Entries Tagged as 'dips'

This week, it’s Peter’s turn to be stalked by me. LOL Cheese Stuffed Keftedes

Yeah, so earlier in the week I had posted about staring at Peter’s (of Kalofagas) delicious Eggs Benedict recipe…Staring at Peter’s recipes is nothing new for me.  His site is a daily read.  He has a wonderful sense of humor, and is a phenomenal cook.  You should SEE some of the delicious things he cooks up!  He is of Greek descent, and, luckily for us, he shares his mouthwatering recipes, and the fun stories of Greece and his heritage that go along with them.  Not too long ago he had posted his recipe for Cheese Stuffed Keftedes (couldn’t you just *die* at how good those sound?)…well, I knew I had to put those on the menu.  I mean, Come ON!  Keftedes?  Stuffed with Cheese?  I may have fainted into my keyboard.  Actually, I’m pretty sure I did, because I had these weird square bruises on my forehead. ;) This week, I could wait no more.  Monday I bought the ingredients to make his hellaciously good recipe. 

cheese stuffed keftides

I’m not going to post Peter’s recipe, because I actually followed it pretty much to the letter…I had to substitute Gouda cheese (see it trying to escape there? lol) for the Greek cheese, though, since I can’t get the types he recommended for the recipe.

To go along with these delicious morsels of Greek joy, I decided to make a fresh tzatziki (pictured here) and hummus (pictured below).


Tzatziki Ingredients:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt, strained overnight
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded, diced
1 smaller bunch of mint, minced (about 1/4 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Drain any excess liquid thay may have formed before serving.

The hummus was an excellent dip for both the keftedes and the pitas.  I tell you, this is perfect summer food, you guys. The next time you plan on grilling plain old burgers? Forget that idea, and make these instead! Seriously, they are amazing. :D


Hummus Ingredients: 

1 jar garbanzo beans (14 oz, 800 grams), mostly drained
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste


Using a food processor, mince garlic first, then add garbanzos and process until semi-smooth.
Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and continue to process until creamy.
*If mixture still seems a bit thick, add a tablespoon or two of water to help it along.

Las Recetas en Español:

Keftedes de Peter (traducido directamente de su página web), Ingredientes:

1 kilo carne molida
2 cebollas, ralladas
4 rebanadas de pan, humedecidas con agua y desmenuzadas
1 cucharadita de ajo en polvo, o ajo fresco majado
2 huevos
1 cucharadita orégano
1 cucharadita perejil picado
1 pizca de comino
sal y pimienta al gusto
queso en lonchas para rellenar (Vlahotyri o Kasseri) (yo utilizé Gouda)


Mezclar todos los ingredientes en un bol (mejor con las manos).
Formar hamburguesas finas, y reservar en un plato.
Tapar con film transparente y meter en la nevera durante al menos 4 horas.
Antes de asar, dejar que los keftedes vuelvan a temperatura ambiente. Cojer una loncha de queso y
ponerla en el centro de una hamburguesa. Ahora, tapar con otra hamburguesa y presionar por los lados a cerrarla bien.
Procurar cerrar los keftedes muy bien por los lados para evitar que se escape el queso cuando los ases.
Asar a fuego medio unos 5 minutos cada lado.
Servir con mostaza, mayonesa, Boukovo (chilis picantes molidos), ensalada y pan.

Tzatziki, Ingredientes:

2 vasos (de Nocilla) yogur Griego, escurrido durante una noche
1 pepino grande, pelado y con las semillas retiradas, en daditos
1 manojo pequeño de hierba huerto, picadito
2-3 dientes de ajo, majado
sal y pimienta al gusto


Mezclar todos los ingredientes.
Tapar y dejar en la nevera varias horas o una noche.
Si se haya suelto algo de líquido, escurrirla antes de servir.

Homus, Ingredientes:

1 bote de garbanzos (800 gramos), escurridos
2-3 dientes de ajo
2 cucharadas tahini (crema de sésamo)
zumo de 1 limón
2 cucharadas aceite de oliva virgen
sal al gusto


Poner todo en el robot de cocina y procesar hasta que esté cremoso.
Si te parece un poco espeso, añadir unas cucharadas de agua para ayudarlo.




Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit! Homemade Refried Beans and a Tex-Mex Dip

You’re totally singing that song now, aren’t you?  I have been singing it ever since I put the pinto beans to soak and my curious son asked, “What are THOSE things, mom?”  “Pinto beans,” I said.  To which my son replied, “OH!  Beans!  Beans! The magical fruit!  The more you eat, the more you toot!”  All the while dancing around the room to this fun tune.  Nice.  The kid had to take after me his dad. lmao  Actually, I like to make the beans from scratch, because there is this little trick I do to aid in the digestion of these delicious little bites to avoid said tooting.  So far, this has turned out to be a pretty appetizing post, hasn’t it?  LMAO  Nothing whets the appetite like a good tooting conversation. 

refried beans 

Refried beans.  So good, and so good for you!  While they are not actually “refried,” (that’s a mistranslation for “refrito,” which actually refers to what you have sauteed, be it garlic and onions, a tomato mixture, whatever…) they’re just fried once.  Of course you *could* reheat them in a pan rather than the microwave, and then they’d be “refried.” lol  But anyway, I’m not posting to discuss semantics today…I’m posting because I want to share my recipe for these delicious beans!  And afterwards the yummy layered dip I made with them.


2 pounds (1 kilo) dried pinto beans, washed, sorted and soaked overnight
2 tablespoons brown sugar (secret anti-toot ingredient!)
1/2 pound (200 grams) bacon, cut into bite sized bits (use a kitchen shears to save time)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons chili powder


Drain beans of soaking liquid, and generously cover with water in a stock pot.
Add brown sugar (this is important to help aid the digestion of the beans and reduce flatulence normally associated with them).
Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook about 1 hour or so, depending on the size and age of your beans–they’re done when the skin begins to break open.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Saute bacon in a pretty large pan until crispy.
Remove bacon to a paper towel and reserve, leaving drippings in the pan.
Saute garlic first, just until golden, then add onions and continue to saute until translucent.
Drain beans well, and add to the pan.
Season with salt, pepper and chili powder…maybe a little oregano if you really want to go wild.
Stir well, mashing a bit with either a potato masher or large fork.
Keep stirring and mashing for about 10-15 minutes, until thoroughly combined.
Adjust seasoning.

Remember that bacon you set aside? Now it’s time to use it. :) Let’s make a Tex-Mex Baked Dip with our beans and bacon:

tex-mex dip


2 cups refried beans
1 cup guacamole
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 pound (200 grams) bacon, fried to crispy
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
2 chili peppers, sliced
(you can also add tomato pieces, black olives, whatever floats your boat)


Preheat oven to 425ºF/200ºC.
Spread beans in a 9×9 square baking dish.
Top with guacamole, then sour cream (or Quark or yogurt).
Sprinkle cheese over the top, then sprinkle bacon, onions, and chilies (and whatever other ingredients you’re adding).
Bake about 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Serve with corn chips.

tex mex dip

It’s Time to do the Mash! The Monster Mash! Halloween Party Recipes and Ideas

Only 20 more days til Halloween! BOO! If you’re like me, you’ll have already started planning what to wear and which spooky treats you’ll be serving your guests. Is it too early to carve the pumpkins? LOL This year I’m also planning to make glowing greentinis (kiwitinis? lol that’s fun to say) and freeze plastic bugs into ice cubes…mwa-ha-haaaa! Here are a couple of my tried and trues to help get your party planning started. I’d love to hear what you’ve all got planned too! :)

Ghosts in the Graveyard

ghosts graveyard


1 pan brownies
cookies, tinted coconut and chocolate for decoration.


Arrange cookies and coconut “grass” to make a cemetary.

Bloody Brain

bloody brain


2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 small packet ranch dressing mix
your favorite salsa
crackers for dipping


Mix cream cheese and ranch dressing mix thoroughly.
Form an oval “brain” shape on a plate.
Using a chopstick, drawn brain on cream cheese.
Drizzle salsa over “brain” and serve with crackers for dipping.

Monster Fingers and Toes

monster digits


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg (size small)
1 teaspoon vanilla
green food coloring (plus a little blue, to make a darker green)
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw almonds (skin off)


Cream butter, sugar, egg, vanilla and food coloring.
Add dry ingredients and beat until combined.
Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes, wrapped in film.
Heat oven to 325º F (150º C).
Divide dough in half and reserve other half in refrigerator.
Line baking sheets with parchment (I like to use 2, baking one, and forming the other simultaneously).
Roll pieces of dough with your hands into thin fingers–be sure to make them quite thin, as the dough tends to spread quite a bit.
Press an almond onto the end of each finger.
Using a butter knife, make indentations for knuckles (I also squeeze the dough a bit where the knuckle is, to make it bigger).
To make toes, roll small balls of dough, and then roll one side to make the length of the toe, leaving the part for the “nail” a little bigger. Press almonds onto the “toes.”
Bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until done, but not browned.
Cool on wire racks for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a serving plate.

Ok, and here’s a reeeeeeeeally old pic of the fingers and toes done just a bit differently, same recipe, without the food coloring, and with “painted” nails (I used those tubes of gel frosting for writing on cakes and spread it on with a small paintbrush).

monster digits

Spooky Eyeballs

spooky eyeballs


16 radishes (or an even number according to guests)
16 pimento stuffed olives (or an even number according to guests)


Wash radishes well in cold water.
Using a paring knife, peel some of the skin away from the radish, leaving some as decoration.
Hollow out the center of the radish, taking care not to cut all the way through.
Fill each hollowed radish with an olive.
These can also be frozen and used as ice cubes for martini’s or bloody mary’s.

Pumpkin patch

pumpkin patch

This is a simple little appetizer perfect for a Halloween party…My friend Molli posted it on another site, and I’ve adjusted it a little with the ingredients available to me.


8 ounces orange cheese (I used aged cheddar last year, but it was pretty crumbly, so I’d recommend a softer cheese)
10 pretzel sticks (about)
parsley leaves for decoration


Form cheese into “pumpkin” shapes and arrange on a plate.
Just before serving, insert pretzel stick pieces into the pumpkins for stems, and garnish with parsley leaves.

I just found an old pic of the kiwitinis, so I’m going to throw that on here too:



1 part vodka
1 part apple liquer
1 part Rives kiwi flavoring
2 parts sparkling water


Fill martini shaker with ice.
Add all ingredients and shake it baby.
Pour into glasses.Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours, or as long as 24 hours.
Serve chilled, or at room temperature.

Artichokes are in Season! What the heck do I do with them, though?

If you’re like me, and did not grow up in an area where fresh artichokes are plentiful, you may have felt a little intimidated by them. Maybe you’ve seen them in the store, but not had the slightest idea how to prepare them.  If you’re like me, I mean.  LOL  Well, now I am fortunate enough to live here, where artichokes are at the peak of their freshness, so I asked my local fruit vendor to clue me in.  Here’s what she said to do with them:


First, wash them thoroughly under cold running water.
Then get a pot of water ready, add a bit of salt and the juice from 1 lemon.
Now, using a sharp chef’s knife, cut approximately an inch from the top.

artichokes cutting

The artichoke should look something like this after cutting:

artichokes cut

You’ll need to rub the cut bits with a lemon to prevent them from oxidizing (turning black).
After you’ve lemoned (that’s not a word, is it? haha) them up, use a kitchen shears to remove any thorned edges.

removing thorns

Place the artichokes in the prepared pot of lemon and salt water.
Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to medium low and cook for about 20 minutes (depending on the size…for larger artichokes, cook longer and vice versa).
While the artichokes are cooking, prepare the lemon butter dipping sauce.

cooked artichokes

dipping the artichoke leaf


3 tablespoons butter, melted
juice from 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons minced parsley
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste


Whisk all together and use to dip artichoke leaves.
To eat the leaves, tear each one off, dip in sauce, and then bite down on the leaf, pulling the leaf through your teeth, to remove the softer flesh.
Discard the tough outer skin of the artichoke after removing the tender part.

I served the artichokes with a simple pan seared pork chop (just seasoned with salt, cracked black pepper and a hint of garlic, then garnished with chopped parsley) and a baked potato.  Deliciously springy. :)

pan seared chop

Lebanese Lunch Today

Here in Las Palmas, we have this great little Lebanese restaurant, called “Monte Líbano” that Alvaro and I just love to go to…One of our favorite things to order is the shawarma, which I’ve tried to recreate here…..but I think it still needs some work.  The restaurant’s version is sweeter…I don’t know if it’s the amount of onions, or if it’s something else that is added, but consider this one a work in progress.  The pics turned out purty though, so I’ll post anyway. lol  (update: Alvaro said it was great the way it was…I still say that it needs more onion and less lemon ;) I have since made this a few more times…adding a bit of allspice and cinnamon gives it the sweetness I was looking for.) The hummus and lebne are regular features at our house…any sort of Middle Eastern cuisine is generally welcome at our table.  So here you have it; Chicken Shawarma, Hummus and Mixed Lebne. The hummus is both vegetarian and vegan, the lebne is vegetarian. (**warning: photo overload post***)

The Chicken Shawarma:

chicken shawarma


1 pound (400 grams) chicken, sliced into very thin strips
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 small lemon (about1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon curry powder
3 tablespoons minced red onion
salt and pepper to taste
sumac to taste
allspice to taste
cinnamon to taste
Shredded lettuce, minced red onion and diced tomato (for salad bed for chicken)
flatbread of choice for wrapping (in this instance I just used flour tortillas, but naan or pitas work great too–for Gluten Free, either omit the flatbread, or choose a Gluten free substitute)
***Note…for gluten free, be sure that your spices are certified as gluten free…many spice companies add wheat based fillers to their spices.


Whisk together garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, curry, onion, and seasonings in a bowl.
Add chicken and toss to coat with marinade.
Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
If you want, add some oil for sauteeing,  but it’s not really necessary if your pan is nonstick.
Sautee quickly, tossing and stirring until nicely browned and cooked through.
Serve over a bed of shredded lettuce, red onion and diced tomato, or rolled up in flatbread with hummus and the aforementioned salad ingredients.


The Hummus (Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Vegan):



1 jar garbanzo beans (16 oz, 800 grams), mostly drained
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste


Using a food processor, mince garlic first, then add garbanzos and process until semi-smooth.
Add tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and continue to process until creamy.
*If mixture still seems a bit thick, add a tablespoon or two of water to help it along.

The Mixed Lebne (Gluten Free, Vegetarian):



10 oz (225 grams) plain yogurt (this time I used fat free, and it worked just fine), drained overnight, over a sieve lined with paper towels or a tea towl placed atop a bowl to collect the liquid.
1/3 cup finely chopped cucumber, also drained well
5-10 mint leaves, minced
garlic powder to taste
salt and cracked black pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.


Mmmmmm….delicious, velvety guacamole.  What could be better?  Not much, I tell ya.  This version is tomato free, because in my family, someone might have an attack of some sort if a tomato were to be discovered in their food.  They don’t know what they’re missing.  Feel free to add them to your own…I sure would. :)



3 very ripe avocadoes
1/2 small red onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
juice of 1-2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
(you can also add chopped tomatoes)


Mash avocadoes with a fork.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
Try to make the guacamole right before serving, but if that’s not possible, be sure to put the avocado pits in the guacamole and cover tightly with plastic wrap (actually touching the guacamole-removing all air bubbles). Contact with air causes the avocadoes to blacken, and this will help prevent that from happening.


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