Crab-Mango Pico de Gallo

Would you be interested in the difference in salsa and pico?

Salsa is wet. It happens to be the Spanish word for “sauce”, from what I’ve learned. I’m always wanting to be schooled.

Tell that to my mother who will remind me of my grades from high school. But hey, I made it through nursing school….15 years later, but I did it! With stellar grades, by the way. I was on the Dean’s list until those nasty nursing classes!

Anyway, Pico is a bit more dry. Well…can be dry. I like mine with a good bit of lime juice. And lots of heat.

Here’s a tidbit I found today:

Pico de Gallo [pronounced Pee’ Koh de Gah” Yoh] means “rooster’s beak”.  According to The New Food Lover’s Companion, the name may refer to eating Pico de Gallo by picking it out of the bowl with thumb and fingers.  While Pico de Gallo may be made using similar ingredients to salsa, it may also include cucumbers, tropical fruits including mango or pineapple, corn, or other ingredients not typically found in other salsas.  While it may be considered a form of salsa, Pico de Gallo may also be drier than cooked or fresh salsa.

Last Sunday was one of those days spent in the kitchen. When I say the day was spent in the kitchen….I’m not kidding. I woke up at 4 am (it’s that internal clock thing because I go to work very early during the week). So, since I was up and all obviously the first thing I did was go to the kitchen for my caffeine. Then I realized the biga for my ciabbata was ready. Yes, biga. If you don’t know what that is, then click

With the caffeine from my Coke Zero setting in, I made ciabatta. We had plans for family to come over and grill out later that day, so the bread was followed by potato salad, a marinade for grilled chicken, homemade pancakes (might be a post soon – these were fantastic), with scrambled eggs and bacon. At this point it was about 9 am – the family decided to get up and join me.

The last thing I made was this pico.

I have to tell you; I was a bit hesitant about the crab in this but at the same time really curious about what the taste combination would be. I made a batch of pico sans crab, then threw a little in a bowl and mixed the two together.

Success. I had to high-five myself because the kids were texting/playing video games and Mark was mowing the grass.

Not sure why I was surprised; it’s always those spur of the moment recipes that are thrown together at the last minute that are the best. There have been so many times when I do that throw-together-thing and turns out sooooo good, but then I can’t remember what ingredients I used!!


I finally got smart.

I got a little notebook that stays in one of my island drawers that I pull out every single time I start cooking.

Wanna see??

Isn’t she pretty? Snagged her at Publix for $2.79.

Onto the Pico.

Crab-Mango Pico de Gallo

Serves about 4

Crabmeat – 4 oz from a pack of 8 oz -keep in mind I used imitation, but I’m sure real crabmeat would be even better.

1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed in a collander

1 medium sized yellow onion, diced

1 whole jalapeno pepper, washed, seeds removed and diced (use two if you want heat)

1/4 cucumber, washed and diced

1 mango, diced – for a tutorial on how to cut these click here

2 tbsp dried cilantro (I really wanted to use fresh but my Publix had none. Damnit, Cinco de Mayo)

Juice of 1 lime (use your judgement here, you may want more or less)

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients.

Dip with tortilla chips, pita chips…whatever you can get your hands on.



Dixie Chik

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Feta Dip

There are so many aspects of Greek food to love. Want some history? Click here. Feta cheese is my favorite part.

Now…what’s not to love about feta. Good Lord…. the soft, crumbly texture and salty, sharp taste is absolutely irresistible.

I’m convinced it’s crumbled up crack rock. We just haven’t been officially made aware yet. Maybe when the elections are over we’ll be told.

So, my history with Greek food stems from early on with my father. He always made this salad that he called “Indian Salad”, and over time my brother changed the name to “Leafless Salad”. This consists of diced tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, red onion, olives, feta cheese and a random whisking of a vinaigrette similar to Italian dressing that we tend to change around a little bit here and there. It’s really always been a staple.

Now onto hummus. That’s my stuff…one of my very favorite things in the world to eat since I was 20 yrs old. Wow – long time ago…am I really 35? Jesus.

Funny thing, though, I cannot ever seem to make it just right. I’ve tried several times, but I just cannot get the consistency the way I want it. I know exactly what I’m trying to achieve, but I just cannot get there. If y’all have any advice, let a girl know. This kitchen has been through a ton of chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic, etc……

Let’s talk tabbouleh. Ok, wait, maybe this is my stuff. I absolutely, definitely, hungrily will say that this is my favorite. Pita chips dipped in hummus, then double dipped in well-made tabbouleh. Lots of fresh lemon.

THEN topped with a big fat black olive.

*sigh* Is it dinnertime yet?

Oh, wait I just ate.

Anyway, this dip is my version of feta cheese Heaven.

If you’re a feta lover, this will definitely make you happy.

Feta Dip

1 6 oz container good Feta cheese

1/4 tomato, diced – the smaller the better

1 jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, diced

1/4 cup kalamata olives, diced

1 tsp garlic, minced (jarred)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

Mix everything together and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. You may want to play with the ingredients depending on your taste. I was craving feta and needed to make an appetizer for a party, so I threw this together based on what I imagined would be good. I absolutely loved it, as did the guests. Pita chips were perfect for this, but I’m sure regular pita bread or flatbread crackers would be great too.

I would love to hear your Greek food stories!


~Dixie Chik~

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Pickled Shrimp

Did you know that shrimp cocktail can go from OK to straight up fantastic by pickling your shrimp? I didn’t until now. I have gone my entire adult life boiling plain ass shrimp and serving it as Shrimp Cocktail!

Where have I been? All this time I’ve been thinking that the quality of the shrimp I get makes the only difference.

Who likes plain ass shrimp? Not me. As a matter of fact, if you know anything about me, I don’t like plain ass anything.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you definitely don’t want to go to your regular ol’ grocery and grab a pound of shrimp not knowing how fresh it is, because you can’t. Freshness definitely counts. Do not get nasty old shrimp.



This is a recipe for pickled shrimp given to me by my brother-in-law, who has been an executive chef for many years here in Alabama.  There’s a certain trust you have about someone who works in the kitchen daily and enjoys it. He loves to cook at home, so there’s the trust for me.

Actually, I can’t imagine someone choosing that profession and not liking it. Who wouldn’t like doing that for a living??

Wish I could.

So, so wish I could. But, I would so miss my work peeps.

We had my brother-in-law over a couple of weeks ago and I cooked dinner for him – a tad intimidating to say the least. He’s a professional; I’m a wannabe. Nevertheless, I jump at the chance to cook for anybody because for whatever reason I just love feeding people. I love the process from making food to watching people eat and seeing a reaction on their face. Even if it’s a look on their face like this-tastes-like-crap-but-I-don’t-know-how-to-tell-you, I still appreciate it. Playing with food is my absolute passion, and if I don’t get real feedback I can’t fix what isn’t right about what I’m making.

Anyway, this is SOOO easy and makes your shrimpies taste so good, even before it takes a dip in cocktail sauce.

Pickled Shrimp

Adapted from my brother-in-law 

2 lbs shrimp, deveined if possible, but leave shells on

1/2 gallon water

1 tbsp salt

4 tbsp pickling spice

1/2 onion, halved

1/2 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 lemon

Ice and water in a large bowl

Bring water through lemon to a boil for two minutes, add shrimp and boil for an additional two minutes. Immediately pour shrimp into an ice water bath.

Peel (except for tails) and serve with cocktail sauce. Makes about 4 appetizer servings.

Happy Hump Day!

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Shoepeg Corn Pico de Gallo

I have to admit, I have a thing about salsa, pico, dips, spreads….. You get the point.

Have I mentioned that I’m an appetizer whore?

Why yes, I think I have.

There’s something about the anticipation of a meal… the lingering, the sipping of wine, and of course having an appetizer. I tend to like to drag things out as far as food is concerned. Just ask my husband – there are times (usually when he’s hungry) when the sweet man asks me kindly if I would “please keep the dinner preparation/cooking under 3 hours”.

Doesn’t he understand how much joy I get from all this work I do in the kitchen? I think he does understand it by now, but he definitely doesn’t share the same joy.

So many times when I am making something, feeling all creative, I’m deep down worried that this is going to turn out to be….well, crap. But then it doesn’t!!

What a wonderful feeling.

This was one of those days. Love it.

This is a kind of like a salsa or pico de gallo, but also similar to what my dad called “Indian Salad”, which was really a Greek salad made of cucumber, tomatoes and feta. The possibilities for this is endless.

Shoepeg Corn Pico de Gallo

10 oz can shoepeg corn

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 cup black olives, diced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp seasoned salt

Combine corn through feta. Whisk together the vinegar through salt and pour it over the veggies. Stir to combine.


Refrigerate; and keep in mind the longer it’s there the better it will be.


~Dixie Chik~

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Bacon Burger with Muenster, Onion Strings and Buffalo Mayo

I have many childhood memories from both my mom and my dad in relation to food. Let me give you a mini-ride down memory lane.

In regard to my mom I tend to remember –

1. Salmon Croquettes. Refer to this. You need to, seriously.

2. Potato Salad. She referred to hers as “German” potato salad, which includes lots of mayo, bacon and green olives, amongst other things, and is the only potato salad I will eat. Not sure if it’s actually German, but it’s something that’s so ingrained in my head I’ve yet to question if it’s actually a foreign recipe or if she just says that for the hell of it.

3. Southern Dressing. Yes, dressing, not stuffing. Here in the South, we don’t do stuffing. Honestly, stuffing isn’t a good thing unless you’re using it in a recipe that has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving. When my mother makes dressing, the consistency requires a rather large spoon, i.e. not a knife. Again, that wouldn’t be normal. We need to spoon it out and pour on an obscene amount of cream of chicken soup. That’s the Southern way.

As far as my dad –

1. Fried Shrimp. If the man were still alive this would be the first in his arsenal I would have picked his brain for. I know he breaded them in cornmeal but I’ve yet to be able to re-create this recipe. His shrimp were crispy, but tender and the flavor was amazing. They will forever stand out in my mind. He always made these with what he referred to as “Indian” salad…this was actually a Greek salad for all intents and purposes. Again, another one of those things I wonder about now that I’m grown.

2. Smoked Sausage Baskets. Simple, but yet something that I remember him making on a regular basis. He would make smoked sausage, cut the links up and put them in napkin lined baskets with sharp cheddar cheese. It’s a flavor combination I can taste as I type this; and as a matter of fact I can’t help but to think of watching Miami Vice on those ’80’s Friday nights.

3. Burgers. Burger night has stuck with me as far as I can remember. I do remember my mom having a part in making these, but one of the things that stands out in my memory is after frying the burgers in a pan, they would remove them and dip the inside of the buns in the burger grease. I have a feeling that made magical burgers. I also had to have every condiment I could get my hands on, including lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, ketchup, etc. But the most critical part of this meal was Fritos dipped in cottage cheese.

You see, burgers combined with Frito’s and cottage cheese go hand-in-hand. They. just. do.

Try it one time and you’ll be hooked. Just don’t get that fat free crap.

Now, here’s a burger you need to grill soon. I’ve been meaning to make onion strings for months,and finally got around to making them this weekend – and at the same time creating a pretty amazing burger.



Bacon Burger with Muenster, Onion Strings and Buffalo Mayo

1 lb ground round

2 tbsp bread crumbs

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp seasoned salt, like Lawry’s

Onion strings – this is a very easy recipe for these

1/2 cup mayo

1 tbsp buffalo hot sauce, or more depending on your heat tolerance 😉

4 onion rolls

4 slices Muenster cheese

1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cooked

Combine the ground round through seasoned salt; form into patties and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. I have discovered this makes grilling so much easier because they tend not to fall apart.

Grill the burgers until desired temp, then top with cheese and close the grill for about a minute; remove and cover with foil.

Mix the mayo and hot sauce together, then slather some on the top part of each bun. Place the burger on bottom bun, then top with bacon and onion strings, then top bun.


Please have Frito’s and cottage cheese with this.

*wink wink*

~Dixie Chik~

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