Walnut Brewery’s Asiago Cheese Dip & Beer Bread

Boulder, CO is the home of the Walnut Brewery. Somehow over the years they were associated (bought out?) with Rock Bottom Brewery. Same menu, but Walnut kept their different name. In college my husband and I loved to go to the Walnut for their beer and the Asiago Cheese Dip appetizer with beer bread. They still make their own beer, but unfortunately, they don’t have the cheese dip on the menu anymore!

In 2000, one of the Rock Bottom restaurants shared the Asiago Cheese Dip recipe with a local paper, and I happened to run across it on the internet. While you can not longer order this app at the restaurant, at least you can make it at home. And on a personal note, we don’t like mushrooms, so I leave those out!

Walnut Brewery Asiago Cheese Dip 

  • 4 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted in hot water
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese, plus shredded Asiago cheese for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onions (cleaned, rinsed, and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms (rinsed and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

Squeeze all water our of tomatoes, then julienne cut into fine strips. it is important that all water be removed from tomatoes, and they must be added last, or dip will discolor.

Combine remaining ingredients, except tomatoes and cheese for garnish, in food processor. blend well at low speed. Add tomatoes and slowly mix by hand for about 1 minute. When ready to serve, heat through in microwave oven. Remove from microwave and sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Put in broiler and heat until cheese browns. Makes 3 cups.

Walnut Brewery Beer Bread

  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 9 1/2 oz pale ale beer
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely sliced (green part only)
  • 10 oz jalapenos, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter to coat bread

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add beer and mix well.

Add cheese, onion, and jalapenos, if using. Batter will be stiff.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly coat 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil spray. Transfer batter to pan, spreading evenly. Brush top of bread with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven about 45 minutes or until bread is light brown. Remove from oven and cool. When cool, cut bread into 1/4-inch thick slices.

When ready to serve, put bread slices in broiler and heat until browned, about 1 minute. Makes one loaf.



Mama Calcagni’s Lasagna!

Now, I will start this post by saying – I have no idea who Mama Calcagni is. About ten years ago, I was searching the internet for a good lasagna recipe and I ran across this one. Thank goodness I printed it, because sadly, the angelfire.com link is no longer valid to share with you. Apparently this was passed down from this fellow’s grandmother. It is wonderful. I follow the end note to assemble the night before and cook the following day.

I am tagging this one as meatless. Quite often when I make it I skip the sirloin and pepperoni, it is a fabulous cheese lasagna. The following recipe and all notes throughout are from the original author, except a few noted by me in [].

Ingredients for Tomato Sauce

  • 1 large can (28 oz) of Tomato Puree (or whole peeled tomatoes and then puree yourself in a blender)
  • 2 six-oz cans Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 2 cloves chopped Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH of Basil, Oregano, and Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

To Make the Sauce

In a large saucepan, place tomato puree and 1/4 cup of EVOO. Add basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic. Heat on medium-low until it starts to simmer, and then reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Add the two cans of tomato paste along with two cans of water and the teaspoon of sugar. Mix until the tomato paste is smooth and cook on low for approximately 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. [Kristi Note: I add salt & pepper to taste once heat is reduced to low.]

Ingredients for Lasagna

Important! Make sure your lasagna pan is at least 2.5 inches deep! A rectangular foil roaster/baker pan will do, approximately 11.5 – 12 inches long and 9 inches wide.

  • 1 pound cooked ground sirloin
  • 1 stick (or pre-sliced package) pepperoni
  • 1 pound ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz container mozzarella cheese [Kristi Note: Shredded]
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle
  • Box of wide lasagna noodles, cooked about 8 minutes (will be a little hard)

To Assemble Lasagna

Place pan on a sturdy cookie sheet or baking sheet [Kristi Note: I think this is just if using the foil pan]. Layer bottom of the pan with the tomato sauce – just enough to cover the bottom. [Kristi Note: He means a little! There are a lot of sauce layers so don’t go crazy here, you could run out near the top.] Cover with 1 layer of lasagna noodles. Add another thin layer of sauce, then cooked sirloin, pepperoni, mozzarella, and ricotta. Add more sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and cover with another layer of noodles, and then more sauce. Repeat the above to form a second layer of ingredients, then finally add last layer of noodles, more sauce, and Parmesan. This should bring the layers right to the top of the roaster pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

As an engineer, I needed a visual for the lasagna layers so I didn’t get lost in the recipe. I have it scrawled out (and barely legible) on my paper version.

*Note, after you build the lasagna, you may put it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next day. Doing this will let the juices soak in and make it taste even better. If you do this, you should take it out of the refrigerator about two hours before you bake and increase the baking time to 90 minutes.

NOTE: The sauce recipe is suitable for any red sauce used on pasta dishes.

Tomato Brushetta

Another one from my friend Kelly. Great as an appetizer or a side. Original recipe posted with notes on Kelly’s changes to the recipe in ().


  • 10 Roma Tomatoes (10 large or 14 small)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (Kelly uses 10)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil (Kelly uses whole pack from store)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil (1/3 cup, then drizzle more after mixed, plus some for bread)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle
  • 2 Loaves French Baguette


Chop tomatoes into small pieces. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

Slice bread, toast each side under broiler in oven. (Watch so they don’t burn) Brush with olive oil after toasting. Top with tomato mixture, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Kelly’s Salsa

This recipe comes from my friend Kelly. Always a hit.


  • 1 large can (28 oz) Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 med can (15 oz) Tomato Sauce
  • 1 small can (4 oz) Diced Green Chiles
  • 1 small can (4 oz) Diced Jalapenos (to taste – you don’t have to use whole can)
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Vinegar
  • 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Transfer to food processor. Pulse to combine. (If you don’t have a food processor, a blender works well, too.)

The Classic Cosmopolitan

Classic Cosmopolitan. Shaken, not stirred.

I know, I know. This drink is so ten years ago. But I still love it!


  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau (I use Triple Sec, it’s cheaper)
  • 1 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • Chilled Martini Glass


Combine all ingredients in the cocktail shaker. Shake gently and with a steady hand, pour carefully and strain into a Martini glass. For extra flair, float a curl of lime peel in the center of your drink.

Melissa Anelli’s Famous Guacamole

Melissa Anelli’s Famous Guacamole

I love Harry Potter. I mean, I LOVE it. I like to say I am passionate about Potter, but my husband would probably say “obsessed” would be a better term. Several years ago, while anxiously awaiting the release of book seven, I was listening to an episode of PotterCast. One of the hosts, Melissa Anelli, gave out her Famous Guacamole recipe. I copied it down and it has been a love affair ever since.

I have made some modifications per my taste. So here is Melissa’s original recipe with my recommendations.


  • 2 Ripe Avocados, mashed(don’t puree)
  • 1/2 Red Onion, diced small
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro, fresh chopped [I use MUCH more cilantro than this, I say add to taste.]
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice [again to taste, I like more, I use juice from a whole lime]
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (This is Melissa’s secret ingredient. She recommends Mediterranean sea salt from Coastal Goods. I use Mediterranean sea salt from my local grocery store and so far, so good.)
  • 1/2 Ripe Tomato, cored, dice the outside [I use a whole tomato]


Mix all but tomato together. Add tomato last. Enjoy!

One note on this, Melissa calls for mashed avocado. My aunt (Susie) makes a similar recipe, but she cubes her avocado instead. Equally delicious.

Susie’s Potato Salad

UPDATE: OMG, you guys. I just made this with five red potatoes and four eggs, it made an enormous bowl. If you want a reasonable amount, try starting with  three red potatoes and two eggs! (I love how I said “you guys” like there are actually people reading this. LOL)

I enjoy potato salad, but I’m not

This was with five potatoes and three eggs – you can see it made a lot!

a big fan of mustard or pickles. Last summer we visited my aunt (Susie) and she made this delicious (and a little different) potato salad. I am an engineer and I like recipes to have exact amounts. This recipe is pretty loose, so just go with it. (I didn’t note how much we used of cucumber, carrots, and celery, this was clearly the eyeball method.

Ingredients (adjust as you see fit)

  • Potatoes (we used 5 red), cooked and cut into cubes
  • Eggs (we used 4), cooked and chopped
  • Cucumber, cubed
  • Shredded Carrots
  • Celery, sliced

Sauce (Ratio per Susie, multiply as needed for your amount of potato salad)

  • Mayonnaise (Couple of spoonfuls)
  • Yellow Mustard (Couple of squirts)
  • Horseradish Sauce (~ teaspoon, more if you want more kick)
  • Salt


Add the sauce to the other ingredients. Mix it all together and voila! You have potato salad.

Now, for those of you needing more direction (like me) here’s how you cook your potatoes and eggs, per Better Homes and Gardens:

Cook potatoes in boiling water for 20 – 25 minutes until soft, but still firm. Peel & cut. (or leave the skin on if that’s your thing.)

Hard Boiled Eggs – cover with cold water in saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Drain. cover eggs in cold water for five minutes to cool.