Sesame Garlic Sugar Snap Peas

2 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
1 tbsp Japanese Roasted Sesame Oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 lb sugar snap peas
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to broil.
Mix the olive oil, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and brown sugar together in a large bowl.
Add the snap peas and the sesame seeds and toss until well coated.
Broil for 1 1/2 minutes…stir…and broil a minute more…serve at room temperature.

​Recipe from "Holiday Spirit: Peace on earth, Goodwill to All and Fresh Baked Cookies," by Mango Dragonfly

Fig and Onion Bruschetta

~Not such a trendy appetizer…bruschetta actually dates back to the 15th century!

2 tbsp Butter Olive Oil
1 red onion, sliced very thinly
2 tbsp Fig Balsamic Vinegar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 French baguette, sliced in 1/2” rounds and lightly toasted
1 cup fig jam

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté until softened, stirring occasionally…about 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low...add the vinegar and stir for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
Combine the cream cheese and blue cheese in a bowl and mix until smooth.
Spread the cheese mixture on the baguette rounds.
Top with a spoonful of jam and then a spoonful of the onion mixture.

Recipe from: "Warm Hearth: Comforting Love-filled Recipes for Family, Friends and Cozy Fireplace Afternoons," by Mango Dragonfly.

Siena Sunset Salsa
~An easy and delicious Italian-style salsa...perfect for picnics and pre-concert snacks. Serve with pita chips or a thinly sliced baguette. Add some fresh mozzarella, sliced cheeses, grilled sausages, a bottle of wine and a beautiful sunset and the world is a wonderful place to be.

Bruschetta Bacon Cheese Ball Truffles

2 8 oz blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1/2 cup basil leaves, minced finely
2 garlic gloves, minced finely
4 tbsp Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled

Add the cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, garlic and 3 tbsp olive oil to a large bowl and mix until well combined.
Add the Italian cheese blend and Parmesan cheese and continue mixing until well combined and binding together.
Shape into a large ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a medium sauté pan over low heat.
Add the bread crumbs and stir constantly until they are golden brown.
Remove from heat add the crumbled bacon and cool completely.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scoop out a bite-sized ball of cheese. roll in your hands until evenly rounded and then roll the cheese ball in the toasted breadcrumbs...pressing in to get them to adhere.
Set the finished cheese balls on the baking sheet.
Chill until ready to serve.

Recipe from "Branch and Vine: Love and deliciousness from the Olive Oil Store," by Mango Dragonfly

Roasted Lemon Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce

2 lb raw 12-15 shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails on
3 tbsp Lemon Olive Oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp lemon juice
lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place the shrimp on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil,

salt and pepper.
Spread into a single layer and roast just until  pink and firm...about

8-9 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
Add the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish and lemon juice to a small bowl and whisk until well blended.
Serve with cocktail sauce and lemon wedges on the side.

​Recipe from, "Love Fest: Everyday Celebrations and Exclamation Point Meals for Those You Love and Cherish! by Mango Dragonfly.


Lemony Gremolata Hummus

2 15 oz cans chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup tahini
4 tbsp Milanese Gremolata Olive Oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
1 tbsp lemon zest

Place the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil,

salt, garlic and cumin into the bowl of a food processor and

process until smooth, scraping the sides frequently.
Transfer the hummus into a serving bowl.
Sprinkle the parsley and lemon zest on top and just serve with spoons.
Not really…veggies and pita chips are much more socially acceptable.

Recipe from: "Branch and Vine: Love and Deliciousness from the Olive Oil Store," by Mango Dragonfly.

(Zucchini Tart)

4 cups zucchini, sliced in paper thin rounds
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
1 8 oz jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
1 red onion, sliced paper thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pine nuts
1 cup basil leaves, minced
1 tbsp thyme
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups corn meal
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Toss the zucchini and salt in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes to drain.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Prep a 12” x 16” rimmed baking sheet with a bit of the olive oil.
Add the tomatoes, zucchini, red onion, garlic, pine nuts, basil and thyme to a large bowl and toss together until well combined.
Mix the flour, corn meal, red pepper flakes and baking powder together in a separate bowl until well blended.
Add the flour mixture to the veggie bowl and toss to mix the ingredients.
Whisk the eggs, olive oil together in the bowl you just emptied and add to large bowl, again mixing well.
Slowly stir in the water, use only enough needed to form a thin batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the top and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so until the cheese settles in a bit.
Cut into squares and serve hot, cold or room temperature.

​​​​​​​​​nacks and Starters

12 sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped small
1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
2-3 anchovy fillets, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp rosemary, minced

3 tbsp. Tuscan Herb Olive Oil

1 tbsp. Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.
Let stand until the tomatoes have softened up, about 10 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and chop finely.
Combine with the fresh tomatoes, olives, parsley, anchovies, garlic, capers rosemary, olive oil and balsamic vinegar  in a medium bowl and toss until well mixed.
Thinly slice a baguette, grab a bottle of wine and find a good spot to watch the sunset.

Recipe from: "Branch and Vine: Love and Deliciousness from the Olive Oil Store," by Mango Dragonfly.

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

It is hot and muggy here in Southwest Florida...really hot and muggy...even the birds seem sluggish and lazy this morning. It is the perfect time for something cold, spicy and crunchy that does not does not involve a stove, oven or sweltering over a heat source of any kind. 

We are a family divided when it comes to cilantro. Some love it and some think it tastes exactly like Ivory soap. If you share cilantro issues...serve it as garni on the side or feel free to replace it with Italian parsley. Serve in martini glasses, jars or shot glasses with celery and a shrimp or two on the side.
Of course, the vodka is optional.

1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion
4 cups Bloody Mary mix
1 bunch cilantro
2 English cucumbers, chopped into large chunks
6 large, ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp lime juice
2 cups vodka
1/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil
2 tbsp Worchester sauce
sea salt
black pepper
Place the jalapeno, garlic, red onion and 1 cup bloody Mary mix into a blender or food processor, process until smooth…transfer to a large bowl.
Next process the cilantro, cucumber and tomatoes until smooth and transfer to the bowl.
Add the lime juice, vodka, olive oil, Worchester sauce and remaining Bloody Mary mix…stir well.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from: "Garden Table: A Celebration of Bare Feet, Fresh Picked Tomatoes and Not Waiting Until Sunday Night to Grill," by Mango Dragonfly.