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Tantalizing Tomato & Halloumi Salad.

Pan-Fried Halloumi Cheese & Tomatoes With Lebanese Pickles, Lemon Juice & Oregano.


I’ve had a love affair with Middle Eastern food for some time now and it’s my all-time favorite type of food. Recently, I discovered grilled halloumi cheese on the menu of one of my go-to restaurants in Charlotte. Halloumi is a type of cheese from Cyprus made from goat’s milk which is often served grilled because of its density. I wanted to serve the halloumi with tomatoes and pickles to help balance out the richness of the cheese. The acidity of the lemon juice and pickles really brings out the flavors of the cheese. Although eating cheese like this may seem odd, I promise you that it’s actually quite amazing. I promise you will love it!

Serves ~5 as a side dish.


  • 16 oz halloumi cheese, sliced (you can sometimes find this at a regular grocery store, but it will be cheaper purchasing at an International/Middle Eastern grocery store)
  • Lebanese vinegar pickles (you can find an International/Middle Eastern grocery store – American style pickles should not be substituted for these)
  • 5 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • oregano
  • sea salt

Begin by layering the the sliced tomatoes and pickles onto your serving dish.

Heat a non-stick pan on medium/high heat and spray with cooking spray. Once hot, add the sliced halloumi to the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Once the cheese is cooked, place on top of the tomatoes and pickles. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over top with a sprinkling of oregano and sea salt. Serve immediately after cooking the cheese tastes best when warm.





Korean BBQ Pulled Pork Tacos.

Crock Pot Korean Barbecue Pulled Pork Tacos With Honey-Sesame Slaw.


I am a recent crock pot owner and this was the very first dish that I cooked with it! I was really excited to make a pulled pork because I never have before and cooking big pieces of meat can be intimidating to me, but since crock pots are basically fool-proof, I was excited to see how it would turn out. Living in the South, we see a lot of classic pulled pork, so I wanted to make pulled pork with a bit of a twist and went with an Asian flare. The meat turned out perfectly and flavors of the sauce were amazing. Super easy to make and beyond delicious. The crunch and tang of the slaw topped on the juicy meat made for a perfect taco. I cannot get over how easy a crock pot makes things!

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes ~15-20 small tacos.


~Korean Barbecue Pulled Pork

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce (found in the International/Asian isle of the grocery store)
  • 2 tsp crushed chili paste (found in the International/Asian isle of the grocery store)
  • 2 tbsp chopped or crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped or crushed ginger
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 lb pork butt, bone in
  • 20 small, soft corn tortillas

~Honey-Sesame Slaw

  • 5 loosely packed cups shredded/thinly sliced green cabbage (about 1 large head of green cabbage or you coulud also buy pre-shredded cole slaw mix)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tbsp chopped or crushed ginger
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds

Begin by making the barbecue sauce. In a mixing bowl, add the water, tamari, rice vinegar, ketchup, honey, toasted sesame oil, hoisin sauce, chili paste, garlic, ginger and whisk well to combine.

Add the sliced onion to the bottom of the crock pot and put the pork butt on top. Pour roughly 1/3 of the sauce over top of the pork so it has an even coating. Turn the crock pot on high and cook for 8-9 hours. Save the remainder of the sauce for later.

After the pork has finished cooking, remove the meat from the slow cooker onto a large plate or cutting board. Use a strainer to drain the liquid from the bottom of the crock pot, keeping the onions and adding them back into the slow cooker. Remove the bone from the pork butt (it should come right off) and also remove any visible fat. Use two forks to shred the meat and then add the it back into the slow cooker with the onions. Pour the remaining barbecue sauce onto the meat and mix well. Put the crock pot on warm to keep the meat hot while serving.

To make the slaw, begin by making the dressing by mixing the rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, tamari, honey and ginger in a small bowl and whisking together. Put the cabbage and green onion in a serving bowl and pour the dressing over top along with the sesame seeds, tossing well to combine all the ingredients.

The corn tortillas are best when warm, so I recommend wrapping them in tin foil and putting in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes prior to serving.

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Mexican Street Corn Dip.

Roasted Corn Dip With Sour Cream, Lime, Cojita Cheese & Jalapeño.


Mexican street corn is a type of street food that is popular in Mexico and throughout the US. The dish typically consists of corn on the cob coated in mayonnaise or sour cream, cheese, salt, lime and other seasonings. I wanted to make this for our recent housewarming party, but since corn on the cob can be difficult and messy to eat, I decided to take the main ingredients of Mexican street corn and turn it into a dip for easy eating. Luckily, the concept worked and the dip turned out delicious. It retained the same flavors and feel of street corn and tasted great with corn chips.

Serves ~8-10.


  • 32 oz frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup grated or crumbled cojita cheese
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup mild pickled jalapeño slices, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste
  • smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • corn or tortilla chips

Begin by roasting the corn. Spread the thawed corn out evenly on a large baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over top along with a dash of sea salt and a light dusting of smoked paprika. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once cooked, put the roasted corn into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

Once the corn has cooled to room temperature, add the sour cream, lime juice, chopped jalapeño, cojita cheese and season with another dash of smoked paprika and sea salt. Mix well to combine. When serving, top with a little sprinkling of paprika and cojita cheese and serve corn or tortilla chips.




Mind-Blowing Mushroom Pizza.

Baby Bella & Cremini Mushroom Pizza With Creamy Herbed Goat Cheese & Crispy Pancetta.


This pizza is made of some of my favorite things and the end result is so, so good. Instead of sauce, the base of the pizza is a creamy spread made of tangy goat cheese, subtly sweet mascarpone and flavorful herbs. The mushrooms add an earthy and rich flavor and the pancetta… well, bacon makes everything better. I can’t wait to make this again… mmmmm!

~1 pizza makes about 9 small pieces and serves about 6 as an appetizer or 3-4 as a main dish.


  • 16 oz fresh pizza dough (I bought pre-made but you could also make your own)
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese (room temperature to soften)
  • 4 oz mascarpone cheese (room temperature to soften)
  • large handful fresh dill, chopped
  • large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 oz diced pancetta, uncooked
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

Begin by cooking the mushrooms. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan on medium heat and add in the mushrooms. Cook for about 15 minutes or so, stirring around often, until the mushrooms have softened and turned a brown color. Season with a dash of salt and pepper.

In a small pan, cook the pancetta on medium-high heat (do not add any oil) and cook for about 5 minutes until the pancetta is crispy. Once cooked, drain the pancetta on paper towel to remove the excess grease and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese, mascarpone, dill, parsley together with a dash of salt/pepper and stir well to combine.

Roll the pizza dough out to create your desired flat bread shape (I went for a rectangular shape) and put the dough on a greased, non-stick baking sheet or pizza pan.

Now the fun part – time to assemble the pizza! Start by spreading a generous coat of the goat cheese mixture on top of the dough and then layer on the mushrooms and pancetta. Finish with the Parmesan cheese over top and cook in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and the top is melty.





Hard To Share Shishito Peppers.

Shishito Peppers with Miso, Parmesan and Lemon.


These shishito peppers are so good, you’ll want them all for yourself. This recipe is a re-make of one of my all-time favorite restaurant dishes, the pan-fried shishito peppers at Girl and the Goat in Chicago. Since I no longer live in Chicago and don’t have easy access to their peppers, I had to attempt a remake to get my fix! I made these for our housewarming party last weekend, and although some people gave the dish a skeptical look at first, they were quickly drooling over them. Shishito peppers have a mild heat and subtle bitterness, so the salty and tart flavor of the of the Parmesan, miso and lemon juice give the dish the perfect overall balance and flavor. Although nothing can compare to the deliciousness of Girl and the Goat shishito peppers, these are pretty darn close!

Adapted from this recipe.

Serves ~4-5 as an appetizer or side dish


  • 12 oz shishito peppers (Trader Joe’s sells 6 oz bags of shishito peppers now!)
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • sea salt

Heat the oil in a large pan on medium/high and once hot, add the peppers. Allow them to cook for 15 minutes or so. You don’t have to stir them throughout, because we want them to blister and lightly blacken in some spots, so just move them around every few minutes. Season the peppers with a dash of sea salt.

While the peppers are cooking, put the miso paste, lemon juice, Parmesan and water together in a small bowl and mix well to combine. Once cooked, transfer the peppers into a baking dish and drizzle the mixture over top. Finish off with a light dusting of Parmesan and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the top of the peppers and the miso mixture is lightly browned.





Divine Dijon Roasted Potatoes.

Dijon Roasted Potatoes With Bacon, Dill & Parmesan Cheese.

This dish is a great alternative to a standard potato salad to make at a summer BBQ or dinner party. It’s super simple to make and can also be prepared ahead of time and served room temperature. I personally believe bacon makes everything better (doesn’t everyone?) and the flavor of bacon goes oh so well with the tangy Dijon and fresh dill. My mouth is watering as I type… yum, yum!

Serves ~4 as a side dish.


  • 2 lbs baby yellow potatoes
  • 6 slices center cut bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped
  • large handful fresh dill, chopped
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste

Boil a large pot of water and cook the potatoes for about 10 minutes in the boiling water. One the potatoes are tender, drain all excess water and add them into a large roasting pan or baking sheet. Cut each potato in half and add the olive oil evenly over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper.

Put the potatoes in a 425 degree oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes (or until lightly browned), flipping the potatoes halfway through.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt/pepper. Whisk well to combine. Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, put them in a large mixing bowl and while still hot, pour the mixture on top along with the chopped bacon, dill and Parmesan and toss well to combine. You can serve either warm or room temperature.




Grilled Pear & Procuitto Salad.

Grilled Pear & Prosciutto Salad With Baby Spinach, Mozzarella & Walnuts in a Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette.


Simply put, this salad is amazing. I’ve made it a couple of times over the last few months and it’s become a fast favorite. The sweet and smokey grilled pairs go perfectly with the smooth mozzarella, salty prosciutto, crunchy walnuts and tangy dressing. This salad would be a great summer side dish at a BBQ but is certainly hearty enough to be eaten as a main course as well. I promise you that this salad will be a hit!

Serves ~5 as a side dish.


  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach
  • 4 medium ripe pears, sliced
  • 8 oz. Buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 oz. Prosciutto, sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, unsalted
  • 4 tbsp olive oil (3 tbsp for dressing and 1 tbsp for grilling pears)
  • 4 tbsp high-quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • sea salt/freshly ground black pepper

Slice the pears and toss them with 1 tbsp olive oil and a light sprinkling of sea salt. You can remove the skin if you want, but I leave it on. On a hot grill, put the pears fruit side down. Leave the pears on the grill for about 5-6 minutes without moving or turning them and then take them off the grill and allow them to cool slightly. The pears should have softened up quite a bit and have light grill marks on them.

In a large serving dish, layer the baby spinach, sliced mozzarella, prosciutto, pears and walnuts. To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and sea salt/black pepper to taste. Whisk well and then pour evenly over top the salad. If you like things a bit sweeter, you can also drizzle a bit of extra honey on top of the salad.