A Mediterranean Meal With Zest!

Chef Jennifer Jasinski cut her teeth, so to speak, under the world-famous Wolfgang Puck.

Eight years ago, she opened her own restaurant, Rioja, in Denver, where she mixes Mediterranean-style with fresh, local ingredients. It's bene winning rave reviews for the menu and extensive Spanish wine list.

But could she prepare a spicy, three-course meal for four on our $40 dollar budget, as this week's "Chef on a Shoestring?"

She gave it a go!


  • Madras Curry Scented Garbanzo Dip
  • Shrimp & Spicy Sausage Skewers w/ Corn-Orzo Salad
  • Lemon Anise Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

    Garbanzo Beans: Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, have a delicious nut-like taste and buttery texture. A very versatile legume, they're a noted ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes such as hummus, falafels and curries.

    Madras Curry: Madras curry is a flavorful curry that originates in southern India. This curry can accompany vegetables or meats, and it can feature a wide range of ingredients, although chili peppers are usually a fundamental ingredient.

    Pappadams: Pappadams, also called papadums, are a thin, crispy Indian wafer, sometimes described as a cracker, or flat bread. An important part of Indian cuisine, recipes vary from region to region and family to family, but it's typically made from lentil, chickpea, black gram or rice flour.

    Orzo Pasta: Orzo is Italian and means "barley," but in common use in the United States, orzo is understood to mean rice-shaped pasta, slightly smaller than a pine nut. It's frequently used in soups. Despite its rice shape, orzo is not made out of rice but of hard wheat semolina.

    Star Anise: Anise contains licorice-like components, it's sweet and very aromatic. Star anise is obtained from the star-shaped fruit of a native evergreen tree of southwest China. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening.


  • Substitute pita or tortilla chips if you can't find pappadams .
  • Undercook the pasta; it absorbs the vinaigrette and continues to soften.
  • Make the cookies ahead of time; they're best straight out of the freezer.


    Madras Curry Scented Garbanzo Dip

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 cups drained garbanzo beans (reserve the liquid)
    1/2 cup shallots, sliced
    1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
    1-1/2 teaspoons Madras curry
    2 ounces garbanzo bean liquid
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    Pinch cardamom
    Salt and pepper, to taste
    1 package pappadams
    1/4 cup olive oil for pappadams

    Add the olive oil to a sauté pan and sauté the shallot until very light golden brown.

    Add the curry and cardamom and toast for a few seconds to open the flavors in the curry.

    Add the drained garbanzo beans and remove from the heat.

    Place the entire contents of the pan in the food processor with the S-blade and pulse until ingredients are well blended.

    Add the 2 ounces of garbanzo bean liquid to the emptied sauté pan to deglaze the pan, add the contents to the food processor.

    Using a micro-plane or zester, zest an orange to get 1 teaspoon of orange zest.

    Top the dip with the sour cream and orange zest, season to taste.
    Keep cool until ready to serve.

    To cook the pappadams, brush both sides with olive oil and toast on the grill until you see the dough change to opaque.

    They can brown quickly so make sure to flip them every few seconds.

    When done, remove from the grill promptly; they will become crispy in a few seconds. Break into pieces and serve with the dip.