Nectarine and Radish Salsa

This refreshing salsa come from Cooking Light’s summer edition and I can tell you now if you want to make it right, please wait til summer.

Frequent readers know that I like to challenge myself and be resourceful and sometimes rebellious in my cooking. I do this not only for the value of entertainment, (which is hopefully entertaining to you as it is to me), but so you can learn from my mistakes.

I personally trust those who inform me of their mistakes more than those who claim perfection.

Show me the person who is perfect and I’ll look for some kind of loophole. Like maybe they came from space. It’s not a thing that should be ruled out folks.

What you’ll need.

  • 2 1/4 cups (1/4-inch) diced nectarines
  • 1 1/2 cups radishes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

The major ingredient in this salsa is nectarines which is why I strongly suggest you only make this dish in the summer. I made it in the winter and could not find nectarines to save my life.

I also could not find fresh peaches, which is the alternative I was hoping to use. What I opted for was canned peaches, which messed with the texture of the salsa and left me feeling a bit disappointed.

If you absolutely have to use canned peaches as a substitute, drain the liquid as much as possible.

Other than nectarines, the ingredients should be easy to find. The rest of the steps are also easy peachy.  All you have to do is mix everything together and then let it sit for a half hour.

That’s all there is to it.


Again, this turned out ok, but the texture was off which disappointed me.  The canned peaches caused too much saturation and as I mentioned earlier were too mushy.

I think if done right, it should come out like a fruity ceviche which I suppose can also be a bit saturated, but I’d say a good ceviche should be more like a steady creek stream instead of a roaring river or lake as it was in my case.

Despite my disappointment I do recommend giving this is a try. I’m sure it’d be satisfying in the summer time on a hot day.

I look forward to hearing if that’s the case.

Plum Preserves

I’m going to admit something slightly embarrassing to all of you.

I took the term preserve too literally and didn’t realize that this was actually a jelly or jam if you will. Preserves to me are vegetables and fruits that are preserved. I mean that’s what I call a “preserve.”

This is exactly what jam and jelly are as well, but I interpreted the term for a broader base.

After trying to eat this preserve as a side item, I realized that this was more of a jelly. That and a phone conversation with my boyfriend who is mostly from the south. Why mostly? He moved around a lot as a kid. I’d say he’s a southern boy with a dash of mid-west.

Below our conversation,

“What are you making this time?”

“It’s a plum preserve…it’s kinda like a sweet plum applesauce type of thing.”

Boyfriend pauses for a moment. “….I think that’s a jelly! Ooh I’m excited! I’m pretty sure a preserve is a jelly.”

Being the sweet southern man that he is I’m pretty sure he knew this all along but didn’t want to make me feel stupid. Those southerners like to preserve your pride when they like you. I appreciate it.

Wherever you hail from and whether you enjoy jellies, jams, or preserves then you should try out this plum preserve from Cooking Light. It’s surprisingly easy to make and delicious!

What you need

  • 6 cups of sliced ripe plums (about three pounds)
  • 2 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick

The first thing you’re going to do is combine plums and sugar in a bowl. Once combined, cover and leave on your room temperature counter for 8 hours.

Then combine all the ingredients, including your plum mixture into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce your heat so that it only simmers and cover the pot for 15 minutes.

Once those 15 minutes are up, uncover and cook for an additional hour.

While this cooking process occurs be sure to stir and mash the mixture every few minutes or so. When the hour is up you should have a nice even consistency that resembles a jelly.

Pour this into a large bowl to cool and throw away your cinnamon stick.  Once it’s chilled out you can then enjoy your jelly!

This turned out really well and it tasted like apple pie to me. Granted these are plums, but the taste of cinnamon and the slight gooey and chewy plums reminded me of that coveted pie.

Once I realized this was a jelly, I served it with cream cheese on a cracker as you can see below.

I also brought some to work and a co-worker liked it so much she took some to her grandmother. I was told the grandmother approved. She apparently is a preserve connoisseur.

If you haven’t gotten the hint, then let me be east coast blunt and tell you that you need to try this as soon as you can! It’s delicious and so easy to make! You’d be a moron not to try!

Midwest translation, “I think you should try this. It’s good and easy to make.”

Southern translation. “Honey you gotta try this! My grandma used to make preserves for me as a child and I’m telling you this is just so easy to make. You won’t regret it.”

West coast translation, “You should really think about making your own jelly. When you’re in control of your own food intake you can cut out all the preservatives and chemicals that are being forced fed into our body by the food industry. It’s a real comfort to know my jelly is completely organic.”

Plum preserve in a bowl

Jelly and cream cheese


A Fair Lady’s Plum Sorbet

How do I enlighten all of you of the majesty that is sorbet?

Sorbet is similar to froyo only it’s made with crème fraîche which is a classy type of sour cream. Crème fraîche is like Eliza Doolittle transformed into a fair lady and sorbet is the dessert she would consume.

Don’t let all this fancy talk scare you away, though, because this dessert from Cooking Light is actually incredibly easy to make. I do declare that ice cream is more difficult.

What you’ll need

  • 4 1/2 cups chopped ripe plums (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 1/4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of crème fraîche

Before we begin on how to make this delectable dessert, I have a note for you about purchasing crème fraîche. It’s one of those items that can be a 50/50 chance of whether or not it’s carried in major chain grocery stores. You know who does have it though? Trader Joe’s. I suggest you buy it there, but I would not suggest buying plums there.

Now that we’ve got that covered, the first step is to combine the plums and sugar in a bowl. Let the plums saturate themselves in the sweet nectar of sugar for about an hour.

Once saturated, place the mixture in a blender of your choice and process until smooth.

Cooking Light suggests you then press the mixture into a sieve, most likely to weed out the seeds. I bypassed this. I liked the slight crunchy texture, but feel free to go through this process.

The next step is to add the crème fraîche into the mix by whisking it in.

Here’s another detour that I took, but will mention. If you have an ice cream maker of some sort, you would place the mixture into the freezer can and follow that maker’s instructions.

I do not own an ice cream maker, so I just mixed up the mixture as well as I could and skipped to the final step which is placing the sorbet in a freezer safe container and freezing for an hour.

The ice cream maker would most likely make the sorbet smoother and creamier, but it’ll turn out fine without it. At least mine did.

Whatever the texture you ended up with, the taste should be the same which will be this tangy tart flavor that will make you murmur ms with every bite.


Plum Sorbet 

Cheesy and Nutty Cherry Pie without the Crust

Today’s recipe got me thinking. Remember the song Cherry Pie from 1990?

The other day I was talking to a co-worker and he was telling me about some hangout that 80’s glam rockers would go to in LA to get pie. Actual pie.

Me, being my immature self, cocked an eyebrow and said, “Yeah, I bet they went there to get “pie”. I bet they got a lot of “pie” there.”

The combination of that conversation and this cherry pie like dessert made me wonder if the band Warrant was inspired by this pie eatery.

Wikipedia informed me this wasn’t the case and I learned some other sad and interesting facts about the band Warrant, the cherry pie girl, and the lead singer who sadly passed away a few years ago to alcohol poisoning.

One fact, I found quite inspiring.  The cherry pie girl in the video used coke to slim down for most of her modeling shoots. Now this girl is not rail thin. She has the body that I’d like to have and lately I’ve been feeling bloated, fat, and envious of girls on social media who post photos of their skinny and fashionable selves.


Look at that coke body!

It’s comforting to know that all I have to do is develop a coke habit and my fat will just slide off.

That’s sarcasm folks. My real feelings are a mix of concern for the model and an admitted smug satisfaction of, “Ha! I bet some of those skinny girls I envy are coke heads!”

I’m not always a wonderful human being.

In conclusion, I discovered that this song is not about cherry pie at all. Not that I’m surprised. This recipe, however is loosely based on cherry pie and comes from Cooking Light.

What you’ll need

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 15 ounce carton part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon creme de cassis (black currant-flavored liqueur)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons of sliced almonds, toasted

The first step is to combine the rind and ricotta. Set this aside when finished.

Then combine the juice, liqueur, and pepper. You can use a small bowl for this. Now get out a 12 inch skillet that won’t melt in the oven. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of sugar evenly on the skillet. Heat this on medium-high heat for about two minutes or when the sugar starts to melt.

Add the cherries to the pan once the sugar starts to melt and cook for an additional two minutes. Pour the liqueur mixture over the cherries and cook again for two minutes or until the mixture thickens.

The cherries are almost ready to be put in the oven, but we’ve got a few steps left so at this moment you should pre-heat your broiler.

The last steps area as follows. Get a double boiler. If you don’t have one, I don’t, you can make your own by getting a small pan, adding a bit of water in the pan and then placing a bowl of some sort that won’t sink into the pan. Meaning, it’s not so small that it would fit entirely in the pan, but not so big that you can’t have it rest on top.

Whether you have one or not, place the remaining sugar, salt, and egg whites in the bowl or the top of the boiler. Cook this for about two minutes once the water in the pan has simmered.

While it cooks, stir continuously with a whisk. Once cooked, remove and then beat until it stiffens. If you have a mixer this process will be easier. Otherwise you’re just going to have to beat away with a fork for what feels like an eternity.

Add one-fourth of this egg mixture into the ricotta mixture until it has blended well. Keep doing this until all the of the egg whites have been used up.

Finally, evenly spoon in the remaining mixture over the cherries and broil in the oven for three minutes. If in those three minutes, it should be ready for consumption. After you sprinkle it with the almonds that is!

I enjoyed this desert. It’s just enough of a stray from a classic cherry pie to keep things interesting but not in disappointment. The ricotta was a bit much for me, at times. If I made it again, I’d probably add less of it. Then again, a beater, most likely would have given me a different result concerning the egg whites which could have altered the taste of the ricotta.

All in all, I recommend  trying this recipe out. Especially if you enjoy 80’s glam rock and cherry pie at diners.

Grilled Shrimp on a Stick with Mango and Avocado

This delightful recipe is brought to you by Cooking Light and probably the grill company Weber. I’m basing this on the fact there’s an ad for it right next to the recipe. I do recommend having a grill if you want to make this, but it can be done without.

I have proof. There are pictures. They are at the end. You have to read to the end. If you ignore me and scroll down a demon troll will steal your breath while you sleep.


The real cause of sleep apnea!

What you’ll need.

  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of finely grated carrot
  • 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced serrano chile
  • 36 large shrimp (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 ripe unpeeled avocados, halved
  • 2 peeled mangoes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 12 lime wedges
  • 6 large Bibb lettuce leaves
  • Cilantro (optional)

The fist step is making your marinating sauce. To do so, combine the first five ingredients in a bowl. Take out about 3/4 a cup of this mixture for a later use and add the carrot and chili into the remaining mixture.

Now we will prepare our shrimp. You can buy unpeeled shrimp or you can be lazy and get pre-cooked and peeled shrimp. I was lazy and got frozen peeled shrimp from Trader Joes and I regret nothing!

If you get unpeeled shrimp, after you peel you’ll want to butterfly the shrimp by cutting the backside of the shrimp so that it will flare out when cooked. Be careful when cutting. The goal isn’t to cut all the way through, but to let it air out so to speak. It’s like when you cook something in a pot and maybe you have the lid on, but you prop it up a little so it doesn’t overcook.

That’s the best way I can describe it in cooking terms.

The other term would be it’s like when you are a troll and are trying to steal little Drew Barrymore’s breath while she sleeps.  You don’t want to steal all of her breath, because than you’ll run out of oxygen supply. Just take a little and try to avoid that cat. He’s got his eye on you afterall.

Once these steps are complete, you’ll marinate the shrimp in the 3/4 cup juice mix for an hour in the fridge.

When the hour is up, remove the shrimp from the sauce but don’t throw the sauce out! That sauce is not ready to quit you just yet.

Prepare the grill for medium-high heat while you cook the sauce that won’t quit in a pan. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for five minutes.

You should now be ready to grill your shrimp! Do so by placing as many as you like on your skewers. The cookbook said three for a 12inch if you need rules, but I chose to ignore that.

Grill the shrimp for 2 1/2 minutes on each side. While they grill, bast frequently with the sauce that won’t quit, which will finally make it quit by the way.

You are now ready to grill the avocado and mango. The first step in doing so is to cut 3 avocado halves in half. Take one half for grilling and for the other, dice into cubes.

Before you know it, the sauce that won’t quit rises from the ashes and begs you to brush it all over your avocado and mango wedges. Comply and than grill with limes wedges for 2 minutes on each side.

We are now almost to the end! The end consists of placing one lettuce leaf on each serving plate. On top of the lettuce, place two mango slices, 2 lime wedges, one avocado wedge, and two skewers. Garnish with the diced avocado and cilantro.

The final step is to serve with the carrot sauce from the beginning and enjoy!

I was pleased with this recipe. I would make it again if I owned a grill. It’s too messy, hot, and frustrating to try to do in an oven.

The sauce is a refreshing crisp and citrus flavor. The avocado and mangoes are delicious and pair well with the shrimp.

I could just eat the diced avocado on it’s own though.

I recommend trying this in the summertime with a nice glass of white wine or if you are classy like I am, a lemon shandy. What is grilling without some kind of beer beverage anyway?





Gin and Dragons

This next “recipe” comes from Cooking Light and this particular issue is a summertime edition. Amidst all these summertime recipes of barbecue side dishes and fruit, they naturally had to have a cocktail in there.

I mean alcoholics deserve a drink for every season right?  For Christmas, its eggnogg, for New Years Eve, Champagne, for Halloween, some weird blood-red jungle juice, and for summer, you get what I’ve coined Dragon juice.

Dragon juice is my name for it, but the proper name is Lemon Verbena Gimlet Cocktail. What you’ll need to make this cocktail is 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of torn verbena leaves, 3/4 cup of gin, 3/4 cup of club soda, 1/4 cup of fresh lime juice and optional garnishes of verbena leaves and lime slices.

The hardest part of this recipe is finding verbena leaves. I went to Von’s, Trader Joe’s, and Lassen’s. No one had it. So what I ended up doing was going to a garden store and buying a Verbena plant. I was dedicated to make this right, ladies and gentleman.

Besides, it’s not an expensive plant and you can also use it to make tea, so I’m hoping it will be a good investment provided I don’t murder the poor thing on accident.

The first step to actually making this cocktail, though, is to heat up the water, sugar, and leaves in a saucepan. Once it’s up to a boil, you count for thirty seconds and then remove it from the stove. Allow it to completely cool before you add it to your cocktail as well.

Once it’s cooled, you can sieve out the leaves. If you have a martini shaker, this isn’t necessary since most shakers have a built in strainer. I have one so I didn’t bother taking the leaves out and my drink turned out fine.

Either way you will add the sugar mixture, gin, soda, and lime juice in some kind of a mixer. Mix, obviously, and then serve.

If you do have a martini shaker, be careful, because the carbonation can cause the lid to pop off like a champagne bottle. I didn’t pay attention in Physics class and I almost had a frightening experience while making this. So, that being said, don’t shake the mixture, just stir it up in the shaker and then strain.

The final result is refreshing. I’m not a fan of gin, myself, but I still liked this cocktail. The verbena leaves give it a slight lemon taste and when you pair that with the lime juice and the soda, you almost feel like you’re drinking a spiked Sprite.

I’m sure now you are wondering. “Ok….what does this have to do with Dragons?”

It doesn’t at all. I just took a picture of it next to a Dragon. If you really want me to place a meaning, I suppose one could say lime and lemon skins are scaly like a dragon. That’s a big stretch though. Let’s just say Dragons really like gin.  I mean, whose to say Dragons don’t like gin? It’s possible friends. Use your imagination, it’s fun. Logic is for losers.


The proper way to serve your gin gimlet


The Dragon way to serve

Blueberry Shortcake with Ginger

This scrumptious dessert comes from Cooking Light. I have a confession to make. I almost spelled dessert, desert. I can’t think of any desert being scrumptious, unless it was a desert made of sugar. That could be good.

I’m glad I caught that, though. My grammar is abysmal at times, I know. I need an editor because grammar frustrates me. I also can’t stand grammar snobs. Proper use of grammar doesn’t always denote level intelligence, but grammar snobs swear to it as a ruler of intelligence. I should note this isn’t true about every grammar snob, some of them just worked hard on their grammar and go nuts when people like me throw it out the window. I get those grammar snobs.

So this dessert is made with sugar and ginger, which is a lovely combination. It’s also made with 4 cups of blueberries, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, 9 ounces of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 6 tablespoons of chilled butter, 3 tablespoons of minced crystallized ginger, 3/4 cup of 2% milk, 1 large egg white, 1 tablespoon of water, 1 tablespoon of turbinado or granulated sugar, 1/3 cup, 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream, and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar.

The first step is to preheat your oven to 400 degrees and to heat the first three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries pop. Once the berries have popped, set aside.

Then get your best blender out and pour the flour, baking powder, and salt inside. Pulse that three times and then add the butter and ginger. Pulse this until the mixture is nice and coarse. Dump the mix into a bowl and then add milk. Stir until the flour is a dewy dough. Once dewy, place on a floured surface and flatten out into a 7-inch circle. Cut the dough into 8 wedges.

Now place those wedges onto a baking sheet and brush with an egg white mixture. The egg white mixture is just an egg white and 1 tablespoon of water. After you brush, you will sprinkle with sugar and then bake for about 20 minutes.

After your shortbread is baked, set it on a wire rack to cool and prepare your cream topping. For the cream, you will mix the cream in a bowl along with powdered sugar until it bubbles a bit.

To serve, you will cut the shortcake in half and place the berries on the bottom half and dress with the cream. The final step is to cover with your other cake half and eat vigorously.

I almost burned my shortcake, so do be sure to check up on your shortbread during the baking portion. Other than that, making this was smooth sailing. It turned out well too. Taste wise it was like a fresh and lighter version of the scones you can buy at major coffee shops. The ginger was an interesting add of taste as well. It was slightly bitter with a hint of sweetness. I haven’t had much experience with crystallized ginger and was pleasantly surprised by the taste.

I’m not a big baker, as some of you might remember reading, but this is something I would make again for the right crowd. I’m not sure what the right crowd would be, but I’m sure I’ll know when I see it.


Open faced shortcake


Shortcake scone of blueberry