 servings. Serve by itself as appetizer, or with green salad as main dish. A glass of buttermilk or a cup of plain yogurt go well with burek.

Burek is very popular in all ex-Yugoslavian countries, particularly Macedonia (where above recipe comes from), but also in Bosnia and Serbia & Montenegro. Versions of the above recipe can be found in other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Apart from white cheese (feta), spinach, leek or ground beef can be used as filling.

Caribbean Pork & Mango Salad

3/4 pound cooked peppered pork roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 15-ounce canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ripe mangos, peeled and cubed (or 1 26-ounce jar of mango slices, drained)
6 cups mixed greens
1/4 red onion, halved and then thinly sliced
1/2 cup fruit-flavored vinaigrette dressing


1. In large bowl, gently toss all ingredients with dressing.

2. Serve on shallow salad bowls or dinner plates.

Makes 4 servings.

Caesar's Salad
4 garlic cloves
2 fresh anchovy fillets
Freshly ground black pepper
4 egg yolks
2 anchovies
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Juice of two fresh lemons
1 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
2 large heads of romaine lettuce, washed, ribs removed and patted dry
4 oz. Parmesan cheese
12 oz. Salad croutons

1. Rub the inside of a large wooden bowl with the garlic cloves. Add the anchovies and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a fork, mash the ingredients together to form a paste. Whisk in the egg yolks, mustard and lemon juice until all the ingredients are incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while whisking constantly until all ingredients are incorporated and the dressing is thick. Add the Worcestershire and hot sauces. Whisk well. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Gently tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and add to the salad bowl. Season the lettuce with salt and pepper. Using a hand-held grater, grate the cheese onto the bowl. Add the croutons.

3. Toss the salad completely and re-season if necessary. Mound the salad in the center of each plate and serve.

Serves 6-8.

Confetti Rice
3 medium red potatoes
½ cup chopped onion 

3 tablespoons butter or margarine 

2 cups hot water 

1 cup long grain rice 

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen peas and carrots 

½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms 

2 teaspoons instant chicken bouillon granules 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/8 teaspoon pepper 
1. In 2-qt. casserole combine onion and butter. Microwave at HIGH for 4 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover. Microwave at HIGH for 5 minutes. Stir; recover. Reduce power to 7.

2. Microwave for 17 to 19 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, stirring once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir before serving. 

TOTAL COOKING TIME: 28 minutes. 

Serves 6. 

Guacamole Dip

2 ripe avocados
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 ½ small tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp lime juice (or juice of 1 fresh lime)
2 oz. green chiles (fresh or from a can)
salt and pepper to taste


1. Peel avocados and remove the pits.

2. Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.

3. Finely chop one tomato. Chop the remaining ½ tomato and put aside to use as top decoration once the guacamole is prepared.

4. Finely chop the green chiles.

5. Mash the avocado in a medium-size bowl and then stir in all the remaining ingredients till well combined. Use the chopped ½ tomato to decorate the top of the guacamole dip. Refrigerate covered.

6. Serve cold with tortilla chips.

Makes 2 cups or 1 medium-size bowl of guacamole dip.

Kobe Slider Burger

     1 lb. American Kobe beef, ground
     salt and pepper to taste
     1 tbs. vegetable oil, more as needed
     6-8 slices gruyére cheese
brioche buns
sliced green onion
Caramelized onions
     1/2 lb. butter
     5 onions, sliced


1. Form beef into patties about 2 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.

     2. Heat oil in frying pan over high heat. Sear burgers for one to two minutes on each side.

Caramelized onions
     1. In large skillet, melt butter and add onions. Stir constantly over low heat. This process may take up to two hours.

     2. When onions are deep golden-brown, remove from heat.

To serve: Serve on warm brioche buns and top burgers with caramelized onions and melted gruyére cheese. Then top burgers with sliced green onion.
Serves 4-6.

Mussels in Wine
3 qts mussels
½ cup butter or margarine
1 tbsp flour
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup celery, finely diced
½ cup carrot, finely diced
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
3/4 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 sprig parsley
pinch dried thyme

pinch ground pepper
½ cup parsley, finely chopped

1. Soften half of the butter (margarine) and combine with flour until a paste is formed. Set aside. Sauté vegetables in the remaining butter (margarine) until golden brown. Add wine, water and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and add mussels.

2. Stem covered over high heat until mussels open (5-8 minutes). Drain mussels, reserving juice and discarding vegetables. Remove mussel meats from shells, reserving half of the shells.

3. Place meats back on the half-shells and keep warm on a serving dish. Bring strained liquid to simmer and stir in the butter/flour paste. Cook 2-4 minutes, stirring until smooth. Spoon sauce over mussels and garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Mussels on the Half Shell
36 or so mussels
1/4 cup whole wine or water
2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil 
2 tbsp lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup parsley, chopped
2 medium-size tomatoes, diced

1. In a saucepan, bring water or wine to boil. Add mussels, cover and steam over high heat until open (5-8 minutes). Remove from heat, reserving 2 tablespoons of cooking liquid. Remove mussel meats from shells, reserving half the shells.

2. In a bowl, combine reserved liquid, oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and tomatoes. Add mussels and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

3. To serve, place a mussel in each half shell and cover with tomato mixture. Arrange on a platter and pass with drinks, or arrange on individual plates and serve as a first course.

Makes 6 servings.

Shark Salad

     1 lb shark, poached, cubed
     lettuce leaves: any assortment of radicchio, romaine, red leaf,
     curly endive
     2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped
     2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
     1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
     salt and pepper to taste
     juice of 4 limes (about 3/4 cup)
     garnish: limes wedges


1. For all cooking methods except microwaving and deep-frying, cook 5 minutes per side per inch of thickness.

2. Mix all dressing ingredients together. Chill 1 hour.

3. Before serving, gently toss fish cubes and dressing together. Serve on lettuce beds. Garnish with lime wedges.

Makes 4 servings.

Selection: Shark is typically available fresh and frozen as steaks and fillets. The flesh should be firm and should appear moist with no blood spots or browning. To store, rinse with cold water, pat dry and re-wrap. Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use within 1 day, or freeze quickly.

Strawberry-Spinach Salad

1/3 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise
¼ cup unsweetened orange juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
½ pound fresh spinach, washed, trimmed, and torn
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries


1. To prepare fresh spinach, wash leaves thoroughly using cold, running water. Pat dry on paper towels, and trim off tough stems and ribs, as necessary. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well, and set aside.

2. Gently toss spinach and strawberries in a large bowl; arrange on 8 individual salad plates.

3. Drizzle 1 tablespoon poppy seed mixture over each salad.

Makes 8 servings (about 54 calories per serving).

Nutrition facts per serving: protein 1.2 g, fat 3.1 g, carbohydrate 6.2 g, cholesterol 3 mg, iron 1.2 mg, sodium 96 mg, calcium 42 mg.

Won-Ton "Ravioli" with Herbs

2 shallots, chopped
2/3 cup crumbled ricotta salata cheese
2/3 reduced-fat ricotta cheese
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp. cracked black pepper, divided
1 large egg, separated
34 won-ton wrappers, halved
2 tbs. olive oil, divided
1 tbs. butter
½ each small red, yellow, green bell peppers, chopped
2 slices imported prosciutto, sliced
2 tbs. fresh chopped sage


1. Coat pan with vegetable spray. Heat over high heat; add shallots. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool .

2. In bowl, combine next five ingredients with egg yolk. Place 1/2 heaping teaspoon of mixture onto top half of each wrapper. Brush edges with beaten egg white; fold in half and seal with tines of fork.

3. Cook "ravioli" 2 minutes in boiling water; drain. In skillet over medium-high heat, cook remaining ingredients.  Toss with ravioli.

4. Place on rack set in roasting pan; roast 30-35 minutes.  Work time: 35 min.  Total time: 1 hr and 20 min.

Serves 4.

Zippy Zucchini

4 cups zucchini, cut into chunks (2 medium zucchini)
½medium onion, thinly sliced
4 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 oz.)
1 jar (2oz.) pimiento, drained
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


1. Place zucchini and onion in 10 x 6 x 2-inch dish. Cover with plastic wrap turning one edge back slightly to vent. Microwave at High for 7 minutes. Drain.

2. In large bowl mix together eggs, cheese, pimiento, salt and pepper. Add zucchini and onions, stirring well. Grease dish in which vegetables were cooked. Pour mixture into dish and cover with paper towel. Microwave at Medium for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring and removing paper towel after 4 minutes, until center is set.

Microwave power level: High and Medium
Microwave time: 15-17 min.

Makes 4 servings.

Other Previous Recipes

Black bean, corn & baby squash salad
Burek with white (feta) cheese
Caribbean pork & mango salad
Caesar's salad
Confetti rice
Guacamole dip
Kobe slider burger
Mussels in wine
Mussels on the half shell
Shark salad
Strawberry-spinach salad
Won-Ton "ravioli" with herbs
Zippy zucchini
Asparagus soup
Butternut squash soup
Carrot soup
Cheesy potato chowder
Chicken chili
Chicken in coconut milk soup
French onion soup
Kale and potato soup
Leek and potato soup
Oriental pork soup
Zucchini bisque
Turkey soup with barley
Barbecued Chilean sea bass
Burgers O'Brien
Calamari pasta
Chinese-style spare ribs
Dolmades (vegetarian) - stuffed grape leaves
Drunken salmon
Feta-Stuffed flank steak
Fresno pork roast
Grilled lamb chops topped with warm cherry sauce
Holiday roast turkey with old-fashioned corn bread stuffing
Jerk ribs
Lasagna with lean ground beef
Marinated round steak
Shrimp okra gumbo
Southwestern grilled swordfish
Tripe soup
Spinach & ricotta cheese lasagna rolls
Turkey cutlets w/ chopped salad
Veal ossa bucco with macaroni carne
Banana bread
Bananas in coconut milk
Chocolate mousse (vegetarian)
Coeur à la crème
Easter anise loaf
Farmhouse pancakes
Frozen orange-pumpkin pie
Grilled peaches
Irish teacake
Molde cranberry fruit salad
Pineapple rice pudding
Pumpkin-oat bran muffin
Strawberry cheesecake shake
Banana daiquiri
Bloody Mary
Brandy Alexander
Hot apple-rum cider
Iced grape tea
Long Island ice tea
Mango shake
Mint bucket
Mulled wine
Peaches & cream sipper
Pina colada
Sangria slush
Sex on the beach

Snow White
Texas fizz
Vodka martini
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