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Category: Appetizers

Black Bean Salsa

2 (16 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed & drained (Goya Premium brand is best)
2 cups frozen yellow corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped, including the green tops
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro (may substitute 1 tablespoon of dried)
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large lime, juiced
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a non-reactive bowl, place black beans, corn, red and green bell peppers, green onions, jalapeño pepper, cilantro, and tomatoes. Pour juice of lime over ingredients and mix gently.

In a small glass bowl, add red wine vinegar, cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, salt & black pepper. Whisk in olive oil to emulsify dressing. Pour dressing over black bean and corn mixture and mix gently until dressing is well distributed. Cover and chill at least one hour.
Serve with corn chips or Tostitos.

Note: add tomatoes right before serving if the salad is marinated more than a couple of hours.

Kale Chips

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 bunch Kale (about 3 large handfuls), torn into 2-inch shreds
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a non insulated cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Mix Salt, Paprika, and Garlic together in a small bowl. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems (discard stems) and tear leaves into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt, toss in a mixing bowl until well combined. Spread kale on foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until the edges brown but are not burnt, 12 to 15 minutes (tossing halfway through).

Rye Boat

1 1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp dill weed
6 oz. corned beef
2 Tbsp chopped onion
2 Tbsp parsley

Combine ingredients for dip.  Cut out center of rye bread and fill with dip.  Cut center piece into pieces for dipping.

Pumpkin Seeds

Rinse seeds off, dry thoroughly with paper towel.  Put seeds in a mixing bowl with vegetable oil and garlic salt.  Spread evenly on cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes, watching for browning and turning them halfway through.

Fresh Salsa

5-6 tomatoes, peeeled and seeded
4 garlic cloves
2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
1-2 roasted jalapenos, seeded and finely dices
1/2 to 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1-2 dry ancho chiles, seeded and ground
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste (1/2 to 1 tsp)

In a food processor, pulse tomatoes, garlic, ancho chiles, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper to desired consistency.  Add onion and jalapeno then pulse again if fine texture desired.  Let sit for at least an hour for flavors to develop.


3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water
6 Tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced/pressed
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
pinch cayenne

Combine lemon juice and water in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together tahini and olive oil.

Process chickpeas, garlic, salt, cumin, and cayene in food processor until almost fully ground (about 15 seconds). Scrape down bowl with spatula. While machine is running, add lemon juice-water mixture in a steady stream. Scrape down bowl with spatula and process for 1 more minute. With machine running, add tahini-oil mixture and process until smooth (about 15-30 seconds).

Let stand for about 30 minutes for flavors to develop. Serve topped with a sprinkle of paprika or drizzle of olive oil.

– 1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro instead of paprika
– 1/4 cup roasted garlic, garlic evoo, garnish with parsley
– omit cumin, 1 cup artichoke (1/4 reserved for garnish), +1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp lemon zest, garnish with artichoke reserve, parsley, and evoo
– omit water and cumin, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, garnish with toasted almond slivers and parsley


Cheese Fondue:

1/2 lb Emmental swiss cheese, shredded
1/2 lb Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 garlic clove
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp cherry brandy (kirsch)
1/2 tsp dry mustard
pinch nutmeg

In a small bowl, toss the shredded cheese with the cornstarch and set aside.  Rub the inside of the fondue pot with garlic, then discard.  Over medium heat, add the wine and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer.  Gradually stir small amounts of the cheese into the simmering liquid.  Melting the cheese gradually encourages a smooth fondue.  Once all the cheese is melted and smooth, stir in the cherry brandy, dry mustard, and nutmeg.  Serve with bread (french, rye, pumpernickel), Granny Smith apple, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, or asparagus.

Asian Beef Broth Fondue:

1 (15oz) can beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
3 green onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in fondue pot at medium-high (350 degrees) and bring to a boil.  Serve with thinly sliced steak (filet, sirloin, or flank), potato, broccoli, and zucchini.  As the broth evaporates over time, add equal parts beef broth and water (to avoid too much salt).

Chocolate Fondue:

8 oz dark or semisweet chocolate, in small pieces
1/4 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup caramel topping
2 Tbsp favorite liqueur (Amaretto, Frangelica, kirsch, Bailey’s, etc.)

Place all ingredients to fondue pot over low heat.  Stir constantly until the mixture is melted and smooth.  Do not allow to bubble.  Serve with cheesecake, pound cake, bananas, strawberries, apples, brownie, and other treats.

Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. steak (flank, skirt, or sirloin)
1 Tbsp sriracha or other asian chili-garlic sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame seed oil (optional)
1 lime, juiced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated or sliced

2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp spicy asian mustard
1 tsp rice or white vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin (optional)

8 leaves of boston bibb lettuce
red onion, sliced paper thin
green onions, sliced
carrot, julienned
jalapeno or red chile, sliced thin
roasted peanuts, crushed
lime wedges
fresh cilantro

Steak can be cut into long strips about 2 inches wide for faster marinating and cooking.  Combine chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame seed oil, lime juice, garlic, and ginger.  Place steak in marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Cook over high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, or until desired doneness.  Let meat rest 5- 10 minutes, then slice against the grain in thin strips.  Place a few strips of steak onto a lettuce leave, top with desired toppings, and then a drizzle of sauce.

Garlic Fries

4 tsp canola oil
1 tsp salt
3 lbs. baking potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
cooking spray
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine oil, salt, and potato strips in a large bowl or ziploc bag and toss to combine. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange potatoes evenly in a single layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and tender, turning after 20 minutes.

Place butter, olive oil, and garlic in nonstick skillet and cook over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Toss cooked potato strips with garlic butter, chopped parsley, and parmesan cheese.

Mexican Bean Dip

1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15 oz.) refried beans
1 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
1 Tbsp pickled jalapenos, chopped
1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp cilantro
1 tsp parsley

Cook the ground beef in a saucepan over medium heat. When browned, drain the beef and set aside. Add onions to saucepan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic in the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of cooking. Add the cooked ground beef, refried beans, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, enchilada sauce, salsa, cilantro, and parsley to the pan and heat through until thoroughly melted and mixed.