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Sicilian Style Pork Meatballs on a Cheesy Butternut Squash Mash

I’ve got Sicily on my mind. After many trips to Italy, I’m finally looking south and exploring  a 2015 trip to Sicily and southern Italy. Yeah, I know, I recently said almost the same thing about a trip to the Yucatan in 2015. I’m doing both.

So, what makes a meatball Sicilian? Continue Reading

Warm, Spicy and Savory Apple Pot Pie with Cool Apple Cream and Sweet Apple Slaw | A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

This month’s challenge allowed us to pick our own ingredient to star in a dish. Easy, right? Well, no … we had to showcase it both hot and cold!

I used the double definitions of ‘hot’ (temperature and spicy) and ‘cold’ (temperature and cooling-off spice effect) in 3 separate apple applications in this dish. Continue Reading

An Asian-Inspired Dinner Party or Anyone Can Cook Anything!

Yeah, that’s my take on cooking food outside your ethnicity. All it takes is knowing what you like, a few good seasoning agents*, a dash of confidence and access to google for recipes or to answer any last-minute questions. It may not be “authentic”, but it could (should) be tasty.

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Trios: Tacos, Salsas, Toppings and Music|A Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

What do you think of when you hear “tacos”? The traditional street food from Mexico that was introduced to this country in the early 1900s? Your mother’s “ground beef-hard shell-jarred salsa” taco night? Taco Bell? Or, do you think of today’s tacos — those that have been diversified, fancified, and globalized as they make their way through every culture, cuisine and country?

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Family Day and Crab Boil Pictorial

Well, a pictorial and a few words of explanation.

“Family Day” means quality time with the ones you love most … enjoying the day, the activities and, of course, eating well. This is how Family Day went down yesterday at Jim and Julie’s. Continue Reading

Summer Vegetable Salad with Plantain Crusted Fish

This will have you shouting !Olé! or something like that. It’s light and breezy — with lots of punch and crunch. Continue Reading

The Italian BLT Triple Decker Sandwich | An Alliterative Creative Cooking Crew Challenge

The challenge: Take the iconic triple decker sandwich someplace it’s never been before. Oh yeah, and let’s make it an alliteration using at least 3 ingredients beginning with the same letter.

While the challenge (reasonably) called for making only one sandwich, I made two. Why? … because after the first one, I learned that “triple”refers to # of fillings, not slices of bread — although my original interpretation is a popular one shared by many. But, what the hell? I decided to create a totally different one.

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3 BBQ Side-Dish Kabobs, Mother’s Day and a Creative Cooking Crew Challenge | Crunchy Plantains on a Stick

The Creative Cooking Crew’s challenge for May — what are you bringing to the BBQ? -- was announced about the same time my nephew and his wife said they would be hosting a Mother’s Day barbecue. They’d do the meats and everyone else could bring accompaniments. Perfect timing.

When you’re a cook, it doesn’t matter if it’s Mother’s Day — you still cook. And, because I enjoy cooking, the challenge and, definitely, eating, I couldn’t bring just one thing.

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Fiesta de “Tres de Mayo”

I invited two friends for dinner Saturday night and, based on what I had on-hand, planned to make Italian fried shrimp and spaghetti with no-cook tomato sauce. But, Saturday morning, I changed my mind and went in a totally different direction. The no-cook tomato sauce became salsa, the spaghetti was opted out for black rice … and, with a few other additions, we were headed south-of-the-border just in time to celebrate Tres de Mayo. What? You never heard of Tres de Mayo? Continue Reading

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