Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Hot Peppers" by Barb McSpadden August 8, 2012 at 10:00


Due to family circumstances at Barb’s house the subject will be "Remarkable Plants of Texas" by Ruth Hoese. Sorry for the late notice.



Just a reminder that our next program is Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at 10:00. Find us at the ACISD Maintenance Department Formerly Rockport Elementary, 619 N. Live Oak Street, Room 14, Rockport, Texas.

Our program will be "Hot Peppers" by Barb McSpadden! An appropriate topic considering our Texas heat!!


Here we are in south Texas where it's beautiful just to stay indoors with the a/c cranking and looking out the window at the bay and wondering when it will start to cool down. Gardening is out of the question with it being so hot and humid. Maybe a lazy day at the pool will make summer more tolerable. In the meantime, I've been thinking about some easy recipes for summer. Here are a few that might make your summer meals a little healthier and tasty!

This recipe is my sister's wonderful sangria that is great with Tex-Mex on a hot summer night.


½ cup sugar
¼ cup brandy
½ cup orange juice
Orange slices
Lime slices
Bottle of either white wine or red wine
½ cup sparkling wine or sparkling water

Fresh mint springs

Mix together and put into a pitcher with ice. Serve in tall, frosted glasses if available. Add a few sprigs of fresh mint! 

Boudro's is on the River Walk in San Antonio. They make this at your table, and it is the best guacamole I have ever tasted.


Juice of 1/4 of an orange
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 avocado seeded and scooped out of skin
2 Tbs roasted and charred Roma tomatoes diced
1 ea Serrano pepper roasted seeded and diced
1 Tbs medium dice red onions
1 tsp chopped cilantro
coarse ground salt to taste (sea salt is better)

Squeeze juices into bowl. Add avocado and coarsely chop. Add onions, roasted tomato, Serrano and cilantro fold into avocado mixture. Add salt (more is better). Result should be crudely chopped not mashed. That’s it.

Note: I found this comment online. "This is by far the best guacamole I've ever had. I asked our waiter about it and he said for the roasted tomatoes + Serrano peppers, you chop up 10 tomatoes to 1 Serrano pepper and roast it over a fire. Then use that mixture for the 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes in the recipe. Alternatively, I assume you could use 1 tomato and 1/10 pepper...if you want to figure out what that is."

This is great when served with a brisket and chips!


2 (15 ounce) cans beans, drained and rinsed, can use black beans, pinto beans, or a mix
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn, cooked
3 firm tomatoes diced (if you prefer you can also peel and seed, but I prefer not too)
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 to 4 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped (if you prefer you can also seed the peppers)
½ cup chopped onion, either a sweet yellow such as 1015 or purple onion
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and diced

Combine all ingredients except for the avocadoes, cover and chill for a few hours. Before serving, toss in the avocadoes. Be sure not to cut up the avocadoes until right before you get ready to serve the salsa. Serve with tortilla chips.

This is a new spin on an old recipe.


6 to 8 eggs, hard-boiled
1/3 cup mayonnaise or Ranch Dressing or mix of both of these
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon stone ground Dijon Mustard
½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, black or white or both

-Add 3 to 4 pieces fried bacon crumbled. Add some to mixture and saving a little to top on the eggs.
-Add 3 or 4 green onions finely chopped. Add some to mixture and saving a little to top on the eggs.

-Add a little black caviar on top. 

Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks; mash yolks with remaining ingredients. Refill into egg whites and sprinkle with paprika. Chill and serve.

My neighbor and friend, Barbra Fox, made this for one of our Rockport Herb & Rose Study Group's meetings. Very good! Great dish to take to a pot-luck dinner!

6 heaping tablespoons of Hellman's Mayonnaise
2 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of horseradish

1 head of cauliflower
1 red bell pepper
1 bunch of bulb onions
3 ribs of celery
1 can of black olives, thinly sliced
20 green olives, thinly sliced
*3 Roma tomatoes, chopped

Mix together all ingredients except for tomatoes and put into a large plastic bag and refrigerate at least overnight. Right before serving, *add 3 Roma tomatoes.
Additions and/or variations for the salad. Here are just a few suggestions. 
• Finely chopped red onion
• Broccoli
• shredded cabbage
• Any color bell pepper
• Hot peppers (capsicums) for more heat
• Shredded or thinly sliced cucumbers
• Shredded or thinly sliced carrots
• sliced green onions
• roasted peanuts
• Bean sprouts
• Fresh herbs, any that you like

We were discussing that you can use just the sauce for coleslaw. And I was thinking that you could make it as an oriental salad by substituting the horseradish for wasabi (possibly using less depending on your heat level) with a little soy sauce and pouring it over some oriental vegetables such as parboiled sugar snap peas, parboiled snow peas, shredded or thinly sliced cucumbers, shredded or thinly sliced carrots, sliced green onions, roasted peanuts, bean sprouts, etc.

This is a great dish to take to pot luck dinners or serve as an appetizer.  Everyone loves it!

¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon wasabi
½ cup canola oil

Blend all ingredients except oil in a food process; with machine running slowly add oil.  Cover and refrigerate.

2 pounds fresh trimmed asparagus (can use either green or white or a combination of the two.)

Blanch the asparagus by placing them into boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes, depending on how crisp you like your asparagus.  Remove them and immediately plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain and chill in the refrigerator.

Or steam the asparagus until it is tender crispy.   Remove them and immediately plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain and chill in the refrigerator.

Large lettuce leaves or fresh field greens, tomatoes, avocados.

Black & white sesame seeds, toasted for just a minute or so to release the oils

Lettuce and/or wild greens

Arrange the lettuce on a good size chilled platter, then put the wild greens on top of the lettuce, then arrange the asparagus on top and drizzle with the dressing.  Sprinkle with both the roasted black and white sesame seeds.  Add a little ginger to the plate for garnish.  You can also add some cherry tomatoes for color and/or sliced avocados. 


½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup sugar
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon onion powder

Whisk oil, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, pepper, dry mustard and onion powder until blended, and then cover and chill at least 2 hours.

2 pounds fresh spinach, torn & coarse stems discarded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh dill

Toss spinach, green onions, almonds, strawberries and dill in a salad bowl and just before serving pour dressing over salad and toss. 

*More recipes for quina.

People who aren’t crazy about the texture of whole grains may delight in quinoa. Its tiny round grains have a slight flavor that can be described as “vegetable caviar.” Quinoa has a bland but pleasant flavor that is enhanced by the addition of flavorful broth or other ingredients. One half-cup serving contains 3.5 g of fiber.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups cold, fresh water, broth, or stock
1/4 teaspoon salt (if unsalted broth is used)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
1/2 teaspoon organic lemon zest
1 teaspoon organic orange zest
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
3 chopped scallions, including green tops
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds with skin

Rinse the quinoa in cold water until it’s no longer sudsy. Drain well through a strainer. (Depending on whether you buy your quinoa packaged or in bulk, it may have been pre-rinsed, but it’s best to rinse anyway, because unless the bitter saponin that coats the grain has been thoroughly removed, your recipe will be ruined.)

In a 1-quart pan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and salt. Reduce the heat to low/medium; cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and quickly boil off any remaining liquid. Scrape the grain into a serving dish.  In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, and zests and stir in the remaining ingredients. Add the mixture to the cooled quinoa, stir, and serve chilled or at room temperature.

I served this cold for a wedding shower, and everyone loved it.

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Serves: 12 servings


  • 1 (9-ounce) package frozen sugar snap peas
  • 1 (16-ounce) package orzo, cooked and drained (can substitute with rice)
  • 1 cup water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken (store-cooked rotisserie chicken is good)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 (2-ounce) package slivered almonds, toasted (1/2 cup)
Cook sugar snap peas according to package directions; drain well.

In a large bowl, combine sugar snap peas, orzo, water chestnuts, chicken, green onion, and red bell pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce. Pour over orzo mixture, tossing gently to coat. Stir in toasted almonds. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

  • Used both fresh sugar snap peas and fresh snow peas; can add celery, carrots, asparagus, edamame, fresh spinach, 8 oz of mushrooms, etc.
  • Doubled the green onions.
  • Added two cloves of minced garlic.
  • Added spicy stir fry sauce along with the hoisin sauce in equal amounts.
  • Doubled the dressing recipe and added 1 tablespoon each of sesame oil and chili oil; substitute mayo for the oil
  • Grated ginger and red pepper flakes
  • Substituted unsalted peanuts for the almonds.
  • Added finely chopped jalapeƱo to the dish.
  • Added freshly chopped cilantro right before serving.
  • Cucumber instead of water chestnuts
  • Can substitute rice or quinoa for orzo.

* More recipes for quinoa: and

Also when I made the above quino, I added fresh oranges and a balsamic vinaigrette for more flavor!