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Shrimp Sliders

shrimp burgers

Yesterday, I shared Barb’s Baked Eggs with you – today I’m giving you another of her fabulous recipes! Many thanks to Barbara Fenzl for allowing me to share her Les Gourmettes cooking class recipes with the masses.

Barb made shrimp sliders in class, I made shrimp burgers, with the same recipe and bigger buns, at home. My family went crazy for them!

take out center

One super-smart thing Barb does with her sliders – she cuts out the center section of the King’s Hawaiian rolls, making them a more manageable size. When you eat it, you get less bun in each bite and more shrimp.

2 thirds

She saved all the center portions of the buns from all six of her classes and used them in her Thanksgiving stuffing. See, I told you she was super-smart!


King’s makes hamburger buns too, so I used the buns in place of the rolls, changing the sliders to burgers. Either way … Delish!

2 sizes

Note: I was feeding a crowd, so I doubled the recipe and made 12 burgers out of 2 pounds of shrimp. The recipe, as written, would have made 6 burgers and makes 12 sliders. Don’t let the photos vs. the recipe quantities confuse you.

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December 4, 2014   2 Comments

Barb’s Baked Eggs

fresh tomatillos

Barbara Fenzl made the most delicious egg dish for her classes at Les Gourmettes this semester. One of my favorite egg dishes ever – and I love eggs, so that’s saying something!

husk and wash

I made it on Thanksgiving morning. We usually don’t have a big breakfast on turkey day because we generally eat the big feast in the early afternoon. Dave and the kids have the tradition of taking a long hike in the morning to leave me doing what I do best – in peace and quite. Since we weren’t planning to eat dinner until 6:00, I figured that a nice breakfast would be perfect when they returned from their hike.

baked eggs 2 dishes

Before I say that it was perfect, I will admit that I severely undercooked the eggs, so it wasn’t all that it should have been. I used a different type of dish to bake the eggs in than Barb used, and it made a world of difference. My casserole was too deep and the eggs didn’t cook as well as they did in Barb’s shallow flat au gratin dish.

Barb found her individual porcelain au gratin/casserole dishes at Standard Restaurant Supply at 2922 E McDowell Road in Phoenix, they cost $2.50 each. And I found my Le Creuset mini cocottes, which are not great for this egg dish but are adorable and amazing for French onion soup – at Sur La Table. They cost considerably more but did not do the job this time!

One change I made in Barb’s recipe was to replace the 1/2 cup green chilies plus 1 cup water she used with 1 cup of the Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley Salsa (that I love so much) plus 1/2 water.

Since I’ve had it both ways, I can honestly say the difference is taste is minimal, so if you have the salsa on hand, use it!

An unplanned and unexpected side benefit for me was that I was only making 5 servings of this for breakfast but the sauce makes enough for 8 servings. I used the leftover green chile sauce in my Turkey Enchiladas with my leftover Thanksgiving bird!

So Good!!! This is going to be my “go to” enchilada sauce from here on out. [Read more →]


December 3, 2014   3 Comments

Barb’s Apple Tart with Jalapeno


The tart recipe I’m sharing with you today is Barb Fenzl’s recipe and it was the delectable dessert she brought to our Fall Picnic. 

green pumpkin soup bowl

Before I get to the recipe, which I will be making for Thanksgiving, I’ll share with you a few photos of my Thanksgiving table, which I set yesterday.

orange pumpkin soup bowl

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November 25, 2014   3 Comments

Thanksgiving side (or appetizer!)


Are you still looking for an outstanding Thanksgiving side dish? Maybe something to bring to a dinner you’ve been invited to?

Are you looking for something that everyone will proclaim was the best side dish of the big meal?

I have it for you!

fresh horseradish

Not only does this make a great green bean side dish  – the fresh horseradish sauce is also fabulous served over blanched broccoli or asparagus …. and it makes an excellent light dip for crudites too!

Versatile!  That’s what it is… oh, so versatile and delicious.

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November 24, 2014   2 Comments

wrapped chicken & pear sandwiches

patio menu

The recipe for this second Fall Picnic sandwich is written differently then how I actually made it.

I’m giving you the recipe for the sandwich at its best. I changed it for the picnic by using chipotle mayonnaise and a cilantro dressing instead of plain mayonnaise and balsamic vinaigrette because I was already using balsamic vinegar on the first sandwich.

It is far better with the balsamic than it was with the cilantro.

wrapped sandwiches

For extra flair and fun, I wrapped and tied the center of the sandwiches with parchment and twine.

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November 21, 2014   No Comments

picnic sandwiches

sandwiches under the domes

The main course for the Fall Picnic was two types of sandwiches, the first, a pressed sandwich, the recipe is here today. The second, a chicken sandwich … I’ll post tomorrow.

pressed Italian sandwiches

Pressed Italian Sandwiches

  • 4 ciabatta rolls, cut in half horizontally
  • 1/2 cup black or green olive tapenade
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 thin slices Genoa salami
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto
  • 8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 roasted red, yellow or orange bell peppers, sliced
  • 8 large fresh basil leaves


Spread bottom half of each ciabatta roll with tapenade.


In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil and mustard and season with salt and pepper Drizzle the cut side of top half of each roll with the dressing.

meat layers

Arrange salami on top of tapenade, followed by the prosciutto.

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November 20, 2014   1 Comment

hot toddy and mulled wine

bird view

The weather has finally cooled down – to the lovely point of chilly! Since our Fall Picnic was held outside, as the best picnics are, I needed my signature cocktails to be hot.

picnic chalkboard

I made hot toddies and mulled wine. The wine is spicy and tasty, but the hot toddy – the hot toddy is the BOMB!

mighty leaf ginger twist tea

You’ll need tea bags for the toddy. I use my favorite Ginger Twist tea from Mighty Leaf Tea because apple and ginger are the absolute loveliest combination. Any tea you like will work just fine, from Breakfast to Earl Grey and beyond.

Along with the drink recipes, allow me show you the way I set up the buffet table.

plaid ice chest

Plaid was a big part of the theme, so this vintage Thermos brand oval cooler fit right in. I filled it with ice and placed bottles of “Butter” white wine inside and a couple of bottles of “Jam” red wine next to it. How perfect are Butter and Jam for a picnic?!?  By the way, the wines are made by Jam Cellars and I found them at Costco.

tiered server

In front of the cooler, sits a cute 3-step metal server filled with French radishes and salt, seedless grapes and cute mini white pumpkins.

buffet tables

  • Next to the cooler is a cloth-lined wicker picnic basket filled with herb plants.
  • The cork filled urn, with the candle in the middle, is my everyday centerpiece of this outdoor table, I left it since it fit right in.
  • A plaid tin filled with fresh flowers sits on an overturned vintage Pepsi crate along with my prized vintage plaid thermos. Mason jars were used to serve the drinks in because my plaid mugs are packed away with the Christmas stuff.
  • Wicker domes cover the main course sandwiches.

The tall plaid thermos was just a prop and not used for the cocktails, instead I had the wine in the smaller red thermos and the hot toddy in the green thermos.

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November 19, 2014   1 Comment

roasted mushroom soup

picnic basket

The only course I plated for the Fall Picnic was the soup, the rest of the meal was served buffet style. As a result, I didn’t get a decent photo of the soup. I’m going to try and make up for it with quite a few in-process cooking pictures and a bunch decor photos.

gather props

The first thing I do when I set about to create a theme for a party is to hunt and gather from around my house for decorating items. For this dinner party I was thinking – picnic baskets, blankets, thermoses, wicker, plaid, pumpkins and squash.


I had two main areas to decorate, the buffet table and the dinner table. We’ll get to the buffet table in a later post, today we’ll focus on the dinner table. I started with a plaid throw as the tablecloth and plaid salad plates.


The centerpiece was a rustic stand with fresh pumpkins and squash above and below, a garland of fall leaves, a couple of candles and my Bundt Pan Pumpkin from last year’s craft class.


Add in the setting sun…


… and it’s easy to have a pretty table!

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November 18, 2014   1 Comment

“Autumn Picnic” Dinner Party

deer lake sign

Do you remember my posts about Deer Lake in Canada? They were from July, 2013. Deer Lake is the gorgeous property owned by our friends, Paul and Kim Howard. Barb and Terry Fenzl, Dave and I, and the Howards had a wonderful week at the lake that summer. Afterwards, we talked about having a reunion dinner in our backyard. We were supposed to do that in the fall of 2013, but it didn’t happen.


When Barb, Kim and I were at Rancho la Puerta in September, we were talking and realized we still needed to have our reunion dinner. On Saturday night, we finally did!


I decided on a Fall Picnic theme and then I asked Kim to bring the appetizer and Barb to bring the dessert.

picnic chalkboard

All of the recipes will be posted in the coming week, with decorating ideas to boot.  Today, we’ll start with the salad.

apple and celery root salad with horseradish dressing

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November 17, 2014   2 Comments

Peggy’s Día de Muertos Posole

Peggy's posole

Peggy had a Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) party on Halloween night. The day before, I was at her house helping her make posole, just so I could give you her recipe.

The sacrifices I make for you lovely people!

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November 6, 2014   1 Comment