Move Over Texas Caviar, time to get “Cali-fied”

Photo credit: Montie Stamps. Cali-fied Caviar suited up with vegetable croquettes on the set of California Cooking as part of my upcoming, taped appearance on the show. Will keep you posted on air date.

I have a lot of love for the great state of Texas.

You see the Lone Star state is the birthplace of Texas Caviar, according to documented accounts and urban legend.

Yes, I am a big fan of the black-eyed pea salad that doubles as a side dish and appetizer.

Distinguished beginnings

This humble dish has distinguished beginnings. New York native and Texas transplant Helen Corbitt first featured the dish at a New Year’s Eve event hosted at a Houston, Texas country club nearly 80 years ago.

Photo credit: Amazon. Helen Corbitt was a dietitian, who later became the Director of Food Services for Neiman-Marcus and authored many cookbooks.

One can only imagine the wonder, amazement and perhaps wrinkled noses of  guests as they gazed upon this gussied-up offering of black-eyed peas presented as part of their menu to usher in the new year.  The time honored tradition of eating a bowl of the pale little legumes – often slowed cooked in some kind of animal fat – is surrounded in the folklore that they bring about prosperity and good luck for the new year. But Corbitt’s lucky peas were a whimsical and unexpected way to celebrate the hope and aspiration for a prosperous and happy new year.

Doing it Cali style

Texas does things in a big way. Corbitt’s Texas Caviar and the many variations derived from it, deliver big flavor. I have been a big fan of what some call the “salsa/salad hybrid” for longer than I can remember. But –  and you knew there was a but coming – as a California native with Southern sensibilities, I had to “Cali-fi” it because we do things in a big way here too. And you know what they say, “As California goes, so goes the nation.”

Fresh mint and radishes are cutting board ready.

That is exactly my intent with my “Cali-fied” Caviar recipe. Peeled radishes are used in my recipe to give it texture and depth. Fresh mint and a simple lemon vinaigrette dressing made with a hint of sesame seed oil marry the ingredients and take this salad to that umami zone. If you like Texas Caviar, you will love this version straight from my little California kitchen to yours.

Oh, and you don’t have to wait for the arrival of a shiny new year to make this recipe. No sir, no ma’am, you can make it today, tomorrow or anytime you want to  get a little”Cali-fied.”

Happy cooking and I send you good luck and prosperity all year long.

Cali-fied Caviar

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Cali-fied Caviar is a fresh new take on Texas Caviar, California style.


1 15.5 ounce can Black eye peas, drained and rinsed
2-3 medium sized Roma tomatoes, halved, seeded and chopped
½ cup green bell pepper chopped
6 radishes, peeled and diced
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
¼ cup red onion, chopped
1 ear corn, grilled and removed from cob
1 heaping tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and chopped
Grapeseed oil for grilling corn on stove top

Vinaigrette Dressing
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Red pepper flakes
Crackled pepper
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon sesame seed oil


1. Add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil to a nonstick skillet set on medium heat.
2. Add corn to skillet and cook, turning frequently, until brown on all sides.
3. Remove from heat. Let cool and cut corn kernels from the cob. Set aside. Drain and rinse black-eyed peas. Add to a large mixing bowl
4. Add all remaining to the black-eyed peas including cut corn.
5. In a separate bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, chopped garlic and sesame seed oil. Whisk well with a metal whisk.
6. Pour vinaigrette over black eye-peas and chopped vegetables and mix well. Add red pepper flakes, cracked pepper and salt to taste.
7. Serve as a side salad or as appetizer with tortilla chips. Recipe can easily be doubled.

Keep Cool on the Grill

(Family Features) Keep your kitchen cool and comfortable with grilled meals that banish the heat to the outdoors. Crisp, fresh greens and a perfect blend of spices and savory ingredients make each of these refreshing dishes perfect solutions for toasty days.

Try these refreshing, diary-infused dishes for warm days.

Featuring ingredients across the food groups, these dairy-fueled recipes from Milk Means More are ideal for well-rounded meals filled with nutritious flavor. Zesty mustard, spicy Sriracha and rich buttermilk lend a marinated flavor upgrade to traditional grilled chicken, while homemade pesto, fresh corn and ham create a perfect harmony for a cheesy grilled pizza. Or make a salad the star of your dinner table with a simply seasoned sirloin steak, plenty of veggies and a tart twist on a creamy dressing made with yogurt and milk.

Find more refreshing meal solutions at

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken
Recipe courtesy of Lori Yates of Foxes Love Lemons on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Servings: 4

1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
4 chicken drumsticks, bone in, skin on
4 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
vegetable oil, for grill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges (optional)

  1. In medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, mustard powder, Sriracha, garlic and paprika.
  2. Place chicken in large zip-top bag; pour buttermilk mixture over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Heat outdoor grill for direct grilling over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess; discard marinade. Lightly oil grill grates. Transfer chicken to grill and cook, turning occasionally, 16-18 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 F.
  4. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Grilled Pizza with Arugula Pesto, Corn and Ham

Grilled Pizza with Arugula Pesto, Corn and Ham
Recipe courtesy of Rachel Gurk of Rachel Cooks on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Arugula Pesto
2 cups fresh arugula, tightly packed
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch red pepper flakes, (optional)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

Grilled Pizza
2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 pound pizza crust dough (at room temperature if using refrigerated dough)
vegetable oil, for grill
1/2 cup Arugula Pesto
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup diced deli ham
1/2-3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 cob)
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  1. Heat grill to medium heat (350-400 F).
  2. To make Arugula Pesto: In food processor, combine arugula, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and Parmesan. Pulse until combined then, with food processor on, drizzle in olive oil until pesto forms, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. To make Grilled Pizza: Flour pizza dough lightly and stretch or roll to about 1/2-inch thickness (14- to 16-inch diameter).
  4. Sprinkle remaining flour on large rimless baking sheet, pizza peel or pizza stone. Transfer dough to baking surface.
  5. Clean grill grate and grease with oil-soaked paper towel and tongs. Slide dough off baking surface onto grill. Cover and cook until dough is bubbling on top and golden brown on bottom, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Carefully flip dough over using peel or tongs. Remove crust from grill to add toppings. Spread Arugula Pesto over dough. Top with ricotta, ham, corn kernels, onion and Parmesan. Return pizza to grill, cover and cook until toppings are heated through and bottom of crust is crispy, 5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove from grill, slice and serve.

Grilled Steak Salad with Chive Yogurt Dressing

Grilled Steak Salad with Chive Yogurt Dressing
Recipe courtesy of Kirsten Kubert of Comfortably Domestic on behalf of Milk Means More
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6

1 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 small limes)
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
20 ounces boneless petite sirloin steak

3 cups baby spinach
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce hearts
1/2 cup sweet red pepper rings
1/2 cup sweet yellow pepper rings
1 cup avocado chunks
1/4 cup thinly shaved red onion

  1. To make dressing: In blender, combine yogurt, lime juice, milk, chives, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend on low until smooth consistency forms and chives are completely incorporated. Transfer dressing to jar with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate until serving.
  2. Heat grill to medium.
  3. To prepare steak: Combine kosher salt, black pepper and granulated garlic to create rub. Sprinkle half of seasoning mix over one side of steak, pressing it into meat. Repeat with remaining seasoning on opposite side of steak.
  4. Grill steak over direct medium heat to desired level of doneness, approximately 4-5 minutes per side for medium pink center. Remove steak from grill and let rest 7-10 minutes on cutting board.
  5. To make salad: Toss spinach and romaine on large platter. Scatter red and yellow peppers, avocado and onion over greens. Slice grilled sirloin thinly against grain. Arrange meat slices along center of salad.
  6. Drizzle dressing over salad just prior to serving.

Source: United Dairy Industry of Michigan

Women’s History Month Special: A recipe for a healthy smile

Happy Women’s History Month!

In 1987 Congress declared March National Women’s History Month.

Every year the nation pauses to honorably mention and observe the unadulterated perseverance and heeled tenacity of woman power.

The examples are woven throughout history and more importantly throughout our daily lives. These are the women whose career accomplishments and humanity are as inspirational as they are aspirational.

Here in my hometown of Los Angeles, Dr. Mary Inku continues along a path paved by Emeline Roberts Jones, who in 1855 became the first woman to practice dentistry in the United States. Also Ida Gray Nelson Rollins, the first African American woman to graduate with a Doctorate of Dental Surgery in the United States in1890.

Dr. Mary Inku, Oasis Dental.

About Dr. Inku

Dr. Inku is certainly in the company of women who not only dared to dream, but dared to peruse their dream.

“I knew very early I was going into a health field because I excelled in the sciences and had interests in biology and chemistry, said Dr. Inku. “It was a matter of being a medical doctor or dentist, and I chose dentistry.”

Dr. Inku earned her undergraduate degree at State University of New York. She then received a degree in Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1988 from University of Southern California. In her 30 years of practicing dentistry she has worked with countless families, business owners and celebrities.

“It’s so wonderful to be in this field,” said Dr. Inku as she reflected on the number of lives she has impacted.”You see you can change people’s lives and make a difference immediately by repairing their teeth. It changes their perspective and self-esteem. It’s so gratifying.”

A new way, a new practice

Dr. Mary Inku and Dr. Chris Myung, Oasis Dental.

Her newly launched practice is called Oasis Dental. She opened it late last year with Dr. Chris Myung in Inglewood, California. It is quickly changing the smiles of so many people. Between her and Dr. Myung, they have over 50 years of dentistry experience.

Dr. Inku says Oasis Dental is known as the “neighborhood dentist,” a place where patients can expect to receive honest and compassionate care.

She fully understands the reluctance and sometimes paralyzing fear that grips patients when they think about coming to visit a dentist. She says the practice focuses on painless dentistry and preventative care.

With the array of studies and research that suggest a connection between poor oral health posing an increased risk of heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer disease, prevention and education is an important part of the practice.

“I’ve found that if you talk to people they want to know how they can change their oral health; it’s just a matter of sitting down, having a conversation and getting an honest opinion.”

Dr. Inku has had lots of those conversations during office visits and community forums as well. Some of her most notable conversations have been with social workers whose clients are young teenage boys in foster care and those who have recently come out of the juvenile justice system. Because of their lack of dental care, many of them were ashamed of their teeth. After she provided them with treatment, Dr. Inku said they are very enthusiastic about going out into the world and finding a job.

Her food memories

Spicy Chicken Stew, a classic Ethiopian dish.

Dr. Inku is of Ethiopian decent and speaks warmly of the influence and nurturing of her family. And when it comes to food memories, she has plenty of them.

“My mother is the best cook ever. She can literally come up with 3 to 4 dishes while talking and telling stories. She makes it look easy and says its nothing.  I say it’s amazing.”

Traditional Injera bread made from the grain called teff, which is very high in protein and iron.

Ethiopian cuisine is known for its mastery of spices and intense favors. And because many Ethiopians fast from dairy and animal products throughout the year, most meals are composed of an array of meatless stews, vegetables, spice infused sauces, and Injera which is a crepe like flat bread.

Shiro Bean Stew, a traditional Ethiopian stew whose primary ingredient is powdered chickpeas or broad bean meal.

“We use lots of spices like black pepper, garlic, red pepper, ginger and coriander in our cooking. Because we have many fasting days, I grew up eating lots of meals without meat. My mother’s collard greens are made with oil, garlic, sometimes carrots and stewed with other spices,” said Dr. Inku adding that when they did eat meat her mom would sometimes add lamb or beef to the collard greens.

A recipe for good dental health

Remember, a dry tooth brush cleans better than a wet one. Dr. Inku recommends having two tooth brushes that you alternate between using so you will always have a dry tooth brush.

Dental health is so important. But unfortunately Dr. Inku says many of us don’t think much about it until we have a problem. Here are a  few tips she says will help you maintain a healthy smile:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Keep in mind that brushing before bed gets rid of the germs and plaque that accumulate throughout the day.
  • Brush your teeth properly, with a dry brush, using circular motions to remove plaque. Use a soft bristle because medium and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage your gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel.
  • Gently brush your tongue because plaque can also build up on your tongue and it can lead to bad mouth odor and other oral health problems.
  • Sipping soda, juice, and eating sweet stuff constantly bathes your teeth in sugar. That sugar converts into acid in the mouth, which can then erode the enamel of your teeth.  Make sure to brush or rinse your mouth with water after you eat and drink if you can’t brush.
  • Eating foods like apples, celery and carrots are good to help fight plaque. Remember fibrous food is good for cleaning your teeth.
  • Enjoy a piece of cheese or unsweetened yogurt after you eat. They contain a protein that helps to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
  • Remember, a diet with a higher percentage of raw vegetables is good for your teeth and gums. Crunchy, raw carrots act as a natural toothbrush. The chewing action massages your gums.
  • See your dentist for cleanings and checkups twice a year.  A dentist will be able to spot potential issues and offer treatment solutions before you have a more serious problem.
  • Take your children to see a dentist as soon as you see their teeth to talk about how to take care of their teeth to prevent decay from milk and solid foods.

An Inku family recipe

Collard greens are a traditional favorite in the United States and Dr. Inku says they are staple food in Ethiopian culture too. Her mother makes them often and when she does, they bring back memories that nurtured her body and fed her soul. Dr. Inku shares her mother’s collard greens recipe. The use of fresh ginger is an unexpected, delicate delight to the palate. Once you try this recipe, you will never think of collard  greens in the same way.

I hope you enjoy her favorite family recipe. For more information about Dr. Inku and Oasis Dental, check out her website at

Dr. Inku's Collard Greens with Short Ribs

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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The use of fresh ginger is an unexpected delight to the palate.


1 medium white onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped pieces
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
¼ pound tri-tip or sirlon, cut in cubes  (optional)
2-3 short ribs (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
4 pounds collard greens, stems removed and chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, cut in half (optional)


  1. Mash chopped ginger with the chopped garlic. Set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large pot set on medium heat.
  3. Saute onions.  And add carrots, garlic, ginger and cook until onions are translucent.
  4. Add the meat and salt and cover pot. Turn heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the collard greens and mix them in the juices.
  6. Cover pot and cook on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes in its own juice. Cook to taste.
  7. Add the jalapenos the last 5 minutes before the greens have finished cooking.

A Super Bowl recipe that’s a fair catch

 Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes with turkey Italian sausage and fresh basil, plated.

The Los Angeles Rams are going to the Super Bowl!

Angelenos are rejoicing in the City of Angeles, my hometown.

The controversy

Yeah, I know the controversy about the infamous “non-call” for pass interference of the Rams during the NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints.  It allowed the Rams to tie the score with a field goal in the final precious minutes of the game. In sudden death overtime, the Rams won it all after an interception and a winning field goal kick. So now the Rams will go against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII or the 53rd Super Bowl game.

The Los Angeles Rams go head-to-head with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

These are the details, cursorily recounted.

They sting for many. For others, it’s a serendipitous outcome.

But this championship game bell can’t be un-rung. So we just got to move on – that is move on to planning our Super Bowl viewing party menu.

5 Bean and Beer Super Bowl Chili


Super Bowl Chili anyone?

In my Super Bowl post last year, I featured my 5 Bean and Beer Chili recipe as the perfect complement for the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles game.

Chili is a good choice. It’s actually a great choice and considered required Super Bowl viewing party food along with tasty party wings.

To my absolute surprise, I’ve learned that not everyone likes chili. Imagine that! It’s unbelievable to me. So if a bowl of hot and comforting chili is not the center piece of everyone’s viewing party experience, chili abstainers will be sidelined.

The game day recipe play

Since the Rams victory was such a stunner, my Super Bowl recipe offering this year has to be as well. It’s got to be something unexpected and somewhat of a game changer.

My Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes recipe is all that and more. It a fusion of scalloped and Au Gratin potatoes. The cream sauce is made with sauteed shallots and garlic, evaporated milk, a small amount of creamy and sharp Romano cheese, dried Italian herbs, a squeeze of concentrated tomato paste – and the pièce de rèstistance (or the most remarkable feature) is a turkey Italian sausage that is sandwiched between the first and second potato layer.

It’s a hearty side dish with a delicate, creamy sauce that is heightened with the subtle savoriness of dried Italian seasoning and a hint of sharpness from the Romano cheese. It’s a goodie.

Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes with fresh basil.

For best results, make this recipe in a glass, 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  You can cut it into 8 to 15 serving size squares. Garnish it with fresh basil. It can be served warm or at room temperature.

Now a brief disclosure

Unlike most recipes I feature, this one is a little more than intermediate, and the total baking time is an hour and fifteen minutes. You can certainly bake it a day ahead and reheat at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until thoroughly warm.

With all that said, it’s definitely worth it and there’s no pass interference here. This one simply goes straight up the middle for a tasty touchdown. Now – go team!

Fair Catch Scalloped Potatoes

  • Servings: 8 to 15
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Print

A hearty side dish with a delicate, creamy sauce and an Italian twist.


1/4 cup butter
2 large shallots diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste (I used tomato paste in tube)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (scant or a large pinch)
1 1/2 pounds russets potatoes sliced about 1/8 inch thick (4 to 5 medium potatoes)
3 links fresh Italian sausage, cooked (turkey used in this recipe)
Fresh basil, chopped


Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit


  • Remove casing from sausage links. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and heat at medium heat. Place  sausage in the skillet and break apart with wooden or silicone spatula.
  • Turn the sausage over in pan until it browns and it is cooked. Drain the oil from the meat and set aside.


  • Wash and scrub potatoes. Pat dry. Do not peel. Slice with a knife or mandolin 1/8 inch thick. Place sliced potatoes in bowl.
  • Cover potatoes with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and agitate water with your hand to distribute salt. Let potatoes stand in water.


  • To make the sauce, melt butter  over medium low heat. Add shallots. Cook until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook another  minute. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste.
  • Reduce heat to low.  Add milk, broth, Romano cheese, salt, red pepper flakes and dried Italian seasoning.
  • Turn heat back up to medium and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Continue to whisk until sauce is smooth.
  • Remove from heat once  the sauce is thicken.


  • Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish. Drain potatoes. Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Cover first layer of potatoes with cooked sausage. Pour a 1/3 of the cream sauce sauce over the sausage.
  • Repeat with a second layer of potatoes and pour another 1/3 of the sauce over potatoes. End with a third layer of potatoes pour last 1/3 of cream sauce over the top. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and potatoes are tender. Broil for 2-4 minutes to obtain a golden top.
  • Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chopped basil.