Lemon Tahini Dip

After using part of a jar of Tahini making hummus (posted previously), I looked for a way to use the remainder. I experimented with a recipe I found and made this dip to serve as an appetizer before last week’s family chili supper. Any combination of sliced vegetables is a beautiful addition. Delicious!

Lemon Tahini Dip

1/2 cup tahini

1 cup Greek yogurt

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

juice of 2 lemons

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon honey

1/4 cup water

teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients, except olive oil, in a blender or food processor container. Blend or process till smooth. Remove to a bowl and stir olive oil in by hand. Serve with fresh vegetables, crackers, or pita chips. If, after being refrigerated, the dip is too thick , it can be thinned with a bit of water. This is also good as a salad dressing if you add water or lemon juice until desired consistency.

Curried Nuts and Dried Cherries

This is a spicy version of trail mix that will make it hard to go back to your old mix if you like curry!  Toasting the spices along with the nut mix makes your kitchen full of mouth-watering aroma.  Tart dried cherries are suggested ( my husband says he would add more!) – but any dried fruit would be delicious. We always keep dried cranberries in the pantry so I will make some soon with cranberries and chopped dried apricots.  Great party food!

Curried Nuts and Cherries

2 tsp olive oil

½ cup raw cashews

2 ½ tsp curry powder (I used hot curry powder, but use sweet if you prefer)

¾ tsp ground cumin

¾ tsp kosher salt

½ cup dried tart cherries
Heat  olive oil in a large cast iron skillet. Add all nuts, then stir in the curry powder, cumin, and salt. Toast for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Stir in the dried cherries and let the mixture cool. Serve.

Smoked Gouda Bites


Savory often trumps sweet for little bites of something for any gathering. These goodies remind me of cheese and crackers, almost as simple but with a touch of fancy!  My almost 13 year old granddaughter loves smoked Gouda cheese, so I will make these for her at our next family gathering.

Smoked Gouda Bites

1 9 inch purchased refrigerated pie crust

4 slices smoked Gouda cheese

garlic salt, or your favorite seasoned salt

1 24 count miniature muffin pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Set refrigerated pie crust out for at least 15 minutes prior to preparation. Cut each cheese slice into 6 pieces, making 24. On a lightly floured cloth or pastry sheet, unroll crust then roll out very thin from center, leaving a rectangular shape rather than circle. Using a paring knife, cut  into 24 squares. They don’t have to be perfect squares.  Put squares into ungreased muffin pan, gently pushing down but leaving edges sticking up..  Place in  oven for 3 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and put one small cheese piece into each crust.  Return to oven for 8 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown and cheese is melted.

Remove Gouda bites from pan and serve. These are delicious when they are hot, but serve well at room temperature.

Poppy Seed Rolls

 IMG_1781 IMG_1779Crescent roll dough found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket is one of the most versatile ingredients to be found!  Hundreds of uses can be found online and in cookbooks, featuring the dough in everything from savory starters to desserts.  Stuffing the dough with poppy seed paste or filling is only one of the many fillings that result in easy to do, tasty pastries.  These are close to homemade poppy seed kolaches!  We also use chocolate chips, apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and separate the dough triangles into smaller pieces to wrap little sausages for pigs in a blanket!

Poppy Seed Rolls

2 cans (8 oz each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 can poppy seed filling
For Glaze:
1⁄2 cup

confectioners sugar

1 1⁄4 tablespoon milk
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking sheet with silicone liner or lightly butter. Separate dough along perforations into 16 triangles. Spread poppy filling over triangles. Roll up, starting at wide end. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. To make glaze, combine confectioners sugar, milk, and lemon zest in small bowl, and stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over top of rolls while they are warm

Baked Antipasto Ring

IMG_1815There are so many recipes that use crescent roll dough as the ingredient which makes the recipe both quick and delicious. This antipasto ring is simple enough to make for supper on a busy night and just right  for an appetizer for guests. Everyone loves antipasto, and you can stuff this pastry with a variety of antipasto ingredients.

Baked Antipasto Ring

2 cans crescent roll dough (I like to use Immaculate Baking Company’s product

1/2  cup well drained roasted red bell peppers, about 4 pieces

8 slices provolone cheese, halved

1/4 pound sliced peppered salami

1/4 pound prosciutto

1/4 pound sliced deli ham

pickled yellow hot pepper rings

1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped

optional:  sliced black or kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll both cans of dough; separate into 8 rectangles. On ungreased 12-inch pizza pan, arrange rectangles in ring so short sides of rectangles form a circle in center. (Dough will overlap and part of the ends will hang over edge of pan. Dough ring should resemble a sun.)

Spread roasted red bell peppers towards center of ring on bottom halves of rectangles. Top with half of the cheese. Layer salami, ham and prosciutto slices over cheese. Arrange pepper rings over top. Sprinkle with olives if desired. Cover with remaining half of cheese.

Bring each dough rectangle hanging over side of pan up over stacked filling, tucking dough under bottom layer of dough to secure it. Repeat around sandwich until entire filling is enclosed. Sprinkle with black peppe and chopped fresh rosemary. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before slicing.

Crab Puffs


A recipe given to me by a neighbor whose name I sadly can no longer remember stayed with our family long after the neighbor (or we) moved!  This is a treat we often make at Christmas, but it is delicious for brunch or a light lunch anytime of the year. The English muffin halves don’t need to be cut if it is more than an appetizer. It is one of my most often requested treats. I like to keep a Ziploc bag of Crab Puffs in the freezer this time of year to pull out when needed

1 5 ounce jar of Old English cheese spread

1/2 cup soft butter

1 can king crab meat

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

1 teaspoon garlic salt or to taste

2 Tablespoons chopped Parsley

1 Tablespoons lemon juice

6 count package English muffins

If you want to make these more colorful, add 2 Tablespoons chopped pimiento.

Combine ingredients and spread on English muffins. Place on flat surface in freezer for 30 minutes or longer.  When ready to serve, remove from freezer and cut each muffin half into fourths. Bake for 15 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Crab Puffs may be made ahead and stored in Ziploc bags in the freezer.  .

Roasted Cauliflower

005I know I have mentioned it before, but our favorite way to use many vegetables as a side is to roast them.  If you have never tried roasting cauliflower, try this and let me know how you like it.  Even those who say they don’t like cauliflower love this, and it is so easy!  The last few years, we have grown a small winter garden of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, various greens such as kale, chard, collards, and mustard, even brussels sprouts.  We only plant a few, but have been pleasantly surprised how well they grow and love going out to cut them fresh for a meal.  In this photo are both the traditional white and a lovely Cheddar cauliflower.  They are so much prettier before I cook them, so I used a before roasting picture.  Besides, after I take them out of the oven, they disappear so fast I hardly have time to take any pictures!  They are also a delicious addition to salads uncooked.

1 head of cauliflower

3 Tablespoons olive oil, separated 2/1

salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

The recipe is simple:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut a cauliflower head, removing leaves, or “jackets” (these protect the young cauliflowers from getting sunburned while they are growing.)  Separate the flowerets,  rinse, and pat dry before putting them into a bowl.  Toss with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper and spread on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is beginning to brown and is tender when stuck with a fork. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with a 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice mixed with 1 Tablespoon olive oil.

I mix the lemon juice and oil  with a fork in a small cream pitcher and drizzle over the hot cauliflower.  Any leftovers (and there won’t be many) can be stored in the frig and added to a salad.  I confess, I have eaten them right our of the frig for a snack!


Caramel Dipping Sauce with Sliced Apples

012Long before the current craze for the flavor of salted caramel in everything from ice cream to popcorn, caramel apples were a sign of the calendar’s turning to the months of Autumn. Fall festivals and Halloween parties featured apple bobbing and the sticky apple treats.  In our family, we love caramel apples, too, but we have made them like this for over 20 years. When we lived in Indonesia, I sang with a group of expat women known as the American Women’s Association Singers.  We performed at least 2 musicals to benefit Indonesian charities each year, and another fund-raising project was the publication of a spiral bound cookbook titled Sing a Rainbow of Recipes.  The recipe for Caramel Dip was submitted by my friend Loretta Slusher and I share with you exactly as she wrote it. She called it Joan Benson’s Caramel Dip, so I gather that she got the recipe from someone else!

Caramel Dipping Sauce with Sliced Apples

2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup white Karo syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

pinch of salt

slices of fresh apples (a mixture of Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples is both pretty and tasty – we like crisp, tart apples)

Combine all ingredients, except apples, in saucepan.  Simmer, bringing to a boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring continually.  Serve, keeping warm, with slices of fresh apple for dipping.

Caution:  the caramel is very very hot so allow to cool slightly before dunking your apple slices.  I know, it is hard to wait but the taste is heavenly so you don’t want to burn your tongue!


Skye made this for her after school snack!