Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon is an herb that gets no respect. Maybe because the dried version doesn’t do justice to the fresh. There is something about the anise undertone of Tarragon that makes my salads, creamy soups and casseroles memorable.  So much that my friends ask, “What am I tasting?”  From the beginning of April until the first frost, I have plenty of Tarragon in my herb garden, and I have perfected the art of freezing it for the colder month’s hot recipes.  But for my chicken salad, there is nothing like Tarragon, picked fresh from the garden.  My Tarragon Chicken Salad is a staple on afternoon boating trips from our backyard, and I have turned many a friend into raving fans of this simple, yet delicious staple. Whether on crackers or served between two great pieces of bread, every time I serve it people fall in love.
Most herbs can be frozen immersed in water or olive oil and placed in an ice tray, but I like to freeze fresh, leafy herbs like Basil, Parsley, Tarragon, Sage, Cilantro and Oregano without liquid.  Frozen herbs can be used in the same proportion as fresh herbs but they will be limp when defrosted, so although they are great used in recipes, they cannot be used as garnish.

Your first step is to harvest and rinse herbs in clear water.  Let dry.  Once dry, strip the leaves off the stems and coarsely chop.  Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and place in the freezer.  Once frozen, place them in a plastic container or freezer bag.  Make sure to label the container since once frozen, you may not be able to tell them apart.

§     2 cups cubed or shredded chicken
§     1 cup celery, finely chopped
§     3 - 4 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon leaves (Not dry or frozen tarragon)
§     1/2 cup or more mayonnaise (to taste)
§     1/2 cup slivered almonds
§     Kosher salt


In a large bowl, combine chicken

Add chopped celery

Add finely chopped, fresh tarragon

Add almonds, salt and mayonnaise. 

Fold ingredients and adjust seasoning.  If you prefer a moister salad, add more mayonnaise.  

Serve on a sandwich, in a bowl with crackers or in phyllo or pastry cups as an hors d’oeuvre.  For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Tarragon Chicken Salad.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

My Most Requested Recipes Collection

With friends and colleagues repeatedly asking for my recipe for Bacon Candy, I introduced this blog, My Most Requested Recipes, to share my most treasured treats. That first post in March of 2012 attracted over 7,000 views.  Now, 5 years, 7,000 subscribers and over 500,000 views later, I often receive emails requesting recipes I have previously posted. 

In honor of our 5th anniversary and for the benefit of those arriving late to the party, I’ve decided to make providing a complete list of links to all of the mouth-watering recipes I have previously posted an annual tradition.  I will still be posting new and popular recipes, starting with next month’s Tarragon Chicken Salad, as my newly planted herb garden begins to grow.

Appetizers and Hors d’oeuvres
§     Bacon Candy
§     Hot Corn Dip
§     Hot Artichoke Dip
§     Sweet Onion Dip
§     Nuts, Nuts, Nuts
§     Cheese Ball Pops
§     Shaved Ham Rolls
§     Texas Salsa
§     Classic Reuben Dip

§     Creamy Tomato Soup
§     Pumpkin Soup
§     Autumn Squash Soup

§     Vegetable Frittata
§     Breakfast Basket
§     Breakfast Burritos
§     Breakfast Pizza

§     Chicken Francaise
§     Chicken Marsala
§     Shrimp and Grits
§     Shepherd’s Pie
§     Pot Roast
§     Basic Risotto
§     Lasagna Roll-Ups
§     Tuna Melt
§     Pan Fried Chops
§     Warm Potato Salad
§     Croque Madame
§     Flatbreads
§     Mushroom Lasagna

§     Praline Sweet Potatoes
§     Corn Soufflé
§     Potato Latkes

§     Berry Cobbler
§     Pumpkin Mousse
§     Bananas Foster

§     Mama Marko’s Frozen Dough Cookies
§     Shortbread Cookies

§     Sweet and Spicy Chocolate Truffles
§     Chocolate Salami
§     Peanut Clusters

§     Dill Caper Sauce
§     Corn Muffins
§     Hot Pepper Jelly

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Classic Reuben Dip

I love holidays that focus around food and drink.  With St. Patrick's Day approaching, I don't believe you have to be Irish to enjoy the culinary delights of this holiday.  Though I am not a big fan of corned beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes, my close friends know I love a great Reuben sandwich.  So my contribution combines the flavors in a classic Reuben sandwich. 

A Reuben sandwich is traditionally made with corned beef, but even when substituting pastrami or the smoked tongue used by one of my favorite Nashville eateries, the Reuben sandwich is how I like to honor St. Patrick's Day.  The thought of standing at the stove making sandwiches while my friends are celebrating in another room does not excite me.  This Reuben Dip combines all of the ingredients of a classic Reuben sandwich and transforms them into a fabulously creamy dip, a perfect way to enjoy the flavors of the Reuben sandwich without the last minute attention.

§     1/2 pound deli corned beef, chopped
§     2 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
§     1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained and finely chopped
§     1 cup mayonnaise
§     1 cup Thousand Island dressing
§     1 8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
§     5 tablespoons chopped green onion
§     Rye bread or Marble Rye bread
§     Sweet butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a hand mixer, cream together the softened cream cheese, Thousand Island dressing and mayonnaise.

Fold in corned beef, 2 cups of shredded Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and 3 tablespoons of green onion. 

Spray baking dish with non-stick spray.  Spread the prepared dip in the baking dish.

Top with the remaining Swiss cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes until bubbly. For an authentic Reuben flavor, cut bread into quarters and toast in a skillet with butter.  When golden and bubbly, remove Classic Reuben Dip from oven, sprinkle with remaining green onion and serve with toasted, butter bread or crackers.

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Classic Reuben Dip.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Barcelona Hot Chocolate

I just returned from Barcelona, Spain, where I attended the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI) annual conference. Since this was the first time we have been to Barcelona, we extended our trip to give us time to explore the city.  The weather was brisk, so when we stopped into a tappas restaurant for lunch, I ordered a cup of hot chocolate.  When I took the first sip, I was surprised by the pudding-like texture.  I tried to take the second sip using the teaspoon, but it was not quite as thick as the first sip hinted.  I finished the cup of delicious yet surprisingly thick, creamy hot chocolate; vacillating between sips and teaspoons full. I made a point to jot down the name of the restaurant, so that I could recommend it to friends.  After all, this restaurant must specialize in hot chocolate. 

The next day, equally as chilly, I ordered a cup of hot chocolate at the hotel and was presented with an identically rich, smooth and delicious drink.  It was not long before I realized that this was how hot chocolate was served in Barcelona.  The day I got home, I tried to recreate the drink I fell in love with in Barcelona, and believe I have succeeded. My Barcelona Hot Chocolate is wonderful as is, but during these chilly nights, a shot of peppermint schnapps is sure to add a wonderful dimension to this decadent treat.

§     5 tablespoon cocoa
§     2 tablespoon sugar
§     1 tablespoon brown sugar
§     1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
§     1 cup milk
§     1 tsp vanilla
§     1/2 tsp instant espresso or coffee (optional)


In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder, granulated sugar, brown sugar, espresso powder and cornstarch. 

Pour cold milk in to a small saucepan and add cocoa mixture.

Begin cooking at medium low heat while stirring constantly.  Mixture will thicken as it heats.  Cook until it thickens.  Stir in vanilla, instant espresso coffee (optional) and serve immediately. 

For a printer friendly copy of this recipe, go to Barcelona Hot Chocolate.  Enjoy!