Quince Paste with Vanilla “Kythoni”

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Quince Paste with Vanilla “Kythoni”

Quince is a favorite sweet in our Greek family. I remember my mother and aunt purchasing a full box of fresh quinces to make their spoon sweet called “Kythoni”.  After a long afternoon of prepping and stirring this fruit thickens into a jam-like consistency, needing to be cooled before sampling. Many times it was canned for future use, other times it was placed in a large jar and stored in the refrigerator. I can still picture myself as a little girl sneaking a large spoonful of this decadent preserve from her jar. A little note: Quince is an ancient Greek fruit rooted in Greek history for over 4,ooo years ago. Brides were presented with quince on their wedding day for a symbol of fertility.

This fruit cannot be eaten fresh. It needs to be cooked before eating. It’s similar to an apple and pear with the unusual scent of a pineapple and guava. Here, pictured is the pineapple quince, which is commonly seen in stores. They can also be ordered from Melissa’s Produce website.

A little about quince:

  • Quince has a high level of pectin, often made into jams and spreads.
  • The unique sweet-sour taste is what makes quince so perfect for desserts, main  dishes, and sauces.
  • The flesh of the quince as it cooks will change from white to a bright orange color.
  • This fruit is too bitter and hard to be eaten raw, so it must be cooked. Trust me.
  • Loaded with Vitamin C and Potassium.

Quince can be added to many of you home cooked dishes.

  • Make a tart with apples and quartered cooked quince.
  • Add to lamb or chicken stew, giving the quince time to cook.
  • Poach quince for a side served with cake, ice cream or simply alone with added syrup.
  • Serve on a cheese board with your favorite cheeses.

Here in this recipe, we will be making a cooked puree, baked and thickened into a paste and cut into logs often served with cheese.

Let’s get started!

Cooked and pureed in the food processor.

As you can see here, it it slowly changing color, but soon turning a beautiful pink .

Check out this COLOR!

Here, the paste is ready for the oven. I tested the paste several times for doneness, when it doesn’t bounce back it’s ready.


Quince Paste with Spices "Kythoni"

Try quince for a new twist to a forgotten fruit and it's delicious flavors. Add the paste to your cheeseboard, stewed meats, or as a simple dessert.

Course Appetizer, Dessert, Jam, sauce
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword quince
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 2 lbs. quince, about 4, peeled, cored, and chopped- 3/4" thick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
  • 2 strips lemon zest - each 1/2 by 2 inches
  • 2 cups granulated sugar, more or less if needed
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened


  1. Place the quince, vanilla bean pod and seeds, and lemon zest in a 4 quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the quince are tender when poked with a knife, about 40 minutes.

  2. Drain the quince in a colander and discard the vanilla bean. Puree the fruit and lemon zest in a food processor. Measure the puree by volume, return to the saucepan, and add an equal amount of sugar. (If you have 2 cups puree, add 2 cups sugar.)

  3. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and return the heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the puree becomes a very thick paste, about 1-2 hours.

  4. Meanwhile, position the rack in the center of your oven and heat to 125 degrees F. If your oven doesn't go this low, use the lowest temperature, and expect a shorter cooking time. Line a 8x8 glass or ceramic pan with parchment paper, grease with the butter.

  5. Pour the quince paste (do not scrape the pot) into the dish, and smooth top with the wooden spoon. Bake until slightly dried and firm enough to slice, about 1 hour.

  6. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Invert onto a cutting board and cut quince into four 2-inch wide strips. Wrap each strip in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The quince paste will last up to one month.

A cheeseboard is the perfect way to present your quince past. Pair it up with your favorite foods. Here, I chose a goat cheese, and a hard Spanish cheese.

As a simple quick bite, cut into any shape, and roll in sugar and serve.

This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking by Julissa Roberts.

Happy Fall Everyone,



Honeycrisp Apple Pumpkin Bread

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Honeycrisp Apple Pumpkin Bread

I wanted to make my first fall recipe using both pumpkin and apples, since they both are in season. I have several recipes for Fall desserts and salads on my blog, but just the aroma of these baking in my home, will excite me. My favorite type of day is planning new recipes alone in my kitchen where my creativity is taken to a different level. This recipe worked and my family quickly devoured it. This bread is perfect to enjoy in the morning with coffee, or with simple a cup of afternoon tea.

Loaf pan breads are generally a simple cake with the addition of nuts, fruit, and spices. More of a breakfast bread. Recently, I received these beautiful Honeycrisp Apples from Melissa’s Produce from their October Season’s Best List.  Apples and Pumpkins are both Fall companions, so why not place them together in any recipe. And it not only worked today, but it was just how I imagined it would taste. Warm and yummy!

I used Honeycrisp Apples in my recipe, but select whatever apple you may have on hand.  Remember to taste your apple beforehand to see if that is the flavor you want to add. And this recipe calls for one can of pureed pumpkin. If you would like to make your pumpkin puree, please visit my blog post on How to Roast a Pumpkin.

I suggest you measure all your ingredients ahead of time, to ensure you have everything included. They call this “Mise En Place” in the culinary world, everything in it’s place.

Mix all your wet ingredients until smooth. And slowly add the dry.

This is ready for the oven, and you can see I chopped the apples in 1/2 inch cubes.


Honeycrisp Apple Pumpkin Bread

This is a moist pumpkin bread with a smooth spice flavor, and a punch of apple chunks. This recipe makes two loaf pans one to eat and one to share.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, bread, pumpkin
Servings 6 servings
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 15-oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 apples peeled and roughly chopped ( I used honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two loaf pans. (9x5 size pan)

  2. In a large mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin, water, and vanilla until well blended.

    ( You can use a hand mixer or just use a large spoon.)

  3. Sift the following in a large bowl, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add to the wet ingredients and beat slowly until blended.

  4. Using a large wooden spoon carefully add in the chopped apples and pecans.

  5. Evenly, spoon the batter into the pans.

  6. Bake the breads for 60-80 minutes, or until a toothpick when inserted comes out clean. My loaves took around 80 minutes.

  7. Once the breads are ready, cool the breads on a wire rack. Remove from the pan, and serve, or wrap in plastic and freeze.

Recipe Notes

You can substitute the apples for pears, berries, or fruit of your choice. Nuts are optional in this recipe. But if you do add them, select your favorite for the recipe.

You may enjoy the many other pumpkin dishes on my blog, under my category “Pumpkins”.

Enjoy your Fall baking…




Rhubard Onion Relish

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Rhubard Onion Relish

What? A rhubarb relish! I love BBQ baby back ribs, and I thought this relish would be a great addition to the meal! So, I bought the ribs for dinner and asked the family to try this relish, and they all loved the sweet-tart taste. The addition of raisins did the trick. This relish can be used many different ways, which I listed below. Pair it with cheese, pasta, pork, chicken, or any grain salad. Rhubarb can be found locally now in many supermarkets today. But, the season is short, so don’t wait to buy when you see! You may also be interested in my Rhubarb Tart made with Phyllo on my blog.

How to Use the Relish:

  • Add the relish in a bowl and add to your cheese board.
  • Place on a party table as a condiment for your appetizers.
  • Slather on hot dogs or perfect for your bratwurst.
  • Spice up salads, grain dishes or bowls.
  • Spruce up your gourmet sandwiches.
  • Perk up pork your tenderloin as a topping.
  • Kick up vegetarian meals
  • Dress up your dips by adding them as a finished touch.


The supermarket and farmer’s market will sell you these long stalks, once home they need to be washed and trimmed.

Another option is ordering from Melissa’s Produce in this handy precut package.

Always try and start with everything measured out, which makes your cooking time easier and more enjoyable. Called Mise en Place, a cooking term for everything in place.

Sliced as you would slice celery.

Cook until softened and as a thick sauce.

Check to see if it has thickened, this needs more time.

Enjoy this recipe,


Rhubarb Onion Relish

If you love BBQ, add this relish to your table for a new sauce!

Course sauce
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword BBQ, relish,, rhubarb, Sauce
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 4-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb or thawed frozen rhubarb.
  • 1 cup seedless golden raisins


  1. In a non-reactive pan, combine the sugar, vinegar, water, seeds and spices. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes.

  2. Add the chopped onions and rhubarb, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or longer if needed. Stir with a wooden spoon frequently to prevent sticking.

  3. Add the golden raisins to the rhubarb mixture, and cook for 10 minutes uncovered until mixture has thickened.

  4. Remove from the heat and let cool. Serve cold. Or seal while hot in sterilized glasses. Makes about 2 pints.

Recipe Notes

If using frozen rhubarb thaw and drain well before adding to mixture.


Rhubarb Phyllo Tart

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Rhubarb Phyllo Tart

I’m a big tart fan when it comes to making a dessert for company or for my family. When I served this Rhubarb Tart at a recent gathering, they were amazed at it’s beautiful presentation. It’s a stunner! Some recognized the rhubarb right away, and stories began of grandmother’s pies, growing up on a farm with rhubarb and family recipes being shared. After making this recipe, I will never pass up rhubarb again. My mind is spinning with ideas.

This was my first time using rhubarb, so I was a bit nervous. But to me, it felt similar to celery. I was sent several stalks from Melissa’s Produce. I browsed many articles and cookbooks and I landed on the idea of a phyllo tart. I always have phyllo defrosted in my refrigerator, for recipes such as this one. Fillo factory has sponsored my cooking and blog for years. I consider their phyllo fool-proof. It’s always sized and cut to use directly onto your sheet pans with ease. You can find their phyllo online or at your local supermarket.

I always like to mention the health benefits of the produce that I cook with in my recipes, and I’m constantly amazed at the amount of nutrients available in a stalk-like vegetable such as this one.

  • Rhubarb is a good source of Vitamin K1 which is important for blood clotting, bone health and possibly heart health.
  • The stalks are high in fiber, similar to oranges and celery.
    Rhubarb is also a rich source of antioxidants. One study suggests that its total polyphenol content may be even higher than kale.

The stalks are quite thick, just trim the edges and cut stalks or in half. Cut into 1/8-inch slices.

Here, Melissa’s has trimmed the stalks. All you do is wash and cut.

I used an 9×13 sheet pan for my tart. I first cut my large sheets in half to fit the smaller pan. As I layered the phyllo sheets into the pan, I buttered each one.

You may need to use more phyllo sheets according to the thickness of your sheets. Recipe below.

Place in a quarter sheet pan overlapping slightly.

Bake and set aside to cool on a rack.

Brush the reduced syrup onto the top of the tart. Sprinkle with lime zest.

Rhubarb Phyllo Tart

You cannot pass up Rhubarb season! This tart is a crowd-pleaser and easy to assemble.

Course Dessert
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword fillo, phyllo, rhubarb, tart
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-5 stalks rhubarb , thinly sliced -1/8 inch
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 6 full sheets defrosted phyllo sheets ,cut in half.
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in the middle.

  2. In a flat glass pan, stir together the orange juice, lime juice and sugar. Add the sliced stalks for 10 minutes. Set aside.

  3. Using a quarter ( 9x13) sheet pan, brush the bottom of the pan with melted butter. Cut full sheets in half if needed. That will give you 12 layers for the tart. Layer phyllo dough onto the pan, buttering each layer until all the layers are used. Butter the top layer.

  4. Strain and pat dry the stalks, keeping the juice for the glaze.

  5. Layer the stalks, overlapping slightly.

  6. Place the tart in the oven and bake until bottom is golden, for 30 minutes, cover with foil if phyllo edges has browned. Continue baking. Test the rhubarb for doneness with a toothpick. Remove and place on a rack to cool.

  7. In a small saucepan, add the reserved juice and simmer until reduced to 1/4 cup. Once thickened, similar to maple syrup, remove and cool slightly.

  8. Brush syrup over tart and phyllo, sprinkle with zest. Serve with whipped cream.

I encourage you to visit your farmer’s market or supermarket and bring home rhubarb!

Best in Health,





Vegan Fall Pear Slump

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Vegan Fall Pear Slump

What the heck is a pear slump?

It’s a one pot dessert, that can be used with just about any fruit. I chose California Pears. I received a shipment of three varieties of pears from the California Pear Advisory Group. The pears were beautifully wrapped with three varieties grown in California. From Bosc pears, (the brown ones), to the Bartlett (the yellow-green pears) to the vibrant Red pears!

When I bake a crisp, pie or slump feel free to mix your pears. And I do leave the peel on my pears with these recipes. Once you decide on your fruit choice for this recipe, may it be blueberries, apples or pears, a biscuit-like topping is added and cooked, all in one pot! It can be served for breakfast as well as a dessert!

Pears have many wonderful health benefits and should be added to your daily diet. Here’s why.

  • Low in calories
  • Contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium
  • A delicious source of energy (carbohydrates)
  • High in fiber
  • A good source of vitamin C
  • Contain natural antioxidants

Vegan Fall Pear Slump

This one pot pear dessert includes a biscuit topping that can be used with any seasonal fruit. One recipe that can be used year around. And it's vegan.

Course Dessert
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword dessert, pear, slump, vegan
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis



  • 4 cups roughly chopped pears ( I kept the skin on) or any fruit
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

The Slump Topping

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond, oat or soymilk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • maple syrup and sugar for brushing the cooked biscuits


  1. In a 8-9 inch medium saucepan with a lid, add the pears, maple syrup or sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water.

  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a full boil, stirring often. Lower the heat to simmer, cover for 4-5 minutes.

Slump Topping

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the milk with the oil, vanilla and zest. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon, just until the batter is mixed thoroughly.

  3. Using a large spoon, about 2 tablespoons, carefully drop the batter onto the fruit mixture. Cover the saucepan and bring to a simmer.

  4. Cook over low heat for 25 minutes. The biscuits when ready should feel firm and slightly brown.

  5. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the top of the biscuits with maple syrup.

  6. Cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve non-dairy ice cream or vegan whipped cream.

Here are a few tips for starting your dessert.

This is a dessert you may want to have everything ready before cooking the fruit.

In culinary terns this is called “Mise En Place”. Everything in Place.

This type of organization makes the process so much smoother and enjoyable.

Here’s a before and after of the dough as it cooks.

This is how the dough should look when it’s ready. Firm and brown in color.

It puffs up and becomes a very light topping. Press down with your finger to feel the crust.

Don’t  pass up the maple glaze on top!

It’s Fall and this is the perfect easy dessert!

Enjoy, Mary 



Papaya and Black Bean Salsa

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Papaya and Black Bean Salsa

Papayas are so refreshing when you need a cooling appetizer for your next summer affair. I chose to use black beans and a lime accent to serve with these brightly colored papayas, that happen to be sent to me by Melissa’s Produce. Papayas are on their Season’s Best List for August, which is perfect for this dish. Take this Papaya Black Bean Salsa to any party or BBQ, it has a very light dressing which holds up well in the heat. By the way, did you know they have a delicious flavor and exceptional nutrient profile?

Here are a few facts:

  • Papaya seeds contain a variety of essential micronutrients.
  • They’re especially high in polyphenols and flavonoids, two compounds that act as antioxidants to help promote your health.
  • Antioxidants fight disease-causing free radicals to prevent oxidative stress and ward off chronic diseases.
  • Papaya seeds pack a good amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid
  • Lastly, papaya seeds supply a hearty dose of fiber.


These fruit has large seeds that need to be removed before chopping them cubes.
But don’t throw them away they are edible!

How to use papaya seeds
  1. Scoop seeds from papaya. Rinse seeds under cold running water, then dry well with a tea towel.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place seeds on the prepared tray.
  3. Bake in the oven for an hour until dry.
  4. Transfer to a mortar and use a pestle to coarsely crush the seeds.
  5. Crush them in a plastic bag, and use them as peppercorns in a dressing or toppings.


Cut the papaya with skin into wedges. Then carefully with a sharp knife remove the flesh.
Cut into small cubes and add to a bowl. Discard skins.

Papaya and Black Bean Salsa

Take this refreshing and delightful salsa anywhere this summer! You won't be disappointed, I promise.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword black beans, papaya
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 6 1/2 ozs. cooked black beans
  • 1 papaya, cut into small dice
  • 5 1/4 oz. small diced red pepper
  • 3 1/4 oz. small-diced red onion
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice and zest for topping
  • 1 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. Combine all the ingredients and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until needed.

  2. Serve with chips, sliced bread, or crackers.


Add all your ingredients and enjoy this incredibly nutritious and delightful salsa.

Best of Health!




Melon Elderflower Sangria

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Melon Elderflower Sangria

I received a Neon Moon Watermelon from Melissa’s Produce in the dead heat of summer! It was perfect timing for sharing this Melon Elderflower Sangria with my family and friends.  This time around, I decided to try a soothing cool drink since the weather here is over 90 degrees. During the summer, all my fruit trees are bearing lemons, limes and oranges in my garden, and a sangria sounded as the perfect outside patio drink for a long-warm summer day. I was pleasantly surprised that the flesh was striking yellow. It had a pleasant sweet fragrance which reminded me of a sweet wine. Making sangrias do serve many guests, and it’s a great choice for a large group.

Wait for it…

Can you believe this interior flesh!
Once cut into small pieces, place in a blender to blend into juice. Afterwards, strain the juice into a clean bowl.

The elderflower I used in this recipe is handcrafted in California, with few ingredients and sustainably sourced. Find the link to their other products on their website at : Carmel Berry Company.

What is Elderflower?

  • An extract of the flower is used to make medicine. Elderflower is used for colds, influenza (flu), swine flu, bronchitis, diabetes, and constipation.
  • What does elderflower taste like? It’s subtle, a little bit like pear, more of a perfume than a taste. Cordials and liqueurs have a reputation for sweetness, to preserve the fruit. Elderflower is therefore used in small proportions of any recipe.
  • Elderflower has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and may also alleviate allergies and boost the immune system.

Here’s the juice after its’ been strained. And the extra melon reserved for the glasses.

Melon Elderflower Sangria

Any melon can be made into sangria, the wine drink so often served for the long summer days. I chose the Neon Moon yellow melon for it's beautiful bright color. It's quite the refreshing drink!

Course Drinks
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword fruit, melon, sangria, summer
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 3 cups watermelon juice
  • 1 bottle white wine ( I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons elderflower syrup
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup (1/2 water and 1/2 sugar) (see in notes)
  • Reserve extra melon and cut into tiny cubes for garnish.


  1. In a blender, cut up the melon and add to the blender. Blend until smooth and pour through a sieve to remove pulp.

  2. Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher.

  3. Add slices of fresh fruit, oranges, limes and lemons into the pitcher.

  4. Chill in your refrigerator before serving. Best if made the night before.

  5. Add additional fruit slices to the glasses before serving. Add fresh mint if desired.

Recipe Notes

To make a sugar syrup, place 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer until sugar is dissolved.  The recipe is equal parts sugar to water. 

Check out my Greek Cherry Sangia on my blog.

Enjoy your summer with this cool drink!



Greek Avocado Ceviche

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Greek Avocado Ceviche

This is my way of celebrating a healthy dish!  I can serve my friends and family this Greek Avocado Ceviche and know how many health benefits it offers to them. Living in San Diego, we have many local avocado farms. Of course, we all have our favorite variety and mine happens to be the buttery Reed Avocado. We can find avocados at our farmer’s markets, where we can shop during the week and buy organic as much as possible. Below are a couple of my favorites.

For this recipe, feel free to substitute black beans, kidney or chickpeas. Try different fresh herbs such as tarragon, dill, or rosemary. Avocado loves lemon juice to brighten the flavor, but also a sprinkle on top with help in keeping the avocado from browning. Serve with crackers, sliced jicama or sliced bread. For more information on avocados, take a look at California Avocado’s website for more information.

The avocado has many health benefits to consider:

  • Rich in nutrients for your digestive tract
  • Great for your vision with many phytochemicals
  • Bone Health with Vitamin K
  • As well as vitamin B6, C, and E.

Here are a few types of avocados we see in our supermarkets.

Bacon, Fuerte and the Reed are featured here.

For this recipe I find it much easier if you have everything prepared ahead of time, often called “Mise En Place” in culinary terms, meaning everything in it’s place.

Add the first group of ingredients. The beans, fennel, tomatoes,  olives, onions and parsley.

Once everything has been combined gently, add the avocado. Serve with bread, crackers or sliced jicama.


Greek Avocado Ceviche

Honestly, you cannot go wrong with this delightful dish or dip for your table. Select the beans of your choice and add any vegetables you like. My version has more of a Greek variation.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine California Greek
Keyword avocado, healthy, salad
Servings 4 side dish
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 3 cups cooked beans
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and shredded
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup sliced pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 avocados, diced


  1. In a large bowl, combine the beans, fennel, tomatoes, onion, parsley and olives.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice, and basil to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Add the dressing to the bean mixture, and toss to coat.

  4. Fold in the avocado and serve immediately.

If you are an avocado lover as I am, you may want to take a look at my other recipes:

California Avocado Salsa with Jicama Chips

Avocado Risotto with Lime and Olive Oil

California Feta Bagel with Avocado

Enjoy your avocados this season!



San Diego County Mushroom Farm Tour

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for San Diego County Mushroom Farm Tour

Welcome to The Chef’s Secrets Farm Tour on September 18th 2021, in San Diego.


Please watch for our October Tour -TBA soon. Thank-you!

Chef Debbi and Chef Mary have collaborated to bring you monthly farm tours throughout the San Diego area, that we have enjoyed visiting throughout our careers. This is our first tour of the year, and we hope you are ready to explore our world of culinary. For this tour you will be meeting us at the Mushroom Farm, with your own transportation. We encourage you to car pool if possible. We will have two stops, from the Mushroom Farm in Escondido to North County Olive Oil in Encinitas.

Directions to both locations:

Mountain Meadow Mushroom Farm

 North County Olive Oil

This is one of my favorite stops in North County San Diego, to get a peek into this organic farm and it’s operations. The owner will take us on a private tour of the facility, and at the end you will be selecting 2 varieties of mushrooms to take home with you. Mountain Meadow Farm is a family-owned business since 1952!

  • Wear comfortable clothing and a hat if you wish.
  • Closed toe shoes are required.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera!
  • If you wish tag your pictures of the Mushroom Farm on Instagram at mountainmeadowmushrooms.

Next up on our tour will be North County Olive Oil.

Here, you will enjoy lunch, a cooking demo and an olive oil tasting.

Our Chef’s Menu:

Cheese Platter with Seasonal Vegetables & Fruit
Winter Salad with Pixie Tangerines
Mushroom Risotto
Road Home Brownies

One glass of wine will be served with lunch.
Lemonade & Spring Water will be available.

Don’t miss the great swag bags that you’ll get to take home!

Sue Robers, the owner will be presenting an exclusive olive oil tasting with her specialty oils. Don’t miss out on her spectacular flavored oils as well and her exceptional local extra virgin olive oil. You will learn all about the industry and how its grown in California, making our state the #1 producer in the U.S. Her olive oils will be available for purchase.

And there will be plenty of time to shop around at our local garden shops at Sunshine Gardens in Encinitas.

We suggest you car pool with a friend, if you need further assistance please notify me at : maryplatis@gmail.com.

See you there!



Sponsored by Melissa’s Produce