Category Archives: Recipes

Stop Using

A beautiful salad can be time consuming to put together, but if you take the time to do it, STOP using bottled dressing.  Home made is so EASY and quick, and the taste is vastly superior to even the best bottled.  A tip from the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, is to mix the dressing in bottom of bowl BEFORE you throw in the salad to toss.

Have I lost you yet?  If not, here’s the classic French vinaigrette:

  • 2 parts olive or walnut oil to one part red wine vinegar
  • one clove garlic crushed or finely minced, mix in salad bowl, add salt to taste.
  • That’s it! A 5-minute proposition. Variation might include a quarter tsp. of Dijon mustard and/or a small pinch of sugar.

I happen to like dressing that is more acidic, so I use 50-50 proportion of olive oil to vinegar.

Other variations: substitute red wine vinegar with balsamic for a sweeter taste, sherry vinegar for a stronger taste. I would only use those vinegars with olive oil, not walnut oil. Throw in some mayo and grated parmesan to thicken it, and you have a to-die-for topping for steamed fresh asparagus, grilled eggplant or grilled or raw bell peppers.

Greek salad? Same basic dressing, only substitute lemon for half the vinegar, then toss some feta into the mix and stir to thicken.

Want to go Asian? Try this:

  • 50% sesame oil
  • 25% rice wine vinegar
  • 25% lime juice
  • one clove garlic
  • ginger to taste (raw or powdered)
  • a splash of soy sauce. If you want a hot/sweet effect, add sugar, honey, or agave to taste, and a sprinkle of cayenne.

Notice that I’m sticking to the same basic 50-50 oil to acid ratio. So for a spinach salad, you might replace 3/4 of the vinegar with orange juice and throw in a bunch of basil leaves, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

I don’t know if I’m convincing any of you to give up bottled, but if you try making your own, you’ll like it.

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First Things First

I’ve started this blog primarily to introduce you to my fiction.  That said, I’ll also share recipes, photographs, and many other topics.  I’d love your feedback on anything that appears here.  You can click on the “comments” tab or you can email me at

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll have two books available on Kindle and Nook.  REGRET NOT A MOMENT was my first published work of fiction, and will be my first available e-book.

It is a romance that begins in the year 1930, and spans three decades.  Devon Richmond is a Virginia horsewoman who breaks into the male-dominated ranks of Thoroughbred racing.  Along the way, she suffers love, heartbreak and tragedy.  It was originally published in hard cover by Little, Brown, then in paper by Warner Books.  I think you’ll enjoy your voyage with Devon to New York, Paris, London and Cairo.

My second book is NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS.  It’s based on my mother’s life.  She was born in Cairo, Egypt, to a French-Italian family.  Back in the early part of the 20th century, Egypt was a British protectorate and had a thriving European community.  Believe it or not, the last king of Egypt, Farouk, spoke better English and French than he did Arabic, the language of most countries in the Middle East.  Maybe that’s one reason why there was a revolution in 1952!  After the revolution, many Europeans felt unsafe in Egypt.

My mom and one aunt came immediately to America.  One of my aunts went to Paris, as did her brother, my uncle.  Another uncle escaped to Italy. My grandmother did not want to leave Egypt, but conditions soon grew so dangerous for Europeans that she came to live with her daughter — my mother — who by this time was in Savannah, Georgia, married to my father.

My mom’s life was more colorful and adventurous than fiction!  You can read about her journey from riches to rags and back (kind of), about her loves, her marriages, and her victories.

She passed away in December 2011, in her ninth decade.  I was lucky that she was able to live with me and my husband for the three years preceding her death.

By the way, have you had Middle Eastern cooking? I love food of every nationality, but I think I’m fondest of the earthy spices and strong flavors of the Middle East.  It is made with a lot of lemon, olive oil, cumin, and some hot peppers.  Lamb and chicken are more prevalent than beef and, of course, both Judaism and Islam forbid pork.

Tzatziki is  best known as a yogurt-based Greek sauce for grilled meats, veggies, or bread.  There are many versions in the Mideast and India.  Here’s mine:

COMBINE 1 c. Greek yogurt, juice of one lemon, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. cumin (or to taste), 1/3 c. peeled and finely chopped cucumber, salt to taste, sprinkle of cayenne or harissa to taste. You can also either add or substitute (for cucumber) any of the following:  mint, parsley, onion,  green bell pepper, dill, or cilantro.

To purchase my fiction for $3.99