Bruschetta with Mediterranean Tomato Topping

Inspired by a great recipe from Emeril Lagasse, this bruschetta recipe is vegan friendly!


20 (1/2-inch) slices French bread
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and small diced
2 tablespoons basil chiffonade, plus more for garnishing
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the slices of French bread on a baking sheet and lightly brush with half of the olive oil. Season with half of the salt and half of the pepper. Bake until lightly golden and crispy, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While the toasts are baking combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and stir to blend.

Serve each toast with a heaping tablespoon of the tomato mixture and garnish with additional basil, if desired.

Bruschetta with Mediterranean Tomato Topping


Nachos With Cabbage, Beans, And Cilantro Sauce

I made these nachos for a holiday movie night with some friends. I served each item in separate bowls and let every choose their toppings. It turned out very well. I loved how all the items tasted together.

For the Cabbage
1 heaping cup shredded red cabbage
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the Beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
1 poblano pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
Salt, to taste

For the Cilantro Sauce
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil

For the Cheese Sauce
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese (or a mix of cheddar and pepper Jack—see note), grated on large holes of a box grater
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 (12-ounce) can fat free evaporated milk2 teaspoons Franks Red Hot or other hot sauce

5 ounces tortilla chips

For the cabbage: Combine cabbage, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Toss to dissolve sugar and salt and coat cabbage with liquid. Let sit for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.

For the beans: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot. Add onions and poblano and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, one minute more. Add beans and cook until heated through and beginning to break down a bit, about 10 minutes. Mash beans against sides and bottom of pot with a wooden spoon and stir to combine all ingredients. Taste for salt. Cover and keep warm.

For the cilantro sauce: In a mini food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, lime juice, salt, and olive oil. Process until well combined. Set aside.

To assemble nachos, spread tortilla chips on a large platter. Top evenly with beans and then with cheese sauce. Pour off liquid from cabbage and dry cabbage between paper towels. Top nachos with cabbage. Drizzle cilantro sauce overtop. Serve warm.

For the cheese sauce: Add cheese and cornstarch to large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add 1 cup evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly, and thickened (about 5 minutes). Mixture will look thin and grainy at first but will thicken and come together after heating. Thin to desired consistency with additional evaporated milk.

The Crisper Whisperer: Nachos With Cabbage, Beans, And Cilantro Sauce
Cheese Sauce For Cheese Fries And Nachos

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

I made this for my girlfriend’s Lorraine birthday party on Sunday. She said that she wanted satay and here’s what I made.


For the Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons lime juice from 1 to 2 limes
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin

For the Satay
2 lb of chicken breast meat, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1/8 cup fish sauce
1/8 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Sriracha
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions , white and green parts, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Whisk peanut butter and hot water together in medium bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients for the peanut sauce; transfer to serving bowl and set aside.

Put chicken cubes in a glass casserole and combine the fish sauce, oil, chili sauce, brown sugar, cilantro, garlic, and scallions with the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. After marinated, weave chicken onto individual skewers. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place skewers on the foil. Coat skewers with marinade that’s left over.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook chicken for about 6 minutes, flip over and cook for an additional 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve with the peanut sauce.

Grilling: Beef Satay

Smoked Salmon with Cucumber, Capers, and Red Onion on Pumpernickel

Tis the holiday season which means holiday parties and potlucks. This hor d’oeuvre is inspired by a sandwich that used to be served at Bottega Louie.


9 oz. smoked salmon
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
3.5 oz jar of capers (if you can find a smaller jar, go for it)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Pumpernickel bread, each slice cut into thirds

To assemble, take a piece of pumpernickel bread and smear a thin layer of cream cheese. Stack a couple slices of cucumber, salmon, and red onion. Finish with garnishing with a few capers.

Smoky Fried Chickpeas

I saw this recipe a long time ago on Food 52 and it looked great. It’s looks like it can be an awesome snack to have at home while blogging (hi) or a hor d’oeuvre for your fancy party.


Two 1-pound, 13-ounce cans chickpeas
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest, in thin strips
1 fresh thyme sprig
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon smoked paprika (sweet or hot, depending on your taste)
Coarse salt

Drain the chickpeas and set on paper towels in a colander to dry thoroughly. (This can be done 1 day in advance.)

Heat the oil in a large pan (preferably cast iron) to 350°F, or until the oil makes bubbles around a single chickpea when you drop it in.

Add the lemon zest, thyme sprig, and chickpeas in batches so the pan doesn’t crowd. Fry each batch for about 5 minutes until the chickpeas darken and are crunchy.

Remove the chickpeas, zest, and thyme from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain well over a colander or sieve. After you’ve fried the last batch, add the garlic to the oil and fry briefly until golden. Remove and drain.

Toss the chickpeas and garlic with the smoked paprika and salt, adding more to taste. Serve right away while still warm and crisp.

Baguette Croutes With Brie, Avocado Mousse, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is a pretty easy hor d’oeuvre to make. They taste good and look fancy so you can impress your guests and friends at all the fancy dinner parties you go to or throw. Or you can make them for yourself and just feel fancy alone.


1 avocado
Baguette, cut on a diagonal into ¼-inch slices
1/2 pound of lite brie, cut into slices
Sun-dried tomatoes cut into strips
Olive oil

Place the baguette slices on an aluminum sheet and brush olive oil on the sides that will be toasted facing up. Put aluminum sheet in the toaster oven and toast until slices are lightly toasted.

Prepare the avocado by mashing the ripe avocado with a potato masher or large spoon until it becomes smooth.

After the baguette slices are toasted, place one piece of brie on each baguette slice. Spoon some avocado mousse on the brie, and top with a few slivers of sun-dried tomato.

Baguette Croutes With Brie, Avocado Mousse, And Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Black Olive Caviar

This is a really easy and simple spread for bread. It’s nice to serve as an appetizer. It takes very little time to put together.


1/4 cup black olives, minced
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Stir all ingredients together and serve in a small bowl with slices of sourdough bread or baguette slices as I used here.