Cheryl’s Cuisine: July 2020

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Well, we’re finally in the “Green” and so many things have changed in our lives this year.  Every year at this time I’m usually covering the Food and Wine Festival at the former Sands Casino in Bethlehem (now Wind Creek).  Of course, due to the pandemic, this event, along with most others, have been cancelled.  Well, where do we go from here?  

Many of my friends refuse to call it a “new normal”, adding that masks, social distancing, etc. are not “normal” for us.  However, we  still must follow along with some restrictions as Covid has caused way too many illnesses and deaths.   As we wait for a vaccine, we can still have small family gatherings in our own backyards.   So during this quarantine time, I’ve experimented with new husband is usually the best guinea pig I ever met as he’s always hungry and will try anything, but is highly critical.

So here are some new recipes that are perfect for summer which I’ve tried that have received rave reviews from my family.  

Hot Corn Dip

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 cup ( 4oz.) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 can (15 oz.) corn, drained
1 can ( 4 oz) diced green chiles
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small tomato, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl, mix together cheeses, corn, green chiles, mayonnaise, and garlic powder.  Pour mixture into 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly.  Top with diced tomato and green onions.  Serve warm with tortilla chips.  


Grilled Romaine with Caesar Dressing

I make this at least once per week….easy and delicious!

2 large heads of Romaine lettuce
Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. capers, drained

Cut romaine stalks in half lengthwise, keeping ends intact so each half stays together.  Season with salt and pepper.  Meanwhile, mix dressing ingredients in jar.  Brush some of the dressing on the romaine halves.  Heat grill pan over medium-high heat.  Place brushed romaine stalks cut-side down on grill and sear for 3-4 minutes, until well browned.  Flip over and cook on other side until browned and romaine is slightly wilted.  Plate romaine and pour a few teaspoons of dressing over lettuce.  Serve immediately.

NOTE:  This makes more dressing than you’ll need, so I keep leftover in the jar in the refrigerator and keep adding olive oil to it as needed.  Gets even better with age.  This will serve 4 people, unless you want a light supper, then each can have an entire head of romaine.


My nieces are always complaining that my food has too many calories. They work out in gyms daily and are very careful about their eating habits. So, for Father’s Day at my brother’s house, when they asked me to make my Potato Salad for the family dinner, I decided to make a “no-mayo” version…A French Potato Salad, which was the hit of the dinner, except for my brother, who missed the mayonnaise and sour cream.  Oh, well…Can’t please everyone.

French Potato Salad

3 lbs. small red potatoes, scrubbed and washed
4 Tbsp. white wine vinegar or lemon juice
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 ribs celery, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced

Cook potatoes in cold water  and 1 Tbsp. salt in gently boiling water until fork tender.  Drain potatoes in colander and transfer to a large mixing bowl.   Add 2 Tbsp. of the vinegar or lemon juice while potatoes are still hot.  

While potatoes are cooking, make the dressing.  In small bowl whisk together the oil, garlic, remaining 2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice, Dijon mustard, crushed red pepper flakes.  Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Whisk until fully combined. Drizzle half of the dressing over the WARM potatoes and gently toss to combine.  Add the chopped celery and red onion.  Toss again.  Drizzle in the remaining dressing.  Gently toss until everything is coated.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.  Note:  If dressing is absorbed too quickly, you may have to drizzle olive oil over before serving.


Lemon Marinated Mushrooms

1 lb. fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup salad or olive oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cut mushrooms in 1/4″ slices.  In small jar with lid, combine oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper.  Cover jar and shake well.  Pour mixture over mushrooms, tossing gently to coat.  Let mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  


Peppered Oranges

Fond memories of this dish when they used to serve it at Villa Verilla in Blakeslee:

2 navel oranges
2-4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Green grapes for garnish

Trim off and discard a slice from both ends of each orange.  Cut oranges into 1/4″ slices, place in bowl and sprinkle generously with pepper.  Pour olive oil over and marinate for 1 hour or more.  Drain and arrange slices in overlapping pattern on a serving dish.  Garnish with  green grapes.


Roasted Red Pepper and Brie Salad

This can also be served as an appetizer sans the arugula

1 lb. arugula, picked over and washed
1 lb. Brie cheese
3 red peppers, roasted and seeded (you can buy them in a jar)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

Dry arugula gently on a towel.  Cut Brie into 1 oz. squares, leaving rind.  Cut peppers into 3/4″ strips and season with salt and pepper.  Wrap each pepper strip around a piece of Brie.  To plate the salad, place 4 pieces of wrapped Brie a the outer edge of a microwave-safe plate.  Heat for 10-15 seconds in microwave, just to slightly melt the Brie.  Place a small bunch of arugula in the center of the plate and drizzle with oil.  Season with salt and pepper.


Peach and Banana Sorbet

Just wait until you taste this refreshing treat. Peaches are ripe now, also!

4 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups sliced peaches
2 ripe bananas
Juice of 4 lemons
Juice of 4 oranges
2 Tbsp. peach liqueur

Stir and dissolve the sugar in 4 cups of water over low to medium heat.   This is a simple syrup.  Stir in vanilla and remove from heat and cool completely.  Puree” peaches and bananas in food processor or blender.  Add lemon and orange juices and liqueur to the cooled syrup and combine with the fruit puree’ in the processor or blender. Process only until it is mixed well. 

Work in two batches, if necessary.  divide the sorbet into 6 or 8 individual molds or serving dishes and freeze until ready to be served.

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