When I was back in New Zealand last year I was lucky enough to be treated to some fabulous food at some of NZ’s premier restaurants— Logan Brown, The Mattahorn, Martin Bosley.  While we were eating at Logan Brown (yes, I had the Abalone Ravioli and loved them!) we were served a dry spice dip with bread and olive oil.  I was so enamored of the dip and when I inquired about it, they gave me the recipe!  Score! 

Dukkah is an Egyptian nut and spice dip, and this one also has dried olives.  It is so scrumptious and I’ve been wanting now for the past year to make it; and finally I did.  And I am so glad I did.  My kids loved it (it’s very salty and quite intense) as did my friends. It also got me to experiment with a new spice blend for another recipe.

This began as Logan Brown’s recipe but I had to change it a little because I didn’t have any hazelnuts but I did have Filbert (hazelnut) oil.  So I roasted the almonds in the oil. Continue reading

Even at parties with pizza, my kids chose…

Pizza!  Not really a surprise.  Butmy eldest had a piece of broccoli white pie and my youngest had me add some of the shiitakes that I’d sautéed for the appetizer I prepared.  Funny thing was that other kids were saying “yuck”, “eeww” and such at my eldest eating his broccoli pizza, but he didn’t care.  He just told them how ”yummy” it was.   

My middle son was just into the plain pizza and all three had huge ice cream sundaes with Swedish fish, sprinkles (jimmies) and chocolate sauce.  They are very much like other kids with sweet tooths and love of junk food.   

I went to Trader Joe’s today and knew I had some upcoming gatherings to which I’d have to bring something.  The nan is so easy and delicious. I came up with the idea myself for my book club when I didn’t think I had much to serve.   I sautéed the shiitakes and garlic with olive oil and butter, sea salt and pepper.  I wilted the spinach and added a pinch of sea salt, pepper and pat of butter.  When I arrived at the party, I used the oven there to heat the nan at 425F for 3 minutes, spread the goat cheese on it and then add the shiitakes or spinach or both.  Put in oven for another 2 minutes, remove and cut into 2 bite pieces.  Less than 10 minutes total.  A sprinkle of nutmeg might be nice on the spinach too. 


Tomorrow I am going out so I got Bool Kogi, a marinated Korean beef dish traditionally served in lettuce leaves, at Trader Joe’s for my babysitter to make for the kids.  It takes just a couple of minutes in a really hot pan or on a grill.  They’ll have string beans and broccoli with it.  I know those are the babysitter’s favorite vegetables.  I’ve known her since I was born and I’ve learned a lot of cooking techniques from her— besides many other wonderful things, including how to feed your kids the right way.

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