Next week we’ll be celebrating Ireland’s patron saint by the wearing of the green, the drinking of the green beer and in this case, the eating of the green! I wonder if St. Patrick would love this incredible spinach dip which is, in itself, a celebration of flavors! This recipe, with its ring of bread rolls around the edges and a yummy dip in the middle is made easy by buying frozen dinner rolls rather than making the bread from scratch. Once baked, the bread easily pulls part to be dipped and dunked into a delectable blend of spinach, cheeses and spices. No Irish luck needed here. Just a straight -forward recipe that will most certainly get your St. Patty’s Day Irish on!
Greek Meatballs “Soutzoukakia”
Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
Zucchini Balls with Dipping Sauce
We are right in the middle of Greek Carnival Season known as Apokries. Greek street foods are, of course, a big part of the celebrations. So this week I wanted to feature one of my favorite Greek appetizers, Kolokithokeftedes. Ok, that may seem Greek to you, but really, they are just delicious deep fried zucchini balls paired here with a fantastic dipping sauce, and pronouncing the word correctly is not part of the recipe, so don’t worry about a thing! (For the record, it’s pronounced Kolo-Keetho- Kef-ted-es.) You’ll love the crunch and the fabulous flavor combination of zucchini, cheese, onion, garlic and a hint of white truffle oil, made even more delicious by dipping them in a zesty red sauce. There’s only one more thing to say about this delightful Mediterranean treat, “Nostimótatos!” ( Delicious!)
Cheesy, Beefy Taco Dip with Homemade Tortilla Chips
It’s everything you would want in a party dip. The combination of a sharp cheddar and jalapeno pepper jack, a kick from the poblano pepper, sautéed onion and ground beef, diced tomatoes with chiles all stewing in your favorite taco sauce makes this Cheesy, Beefy Taco Dip a real contender for your holiday buffet table. Add a platter of homemade flour and corn tortilla chips and let’s get this party started! I know that we’re always looking for great party foods this time of the year, especially for game days and holidays. This one will not disappoint. You can certainly choose to buy store bought chips, but there’s something really delicious about frying up some fresh tortillas that are crispy, warm and salted. These chips and dip are a match made in south of the border heaven!
Chili Verde with Cornmeal Dumplings
I’m always looking for “the one.” You know, the one recipe that you can count on time and time again to be a crowd pleaser. Sometimes you’ll send me recipes with in-depth stories about the memories behind the meals, which I love. Sometimes I’ll simply get a recipe saying it’s a family favorite. I’ve come to know that if you believe the dish is good enough to pass along, more than likely it’s a winner, and I’m grateful that its landed in my lucky hands. Now you have another one in the Southwest cuisine category–a fabulously simple, incredibly tasty recipe for New Mexico Chili Verde. There’s a great technique in the recipe that really adds to the flavor of the chile verde, one that I have come to use often in stews and chili’s. It’s flour that you heat up in a dry skillet until it turns light brown and imparts an amazing toasted nut aroma. Get those flour tortillas warmed up and pour yourself a big bowl of New Mexico Chile Verde!
It was on this day, decades ago, that my Momma and I celebrated my birthday in Madrid, Spain.
She took me on a magnificent trip to six European countries on our way to her hometown of Treviso, Italy. It was in Madrid where we both fell in love….with Paella. The place was Restaurante Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world, according the Guinness Book of World Records, and to this day, one of the most charming establishments I’ve ever visited. We bought our Paella pan there and have loved making this authentic Spanish dish ever since. If you’re in the mood to party, a Paella Party (with plenty of Sangria to wash it down!) can be a very tasteful get-together!