Jalapeño Poppers

Everyone’s got their version of jalapeño poppers, and here’s ours!  It originates with my cousin, Leslie.  She may have been the first in our family to use the pineapple cream cheese in place of regular, but this delicious twist on the classic is catching on quickly!



  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Pineapple (or regular) cream cheese
  • Deli-sliced turkey
  • Bacon (raw)


Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Slice the tops off the jalapeños and then slice in half lengthwise.  Scrape out all seeds and membranes.

Spread cream cheese in the jalapeños, so that it doesn’t quite fill the cavities.  Cut the turkey into pieces, roll, and place in the jalapeño halves on top of the cream cheese.

Cut bacon slices in half and wrap 1/2 bacon slice around each jalapeño half.  Secure with a toothpick.

Grill jalapeños over indirect heat until bacon is done, about 30 minutes.  Cool slightly and enjoy!


St. Elmo’s Fire Cocktail

I had this cocktail at the 1885 Grill in the St. Elmo neighborhood of Chattanooga, and was immediately smitten!  I love the bright, floral qualities of St. Germain, and they pair perfectly with Bombay gin and strawberries.  It’s a perfect summer drink!



  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ripe strawberries, smashed
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
  • Fresh lemon juice


To make the simple syrup, heat the water over high heat.  When the water has reached a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add the sugar.  Stir vigorously until the sugar melts completely.  Add the strawberries and stir to combine.  Set the simple syrup aside and allow it to cool as it’s infused with the strawberries.  Once the syrup has cooled, strain out the strawberries.

In a cocktail shaker, add crushed ice, St. Germain, Bombay Sapphire, lemon juice to taste, and strawberry simple syrup to taste (I add about 1/2 oz each lemon juice and simple syrup).  Shake vigorously and pour into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a strawberry and serve immediately.

Skillet Olive Bread

This is a quick bread – no kneading, proofing, or resting required!  Just like cornbread, all you need to do is stir the ingredients together, and pop it in the oven!  It’s got a lovely, soft, springy texture- almost like focaccia.  I absolutely love the combination of olives, parmesan, and basil in this bread, but you could very easily switch up the ingredients.  Jalapeños & cheddar, sun-dried tomatoes & parmesan, sautéed mushrooms & gruyere… yum!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped


Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk flour, basil, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Stir in most of the parmesan (leave a little for sprinkling on top at the end), until it’s completely coated in flour.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, sour cream, and egg.

Heat oil in an 8-inch cast iron skillet.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Pour garlic and all but 2 tsp of the oil into the milk mixture and whisk to combine.

Gently fold the milk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Fold in the olives.  Do not over-mix!

Working quickly, scrape the batter into the hot skillet and smooth the top.  Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese and place in the preheated oven.  Bake until golden brown- about 20 minutes, rotating half way through- or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the bread cool slightly in the skillet before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Southern Peach Cobbler

Ok folks- let’s make good use of these last peaches of the season!  The cobbler is the classic version from market buffets and grandma’s table.  Every little old lady (and young lady!) in the South has a version of this recipe, but the basic composition remains the same.  I add a little more cinnamon than appears in other versions of this recipe- I think it adds the perfect twist that really pumps up the flavor!  This cobbler is delicious all on its own, but I highly recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



  • 4 cups fresh peach slices (skins removed)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • Cinnamon


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Stir together peeled, sliced peaches, lemon juice, and 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Melt butter in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish.

Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Add the milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).

Stir peaches one more time, and pour over batter (do not stir).  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

Tomato Tart

Here’s another great recipe that’s perfect for summer.  I always love the idea of classic southern tomato pie, but it’s always so rich!  This is my lighter take on tomato pie.  It’s so beautiful to serve at a party, and couldn’t be more delicious!



  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I like to use basil, thyme, oregano, chives, and parsley)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Place a sheet of puff pastry on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Top pastry with another sheet of parchment paper and place a second sheet pan on top.  (Alternately, you can just bake the pastry without anything on top and just let it deflate before you add the toppings.)  Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, and then allow to cool slightly.

Spread mayonnaise evenly across the puff pastry.  You may not need the entire 1/4 cup of mayo – just use as much as you need to cover the whole pastry with a thin layer.

Sprinkle herbs and then cheese over the mayonnaise.  Lay tomato slices on the cheese and top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Cool Slightly cut into squares.  May be served hot or at room temperature.



Baked Shrimp Scampi

Serves 6



  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 lbs fresh, raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 box dry linguine pasta


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk together melted butter, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, and wine in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Add shrimp and toss to coat.

Place shrimp in the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until shrimp are just pink.  (Be careful not to overcook!  Shrimp can get really tough and rubbery when cooked too long… people make this mistake a lot..)

While shrimp are cooking, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain when done, and toss pasta with the shrimp and their sauce.  Add parsley and toss to combine.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Simple Salmon

I always get rave reviews when I serve this salmon!  It’s deliciously salty with just a hint of sweetness.  I promise you’ll be pleased!

Serves 6


  • 6 (6oz) salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar


Whisk together all ingredients (except the salmon) until smooth.  Reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade in a separate bowl.  Add salmon and turn to coat in the marinade.  Allow the salmon to marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Remove fillets and discard marinade.  Grill the salmon, skin side down, over indirect high heat about 12 minutes, or until done.  Baste the salmon with the reserved marinade during the last two minutes of cooking time.

Remove salmon from grill, cool slightly, and enjoy!

Tomato Sandwiches

These sandwiches are a classic- so simple, yet so good!  It’s essential that you use top quality tomatoes for this.  Big, vine-ripe, meaty tomatoes from the farmers market or your garden are the only way to go.  I like to serve this sandwich open faced, but feel free to add another slice of toast on top!


Serves 4


  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 4 slices bread, toasted
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 large basil leaves, julienned
  • Salt and Pepper


Slice tomatoes into thick rounds with a sharp, serrated knife.  Lay tomato slices on paper towels and pat to remove excess juice.

Spread 1 tbsp mayonnaise on each slice of bread.  Top with tomato slices and basil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.



Fish Tacos

This recipe for fish tacos is from my dear friend, Cheryl.  It’s a perfect combination of crunchy, creamy, and spicy.  It’s a great dish to serve at a party- most of the prep work can be done ahead of time, and guests always have fun building their own tacos.  Use whatever firm white fish you have available, or feel free to substitute shrimp or even chicken.  The fish would also be great grilled, rather than fried.


Serves 4

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1-2 chiles from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • Pinch of granulated sugar
  • Salt

Slaw Ingredients:

  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 4-6 radishes, halved and sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • Salt

Fish Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder or paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 filets of firm white fish, cut into strips

Other Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 12 small flour tortillas, warmed
  • Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving


Whisk together all dressing ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Toss together all slaw ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.

Combine cornmeal, corn starch, cumin, pepper, chili powder or paprika, and salt in a shallow dish.  Heat a little vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Dredge the fish in the corn meal mixture and cook in the skillet in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes on each side).  Remove fish to a paper towel to remove excess oil and cool slightly.

Assemble fish, slaw, and dressing in a tortilla and top with lime and cilantro.


Baked Peaches

These peaches are absolutely delicious, and so much easier and healthier than cobbler or pie!  They’re delicious all on their own, but I highly recommend serving them with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and granola.  Happy summer and enjoy peach season!

Baked Peaches_In Pan

Serves 6


  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Slice the peaches in half lengthwise and remove the pit.  Place the peaches, cut side up, in a baking dish.  Top each peach with 1/2 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Place peaches in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool slightly and serve with ice cream.  Enjoy!