Category Archives: Recipes

Three Mediterranean food recipes from Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

Lamb chops from Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

Lamb chops from Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka

Looking for another way to celebrate National Mediterranean Diet Month? How about cooking your own Mediterranean food? Los Gatos restaurant Dio Deka has graciously shared 3 recipes. If you missed my article on Dio Deka and a few other Mediterranean Bay Area dining spots, including ones in Santa Cruz, Carmel, and San Francisco, you can read it here. That article features a photo of Dio Deka’s Greek spreads including tzatziki, which you can make with the easy recipe below.

Unfamiliar with Dio Deka? It was awarded its first Michelin star in 2010, one year after Jeff Fitzgerald became chef de cuisine. The chef greatly enjoys creating dishes that blend fresh ingredients with Greek flavors. “California and Greece have very similar climates, so it’s easy to work with our amazing local farmers and purveyors to create our interpretation of Greek cuisine,” Chef Jeff says of marrying the two cultures. “It’s all about respecting the traditions of Greece while at the same time using the most seasonal ingredients from close to home.” And now you can create a few Dio Deka selections at your own home! If you want to visit the restaurant itself, it’s at 210 E. Main Street in Los Gatos, (408) 354-7700.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.




Dio Deka Lamb Chops


¼ cup minced shallot

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp garlic powder

¼ cup salt

2 Tbsp black pepper

3 Tbsp chopped rosemary

3 Tbsp chopped thyme

2-3 racks of lamb chops


  1. Combine first eight ingredients in a bowl
  2. Add lamb chops and let sit for 24 hours in the refrigerator
  3. Grill until they reach desired doneness – for medium, cook to an internal temperature of 135˚F


Dio Deka Tzatziki


2 quarts of drained Greek yogurt

1 bunch of chopped dill

3 tbsp of minced garlic
3 tbsp of lemon juice

3 tbsp of red wine vinegar

2 cups of finely diced cucumber

1 tbsp of ground black pepper

Salt to taste



  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a rubber spatula
  2. Enjoy!


Dio Deka Tirosalata Dip



1 jalapeno – use half raw and half grilled (seeds and all)

4 cups of feta cheese

1 Tbsp of distilled white vinegar

3 Tbsp of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 Tbsp of Greek yogurt



  1. Add jalapeno and cheese into a food processor and blend until smooth and incorporated
  2. Slowly add in EVOO, incorporate yogurt and vinegar until smooth
  3. Serves best when chilled slightly


Fun pairing: Serve with lamb sweetbreads

Santa Cruz & San Jose restaurants for Thanksgiving 2012, Part 2

Salmon entree at Lark Creek Blue in San Jose



Here are several Santa Cruz and San Jose restaurants – including Santana Row’s Lark Creek Blue – open on Thanksgiving, so you can make your reservations for dining out on Thursday, Nov. 22 if you aren’t in the cooking mood.


For a few other choices, see:

Santa Cruz Restaurants for Thanksgiving

Aquarius, open from 12:30 – 8:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, is offering a $45 prix fixe three-course menu for adults, and a special kids’ meal for $15. A local jazz trio will perform from 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. Appetizer choices include Pumpkin Panzanella with roasted pumpkin, apple, arugula, brioche, pepitas, and apple cider vinaigrette and Vanilla Poached Gulf Prawns with baby fennel, mushrooms, pancetta, and truffle cream. Entrée choices include Traditional Turkey Plate with chestnut and sage stuffing, potato puree, baby vegetables, rosemary gravy, and cranberry sauce, and Sweet Potato Gnocchi with lacinato kale, brown butter, mushrooms, and pecorino cheese. Desserts include Pumpkin Pie with cinnamon whipped cream and Maple Spice Cake with sweet mascarpone, pomegranate seeds, and orange-ginger syrup.

175 West Cliff (at the Santa Cruz Dream Inn), Santa Cruz, (831) 460-5012

Ideal Bar & Grill has a few options including Traditional Turkey Dinner ($18.95 captain’s portion, $14.95 adults, $9 kids): herb-roasted sliced turkey served with homemade gravy, maple-roasted yams, green beans and carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, and orange-cranberry sauce. Another selection is Herb Crusted Prime Rib ($22.95 petite cut, $25.95 full cut) served with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, and horseradish cream sauce.

106 Beach Street (at the Santa Cruz Wharf), (831) 423-5271

Café Gratitude is serving a free Thanksgiving feast with raw, vegan selections. The meal will be served from 12 – 3 p.m. and include a beverage, entrée, and dessert.

103 Lincoln Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 427-9583

Sanderlings has an all-day buffet; the price is $42.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids 2-12, and free for kids under 2. The buffet is open from 1:30 – 7:30 p.m. Selections include Spinach Salad with Crumbled Bleu Cheese, Glazed Pear, Caramelized Walnut, and Cranberry-Walnut Oil Dressing, Roasted Beets and Arugula Salad with Feta Cheese and Pomegranate Dressing, Cheddar -Corn Muffins with Jalapeno-Honey Butter, Domestic and Imported Cheese and Dried Fruit, Sweet Corn and Bacon Chowder with Sautéed Minced Onions, Sage Butter Roasted Turkey Breast with Apple-Sourdough Stuffing, Sorrel Seared Salmon with Large Pearl Couscous, Spinach and Cioppino Sauce, and Rosemary Roasted Prime Rib of Beef with Creamed Horseradish and Au Jus. The kids’ buffet includes turkey fingers and macaroni and cheese.

One Seascape Resort Drive (at Seascape Beach Resort), Aptos, (831) 662-7120

Michael’s on Main has dinner seatings at 3, 5, and 7 p.m. The restaurant is serving a 3-course prix fixe meal for adults ($28) and a special meal for kids 12 and under ($12). The adult dinner features choice of soup or salad, entrée choice (selections include oven-roasted turkey with sides such as garlic mashed potatoes and green beans with caramelized shallots, or Osso Bucco, or pistachio-crusted salmon), and choice of dessert (options include pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry orange bread pudding).

2591 Main Street, Soquel, (831) 479-9777

San Jose Restaurants

Lark Creek Blue on Santana Row opened on August 1, 2012 (it replaced Lark Creek Restaurant Group’s Yankee Pier which closed on July 15). For Thanksgiving, the restaurant has a special “Maine Lobster for the price of Turkey” promotion. Customers receive a 3-course prix fixe dinner, with either traditional Thanksgiving turkey plus “farmers market sides” or a pound-and-a-quarter live Maine lobster with “traditional accompaniments.” The price is $45 for adults, $22.50 for kids 10 and under (it’s half the size of the adult portion), and free for kids under 3. Lark Creek Blue will also be offering dishes from its regular menu including steak and seafood.

378 Santana Row, Suite 1100, San Jose, (408) 244-1244

The Fairmont San Jose is serving a special Champagne Harvest Buffet; seatings are from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (every half-hour). The cost is $58 per adult and $29 per child 5-12, plus tax and 22% gratuity. Kids under 5 are free, and there will be a special kids’ buffet and entertainment. Buffet highlights: a selection of salads such as Artichoke, Oyster Mushroom and Fingerling Potato Salad with Shallot-Mustard Vinaigrette and Caesar Salad with Garlic Focaccia Croutons, hot options such as Sage Basted Roast Tom Turkey, Herb Roasted Sea Bass with Saffron Israeli Couscous, Lemon Butter Sauce, Smoked Bacon and Chicken Apple Sausage, a waffle station, an omelet station that switches to a pasta and mushroom station at 2 p.m., a carving station with prime rib and honey baked ham, and desserts including chocolate dipped strawberries and pumpkin pie. For full menu, see

170 South Market St, San Jose, (408) 998-3960



Gluten-free cornbread Thanksgiving recipe plus gluten-free Thanksgiving pie available in Santa Cruz

Gluten-free Maple Corn Skillet Bread from Melinda’s Gluten Free

Melinda Harrower, chef/owner of Santa Cruz company Melinda’s Gluten Free, has a great Thanksgiving recipe for Gluten-free Maple Corn Skillet Bread (see below). She says, “My philosophy of eating gluten free is to keep it simple when mixing flours, so I thought I would share my recipe for gluten free maple cornbread. It is a skillet bread that bakes up beautifully and has a little sweetness with a little saltiness.” The recipe is also adaptable for cornbread stuffing. Good news: Harrower is accepting orders for her Thanksgiving gluten-free pies.

An avid baker who is gluten-free herself, Harrower has products at several local businesses. For example, her buns are at Betty Burgers and Aptos Burger Co., her pancakes, bread and buns are at Johnny’s Harborside, and her bar cookies are at Verve.

PIES: Pumpkin and pecan are available; 9-inch is $18 and 6.75-inch is $15.  The deadline to place an order is 5 p.m. Mon. Nov. 19: call (831) 239-9098, email, or contact Harrower using the web site form at Pies are available for pick up at Fresh Prep Kitchens (1601 41st Ave) on Tues. and Wed. Nov. 20 and Nov. 21.

Gluten Free Maple Corn Skillet Bread Recipe


1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/3 cup white rice flour

2/3 cup ground corn meal (I prefer a medium grind)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup melted sweet cream butter

2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place an 8-inch skillet into the oven for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, syrup and butter. Add liquids into the flour bowl, mixing until just incorporated. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and place mixture in the warm pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until the center is done. Test with a toothpick, and when it comes out clean it is done.

(If you don’t have a skillet, place into a 9×13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes).

Cool and enjoy!

* Sorghum flour is a light, slightly sweet gluten-free flour that I love to use – note from Melinda

Recipe Courtesy of Melinda Harrower  

Cranberry chutney Thanksgiving recipe and ready-to-go meals in Santa Cruz


One example of Lifestyle’s beautiful, delicious food: wine-soaked pears prepared for a holiday party

Lifestyle Culinary Arts chef/owner Andrea Mollenauer has graciously shared her recipe for Signature Cranberry Chutney (see below). She’s also taking orders for Thanksgiving dinner or Thanksgiving sides. Mollenauer, a graduate of Cabrillo College’s Culinary Arts program, is a fabulous chef and caterer. Deadline to place order is 8pm Friday, Nov. 16. Email or call (831) 588-4515 to get full menu or place order. Pick-up is Wed. Nov. 21 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. or Thurs. Nov. 22 8:30-10 a.m. at Lifestyle’s kitchen at 504A Front Street.

Lifestyle’s Thanksgiving menu highlights:

  • stuffed boneless turkey breast, white meat ($15.95, serves 2-3)
  • whole cider brined seasoned turkey — ready to roast, stuffed with apples, onions, citrus, herbs (all-natural, cage-free, 16-18 pounds, $52, serves 15-20)
  • signature cranberry chutney (tart and sweet, $5.95/pint)
  • stuffing (chicken apple sausage w/pecans & green apple $10.95, apple, sage & dried cranberry $9.95; each serves 4-6)
  • maple roasted brussel sprouts w/pancetta ($11.95, serves 4-6)
  • Companion Bakery bread loaves & Kelly’s Bakery rolls

Recipe for Lifestyle’s Signature Cranberry Chutney


3 stalks celery

2 apples, peeled

1 white onion

½ cup crystallized (sugared) ginger

1 ½ cups cranberry juice

¼ apple cider vinegar

1 ½ -2 cups sugar

12oz. bag fresh cranberries (more if needed or watery.) Note -sauce thickens as it cools.



-Dice celery, apples and onion finely (1/4 inch dice)

-In large saucepan, sauté 3 ingredients until tender but not mushy (approx. 5 minutes)

-Add minced ginger part way through the sautéing.

-Add juice, vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil.

-Let simmer to thicken juice slightly (approx. 10 minutes)

-Add cranberries and cook until they have popped and incorporated (approx. 10 minutes)

-Taste sauce to adjust sweetness.

-Remove from heat and let set. Refrigerate to help thicken.


Recipe Courtesy of Lifestyle Culinary Arts,