Cookbook cover for Fresh Tastes by Lee Clayton Roper

FRESH TASTES FROM A WELL-SEASONED KITCHEN: Over 170 flavorful recipes, essential cooking tips & delightful stories to spark inspiration in your kitchen

Lee Clayton Roper Rick Souders

MLC Publishing
November 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0-9841163-6-2

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Lee Clayton Roper is an award- winning cookbook author, cooking instructor, public speaker and
TV personality. Her first book, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen, co-written with her mother Sally Clayton, received numerous rave reviews, and was featured in local and national press. In 2010, A Well-Seasoned Kitchen achieved national acclaim, winning the prestigious “Living Now” gold medal. With FRESH TASTES, Lee expands the A Well-Seasoned Kitchen collection, serving up fresh, delicious and sophisticated dishes guaranteed to inspire creativity in kitchens everywhere. “Fresh,” “organic,” and “local” aren’t simply buzz words for Lee — they’re indelible principles, seamlessly translated from the culinary experiences of her youth. Today, Lee tours the country (in her Airstream trailer) sharing the secrets to her success as a renowned home cook and hostess, teaching cooking classes, leading cooking demonstrations, and providing expert commentary on television, radio and in print media. For more inspiration and information, go to


Rick Souders, an honors graduate of the Art Center College of Design, is a world-renowned food and beverage photographer based in Golden, Colorado. His work has been featured at The International Photography Hall of Fame, the Tabasco Cookbook Awards, IACP and at the World Food Media Awards in South Australia. Rick is affectionately known as “The Mile High Food and Beverage Guy.” See 
Rick’s work at Rick was supported on Fresh Tastes by the talented team of Austin Beadles (Studio Manager, Souders Studios, Inc), Brenda Christy (Producer & Set Stylist) and John Wood (Imaging Specialist, Square Pixels).


Denver, Colorado based food stylist Stephen Shern began his career in New York City 25 years ago, after 
a successful career as a professional chef. Stephen was nominated as one of the six best food stylists in a world competition sponsored by Le Cordon Bleu. In addition to food styling, Stephen also provides assistance with product, menu, and recipe development. On Fresh Tastes, Stephen was supported by his talented Food Styling Assistant Jen Fletcher.

Award-winning cookbook author Lee Clayton Roper presents FRESH TASTES, a follow-up to her critically acclaimed A Well-Seasoned Kitchen. Lee has gathered a unique collection of more than 170 recipes that showcase how fresh ingredients and new ideas can combine to deliver memorable meals. From delectable appetizers and creative salads to impressive main courses and luscious desserts, Lee serves up extraordinarily flavorful dishes guaranteed to please all palates.

Fans of A Well-Seasoned Kitchen will recall that Lee’s love of cooking and entertaining was first inspired by her mother Sally Clayton. In FRESH TASTES, the motivation to create exciting new dishes and flavor profiles comes from her own kitchen — influenced by people and places that have enriched her life.

This cookbook epitomizes her culinary tastes, balancing an innovative approach with uncomplicated preparation techniques. Sophisticated in flavor and beautiful to present, the recipes in FRESH TASTES are prepared with the best, readily available ingredients designed to maximize flavor. Drawing from her decades of experience, Lee delivers helpful advice on what is best for the dish, the flavor and the cook, taking into account such essential variables as seasonality and availability. Sometimes a can of organic tomatoes adds more flavor than an out-of-season fresh one. Recipes included in FRESH TASTES were tested by a multitude of volunteers from across the country with varying levels of expertise, appliances and even at different altitudes.

Lee takes the “complicated” out of timeless classics and presents them with a fresh, innovative twist. Among the 173 easy-to-follow recipes and 83 color photographs that bring them to life are inventive presentations for Coq au Vin and Bouillabaisse designed to deliver the “wow” factor. 42 indispensable detailed cooking tips (many with accompanying photos) empower readers to expand their culinary horizons with unique and creative ways to cook and entertain. Learn how easy it is to keep brown sugar fresh, prevent a piecrust from becoming soggy, butterfly a chicken breast or create a menu for your next dinner party.

Fresh, flavorful and inspired, this collection of hand- selected recipes in FRESH TASTES transcends the kitchen, reminding us all that every meal can and should be a simple yet sophisticated celebration of life.

Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Serves 6

Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Peppers Fresh Tastes

This scrumptious, full-of-flavor recipe comes from my cousin Beth’s daughter Becca Kidwell. The Kidwells are all foodies – and fabulous cooks. Becca is a professionally trained chef who ran her own catering company for several years before starting an organic edible gardening business with her sister, Sarah. Even your meat-eating friends will be pleased with this recipe, featuring sweet bell peppers stuffed with rosemary and garlic-infused quinoa, onions, tomatoes, Serrano peppers, garbanzo beans, fresh cheeses, and herbs. For a pretty presentation, I like to use orange or red bell peppers, adding a “pop” of color on the plate.

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 large sweet orange or red bell peppers, halved, seeded and divided
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2/3 pint multi-colored cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons diced fresh Serrano chile pepper, or to taste
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) cubed fresh mozzarella
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, rosemary, garlic powder, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until all liquid evaporates and grain is soft. Set aside to cool.

Place 6 bell pepper halves in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. With a sharp knife, pierce the bottom of the peppers a couple of times and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Season liberally with salt and fresh black pepper. Set aside.

Slice the remaining 2 bell pepper halves into thin strips; quarter pieces and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the onion, chopped garlic, tomatoes, chile pepper, garbanzo beans, and mozzarella. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, basil, parsley, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (around 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt should do it). Stir in the cooled quinoa and mix well.

Spoon a heaping amount of quinoa stuffing into each pepper half and transfer to baking dish. Any leftover stuffing can be sprinkled in the pan or tucked into corners of the dish. Top each pepper with approximately 1 tablespoon of Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of Monterey Jack cheese. Bake about 35 to 45 minutes, until bubbly hot and the cheese on top is golden brown. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Make ahead: Peppers can be assembled, but not baked, earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking, or increase cook time by around 10 minutes.

Apple, Walnut and Stilton Cheese Salad

Serves 6

Apple Walnut Stilton Salad Fresh Tastes 

The British have known for years that apples and Stilton cheese are a wonderful combination.  In this delicious salad, they’re mixed together with spinach, walnuts, and a walnut-flavored vinaigrette. I like to serve this salad with any grilled meat or with our Coq au Vin as part of a Fall dinner. 

  • 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnut oil*
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 10 ounces mixed baby greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce)
  • 2 large Gala or other red apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups (6 to 8 ounces) Stilton cheese, crumbled**

*If you can’t find raspberry balsamic vinegar, use regular raspberry vinegar and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey. If you can’t find walnut oil, substitute olive oil and add a few more walnuts.

**There are 2 types of Stilton cheese: blue and white. Either will work in this recipe. If you can’t find Stilton, you can substitute Gorgonzola or other forms of blue cheese.

In a medium glass jar with fitted lid (an empty Dijon mustard jar works well), whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, and oil until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together mixed greens, chopped apple, walnuts, and cheese.  Just before serving, toss with just enough dressing to coat the lettuce (you may have some dressing left over). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Variation in presentation:  If you want to have a more formal, individually plated salad, then instead of chopping the apples, core and slice them.  Toss the greens with part of the dressing and divide among six individual salad plates.  Arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern over the spinach.  Sprinkle the walnuts and cheese crumbles over the top.  Drizzle with remaining dressing.



These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from FRESH TASTES FROM A WELL-SEASONED KITCHEN by Lee Clayton Roper. (MLC Publishing, November 2015; $34.95/Hardcover; ISBN: 978-0-9841163-6-2).

Contact: Diane Nagler
The Nagler Agency