Stunningly Beautiful Tex Mex Dip. Music From Narrow Skies.

“Stunningly Beautiful”.


You see, my world is an ocean of recipes. In order to make recipes that I bookmark stand out, I sometimes give them dramatic names.

So ‘Tex Mex Dip’ gets embellished with ‘Stunningly Beautiful’.

This dip is no Grand Canyon, but it is easy, delicious and very attractive. When you need to please a crowd, layer up some Tex-Mex goodness. A simple cookie sheet is perfect, but those disposable baking trays are great if you want to transport the dip to a gathering.

Note: The layers may be a bit thinner than you are used to if you regularly make “7 Layer Dip” but I loved how you get more of the layers on your tortilla chip when you dig in.

Stunningly Beautiful Tex Mex Dip


2 (14 oz) cans refried beans
3 (15 oz) cans black beans
24 oz sour cream
3 tablespoons taco seasoning (1 envelope)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 sliced avocado
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives


1. Spread the refried beans in the bottom of a 12 x 17-inch or 15 x 10-inch cookie sheet.

2. Rinse black beans then gently pat dry (This prevents the dip from getting soggy). Spoon the black beans over the refried beans.

3. Combine sour cream and taco seasoning and spread in a smaller rectangle over beans.

4. Cover the sour cream evenly with the shredded cheese. Sprinkle the diced tomatoes, chopped avocado, and sliced olives over the cheese. Top with chopped cilantro.

5. Serve dip with tortilla chips.

Note: The dip can be made a few hours in advance and stored, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. If you do this, it is best to wait until just before serving before adding the avocado so it does not discolor.

Recipe from Happy Money Saver

You are probably going to want some rocking tunes while you’re digging into your stunningly beautiful dip. But, while making it, how about some reflective music to clear your mind?

Stockholm-based husband-wife duo Narrow Skies have their debut EP ‘Midnight Horizons’ coming out today. The songs are quiet and bring the outside inward. Really pretty….possibly stunning.

“I want the wind to carry me,
far away from here
And as I fly, I’ll take with me,
moments left behind”

Check out Narrow Skies on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.


Posted in Snack, Starters | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lemon Bars. Listening To The American Vogue.

Patient: Doctor, I have a terrible fear of speed bumps.
Doctor: You’ll slowly get over it.

Ina Garten stuns again with this decadent recipe for Lemon Bars.

3 1/2 cups of sugar!

Fortunately, there is plenty of zip from the lemons to balance the sweetness. With over 600 raving reviews, you know the recipe is probably going to be great…and it is.

Lemon Bars

Ingredients for the crust:

1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredients for the filling:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


1. Preheat oven to 350℉.

2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt then add to the butter mixture until just mixed. Gather dough into a ball with floured hands. Press it into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, extending it up a 1/2-inch around the sides. Chill.

3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.

4. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 or until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

5. Cut into squares or triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Makes 20 squares or 40 triangles

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

I love the soft, inflected vocals and the backing “Oh-oh-ohs” on ‘I Don’t Care About The Lights’ from Nashville-based band The American Vogue. Indie indeed.

“Where do you go when the sun sets low?
With their arms stretched out they smile waiting to take a hold
We know where it goes
So don’t you give in don’t you let them take a hold”

Check out The American Vogue on Facebook. You can buy their music on Bandcamp.


Posted in Dessert | Tagged | Leave a comment

Asparagus Gruyère Tart. New Music From Levy & The Oaks.

Rustic yet elegant at the same time, Asparagus Gruyère Tarts make a wonderful lunch dish or light supper. The nutty cheese pairs beautifully with the complexly flavored stalks.

Asparagus Gruyère Tart


Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
5 1/2 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 400℉.

2. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16 x 10-inch rectangle. Place pastry on a baking sheet.

3. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

4. Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyère.

5. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over cheese, alternating ends and tips.

6. Brush asparagus with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 4

Recipe from Martha Stewart

“Out Of The Blue” is such a pretty tune. Lovely vocals, soothing guitar…NJ-based band Levy & The Oaks have a winner here.

Check out Levy & The Oaks on the band’s Website where you can link to buy their music.


Posted in Tart, Vegetable | Tagged | Leave a comment

Buffalo Chicken And Sweet Cucumber Salad. New Music From emonemogaymo.

Q: Why did the vegan meat cross the road?
A: To prove it wasn’t chicken.

This is such an easy and delicious dinner. Give some chicken tenders the Buffalo treatment and top them with an enticing mixture of melted provolone and cheddar. The sweet cuke salad provides the perfect cooling touch against the heat of the wing sauce.

Buffalo Chicken


1 pound chicken tenders
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

2. In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl.

3. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with bread crumbs.

4. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in oil for 7 minutes on each side or until chicken juices run clear, adding wing sauce during the last 2 minutes.

5. Turn to coat chicken with the sauce. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and cook until cheese is melted.

Serves 4

Sweet Cucumber Salad


3 cups thinly sliced quartered cucumber
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro

Ingredients for dressing:

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. In a salad bowl, combine cucumber and cilantro.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients.

3. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve using a slotted spoon.

Serves 4

Recipes slightly adapted from Simple & Delicious Magazine

‘True Life’

Now this song is absolutely insane.

Which is precisely why I am loving it.

Put it on at your next gathering. I’m sure someone will say ‘WTF’?

And the name of the band? It’s a combination of the 3 band members’ names. Okaaaaaay!

Check out emonemogaymo on Bandcamp where you can buy their music.


Posted in Chicken, Main Courses, Salad | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pecan Tassies. New Music From The Big Drops.

Pecan Tassies are like bite-sized pecan pies. The tender, tangy cream cheese crust contrasts perfectly with the sweet, crunchy filling.

Pecan Tassies


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves


1. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add flour to butter mixture, beating at low speed.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough then stamp out 24 (2.5 inch) rounds. (A fluted cutter makes for a pretty presentation.) Line greased mini muffin tins with the dough rounds. Chill for 1 hour.

3. Make the filling by whisking together brown sugar and next 4 ingredients.

4. Reserve 24 undamaged pecan halves and coarsely chop the rest.

5. Place some chopped nuts in each of the muffin pans. Spoon the filing over the nuts. Set a pecan half on top of each.

6. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until filling is set. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 24

Recipe from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to Rock-abilly-out to this infectious new song from NJ-based band The Big Drops.

Check out The Big Drops on the band’s Website where you can learn of upcoming US tour dates and buy their music.


Posted in Dessert | Tagged | 1 Comment

Pan-Roasted Cod With Brown Butter, Lemon, And Capers. Green Beans Gremolata.

I bet Jack would give a deep meow for some fish.

For a light meal that is rich on flavor try this Pan-Roasted Cod With Brown Butter, Lemon, And Capers. The buttery sauce is brightened with lemon juice and gets zing from capers. Green Beans Gremolata is a simple side that’s a flavor powerhouse all of its own.

Pan-Roasted Cod With Brown Butter, Lemon, And Capers


2 cod fillets, preferably skinned
¾ cup all purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley


1. Adjust a rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Place a 12-inch skillet over high heat and heat for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, spread the flour in a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in the flour, then shake gently to remove the excess.

4. Add the oil to the hot skillet. Place fish in the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-high. Brown the fish on one side without turning, about 4 minutes. Turn the fish and immediately place the skillet in the oven. Roast until the fish is firm to the touch, about 8 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter and keep warm.

5. Meanwhile, as soon as the fish goes into the pan, place the butter in an small skillet and melt it over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook the butter until it browns. This will take about 8 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent it burning. When the butter is browned, remove the skillet from the heat and immediately add the lemon juice, capers, parsley and a pinch of salt.

6. Spoon some of the butter over the fish to serve.

Serves 2

Recipe from The Summer Shack Cookbook by Jasper White

Green Beans Gremolata


1 pound French green beans, trimmed
2 2 cloves garlic, minced
Grated zest from 2 lemons
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch them for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender but still crisp.

2. Drain the beans and immediately put them into a bowl of ice water to stop them cooking.

3. For the gremolata, toss the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, Parmesan, and pine nuts in a small bowl and set aside.

4. When ready to serve, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat the beans dry and add them to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring, until coated with olive oil and heated through.

5. Off the heat, add the gremolata to the beans and toss well. Sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6

Recipe from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten

Los Angeles-based trio DWNTWN will be releasing their debut album ‘Racing Time’ in July. “Bloodshot Eyes” is the first single from the album and its great. Energetic, synth-pop at its best.

Check out DWNTWN on Facebook. You can buy their music here.


Posted in Seafood, Vegetable | Tagged | Leave a comment

Summer Carbonara. New Music From Wild Arrows.

Here is a pasta dish you are gonna want to dive into.

Pasta carbonara gets lightened up for the warm weather with this version that is packed with peas and asparagus. There’s still enough cream and cheese to give it a rich edge.

Summer Carbonara


100g asparagus tips (I chopped up the stalks and used them, too)
100g peas
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
150g linguine
1 egg yolk
100ml heavy cream
25g Parmesan, grated


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the asparagus until just tender, adding the peas for the last 2 minutes of cooking. Scoop out into a bowl and set aside. Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook according to package directions.

2. In a skillet, cook the garlic in a little olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and peas and cook for 1 minute longer.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk, cream and Parmesan. Season with black pepper.

4. Save a ladleful of the pasta cooking water then drain the linguine.

5. Add linguine to the skillet with the asparagus mixture. Stir to mix then add the egg mixture off the heat. Continue stirring until creamy adding a little of reserved pasta water to the pan if needed. Serve with extra Parmesan, if you like.

Serves 2 (doubles or triples easily)

Recipe from Olive Magazine

From the outset, ‘Oh-H’ demands your attention. Thick beat and snarling guitars give way to the echoey vocals.

I just played the opening track from Wild Arrows’ latest album back in March. But since the album was just released last week and it’s sooooo gooooood, I thought I would share another corker of a tune.

Check out Wild Arrows on Facebook. You can buy their music on Bandcamp.


Posted in Pasta | Tagged | Leave a comment