Tag Archives: recipes

Thanksgiving options from organic New Leaf Community Markets

Thanksgiving side dishes available from New Leaf Community Markets

Thanksgiving side dishes available from New Leaf Community Markets

Organic, Santa Cruz-based New Leaf Community Markets is offering lots of options for Thanksgiving Dinner; you need to order by Sunday, Nov. 23 for pick-up on Tuesday, Nov. 25 and Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.

Several store locations are hosting Holiday Solutions Stations to help customers during the holiday season. This is where you can place orders, find recipes and cooking tips, and ask questions about suggested pairings and/or accommodating your guests’ dietary restrictions. The stations also feature occasional holiday treat and drink samples.

Find the station at the front of each store—including downtown Santa Cruz, Westside SC, Half Moon Bay, San Jose, Pleasanton, and Capitola branches—from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on:
Nov. 4 – Nov. 25
and
Dec. 8 – Dec. 30

New Leaf only uses turkey from Sonora-based Diestel Family Turkey Ranch. There are many varieties available which you can buy and bring home to cook yourself: original Diestel turkey; organic “Heidi” turkey; non-GMO natural turkey; and organic heirloom turkey.

Don’t feel like doing all the cooking yourself? New Leaf has holiday packages like “Turkey Dinner” ($139.99, feeds 4-6) with Diestel brown and serve turkey, organic herb bread stuffing, gravy and buttermilk mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and more. There’s also a gluten-free dinner package ($139.99, feeds 4-6) with the same turkey. Accompaniments include wild and brown rice stuffing, citrus beet salad, organic green bean casserole, gluten-free dinner rolls, and gluten-free pumpkin pie. These packages—and selections below—are specific to the Capitola and Santa Cruz (both downtown and Westside) stores. But rest assured, all of New Leaf’s locations are offering a variety of Thanksgiving dishes.

There are a cornucopia of other Thanksgiving selections available–a sampling is listed below:
Side dish packages
($49.99, feeds 4-6) in traditional, gluten-free, and vegan varieties
A la carte:
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes ($5.99/lb.)
Savory Turkey Gravy ($4.99/pint)
Mushroom Gravy ($4.99/pint)
Organic Maple Glazed Yams (vegan and gluten-free, $7.99/lb.)
Cranberry Orange Sauce (vegan and gluten-free, $7.99/lb.)

Read more at the New Leaf web site newleaf.com/holidays.

Contact Info (there are also locations in Half Moon Bay, San Jose, Pleasanton, Felton, and Boulder Creek)

Westside Location: 1101 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 426-1306
Downtown SC Location: 134 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz, (831) 425-1793
Capitola Location: 1210 41st Ave, Capitola, (831) 479-7987

If you decide you’d rather dine out for Thanksgiving, see my recent article on Santa Cruz and Monterey restaurants with Thanksgiving menus.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Learn delicious, non-sugar recipes with Chef Lauren’s classes at New Leaf in Westside Santa Cruz

Nut-crusted chicken and salad with lemon herb vinaigrette from Chef Lauren’s Sugar Solutions class

Nut-crusted chicken and salad with lemon herb vinaigrette from Chef Lauren’s Sugar Solutions class

A fabulous new six-Saturday series started last week with Chef Lauren Hoover-West at New Leaf Community Markets in Westside Santa Cruz, but don’t worry—you can still sign up for one, some, or all of the remaining five sessions, which run through Sat., Oct. 18. Each class includes cooking an entire well-balanced meal, and the ticket cost includes lunch.

“Sugar Solutions: Meal Planning for a Sugar Free Diet” is the name of the class series. I participated in the first session Sept. 14, and was very impressed. Chef Lauren is a wonderful teacher with an engaging personality. She has a wealth of knowledge to share—not just on effective ways to cut back on sugar without sacrificing flavor, but also on a variety of topics including proper knife skills (resulting in less backaches), time-saving meal preparation, which vegetables have less carbs than others, and kitchen equipment recommendations.

Tess Quadres also attended on Saturday. I observed her taking notes and asking questions, and it was obvious she was learning a lot. The next day, I asked her to comment on the course. “I’ve been reading about nutrition for years now; I cook very healthy food, and I wasn’t sure I would learn that much from a low/no sugar cooking class,” she said. “Lauren surprised me with so much new information and great cooking tips. I went away excited to try a bunch of new things I could put into practice immediately, to make my cooking even healthier.” Quadres went grocery shopping right after the class so she could get started while it was all fresh in her mind.

One interesting fact I learned, and want to share with you readers: Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar but has no glycemic index. This index, often shortened to GI, refers to a food’s ability to raise a person’s blood sugar. For cooking, Lauren prefers SweetLeaf liquid stevia, which New Leaf carries.

The menu for the first class was:
• Nutty Smoothie w/homemade nut milk
• Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
• Nut-Crusted Chicken Cutlets
• No Cook Chocolate Chia Pudding

You can see the menus for all upcoming classes online. http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sugar-solutions-meal-planning-for-a-sugar-free-diet-tickets-12517930467
All the recipes prepared in these classes are dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. Some will include raw and/or paleo dishes. Course themes include “Road to Asia” this coming Sat., Sept. 20 (includes Veggie Bowl with Lemon Tahini Sauce and Thai Coconut & Chicken Soup) and “Taste of Europe” Oct. 4 (includes Lamb Loin Chops with Garlic & Rosemary, Pumpkin Seed Pate with Raw Veggies, and Fermented Sauerkraut).

Attendees get to do hands-on prepping and cooking. I liked that we first got to taste the almond milk we created, and then we added more ingredients to this milk and transformed it into smoothies, which were delicious. I enjoyed all of the food; we drank the nut milk and smoothies right after we made them, but saved the other three dishes to eat all at once for lunch at the end of class.

I was surprised at the speed and ease of the nut-crusted chicken recipe, and I loved the texture and the flavors. I’ll be making this one at my home soon, and am guessing it’s going to be a hit with the whole family! I’m excited it’s a low-carb option. As Lauren mentioned, these days a lot of us need quick recipes for weekday options. Another positive aspect to this recipe: if someone is allergic to nuts, they can substitute sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Chef Lauren promised to email her students the recipes, and she was true to her word—they actually arrived later that same day. I appreciated the quick access to these resources, which included a list of low-carb vegetables arranged from lowest to highest carbohydrate per serving.

Single class tickets are $40 each. You can purchase these online http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sugar-solutions-meal-planning-for-a-sugar-free-diet-tickets-12517930467 until 1 hour before each class begins, but Chef Lauren encourages people to sign up at least 24 hours in advance if possible (that’s ideal for planning). She also mentions that even if you don’t have a health issue or problems with sugar, these classes will give you vital information about blood sugar plus tips on cooking balanced meals featuring natural whole foods.

As the official series description states, participants can learn how to cook “…delicious sugar-free recipes for every meal of the day.” Balancing blood sugar through diet can help you manage many conditions that are becoming an epidemic in the US including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, candida, depression, obesity and ADHD. Chef Lauren will focus on teaching “dietary changes that will help balance the body for optimal health, energy levels and well-being.”

Quadres adds a couple more comments: “The environment at the New Leaf kitchen is comfortable and unintimidating, and Lauren’s approach is friendly, straightforward and inspiring.  I found the class very valuable and would recommend it to anyone who wants to cook healthy food.”

Chef Lauren was trained at San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy, and has 25 years of cooking and teaching experience at venues including Michelin-starred La Folie, Fairmiont San Francisco, and Sur La Table. She offers services including menu planning, food sensitivity coaching, nutritional counseling, pantry makeovers, and grocery shopping tours. Read more at her site at NoWheatNoDairyNoProblem.com – No Wheat, No Dairy, No Problem is also the name of her gluten- and wheat-free cookbook.

For more information on this or other classes, call 426-1306 or see the New Leaf web site at newleaf.com. For all events and classes at Westside New Leaf, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/o/new-leaf-community-markets-westside-2725205834.

New Leaf Community Markets Westside location: 1101 Fair Ave., Santa Cruz

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie www.twitter.com/santacruzfoodie.

Summer goodies and a BBQ party at Whole Foods Market Capitola

Lemon Kale Soofoo Salad at Whole Foods Market Capitola. Photo credit: Michelle Fry, WFM Capitola

Lemon Kale Soofoo Salad at Whole Foods Market Capitola. Photo credit: Michelle Fry, WFM Capitola

Whole Foods Market in Capitola has you covered for Summer 2014, with lots of goodies for sale and a fun party on Saturday, June 21.

First, your body can be literally covered with a vast selection of ‘green’ sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced in 2014 that Whole Foods carries the highest percentage of “green” rated sun products of any retailer! “Sunscreen is one of the most important skin care products you can buy to protect your skin, and we’re happy to offer the largest selection of ‘green’ rated sunscreen to our shoppers,” said Jody Villecco, global quality standards coordinator at Whole Foods Market. One of the many green sunscreens WFM carries is BurnOut Eco-Sensitive SPF 35. Made by a Santa Cruz company, it’s fragrance-, chemical-, and oil-free, works on both the face and the body, and is enriched with plankton extract, aloe vera, and antioxidant vitamins. To see the EWG’s 2014 Guide to Sunscreens, visit ewg.org/2014sunscreen.

Next, Whole Foods has some great seasonal items that are perfect for taking to the beach. The other day I sampled the Summer Corn and Orzo Salad and the Lemon Kale Soofoo Salad. Both were delicious and refreshing, and they’d also make good side dishes for a barbecue. The corn salad was a hit with my three-year-old daughter. If you’re unfamiliar with Soofoo, as I was before doing some research, here’s a couple facts: It contains five types of grains, three types of lentils and brown rice. It has 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per serving. It was an excellent ingredient in the Soofoo Salad, which also has dried cranberries, almonds, and feta and was a nice blend of crunchy, sweet, and salty. Read more about Soofoo and get lots of recipes here. Whole Foods Capitola’s Marketing and Community Outreach Team Leader Michelle Fry shared with me that she often uses Soofoo as a base for a healthy dinner or a fun salad addition—especially in the winter, to add warmth and heartiness to a salad. I can’t wait to try her tip next winter, and in the meantime I’ll be buying more of the summertime Soofoo salads like Lemon Kale!

During the summer, blueberries are always popular with the whole family, and Whole Foods has some especially sweet ones this season. They’re organic, and they are yummy on their own at the beach or home, or as the ingredient for recipes like Blueberry Peach Crumble (see recipe below). Or if you want your berries all wrapped up in a ready-to-eat pastry, Whole Foods now makes “mini pies” in addition to their regular-sized pies. They come in flavors including blackberry lime, cherry, and apple.

Last but not least, the store is having a Summer Kick-Off BBQ Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. A lunch plate will cost $7 and will include two barbecued kabobs (chicken or beef) plus grilled veggies and potato salad.

Stay up to date with the Capitola store’s events through its Facebook page (click on the events tab under “More” for all upcoming activities). On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Store Details:
Whole Foods Market Capitola
1710 41st Avenue (across from Capitola Mall)
(831) 464-2900

Recipe from Chef Hollie Greene of JoyFoodly.com – Chef Hollie is working with WFM to help customers make the most out of their fruit and veggies.

Blueberry Peach Crumble

Serves 6
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 55 minutes

Filling Ingredients
• peaches, 4 (small to medium sized)
• blueberries, 12 oz
• lemon, 1
• sugar, ½ cup
• all-purpose gluten free flour, ¼ cup

Crumble ingredients
• oats, gluten free, 2 cups
• sugar, ⅓ cup
• light brown sugar, ¼ cup (lightly packed)
• salt, ½ teaspoon
• cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon
• butter, unsalted, 1 stick

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Cut the peaches into medium dice, skin on.
Zest and juice the lemon.
To macerate the fruit: add the lemon zest, lemon juice, ½ cup sugar, and ¼ cup gluten free all-purpose flour to the diced peaches and blueberries and toss well.
Spoon the mixture into 6 small buttered ramekins, or a 9×13 buttered baking dish.
Make the crumble: combine oats, sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cubed stick of cold butter in a bowl. Rub the mixture together with your hands. When the butter has incorporated into the oat mixture and it is the size of peas, stop mixing. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit.
Place ramekins on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake uncovered for 35 minutes, until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly.

Celebrate National Peanut Month with sweet recipes

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

Celebrate National Peanut Month by baking Peanut Butter & Banana Crescents

One way to celebrate National Peanut Month during March: bake up a treat that includes peanut butter! Of course, there are lots and lots of recipes out there. There are some on the National Peanut Board web site, including a link to a fancy dessert recipe via Bon Appetit: peanut dacquoise with peanut butter mousse. With elements like meringue, be prepared to spend some time and effort.

For those who want a fast, easy recipe, here is a quick one that calls for only five ingredients.  This dish is from the Pillsbury web site. Some of the bakers who tried the recipe shared comments. These include the fact it makes a good after-school snack, it’s easy to do variations, and it also works for any “Elvis-themed” parties since the famous singer reportedly loved peanut butter and  banana sandwiches.

PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA CRESCENTS

INGREDIENTS
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® Crescent Recipe Creations® refrigerated seamless dough sheet

½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 medium banana, sliced (1 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon roasted salted sunflower nuts or sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS
1. Separate or cut dough into 4 long rectangles (if using crescent rolls, press perforations to seal). Cut each rectangle in half; press into 3 1/2-inch squares.
2. 
Spoon peanut butter in center of each square; top with 2-3 banana slices. Fold dough over filling; press edges with fork to seal. Brush with egg; sprinkle with sunflower nuts.
3. 
Bake at 375°F 12 to 16 minutes.

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Organic ice cream at Mission Hill Creamery benefits Santa Cruz schools

Eat ice cream to benefit Santa Cruz City Schools

Eat ice cream to benefit Santa Cruz City Schools

Mission Hill Creamery’s Scoop Shop and Dessert Café invites the community to eat ice cream on Tuesdays to benefit Santa Cruz schools. There are eight Tuesday benefits over the next couple months; the first one was this week (on Feb. 25, 2014 to be exact).

This is the 2nd annual “Scoops for Schools” event, and it’s a fundraising partnership between Mission Hill Creamery (MHC) and the Santa Cruz Education Foundation. On select Tuesdays through April 29, MHC owner Dave Kumec will donate 10% of all sales towards supporting an individual Santa Cruz City School. Feb. 25 sales benefited Gault Elementary School.

The yummy ice cream that Kumec creates includes flavors such as Salted Caramel, Maple Candied Bacon, Mint Chocolate Confetti, Dulce de Leche, Turkish Coffee, Orange Creamsicle, and Mango. Rotating flavors are often posted on the MHC Facebook page.

MHC ice cream can also be found around town at many grocery stores, and the restaurant Chocolate on Pacific recently added a Salted Caramel Sundae with MHC ice cream to its menu.

Beneficiary schools & dates:

  • March 4 Branciforte Middle School
  • March 11 Santa Cruz High School
  • March 18 Branciforte Small Schools
  • April 8 Harbor High School
  • April 15 Bayview Elementary School
  • April 22 Westlake Elementary School
  • April 29 Mission Hill Middle School

Location: 1101B Pacific Avenue near Cathcart, next to Taqueria Vallarta and across the street from Kianti’s.
Hours: 12-10pm Sun-Thurs, 12-11 pm Fri-Sat

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Whole Foods Market Dungeness crab, Wellshire ham, & Capitola holiday tastings

Wellshire spiral ham at Whole Foods Market

Wellshire spiral ham at Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market in Northern California, including stores in Santa Cruz and Capitola, has lots of tasty offerings for the 2013 holiday season including Dungeness crab and Wellshire Spiral Sliced Hams. I’ve had the great fortune to eat both in the last couple weeks, and highly recommend them. More details are below.

Also, Whole Foods Market (WFM) in Capitola is offering holiday tastings on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 12 -2 p.m. Each department will be handing out samples of at least one product; rumor has it that the crab and/or ham will be available to taste!

Wellshire Spiral Sliced Cooked Half Hams are sold exclusively at WFM, not in any other grocery stores. Because they are spiral sliced, it’s easy to just pull off however much or little you want at a time instead of taking the time and energy to carve. The hams have no preservatives, nitrates or antibiotics; the animals are fed very wholesome grains. The cost is $3.99/lb. for semi-boneless, cooked, seasoned uncured ham and the meat is moist, flavorful, and wonderfully addicting! I brought home an 8-pound ham, and I can’t believe how many meals I ate. These included:
• Split pea soup with ham
• Ham sandwiches
• Ham, cheese & avocado omelettes
• Ham & pineapple pops (really easy recipe from the Whole Foods collection)
The Dungeness crab at WFM Capitola is delivered fresh from San Francisco fisherman six days a week, specifically from Pezzolo’s Seafood at Pier 45. You can taste the freshness, and the WFM Seafood Department staff members do a fantastic job of cracking and cleaning your whole, cooked crabs (free if you ask). The crab is really meaty and delicious; my family ate ours cold and dipped various bites into lemon, butter, or both. Some nice seeded baguettes and a side dish of brussels sprouts were the perfect accompaniment; of course, some people will choose to heat their crab and everyone has their own preferences for what to eat with crab! Bon Appetit.

Bonus: if you buy 3 crabs or more, you get $1.00/off per pound (the initial cost varies depending on market price that day).

The crab is “Super Green Rated” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. What does that mean, you wonder? As stated on WFM’s site: It’s “good for the environment and good for health… the Monterey Bay Aquarium has identified seafood that’s ‘Super Green,’ meaning that it’s excellent for human health and is caught or farmed responsibly. The Super Green list highlights products that are currently on the Seafood Watch ‘Best Choices’ (green) list, are low in mercury and are good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.”


WFM Santa Cruz Area Location Details:

Both stores open 8am-9pm daily


Whole Foods in Capitola
:
1710 41st Ave, Capitola 95010 (831) 464-2900
Whole Foods in Santa Cruz:
911 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz 95062 (831) 426-9901
If you’re on Twitter, follow me @santacruzfoodie.

Dairy-free Halloween recipe for Coffee Toffee from Santa Cruz chef Lauren Hoover-West

Participants making treats at a Halloween class for teens led by Lauren Hoover-West

Participants making treats at a Halloween class for teens led by Lauren Hoover-West

Santa Cruz chef Lauren Hoover-West has graciously shared her recipe for Coffee Toffee, a yummy dairy-free treat for Halloween or any occasion. According to the chef, half of America can’t eat dairy, and of course those folks need recipes too!

California Culinary Academy graduate Hoover-West, author of the cookbook “No Wheat No Dairy No Problem,” regularly teaches classes at New Leaf Community Markets’ Westside location. Her November classes are Allergy-Friendly Holiday Cooking (Nov. 14, includes turkey and many sides), Holiday Pies: No Wheat, No Dairy, No Problem!, (Nov. 20, includes Apple Pie, Citrus Curd Tart and Sweet Potato Pecan Pie), and Raw Vegan Holiday Desserts (Nov. 22, includes Cheesecake and Raw Pumpkin Pie). Each class costs $40 and is from 6-8:30 p.m. Pre-registration is required. See complete New Leaf Westside November schedule.

Read more about Lauren at her web site.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Coffee Toffee

Note: this recipe can be made low glycemic index, which is easier on the body and won’t cause sugar spikes/crashes, by using coconut sugar

Ingredients

1 cup Coconut Oil
1 1/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar/Coconut Sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP. filtered water
1 TBSP. Molasses
2 tsp. instant powdered espresso, optional
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt or himalayan salt
8 oz. chocolate (dark or semi-sweet), finely chopped or chips

Instructions

Grease a cookie sheet (approx. 9×13 inches) and set aside.

1. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot stir together, with a silicone spatula or wooden     spoon, all ingredients except for the chocolate.

2. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon until it reaches 315 degrees. You will need a candy thermometer. Quickly remove from heat.

3. Pour mixture into the cookie sheet and spread with a silicone spatula to smooth out into a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick.

4.  Cool 20-30 minutes on the kitchen counter.

5. While cooling the Toffee, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a glass bowl over simmering water. Cool the chocolate for 5 minutes off the heat.

6. Pour melted chocolate over the Toffee and spread evenly to cover the Toffee.

7. Let the chocolate set/harden at room temperature for about 4 hours. You can put it into the refrigerator to speed up the process, but it may be dull or bloom (turns white).

8. Break into pieces and enjoy! Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

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Chomping Monster Cookies and other Halloween recipes

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Chomping Monster cookies require only 4-8 ingredients to make

Looking for easy Halloween recipes? Here are two provided by Pillsbury, with a link to one additional recipe. I’ll publish at least one more—including a dairy-free treat from a local Santa Cruz chef—in the next few days.

Chomping Monsters
(see photo)

24 servings

Ingredients
Cookies

1 package (16 oz) Pillsbury® Ready To Bake!™ refrigerated chocolate chip cookies (24 cookies)
1 ¼ cups white vanilla baking chips
1 container ready-to-spread frosting (any white variety)
Gel food colors, if desired

Optional Decorations
Red or black string licorice
Miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Large marshmallows
Candy-coated chocolate candies

Steps
1
Heat oven to 350°F. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cookie dough rounds 2 inches apart. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

2
Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave 1 cup of the white vanilla baking chips uncovered on High 45 seconds. Stir; if necessary, microwave in 15-second increments, stirring after each, until chips can be stirred smooth. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in frosting until well blended. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the frosting mixture to attach decorations. Use gel food colors to tint remaining frosting in desired colors. Spoon each color of frosting into resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut 1/2 inch off one corner of bag, and pipe on bottom of 1 cookie. Press another cookie, flat side down, on frosting at an angle, cookies touching on one side and about 1 inch apart on the other, to look like open mouth.

3
To decorate, press remaining white vanilla baking chips in frosting for teeth. Use reserved frosting mixture to attach eyes, using decorations as desired.

Spider Web Cookie Pizza
16 servings

Ingredients
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon vegetable oil

Steps
1
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil with shortening. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch slices; arrange evenly in pan. With floured fingers, press slices to form crust.
2
Bake 16 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3
In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Use foil to lift crust from pan. Carefully remove foil from crust; place crust on serving platter or tray. Spread cream cheese mixture over crust.
4
In a small resealable food-storage plastic bag, place chocolate chips and oil; seal bag. Place bag in bowl of very hot water. Knead bag several times to melt chips. Cut small hole in 1 corner of bag. Working from center to outer edge, pipe chocolate to form spiral design over top of cream cheese mixture. Working from center of spiral to outer edge, draw tip of knife lightly through spiral to form web design.
5
Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. To serve, cut into wedges or squares. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pizza.

Another Halloween recipe from Pillsbury is for Crescent Mummy Dogs.

Follow me on Twitter @santacruzfoodie.

Fun tailgating recipes for football season

Onion Crunch adds punch to recipes

Onion Crunch adds punch to recipes

Looking for some fun recipes to liven up your tailgating parties during football season? Here are a few recipes that will kickstart the game AND your taste buds. I want to thank the folks at Onion Crunch for the ideas. If you’re unfamiliar with Onion Crunch, it’s a crispy, onion-topping condiment – made with real onions – that comes in several flavors including traditional, bacon, and chipotle.

On Twitter? Follow me @santacruzfoodie.

  • Sweet & Sour Chicken Wings: Ditch the regular hot Buffalo wings for a tastier version of a classic tailgating dish. Combine Sriracha hot sauce with honey and orange juice to give your wings a sweet citrus flavor that still packs some heat.
  • Cheese-Stuffed Meatball Sliders:  Master the grill, spice up your tired hamburger sliders with some modern cheesy deliciousness.  Get the same classic look of burger sliders but with a twist.  Try adding bacon, pancetta or Chipotle-flavored Onion Crunch for added flavor.
  • Grilled Roasted Corn: When it comes to corn on the cob toppings, don’t be afraid to shy away from classic butter. Mix it up with fresh chives, mayonnaise, Cotija cheese, chile powder, or lime and you’ll be the tailgating champion.
  • Hot Guacamole: Trade the traditional guacamole recipe for a spicy one on game-day. Try adding jalapenos, cumin, and onions for a zesty dip nobody will be able to resist.

See more recipes featuring Onion Crunch.

Back to school ideas with strawberries, plus recipe

Strawberries can be a healthy part of back to school season

Strawberries can be a healthy part of back to school season

As I mentioned in my article a few days ago, it’s back-to-school season. Lots of families are searching for solutions to make lunch, snacks and weekday meals fun and healthy while not spending a lot of money. Using fruits and vegetables can help, and the
California Strawberries web site is one resource for tips and recipes including one lunchbox item called “Berry Good Wraps.” Strawberries are recommended by many health professionals as part of a healthy diet.

Interesting fact: More than 1.7 billion pounds of strawberries are annually harvested by nearly 400 family farmers in California. This includes 793 million pounds between April-November in the Watsonville and Salinas areas. Almost every strawberry that is eaten in the United States is hand-picked by someone in California.

One recipe that the California Strawberries site features is “Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Ginger Salsa,” which can be a satisfying weekday family dinner. Also, as the recipe mentions, you can substitute another fish filet of your choice, whether it’s something that your kids enjoy more than salmon or something that goes on sale at your local market. Bon Appetit!

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Strawberry Ginger Salsa
Ingredients

Salsa:
Prepare at least one hour ahead.
1 English or seedless cucumber, finely chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. cilantro, cut into strips
3-4 tbsp. seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 cups fresh California strawberries, hulled and diced small
1 yellow pepper

Sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

6 Salmon fillets (or fish of your choice), skinless

Directions
Mix cucumbers, green onion, cilantro, yellow pepper and vinegar. Cover and chill at least one hour. Just before serving, add strawberries. In a small saucepan melt butter with garlic over low heat. Stir in honey, soy sauce and lemon juice and cook 2 minutes, set aside. Prepare a charcoal grill, when ready brush sauce on salmon pieces and place on a well-oiled fish grilling rack. Place rack over coals about 4 inches from fire and grill approximately 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Brush with the sauce again after turning, and again when done. Transfer to warm platter and top with salsa.
Yield: 6 servings.