August 2007


I always love finding new foods I can serve at parties. It’s even better when they are easy to make!

This weekend I was at a friends party and discovered THE best party snack – Texas White Trash!

Don’t ask me why it’s called TEXAS white trash, I’m just the messenger.

I’d never heard anything about this amazing snack food! For those of you who can’t decide whether you like sweet or salty flavors better, this is the perfect snack for you.



3 cups golden grahams cereal
1 cup peanuts
1 cup pecans
1 cup mini-pretzels
1 package (10 oz) white chocolate chips

Melt the white chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 2 minutes at 90% power. Mix until smooth. If you need to, heat for 30-second intervals until smooth. Pour chocolate over mixture and mix evenly (use your hands!). Place mixture on wax paper spread it out so that it can harden, about an hour. Break apart into small pieces and serve!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren HIllman
Hillman’s Helpings


I keep forgetting to put this one on my blog – I wrote about it in my e-mail newsletter back in November. I made it last night and it didn’t fail me!


Salmon with Puff Pastry and Pesto
Serves 2

This recipe requires 5, yes 5 ingredients. OK maybe more if you want to make your own basil pesto, but who’s counting really?
Salmon is a fish that I used to dislike as it was much too fishy for my taste. Slowly though, I’ve started liking it, but I only like it cooked medium. (I know, it’s strange) Salmon cooked medium will be flaky, but smooth – unlike overcooked or ‘well done’ salmon which is a bit harder to cut into.

The five ingredients you will need are puff pastry, pesto, two 4-6 oz. fresh salmon with the skin taken off, sliced almonds and tomato. (Salt and pepper makes 7 ingredients)

You can always find frozen puff pastry sheets in the frozen aisle of the super market. I believe Pepperidge Farm makes it. It comes in a package of two sheets.

About 20 minutes before you want to make this dish, take out one of the sheets (put the other back in the freezer for next time) and lay it on a paper towel until it has thawed enough that you can lay the sheet flat and cut the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the two pieces of salmon on the foil. Sprinkle and small handful of almonds on the salmon. Season the salmon with a small amount of salt and pepper.

Cut two pieces of puff pastry that are slightly bigger than the salmon pieces and place on the baking sheet with the salmon. Make sure the salmon and puff pastry are not touching.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

To assemble the dish, place the puff pastry on a plate and slather on 1-2 tablespoons of store-bought pesto. Top the pesto with two slices of tomato and then the baked salmon.

You’re done!

Bon appetit!


I don’t know about you, but I always struggle to find healthy snacks to eat when I get home from work. (I’m usually ravenous!) And because I get bored easily, I like to eat foods other than the traditional hummus and celery or fruit.

Today I’m providing a few snacks that are easy to prepare and refreshing on a hot summer day.



Black mission figs are in season now. In fact, I just picked up a whole bunch at my local Whole Foods. These figs have the thinnest skin and are super sweet. I like to halve them and put a thin sliver of blue cheese (or gorgonzola, stilton, roquefort etc..) on each half. It is the absolute perfect combination of salt and sugar. And because figs are pretty dense, you only need a few to fill you up!

If you aren’t watching your waistline a thin piece of prosciutto wrapped around the fig/cheese is heaven!


Now this one may seem like a no-brainer, but whenever I tell people that I do this, a light bulb goes on in their head (I can almost see it!).

Basically, I finely chop a tomato and a half of a cucumber and put it in a bowl. Add 2 large basil leaves chopped and some kosher salt and pepper. Lastly I add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. I mix it all together and have this great, (and fresh) snack!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

OK this one was really good – especially since I have fresh basil and parsley growing on my balcony! 🙂

If you want to lower the fat, skip the breading and just saute the chicken breasts with salt and peper in a little olive oil.


Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Basil-Parsley Sauce
Serves 4

2 pounds chicken cutlets
Salt and pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 clove garlic
1 (3-ounce) jar pine nuts (pignoli)
1 lemon, zested
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil, for shallow frying
Basil- Parsley Sauce:
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball it
1 Roma or plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped, for garnish

Season the cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides turn lightly in flour.

Combine next 7 ingredients in food processor and pulse-process the crumbs to chop the spices, garlic and nuts and evenly distribute the flavors throughout the crumb and cheese mixture. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Beat eggs in a separate shallow dish.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan, over medium to medium high heat. Coat the cutlets in eggs then breading and add to the hot oil. Cook cutlets in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until cutlets’ juices run clear and breading is evenly browned.

Return food processor bowl to base and add basil, parsley and lemon juice. Add a little salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in oil until a loose paste forms.

Serve chicken cutlets with a generous amount of basil and parsley sauce poured over the cutlets. Garnish the chicken with finely chopped Roma tomato


It’s been pretty hot here in D.C. Luckily, I spent the weekend on a lake in New Hampshire with Mr. Hillman’s Helpings and his family (soon to be mine)

One of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten was at a restaurant in New York City. It was miso-glazed sea bass and is to this day, something I could eat over and over again.

A friend of mine recently made a similar recipe (except with cod) that sounded like it was too good to be true! It wasn’t and the recipe below is one of THE most delicious and simple fish dishes you’ll ever make.


MISO-GLAZED SEA BASS – Adapted from Ellie Krieger
Serves 6

6 (6-ounce) Chilean sea bass (use cod if you want it to be more affordable)
1/3 cup low-sodium blond or white miso (can be found in refrigerated section of Whole Foods)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese cooking wine)

Toasted sesame seeds and scallions, for garnish, optional
Preheat broiler.

Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Combine miso, brown sugar, sesame oil and mirin and stir well until brown sugar is fully dissolved.

Brush about 2 tablespoons miso glaze on each fish fillet. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour. Place fish under broiler for 3 to 4 minutes, or until top is slightly charred and glaze has caramelized. Remove fish from oven and brush with remaining glaze. Lower oven to 375 degrees F. Cook an additional 5 to 6 minutes, until fish is flaky but not overcooked.

If desired, serve with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.

I hope you enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings


Today’s recipe comes from my good friend Beej. You may remember that he provided us with the wonderful Jack Daniels Pork Chops a few months ago.

I have to embarass him for a minute. A few weeks ago, he won the “Star Chef Cook-Off” at the 2007 Food & Wine Celebration sponsored by the Culinary Vegetable Institute. The competition, held in Ohio, was hosted by Paula Deen of The Food Network! Congrats again, Beej!

If anyone in the Baltimore/D.C./Philly area is looking for a caterer, he’s AMAZING! 🙂

Anyway, the recipe below is light and healthy and looks like the perfect summer meal.


Serves 4
4 cups chicken stock or water
1.5 cups uncooked orzo
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1lb Shrimp, peeled and deviened. (you can also use cooked if you want)
1/2 cup basil leaves, loosley packed
1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – use the good stuff here
Juice from 1 lemon
Sea salt
Fresh black pepper

Bring the stock to a boil and add the orzo. Cook 7-8 minutes or until al dente. Make sure you salt your water if you aren’t using stock . Drain the orzo, but DO NOT rinse!

In a saute pan over medium/high heat add 1 tbs olive oil. When the oil has come to temperature, add seasoned (with salt and pepper) shrimp and cook for 2 minutes per side or until opaque. Remove from pan and allow the shrimp to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, basil, cheese, and tomatoes with the orzo. Add enough olive oil to coat the orzo and then season with more salt and pepper.

Add the cooled shrimp and stir again.

Start to finish this recipe should take about 25 minutes.
Serve this with a great crisp summer wine, like a Vino Verde.

Bon appetit!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings