Home Cooks Fire It Up! 2

The Vinings area is home to award-winning restaurants serving some of the best dishes in the region. However, some of the tastiest dishes can’t be found in a restaurant, but rather in the homes of area residents. Check out three of our area’s best home cooks and their favorite recipes.

Dawn Richards

Blogger and magazine contributor, Dawn Richards (dmrfinefoods.blogspot.com) has had her share of notoriety in the food arena. In 2011, Richards won The Cooking Channel’s “Perfect Three” recipe contest. Then, as more recipe contest wins and brand collaborations, including Yahoo!, followed, Richards went on to launch her multifaceted business, D.M.R. Fine Foods. While balancing her business, Richards manages a full-time career as a Contracts Executive. Read on for her roasted salade niçoise recipe!

Roasted Salade Niçoise

Vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to incorporate and until dressing is thickened.

Salad ingredients:

  • tuna steak
  • grape tomatoes, halved
  • fresh green beans
  • olives
  • anchovies
  • egg
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
    2. Parboil beans in a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes and remove. Place tomatoes, beans, olives, and anchovies in an oven-safe pan, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Crack an egg into a ramekin, slightly drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place the ramekin in the pan.


  1. Drizzle tuna with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper, then place the tuna on top of vegetables. Place the pan in the heated oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until tuna is slightly rare and the egg whites are set.
  2. Remove pan from oven and drizzle salad with vinaigrette. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, serve, and enjoy!

Rafaela Peter

It’s a safe bet that Brazilian Rafaela Peter inherited her cooking chops from her mother, who once ran her own catering company. These days, Peter, a food blogger (fitnessbynutrition.com.br), 
wife, mom and health coach has happily allowed her enthusiasm for all things health-conscious to spill over to her blogging and cooking. “You can have a delicious meal and still eat good and healthy,” says Peter. Check out her delicious yet healthy salmon recipe.

Teriyaki Salmon


  • 1 kg of salmon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of melted honey
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • ½ cup of Worcestershire sauce or fermented organic soy sauce * or coconut amino *
  • 1 tsp sesame


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a plastic bag.
  3. Close the bag and place in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes
  4. Remove the salmon and place in pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  5. In the last 3 minutes to increase the temperature for maximum sear.
  6. Remove and serve as desired.

Elizabeth McCarthy

No meal is complete without an unforgettable dessert. And, former eighth grade math teacher, who is now a stay-at-home-mom to 3-year-old Nicholas, Elizabeth McCarthy, surely agrees. The self-proclaimed dessert fanatic and has gone from helping her “southern cooking mama”  in the kitchen as a girl to now whipping up lip-smacking creations for her own family, which will soon include two more. Mrs. McCarthy and her husband are expecting twins this summer! Check out one of the Nashville native’s favorite treats fit for a crowd!

White Chocolate Mousse Tart

Ingredients for White Chocolate Mousse​:

  • 6 oz white chocolate chips (melted)
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped
  • **Fruit for top of tart (McCarthy uses blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries.)

Ingredients for Graham Cracker-Coconut Crust:

  • 11 whole graham crackers (approximately 1⅓ cups crumbs)
  • ⅛ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 teaspoon pure coconut extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

To make crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grind the graham crackers until finely ground crumbs. (Use either a food processor or put crackers in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin.)
  3. Combine the crumbs, butter, coconut, coconut extract, and salt in a bowl. Stir until crumbs are moistened.
  4. Press mixture evenly across a 9-inch pie pan. Bake crust until crisp (approximately 7 minutes). Let cool completely before filling.

To make mousse:

  1. In a microwave, melt chocolate. Stir until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in milk and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream.
  3. Spoon mixture into crust. Garnish with fruit. Once done, place the fruit tart in the freezer for 1 hour until it sets. Enjoy!