Shrimp Ceviche

Prep Time:  30 minutes  Cook Time:  3 minutes  Serves: 6-8


  • 2 pounds frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chile sauce or tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup capers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano
  • Juice of 2 fresh oranges
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes
  • Salt to taste


  • 1. Split the shrimp in half lengthwise and set aside.
  • 2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Saute the shrimp in batches until just cooked. Set aside to cool.
  • 3. Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Salt to taste, and then stir in the shrimp.
  • 4. Flavors and textures are at their peak within 3 hours of making this dish, so plan accordingly.

Braised Beef


Prep Time:  Cook Time: 180 minutes  Serves:


  • 2 tbsp. Chile powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds lean stew meat or chuck
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 medium onion, cut into large pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of root beer
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Mix together the chile powder, 2 tsp. salt, black pepper, and cinnamon. Coat the meat with mixture.

3. Heat a large ovenproof Dutch oven of high heat. Add canola oil. Working in batches, place the meat in one layer into the pan and sear all sides.

4. Remove meat and continue searing remaining meat. Remove all meat to a separate dish. Add more oil, if necessary, and add the garlic, onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and let cook for up to 20 minutes, or until browned and caramelized.

5. Add wine and let reduce until almost evaporated. Add broth and root beer. Stir, and add meat. Tie the thyme with butcher’s string and place in pan. Bring mixture to a simmer. Cover, and place in oven for 3-4 hours. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.

6. Using tongs, remove the large chunks of vegetables (garlic, onion, carrots, and celery). This could take a while, but you only want the meat and juice. Discard the vegetables and remove the meat from the juice and place in a separate bowl while you reduce the juice. Place pan on the stove, uncovered, over high heat. Let juice simmer and reduce by half. Add meat to reduced juice, and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If it is too spicy, you can add a little root beer or honey. Serve over cheesy polenta.


Ricotta and Vegetable Zucchini Wrap


Prep Time: 35 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Serves: 4


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. mixed herbs
  • 6 each (1 ounce) oven roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup green beans, blanched and cut into thirds (about 10)
  • 1 tbsp. basil pesto
  • 2 tbsp. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, cut on a mandolin lengthwise very thinly
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil


1. In a large saute pan heat the 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Add the onions and toss for 1 minute. Add the zucchini cubes and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs, tomatoes, and green beans. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine; taste for seasoning. Spread the vegetable mixture onto a sheet pan to cool.

2. In a large saute pan heat the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil over medium heat and when hot but not smoking, add 3 of the zucchini strips. After 1 minute, turn and cook remaining sides. Repeat until all the zucchini strips have been cooked. Cool them on a sheet pan.

3. On a cutting board lay out the zucchini slices. Begin with one strip lying horizontally. Lay another strip horizontally as well and slightly over lapping. When you have the first 4 strips laid out, place the remaining four on the other side repeating the pattern but over lapping the second set about half way on top of the first set. Spread the pesto in the center and the ricotta cheese on top. Place the vegetables in the middle in a vertical line. Fold one side of the zucchini over the vegetable filling followed by the other side.

4. Flip the entire zucchini wrap over and place on a sheet of parchment paper and onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until it is hot inside.


Brandied Blue Cheese, Walnut, and Pear Crostini

Prep Time:  30 minutes  Cook Time: 1 minute  Serves: 15


  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. brandy
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 16 1/4”-thick French bread slices, toasted
  • 1 ripe medium pear, cored and thinly sliced


1. In a small bowl, let the blue cheese and butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Mash with a fork until well mixed. Stir in brandy and walnuts.

2. Preheat broiler. Top bread slices with pear slices. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the blue cheese mixture atop the pear on each bread slice.

3. Place bread slices on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat about 1 minute or until cheese is bubbly, but not melted. Serve warm. Makes 8-10 servings.

Cornmeal Cheddar Scones

Prep Time:  15 minutes  Cook Time: 20 minutes  Serves: 10-15


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Kosher salt


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place first 7 ingredients in a food processor. Add 3/4 cup butter; pulse 8-10 times or until mixture resembles corn meal.

3. Place mixture in a large bowl; stir in cheese. Whisk together the egg and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Do not over mix. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead a couple of times.

4. Form dough into a rectangle 10”X7”. Cut into 15 squares. Place squares on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

5. Note: You can freeze the squares of dough by placing them on parchment paper and into a freezer bag. When ready to bake, remove from freezer. Butter and salt the tops and bake 25-30 minutes.

Leek Fritters

Prep Time: 10 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Serves: 4


  • 3 leeks 5 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 cup self rising flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg 
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  • 4 tbsp. butter, melted


1. Cut the leeks into 1/2” slices.

2. Put into a bowl of cold water to soak for five minutes to allow sand to sink to bottom of bowl. Strain out leeks and pat dry with a towel.

3. In a skillet, heat half of the oil and add leeks and shallots. Saute for 15 minutes, until soft.

4. Transfer to a large bowl and add chile, parsley, spices, sugar and salt. Allow to cool.

5. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and fold it into the vegetables.

6. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, whole egg, milk and butter to form a batter. Gently mix it into the vegetable mixture.

7. Put 2 tbsp. of the remaining oil in a large frying pan and place over a medium heat.

8. When oil is hot, spoon mixture into pan to make small fritters. Fry them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden and crisp.

9. Remove to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making fritters, adding oil as needed, but make sure additional oil is heated well before adding the mixture.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I started celebrating last Friday, and haven’t stopped eating chips and salsa since! Here are two great recipes I love to make any time of year! The queso fundido is Chef Bobby Flay’s recipe, and a staple on his menu at Mesa Grill (I’ve eaten at all three locations!) I’ve made it many times, and it is delicious. You’ll need to double the recipe if you love queso as much as I do. The marinade recipe (below) is great for beef or chicken to go into tacos or fajitas. Buen provecho!

Lime Marinade for beef, chicken, or pork

  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. grated fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Pepper to taste
  • Blend all ingredients in blender. Cover meat with marinade and cover dish.

You can also put in a sealable bag, pressing out all air and put in a shallow baking dish. Chill, turning occasionally, at least one day and up to two days.

Let meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. Remove meat from marinade and put on grill, cooking until done. Discard remaining marinade.

Chipotle Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 15 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Serves: 6


  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. capers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • ½ tsp. southwest seasoning (or chile powder)
  • ½ tsp. southwest seasoning (or chile powder)


1. To cook eggs, Place them in a large pan and cover with water by 1 inch. Put pan over a burner and bring water to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off heat and put lid on pan. Set timer for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove eggs and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Peel eggs and carefully slice in half lengthwise. With a small spoon, remove yolks from each half. Place yolks in a bowl and mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise, capers, chipotles, seasoning and a little salt. Mix well, and spoon mixture into egg whites. You can also use a piping bag and pipe the mixture to make it more decorative. After arranging eggs on platter, sprinkle lightly with paprika.