Happy New Year, happy new food


You just gotta be in 2018.

I am not talking about your list of practical and lofty resolutions.

In all honesty, you probably need to anchor your resolve to straighten up your act in a myriad of areas.  Skip the resolutions. You know what you need to do, so get busy and handle your business, be your best self and live your best life as a 2018 commitment to yourself (in my Oprah voice).

That pot of black-eyed peas is certainly an obligatory tradition  some believe is a lucky charm for each shiny new year. I would never, ever advocate that you toss tradition to the wind. That would be unthinkable. In fact, I subscribe to this annual rite of passage into the New Year and trust me, I did partake and they were – in a word – so good. Ok, that’s two words.  Get my recipe here.

Lucky black-eyed peas

No luck needed

Luck is great,  but it abdicates your participation. I want you to be more resolute about your food choices this year.

Yes its cliché – you are what you eat. And the often unspoken part of that adage is you are how much you eat too. (Ok I made that up, but the point has to be driven home).

If you don’t set your intentions to make better food choices in 2018, when will you?

I love food anthologist, activist and journalist Michael Pollan. In The Pollan Table Family Cookbook, Pollan makes many salient points in the introduction of this beautiful cookbook.

Pollan connects the increase in obesity to the advent and rise of the fast food industry. Pollan also reminds us that humans cook food; corporations manufacture it.

That’s worth a pause. Take a moment to digest that.

Let me cut to the quick and bottom line my intentions for you:

  • You need to take control of your food choices.
  • You need to be mindful about the food you allow in your everyday life and the life of your family.
  • You need to reduce your portion sizes; they are overall just too large.
  • You need to cut back on the number of meals you get passed to you from a drive through window and pick-up counter – yeah you do.

For heavens sake, for your own sake, get back to cooking your own food. I know it sounds so complex, time consuming and mind bending. But it doesn’t have to be. You can do it. Your health and the health of your family depends on this.

Keep it simple dear heart and:

  1. Use fresh ingredients when possible; they provide more nutrients.
  2. Bake, broil, and grill more often than not; take a break from fried foods.
  3. Add flavor with spices and herbs; cut back on added salt and fat.
  4. Read labels and understand typical serving sizes; portion control is not a myth.
  5. Cut back on carbs; you don’t have to have them every meal.
  6. Learn a few easy food preparation techniques and get inspired.

Follow me

If you follow me on Instagram @collardgreenscaviar (and you really should), you will quickly learn that I am a big home cooking advocate. I have put in a lot of sweat equity over a stove top, about 35 years contiguous if I dare do the math.

I am a journalist and food writer first and foremost. Writing about the significant role and value food plays in our lives has been my focus and my passion.

However, I do  post a lot of food pictures on Instagram,  many of which I prepare and actually eat at home. I am not perfect when it comes to what I eat, but I know perfectly well that I when I prepare my own meals more often than not, I make better choices.

Pan grilled chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts

In this post I feature one of my most requested Instagram recipes, well its not really a recipe but a method I use to prepare chicken breast. I make this often, especially after a workout. Its fast and easy to make, in just under 30 minutes. Its delicious, healthy and beautiful to look at.

The chicken breast is seasoned with a spice rub, then pan grilled and finished in the oven. And you probably noticed there are no carbs. Yup. I often skip them at dinner time and opt for pan roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts or brocolli. But if you need or want carbs, I suggest serving this with a baked yam or confetti brown rice chalk full of your favorite sautéed vegetables.

Happy New Year! Bon Appétit.  Chin-chin. Salud.

I predict new food is in your future. Now get cooking.

Chicken so most, tender and flavorful.


2 boneless chicken breasts
Spice rub mix (Red Velvet Gourmet Spice Rub featured here)
Grapeseed oil


  1. Wash and pat dry chicken breast.
  2. Place on cutting board and slice in half.
  3. Rub a little Grapeseed oil on both sides of sliced breast and then generally season with spice rub.
  4. Pour about two tablespoon of Grapeseed oil in a grill pan set at medium heat.
  5. Once oil is heated, place breasts  in pan and cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes until medium brown in color.
  6. Remove from pan and place on a baking sheet.
  7. Cook remaining breasts and place in 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Wash and pat dry chicken breasts.

Place on cutting board and slice each breast in half.

Rub a little Grapeseed oil on both sides of sliced breast and then generally season with spice rub.

Add chicken breast to grill pan and cook about two minutes on each side.

Remove from pan, place on a baking sheet and place in 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 10minutes.

Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

The year of fearless cooking

Happy New Year all!


Simmering pot of Fearless Seafood Chowder

It’s a few weeks into the New Year and I am sure you’ve made a few resolutions.

Let’s see, the list probably includes losing weight, getting fit, making wiser food choices and saving money.

Those are great resolutions and worthy of being on everyone’s list.

Take the challenge

I’d like to challenge you to add another one to your list – cook fearlessly.

Get in the kitchen. Make your own food. Try a new recipe.  Re-image an old recipe. Incorporate a new ingredient. Try a food hack. Bust out of your culinary comfort zone.

Here’s a bit of a food hack that can jump start your fearless foray. Its a pretty bold move, but you can do it!

I love those spicy peel and eat, New Orleans style shrimp bowls. You probably have a favorite restaurant where you like to enjoy the tasty crustaceans.


Left: Killer Shrimp Steamed Mussels. Right: Killer Shrimp Peel and Eat Shrimp Bowl

I live in Los Angeles and one of my favorite restaurants to visit is Killer Shrimp in Marina Del Rey. The shrimp and steamed mussel bowls are amazing. They are served with a basket of sour dough bread for dipping and sopping up all that tasty, luxurious, spicy broth.

Recharge that broth

The flavor infused broth  that remains when the meal is done – it’s good stuff

Both are absolutely delicious. When I’ve eaten all the shrimp and mussels out of the bowls, what remains is a lovely broth that most people just leave to be discarded. But not me. I have my server combine the broth into one take home container which I stash in the freezer. Why? Because this favor infused broth is a great base for seafood chowder. What if you don’t have the tasty broth? No worries, you can substitute a combination of El Pato Jalapeno Salsa  and Mexican beer to your taste.

I’ve made this chowder often and my family and friends love it. This recipe has a delectable flavor and an impressive presentation. It looks like you worked in the kitchen all day.

You can add any seafood you like. For this version, I rendered the fat from bacon and used the fat in making the roux. I also the crumbled bacon and added it to the stock pot along with the seafood.  I used whole kernel corn. If you like, you can experiment with using creamed corn,  sweet peas, celery or even chayote squash.  This is a  great recipe to experiment with because it’s very forgiving and lends itself to improvisation.  After all,  it’s just a gloried soup!

So don’t be squeamish, be fearless.  Give it a try and dazzle the loved ones in your life, or dazzle yourself.

I am gently nudging you to cook fearlessly and  eat well this year my friends. And you are very welcomed.

Happy New Year and may you have sweet mornings, tasty afternoons and delicious evenings. Now – get cooking!

Fearless seafood chowder


Fearless Seafood Chowder

¼ cup flour
¼ cup butter (½ stick butter)
1 medium shallot, chopped
3 cloves, chopped
1 cup or more Killer Shrimp stock (Shrimp Bowl or Mussel Bowl stock)
(or substitute 4 ounces of El Pato Jalapeno Salsa with 1 cup of water or beer)
1 32 ounce carton seafood cooking stock
1  14.5 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
5 medium red potatoes, diced
1 15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn
3 pounds seafood (shrimp, cod, salmon)


Stock ingredients for Fearless Seafood Chowder – including broth container from Killer Shrimp

Add butter to a pan set on medium heat. Add flour. When butter is melted, stir mixture until it is medium in color, about 3 minutes. Add chopped shallots and garlic to pan. Stir another 2 minutes. Remove pan, and empty mixture into a large Dutch oven or 5 quart stock pot. Option:Or you can do this step in large Dutch oven or 5 quart stock pan if you like.

Add Killer Shrimp reserved broth (defrosted) , seafood cooking stock, diced fired roasted tomatoes and diced red potatoes to pot with browned flour, butter, shallots and onion roux mixture. Stir well.


Left top: Add garlic and shallots to roux. Right top: Add Killer Shrimp broth and seafood cooking stock. Left bottom: Add diced, fire roasted tomatoes. Bottom right: Add diced, red potatoes.

Bring to a gentle boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.

After 30 minutes, add seafood and whole kernel corn.


Left: Add whole kernel sweet corn. Center: Add seafood (shrimp, Alaskan cod, salmon – crab legs are optional).

Add ½ to 1 cup of additional stock if needed. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until seafood is done. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges.



Your lucky pot of peas 2.0 Hacked

You gotta have your black eyed peas on New Year’s Day!


Stove top view of Sassy black eyed peas 2.0 Hacked

It’s tradition.

You know the story. That pot of peas holds the promise of a happy and prosperous new year. See my post Get your lucky pot of peas simmering for the New Year.

Having black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is serious business in my family and has been for generation. There is no way we are going to enter the new year with having them.

You  need your peas

With the United States and the world polarized by the results of our Presidential election, perhaps we all need a lucky pot of peas simmering on our stove tops on New Year’s Day, along with a generous helping of collard greens  which symbolizes the hope that more  moola – you know the green stuff that buys stuff –  is headed your way.

If you stick with tradition, that pot of peas is cooked low and slow, simmering for over an hour on your stove top.

Nestled among the simmering peas is often a smoked ham hock or turkey parts. The aroma of the smoked meat wafting through the air, along with the sound of the slightly ajar lid clinking back and forth on against the simmering pot, is the stuff that my memories are made of.

Hacking the peas

You want that lucky pot of peas. You gotta have that luck pot of peas. But what if you don’t want to go through all that work  soaking and simmering?

Recently, I was a contestant on the Food Network show Clash of the Grandmas. One of the challenges on this special “on fleek” or on point episode involved using a food hack to create an entrée.  Food hacks are tricks, shortcuts, or novel methods in creating or recreating a dish.

In channeling my Food Network experience, I created a tasty black eyed peas food hack for you. I call the recipe Sassy Black Eyed Peas 2.0 Hacked. For this recipe you will need unseasoned, canned black eyed peas – yes you read that right – which I will shamelessly tell you I get from Ralphs or Kroger Market.

This recipe is great to serve for your New Year’s dinner or anytime. It is smoked meat free and tangy, savory, delicious and full of flavor. Your vegetarian friends will rejoice and the carnivores in your life will not even miss the meat.

Now you can have that lucky pot of peas 2.0 style – which simply means updated and recreated using this easy food hack.

Happy New Year to you and your family.

Sassy Black Eyed Peas 2.0 Hacked


Sassy Black Eyed Peas 2.0 Hacked, served with Simple Truth Chicken glazed with barbecue sauce.

2  15.5 ounce cans unseasoned black eyed peas (Kroger/Ralphs featured here)
2 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup red chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of one lime
¼ cup liquid
Cracked pepper
Crushed red pepper


Sassy Black Eyed Peas 2.0 Hacked simple ingredients

With a skillet set on medium heat, add sesame seed oil and butter. When butter is melted, add chopped red onion and red bell pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add chopped garlic to pan and sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add two cans of Kroger black eye peas, drained. Reserve ¼ cup of liquid (optional).

Add juice of one lime, ¼ cup of liquid (water, vegetable stock or reserved liquid from drained peas) and cilantro, crushed red pepper and cracked pepper to taste. Stir well. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes or until well heated. Serve.

Mazing macaroons

Cookie season I salute you.


Mazing Macaroons packaged for gifting giving

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when I dust off my treasured and sometimes secret cookie recipes to bake for the holidays.

Cookies just make the holidays bright.

These sweet treats are the things that memories and traditions are made of. They are objects of enchantment and folk lore when they are baked and shared with generation after generation.

This Christmas my three-year-old grandson Elijah – or “Eli” as I call him – is totally into the holiday season because he’s figured out this time of years gives him a pass to eat all the cookies he wants, or so he thinks.


My grandson Elijah “Eli” surrounded by the things he loves best – cars

Every year I bake up an assortment of cookies, cakes and treats and package them for gift giving. This year I included a new macaroon recipe I had been developing.

Eli was happy to be my cookie tester. When I pressed the lightly toasted macaroon into his  little hand he said, “Bella (which is what he calls me) they look like snow balls!”

“Well I guess they do. They are called coconut macaroons,” I said.

He took a bite, and then tried to shove the rest of the cookie into his mouth. After he finished the cookie, he raised his hands over his head and said, “These macaroons are mazing Bella!”

Mazing. I like that. I wonder if that’s better than a-mazing?

If you are thinking about making a few baked goods for the holidays, this recipe is simple and you can have these tasty little treats baked up in no time. They are moist, chewy, soft and delicious little mounds with a pop of chocolate. The video below will show you just how easy they are to make. And like Eli says, they are mazing!

Mazing Macaroons

14 ounce package of angel flake sweetened coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white, beaten stiff

Combine together coconut, pecans and mini chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Add sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt to coconut mixture. Mix well and make sure the condensed milk is thoroughly blended in the mixture.

Beat egg white in a bowl until stiff, until the texture similar to meringue. Fold beaten egg white into the coconut mixture.

Set oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of the mixture and form into densely packed balls. Place each ball on the baking sheet and press them down lightly.

Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from oven. Cool and store. Makes 20 to 22 macaroons.