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Roasted Cranberries Ricotta And Honey Crostini

November 24, 2015
It’s the cranberries big season, the traditional condiment for your Thanksgiving table. These nutritional powerhouses also make a great appetizers for the big day. Roasted cranberries have a sweet tartness that make a perfect companion for ricotta or goat cheese. A drizzle of honey adds a sweet note and the sprinkle of rosemary adds an earthy finish.
Roasted Cranberries, Ricotta, and Honey Crostini
Roasted Cranberries
4 cups (12 ounce bag) of fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
zest and juice of a lime
½ cup water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash and pick over cranberries, making sure there’s no stems, foreign material, or shriveled berries.
In a large shallow pan, mix all ingredients. Roast 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with additional fresh rosemary if desired. Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold. Sauce can be frozen and thawed.
slice of peasant bread
roasted cranberry sauce
ricotta or goat cheese
fresh-ground pepper
sea salt
Toast the bread, spread ricotta over the top, spoon the cranberry sauce over the ricotta, then drizzled with honey. Finish with a tiny pinch of salt and fresh-cracked black pepper.
Adapted from: Life Currents

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

November 14, 2015



The Bitten Word is a highly respected food blog that scours current monthly food magazines and cooks at least one recipe from each. They are honest with their results, good or bad. So, I trust Zach and Clay when they find a winner. Every year they host a “Fakesgiving” (weeks before the actual) entertaining friends and family to showcase the year’s Thanksgiving recipes. Reading the reviews from last year’s festivities had me anxious to blog the hands-down favorite dish. The general consensus was these mashed potatoes were all that was needed for the celebration. I know, I know don’t mess with tradition!! So my suggestion is keep the old but introduce the new. This year I’m sneaking in a few dishes that deviate from the line up. These mashers are rich and creamy with a crispy Parmesan topping. They will be making it on the buffet table and will most likely to become a permanent addition.

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Serves: 6 to 8

3 pounds large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut in 3/4-inch chunks
5 garlic cloves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
7 to 8 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese, at room temperature, such as Montrachet
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the potatoes, garlic and 1 tablespoon salt in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until very tender.

Drain the potatoes and garlic and process them together through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade set on top of a bowl. OR use a hand mixer OR a stand mixer using paddles, be careful not to over mix to avoid the potatoes to become gummy. While the potatoes are still hot, stir in the goat cheese, butter, sour cream, half-and-half, 4 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a 9-by-12-by-2-inch oval baking dish, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned. Serve hot.

Make it ahead: Assemble the dish, including the Parmesan, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Bake before serving.

***Next time around I will use 4-6 oz. of goat chesse. And you can always add more Parmesan!! SALT and Pepper to taste. (I know my audience, Mom is not a fan of too much goat cheese).

Adapted from: The Bitten Word






Roasted Cauliflower With Crunch Butter and Pickled Peppers

November 8, 2015


One of the Stephanie Izard’s most popular and long running dishes at “Girl And The Goat” is roasted cauliflower with crunch butter and pickled peppers. She combines caramelized cauliflower with a topping that includes butter, garlic, Parmesan and panko bread crumbs. She pickles peppers and then tosses them with toasted pine nuts and mint. The recipe may seem steppy…it’s not. While you are soaking the peppers, mash together the ingredients to make the butter. The cauliflower sautes and caramelizes within 10 minutes. Then toss in the remaining ingredients to create this unforgettable side dish. I’m adding this to my Thanksgiving line-up along with Crusted Butternut Squash.

Other holiday ideas...Butternut Squash Soup, Cauliflower Soup, Shredded Sprout and Kale Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds, Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart, Sweet Potato Galettes, Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon Brittle, Bacon Jam, Momofuku Crack Pie, Pumpkin Creme Brulee, Creme Brulee, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Creme Anglaise, Pumpkin Roll, Apple Brandy Cider Cocktail and Brandy Alexander.

Roasted Cauliflower
Serves: 4 people
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 head cauliflower, quartered, outer leaves and core removed and cut into 1/4″ slices
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp. “crunch butter,” room temp (recipe below)
1/4 c mint, torn into pieces + 1 tbsp set aside
1/4 c pine nuts, toasted + 1 tbsp. set aside
1/2 c Parmesan, grated + 1 tbsp. set aside
1/3 c pickled peppers (recipe below) (Or buy pickled peppers)

First make pickled peppers.

Then make crunch butter.
Heat oil in a large skillet. add cauliflower and cook over high heat until caramelized and soft, 6 minutes. Season with salt and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add crunch butter. when melted toss in mint, peppers, pine nuts, and Parmesan. cook an additional 2 minutes. Plate in a bowl and sprinkle with additional mint, pine nuts, and Parmesan.
Crunch Butter
yield: 1.5 cups (you only use a couple tablespoons!! 1/2 the recipe and freeze    the remainder)
5 oz butter, room temp
2  garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
6 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
In a bowl, mash the butter until softened with a fork (or potato masher). add the remaining ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.Freeze the remaining for the next time you make this.
Pickled peppers
yield: 1 qt. (you might want to half this recipe as you only use 1/3 cup)
I added a few baby orange peppers for seasonal color…..think red for Christmas.
3 ea. banana peppers, seeds removed, sliced into thin rings on a mandolin
3 ea. Hungarian peppers, seeds removed, sliced into thin rings on a mandolin
2 c champagne vinegar
4 tbsp salt
3/4 c sugar
In a pot, bring vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. While still hot, pour the pickling liquid over the peppers.Let cool to room temperature, keeping the peppers submerged in the liquid.When cool, cover and refrigerate.
Adapted from: Stephanie Izard, Girl And The GoatIMG_3057IMG_3059IMG_3074IMG_3071IMG_3083 



French Apple Cake

November 4, 2015


Dorie Greenspan, the renowned cookbook author, calls this her “back pocket recipe,” meaning it can be made without a trip to the store. This trademark apple cake needs few ingredients and just a couple of steps to produce a rustic dish which is more apple than cake. Just mix in a bowl, scrape into a springform pan and bake. The result is a custardy delicious dessert or coffee companion. Go!

Apple Cake

Makes one 8-inch cake

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
**3 tablespoon dark rum or bourbon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick/4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

**For a less boozy version and 1 tablespoon Rum and 2 Tablespoons of whole    milk.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl. Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1 or 2 inch chunks.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and even the top.

Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Carefully pull the parchment paper – and the cake – out of the pan and let cool on the rack until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature, then transfer to a cake plate. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature.

Serve with Creme Fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature.

Adapted from: Dorie Greenspan: Around My French Table









Sweet Potato Galettes

November 1, 2015



My last post, Crunchy Butternut Squash from Yotan Ottolenghi, was a hit. So… I’m back in his cookbook because I love the way he combines simple ingredients to create dishes that are memorable and delicious. For this seasonal stunner start with store-bought puff pastry, add a layer of sour cream, then top with sweet potatoes and goat cheese crumbles. After these come out of the oven brush them with a gremolata of olive oil, garlic and parsley. The result …..a gorgeous savory tart. Ideal for a Fall appetizer or a light lunch paired with greens.

Sweet Potato Galettes

Makes 6 galettes 

3 sweet potatoes  (I only needed 2)

9 oz puff pastry

1  egg, lightly beaten

6 1/2 tablespoons sour cream

3 1/2 tablespoons aged goat cheese

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 medium-hot chile, finely 
chopped, (I sprinkled crushed red pepper)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Coarse sea salt and freshly 
ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins for 35 to 45 minutes, until they soften up but are still slightly raw in the center. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into slices 1/8 inch  thick.

While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, roll out the puff pastry 
to about 1/16 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut 
out four 2 3/4 by 5 1/2-inch rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the pastry rectangles on it, well spaced apart, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of sour cream on the pastries, leaving a 1/4-inch border all round. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry, slightly overlapping, keeping the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and chile. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Cook until the pastry is golden brown arounf the edges and underneath.

While the galettes are cooking, stir together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. As soon as the pastries come out of 
the oven, brush them with this mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.


You can keep the pastry in one sheet, layer the potatoes, bake and slice (like a flatbread)

Choose potatoes that are similar in diameter.

The sour cream is a little slippery to spread on the egg wash, so I dabbed it on.

Adapted from: Yotan Ottolenghi






Crusted Butternut Squash

October 23, 2015



Tis the season for delicious sides bursting with Fall flavors! This vibrant recipe highlights sweet butternut squash drizzled with olive oil and tossed with bread crumbs, herbs, garlic and earthy Parmesan cheese.  The quick, easy recipe is the genius of London’s Ottolenghi….he never disappoints with his perfect combinations of ingredients.

Crusted Butternut Squash

Serves 4

1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs.) (Original recipe called for pumpkin)

2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 minced garlic clove

1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves

A handful of pine nuts

Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Slice it in half length wise and discard the seeds. Cut into 1/4” slices.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the squash on sheet and drizzle with olive oil and the nutmeg.  Toss to coat. All should have a thin coat of oil, amount may vary based on size of the squash. Spread them out in a single layer (for a crunchy crust) on the baking tray (you may need to use 2 trays).

In a food processor pulse together the breadcrumbs (make sure the crumbs don’t get too fine), Parmesan, garlic, both herbs, a few pinches of salt and a lot of fresh black pepper.

Sprinkle the topping on the squash. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the tops are browned and the squash is cooked.



Apple Dutch Baby

October 20, 2015



Apples on apples on apples…..this is a tasty way to take advantage of Fall’s greatest fruit. It’s an eggy creation that is a cross between a pancake and a crepe.  This easy, delicious dish with its crisp golden brown edges and popover texture offers a weekend breakfast better than your local waffle house.

Serves 4

Apple Cider Syrup

4 cups apple cider

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dutch Baby

3 large eggs, room temperature

¾ cup whole milk, room temperature

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 large Pink Lady apple, peeled, sliced ¼” thick  (I used honey crisp)                                         

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Powdered sugar for dusting

Apple Cider Syrup

*This syrup had a great flavor but did not thicken up as I would have liked. Maple syrup would work well also.

Bring cider, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and boil gently, whisking occasionally, until thick and syrupy, 30–45 minutes.

Syrup can be made 1 week ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Dutch Baby

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl until smooth.

Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a 10” skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add apple and sprinkle with brown sugar and remaining ½ tsp. cinnamon. Cook, tossing often, until apple is coated and softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe out skillet and heat in oven until very hot, 8–10 minutes. Carefully add remaining 2 Tbsp. butter to skillet, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Add apple to center of skillet; pour batter over. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden brown around the edges and center is set but still custardy, 12–15 minutes. This is the aha moment!  Share this first look out of the oven…the pancake quickly deflats.

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and drizzle with apple cider syrup.

Adapted from: Bon Appetit





Cider Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Vegetables and Apples

October 17, 2015


IMG_2775This healthy autumn dish highlights apples, fennel and sweet potatoes roasted until perfectly caramelized. Pan frying the pork chops creates a base for a sweet and savory sauce…..the result, a colorful and flavorful meal that will have you cheering the season.

Cider Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Vegetables an Apples

Serves 4
4 boneless pork loin chops (each about 7 ounces and 1 inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
Vegetables and Apples
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven and heat until very hot.

To cook the vegetables and apples: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, fennel, and rosemary with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the
vegetables and apples on it. Roast, turning the ingredients over halfway through, for about 30-35 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned
and tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the chops to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and barely pink when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a platter (reserving the oil in the skillet) and let stand for 5 minutes.

Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of the oil from the skillet, leaving the brown bits in the pan. Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the apple cider, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mustard and simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to lightly thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the sweet potato mixture among four dinner plates. Place a pork chop alongside the vegetables on each plate. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.

Adapted from: Epicurious

Herbed Rotisserie Chicken

October 10, 2015



IMG_2698The store-bought rotisserie chicken seems to be a weekly staple for most families. I love the convenience of the ready-made bird however, they just don’t come close to the flavor of roasting your own.

Many roasters are cooked at a high heat, slathered with butter and come out of the oven quickly.  This recipe takes only 10 minutes to prepare and 3 hours in the oven. A simple herb rub of fennel, hot pepper flakes, marjoram, thyme, salt and olive oil is all it takes. The bird is then stuffed with a head of garlic and lemon. Surround it with potatoes (I used sweet and Yukon).

What’s better than your home filled with the aroma of those earthy smells? Perfect for a cool and lazy Sunday afternoon. This was such an amazing roasted chicken I made 3! One for us and one for each of the kids.

Herbed Rotisserie Chicken

2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large

Preheat oven to 300°. Coarsely grind fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. Combine spice mixture, chopped marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 Tbsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon, garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.

Toss potatoes with remaining 3 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Push potatoes to edges of baking sheet and scatter remaining 2 marjoram and 2 thyme sprigs in center; place chicken on herbs. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, about 3 hours. Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving.

Adapted from: Bon Appetit






Corn And Pancetta Salad

September 30, 2015


We still have corn at the farmer’s market!! What a year. What a salad. Smokey charred scallions, roasted corn, crispy pancetta, earthy mushrooms, nutty Gruyere, refreshing greens and a bright dressing all combine for the perfect autumnal salad. Thanks Maureen for the inspiration!!

Corn And Pancetta Salad

Serves 6

6 large ears of corn

8 scallions

4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice

1/2 cup olive oil

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered

Salt and pepper

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

4 ounces frisee. white and green parts only (4 cups) ( Randy doesn’t like frisee, so we added in mixed greens)

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Shaved Gruyere cheese, for serving

In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the corn until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Let cool, then cut the kernels off the cobs.
Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, cook the scallions over high heat until charred on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Cut into 2-inch lengths.
In the same skillet, cook the pancetta over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in the skillet. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the honey, vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Add the corn, scallions, pancetta, mushrooms, frisée and chives and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Top the salad with shaved Gruyère and serve.
Adapted from: Food and Wine



Tomato Sauce With Onion And Butter

September 23, 2015



Every Wednesday, Food 52 prints a recipe they claim “Genius”. Columnist Kristen Miglore explains:

There are good recipes, and great ones — and then there are genius recipes. Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They’re handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we’ve folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius” 

You all probably have your go-to tomato sauce. Although never complex, mine changes with what’s on hand. But this “Genius” recipe calls for 3 ingredients. THREE. Tomatoes (fresh or canned), 1 onion and 5 tablespoons of  butter. Butter? 5 tablespoons? I KNOW…..don’t substitute. (Really, those 500 calories divided between 4-6 people just don’t add up to THAT much!) These three simple ingredients create a thick, rich, full flavored sauce. (To be honest, for Randy and myself, I will use about 1/2 cup or more of my very best olive oil instead of butter)

This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan, who has been credited with making simple, good Italian food since 1973. Hazan recommends scoring, blanching and skinning the tomatoes in preparation for cooking. Steppy for sure!!! So when I came across this creative and quick technique for skinning a tomato, I thought…now that is GENIUS!!! 

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Serves 6 (sauce for 1 pound of pasta)

pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes, prepared as described below, or 2 cups canned imported Italian tomatoes, cut up, with their juice

tablespoons butter

medium onion, peeled and cut in half

Salt to taste

Put either the prepared fresh tomatoes or the canned in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until it is thickened to your liking and the fat floats free from the tomato. Stir. Taste and correct for salt.

Before tossing with pasta, you may remove the onion (as Hazan recommended) and save for another use, but many opt to leave it in. Serve with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese. If desired, garnish with fresh basil.

Making Fresh Tomatoes Ready for Sauce
Or review the video above!!
Fresh, ripe plum tomatoes (or other varieties, if they are equally ripe and truly fruity, not watery)
The blanching method: Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or less. Drain them and, as soon as they are cool enough to handle, skin them, and cut them into coarse pieces
The freezing method (from David Tanis, via The Kitchn): Freeze tomatoes on a baking sheet until hard. Thaw again, either on the counter or under running water. Skin them and cut them into coarse pieces.The food mill method: Wash the tomatoes in cold water, cut them lengthwise in half, and put them in a covered saucepan. Turn on the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Set a food mill fitted with the disk with the largest holes over a bowl. Transfer the tomatoes with any of their juices to the mill and puree.
Adapted from: Food and Wine

Zucchini, Rice And Cheese Gratin

September 19, 2015



Not everyone gets excited about zucchini. But when “goat girl” showed up with a bag of these end-of-summer veggies along with tons o’ tomatoes, my search for a great dish began. This original Julia Childs recipe is quick and easy and is featured on many fantastic food blogs. You will find most ingredients in your pantry and the end result will surprise you!

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin 

Serves 6

2 1/2 pounds zucchini
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup plain, uncooked white rice
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
Milk or chicken broth, as needed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper

Wash zucchini and trim ends. Halve lengthwise, and if seeds are (very) large, scoop them out. Coarsely grate (so quick and easy in a processor, with the grating attachment) and place in a colander set over a bowl. Toss with kosher salt. Let drain for approximately 20 minutes.

Save drained liquid. If it’s very salty, rinse and drain it again (not saving liquid this time). Squeeze all of the zucchini in handfuls, gently, collecting any juices in the bowl of drained liquid. Blot dry on paper towels.

At this point the recipe calls for cooking the rice (al dente, 5 minutes). Skip this step…..the rice cooks in the liquid with zucchini while baking in the oven!

In a large frying pan, cook the onions slowly in 3 tablespoons oil for 8 to 10 minutes until tender and translucent. Raise heat slightly and stir several minutes until very lightly browned. Stir in the grated and dried zucchini and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Toss and turn for 5 to 6 minutes until the zucchini is almost tender. Sprinkle in the flour, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes, and remove from heat.

Measure the drained liquid from the zucchini. If you have less than 2 1/2 cups, add milk to bring the level up to it. (I used low sodium chicken broth…but only need 1/2 cup)
Stir the liquid into zucchini mixture, return pan to stove over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat again, stir in the rice and all but 2 tablespoons cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Sprinkle with reserved cheese and remaining olive oil.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake until bubbling and browned on top, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Cover with foil the last 5 minutes if it browns to quickly.) The rice should absorb all the liquid. Serve immediately.

Adapted from: Julia Childs (Mastering the Art Of French Cooking)/ Smitten Kitchen/Food  52/ Sprouted Kitchen





Corn Fritters with Cilantro Lime Sauce

September 3, 2015



With corn still the star of the season, I tried a few corn cake recipes this week and the winner is……………this one (with a a big nod to WSJ)!! It’s healthy, savory, spicy and has a great texture that holds up well to toppings. A great appetizer or the perfect side to grilled chicken, flank steak or really anything you’re planning for this unofficial last weekend of summer.

Corn Fritters with Cilantro Lime Sauce
Serves 4 (makes about 16)
½ cup quick-cooking polenta or grits, or fine-ground cornmeal
2 cups corn kernels, cut from 2-3 ears of corn (I used 3)
1 small shallot, diced fine (about 3 tablespoons)
1 small jalapeño, seeds and membrane removed, diced fine (about 2 tablespoons)
½ teaspoon cumin
¾ teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
¼ teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
¾ cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for frying
3 eggs
¼ cup chopped cilantro (or more or less to taste)
1/2 cup greek yogurt
Juice from 1/2 lime (about 1/2 tablespoon)
I added a avocado to the sauce…..yum
**Batter can be made ahead and chilled.
 In a large bowl mix polenta with corn, shallots, jalapeño, cumin, salt and pepper. Add yogurt, 1 tablespoons olive oil, 3 eggs. Mix well with fork. Let rest 5 minutes.
 Set large nonstick frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour in 1 teaspoon olive oil (or enough to just coat the bottom of the pan). Once hot, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter per cake into pan. Spread with the back your spoon to even out the batter. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook cakes 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Flip and cook 1 minute, or until golden.
Mix Greek yogurt, lime juice, and cilantro together with a fork. Top fritter with a teaspoon of sauce.
From: Alexandria’s kitchen (adapted from The Wall Street Journal)

Farmstand Flatbread

August 26, 2015


Working with my local farmstand for this one. Corn and tomatoes are in abundance and here’s a way to make fast use of these summer jewels. Really, there is no recipe needed for this flatbread…or at least I didn’t use one. Ingredients and amounts are flexible and you might use naan bread instead of rolling out pizza dough. Just enjoy these last few weeks of your summer garden.

Farmstand Flatbread

1 pkg of pizza dough

Olive oil

Garlic Salt and Pepper

1 package of shredded mozzarella (enough to cover the dough)

1 (maybe 2) ears of corn, cooked and charred

2 farmstand tomatoes, sliced

Basil leaves, sliced thin

Preheat oven (or fire up the grill) to 425 degrees. Roll out pizza dough, drizzle olive oil and bake (or grill) til crispy. Sprinkle minced garlic, salt and pepper. Top with shredded mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, sliced corn, and shredded basil. Cook for 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden brown.



Grilled Corn And Black Bean Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing

August 15, 2015



For our meatless Monday, I took a look at the weekend leftovers and turned these farmstand veggies into a simple salad brimming with bright flavors. The grilled corn steals the show in this protein packed entree. Grilling the corn turns this summer staple smokey. Add creamy avocado, grilled poblanos, sweet cherry tomatoes and earthy quinoa for a perfect summer entree. Top with fresh lime and cilantro dressing.

Grilled Corn And Black Bean Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing

Serves 6

1 cup dry blacks beans (or 1 can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed)
2 corn cobs, grilled
1 tsp butter
2 poblano peppers, grilled
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Greens ( I used spinach and baby kale)


1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup plain Greek yogurt or creme fraiche

1/2 cup olive oil
1 lime, squeezed
1 tsp honey
salt to taste
1 tsp Tabasco Green Pepper sauce or any hot sauce
queso fresco (optional)
chopped cilantro
hot sauce
lime juice
salt and pepper
Soak the beans overnight in cold water, or in very warm water for 2 hours. Rinse the beans, and then bring them to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once the beans have begun to boil, reduce the heat to medium and boil for 1 hour. Drain and set to the side. If you want to save time, use canned black beans. Rinse and set to the side. Shuck the corn, rub with butter, and then wrap in tin foil. Wash the poblano peppers. Turn the barbecue/grill to high. Place the corn on the grill and close the lid. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove a piece of corn and lift back the tin foil to check for black grill marks. If the corn looks cooked turn and cook the other side for 10 minutes.

A few minutes before you are ready to remove the corn, place the peppers directly on the grill. Grill until black, rotating every few minutes. Remove the corn and the peppers from the grill. Place the peppers into a plastic bag and seal. Once they have cooled, remove the skins, the center stem and the seeds. Chop the pepper and set to the side. Let the corn cool in the tin foil.

Rinse the quinoa a few times, thoroughly removing any of the bitter flavor. Place the quinoa and 2 cups of stock (or water) into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat and simmer until all of the water has evaporated. Fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing by pureeing the chopped cilantro into a food processor with the yogurt, olive oil, lime juice, honey, salt, and Tabasco. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Remove the corn from the tin foil, and slice off the kernels.

 In a large bowl, combine the black beans, corn, poblano peppers, quinoa, avocado and tomatoes and toss. Either add the dressing to the bowl, or plate and then drizzle the dressing on top.  Add queso fresco, chopped cilantro, hot sauce, and lime juice as a garnish.
Adapted from: Flourishingfoodie


Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

August 8, 2015


It’s prime season for summer squash and when the harvest shows up you need to get going!! Zucchini bread, zucchini ribbons, or crispy chips are just a few ways to enjoy these seasonal veggies. This healthy, savory snack is the perfect vehicle for all that yummy Parmesan cheese. Serve with marinara or enjoy these crunchy coins on their own. The recipe works well, but for my next batch I will grate the cheese a bit finer for better overall coverage.

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

*Makes about 30 crisps

Olive oil or cooking spray
2 medium zucchini (about 1 pound total)
1 to 2 egg whites
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain, dry breadcrumbs, such as panko
A couple pinches sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat two baking sheets lightly with cooking spray or thinly with olive oil.

Slice zucchini into slightly-less-than 1/4-inch thick rounds.

In a small bowl, lightly beat first egg white with 1 teaspoon water to loosen it. Combine cheese, crumbs, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Dip each zucchini coin in egg white, letting excess run off before gently dipping them in Parmesan mixture.

Arrange in single layer on baking sheets. If additional egg white is needed, prepare it the same way, with 1 teaspoon of water. If additional crumb mixture is needed, make a few spoonfuls at a time, matching the volume of crumbs and cheese.

Bake zucchini rounds until browned and crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping each over halfway through. Keep an eye on these, as they can brown up quickly! Take them out when golden brown and let them cool.

Keep at room temperature until needed. Crisps are best on the first day.

* I used 1/2 of a large zucchini which made 24. I used all the cheese mixture and had some egg remaining.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen





Bloody Mary Salad

August 4, 2015


Hold the Vodka! That’s all that’s missing in this tasty twist of a Bloody Mary. Sweet, farm fresh tomatoes combined with all those yummy components of the cocktail make a delicious side for your summer BBQ. I paired this salad with a grilled flank steak and roasted potatoes for a quick weeknight meal. I have seen versions of this side using additional ingredients you typically garnish a Bloody with…string green beans, pickled shrimp… be creative!

Bloody Mary Salad

Serves 4

2 pints small tomatoes, cut in half
1 clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt
3/4 cup red wine vinegar, divided
1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 tsp sugar
2 ribs of celery, small dice (about 1/2 cup) and leaves from the inner heart, finely sliced for the top of salad
1 tbsp celery salt
a few dashes of Worcestershire or  more to taste
1 tbsp horseradish to taste
ground black pepper to taste
3-4 sprigs of parsley, finely sliced

Combine the tomatoes, minced garlic, salt and 1/4 cup of the red wine vinegar in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.

Combine the remaining red wine vinegar and sugar in a small bowl, making sure the sugar is dissolved. Add the red onions, checking that they are submerged in the vinegar. Allow them to get soft.

Once tomatoes have sat long enough, drain liquid from the bowl into a small sauce pan. reduce liquid over medium heat until there’s about 2 tbsp left and set aside.

Remove onions from vinegar and rinse, saving some leftover pickling solution in case the salad seems to dry.

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, onions celery, celery salt, horseradish, Worcestershire, black pepper and tomato/red wine vinegar reduction. Arrange the salad onto a serving plate and garnish with finely sliced celery leaves and parsley. (I added additional Worcestershire, horseradish and a splash of tobasco)

Adapted from: The First Mess



Charred Green Beans with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

July 22, 2015


Another idea for all those beans coming out of your garden and local farmers markets. A quick and tasty 10 minute side to pair with your summer mains. Charring the beans brings out a smokey, nutty flavor and it’s the only way I prepare these seasonal veggies. Add lime and cilantro for a fresh finish.

Charred Green Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnishing

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed

Olive oil

Finishing salt

Make vinaigrette. Combine the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper in a blender or a small food processor bowl. Pulse ingredients together until cilantro is finely chopped. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the trimmed green beans lightly with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and season lightly with salt.

Heat a large grill pan over very high heat. The pan should be scalding hot. Place a third of the green beans directly on the hot pan, spread them out evenly. (Warning…this will smoke up your kitchen.) The second time I made these I used a grill pan on the grill. Grill beans for about 4-5 minutes, tossing every few minutes, until they are charred and soften just a bit. You still want some crunch. Repeat with remaining beans.

Cool beans for about 5 minutes and toss with vinaigrette. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and finishing salt. Dish can be served hot, room temp or right from the fridge.

Adapted from Blogging over Thyme






Sweet Kentucky Bourbon Cornbread Pudding with Candied Jalapenos

July 11, 2015



When I served this side along with BBQ ribs, I called it cornbread and Randy quickly responded, “this is not cornbread.” Huh? I looked at the recipe again and he was right, it is corn pudding. While that made sense to him, I’m really “not a connoisseur of the cornbread” so I didn’t have a strong opinion one way or another. Randy on the other hand does….and it passed Randy Lynn’s southern cooking test. This dish is creamy with a nice texture from the corn kernels and the basil adds the delicious flavor of summer. The jalapenos add just the right amount of bite. I enjoyed the sweet and spicy peppers throughout the week. Try them on deviled eggs or burgers.

Cornbread Pudding

Serves 6-8

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 cups fresh or frozen corn

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper

1- 1 1/2 cups milk

1/4 cup bourbon (optional, see below)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Candied Jalapeños

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons honey

1 cup apple cider vinegar

pinch of salt

6 jalapeños, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, corn, cornmeal, salt and pepper until combined. Stir in 1 cup milk, the bourbon, melted butter, eggs and honey. (I was a little disappointed that the bourbon was not noticeable, so I will omit next time, and have a glass on the side!). If your batter seems thick add milk to make it pourable, but no more than 1/2 cup. Stir in the cheddar cheese.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until lightly golden and no longer soft in the center. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm with the candied Jalapeños.

Candied Jalapeños

Add the sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Add the jalapeños and cook 1 minute longer, remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool and then store in a glass jar for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Adapted from: HalfBaked





Tortellini Salad with Lemon and Asparagus

June 29, 2015


A refreshing summer pasta salad was the hit of the last shower I attended. It had colorful highlights of asparagus and yellow peppers, but the real star was that dressing……sweet and tangy. (I added an alternative dressing with less sugar, however the first dressing is my fave!) The finishing touches included shaved Parmesan, toasted pine nuts and sliced green onions. Perfect for your summer picnics. Thanks for the recipe Marlene!
Tortellini Salad with Lemon and Asparagus
Serves 8-10
2 (9 ounce) packages refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini
1 lb fresh asparagus spear, trimmed & ct into 1 inch pieces
1 large yellow sweet pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1cup sliced green onion
1cup pine nuts, toasted
3 teaspoons lemon zest
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sugar (you can add up to 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
**Adjust flavors to taste
**Dress slowly, just to cover. (You may have extra)
Alternate Dressing (less sugar)
1 1teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1cup lemon juice
3cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1 teaspoon sugar
1teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Add asparagus and sweet pepper the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain. Rinse tortellini & vegetables with cold water. Drain again. Mix with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Refrigerate 2-24 hours.
For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine lemon peel, lemon juice, oil, mustard, sugar, salt and garlic. Cover. Shake well.
In a large bowl place tortellini & vegetables. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Just before serving stir in cheese, green onions and pine nuts.


Cherry Almond Dutch Baby

June 19, 2015


Where has this baby been my whole life??? I had my first Dutch Baby a few weeks ago in wine country at a beautiful B&B where host Felisa introduced me to this tasty dish. This “pancake” pulls together quickly using a few basic ingredients that you can whisk in a bowl or mix in a blender. You then bake the mixture in a preheated oven-proof pan and within 20 minutes it will turn golden brown, puff up and then collapse creating a custard-like filling. The end result is impressive and delicious. A Traditional Dutch Baby is served with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of confectioners sugar. Adding fresh berries is a nice accompaniment but with June being cherry season, I’ve decided to follow Smitten Kitchen’s lead and make a Dutch Baby with cherries and sliced toasted almonds.

Cherry and Almond Dutch Baby

Serves 4-6

3 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (more or less to taste)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
**1/2 cup sliced almonds, well-toasted
Powdered sugar
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk egg, sugar, flour, milk, extract and salt together until the batter is blended but lumpy; you can also do this in a blender. In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan (cast iron if you have one), melt the butter. Add cherries and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes. Pour in batter and transfer to heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove pancake from oven and quickly sprinkle with toasted almonds, dust with powdered sugar and squeeze lemon juice over. Serve. Also great with REAL maple syrup.

Because this oven pancake does lose its puff after baked, it’s best to bake directly before serving. It won’t deflate entirely, but its appearance will be most dramatic just out of the oven.

** Spread almonds on a tray, bake them for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees, tossing them around a few times for even color, take them out when they golden brown.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

















Tarragon Chicken Salad

June 13, 2015



This salad…..amazing and amazingly simple, is a must for your busy summer schedule. Picnics, concerts, ballgames….and “I just don’t feel like cooking dinner tonight” dinners. A light and refreshing salad that has sweetness from the grapes, crunch from the celery, and a slight hint of anise from the tarragon. Cooking the chicken and adding a little pan juice will enhance the flavor. When you are really pressed for time, pick up a rotisserie chicken

Tarragon Chicken Salad 

Serves 4

4 split chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4-5 ribs celery, sliced into 1/4-inch slices

30-40 green seedless grapes, sliced in half

4-5 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup good mayonnaise (Greek yogurt works for those who don’t use mayo)

Toasted slivered almonds to garnish

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub chicken with a few tablespoons olive oil and season with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside until cool.

Remove skin and bones, and discard. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of pan drippings. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in medium bowl. Add reserved pan juices, celery, grapes, tarragon, lemon juice and mayo and stir to combine. Add salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Adapted from: Ed Droste/ Lottie and Doof





Cedar Planked Salmon With Maple Glaze and Mustard Mashed Potaotes

June 6, 2015




Well, there is a first for everything ….and this was that!! Success. Cooking salmon on cedar planks creates a fragrant, smokey flavor that helps lock in the moisture AND prevents the fish from sticking to the grill. A glaze of maple syrup with ginger, garlic, soy and lemon juice adds a hint of sweetness and a nice kick. For best presentation keep the salmon on the plank when serving. I like the idea of individual planks. You can buy a set from Costco however, my sister, Lisa, who enjoys this salmon once a week, has planks cut at Home Depot and $aves! Oh, and the mustard mashers…to die for! It’s the perfect combination with the salmon.

Cedar Planked Salmon With Maple Glaze and Mustard Potatoes

 Makes 6 servings

Untreated cedar planks, soaked in water for 1 to 2 hours

3 tablespoons water

1/4 cup PURE maple syrup

2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger root

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice/ divided

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 1/2-pound center-cut salmon fillet with skin

1 bunch scallions

In a small heavy saucepan simmer maple syrup, ginger root, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, and salt and pepper until reduced by about half, and let cool. (Maple glaze may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered. Bring maple glaze to room temperature before proceeding.)

Put salmon, skin side down, on scallion greens and brush with half the glaze. Season salmon with salt and pepper.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the remaining sauce and warm up and use as a finishing sauce. Keep warm.

Heat grill to (about 400 degrees).  Place your plank with the seasoned salmon on the grill. Cook with the lid closed (to keep in all that flavorful smoke) until the fish is done to your liking. If your salmon fillet is an inch thick, this process should take about 20-25 minutes. Adjust for thickness of the fish.

Cut salmon into pieces. On each plank arrange salmon and scallion greens on a bed of mashed potatoes. Drizzle salmon with warm sauce.

Mustard Mashed Potatoes

Serves 6

2  3/4 pounds medium-size Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature (I used 3 T)

2/3 cup whole milk (I used skim)

3 tablespoons Grainy Dijon mustard

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Return potatoes to pot. Add butter and mash potatoes until almost smooth. Mix in 2/3 cup milk (adjust for desired consistency) and Dijon mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.





Field Trip To Paso

May 30, 2015









IMG_1296                                                                                               IMG_1764                 IMG_1733



Do I let the best kept secret out of the bag?  Well here it is….a stunning B&B sitting on top of the Denner vineyard in Paso Robles. The region was once known for Cabs and Zins, but in the past decade Rhone varietals have been taking over the area. Located right in the middle of Cali between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this wine country has become our favorite destination for a three day escape. With over 250 vineyards, we have 16 down and so many to go!! Our new home away home is the Comus House in the middle of the Denner Vineyard. Listing this home as a bed and breakfast takes the category to a new level. Ron Denner designed and built this house 15 years ago for himself and 3 years ago decided to open his home to guests. His long time employee Felisa and her husband Ron have the ideal job as the innkeepers. This dream team is the perfect couple to welcome guests and serve (cook) amazing multi-course breakfasts and evening appetizers. And of course they serve Denner wines. I wanted to highlight a few of Ron and Felisa’s dishes…. as this is NOT your mothers B&B!

Blueberry Galette with Lemon Curd

Pastry Dough

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

24 Tbs. (3 sticks) plus 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3/4 cup ice water 

Combine flour, sugar, zest, and salt in a large bowl, whisk to combine.  Add the cold butter cubes, and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture making pea sized chunks.  Add the cold water, and very gently mix until a mixture is formed.

Place the mixture on a lightly floured counter.  Bring together gently, fold over a few times to incorporate all of the butter and flour.  Shape into a ball, place in a large bowl, cover, and place in fridge for 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting, work on the filling.

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
coarse sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch to get rid of any lumps. In a large bowl, toss the berries, sugar and cornstarch mixture, lemon juice, cinnamon, and salt. Roll out the dough.
Mound the blueberries into the middle of the dough, leaving an inch or two around the edges. Fold the edges over the filling, just enough to keep the berries from sliding out, overlapping and pinching where needed.
Brush the pastry with egg and sprinkle with the course sugar. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. If the dough is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Cool for a few minutes and serve with lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
2 tablespoons butter

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about 3 minutes). Stir in lemon juice and butter; cook for 5 minutes or until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cool. Cover and chill (the mixture will thicken as it cools).

Note: Lemon Curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. You can easily double the recipe and freeze half of it in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Thaw in the refrigerator, and use within 1 week of thawing.

IMG_1743Felisa’s additional breakfast dishes included A Dutch baby served with cinnamon syrup (to be made and blogged in a future post). And a lovely first course of watermelon, tomato, buffalo mozzarella stacks topped with balsamic glaze and mint.



Felisa’s Asparagus Blue Cheese Souffle’s

Serves 8

5 tablespoons flour

1 cup whole milk

4 ounces creamy blue cheese, cut in small pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cubed, plus extra for buttering the souffle dishes

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for egg whites

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 egg yolks

4 egg whites

1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus spears, with tough ends cut off and discarded

kosher salt

Arrange a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter generously the insides of eight 1/2 -cup oven-proof souffle dishes, ramekins or custard cups. Cut circles of parchment paper to fit the bottoms, and place circles in the bottoms of the dishes. Butter the parchment papers.

Put flour in medium saucepan and very gradually whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until you have a smooth paste. When all the milk has been added, set the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously for a minute or longer until the mixture is smooth and quite thick.

Remove the saucepan from heat and whisk in the cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Mix well. Whisk in egg yolks.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy. Raise speed to high and beat until whites hold stiff peaks but are not dry. Fold egg whites into cheese mixture in three equal additions.

Divide mixture evenly among prepared souffle dishes and place them in a large baking pan. Carefully pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the souffle dishes.

Bake souffles at 375 degrees oven in water bath until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in the pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around inside edges of each souffle dish and then, carefully unmold (if desired) a souffle and place it, right side up, in a buttered baking dish. Repeat with remaining souffles. (Souffles can be prepared a day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before reheating.)

To reheat: Arrange rack at center position of oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake souffles, uncovered, until heated through, 8 to 10 minutes or longer. They will rise again slightly. While souffles are heating, cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling water to cover, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes for very thin asparagus spears; a minute or two longer for larger ones. Drain well, salt to taste, then cover with foil to keep warm until souffles are done.


Not only were the dishes delish, Ron had an impromptu arts and crafts session!!




Grilled Veggies With Quinoa

May 27, 2015


After busy summer weekends, we like a fresh start on our Monday’s with healthy veggie packets. When you heat the vegetables in foil packets they release their natural juices and the heat also helps to caramelize them. This is hardly a recipe, really just a starting point for you to create a delicious dish of your own. Slice up your favorite veggies, top with goat cheese (or feta), a few garden herbs and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up in foil, place on a hot grill and cook for 15-20 minutes. A perfect accompaniment to grilled faire. We serve the veggies on quinoa and for additional flavor we sometimes top with cooked, crumbled, mild Italian sausage.

Veggies in Foil Packets

Combination of vegetables. Red peppers. yellow peppers, orange peppers, onions, sliced portabellas, sliced garlic, drizzle of olive oil, crumbled goat cheese, rosemary and or thyme, salt and pepper.

On a large sheet of foil (sprayed with cooking oil) place all of the above and tightly close. On a medium grill heat for 15-20 minutes until desired doneness.

Be careful for steam when you open the packets. Serve on quinoa or brown rice.





May 17, 2015



A spicy twist on the classic dirty martini. I came across this jar of specialty pickled french beans and thought this could be a clever use of these summer veggies. The ingredients of the brine are apple cider vinegar, cane sugar, sweet onions, serrano peppers, red peppers, salt and spices all that make for a distinctive salty and spicy flavored tuni! Cheers!


2 1/2 ounces for Vodka

Dash of dry vermouth, optional

1/4 to 1/2 ounce of brine, to taste

Place ice and ingredients into a shaker and mix well. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with beans.



Stuffed Poblano Peppers

May 12, 2015



If you are a food prepper or have a fridge with lots of leftovers, this recipe pulls together quickly for a tasty weeknight dinner. Poblano chiles are rich and flavorful with a mild to medium heat. Mix the remaining ingredients to create a fiesta of flavor that can be adjusted to your liking.  Serve with a simple side salad.

Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Chicken and Brown Rice

Makes 8

4 large poblano chiles

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 medium white onion, chopped

large clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Generous pinch ground cinnamon

Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (or black beans)

1-1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice

2 cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 7 oz.)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tablespoon lime juice

Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Slit the chiles from stem to tip and set on the baking sheet. Broil, turning every few minutes, until blackened all over, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, peel off the skins, and cut out the seed cores, leaving the stems on. Turn the chiles inside out, flick out any remaining seeds, and turn right side out. Return the poblanos to the baking sheet.

Purée the tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a food processor. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the purée and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks thick and pulpy, 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chicken and rice, and then 1 cup of the cheese, the cilantro, and the lime juice. Season to taste with salt. Divide the filling among the peppers, wrapping the sides of the peppers up and around the filling, some of which will still be exposed.

Broil the peppers until the cheese is melting and the top is beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 cup cheese and broil until the cheese is completely melted, about 2 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro, avocado (optional), sour cream (optional)

Adapted from: Fine Cooking





Celery Salad With Dates, Almonds, And Parmesan

May 2, 2015


A refreshing, simple salad that has huge flavor and big nutrition! Cool and crisp from the celery, sweet from dates, sour from the lemon, salty from Parmesan, crunch from the almonds…pretty much says it all! We love this satisfying side paired with salmon and a crisp white wine.
Celery Salad With Dates, Almonds, and Parmesan 
Serves 6
½ cup raw almonds
8 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a diagonal, leaves separated (buy fresh celery hearts)
6 dates, pitted, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan, shaved
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Grilled Chicken Apple Cheddar Burgers

April 25, 2015



One of the most popular posts on ShreddedSprout is the Chipolte Apple Turkey Burger. Well, move over… have some serious competition!! This chicken burger with apples, cheddar cheese, red onion, bacon and Dijon has just won over my love of the “white burger.” Start with lean ground chicken breast and end with toppings you love.  Serve with homemade Sweet potato chips! Thanks Courtney from A-Life-From-Scratch for the inspiration!!

Grilled Chicken Burgers

Makes 6

1.5 lbs ground chicken (have your butcher grind up fresh chicken breasts)

1 small granny smith apple, diced small

5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

2 strips bacon, partially cooked and chopped (optional)

1/2 red onion, diced small

Dollop of Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

Toppings: Avocado, tomato

Mix the above together with your hands and form into 6 burgers. Grill over medium heat for 5-8 minutes per side, until cooked through (center of patties reach 165 degrees). Serve on whole wheat bun and any extras you like. We enjoyed an avocado, tomatoes and a bit of avocado garlic aoili.

Adapted from: A-Life-From-Scratch





Lamb Meatballs

April 19, 2015


If you’re a lamb lover you will appreciate these simple yet delicious meatballs. Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home Cookbook celebrates his genius and “dumbs down” his often complex recipes for the home cook. The recipe calls for preserved lemons, which are a not difficult  to make, but they need to pickle for at least two weeks in the fridge before you can use them. They can be purchased at Trader Joe’s or substitute with the grated zest of one lemon. Adding lemon and mint are a perfect pairing with the lamb. Serve with a tasty Greek salad as a main course or with Tzatziki sauce for appetizers.

Lamb Meatballs

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons zucchini, finely diced

1 tablespoon cured lemons or preserved whole, finely chopped (or zest of 1 lemon)

8 ounces ground lamb

1 teaspoon dried bread crumbs (or 1 teaspoon flour)

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon fresh mint

1. Mince the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic, onion, salt and pepper, and cook until everything is soft, about 4 – 5 minutes.
2. Finely dice the zucchini and add to the pan. Cook until the zucchini is tender, about 3 – 4 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pickled lemons (or lemon zest). Scrape everything into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. Once cool, add the lamb, egg yolk, bread crumbs and mint to the zucchini mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix well with your hands.
5. Preheat the oven to 450°. Using damp hands, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until the meatballs are slightly browned on the outside. Serve hot or at room temperature with hummus or Tzatziki (recipe below)as a garnish.

As shown, for an appetizer….mini pitas with Tzatziki sauce, a cucumber slice, a few diced tomatoes, some chopped mint and the meatball.

Adapted from Thomas Keller, Ad Hoc At Home





IMG_1377Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt and Cucumber Sauce)

(Makes about 3 1/2 cups. You can cut the recipe in half, but it’s so good, you really shouldn’t.)
3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt)
Juice of one lemon (about 3 T)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh mint
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.) This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.