Monthly Archives: August 2012

Summer Vegetable Strata


Summer Vegetable Strata

4 servings

Summer is still here and so are the very fresh veggies in the markets and the Farmers Markets. So, here is a pretty healthy and dietetic dish made with egg beaters, skim milk, and low-fat mozzarella. It’s another easy one for the cook because it can be an overnight casserole.


No-Stick cooking spray

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, sliced

2 C. Italian bread cubes, (1 inch)

1/3 C. shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

1 C. (8 oz.) Egg Beaters

3/4 C. Skim Milk

1/4 Tsp. salt

1/4 Tsp. ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Spray an 8 X 8-inch baking dish; set aside
  3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.
  4. Add onions, zucchini and bell peppers; book about 6 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.  Add bread cubes; mix lightly.
  5. Spoon into prepared baking dish and sprinkle with cheese.
  6. Beat Egg Beaters, milk, salt and pepper in a blender; pour over the bread mixture. Cover at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  7. Bake, uncovered, 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 4 squares to serve.

If you wish to substitute the non-fat ingredients for the “real” thing, that would be just fine.  1 C. of Egg Beaters is comparable to using 4 whole eggs. 


For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.


Fresh Spinach Salad with Fresh Sliced Mangos and Asian Sesame Ginger Dressing


Egg Picante & Spinach-mango salad etc. 019

Fresh Spinach Salad with Fresh Sliced Mangos and Asian Sesame  Ginger Dressing



I love spinach any which way however I especially like it when presented as a tasty salad.  When the fresh mangos are out in their best form, that’s when I usually think of my combo spinach mango delight.  Topping it with this Asian sesame ginger dressing makes this salad just about perfect—or at least I think so.  Here’s the recipe to share and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Plenty of good fresh spinach—well washed and rinsed and leaves left whole

One or more (depending how much spinach you’ve dished into your salad bowl) fresh, tasty mangos sliced long ways

Pine nuts to sprinkle on last

Asian Sesame Ginger Dressing Ingredients-(makes about 1 C and stores in frig for up to 3 weeks)

1/2 C. rice wine vinegar

1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger

2 Tsp. toasted sesame seeds

1/2 Tsp. sesame oil

2/3 C. Olive Oil or Canola Oil or a mixture of both


Because I like to enjoy my guests when they arrive, I try to organize my entertainment meals in a way that will make my job as effortlessly as possible.  Doing this entails the cook to plan and to think ahead.  So, this is what I do with this simple, but delicious salad.   An hour or two before your guests arrive:

  1. Place dressing ingredients in a lidded jar and shake well. Put in frig..

2.   Wash the spinach in the spinner and store spinner/spinach in the frig.

3.   Peel and slice mangos. Place on a dish and cover with saran rap. Store in frig.

4.   Keep salad bowl, serving implements out on counter top with pine nuts near by.

So now, that you have your salad all ready to go, you can also start organizing the rest of your meal.  I am always doing dishes as I go so that when my guests arrive, the kitchen is relatively neat and clean. I always make sure that my dishwasher is EMPTY. That makes cleanup after the guests leave a breeze.  Because I am such a neat-nick, I guess that I would not do well in a busy restaurant kitchen—however, having been an innkeeper for 5 years, this method worked very well for me.  So, just a couple of hints from the TempInnKeeper Margot.  Hope they can work for you as well.

Roasted Corn with Basil/Shallot Vinaigrette


Roasted Corn with Basil/Shallot Vinaigrette


Our yummy Hagerman corn is still plentiful so here’s another wonderful and easy fresh corn recipe that I think you’ll all enjoy.



3 C. fresh corn kernels—about 3 ears

2 Tblsp. olive oil

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil

1 Tblsp. minced shallot

1 Tblsp. red wine vinegar

1/4 Tsp. salt

Pepper to taste



Heat oven to 450

Toss corn and oil together so the corn is well coated and spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake stirring once 1/2 way through for about 20 minutes

Combine basil, shallot, vinegar, S&P in a bowl and add corn kernels.

Serve warm or cold.

This can be made one day ahead.


PS—One of my favorite ways of cooking our wonderful corn is in the micro.  First I slightly cut the soft end just a bit and then I soak the ears in cold water for 1/2 hour.  Then I wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in the micro—2 minutes per ear so if only 1 ear, 2 minutes; 2 ears = 4 minutes; etc.  I take them out carefully, take the husk off and voila, crunchy crisp corn for your delight.  If it’s too crunchy for only 2 minutes, cook a bit more.


For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.




Gazpacho–Red or White–you choose!


Gazpacho—Red and White

Now that its summer featuring warm days and the Farmers Markets with their sumptuous tomatoes and other veggie delights, good cold gazpacho always comes to my mind.  There are so many different varieties of this wonderful soup but I am going to offer for your palate two: one red and one white.


Red Gazpacho:

Serves 6

1 clove garlic, halved

1 egg (if the raw scares you, don’t use it or coddle it first for a minute)

1/8th Tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 Tsp. salt

3 Tblsp. cider or wine vinegar

1/4 C. olive oil

1/2 small onion, peeled and quartered

2 large ripe tomatoes, cut up (If the tomatoes are not tasty, I have used the canned variety)

1/2 green pepper, seeded and cut in strips (you can also use, red, yellow or orange)

1 medium cucumber, peeled and coarsely cut

1/2 C. beef consommé



In a blender, put the garlic, egg, cayenne pepper, salt, vinegar, and olive oil. Cover and blend on low speed for 5 seconds.

Add remaining ingredients, cover, and blend on high speed for 30 seconds.

Taste—and if you wish to make spicier add more cayenne, whatever.

Chill and serve very cold along with garlic croutons and chopped fresh parsley.


White Gazpacho:

Makes 6-8 servings


3 cucumbers (preferably English) peeled

4 tomatoes, chopped

1/2  C. green onions, thinly sliced

1/2  C. fresh parsley, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 C. sour cream

1 C. yogurt

1 C. chicken or vegetable broth

3 Tblsp. red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 to 1 1/2 Tsp. salt

1 Tsp. white pepper

1 C. sunflower seed, roasted and salted, for garnish



Dice one of the cucumbers and add to a bowl along with the chopped tomatoes, green onions, parsley, and garlic.

Cut the other two cucumbers into 1-inch cubes

In a blender, add one half the cucumber pieces and puree with the sour cream until smooth.  Add to the bowl of veggies.  Repeat this step with the other half of the cucumber pieces and the yogurt.  Add to the veggie bowl.

Add the stock, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and white pepper.

Stir well and chill for at least 2 hours.

Serve very cold with sunflower seeds.

(If you would rather not have veggie chumks in the soup, mix the whole in the blender to make a smooth textured Gazpacho.)


For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.


Cheese Souffle With Corn and Jalapenos


Cheese Soufflé With Corn and Jalapenos

I was walking the Sun Valley Center of the Arts & Crafts Fest when I bumped into my dear friend Lois A., now living in Santa Barbara.  I had made her this dish when she had visited me at my bed and breakfast in Paso, CA. She reminded me how much she enjoyed this dish and that darn, she had lost the recipe.  So Lois, this is for you.  Welcome back to Sun Valley.  And Pat, for you and the other so kind “From My Table to Yours” readers, thank you so much for your on going praises for this column.

Now that our tasty locally grown Hagerman corn is for sale in great abundance in our markets, this is the perfect breakfast or brunch dish to enjoy.  Even for dinner it is good.  This recipe may sound a bit complicated, but it’s really not———so just go for it.


2 medium onions, sliced

2 Tbls. unsalted butter

2 more Tblsp. unsalted butter melted

2 fresh jalapeno chilies cut into halves lengthwise, seeded and cut into strips

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 C. fresh corn kernels cut off the cob (2 1/2 to 3 ears will do)


10 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

5 oz. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 C. milk


Preheat oven to 350

Cook onions in 2 Tblsp. butter in an ovenproof skillet ( I use my large cast iron one) over low heat till tender but not brown. Stir in the jalapenos and garlic and cook for 2 minutes more—stirring continually. Add the corn, S&P to taste, and mix well.  Cook for about a minute more stirring as before. Spoon 2/3 of the corn mixture into a bowl and add the 2 melted tblsp. of butter in the 1/3 corn mixture left in the skillet.

Toss the Monterey Jack and Cheddar in a bowl.

(So now you have two side bowls: one with the cheese mixture and one with the 2/3’s corn mixture.)

Into the skillet start layering: 1/3 of the cheese mixture over the corn mixture; then spread with ½ the remaining corn mixture in the bowl; then spread with 1/2 of the remaining cheese mixture and top with the remaining corn mixture in the bowl.  Well, you get the idea.  Just make sure to layer and to leave some cheese for the very last topping.

Whisk the eggs, milk and a dash of S&P in another bowl until blended and pour over the prepared layers.

Sprinkle the top with the last of the remaining cheese mixture.

Bake in the cast iron skillet for 25 minutes or until puffed and brown.

Tie a pretty napkin around the skillet’s handle and serve hot or at room temp.

tortillas or focaccia make a nice accompaniment for this dish.


For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars


7 layer magic bar (2) 7 layer magic bar 

Seven Layer Magic Cookie Bars

Makes 24 to 36 bars

This is a wicked recipe so it’s perfect for your most precious Halloween goblins and yourself as well. Don’t bother counting the calories here; just enjoy these bars in small tasty, luscious, lingering bites.  But remember, it’s also good for Christmas gifts and for Valentines.  Enjoy no matter when————–


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 1/2 C. graham cracker crumbs

1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT EVAPORATED MILK!)

1 C. (6 oz) Butterscotch Chips

1 C  (6 oz.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 1/3 C. Sweetened Coconut Flakes

1 C. chopped nuts (walnuts are always good but sometimes I use almonds)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 for a 13 X 9 inch glass dish and 350 for a 13 X 9 inch metal pan.
  2. Use either a 13 X 9 inch glass or a metal baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and if the pan sides are not totally covered with the paper, pan spray them.
  3. Melt the cube of butter (micro is about 1 minute) and pour it evenly over the bottom of your lined pan.
  4. Top the butter evenly with the graham crumbs.
  5. With the remaining ingredients in the order listed above, top the graham cracker layer and when finished, press down firmly with a potato masher or fork.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes in either the 325 or 350 oven till the top is lightly brown.  That is always a bit hard to tell but usually 25 minutes is perfect.
  7. Cool in the dish on your counter top.  When cooled, score the top to mark out the size bars you wish.
  8. Then refrigerate before cutting totally for easier release.
  9. Store tightly covered or in a tin at room temperature.

For easy access and printing of this and past recipes, visit Margot’s blog  Call Margot for personal cooking help @ 721-3551.

Margot is a self-taught enthusiastic & passionate cook. Having been an inn-keeper for 5 years at her own inn, she accumulated a lot of good recipes which she loves to share.

Curried Game Hens and Millet


Curried Game Hens a la Muffy Ritz as shown in the Sun Valley Celebrities and Local Heroes Cookbook benefiting The Advocates (2001)

Serves 2 big appetites or 4 smaller ones

The Ketchum Art’s and Craft’s fair was really a wonderful one this year.  I went with a dear friend and she played the game at the Advocate’s booth and won this beautiful cook book with fabulous recipes and gorgeous pictures by our own Will Caldwell.  My friend never uses cookbooks so lucky me was gifted the winnings.  I read it from front to back and honestly, it has fabulous recipes in it.  One I really like is by Muffy Ritz.  So I called her and she gave me permission to reprint it here in my column in the Weekly Sun.  She prefaces this recipe by saying:  “Sauces make the world go ‘round! I don’t like spending too much time cooking when there are so many other things to do, but I love good food.  This recipe is very easy, very fast and very good”.  And indeed, every word quoted is true.  So, for those of you who don’t have this book YET, here is Muffy’s recipe:


2 game hens (20 oz.) defrosted (you also can use regular chicken)

1 1/2 to 2 Tblsp. curry powder (Muffy uses a combo of sweet curry and hot curry in this recipe and reminds cooks that curry powder’s shelf life is about 6 months.)

2 Tbls. Soy sauce

1/2 C. mustard (I used the yellow ordinary kind)

1/2 C. honey

Optional: raisins (I used currents), sliced onion, sliced mushrooms


Preheat oven to 350.  Combine the above ingredients, including the optional ones, and place in a casserole dish.  Place the game hens in the dish and marinate for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 min., then flip the hens over, remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes and until done.

Serve with couscous (I used millet) and colorful vegetables.  This sauce is great on the couscous.

Additional notes from Margot:

How to cook Millet

Millet which I buy out of the bin is a staple throughout Africa and in much of Asia. It is gluten free where as couscous is not and is rich in the B vitamins as well as containing other valuable nutrients. So for those wishing a gluten free side dish that tastes like couscous, millet is your perfect substitute.


2 Tblsp. olive oil &/or butter

1 C. rinsed millet


2 C. chicken stock

Minced fresh parsley leaves for garnish


Place oil/butter in a medium sauce pan and turn heat to medium. When oil/butter is hot, add the millet,  S&P, and stir cooking until the millet has a glossy look to it—1 to 2 minutes.

Add the liquid, cover, turn heat to low and cook about 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the millet is tender.

Garnish with parsley leaves.