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Let's Party, Great Appetizers Class

By Jane Butel  June 6, 2023

I hope your summer is off to a great start.  If you like gardening as I do, I hope your seeds and plants are off and growing.  Living in the high desert as we do, we have to be careful to water just enough to keep the plants and seeds happy and growing but not too much, which is always a real challenge.

We have been blessed with a rather "slow" spring, being consistently warm enough at nights to encourage blooming,  yet not freezing.  We had some late frosts that killed our wisteria and aprict tree blossoms before they had a good chance to  blossom or turn into fruit.

Now, the roses are following the beautiful iris and really knocking themselves out.  I love to share my blossoms with whomever would like them.  So, I am frequently cutting bouquets.   I always figure that it is better to appreciate them in a vase than just cutting  them off after blooming.

I didn't hear any suggetions for futue blog topics--so I am asking again to see if you do have any preferences.  Just drop me a note at jane.butels@gmail.com.

We still have a few openings for this Thursday's Creative Appetizers class--a fun one you may enjoy.  It is this coming Thursday at 5 PM.  Our next day class is a celebration of Green Chile and is set for June 29 at 5 PM.   (If you tried to reserve a space earlier and got a "sold out" comment--it was a glitch--it is open for reservations.)  Also, we have moved our July weekend up one week and are taking reservations.  The class is July 7 to 9.

Here's a couple of  summer recipes you may enjoy--


This is a quick and easy favorite for grilling when weather permits or for pan-broiling when it doesn’t. I like to serve it in a summer, when my tarragon is abundant. I serve it with mashed or grilled squash with minced hot green chiles and a fresh tomato and basil salad.

Yield: 4 servings

¼ cup good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish

3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 fresh red or green jalapeno, minced

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons minced fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, well trimmed.

  1. Whisk together all ingredients except chicken in a small bowl. Place chicken breasts on a plate and pour marinade over them, turning to coat. Marinate 30 minutes.
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high or 400F (205C). Place rack 4 inches above heat. Remove chicken from marinade and place on rack; grill about 5 minutes on first side. Turn and grill another 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and centers register 185F (85C).


The fresh orange juice lacing the dressing makes it a particularly nice accent for any poultry or pork main dish. Heating herbs in oil intensifies their flavor.

Yield: 4 servings

1 red bell pepper, rinsed and left whole
1 green bell pepper, rinsed and left whole
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise into ½ inch-thick slices
1 small yellow summer squash, cut lengthwise into ½ inch-thick slices
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into ½ inch-thick slices
1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut crosswise into ½ inch-thick slices


2 Tablespoons good-quality olive oil, preferably Spanish
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange-juice
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat grill to medium-high or 400F (205C) if not already hot. Place bell peppers on grill rack. Arrange remaining vegetables on separate skewers for ease in turning. Lightly brush with oil and place on grill rack. Grill bell peppers until evenly blackened and blistered, turning often. Grill remaining vegetables 5 to 7 minutes or until charred on edges and grill marks are apparent.

2. Place grilled bell peppers in ice water to cool. Drain and peel, then cut into about ¾ inch squares. Place squash, eggplant and onion on a cutting board and slice into matchsticks. Prepare dressing. To serve, place vegetables in a large bowl and toss with dressing

Reprinted with permission from Jane Butel’s Southwestern Grill




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