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Dark-Chocolate Bark with Dried Cranberries, Candied Ginger and Pepitas

December 6, 2016

img_4805Christmas bark is a great option for a quick and tasty hostess gift. It requires only a few ingredients that you most likely have on hand. Making bark can be as creative as you want to make it and NO BAKING REQUIRED. I chose sweet cranberries, candied ginger and pepitas…sweet and salty with a kick.

Dark- Chocolate with Dried Cranberries, Ginger and Pepitas

1/2 cup of salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup dried cranberries (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

The above measurements can be adjusted to your taste.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. In a glass bowl, heat two-thirds of the chocolate over simmering water once melted add the remaining chocolate. (OR in a microwave oven at high power in 30-second bursts until just melted. Stir until smooth. Add the remaining chocolate and stir until melted). Scrape the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Place your cranberries, ginger and pepitas over the chocolate. Gently press down the ingredients with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate until firm enough to cut (about 30 minutes).

Cut the bark into pieces and transfer to a plate. Serve cold or at room.
The bark can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

When melting chocolate in a microwave oven, be sure to give the chocolate a quick stir between each 30-second burst to prevent it from scorching.

Be creative and combine any of the following for sweet and savory combinations.

Dried and candied fruits and peels
Nuts: raw or toasted and plain, or seasoned with sweet or savory spices or herbs
Trail mixes or other salty snack mixes
Cookies or pretzels that you can chop or crumble
Toasted seeds or grains
Coconut flakes

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Baked Egg Boats

November 18, 2016

img_4730Baked Egg Boats. Hollow out a baguette, pour in a tasty mixture of egg, pancetta, green onions and cheese, then bake. It’s that’s easy. Serve with a side of pancetta wrapped asparagus or fruit.

Baked Egg Boats
Makes 4

4 demi sourdough baguettes
5 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces pancetta, finely chopped and fried until crisp
3 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
2 green onions, thinly slicedsalt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut a deep “V” through the tops of each baguette until about a 1/2 inch to the bottom. Unstuff the baguettes.
Place the eggs and cream into bowl and lightly beat together. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Divide and pour the mixture into each baguette boat and place onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, puffed and set in the center. Season with salt and pepper.
Cool for about 5 minutes, cut and serve.

Adapted from: Spoonforkbaconimg_4722img_4720img_4725img_4732

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Roasted Acorn And Delicata Squash with Pomegranate & Parsley

November 10, 2016

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This is a perfectly simple way to prepare the season’s premier harvest. Acorn and delicata squash are drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper then roasted at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. The result is a tender, sweet and nutty side for your holiday table. To finish top with pomegranate arils and fresh parsley. This squash dish is not only delicious but offers a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, beta-carotene as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.

More ideas… Crusted Butternut Squash that incorporates fresh herbs and parmesan cheese…..and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Quinoa and Acorn Squash Salad, Butternut Squash Soup.

 

Roasted Acorn and Delicata Squash With Pomegranate & Parsley

Serves 8

Olive oil cooking spray
2 medium acorn squash or delicate squash (or both)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup pomegranate arils

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly spray two rimmed baking pans with cooking spray. Cut squash crosswise into 1-inch slices.
Use round cookie cutter or small can or jar to remove seeds from middle of each slice. Place slices on prepared pans. Lightly spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Transfer to oven and roast 30 minutes or until golden brown and tender, turning once halfway through.
Transfer squash slices to serving platter drizzle with olive oil,  sprinkle with parsley and pomegranate arils.
Adapted from: Foxeslovelemons

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Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

November 3, 2016

 

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A seasonal salad chock-full of ingredients we love this time of year. By roasting the carrots, they don’t just become tender, they become sweeter with delicious caramelized edges. The carrots are sliced diagonally to give them more surface to caramelize. Adding maple syrup sweetens them to the next level. Adjust the syrup to your liking. The flavors of orange and cranberry shine in this simply prepared dressing.

Maple Roasted Carrot Salad

Serves 4 as an entree,  6 as a side dish

2 pounds carrots, preferably with leafy tops
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup pure Grade A maple syrup (optional per preference)
2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane
6 ounces baby arugula
6 ounces goat cheese, such as Montrachet, medium-diced
2/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds, or slivered

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Trim and scrub the carrots. Try to buy carrots less than 1″ in diameter. Cut the carrots in diagonal slices 1 inch wide × 2 inches long (they will shrink when they roast) and place in a medium bowl with ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss well and transfer to two sheet pans. They need to be single layer to roast properly. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once, until the carrots are tender.

**** Add this step if   1. You like the flavor of maple syrup. 2. Want the carrots sweeter. Transfer all the carrots to one of the sheet pans, add the maple syrup, toss, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are caramelized. Watch them carefully!

Combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the arugula in a large bowl and add the carrots, cranberries (with their liquid), goat cheese, almonds, and the vinaigrette. (Do not over dress). Toss with large spoons, sprinkle with salt, and serve at room temperature.

Adapted from: Ina Garten

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Apple Pie Pancakes

October 18, 2016

 

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Apple Pie Season. Take advantage of those iconic flavors and create these delicious pancakes. Yep, take all the ingredients, add grated apples and you’ll have your go-to autumn breakfast. I’ll be replacing my traditional pumpkin pancakes with apple for the morning after this year!

Apple Pie Pancakes

Makes 7 or 8 pancakes

Dry Mix
1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon salt

Wet Mix
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix
1 cup grated medium apple
Butter or vegetable oil for skillet

Vanilla Maple Syrup

1/2 cup maple syrup, warmed gently
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the scrapings of 1 vanilla bean

I suggest adding whip cream to top.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

Use a small bowl add milk. Then add the remaining wet ingredients and mix til combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. The batter will have some small to medium lumps, it’s OK.
Gently fold in the grated apple.
Preheat your skillet over medium heat and brush with 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.

Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop batter onto warm skillet. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes, and then flip.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook on the opposite side for about 1 minute, or until golden brown.
Transfer cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree oven to keep warm.
Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter or oil to the skilled when needed. Serve immediately.
Vanilla Maple Syrup – Stir together the syrup, vanilla, and serve over pancakes.

I like to serve these pancakes with whipped cream.

Adapted from: Averie Cooks.

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Spaghetti with Warm Bacon-Mushroom Vinaigrette


October 9, 2016

img_4515A KEEPER!!!!  Smokey, earthy, savory and a touch of sweet. Did I forget anything? I used thick cut Applegate bacon which set the tone for this amazing dish that pulled together in less than 30 minutes. This pasta would make a nice appetizer or serve as an entrée with a simple side salad of arugula drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Spaghetti with Warm Bacon-Mushroom Vinaigrette

Serves 6

1 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 ounces mixed mushrooms, such as cremini and stemmed shiitake, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely grated garlic
Kosher salt and pepper

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 pound spaghetti, thick
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil, plus basil leaves for garnish
White truffle oil, for drizzling (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the bacon and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat is rendered, about 8 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar.

Add salt to the boiling water. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta and water to the pot. Add the bacon-mushroom vinaigrette and the ½ cup each of grated cheese and sliced basil and toss over moderate heat until the pasta is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to plates and garnish with additional cheese and basil leaves. Drizzle with truffle oil if desired and serve.

Adapted from: Food and Wine

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Herbed Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney

September 28, 2016

img_4553There’s a chill in the air, a hint of autumn….roasting season. Time for “pork chops and applesauce!” This recipe highlights how well pork plays with autumnal fruits. I’m using a leaner, flavorful, inexpensive cut of meat…pork tenderloin. The tenderloin cooks quickly, about 20 minutes, which makes it perfect for a weeknight dinner.

The recipe calls for rubbing the loin with herb and then wrapping it with a layer of prosciutto. Adding the apple chutney gives a subtle, sweet, tartness with a bit of a kick (from the ginger) to the savory pork.

Herbed Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney

Serves 6-8

2 pork tenderloins (2½ to 3 pounds total)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
10 to 12 slices prosciutto, sliced thin

Apple Chutney (see recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the tenderloins on a sheet pan and pat them dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, thyme, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub the tenderloins all over with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle all sides with the herb mixture. If there is a thinner “tail,” fold it underneath so the tenderloin is an even thickness throughout. Wrap the tenderloins completely with a single layer of prosciutto. Tie in several places with kitchen string to hold the prosciutto and the “tail” in place. (I just tucked the prosciutto tight in place and didn’t need to string.)

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, (start checking at 20…the tenderloin will continue to cook as it rests, I suggest 20 minutes) until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle of the end of the tenderloin reads 140 degrees for medium rare and 145 degrees for medium. Cover the tenderloins tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice diagonally in thick slices and serve warm with the Apple Chutney.

Apple Chutney

**(Makes 5 Cups)

1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (4 oranges)
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and ½-inch-diced
¾ cup raisins
Combine the onion, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt in a medium-size saucepan. Add the apples, adding them as you chop to keep them from turning brown. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the raisins and serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

**I halved this total recipe (for 2). We gobbled up the pork but had at least 1 cup left of the chutney. Randy’s suggestion is a topping for vanilla ice cream…..brilliant!!!

Adapted from: Ina Garten

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Panang Curry

September 26, 2016

 

img_4482This recipe is being added to our weeknight repertoire! The rich, creamy sauce has a subtle coconut flavor with a kick from the curry paste. A squeeze of lime adds a bright finish. Serve over brown rice. For a lighter version use Lite Coconut Milk.

Panang Curry

Serves 6

2 cans full fat coconut milk
3 tablespoons thai red curry paste
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter
2 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 red peppers, sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
For serving:  brown rice, fresh lime wedges

For the sauce, in a pot whisk together the coconut milk, paste, lime zest and juice, fish sauce and red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium low, stirring often, until thickened….approximately 20 minutes.
In a large saute pan melt the butter and saute the onion for a few minutes. Add in the chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken and most the onions to a plate and saute the red peppers until they are slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Once the sauce thickened, add in the chicken, onions, and red peppers. Stir in the basil and simmer a few more minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Serve over rice (we like brown) with more fresh basil and lime wedges.
Adapted from: A Life From Scratch

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Pear Almond Tart

September 17, 2016

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This Pear Almond Tart allows the seasonal pear to upstage that pumpkin and apple. The combination of flavors is a natural. A sweet crust is filled with a golden brown buttery almond cream and sliced poached pears. For serving, drizzle with caramel sauce, top with salted caramel ice cream, a dusting of powdered sugar or just enjoy as is.

Pear Almond Tart

Sweet Tart Crust

Makes enough for one 9-inch tart crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk

Put the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulse about 10 seconds each until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change; heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for about 2 hours before rolling.*

To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.

To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.

Storing: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out–just add about 5 minutes to the baking time.

* Alternate press-in technique: If you want to use the press-in method, you can work with the dough as soon as it’s processed. Just press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don’t be too heavy-handed; press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but don’t press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture.

Pears

4 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 medium-size firm but ripe Bosc pears, peeled

Almond Filling
2/3 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 2 teaspoons brandy (optional)

1 sweet tart shell, baked (recipe above)

For pears: Bring 4 cups water, sugar, and lemon juice to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pears. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until pears are very tender, turning occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool pears in syrup. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For almond filling: Finely grind almonds and flour in processor. Mix in 7 tablespoons sugar, then butter and flavorings (if using). Blend until smooth. Mix in egg. Transfer filling to medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spread almond filling evenly in baked tart crust. Stem pears and cut each in half lengthwise; scoop out cores. Cut each half crosswise into thin slices. Gently press each pear half to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped. Slide spatula under pears and arrange atop filling like spokes of wheel with narrow ends in center.

Bake tart until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Push pan bottom up, releasing tart from pan. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Cut tart into wedges; sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.

 

Adapted from: Dorie Greenspan

 

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Balsamic Glazed Caprese Chicken

September 11, 2016

 

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I’m savoring those last flavors of summer with this Balsamic Glazed Caprese Chicken. Another thirty minute meal in one pan. Simply saute your chicken, create a quick garlic balsamic glaze and then reunite the chicken with the sweet sauce. Add garden fresh cherry tomatoes and sliced mozzarella. Top with fresh basil chiffonades. Tender. Sweet. Delicious.

Balsamic Glazed Caprese Chicken

Serves 6

6 skinless, chicken thighs
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
Cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil (or a light spray of cooking oil spray)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2½ tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1½ cups grape or cherry tomatoes, divided
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 6x ½-inch slices**
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Balsamic Glaze: (Optional To Serve)
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 410 degrees.
Season each chicken thigh with the oregano, basil, salt and pepper.
Heat the oil (or cooking spray) in a large oven-proof pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes each side. Transfer chicken to a plate; drain most of the excess oil, leaving about a teaspoon worth.
Return the skillet back to the stove; add garlic and cook til until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the vinegar and brown sugar; stirring to combine while heating through. Bring to a simmer, while stirring occasionally, until glaze has thickened (about 5-6 minutes).
Return the chicken to the pan, turning in the glaze to evenly coat. Add 1 cup of the tomatoes, whole, around the chicken and place the chicken into the oven. Bake until the chicken is completely cooked through (about 30 minutes). Top each chicken with a slice of mozzarella cheese; return back into the oven for a further 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Slice the remaining ½ cup tomatoes in half; place them on top of the cheese; pour over some of the balsamic sauce from the pan and garnish with basil. Serve immediately.
Optional:
If wanting to serve with extra balsamic glaze, make your glaze while the chicken is in the oven. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, allowing to simmer while stirring occasionally, until the glaze is thickened and reduced by half (about 5-6 minutes). Drizzle over the chicken when ready to serve.
Adapted from: Cafe Delites

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Mesa Grill’s Hatch Chili Cheeseburger

August 31, 2016

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A fantastic cheeseburger to celebrate Hatch Season and a food flashback!!! After reading this recipe I was quickly reminded…I have had this burger before!! First bite put me at the dining table of Tom and Maureen a year ago. The chatter began around the table…..”best burger I have ever had,” X 10!!! Five essential ingredients  — a juicy hamburger, lots of cheese (queso sauce), pickled red onions, crumbled tortilla chips AND New Mexico hatch green chiles. Keep this on your top “1″ for your next BBQ.

Mesa Grill’s Green Chile Cheeseburger

Serves 4

Queso Sauce
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup whole milk
12 ounces Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly grated pepper, to taste…needs more salt than you think

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, increase the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheese until melted; add the parmesan and season with salt and pepper. ***Keep warm. The sauce can be quickly pulled together while the burgers are cooking. (I had success, re-heating, microwaving , slowly, until warmed and creamy.)

Green Chile Relish
1 medium poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and thinly
2 Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 **serrano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

**I used a jalepeno pepper, serrano peppers are VERY hot

Combine the poblano, Hatch, serano, vinegar, honey, olive oil and cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. The relish can be made 1 day in advance; bring to room temperature before serving.

Use gloves when handling peppers.

Pickled Red Onions
1½ cups red wine vinegar
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 medium red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

Bring vinegar, water, sugar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Put the onions in a medium bowl, pour the vinegar over, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours before serving.

Burgers
1½ pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 hamburger buns, split and lightly toasted
12 blue or yellow corn tortilla chips, coarsely crushed

Heat your griddle or large sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and let heat until it begins to shimmer.

Shape the ground beef with your hands into 4 round patties about 3/4″ inches thick and season each burger on both sides with the salt and pepper. Cook the burgers until golden brown on both sides and cooked to medium, about 8 minutes.

Place the burgers on the buns and top each with a few tablespoons of the queso sauce, chiles, onion and chips.

TO GRILL: Grill 3/4″ burgers 3 minutes on the first side and 5 minutes     on the second side for medium. Let the burgers rest for a few minutes.

Adapted from: Bobby Flay….with 1st taste inspiration from “Master Burger Maker,” Maureen.

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Hatch Chili Chimichurri

August 27, 2016

 

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The 2016 harvest of New Mexico hatch green chiles has arrived…a big deal for you pepper lovers. These peppers are only available once a year, harvested exclusively in Hatch Valley New Mexico August thru mid October. Hatch Valley provides the trifecta of soil, climate and altitude for these southwest jewels to thrive. The chilis are roasted, peeled, diced and added to virtually everything imaginable. The smokey, spicy flavor works well  in condiments, soups, breakfast dishes and can be frozen til next year’s harvest. I’m using them in this recipe to make hatch chili chimichurri. It takes only 10 minutes to prepare and sides well with with your grilled meats. Give it a try before Hatch Chili Season ’16 comes to a close. ***For you locals this is the roasting weekend at Heinen’s!!***

Hatch Chili Chimichurri
Serves 6

½ cup packed cilantro
½ cup packed flat leaf Italian parsley
2 medium size Hatch Chilies, roasted, peeled, stems removed
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons capers
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
⅓ cup good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until all of the ingredients are chopped and well combined. Do not over process or the herbs may turn black.
Adjust consistency with more olive oil for a looser sauce.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Serve at room temperature over meat, fish, shellfish, or vegetables.

Adapted from: Chef Louise AND  thanks to Carol for my introduction to this pepper!!!

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Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

August 21, 2016

 

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There are those rainy summer days that call for a cozy dinner away from the grill. This is it. This season’s harvest is coming to an end and this recipe incorporates all those farm stand favorites. The vegetables are roasted, giving them a rich flavor and the lasagna is assembled with a simple, rich bechamel sauce. Top the lasagna with shredded basil.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Bechamel Sauce

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
some grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 chicken bouillon cube (amount that you would dissolve in 1 cup water)
note: if you are using Knorr bouilloncubes, remember they are for 2 cups of water – just cut them in half (so not skip this step…adds a rich layer)

Vegetables to Roast
Any combination of zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, 3 garlic cloves  (chopped up fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes and onion?)
Lasagna noodles for one 13×9 inch baking pan (Don’t use no bake)

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Basil, thinly sliced for garnish

For the Bechamel:
In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for just a minute or so. Slowly add the milk and keep whisking. Add the nutmeg, white pepper and bouillon cube and whisk. Cook for a few minutes, whisking, until the bechamel has thickened slightly. Set aside to cool. Stir it once in a while so a skin doesn’t form.

For the vegetables:
Chop vegetables. Mince garlic. Combine half the mixed vegetables on a baking sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for several minutes at 400 degrees. Stir. Roast for several minutes more until vegetables are soft. You can roast a little longer, if you like them to be slightly caramelized. Repeat with remaining vegetables. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cook lasagna noodles for 5 minutes, until soft. Shock in a bowl of ice water, lay on towels to dry.

Cook lasagna noodles for 5 minutes, until soft. Shock in a bowl of ice water, lay on towels to dry.

Spray a 13×9 baking pan cooking spray. Spoon some bechamel thinly on the bottom of the pan. Start with a layer of noodles, a layer of bechamel, some vegetables, and then a layer of a parmesan and mozzarella. Repeat layers until you have 6 layers of noodles. On top of the last layer (no veggies) with  some bechamel and the remaining cheeses. Cover tightly with foil.

Can be refrigerated for a day. When you are ready to bake, bring to room temperature for an hour and then bake for 50 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove foil. Bake for a little longer until top is slightly golden. Let sit for 15 minutes before slicing.

Adapted from: The Italian Dish

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Basil Vinaigrette

August 19, 2016

 

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Basil. The taste of summer. This dressing, otherwise known as “Maureen’s Dressing,” is all you need for your seasonal salads, a drizzle for your burrata, a side for your grilled meats or…your shoe!! It really doesn’t matter what your put this on….it’s heaven in a jar.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 -5 fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced thin
plus additional for salad

Salt and pepper

Throw the chopped garlic into a food processor and pulse until very
fine.
Add honey, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and Dijon.
While processor is running, drizzle in olive oil.
Add basil and pulse until nicely blended. Season with salt and pepper.

I like a simple salad of arugula, shaved parmesan, shreds of basil leaves and toasted pine nuts.

Adapted from: Maureen

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California Roll Salad

August 13, 2016

 

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If you enjoy a good Maki roll, you will love this salad! The original recipe calls for imitation crab. Have you ever read what’s in imitation crab???? YIKES!!! I chose shrimp. The dressing ties all your favorite flavors together. This recipe is very forgiving…I added more ginger, almonds and shrimp for a heartier, tastier meal.

California Roll Salad
Serves 2-3 as main course

½ head of Napa or Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced ( about 3 cups)
2 small heads of Romaine, thinly sliced ( about 3 cups)
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2-3 Persian cucumbers, seeded and sliced into half-moons
¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 pound of shrimp, cut in chunks OR 1 package (8 oz) imitation crab, cut in half horizontally and shredded
1 medium avocado, pitted and diced

Optional ingredients: 1 carrot grated, 3 tablespoons chopped pickled ginger, garnish with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds.

Dressing
¼ cup mayonnaise
scant ¼ cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Mix the first seven ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the mayo, vinegar, sesame oil, and tablespoon and soy sauce until well combined. Add a bit more soy if you want it saltier. If you’d like it to be creamier, add a bit more mayo and/or sesame oil.

Pour the dressing over the salad and mix thoroughly to combine.
Adapted from: Bonaattempt

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Basil Watermelon Cooler

July 29, 2016

 

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Here’s a refreshing cocktail for the season full of picnics and watermelon. It’s the perfect cooler for sitting on the front porch swing. If only I had one. A kick from the ginger, herbal notes from basil and sweetness from watermelon make for the perfect summery libation. Cheers!

Basil Watermelon Cooler 

Makes 2

3  large basil leaves
1  slice peeled ginger
1  chunk watermelon
.5 oz simple syrup
2 oz Vodka
.5 oz fresh lime juice
Ginger ale

Garnish
1 Watermelon slice and basil leaf

In a shaker, muddle the basil, ginger, watermelon and simple syrup.

Add the vodka and lime juice, and fill with ice.

Shake well and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.

Top with ginger ale and garnish with a watermelon slice and basil leaf.

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Pasta With Roasted Tomatoes And Walnut Pesto

July 22, 2016

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A seasonal pesto is perfect for a quick weeknight meal or casual entertaining. In this recipe the walnuts add an earthy flavor to a dish that is rich with sweet, smokey roasted tomatoes. Charred corn and basil add an additional taste of summer.  Arugula greens with shaved parmesan, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic round out the perfect summer meal.

Pasta With Roasted Tomatoes And Walnut Pesto
Servings 4
⅔ cup walnuts
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons plus ⅓ cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
6 oil-packed anchovies, coarsely chopped (optional)
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces spaghetti
½ cup (packed) basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
Heat broiler. Toss tomatoes with 2 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Broil, tossing once, until tomatoes are blistered and have released some of their liquid, 5–7 minutes. Let cool.
Pulse anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and ½ oz. Parmesan in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and half of tomatoes, then, with motor running, stream in ⅓ cup oil; process just until combined. Season with salt. Transfer pesto to a large bowl and stir in black pepper.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.
Transfer pasta to bowl with pesto and add a splash of pasta cooking liquid. Toss, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta. Add basil and remaining tomatoes.
Divide among bowls, top with more Parmesan, black pepper and drizzle with oil.
Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Adapted from: Bon Appétit and A Life From Scratch

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Cherry Clafoutis

July 15, 2016

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Clafoutis, (kläfo͞oˈtē) is a French dessert made of fruit, typically cherries, baked in a sweet batter. This tart is simple to prepare. Just arrange the cherries in a buttered dish and cover with a thick flan-like batter. Dust the clafoutis with powdered sugar and serve lukewarm. You may want to serve it with cream. You will love the almond cherry combo!! Take advantage of the season…here’s another beauty, Rustic Cherry Tart.

Cherry Clafoutis

2 cups of fresh sweet cherries, pitted

2 tablespoons of blanched slivered almonds

3 eggs

3/4 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of milk (2% or whole milk)

3/4 teaspoon of almond extract (can sub 2 teaspoons of Amaretto)

1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 9X9 or 10X7 baking dish. Scatter the cherries and slivered almonds over the bottom of the dish.

Whisk the eggs and sugars together until smooth. Whisk in te salt and flour until smooth.
Add the milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the baking dish over the cherries and slivered almonds.
Bake for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Check about halfway through the baking and if the top is getting well browned tent it loosely with aluminum foil.
When you pull it put of the oven it will *wiggle a bit which is normal. Place on a wire rack to cool. The clafoutis will have puffed up quite a bit and will deflate while cooling. When cool dust the clafoutis with powdered sugar. Serve.

*Note: the texture of clafoutis is like a sturdy custard, it will feel a bit rubbery and thats what is’s suppose to be like.

Adapted from: David Lebovitz

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Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Parmesan Chicken (No Cream)

July 9, 2016

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Another easy chicken recipe for a quick weeknight meal! This one-skillet meal is packed with mouth watering Italian flavors…boasting garlic, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan and basil. What I love about this creamy, rich sauce is that there is NO cream. I chose whole milk but next time I will go lighter. The cornstarch mixture will also thicken up a lighter version. Take a break from the grill this week and fill your home with outrageous aromas. Serve over pasta or couscous.

Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Parmesan Chicken
Serves: 4

Chicken
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally to make 4 fillets
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
Cracked pepper
Sauce
2 tablespoons reserved sun dried tomato oil (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
7oz jarred sun dried tomato strips in oil, drained (reserve 2 tablespoons of oil for cooking)  (I will use a few less ounces next time)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1½ cups milk (reduced fat, skim or full fat milk)
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
⅓ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh shredded basil, to serve

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and parmesan cheese. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; dredge in the flour mixture; shake off excess and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Fry the chicken in batches until golden on each side, cooked through and no longer pink (about 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken). Transfer onto a warm plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet; sauté the garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms; fry until the mushrooms are just soft.
Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
Add the milk/cornstarch mixture to the center of the pan, and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.
Add in the parmesan cheese; allow sauce to simmer for a further minute until cheese melts trough the sauce. Add the chicken back into the pan; sprinkle with the fresh basil and a title extra pepper (optional), and serve over pasta, coucous or steamed veggies.

Adapted from: Cafe Delites

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Four Bean Casserole

July 3, 2016

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I never make baked beans. Never. Until now. I have been served this dish twice in the last month. So delicious and memorable it had to be documented. Crisp up some bacon and simply add onion, garlic, mustard and vinegar and cook for 20 minutes. Add 4 different types of beans to the onion mixture, done. It’s that simple. Enjoy this side with any of your summer picnic faire. Thanks Wendy and Kathleen for the inspiration.

Four Bean Casserole

Serves: a bunch

8 slices bacon, crisp and crumbled

1/2 cup cider vinegar

4 large onions, thinly sliced (lots of onions…use less if desired)

2 cans butter beans, drained

1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar

1 can (16 0z) green lima beans, drained

1 tsp dried mustard

1 can (16 oz) kidney beans, drained

1/2 tsp garlic

1 jar (12 oz) baked beans with molasses

1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Fry the bacon in a large sauce pan until crisp. Set aside and drain on a paper towel.
Add onion, sugar, mustard, garlic, salt and vinegar in skillet with bacon grease. Simmer 20 minutes.
Add the above onion mixture to the beans in a casserole dish .
Bake covered 30 minutes and uncovered 30 minutes.

Adapted from: Wendy, retrieved from Kathleen!!

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Roasted Corn Caesar Salad

July 1, 2016

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Roasted corn Caesar salad with Parmesan and Greek yogurt dressing is a perfect side to your grilled meats this summer. This dressing (no egg) is special and will be your go-to for all your Caesars. Grilled corn sweetens and adds a smokey flavor to this traditional salad for a seasonal stunner.

Roasted Corn Caesar Salad

Serves 2 (large)

2 ears sweet corn
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup whole wheat bread cubes
2 tablespoons brown butter
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 ounce parmesan cheese, shaved
3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Dressing
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 anchovies, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush corn with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until kernels are soft and golden. If you’d like them more charred, you can broil them for 1 to 2 minutes. (Or par boil for a couple of minutes and grill til charred to your liking).  While the corn is roasting, you can also add the bread cubes to a baking sheet and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden. As soon as removing the croutons from the oven, drizzle them with the brown butter. Cut the corn from the cob.

To make the dressing, add the garlic, yogurt, parmesan, mustard, vinegar, anchovies, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until pureed. With the processor still on, stream in the olive oil until a creamy dressing forms.

Add the lettuce and corn to a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss with the dressing, then add the croutons and remaining cheese. Serve!

Slightly adapted from: Food Network

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Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Red Onion

June 21, 2016

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Get your sides on! Turn your ordinary potato salad into extraordinary by grilling the baby reds. Then add sweet, smokey red onions, blue cheese and top it off with crispy bacon. My new favorite potato salad is perfectly paired with grilled meats.

Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon Blue Cheese and Red Onion

Serves 12

1 pound sliced meaty bacon
3 red onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter), scrubbed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 pound blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Maytag Blue, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the bacon slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until they are brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer the bacon slices to paper towel—lined plates to drain. Crumble into 1/2-inch pieces.
Light a grill. In a large bowl, toss the red onion slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the onions over moderately high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and tender, about 5 minutes. Cut the grilled onions into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a large pot of salted cold water, bring the potatoes to a boil. Simmer until they are beginning to get tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and cut them in half. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the potatoes over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are tender and browned, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise with the blue cheese. Add the bacon, onions and potatoes and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to a clean bowl and serve.

Adapted from: FoodandWine

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Limoncello Fruit Salad

June 4, 2016

 

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Summer entertaining calls for you to have quite a few side dishes in your repertoire. A fruit salad will brighten any picnic table. This adult version adds Limoncello to the berry mixture. The yogurt topping incorporates lemon curd, vanilla and honey that turns this seasonal staple into an elegant dessert.

Limencello Fruit Salad

Serves 6

7 ounces Greek yogurt (use Fage Total)
1/3 cup good bottled lemon curd
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sliced strawberries (1 pint)
1 cup raspberries (1/2 pint)
1 cup blueberries (1/2 pint)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons limoncello liqueur
1 banana, sliced
Fresh mint springs for garnish OR thinly sliced basil leaves

For the lemon yogurt topping, whisk together the yogurt, lemon curd, honey, and vanilla and set aside at room temperature.
For the fruit salad, carefully toss together the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sugar, and limoncello. Allow them to stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes to let the berries macerate with the sugar and liqueur. Gently fold the banana into the mixture.
Serve bowls of fruit with a dollop of lemon yogurt on top. Top each with a sprig of fresh mint or basil.

Adapted from: Food Network

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Spring Poke Bowl

May 20, 2016

 

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The Poke (POH-keh) bowl is on many 2016 watch lists. It’s a  dish I’ve been enjoying for a few years. Hawaiian Poke simply means “chunk.” It originated when fishermen began using the leftover cutoffs from their catch to create a snack which quickly became a staple in the Hawaiian diet. Traditionally, the Poke bowl would consist of a mixture of raw fish, Hawaiian salt, seaweed and chopped nuts. Today this healthy salad features layers of white or brown rice, seaweed, onion and raw fish (ahi-tuna, ahi-salmon, or octopus) marinated in various combinations of Asian sauces and seasonings. Be your own architect when building yours. Think of your favorite sushi roll….then deconstruct it. I rounded out my bowl with avocado, carrots, edamame, cucumbers and ginger.

Spring Poke Bowl

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice or white rice
1 1/2 pounds sushi-grade ahi tuna
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Chili paste, optional
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced, optional
2 large, ripe avocados

Edamame, handful

English cucumber, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds

Cook the rice according to instructions.

Cut the ahi tuna into 1-inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, grated garlic, vinegar, and chili paste, to taste. Add the ahi and green onions and stir gently to combine. This can be done up to 1 hour in advance. Keep chilled.

Just before serving, dice the avocado into small cubes.

Arrange your poke bowl with scoop of rice, add tuna, avocado, grated carrot, cucumbers edamame and sliced radish. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve with cilantro, ginger and more soy sauce on the side.

Adapted slightly from: Sprouted Kitchen

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Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp

May 14, 2016

 

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This recipe has been around a long time and I’m finally on the bandwagon. Right in my cooking wheelhouse, it requires just a few ingredients and is ready in 20 minutes. The traditional Cantonese dish uses the whole shrimp in the shell then gets deep-fried. Eating the whole shell is typical…well, not here. I’m using peeled, deveined shrimp that’s sparsely coated with cornstarch and quickly sautéed for a healthier version. Fresh black pepper, white pepper, salt, garlic, jalapeño and green onion add the spice. The result….a salty, slightly spicy and crunchy dish you will add to your go-to list.

Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp 

Serves 2

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, diced, seeds removed if desired
1-2 stalks green onion, sliced
Grain of choice, to serve
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels. In bowl, toss the shrimp, cornstarch (helps the shrimp crisp up), white & black pepper and salt together. Heat up a bit of oil in a heavy bottomed skilled over medium heat. Add the garlic, 1/2 of the jalapeños and 1/2 of the green onions. Cook, stirring, until crisp and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the coated shrimp and cook, until pink and firm, 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and toss with the remaining jalapeños and green onions. Serve with your of choice of grain. I like brown rice.

Adapted from: I am a Food Blog

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Creamy Piquillo Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Chicken

May 7, 2016

 

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Five ingredients and about 10 minutes. Done. The secret to this delicious soup is the piquillo peppers. Sweet. Smoky.

Incredibly versatile, piquillo peppers come exclusively from Northern Spain.  Their long, triangular shape resembles a birds beak. (Piquillo means beak in Spanish.)  Adding hummus to the soup creates a creamy velvety texture.  Serve with a side salad or cheese quesadillas. Leftovers??  Randy surprised me in the morning with a  fried egg on top of this bowl of YUM!

Creamy Piquillo Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Chicken

Serves 4

1 cup drained piquillo peppers (8 ounces), (1/4 cup cut into thin strips, for garnish) …..a good substitute are jarred roasted red peppers

3/4 cup hummus (7 ounces)

2 cups chicken

1/2 cup cooked white rice, homemade or store-bought (I used brown rice)

1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

Garnish: avocado, cilantro sprigs, olive oil, hot sauce

In a blender or a food processor, combine the whole piquillos with the hummus and stock and puree until smooth. Transfer the soup to a medium saucepan. Add the rice and chicken, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the sliced piquillos, avocado, sprig of cilantro, olive oil and hot sauce.

Adapted from: Food and Wine

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Chicken Verde Enchiladas

May 4, 2016

 

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Here’s a festive way to celebrate Cinco De Mayo or Tuesday. This recipe pulls together in no time! The first eight ingredients are combined then simmered together for approximately four minutes. The remaining ingredients are then added to the pan. Fill and roll the tortillas, top with shredded cheese, broil to melt…..that’s it!  Easy. Healthy. DELICIOUS.

Chicken Verde Enchiladas

Makes 8

3/4 cup pre-chopped onion (I’m an onion lover….but these are not cooked…careful not to add more)
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
1/2 cup salsa verde, store-bought
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro stems
2 tablespoons sliced jalapeño pepper
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
8 ounces shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup chopped tomato
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 ripe peeled avocado, coarsely mashed
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
4 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shaved
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Place oven rack in lower third of oven, and preheat broiler to high.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in chicken; cook 1 minute or until heated. Remove from heat. Stir in tomato, sour cream, and avocado.

Stack tortillas; wrap stack in damp paper towels, and microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds. Spoon 1 cup chicken mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Spoon 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange tortillas, seam sides down, in baking dish. Top with cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves, dollop of sour cream and chopped tomatoes.

Adapted from: My Recipes

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Kale And Hummus Salad

April 30, 2016

 

IMG_3807This is not your typical kale salad….it’s special. That Dressing!! Have you ever made a dressing with tahini? First time for me too. Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, adds flavor, texture (similar to peanut butter) and offers many health benefits, including macronutrients and a variety of vitamins and minerals. This hummus-like dressing hugs those sturdy kale leaves and holds up for an unlikely leftover salad. This recipe incorporates chickpeas that ALSO offer a range of health benefits that boost digestion, help to keep blood sugar levels stable, increase protection against disease and much more. This entree is easy, fast and delicious…perfect for a your weeknight dinner, workday lunch or picnic.

Kale And Hummus Salad

Serves 2-4

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 large lemon
5 cups shredded Tuscan kale (Lacinato), remove the stem and thinly slice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
One 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken breast (or more)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Slivered almonds or pine nuts, optional (But not really!!)
Za’atar to finish, optional

Salt and pepper, to taste

*Pita bread, olive oil and sea salt

Heat a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook just until fragrant, 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the tahini and lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the garlic oil. Add the kale, salt and chickpeas and gently toss together, bringing the dressing up from the bottom to coat everything evenly. Add the chicken and cranberries, and toss. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with za’atar if desired. Serve.

*I like to serve this salad with baked pita bread wedges. Slice the pita into wedges and brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake oil golden in a 350 degree oven. (about 10-15 minutes)

Adapted from: Food Network

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Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus On Pasta with a Poached Egg and Lemon Butter

April 23, 2016

 

IMG_3754I’m turning my last post, asparagus wraps, into an entree. The season’s signature vegetable is not only delicious, it has incredible health benefits. Low in calories, fresh asparagus spears are a good source of anti-oxidants and vitamins, A, B- complex, C, K and E.

This recipe, adapted from Canal House, uses pancetta wrapped asparagus grilled until crisp to absorb that smokey flavor.  The spears are placed over pasta sheets and drizzled with lemon butter sauce. Add Parmagiano-reggiano, pine nuts and a poached egg….ohhh and when the lemon and yolk combine….you have a rich, creamy sauce. (Think Pasta Carbonara!) I’m thinking about this recipe for Mother’s Day. Other menu ideas……Eggs In Purgatory, Avocado ToastsHuevos Rancheros, Meyer Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with blueberry Compote and Caprese Eggs Benedict.

Asparagus on Pasta with a Poached Egg and Lemon Butter

Serves 2

4-6 tablespoons butter (I used 4 or a bit less)

Juice of ½ lemon and zest of 1/2 of the lemon

About 10 spears of asparagus, peeled and trimmed

10 slices of very thin pancetta

2 eggs

4 sheets of pasta, each about 4 inches long ( I used flat lasagna sheets)

1 small hunk parmigiano-reggiano

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Maldon sea salt, optional

Salt and pepper

Wrap asparagus tight with one slice of pancetta. Spray a grill pan with oil or lightly coat with vegetable oil. On a med-high heat crisp up the asparagus. (about 4 minutes) Place on paper towels to drain.

**Have your two pots of boiling water ready to go at the same time. (Boil when you start grilling the asparagus).

Over medium-high heat cook pasta (about 2-3 minutes). Using a slotted spatula or a long-handled strainer, divide the pasta between 2 warm plates, letting most of the water drip off before putting it on the plate.

Poach your eggs…crack the eggs into 2 small cups. Give the simmering water a good circular stir, then tip 1 egg at a time into the center of the swirling water. Simmer the eggs over medium-low heat until the whites are a bit firm and the yolks remain soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer the eggs to the dishcloth to drain.

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat and swirl in enough of the lemon juice and zest to suit your taste. Keep warm over low heat.

To plate, start with a bit of the butter lemon sauce, add two sheets of pasta, more sauce, layer the asparagus,  sprinkle pine nuts, parmesan (using a vegetable peeler shave slices), salt and pepper. To finish, carefully place eggs on top.

Note: You can wrap the asparagus with pancetta a day ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Adapted from: Canal House

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Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette

April 16, 2016

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It’s a wrap! You’ve seen it before… sliced pancetta tightly wrapped around beautiful spears of asparagus. But have you made them? Have you made them with a tangy Citronette? NOT to be missed. This is just one way to serve the star of spring veggies. Make sure you have the deli slice the pancetta very thin so it will wrap well and crisp up. Delicious as a first course or the perfect side to salmon, roasted chicken,  burrata cheese or…that incredible egg. My next post will turn these wraps into an entree.

Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus with Citronette

Serves: 6

2 pounds medium asparagus
1/2 pound very thinly sliced pancetta
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme

Chopped, toasted walnuts, for garnish, optional

Tightly wrap each asparagus spear in a slice of pancetta and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, stir the orange zest and juice with the mustard and olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus over moderate heat, turning often, until they are just tender and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes total. Transfer the asparagus to a platter and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the thyme and serve (serve immediately before the pancetta stays crisp).

Adapted from: The Bitten Word

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