Category: Summer Recipes


Susan’s Gone Plum Crazy


Photo: Joanna Kosinska

If you’re like Chef Susan Feniger and wondering what to do with your abundance of plums this summer, try our Cardamom Plum Cake with Ginger Crema Sorbet.  

Cardamom Plum Cakes

Makes 14 mini cakes (or 2 9-inch round cakes)

7 ounces unsalted butter plus extra for ramekins
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
A pinch of nutmeg, ginger, mace, and vanilla bean scrapings
14 fresh plums, halved

Cake Batter
4 ounces unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups light brown sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/8 cup whole milk
3/4 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter and whisk together with brown sugar then add spices and vanilla bean scrapings. Add plum halves and toss to coat well. Lightly butter 14 ramekins. Fill the bottom of each ramekin with plums (skin side down) and some of the sugar/butter/spice mixture.

To make cake batter: Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well combined. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Combine milk and vanilla. Add dry and wet ingredients to butter/sugar mixture alternately mixing between additions, scraping the bottom of the bowl often. Divide evenly between the ramekins, filling only about 2/3 of the way.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert onto dessert plates and serve warm with Ginger Crema Sorbet.

Ginger Crema Sorbet

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 cups crema or crème fraiche
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons ginger juice (strained from grated ginger)

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

When syrup is cool, combine with the crema, lemon juice, and ginger juice. Adjust flavors as necessary. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacture’s instructions. Caution: This sorbet can become over mixed quite quickly.



Kale, Quinoa & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Kale, Quinoa & Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

1/2 to 1 bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale, washed, stems removed and leaves cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup cooked white or red quinoa – or a combo is nice
1 cup sweet potato, peeled, 1/2-inch dice, roasted with salt, pepper and olive oil until soft

Cotija Cheese Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated cotija cheese*

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil.  Whisk in grated cheese and set aside.

Pour half the dressing over the kale in a large bowl. Massage dressing into the leaves with your hands briefly. Add the quinoa, sweet potatoes, remaining dressing and toss together, taste, adjust seasoning and serve.

* Cacique cheeses are a great choice. We have been using their cheeses at Border Grill for over 25 years.


Baja Ceviche


This Baja Ceviche, featuring sustainable fish and shrimp, is one of the most popular appetizers
at the restaurants. At Border Grill, we are committed to serving seafood that is sustainably
sourced, meaning that it has been fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the
environment. When purchasing seafood, our chefs in the restaurants make sure to always
buy seafood that is in season, local whenever possible, and recommended by Monterey Bay
Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program. For more current info about sustainable seafood and the
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, go to  or download the app.

Serves 4

1 pound skinless, boneless sustainable fish*, finely diced
1 pound domestic, wild-caught jumbo shrimp*, cleaned and finely diced
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 to 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely diced
Salt, to taste
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
4 6-inch corn tortillas
1 bunch cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Sliced California avocado, for garnish


In a large bowl, combine halibut and shrimp and enough lime juice to cover.  Allow to marinate for 20 minutes.  Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of lime juice.

Combine seafood with remaining ingredients and reserved lime juice, to taste, and stir gently to combine.  Chill thoroughly.

Meanwhile, pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a small pan for frying.  Fry the tortillas on both sides until crisp and drain on paper towels.

To a food processor, add cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until cilantro is very finely chopped and a paste begins to form.  Add mayonnaise and combine thoroughly.

To serve, spread a thin layer of cilantro mayonnaise on each crispy corn tortilla.  Top with seafood ceviche mixture and garnish with avocado.


*According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, when it comes to sustainable seafood, Pacific halibut is a “Best” choice and domestic, wild-caught shrimp is a “Best” or “Good” choice .


Heirloom Bean Tostada

Heirloom Bean Tostada

Photo: Scott Phillips

This Heirloom Bean Tostada is the perfect way to highlight a variety of vegetables and use proteins as a complement for a satisfying and healthful combo. At Border Grill, we call it “Good for the Planet, Good for You” and follow an 80/20 rule–at least 80% plant based ingredients–building many dishes around vegetables, grains, beans, and fruit and using meat for flavor and garnish. It’s the way of the future. For this tostada, look for interesting dried heirloom beans like Christmas lima, scarlett runner, Peruvian yellow, or black calypso.

Serves 6

Heirloom Bean Salad

1 1/2 cups dried heirloom beans, a couple different varieties
3 to 4 bay leaves
1 small onion, cut into thick slices
2 cups trimmed green beans and yellow wax beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces slab bacon or 4 thick slices bacon, cut into 1/16-inch batonettes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 to 2 canned chipotle chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 jalapeño chiles (red and green), stemmed, seeded, and finely diced
3 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 6-inch corn tortillas, fried until crispy
1 1/2 cups frisee lettuce, torn into pieces, for serving
1 ripe California avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced, for serving
6 pieces crispy Serrano ham* (optional), for serving

Cilantro Aioli

1 bunch cilantro
1 lime, juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Cooking each variety in a different pot, cover beans with water. Add bay leaves and onion slices, diving evenly between pots. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, simmering gently, covered, for 45 to 75 minutes or until beans are cooked through and creamy inside. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, remove bay leaves and onion, and drain thoroughly.

Meanwhile, fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil with a very large pinch of salt. Cook green and yellow beans until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and scatter on a platter lined with paper towels. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator.

When all beans are ready, fry bacon in a skillet until crisp then drain on paper towels. Transfer a spoonful of bacon fat to a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle chiles, salt, and pepper. Whisk to form a vinaigrette. Add all cooked beans, jalapeño chiles, green onions, and crispy bacon and gently toss to evenly coat. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed.

For the Aioli: To a food processor, add cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until cilantro is very finely chopped and a paste begins to form. Add mayonnaise and combine thoroughly.

To Serve: Squirt or spread a little cilantro aioli on each crispy tostada and top with frisee lettuce. Mound bean salad mixture on top and garnish with avocado slices and a crispy Serrano ham slice if desired. Serve immediately.

* Cook thinly sliced pieces of Serrano ham between 2 cookie sheets in a 300 degree F oven for about 10 minutes, or until crispy.