Charlotte Cooks


Almond Milk

You will need to plan this due to the overnight soak.

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • Water to cover

Soak 1 cup of raw almonds in enough water to cover them overnight or at least 12 hours. This softens the almond skin and nut meat. Drain the water from the almonds, do not reserve.

  • 4 cups of fresh water
  • 3-4 medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Add the soaked almonds, 4 cups of fresh water, medjool dates, vanilla and salt to the blender and process on high for 3-5 minutes; longer if you don’t have a high powered blender.
Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl, and pour the contents of the blender into the strainer.
Using a rubber spatula; work the almond mash until it is dry.
Save this for the cookies.
Pour the almond milk into a pitcher and store in the refrigerator.

Serve well chilled.


“Almond Milk” Cookies


  • 8 ounces of soft butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 ½ cups Almond Milk Debris
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, optional

Pre-heat the oven to 375°F

Cream the butter and sugar together until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Combine all of the dried ingredients in a separate bowl. Add carefully to the sugar and egg mixture to combine. Using a scoop, portion out the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-14 minutes at 375°F until done. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before moving them from the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Drizzle with icing if desired.



Cooking up a Mess of Greens

1 lb Collards, stemmed, trimmed and washed well
2 quarts of water, boiling
1 teaspoon olive oil, or butter or coconut oil
Juice 1 lemon or splash of hot pepper vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil; wash, stem and cut the collards into 1” strips. Drop them into the boiling water add salt; return to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Strain the collards out of the liquid and place is a bowl. Serve the collards with hot pepper vinegar, a dollop of butter or crumbled bacon. Add cornbread and Pinto Beans and you have a great meal for “Meatless Monday’s” or any day.

Fresh Fish  “En papillote”

The following recipe makes one portion. Increase your amounts according to the portions you are servings.

1 Fillet of Fresh Red Snapper or other thin fillet per person
Julienne of ¼ red pepper
Julienne of ¼ yellow pepper
Julienne of ¼ green pepper
¼ Leek sliced thin, or sweet onion
1 clove of fresh garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine or vermouth
2 tbsp oil or butter
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 large heart cut out of parchment paper*
Oil for brushing the heart on both sides

Season the fish and set aside. Cut the peppers, onion and garlic into matchstick Julienne pieces. Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and peppers, sauté until just tender. Add the wine then simmer for 2-3 minutes over high heat until the wine has reduced by half. Allow the pepper and onion mixture to cool.

Cut the large heart shape out of the parchment paper. Oil it lightly on both sides. Fold the heat in half.

Lay the seasoned fish on one half of the heart. Place a generous amount of the pepper and onion mixture on top of the fish. Fold the other half of the heart shape over the fish and peppers. Carefully, fold the edges tightly all the way around so it forms a tight seal. Place the packet on a baking sheet and place in a 350° F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. The paper will puff up like a balloon.

To serve, place the packet on a place and cut the packet open at the table so the aroma is captured by the guest eating the dish. You can serve this with a nice green salad and crusty bread for a complete light meal.

* You can also make the packet out of tin foil, however it will not puff up like the parchment does. The foil packet can also be cooked on a grill but not over direct heat.


Home Made Bars


  • 2 cups whole roasted* unsalted almonds
  • 3/4 cup whole roasted* unsalted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup roasted* walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup puffed millet, rice (or other puffed whole grain; or crispy brown rice cereal)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup honey**
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips**
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, grape seed, or coconut oil


Grease/spray large bowl, 9×13 baking sheet/pan, wooden spoon or rubber spatula, and bottom of drinking glass. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts on large baking sheet and bake for 10 min. until lightly toasted and fragrant.
Add toasted nuts to large bowl. Add puffed rice/millet and flaxseed meal. Stir to combine; set aside.
In 1-1/2 or 2 quart saucepan, combine honey, rice syrup, apple juice concentrate, salt, and vanilla over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches 260 degrees (hard ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Immediately, pour mixture over nut mixture, stir until evenly coated.

Quickly transfer to greased/sprayed 9×13 pan, spread mixture evenly in pan; press the mixture to close in holes and distribute evenly all over the pan. Use the bottom of greased/sprayed drinking glass to tap and compact mixture in pan.

Let cool 20 minutes (pan should still be slightly warm). Invert pan on cutting board and tap until mixture falls out in one piece.

Cut into 20 bars. (If they cool too much and become too hard or brittle to cut easily, put in warm oven for 1-2 minutes to soften; proceed with cutting.)  Cool completely before drizzling with chocolate.

FOR CHOCOLATE DRIZZLES: Add chocolate chips and oil to microwave safe bowl. Cook on high power in 20 second intervals, stirring each time, just until last chips melt into mixture (approx. 60 seconds total). Use fork or squeeze bottle to drizzle chocolate over nut bars. Let cool until chocolate hardens.

STORAGE TIP: Store in airtight container with parchment paper between layers. For take-along convenience, use parchment paper pieces to wrap individual bars burrito-style. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week. May refrigerate to extend storage or if firmer, less sticky bars are preferred. May be frozen, too.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION for one bar: 193 calories, 12.5g fat, 95mg sodium, 18.9g carbs, 2.1g fiber, 14.2g sugars, 5.2g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 6

**FOR VEGAN VERSION, use all brown rice syrup and vegan chocolate chips.

  • 2 cups whole roasted * unsalted almonds
  • 3/4 cup whole roasted* unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup puffed millet, rice (or other puffed whole grain; or crispy brown rice cereal)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1/3 cup honey**
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup (may substitute light corn syrup)
  • 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate (thawed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips**
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, grapeseed, or coconut oil



Barley, Lentil, Black Bean Burgers

This is a great recipe for using up any cooked grains you have on hand. Simply substitute one for another in the recipe.

  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked or canned black beans (if using canned, rinse them)
  • ½ large sweet onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons chia seeds in ¼ cup water OR 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or to taste
  • ½ tablespoon ground pepper, or to taste
  • Set Aside: ½ cup brown rice flour or AP flour for dredging the shaped burgers


Cook each grain separately. Season each properly, cool each grain and bean, keeping them separate until cooled. Combine everything but the brown rice flour into a large bowl and mix together. Use a paddle on a stand mixer for best results. Smash the beans, but do not puree, you want some texture. If the mixture needs moisture, add water or vegetable stock. If it needs drying out, add old fashioned oatmeal or mash some more beans and add them to the mixture. You can play with this mixture to make it what you like. Use different beans, add cooked carrots or diced and sautéed mushrooms. Stuff a bit of cheese in the center of the burger before cooking for a melty treat!

Using a large scoop, measure our balls of the mixture; keeping each about the same size.

Pat them into burger shapes and coat the top and bottom, not the sides, with the rice flour you’ve set aside. This will help the burger brown.

Sauté in vegetable or coconut oil over medium high heat until each side is golden brown. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Use your favorite buns, lettuce, condiments and pickles on the side. Anything from traditional burger trimmings to whatever you can imagine works. Wrap each burger, cooked or not, in parchment paper, place them in a freezer bag and they will last up to 6 months in the freezer. Left-over cooked burgers can be used as filling for tacos and for vegetarian chili. We also crumble them over salads at lunch time.


Healthier Chicken Wings

  • 1 pound chicken wings, flat pieces or drumettes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Place the wings in a large pot, cover with cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil. Add salt, garlic, herbs de Provence or whatever seasonings you like. Once boiling, boil the wings for 10 minutes. Drain.
Pre-heat the broiler on high for 5 minutes. Line a broiling pan with foil. Place the drained wings on the pan. Place under the broiler for 6 minutes. Watch carefully. Once browned, turn the wings over and broil again for another 6 minutes or until brown and crispy on both sides. Toss the cooked wings in Buffalo Sauce.
Serve with Bleu Cheese Dressing and Celery Sticks.

For the Buffalo Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Texas Pete Hot Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons non-fat chicken stock
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons butter (Optional)

Place the ingredients in a small sauce pot and warm. Toss the wings in some of the sauce; serve the remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

Blue Cheese Dip

  • ½ cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream
  • ¼ cup Dukes Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 ounces blue cheese

Mix all the ingredients together except the blue cheese. Once the mixture is smooth, crumble in the blue cheese and stir to distribute.


Chef Pamela’s Crab Cakes

1 bunch sliced scallions
1 teaspoon minced flat leaf parsley
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 pound crab meat
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh black pepper

Combine the scallions, parsley, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper, lemon zest and juice in a medium size bowl.

Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, and combine with the other ingredients.

Pick through the crabmeat and remove any cartilage or shell fragments. Be careful not to break the crab up into tiny bits.

Add the crab meat to the mixture and gently combine.

Shape the crab cakes into thick patties; sauté on both sides until the cakes are golden brown on each side.

Serve with lemon wedges and homemade tartar sauce.

Crab Dip

½ sweet onion, chopped
1 rib celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup cream cheese
¼ cup sour cream
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 scallions, sliced
1# crab meat, picked clean of cartilage and shell fragments
Splash of tobacco sauce

Sauté the onions, celery and garlic until soft but not brown.

Place the cream cheese sour cream, lemon, Dijon, salt and pepper and tobacco into a bowl.

When the onions, celery and garlic are done, add them to the cream cheese mixture. And stir well to combine.

Carefully fold in the crabmeat.

Place the mixture into a buttered baking dish and bake in a 350°F oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve hot with bread, crackers or other delicious dipping things.


Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 flank steak
  • ½ cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Granulated Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder

Combine the ingredients and marinade the steak overnight.

Grill or broil to desired doneness, set aside to rest 20 minutes before slicing.

Chimichurri Sauce

  • ½ bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put everything into a food processor or blender and process to desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Slice the flank steak thin and top with the chimichurri sauce; serve with tortillas, lettuce and sour cream.



Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

1 large head Green Cabbage
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
Splash dry red wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg
2 cups steamed white rice
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the tomato sauce, wine (optional) parsley, rice and egg to the pan, stir to combine.

Set the mixture aside to cool.

Carefully remove the outer large leaves from the cabbage. Be careful not to tear the leaves.

Plunge the leaves into a pot of boiling water for just a minute.

Remove the leaves from the boiling water and place them into ice water to stop the cooking process.

Dry each leaf and stuff with the cooled rice mixture. Fold the leaves carefully to fold the filling inside of the leaves.

Place the rolls in a baking dish; top with tomato sauce and then bake for about 45 minutes to an hour in a 350° oven.

Bok Choy Salad

2 large bok choy or 3-4 small baby bok choy, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 bunch scallions, sliced
¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
1 pack of ramen noodles (toss the seasoning) broken into bite size pieces
¼ cup rice wine vinegar, seasoned
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice the bok choy and combine it with the remaining vegetables, nuts and noodles. Drizzle the vinegar and oil over the salad, toss to coat, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir-Fry Cabbage and Vegetables with Ramen Noodles

Easy and simple, use already sliced cabbage and sliced veggies from the salad bar to really speed this dish up.

1# bag of shredded cabbage
2 carrots, sliced this
2 ribs celery, sliced thin
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 bottle purchased “Stir-Fry” sauce
1 -2 packs of cooked ramen noodles, throw away the seasoning packets

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetables and sauté until done. Fold in the cooked noodles, add the stir-fry sauce, toss to coat and serve.


White Chicken Chili

4 boneless chicken breasts, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups diced Anaheim chiles, or a combination of other green chiles
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs fresh celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans or white kidney beans
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh pepper to taste


Fresh Cilantro leaves
Cheddar cheese
Roasted Corn kernels
Sour cream
Lime wedges

Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil and the diced chicken, cook until the outside of the chicken turns white. Add the diced peppers, onions and celery, stir to soften. Add the garlic and the cumin to the pan.
When you can smell the garlic and cumin, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables and chicken are cooked through.
Open the can of beans and rinse. Add the beans to the soup and heat them through.

Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the soup with small bowls of garnishes on the side so people can add what they like:

  • Fresh Cilantro leaves
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Diced Avocado
  • Roasted Corn kernels
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges



  Black Forest Cake

Chocolate Chiffon

  • 10 oz cake flour
  • 2 oz cocoa powder
  • 8 oz sugar
  • .25 oz salt
  • .5 baking powder
  • 5 oz vegetable oil
  • 6 oz egg yolks
  • 9 oz water
  • .25 vanilla extract
  • 10 oz egg whites
  • 5 oz sugar
  • 5/8 tbsp

Stir sifted, dry ingredients in mixer. Slowly add oil and yolks. Scrape down bowl. Slowly add water and extract. Scrape down bowl. Whip egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar to meringue. Fold into mixture in thirds. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

2 mixing bowls
Paddle attachment
Whip attachment
Parchment paper
Bowl scraper
Spray butter
2 – 8″ cake pans, greased
2 parchment rounds

Cherry Filling
1 pt. amaretto cherries

Drain cherries and transfer into cherry pie filling “goo”. Reserve 12 cherries for garnish. Rinse and dry.

2 pint containers with lids

Whipped Cream
1 qt heavy cream
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar

Whip in mixing bowl with whip attachment until med/stiff

Mixing bowl
Whip attachment
Measuring spoon
Piping bag
Star tip

Kirsch Syrup
1 qt sugar
1 pt water
4 oz cherry syrup
1 tbsp kirsch alcohol

Bring sugar and water to a boil. Flavor with cherry syrup and kirsch.

Pastry brush

Chocolate Shavings
1 qt dark chocolate, melted

Melt chocolate over double broiler while stirring with spatula. Pour onto cold marble slab and work back and forth with large inset until set. Use bench knife to shave ribbons

Large inset
Bench knife
1 quart container


  1. Mix and bake chiffon
  2. Make simple syrup. Flavor with cherry syrup.
  3. Melt chocolate and make shavings.
  4. Torte chiffon cake into thirds.
  5. Remove chiffon from oven. Cool.
  6. Assemble black forest.
    Cherry syrup
    Cherry filling
    Cherry syrup
    Whipped Cream
    Cherry syrup
    Whipped cream
    12 portions
    Rosettes and cherries on each portion
    Chocolate shavings halfway up torte
    Seashell piping along bottom of torte
  7. Store black forest in cooler to let whip cream set.
  8. Torte chiffon in half. Display crumb side up on plate.
  9. Use a hot knife to cut one slice from black forest to display on small dessert plate.

Chef Pamela Roberts, Host - Charlotte Cooks

Shrimp Creole

This recipe comes from NOLA Cuisine.

  • 2 pounds Peeled and Deveined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons All- purpose flour
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small Green Pepper, finely Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cups Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Cayenne to taste
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1 bunch Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon Tabasco or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
  • 2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley, minced

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the flour and stir so it looks like wet sand on the beach.

When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook until the onions are golden brown. Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper.

Reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt. Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, add the fresh tomatoes. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.

Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and Thyme.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and adjust seasonings.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp. The key is to not overcook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.