Dilly Dip for Veggies

blooming dill

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This is our go-to dip for crudities nowadays with so many people looking for vegetable alternatives at cocktail parties.  Pair this with a platter of cucumber  and celery sticks, sliced summer squash or zucchini, and bright red radishes and cherry tomatoes.

  • Two teaspoons of minced garlic
  • One half cup of grated red onion
  • Two cups of dill pickles, minced
  • One teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
  • One teaspoon of dried dill
  • One teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • Two teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • One eight ounce carton of sour cream (or liquify fat-free cottage cheese in a blender).

Combine all ingredients and if it is too thick, thin with dill pickle juice until preferred consistency is reached.



Breakfast Margaritas

The holidays call for festive brunches and often involve overnight guests and weekend family gatherings.  You might consider an alternative or addition to the popular mimosas and bloody marys  your guests expect.  We love these morning margaritas for their lightness and distinctively delicious taste.  Try a pitcher this month.

  • One cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
  • One and a half cups of triple sec
  • Six cups of a dry chablis
  • Sea salt for the rims of the wine glasses

Black Beans and Bacon Spread

A hearty and dependable dip or spread that has always been popular but we love the added flavor of bacon…who doesn’t?

  • One dozen strips of thick bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Two jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • Three cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two fifteen ounce cans of black beans, drained and liquid reserved
  • One half cup of sour cream
  • Two tablespoons of lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • Zest of one lime
  • Sea salt to taste

Process all ingredients except the bacon in a food processor until finely chopped.  Fold in bacon crumbles and thin with reserved liquid if more of a dip consistency is preferred.  Refrigerate overnight if possible to let the flavors blend. Serve at room temperature.

Sticky Orange Chicken Wings

90Hot-sticky-orange-chicken-wingsIf you are like me, the toughest part of going to a wings place is deciding which flavor to choose…and Miss Joy always picks the one I wished I had chosen.  That’s why we have so many different takes on chicken wings on this site.  Here is one delicious version I received from a reader recently.  It is much easier than most since the chicken is poached before saucing and broiling.

  • A dozen little wing drumsticks
  • Four heaping tablespoons of orange marmalade
  • Two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • One orange, juiced and zested
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make two or three slashes in the meat on both sides of the chicken wings.  Add the wings to a pot of boiling water and cook for five or six minutes.  Combine the remaining ingredients and simmer until well-combined.  Baste the wings with the sauce and grill for ten minutes over hot coals, turning and basting often.  Wings may be cooked under a broiler until browned.

Chilled Mussels with Onion

black seashell beside beige stone

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Just back from a spell in Peru and a special time in Cusco with the twin grandgirls, after climbing Machu Picchu and scrambling through even more spectacular ruins in the Sacred Valley.  Don’t miss the train through the valley and skip the village that has dozens of restaurants devoted to culinary excesses using the guinea pig.  Here is something better,  a novel presentation of mussels we still rave about that we discovered in Lima. 

  • 18 mussels
  • three limes
  • three red onions, minced
  • two cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • two tomatoes, finely minced
  • one cob of grilled corn, kernels removed
  • one rocoto, or a poblano pepper, diced
  • three teaspoon of chopped parsley
  • olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper

Steam the mussels in salt water, shuck, and remove from shells.  Return each mussel to a half shell.  Mix remaining ingredients with oil, salt, and pepper to taste.  Pile a full tablespoon on each mussel and chill until serving.

The Very Best Stuffed Grape Leaves


We love Grecian stuffed grape leaves and they serve exceptionally well for a entree when made with rice, ground lamb and sauced in an egg and lemon bath.  But for an appetizer, and that is what we are all about, this recipe is spectacular:

  • One and a half cups of cream cheese
  • One half cup of ground almonds
  • Two tablespoon of dates, chopped
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • One quarter cup of slivered almonds
  • Twelve to Eighteen Grape Leaves, prepared

Beat the cream cheese together with the ground almonds and dates.  Melt the butter and fry the almonds until golden brown.  Add to the cream cheese mixture.  Lay out grape leaves and spoon filling into each one, folding over to enclose.  Place in foil and heat eight to ten minutes before serving.

Chiang Mai Cucumber Cups

food vegetables cucumbers gherkins

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We spent a memorable ten days in Chiang Mai in an ancient guest house on the river with some of the best food we have ever eaten…our hostess, Prim, directed a kitchen that turned out these little appetizers for our afternoon delight.  Multiply the recipe for your needs.  This recipe makes six cucumber cups.

  • One cucumber
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 small chilies, deseeded and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • One and half cups of ground, roasted peanuts
  • Sea salt

Divide the cucumber into six equal slices, scoop out the center with a melon baller and leave a base in each cup.  Combine remaining ingredients and mix well.  Fill cups and chill before serving.


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