Saturday, November 11, 2017

Fish Chowder (inspired by The Mountain Café cookbook, pg. 65)

Very sad to announce that The Mountain Café in Aviemore has closed due to business loss because of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19. They don’t anticipate reopening.

While we were in Scotland this year we stopped in the small village of Aviemore for lunch at The Mountain Café. The Smoked Fish Chowder was so delicious, I actually bought their cookbook.

If you would like a copy yourself, you can order it from The Book Depository.

I have since made my own version of the Smoked Fish Chowder based on the recipe on page 65 of the cookbook and we thought it was delicious.
If you'd like to try it yourself here it is.

1 Tbs Olive Oil (I used Meyer Lemon Olive Oil)
1-2 tsp butter, I used a little less than 2 but more than 1)
1 medium onion, diced
1 leek, thoroughly washed, slice in half lengthwise then sliced across thinly. Use only a little of the pale green part.
2 celery stalks, slice in half lengthwise then sliced across thinly
1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely
1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sauvignon blanc or other dry white wine
1-1/2 lbs white rose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” dice
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
11 oz fish; cod, salmon, tilapia or any kind of firm fish or a mix (I used ling cod, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2-1 tsp dill, dried (fresh would be best but I didn’t have any)

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large soup pot until beginning to sizzle.
Add the onions, leek, garlic and celery. Sprinkle with about a 1/2 tsp salt and saute over medium heat until beginning to soften.
Stir in the parsley, lemon half, the wine and the broth.
Bring to a boil and add the diced potatoes.
Let simmer until the potatoes are very soft, about 40 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked use tongs to squeeze the lemon, then remove and discard it.
Take off the heat and blend the soup with a hand blender until mostly smooth. Add the cream and blend again. Gently stir in the fish and the dill. Cook over med-low until the fish is just cooked.

The original recipe used a carrot, lemongrass, fish stock and smoked fish. Also the juice and zest of 1 whole lemon. Then the cut halves were thrown into the soup when the veggies were sautéed.
Update: The second time I made this chowder I used the cut lemon halves as directed in the original recipe, delicious.
The photo above was taken by me at the Mountain Café restaurant in Aviemore, Scotland of the Fish Chowder I had that inspired me to buy the cookbook.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tortellini Salad with Tomatoes, Mint and Arugula

I adapted this from a Cooks Illustrated recipe called, "30 Minute Tortellini Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula and Pine Nuts".

2 Tbs. Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
1 Meyer Lemon, juice (you need about 1-1/2 – 2 Tbs juice)
1/2 cup fresh mint, sliced (measured after slicing and is approximate)
1 clove garlic, pressed through a garlic press
Salt and pepper to taste

1-1/2 cups Dry Tortellini
2 cups Garden Tomatoes, chunked
1 cup Green Beans, cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked crisp tender
1-1/2 cups Baby Arugula
1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded

In a bowl large enough for the entire salad, whisk together all the dressing ingredients except the mint. Stir in the mint.

Boil water for the pasta when boiling add 1 Tsp of salt. Drop the beans in and cook them for 2 minutes. Scoop them out with a small strainer or a spider and put them aside.

Bring the water back to a boil and add the tortellini. My dry tortellini said to cook for 16–18 minutes, I found it was cooked quite enough after 14 minutes so test it ahead of time. You don't want soggy pasta.

Drain the tortellini and shake off the excess moisture.

Add it along with the tomatoes and beans to the dressing and gently mix thoroughly.

Let sit for about 15 minutes to cool and marinade.

Add the arugula and parmesan.

Adjust the salt and pepper and serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Watermelon with Sheep's Milk Feta and Fresh Mint

Very simple yet delicious.
Make sure your watermelon is perfectly ripe.
Chris loves this salad and told me the last time I made it that he would be sorry to see watermelon season go.


  • 4–6 cups Freshly cut Watermelon chunks
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh Mint
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Sheep's Milk Feta

Mix all in a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Use mint and feta to taste. The above amounts are just a guide.
Sheep's milk feta is milder and creamier than cow's milk feta which has a slightly sharp flavor.

Mixed Greens with Nectarine, Strawberries, Apples and Tomatoes

I made up this salad when I had fresh fruit to use up. It turned out so delicious I decided I had to share it.
Make sure your tomatoes and fruit are garden or Farmer's Market fresh. Store bought just won't do in this salad.


  • 5 oz Mixed Organic baby salad greens (1 reg. package)
  • 1 nectarine, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 cup (or more) fresh Strawberries, cored and cut into quarters
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 farmer's market tomato, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup crumbled sheep's milk feta
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, toasted and broken into small pieces, opt.


  • 1 Tbs Strawberry Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs White wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs Grey Poupon or to taste
  • 3 Tbs Meyer Lemon olive oil

Place salad greens in large salad bowl. Arrange other ingredients on top, feta last. When ready to serve drizzle with dressing and toss gently.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Warm Potato, Snap Pea and Tomato Salad with Feta and Lemon

This was so good, I just had to share it. I may add a photo the next time I make this.



  • 2 large Red Potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups Snap Peas, stringed and sliced in half on the diagonal
  • 1 medium Tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup Sheep's Milk Feta, crumbled


  • 1 Meyer Lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbs Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
  • 1 scant tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


In a 3-qt saucepan cover potatoes with cold water and about a teaspoon of salt, stir well to dissolve the salt.
Bring to a boil uncovered, then turn to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add snap peas and time for 1 minute. 
Drain and pour back into the pan.
While the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.
Add the dressing to the drained potato/pea mixture, gently mixing well so as not to break up the potatoes then add the tomatoes and fold until thoroughly coated in dressing.

Top with crumbled Feta and freshly ground pepper.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pappardelle with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Arugula and Pesto

One of my favorite go to recipes.

  • 8 ounces Lemon Pappardelle package from Trader Joe's
  • 3 quarts boiling water
  • 1-2 tbsp salt; water should taste like sea water
  • 1-2 tbsp shallot chopped
  • 12 large prawns peeled and deveined
  • 2 large roma tomatoes diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 3 tbsp pesto, jarred from Trader Joe's
  • 1 tsp sumac ground
  • 3 large handfuls arugula
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 cup pasta water as needed to make pasta creamy

Place a large 4 quart pot filled with 3 quarts of water on the stove and bring to a boil.

Finely chop the shallot, dice the tomatoes, peel and devein the shrimp. Measure the Sumac into a tiny bowl. Dry the shrimp with paper towels.

Add the salt and pappardelle and set timer for 8 minutes.

Heat the 2 tbsp. olive oil until shimmery and add the shallots. Saute for about 30 seconds and add the shrimp. Sprinkle the shrimp with the Sumac evenly and salt and pepper to taste using the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until the shrimp is pink, 2 or 3 minutes, add the tomatoes and a little more salt and pepper. Mix around until tomatoes begin to wilt and turn off the burner and remove skillet from heat.

When the timer goes off drain the pasta into a colander and then put it back into the pasta pot. Mix in the 3 tablespoons of pesto and enough of the pasta water to make it loose and creamy.

Pour in the shrimp mixture and mix in well being careful not to break up the pasta too much. Mix in the arugula and cover with the lid. Let it sit for 4 minutes and serve.

Farfalle Salad with Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumber, Arugula and Feta

Sorry I don't have a photo of this. It is delicious and I make it quite a bit during the summer months.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.


  • 1 med. lemon, juice and zest
  • 2-3 T. meyer lemon olive oil or very good extra virgin olive oil if you don't have access to the meyer lemon olive oil.
  • Chopped fresh dill, to taste (I used 3 sprigs)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 cup Farfalle, uncooked
  • 3 whole bay leaves for pasta water.
  • 1 T. Salt for the pasta water.
  • 1 Persian Cucumber, diced (about a cup)
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes (measure before slicing), sliced in half or equivalent regular tomatoes.
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet peppers, about 1 medium pepper
  • 2 large handfuls Baby Arugula
  • 2 oz. Sheep's milk feta or to taste, crumbled
  • Course Kosher salt to finish

Cook Farfalle until just al dente in plenty of boiling, salted water to which the bay leaves have been added.

Drain, carefully pick out bay leaves and immediately add hot pasta to dressing, mixing thoroughly.

While pasta is cooking make the dressing.

In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, zest, olive oil and fresh, chopped dill with salt and pepper to taste.

When pasta has cooled mix in the rest of the ingredients and serve.

Makes 5–6 servings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Couscous with Mint, Feta and Tomatoes

I went for a bike ride this morning and when I returned home I was very hungry.

There wasn't much in the house for lunch but I did have some leftover couscous from the night before, some feta, grape tomatoes, a little fresh lemon juice I needed to use up and mint out in my garden.

I think I managed to come up with a pretty tasty lunch.

Couscous with Mint, Feta and Tomatoes


  • 2 cups Couscous, prepared
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, good quality
  • 1/4 cup Feta, crumbled
  • 1 cup Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  • 8-10 Ripe Grape Tomatoes, cut into quarters


Fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in the lemon juice and olive oil thoroughly.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients in order and enjoy.

Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, if desired. I didn't need any.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tortellini Soup with Chicken Andouille and Vegetables

It's gone back to winter weather here and was cold and windy yesterday, soup weather. I had been wanting to make a tortellini soup for awhile and had some Chicken Andouille sausages from New Frontiers market that I needed to use.

I had just seen a recipe for Tortellini and Vegetable Soup on the Williams-Somoma web site and decided to modify that.

This is what I came up with and my husband said it was possibly the best soup I'd ever made.

Tortellini Soup with Chicken Andouille and Vegetables


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 links chicken andouille, from New Frontier, crumbled
  • 1 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, sliced
  • 1/2 whole onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced in half lengthwise then thinly across
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise then thinly across
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, 1/2 inch dice
  • 3/4 cup cheese tortellini, dry
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika, Spanish sweet style. DO NOT use Hungarian Paprika as a substitute, you will ruin your soup.
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)


  1. In a 4qt. heavy soup pot heat olive oil until shimmery.
  2. Remove sausages from casings and place in pan, breaking up with 2 heatproof spatulas or wooden spoons until crumbled.
  3. Saute until browned and almost cooked through.
  4. Add thyme, onion, garlic and carrots and sprinkle with a tiny amount of salt. Stir for about a minute and add celery.
  5. Saute until vegetables begin to soften and onion is translucent.
  6. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  7. Lower heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  8. Turn heat back to medium-high and add tortellini. Cook for 5 minutes and add zucchini, tomatoes and smoked Spanish sweet paprika. Continue to slowly boil for 10 more minutes or until tortellini is just done (don't overcook).
  9. Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve. (At this point I didn't need to add anything so be sure to taste it first.)
  10. Ladle into bowls and top with a little freshly grated parmesan.
  11. Serve with a nice crusty whole grain bread.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chicken Sausage with Carrots, Broccoli and Spinach

I put this together for dinner tonight. It took about 40 minutes including cutting up the vegetables and makes about 6 servings.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and diced
  • 3 chicken sausage, your choice (I used Trader Joe's Chicken Jalapeno and Spicy Chicken Italian), slice into quarters lengthwise then into 1/2 inch dice.
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 5 cups baby spinach, washed and drained
  • 1 large green onion, white part sliced lengthwise in half then thinly sliced across along with some of the green part.
  • 1 small sprig fresh thyme, minced.
  • 2 pkgs. Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice with Garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat a large heavy stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the carrot and allow to lightly brown. Next add the sausage and heat through for about 5 min. Add broccoli and stir until bright green, cover and let cook over low heat for about 3 min.

Meanwhile, heat the Seeds of Change in the microwave according to instructions and add to the skillet once the broccoli has begun to soften. Stir until well mixed in and add the spinach. Mix it in the best you can and cover to let it wilt a bit, about 1 min. Remove the lid and stir until the spinach is completely wilted.

Sprinkle in the onions and the thyme, and season with salt and pepper.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It's been a longtime since I've posted here, sorry about that but no one reads my blog anyway so ...
I just had to post this recipe. I have always hated Brussels Sprouts, they made me gag. Yuck.
That was until I discovered roasted Brussels Sprouts. Now I absolutely love them.
Here's the method:
Preheat the oven to 400°. If you have a convection oven use the convection roast setting.
Take the desired amount of small Brussels Sprouts, trim them of undesired leaves and slice them in half.
Place them in a large (gallon size) ziplock bag.
Add about a tablespoon of olive oil, seal the bag and shake well to coat.
Next add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Again seal and shake well to coat.
Line a large, sided baking sheet with aluminum foil (nonstick if you have it, if not, spray with cooking spray). Arrange the Brussels Sprouts on the pan cut side down and not touching.
Place on rack in upper 1/3 of oven and roast until well browned, about 20 min, less if using convection. Be careful the golden brown doesn't turn to black.
That's all there is to it. Serve either as a snack or as a vegetable side-dish.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bulgar with Shrimp, Spinach, Tomatoes, Feta and Mint

I buy shrimp at Costco and split it into 1/2 lb. packages to freeze. I was able to pick more tomatoes from my vines in spite of the cool wet weather we've been having. I have lots of fresh mint growing in the garden, and garlic that I harvested in the early summer.
I decided that would be a lovely combination over some bulgar with a little Feta sprinkled on top.
Bulgar is so quick and easy and I love the flavor and texture.

1/2 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined. If you cut them in half it will seem like loads of shrimp.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. butter (do not use margarine, the flavor will suffer.)
1 T. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup Bulgar
2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium, organic
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
About 6 oz. baby spinach, washed and stemmed
4 - 5 T. fresh mint, minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup feta, crumbled

Prepare all of your ingredients before beginning and it will go together very quickly.

In a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat put bulgar, chicken broth and 1 T. butter and bring to a boil. When it begins to boil turn heat to simmer and set a timer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large saute pan set over medium heat, melt the remaining 1 T. butter with the olive oil and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add shrimp and some salt and pepper. Saute the shrimp until just pink and set aside in a bowl to keep warm.

Add the spinach to the pan and toss until it begins to get limp, then add the tomatoes.

As soon as the timer for the bulgar goes off add the shrimp back into the pan with the spinach and sprinkle with half the mint.

Toss the bulgar with the rest of the mint.

To serve:
Put about 1/2 cup of bulgar on a plate with about a cup of the shrimp mixture, sprinkle with a little feta and serve.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tracey's French Style Potato Salad with Tarragon and Tomatoes

I was looking for a salad that would use some excess tomatoes and tarragon I had on hand. I was really hoping for a simple French style potato salad. Since I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for I made this one up. It turned out delicious so I thought I'd share it with you. The measurements are not exact so feel free to add more or less of the ingredients as your taste-buds dictate.
Note: I used a combination of sweet-100 cherry tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes and Better Boy tomatoes and French Tarragon from my garden.

4 whole Yukon Gold potatoes, medium, cut into 6 pieces
3 quarts water, boiling
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar, approx. or to taste
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, or to taste
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 small clove garlic, put through a garlic press
2-3 whole scallions, sliced or about 1/2 cup, including greens
1 1/2 - 2 cups tomato, 1" dice or if using cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped, or more to taste
1. Cover the potatoes with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the water and turn to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 min. or until potatoes are just tender.

2. Meanwhile whisk the olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, pressed garlic and salt and pepper together well.

3. When the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander and pour into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over them and mix well but gently so you don't break up the potatoes. Let them sit until cool.

4. When the potatoes have cooled, slice the scallions, dice the tomatoes and chop the fresh tarragon leaves.
Mix into the cooled potatoes, adjust the salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

5. If you need to make this ahead of time you can put the dressed potatoes into the refrigerator covered for an hour or two. Remove from the fridge and bring back to room temperature before adding the other ingredients and serving.
Do not add the tomatoes, scallions and tarragon until just before serving.

My 3-qt All-Clad pan continued boiling even on simmer so I turned off the flame and timed the potatoes for 15 min. They came out perfect.

About 6 servings

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Caprese with Yellow Pear Tomatoes and Basil

Made a caprese salad using more of our bounty of Yellow Pear Tomatoes and some potted Basil.

2-3 cups yellow pear tomatoes or cherry tomatoes or a combination, sliced in half.

Couple handfuls of fresh basil, stacked and rolled into cigar shapes then sliced into strips.

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons very good extra-virgin olive oil, more or less to taste

salt and pepper to taste.

You can mix the mozzarella, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper together a little ahead of time if you like but don't put the tomatoes in until just before serving.

Note: Never refrigerate tomatoes as they will lose there flavor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Yellow Pear Tomato Salad with Orzo and Basil

I have an overabundance of yellow pear tomatoes and needed to figure out a way to use some of them up. I came up with this and since my husband absolutely loved it I decided to post it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

6 servings

1 cup Orzo, dried, whole wheat
2 quarts Water, boiling
2 tbsp salt
¼ cup Olive Oil, good-quality extra virgin
1 whole Lemon, both juice and zest. Zest first and squeeze using a citrus press.
1 tsp Spanish Smoked Paprika
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
½ cup Fresh Basil Leaves, tightly packed. Washed and spun dry in a salad spinner then sliced into strips
2 cups Yellow Pear Tomatoes, sliced in half, or more if you like.

1.In a 4 quart pot: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add 2 T. salt and the orzo and cook according to directions on the package, about 8 min.
2.Meanwhile: In a large bowl grate the zest of 1 lemon and using a citrus press juice the lemon (you should have about a 1/4 cup.). Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk to blend.
3.Holding the bowl in place with a rolled up towel: Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream until well blended.
4.When orzo is done: Drain the orzo and pour the hot orzo into the dressing mixing well. Mix in the smoked paprika and let cool.
Do not substitute Hungarian Paprika for the Spanish Smoked Paprika. If you don't have Spanish Smoked just eliminate it from the recipe.
5.Just before serving: Slice up the tomatoes and basil and gently mix in. Adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper and serve.