Category Archives: Junior League Recipes

A Toast For the TaTa’s

Wrote this for the Junior League Cookbook Blog….

October is National Breast Cancer awareness month, and those of us over here with the Junior League Cookbook blog couldn’t let this pass by without raising our glasses to those strong, brave, and incredibly special women who have been touched by this in one way or another.  We lift our glasses and say, “Bravo girls!  We are here for you and we support you….all 1800+ of us!”

According to the American Cancer Society, September 2012, 1 in 8 women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime.  The chance that breast cancer will be responsible for a women’s death is 1 in 36.  Year after year these numbers are declining and that is believed to be the result of earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, as well as improved treatment.  So ladies get those TaTa’s checked regularly, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

In addition to screenings, another way you can help protect your body from cancer is by eating foods that are rich in cancer fighting antioxidants and phytochemicals.  The National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. What you eat can hurt you, but it can also help you.  Foods to explore are those that have the ability to help stave off cancer and some can even help inhibit cancer cell growth or reduce tumor size, such as:  avocados, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, chili peppers and jalapenos, cruciferous vegetables, fig, flax, garlic, grapefruit, red grapes, yellow and green leafy vegetables, kale, licorice root, mushrooms, nuts, oranges and lemons, papaya, raspberries, red wine, rosemary, seaweed, soy products, sweet potatoes, teas: green and black, tapioca, tomatoes, turmeric, turnips, and more.  So when you are planning your next meal, think about these foods and how you can slip them in for your loved ones.  Here are some recipes to get you started…

Fresh Carrot Salad – Everyday Feasts

Mushroom Frittata – Savor the Seasons

Berry Crumb Cake – The Life of the Party

Florida Avocado Salsa – Capture the Coast

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk is scheduled here in Tampa Bay on October 25-27.  Grab a lawn chair and head out to cheer on our fellow sisters; I’m certain they would love to see you.  If you are looking for more resources on education or just on how you can support the cause, hop on over to for more information…Bon appétit!   Kathryn Zahn


Pink Grapefruit Margarita

  • 1 1/3 cups pink grapefruit juice
  • 2/3 cup tequila
  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup sugar or to taste
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime slices or grapefruit slices
  • Coarse salt (optional)

Combine the grapefruit juice, tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice and sugar in a pitcher and stir until the sugar is dissolved (I used Simple Syrup instead).  Add crushed ice to fill the pitcher.  Strain the margarita into the prepared glass and garnish with a slice of lime or pink grapefruit.  Process the mixture with ice in a blender for a frozen drink.  You may moisten the rim of the glass and dip in the salt before filling with the margarita if desired.


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Ham Jambalaya

This article was written for the JLT Cookbook Blog…

When I first found out that I was going to be tasting and writing about the recipe Ham Jambalaya I was so excited because what immediately came to my mind was one-pot dinner. After working all day, picking up two kids from different schools, and trying to have dinner on the table for them and my husband by six, an easy recipe for dinner is always what I am looking for.

When I think of southern or Cajun jambalaya I think: chicken, shrimp, sausage, ham, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, celery…you know hearty and full of meats, vegetables, and rice; and as I jotted down the recipe at the end of the day before I ran into Publix, I knew with a sinking feeling that the dinner that I had planned on was not going to be enough food for them.

My intention is not to give this recipe a bad review, it is more for us to sit back and say, “Yeah, sometimes the recipes we pick don’t go as planned or taste like we would want them too…but that’s ok.” We learn through trial and error and they can’t all be perfect, right?

What this dish really consists of is 2 cooking onions, 2 cups of canned tomatoes, 1 cup of rice, and 1 cup of ham. Now if you do the math that is just a little over 4 cups. I put a scoop onto each of my kid’s plate and what you see in the bowl is all that was left for my husband and me. I ended up having to make each of them a salad, threw in some buttered bread, a big glass of milk, and then dessert. My husband ate what I served him and then proceeded to dig around in the refrigerator for more food.

The overwhelming ingredient in this dish is the canned tomatoes. If you love canned tomatoes, then you’ll love this dish. If you don’t, then most likely you won’t. We prefer fresh in our house. Canned tomatoes just have this distinct taste and it doesn’t matter how long you sauté them or what you sauté them in, they have a tendency to overpower the other flavors of the dish. Aside from this, my husband and I probably would have liked it more if more bacon was called for. In addition to using the grease, crumbling and adding the bacon to the dish would also add a little extra flavor to it. I also didn’t see the need to bake the dish for 30-40 minutes. If you simmered down the tomatoes, most of the liquid should be gone, so I am not sure what the extra time was needed for. I tasted it before and after the baking and to me it was exactly the same.

My kids loved this dish. If you have children and they eat rice, it was easy to make and I am certain that they will love it too.

It says 4-6 servings, and as a side dish then yes, I would agree to that. I don’t really have any recommendations as where to serve this dish; maybe at a potluck get together where there are a lot of different dishes to sample and taste. As for a dinner, we like to focus around protein and vegetables. The little bit of ham that it calls for was not enough for us, so it needs a complimentary meat as well as another vegetable or salad.

Keep in mind after reading this that not every recipe is for everyone. If you love these ingredients, then by all means cook away…you won’t be disappointed. As for us…I’ll be waiting for my next assignment… Bon Appétit!

Ham Jambalaya (The Gasparilla Cookbook, p. 111)

  • 2 slices of bacon
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup chopped or ground ham, ground preferred

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain. Saute garlic and onion in bacon drippings. Add tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 15 minutes. Add rice and ham and mix well. Bake in casserole in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Serves 4-6.

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JLT Blog – Annie Laurie’s Potato Salad

I recently wrote this for the Junior League Cookbook Blog …..

If you have lived in the Tampa Bay area for any amount of time, then you have most likely ventured over to Tarpon Springs for some local authentic Greek food or wandered into any of the Louis Pappas’ Market Café restaurants throughout town and ordered a Greek Salad.  Have you ever asked yourself, “What is it about this salad that is soooo good and who decided to put the potato salad at the bottom?”

Louis M. Pappamichalopoulos served in France as an army chef in General Pershing’s “Wildcat Division” during World War I. It was there that he created his own version of a Greek salad by adding potato salad to sustain the troops during hard times. Louis Pappas arrived from Greece in 1905 to find opportunity in America.  He and his wife Flora eventually settled in Tarpon Springs in 1925, and established the original Louis Pappas “Riverside Café”. With a handful of employees on sawdust floors, they opened their humble café, specializing in fine Greek-American cuisine and the Louis Pappas Famous Greek Salad. Potato salad at the bottom of a Greek salad soon became commonplace and the salad itself became internationally known. The success of the Louis Pappas Greek Salad has lasted for almost a century where it remains the most popular dish at our Louis Pappas Market Café fast casual restaurants in the Tampa Bay area.

Annie Laurie’s potato salad was recently one of the featured dishes during Gasparilla week at Datz deli.  I am sure for those of you who love the Greek salad that after one bite you were smiling from ear to ear.  I have never given much thought as to what the secret ingredient might be for this ever so delicious potato salad, and was completely surprised to realize that it is the wine vinegar.  Now, this makes complete sense considering that it is also an ingredient in the Louis Pappas Greek Salad dressing.

If you choose to make this potato salad for loved one, friends, or guests…be prepared to be asked to make it again.  It is delicious and a  great compliment to almost any dish…but most especially the Greek Salad.  Thank you grandfather Louis Pappas! Bon Appétit!

Annie Laurie’s Potato Salad for Greek Salad

  • 2 pounds medium Idaho potatoes
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise

Boil unpeeled potatoes in unsalted water.  While potatoes are cooking soak chopped onion in the vinegar.  When potatoes are done, cool slightly and peel, then cut in slices and cut the slices in half.  Add onion and vinegar mixture to still-warm potatoes.  Sprinkle in the salt and mix in the mayonnaise.

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Herb Dip

I recently wrote this for the Junior League Cookbook Blog…

With football season officially in full swing, I can’t think of a more opportune time for each of you to grab The Gasparilla Cookbook and seek out a perfect dip on which to snack.  It doesn’t matter if you are watching a game by yourself or having a large group of people over…there is something here for everyone.  The dips can be found on pages 8-13 and there are 15 different recipes from which to choose.

The Herb Dip recipe was provided by Mrs. Glen Evins and is just delicious.  This recipe is versatile in that it can be used at just about any function, party, or get together.  Just think about the endless opportunities:  a fall table, a spring table, 4th of July picnic, a baby shower, a football game, it doesn’t matter…it’s perfect.

Most of these ingredients you’ll probably find in your kitchen, but if not they are easily accessible at the grocery store.  Who knows…if you love the dip as much as we do, you may just decide to start your own herb garden!  Enjoy…and Bon Appétit!

Herb Dip

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each minced onion, tarragon, dill, soy, and curry powder
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Enough cream to soften dip

Combine all ingredients and blend well.

JLT Cookbook Blog – Herb Dip


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Wk 45 – Peach Poundcake

The tagline for this recipe, found on page 106 of Everyday Feasts, is “A refreshing fruit-filled twist on a classic recipe” and I couldn’t agree more.  Fruit is grown here year round and if you just ask around I am certain that most anyone who cooks can direct you to a local farmers market.  One of our personal favorites is Parksdale, over in Plant City.  It is well known throughout Central Florida and has even been featured in Food Network Magazine for its Famous Strawberry Shortcake.  The prices are cheap and you never know what you are going to stumble across.  Last summer I bought and entire basket of Georgia peaches (about 25) for 6.99 and towards the end of strawberry season you can pick up a full flat for near the same price, maybe higher or maybe even lower.  So what do you do with all of this fruit???…you make pound cake!  You’ll see from the pictures below that this recipe is versatile enough to use any fruit of your liking….Bon Appétit!

Peach Pound Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped peaches

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan generously with butter and sprinkle with sugar, shaking out the excess.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and beat well.

Add the flour mixture gradually, beating constantly until blended.  Fold the peaches into the batter, spoon into the prepared Bundt pan.  Bake for 60-70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Wk 44 – Grouper Piccata

When I think about the West Coast of Florida, one of the first things that comes to mind is “Fish”.  There is never a shortage of fish here in the Tampa Bay area, and one of the best things is that you can get it fresh…catch it yourself or buy it right off the dock.

A while back ago we came upon one of the best “straight off the dock” fish markets while having lunch in Bradenton at The Cortez Kitchen, the Cortez Fish Market. They are located in the same parking lot and the prices are very very reasonable for the fish being so fresh.  We wandered into the market, and in addition to the fish they have a full array of spices.  My husband loves fish and I am constantly trying to think of new ways to cook it for him.  I spotted the lemons and knew that piccata was it. 

I am a personal fan of the recipe “Grouper Piccata” found on page 82 of Capture of Coast.  The recipe is easy and the fish is delicious.  Since then I have made this dish for my mother, my father-in-law, my next door neighbor and everyone has loved it…Hopefully you will too …. :O) Bon Appétit!

Grouper Piccata

  • 1 pound fresh grouper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse the fish and pat dry.  Mix the flour with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in a shallow dish.  Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Dip the fish in the beaten egg and dredge in the flour mixture to coat.  Place in the skillet.  Sear for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Place the fish on a baking sheet, reserving the drippings in the skillet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until the fish is nearly cooked through.  Add the wine, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic to the reserved drippings in the skillet.  Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, stirring constantly.  Stir in the butter and capers.  Heat until the butter melts, stirring constantly.  Return the fish to the skillet.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Place the fish on two serving plates and spoon the sauce over the top.

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Wk 43 – Annie Laurie’s Potato Salad

Annie Laurie’s Potato Salad 

2 pounds medium Idaho potatoes

1 large sweet onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons wine vinegar

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup of mayonnaise

Boil unpeeled potatoes in unsalted water.  While potatoes are cooking soak chopped onion in the vinegar.  When potatoes are done, cool slightly and peel, then cut in slices and cut the slices in half.  Add onion and vinegar mixture to still-warm potatoes.  Sprinkle in the salt and mix in the mayonnaise.

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