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Beef Pot Pie

January 15, 2018



Just like a warm hug…this pastry is the blanket these beef and veggies need. The beef, vegetables, herbs, broth and red wine get cooked down to a savory one skillet meal. Start with top sirloin, add onion, garlic,  carrots, celery, mushrooms, red wine and broth. This all gets reduced to a delicious, almost gravy-like stew. Then comes the magic…top with puff pastry dough and all its flaky, buttery goodness.

Beef Pot Pie

Serves 6

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat (sirloin cut into cubes)
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups diced celery
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, (plus additional 2 if needed)

1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms (optional)

1 cup red wine
1 1/2 cup beef broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or pinch of dried)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 large egg, 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)

Heat an 11″ cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbs. oil and butter. Season beef  with salt and pepper. Add butter and oil to pan, then add meat. Cook meat for 1 minute on each side, then transfer to a plate to rest.
Reduce heat to medium; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and onion and cook for 1 minute while scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Add carrots, celery and thyme; season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour evenly over vegetables; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add red wine and broth and bring to a boil. Add back the meat with juices and parsley. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours (the longer you cook the more tender the meat).

Thaw frozen puff pastry on counter top.

**** If the stew needs to be thicker..after 45 minutes, mix the remaining 2 tablespoons flour with a little water and pour into the stew. Cook and thicken for 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Flour countertop and roll out puff pastry to a 12″-x-12″ square. Trim pie crust into a circle. Fold in half, then in half again to easily transfer to skillet. Place pastry over filling and loosely tuck it in around the skillet edges. Cut several slits in the pastry and brush lightly all over with egg wash.
Place skillet on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until pastry is golden brown, approximately 20 minutes. top with chopped parsley.

**To turn this into a chicken pot pie,  swap beef for chicken. Red wine to white wine. Beef broth to chicken broth. Cooking time 45 minutes.

PicMonkey Collage-2

PicMonkey Image-2







Burgundy Mushrooms

January 12, 2018

IMG_7342Burgundy Mushrooms, otherwise known as…..NINE HOUR* Mushrooms. Yep, there’s really no getting around it. These burgundy mushrooms take nine hours to achieve perfection, but the work involved is absolutely minimal. The mushrooms are rich and decadent and take on a meaty texture. They can stand alone as an entrée or pair well with grilled meats. We served them with beef tenderloin and the leftovers were perfect over a bed of polenta. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the delicious red wine sauce.

*There are a few reviewers that used a slow cooker however, does not seem to be a fan favorite.

Burgundy Mushrooms

8 Servings

4 pounds White Button Mushrooms
2 sticks Butter
1-1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 quart Burgundy Wine (other Reds work)
1 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 cups Boiling Water
4 whole Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4 whole Beef Bouillon Cubes
1 teaspoon Dill Seed
5 cloves Garlic, Peeled
2 teaspoons Salt

Thoroughly wash the mushrooms and throw them into a large stockpot. Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt. Stir to combine. The second photo below shows the mushrooms after 6 hours. They started out heaping over the top of the stockpot.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for six hours.

Remove the lid, then continue cooking, uncovered, for three hours.

Add salt to taste at the end if desired. The mushrooms will be very dark in color. Simmer until needed. Serve.

Mushrooms keep for days in the fridge.

Adapted from: A Life From Scratch/ Pioneer Women




Healthy Chai Banana Pancakes

January 6, 2018



Some mornings you wake up and just NEED pancakes. Perhaps not the healthiest way to start off your day. Until now. No flour. No sugar. Just bananas, eggs, oats and chai spices. These tasty morsels are whipped together in no time and there’s no messy prep. All the ingredients are dumped into your mixer and blended for approximately 1 minute. Top with your favorite fruit and real maple syrup. DELICIOUS.

Healthy Chai Banana Pancakes.

serves 2-3

2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites
1 medium/large ripe banana
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
maple syrup and fresh fruit, for serving

In a blender, combine the eggs, egg whites, banana, oats, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, all-spice, and salt. Blend until the oatmeal is finely ground and the mixture looks like pancake batter, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and lightly grease the skillet with oil. Pour batter onto a hot pan or griddle. Makes approximately 6 cakes). Cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Using a spatula, gently flip the pancake over and cook the other side for a minute, or until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup.

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest




Egg Muffin Cups

January 2, 2018



Meal prep is a thing around here. We love a quick grab and go meal that’s high in protein, low carb and full of healthy veggies. This recipe is really just a blueprint for these egg muffins as you can design your own by adding your favorite ingredients. Eat them hot or cold. Add bit of cheddar cheese on top or your favorite hot sauce.

Egg Cups

Makes  12

1 bell pepper, any color
1/2 onion, sautéed
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
12 eggs
1 handful spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and dice the pepper, onions and mushrooms. Sauté the pepper, onions and peppers for a few minutes until they become soft. Add spinach and toss til wilted.

In a large bowl add eggs, salt and pepper. Wish til combined.
Grease the muffin tin with oil or spray. divide the veggie mix into the muffin tins. Pour the eggs over the veggies.

Bake the tins for 15 minutes or until the centers are firm.

Place in fridge for the week. Grab and go.







Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms

December 18, 2017



You can find sautéed mushrooms along side a thick, juicy steak at a popular chop-house. Side dishes like creamed spinach, fluffy mashed potatoes, twice-baked cheesy potatoes also make an appearance on the menu but these garlicky mushrooms outshine them all. These hearty mushrooms can be served over polenta, pasta, greens, burgers or a side to an omelette.

Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms

1 pound mushrooms such as cremini or white, ***halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately, with crusty bread on the side for swiping up the juices.

***Don’t soak or rinse the mushrooms, instead, just wipe off any dirt with a damp cloth. Mushrooms will absorb the water.

Adapted from: Gourmet/Smitten Kitchen


One-Pan Autumn Chicken and Wild Rice

December 7, 2017

IMG_7186Enjoy the comforting taste of chicken, wild rice, cremini mushrooms, onion, apple and Gruyere cheese in this one-pan dinner. The special ingredient in this dish is the earthy, woodsy rice. Wild Rice. AND… this rice is actually a grain, high in protein, low in fat and is gluten free. Other health benefits: rich in anti-oxidants, fiber powerhouse, rich source of folate, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin. Perfect for a cozy week night meal.

One-Pan Autumn Chicken and Wild Rice

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
kosher salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
6 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 ounces wild mushrooms
1 Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine or more chicken broth
2 cups wild rice
1/2-1 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups baby spinach
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyère cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring often until the onion is soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic, the cremini mushrooms and the wild mushrooms, cook another 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are caramelized. Stir in the apples and thyme and cook another minute longer.

Pour in the chicken broth and wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice and chicken, cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 40-45 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach.

Sprinkle the cheese over top the rice and transfer to the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and serve with fresh thyme.

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest



Gluten Free Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

November 26, 2017

IMG_7258I needed a quick, sweet and gluten free ending for an impromptu dinner. These 4-ingredient cookies fit the bill. With all the the fixins on hand, dessert was ready in no time. They paired well with chocolate peanut butter ice cream.

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

Yield 26 to 28 cookies with a 1 2/3 scoop.

1 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups smooth peanut butter (=16.3 oz. jar) Skippy recommended.
Coarse-grained flaked sea salt, to finish

Preheat the oven to 350°degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated; you shouldn’t be able to see any ribbons of peanut butter. The dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh.

Scoop or spoon the dough into balls. Check out Smitten Kitchen’s recipe to see the shape of cookie that Ovenly Bakery is known for. The shape didn’t hold for me….but still delish!

Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake smaller cookies for 14 to 15 minutes and larger for 18 to 20. When finished, cookies should be golden at edges. They’ll need to set on the sheet for a minute or two before they can be lifted intact to a cooling sheet.

Do ahead: You can make the dough in advance and either refrigerate it for a couple days or freeze it longer. If I were going to freeze it, Scoop it first. You can bake them right from the freezer.

About chilling the dough: The Ovenly recipe says you can scoop and bake the cookies right away, but they keep their shape better if you chill them in the freezer for 15 minutes first. I think if you also chill the dough for 15 minutes before scooping it, it will keep the shape.

Smitten Kitchen/Ovenly cookbook




Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage

November 22, 2017

IMG_7233Plans for leftovers? Mine? Sweet potato gnocchi. Don’t be intimidated because this easy recipe combines a Thanksgiving staple with ingredients you already have in your pantry. Plus it can be fun cooking with those straggling relatives. The recipe allows you to play with the dough (fun). You don’t want the dough to be too sticky or too dry. Start with 1/2 cup of flour added to the potato ricotta mix. Then add 1/4 cup at a time until you have the right texture — soft play-dough-like  consistency. Roll the dough into ropes and cut them into 1/2″ pieces. The butter sage sauce provides the winning finish!! Bonus, these little nuggets can be frozen. Before cooking, spread them onto a  baking sheet, then when frozen place them into ziplock bags. They can be frozen up to 3 months. This recipe can be made with butternut squash instead of the sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 2 cups once mashed)
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
1 large egg
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt

pinch of fresh nutmeg

Brown Butter Sage

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 sprigs fresh sage, plus more for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Poke a few holes in the sweet potatoes and bake for 45 minutes or until soft and tender. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice them in half, allow to cool, and finely mash or puree them.

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, ricotta, egg, salt, and flour. Stir the mixture until just combined. If the dough seems wet, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it can be formed into a ball. The dough should be sticky.

Generously flour a clean counter and scrape the dough out onto the counter. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough into a rope about 1 inch thick and cut into bite size pieces. Repeat this process with the other pieces of dough and place the gnocchi on a baking sheet that has been dusted with flour. At this point, the gnocchi can be kept, covered in the fridge for up to 1 day and then boiled just before you are ready to eat.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the top and are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the gnocchi using a slotted spoon or spider strainer and place on a plate.

Heat pan on medium heat and when hot,  2 tablespoons butter and the olive oil.

When hot, add the fresh sage. Let the sage brown and sizzle (but not burn) for a couple of minutes until very fragrant. Remove the sage.
To the pan, add the balsamic vinegar and whisk. Let simmer on low for 1 minute and add the gnocchi and toss.

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest


PicMonkey CollageIMG_7230


Kale Salad with Pickled Apple and Creamy Vinaigrette

November 12, 2017



Another winner recipe from Kathy’s cooking class and one that will make it to my Thanksgiving table. We all know by now that kale is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s full of cancer fighting antioxidants, powerful phytonutrients and heart healthy fiber. However, most kale types tend to be a bit bitter in flavor. Curly Kale is probably the most recognizable, dark green or purple in color, with tight ruffled leaves and has a peppery and bitter quality. Lacinato (Dinosaur) kale has slightly wrinkled blue-green leaves, with a firm texture. It’s a bit sweeter, earthy with a nutty quality, but still a little bitter. BABY kale is quite the opposite, tender and mild and what makes this salad stand out. (For the fussier eater, this kale can be passed as a leafy green!) This salad couldn’t be simpler….it’s just baby kale, apples tossed in a creamy vinaigrette, and topped with toasted walnuts. The vinaigrette (sweet with a bit of tang) is DELICIOUS and showcases those yummy fall ingredients. Additional Thanksgiving recipes: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Roasted Cauliflower with Crunch butter and Pickled Peppers, Maple Roasted Carrot Salad, Butternut Squash SoupPear Almond Tart, ohhh and don’t forget the Brandy Alexander’s!

Kale Salad withPickled Apple and Creamy Vinaigrette

Quick-Pickled Apple

2 teaspoons finely minced shallot
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tart, crisp apple

Place the shallot into a mixing bowl, cover with vinegar and add the salt and set aside for 5 minutes. Quarter the apple and slice into 1/8 inch thick pieces. Toss to coat the apples with the dressing and let sit for about 30 minutes. This technique allows you to cut the apples and hour or longer before you assemble the salad. 

2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons Crème fraîche or sour cream
2 teaspoons strong Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil

Mince the shallot and cover with vinegar while you get the other ingredients ready. Add everything into the same bowl and mix, lastly add the olive oil and whisk to emulsify.

Kale Salad
1 to 1 and 1/2 bunches kale, washed and dried
1/4 teaspoon flaky salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

A handful of toasted walnuts.

Wash and dry the kale. Tear or cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Add the kale to a large bowl, toss with about two-thirds of the vinaigrette (careful not to overdress), add the apples and walnuts.

Adapted from: Kathy Harrison’s cooking class.




Butternut Squash Hummus

November 4, 2017

IMG_7176Hummus is a healthy snack and the ideal dip to have on hand. Creamy, smokey, and a bit sweet…..perfect for fall entertaining.

Butternut Squash Hummus

Makes: 2 1/4 cups

1 cup cubed butternut squash
4 cloves garlic, skin on
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, lightly rinsed and drained
1/3 cup tahini
3-4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for roasting garlic
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
optional: 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, for garnish

Serve with:
Whole-wheat pita chips
Sliced carrots

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add cubed butternut squash and 4 unpeeled garlic cloves to a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch each salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until all squash is fork tender and the garlic is golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes.
Peel roasted garlic and add to food processor or blender, along with squash, 4 cloves fresh minced garlic, lemon juice, chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, salt, pepper, parsley, cinnamon and cumin.
Purée until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed and adding more olive oil or a touch of water if it’s too thick.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Then serve immediately with pita chips and vegetables of choice. Alternatively, refrigerate until fully chilled – about 3-4 hours – for a thicker, creamier dip.
Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days.

Adapted from: Minimalist Baker






Chicken Scarpariello with Sausage and Peppers

October 27, 2017



Chicken Scarpariello is a classic Italian-American recipe.  The word scarpariello means “shoemaker” which some theorize refers to the word cobbled, as in all the ingredients can be simply thrown together. This rustic recipe boasts juicy chicken thighs, sweet Italian sausage, and a sweet-sour pan sauce. THAT SAUCE is intensely flavorful and the potatoes are its best friend. I married a few recipes to pull the ingredients I thought would best complement each other.

Chicken Scarpariello with Sausage and Peppers

Serves 6

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

3-4 sweet Italian sausages, cut into 6 pieces each

1 pound new potatoes or fingerlings, scrubbed and quartered

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

6 hot (or mild) cherry peppers (piquante), from a jar and chopped

6 cloves garlic

3-4 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup hot pepper cherry juice

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock or hot water, as needed

Leaves from 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped

1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (1/4 cup)

In a 10″or 12″ inch heavy-bottomed sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat until smoking. Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, and brown on both sides, turning once.

Transfer to a plate and set aside. In the same pan, cook the sausage slices and potatoes until brown; remove them and set aside with the chicken. Drain off half of the fat from the pan.

Add the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and hot peppers to the pan and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and pepper juice. Scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add chicken stock or water and bring to a boil. Return the chicken, sausage, and potatoes to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a bubbling simmer until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes; add more wine or water if necessary to keep the pan from getting dry.

Transfer the chicken to serving plates. Stir the basil and parsley into the sauce remaining in the pan and spoon over the chicken. Top with a few pinches of fresh chopped parsley.

Adapted loosely from: Mario Batali/ Food&Wine







Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

October 20, 2017

IMG_7108Delicata squash, named for its delicate skin, is the perfect balance between savory and sweet. The thin skin is completely edible and when roasted, becomes caramelized and crunchy. While this dish makes a great fall side to roasted meats, I’ve combined the squash with the perfect ingredients to create the salad of the season.

Roasted Delicata Squash Salad

Serves 4 large side to 8 small

2 medium delicata squash, approximately 1 and ¼ pounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt
4 heaping cups arugula (or mixed baby greens)
⅔ cup pomegranate arils (optional)
⅓ cup raw toasted pepitas
3 to 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Maple-balsamic vinaigrette

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon real maple syrup
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the squash and scrape off any tough bits of skin with a knife. Slice the squash into ½-inch wide rounds. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds from each round. Drizzle the squash with a generous tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Use your fingers to lightly coat all surfaces of the squash with olive oil. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the squash is tender and golden, flipping halfway.
In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pepitas (or place on the pan with the squash for the last 10 minutes of cooking), stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and lightly golden on the edges. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and Dijon mustard with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Once the squash has had a few minutes to cool, combine the arugula, pomegranate, pepitas, crumbled feta and squash in a serving bowl. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. Serve immediately.

Adapted from: Cookie and Kate










Everything Grilled Cheese And Roasted Tomato Soup

October 14, 2017


It’s that time people. Fires, comfy clothes, warm socks AND grilled cheese and tomato soup. This recipe combines shredded cheddar and havarti. But the difference maker and the ingredient that turns a grilled cheese sandwich up too many notches to count is…Trader Joe’s Everything But Bagel Sesame Seasoning!! Yep, spread butter, sprinkle with parmesan and coat with seasoning. Game Changer. This version of tomato soup  uses roasted tomatoes that are then blended with pesto and milk. Simply cozy.

Everything Spice Grilled Cheese
Serves 2

4 slices thick cut bread
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup shredded havarti or fontina cheese
4 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2-4 tablespoons everything bagel spice

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and a pat of butter.

Spread the outside of each slice of bread with butter and arrange the cheddar and havarti cheese on each side of the sandwich. Sprinkle the parmesan and everything spice over both buttered sides of the bread, pressing the spice mix gently into the bread to adhere.

Place the sandwiches in the skillet and cook until golden on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup
Serves 4

6-8 heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 small sweet onion, quartered
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup whole milk, plus more to thin
1/3 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
parmesan, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large oven safe pot, combine the tomatoes, onion, olive oil, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes just begin to char and release their juices. Let cool slightly.

Transfer the roasted tomatoes (you may want to remove the skin from all or a few tomatoes…they don’t all puree) and their juices to a blender and add the milk. Puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Stir in the pesto and season the soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more milk if desired.

To serve, ladle the soup among bowls and top with parmesan and basil. Serve with a grilled cheese on the side.

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest








Crostini with Pistachios, Ricotta and Olives

October 6, 2017


Crostini (mini toasts) are the ultimate party appetizer and are so versatile with an endless combination of toppings. Thanks Kathy for introducing our cooking class to this outstanding version. Every ingredient shines independently but together creates a bright and savory appetizer. The ricotta is light, fluffy and makes the perfect base for the delicious combination of olives, pistachios, anchovies, orange zest and parsley.

Crostini with Pistachios, Ricotta and Olives

Serves 6

3/4 cup ricotta

1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pistachios

1/4 cup Castelvetrano or Cerignola olives, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

2 anchovy fillets, minced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and or to taste

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste

Pinch chili flakes

Baguette, sliced diagonally into 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices, brushed with oil and toasted. 350 degree oven for approximately 8-10 minutes

In a medium bowl stir together the pistachios, olives, olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, orange zest, salt pepper and chili flakes. Spread a layer of ricotta on the oiled and toasted bread and top with the pistachio mixture.

YEP!!! That’s it.

Adapted from: Kathy Harrison ( Franny’s Brooklyn, NY





Farmstand Flatbread

September 16, 2017



Take advantage of the last of  summer’s harvest. Using only 4 ingredients you can  create a flavorful weeknight dinner.

Farmstand Flatbread

1 store-bought pizza dough
3-4 ears of corn, shucked
1 pint grape tomatoes
8 oz shredded mozzarella
½ cup fresh basil, chiffoned
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup balsamic reduction

Preheat grill to medium high heat.
Place corn on grill, grill each side for 2-4 minutes, or until char marks occur. Remove from grill and cut kernels off the cob.
Season tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss and place on the grill (on foil) or under the broiler. Grill until tomatoes start to blister, about 4-6 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place dough on a baking sheet. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle minced garlic on the dough. Add blistered tomatoes then cheese.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is browned.
Top each flatbread with charred corn kernels, fresh basil leaves, and drizzle with balsamic reduction.



Blueberry Clafoutis

September 3, 2017



Clafoutis (kläfo͞oˈtē) a traditional dessert from the Limousin region of France which is known for its dark sweet cherries. Instead of cherries, today I’m making this “simple peasant dessert” with blueberries. Depending on what fruit is in season, use what’s available….plum, pear, apple. This dish is a cross between flan or custard-like cake. The batter is so simple to prepare…the ingredients are mixed in your blender, then poured over the blueberries and baked for 25 minutes…..that’s it!! It’s perfect for your morning coffee but even more delicious served with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Clafoutis

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 1/4 cups milk

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

Handful of slivered almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.
Pour blueberries into prepared baking dish.
Blend milk, sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt in a blender until batter is smooth. Pour batter over blueberries and gently shake to remove any air bubbles.
Bake in the preheated oven until puffed and center is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool until clafoutis deflates and is just warm.

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Adapted from: All Recipes






Clam Toasts With Pancetta

August 24, 2017

IMG_6833In Italian cuisine, soffritto generally consists of garlic or onions (or both) sautéed in olive oil and is used as the base for most pasta sauces. In this interpretation salty, smokey, sweet pancetta is the star. The pancetta browns and releases fat for the sweet onion, fennel, lemon and garlic to cook in. Add the buttery clams and wine to finish off this dish and set on top of your garlic toasted bread then sprinkle with fennel fronds and parsley. This quick entree is elegant and rustic, perfect for a quick weeknight meal but just right for entertaining. This recipe is from Hart’s in Brooklyn, highly rated in Bon Appetit’s New Restaurant guide 2017 (#5 ).

Clam Toasts With Pancetta 


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
2 ounces pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, 2 thinly sliced, plus 2 whole
½ medium sweet onion, finely chopped
½ small fennel bulb, finely chopped, plus ¼ cup fennel fronds
2 wide 3-inch strips lemon zest
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon ground fennel
1 cup dry white wine, divided
2 1½-inch-thick slices sourdough bread
1 pound Manila or littleneck clams or cockles
¼ cup parsley leaves with tender stems

** I added the kernels of 1 ear of corn. Add the corn when you reheat the soffritta mixture.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 5–7 minutes. Add sliced garlic and cook, stirring often, until garlic is golden around the edges, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and add sweet onion and chopped fennel. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and onion is translucent, 6–8 minutes. Add lemon zest, bay leaf, ground fennel, ½ cup wine and a pinch of salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until wine is mostly reduced but mixture is still a little bit saucy, about 3 minutes. Transfer soffritto to a medium bowl; discard lemon zest and bay leaf. Wipe out skillet.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium. Arrange bread slices in skillet and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Cut 1 garlic clove in half and rub one side of each toast with cut side of garlic. Wipe out skillet.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium. Crush remaining garlic clove with the side of a chef’s knife and cook, stirring often, until it begins to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add clams, soffritto, and remaining ½ cup wine. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half and clams are open (discard any that do not open), 5–7 minutes. Add parsley and fennel fronds and cook 1 minute longer. Taste and season with salt if needed.

To serve, place fried bread on plates and spoon clam mixture and cooking broth over. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.
Do Ahead: Soffritto can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

Adapted from :Bon Appetit







Chicken and Corn Stuffed Poblanos

August 17, 2017



Yet another recipe for that seasonal corn on the cob. These chicken and corn stuffed poblano peppers are packed with flavor…..sweet, smokey with subtle heat. Poblano peppers are mild and the perfect vessel to combine chicken, corn, mozzarella and salsa…..yep, only 4 ingredients! The lime cream adds a brightness and cools the palate.

Chicken and Corn Stuffed Chiles

Serves 4

4 large poblano peppers
1½ cups cooked, ***shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken)
1 cup corn kernels
1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup tomatillo salsa (homemade or store-bought)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
paprika and fresh cilantro, for garnish

***As you can see in the photos I used ground chicken breast. It was on hand. Use shredded cooked chicken or rotisserie for a smokier flavor.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a wide strip across the top of each pepper to create a “boat”. Remove the ribs and seeds from the pepper.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, corn, cheese, and salsa. Divide the mixture evenly, filling each pepper. Place the peppers on a baking sheet. Roast until the chiles are tender and the filling is browned, about 25 minutes.
While the chiles are cooking, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime zest and lime juice in a small bowl.
To serve, drizzle the chiles with the sauce and sprinkle with paprika and cilantro.

Adapted from: Taste and Tell






Mini Sweet Corn Fritters

August 14, 2017



These little gems are the ideal solution for all that seasonal corn that’s making its way to your local farmers market. Savory, sweet and a bit of a kick with a crunch with every bite. It’s an appetizer. It’s a side dish. It’s an entrée. Anyway you serve them, you are warned…they are addicting. Don’t skip the yogurt sauce.

Mini Sweet Corn Fritters

Makes approximately 14 mini fritters

1 ½ cups of sweet corn kernels (about 2 ears of corn) I lightly roasted them.
2 tablespoons minced onion (or shallot)
½ green bell pepper (You could use Hatch Chiles!! It’s the Season)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable, or canola oil for frying

Topping: Greek yogurt or sour cream, lime juice, lime zest to taste. Jalapeño slices optional.

In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the egg until everything is well combined. Add the egg and mix well.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Using a small ice cream scoop, spoon the corn mixture into the hot frying pan, flatten it a bit. Cook until the fritters slightly firm and golden brown, for about 2 minutes. Using a metal spatula, flip the fritters and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown. WARNING: These little corns can pop and the hot oil comes with em!!  
Transfer the fritters to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Serve immediately.

Dollop with a mixture of Greek Yogurt (or sour cream), fresh squeeze of lime, lime zest salt and pepper to taste. Jalapeno slices optional.

Adapted from: Sweet & Savory




Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil

August 3, 2017


IMG_6617I’m not spending my summer on the east coast where seafood boils are a tradition. These one-pot meals with corn, potatoes, sausage, onions, and seafood all boiled together to make a fun and tasty meal that are perfect for a crowd. This midwestern version uses a sheet-pan for a quick an easy way to entertain your guests with no mess. Add crusty grilled bread and chilled white wine.

Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil

Serves 6

1 pound baby Dutch yellow potatoes
3 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 6 pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (raw)
1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
1 lemon, cut into wedges
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until just tender and parboiled, about 10-13 minutes. Stir in corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking time; drain well.
In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic and Old Bay Seasoning.
Place potatoes, corn, shrimp and sausage in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine.
Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and corn is tender.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garnished with parsley.

Adapted from: Damn Delicious




Grilled Pound Cake with Balsamic-Macerated Strawberries and Basil

July 21, 2017


Pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a pound of eggs, and a pound of sugar. Yikes! The ingredients are the same but the amounts have been slightly altered. This cake is dense and makes the perfect canvas for creative toppings and glazes. In this interpretation, the cake has a bit of almond and vanilla. I sliced the cooled cake and grilled one side til grill marks appeared. This technique added a smokey note. Top with strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar and sugar. To finish, the cake is drizzled with basil and freshly whipped cream. A perfect dessert for summer entertaining.

Perfect Pound Cake

Serves approximately 10

1 pound butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. (The butter will become a lighter yellow color; this is an important step, as the job of the mixer is to incorporate air into the butter so the cake will rise. It will take 1 to 7 minutes, depending on the power of your mixer.) Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. (Again, the times will vary, and butter will turn to a fluffy white.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow yolk disappears.
Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low-speed just until blended after each addition. (The batter should be smooth and bits of flour should be well incorporated; to rid batter of lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in extracts.

Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan or in fills approximately 1 1/2 loaf pans. (Use vegetable shortening or butter to grease the pan, getting every nook and cranny covered. Sprinkle a light coating of flour over the greased surface.)
Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Slice the cake. Heat grill and spray with non stick spray. Grill til marks appear. About 2-3 minutes. Grill only one side.

To serve, place cake on plate with grill marks up. Place strawberries on top, add basil threads and top with whip cream or creme fraiche.

Adapted from: myrecipes


2 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups)
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
8 to 10 medium fresh basil leaves

Whipped Cream

In a large bowl (or zip lock bag), gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar (I also added a pinch of freshly ground pepper). Let sit at room temperature until the strawberries have released their juices but are not yet mushy, about 30 minutes to one hour. (Don’t let the berries sit for more than 90 minutes, or they’ll start to collapse.)
Just before serving, stack the basil leaves on a cutting board and roll them vertically. Using a sharp chef’s knife, very thinly slice across the roll to make a fine chiffonade of basil. Top with freshly whipped cream.
Adapted from: Fine cooking






Mexican Grilled Street Corn Appetizer

July 9, 2017

Mexican Street Corn is a hit at every summer BBQ! Why not turn the traditional preparation into a flavorful appetizer? Start with sweet corn grilled to crispy perfection. Combine with a bit of mayonnaise, Cotija cheese, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro and finish with lime. Truth be told, sautéing frozen kernels in a cast iron skillet is just as tasty as the grilled corn on the cob version.

Mexican Grilled Street Corn Appetizer

Serves 4

1/3 cup  sour cream or Mexican crema
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup  finely crumbled Cotija, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon  smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup  finely chopped cilantro leaves, and extra for garnish
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
4 ears of corn
2 Tablespoons  olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
2 stalks of green onions, sliced thin
1 lime, cut into wedges

In bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Grilled Whole Corn-On-Cob Option: Heat grill on high heat. Grill until nicely charred and tender all around.

(Sautéed kernels  (frozen kernels) Corn Option: Heat large skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil, then add corn and green onions. Cook corn until slightly charred and brown, around 5 minutes, just until the corn is plump and cooked. Transfer corn to a large bowl and allow to cool.

Combine cheese mixture with corn. Add extra cheese for topping, paprika or chili powder. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.





Tomato Salad with Basil Cream Dressing

July 2, 2017



Keep it simple. Perfect seasonal tomatoes don’t need much fanfare. A drizzle of this basil cream dressing is easy to prepare and adds a fresh finish to a summer side. Eat up these jewels that possess amazing health benefits. Great source of vitamins A,K and B, along with the antioxidant lycopene. Use leftover dressing for a green salad at a later date.

Tomato Salad with Basil Cream Dressing

3-4 ripe tomatoes

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons warm water

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

pinch of sugar

8-10 basil leaves, chopped

Slice tomatoes and arrange on two plates. Place remaining ingredients in a small jar, cover, and shake until well amalgamated. Or blend in a food processor. Drizzle over tomatoes.

Adapted from: Lottie and Doof/Simon Hopkinson




Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce

June 26, 2017


IMG_6120This marinated satay grilled chicken makes for a fun summer dinner. The peanut sauce needs a straw! It’s creamy, rich and has a spicy, sweet note. Food on a stick is just fun….don’t ya think?

Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into 3/4 inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons olive oil
metal or wooden skewers
cilantro for serving

Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
6 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

To make peanut sauce, whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl until completely smooth. (Mixture will seize up at first, but keep whisking, it will smooth out.) Set aside.

Before making chicken, if you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning. To make chicken, toss chicken cubes with salt. Then mix together olive oil and tamari, and pour over top of chicken. Mix with hands to coat, and let sit for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Thread chicken cubes on to the skewers. Turn grill (or indoor grill pan) to medium-high heat. Grill for 10-12 minutes, turning every 4 minutes so that all sides get a nice char. Test one piece of chicken to see if it is cooked all the way through. Then serve with peanut sauce drizzled and lightly brushed over the top. Sprinkle chicken with minced cilantro, peanuts and put extra peanut sauce on the side for dipping.

Adapted from: Amanda Paa





Shrimp Roll

June 13, 2017


Fresh cooked Shrimp Rolls with lemon, mayonnaise, tarragon and chives served on a buttery toasted roll will make for a quick and delicious meal.  The subtle tarragon flavor pairs so well with the sweet shrimp. New England-style split top rolls are not an easy find in the Chicago area. You can create your own by slicing the sides and a bit off the bottom of a brioche bun or oversized hot dog bun. This style allows the surface to butter and toast under the broiler.

Shrimp Rolls

Makes 6

Kosher salt
2 lb. large shrimp (31 to 40 per lb.) peeled, deveined
3/4 cup finely chopped celery with leaves
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
6 New England-style split-top rolls or make (slice) your own

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until bright pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces.

OR in a bowl, mix shrimp with a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt. Grill shrimp for 1-2 minutes per side.

In a large bowl, stir the celery, mayonnaise, chives, tarragon, lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Stir in the shrimp and season to taste with more lemon, salt, and pepper.

Position a rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler to high. Butter and toast both outside (I also did the inside) surfaces of the rolls under the broiler, about 1 minute per side. Spoon the shrimp salad into the rolls, using about 2/3 cup per roll, and serve.

Make it a lobster roll: Substitute 1-1/2 lb. (4 cups) cooked lobster meat for the cooked shrimp.

Adapted from: Fine Cooking







Blistered Snap Peas With Burrata & Mint

June 3, 2017


IMG_6022Grilled sugar snap peas drizzled with lemon dressing make the perfect summer side dish.  A quick char will brighten their sweet flavor while maintaining a crunchy texture. Combining these legumes with mint and burrata will make a meal on its own or a lovely companion to grilled fish. They were delicious off the grill but we liked them even better cold the next day. Snap peas contain a wealth of vitamins and other nutrients; fiber, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, healthy fats, iron, potassium, magnesium, folic acid and antioxidants.

Blistered Snap Peas With Burrata & Mint

4 Servings

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided

12 oz. snap peas, strings removed

1 cup lightly packed mint leaves

1 lb. burrata or buffalo mozzarella, cut into pieces

Lay a triple layer of heavy-duty foil over a baking rack and with a point of a scissors, poke 1/2 holes to form circles. (or use a lattice grill) Light the grill on high heat.

Whisk the lemon juice, honey, and mustard in a small bowl. gradually whisk in olive oil until combined. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the peas with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Spread the peas on the foil, grill until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Stir until hot about 1 minute longer. Transfer the peas to a bowl and toss with mint and half of the dressing.

Arrange the peas on a platter. Spoon burrata on top of the peas and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Adapted from: Justin Chapple




Italian Spaghetti Pasta Salad

May 26, 2017


Who doesn’t love a tasty summer BBQ? Burgers and brats make their long anticipated seasonal debut…but the sides could steal the show. You’ll have your usual standbys — fruit, broccoli, potato and green salads…all delicious. Of course, pasta salad will make an appearance, but this version (not from the local deli case), with classic Italian notes and an abundance of fresh, bright, balanced and light flavors, could be the star!

Easy Italian Spaghetti Pasta Salad

Serves 8

1 pound thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 cucumbers, quartered and sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces mini pepperoni
1 4-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (combo of dried oregano, basil)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 garlic clove, pressed or finely minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spaghetti according to directions in boiling water seasoned with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Drain, rinse and cool. Add the spaghetti to a large bowl with the cucumbers, red bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes, mini pepperoni, black olives and parmesan cheese. for the dressing, add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, sugar, garlic clove, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and pour over the spaghetti mixture and toss to coat. Add more parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 30 minutes up to overnight.

Adapted from: Foodie Crush



Ed’s Grouper Sandwich

May 11, 2017



This is one fish story you’ll want to hear and…ahem…with no exaggeration, may be the best sandwich you will ever eat. Commonly found in coastal Florida waters, grouper is a firm, meaty and mild tasting fish that holds up well as a sandwich. (Locally, available NOW at Heinen’s.) Keep it simple so the grouper shines…pair with a crusty roll, leaf lettuce, a slice of tomato and an easy home-made tartar sauce. This condiment is the perfect topper…..sweet, tangy and tart with just the right amount of dill. Thanks for the inspiration Ed….my number one fan!!!

Ed’s Grouper Sandwich 

Serves 4

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh halibut, cut into 4 servings, 4 to 6 ounces each, 1-inch thick  (or any meaty white fish, halibut, cod, etc.)
Vegetable or olive oil, for drizzling
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 lemon, juiced

Tartar sauce (This is an important component!!!!!)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 dill or half-sour pickle, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
Few drops cayenne pepper sauce, optional

4 rolls        (I love ciabatta rolls so all the yummy tarter fills the nooks and cranny’s!)
1 large ripe tomato, sliced
4 leaves green leaf or Boston lettuce
Preheat nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron grill pan over medium high heat. Drizzle Grouper with oil, then season with crab seasoning, salt and pepper. Grill on a hot pan 4 or 5 minutes on each side.

Place melted butter in a small dish and add juice of 1/2 lemon.

Combine all ingredients for the tartar sauce in a small bowl.

Lightly toast buns on grill pan after fish is removed.

To assemble, brush bun bottoms and fish with lemon butter. Top fish with tomato and lettuce and slather the bun tops with tartar sauce.

Serve with home baked sweet potato chips.

Adapted from:









Herby Avocado Hummus

May 4, 2017


Enjoy this quick and easy hummus that is a delicious change from the classic version. It’s extra creamy and rich in healthy fats….the perfect companion for veggies or chips. Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Herby Avocado Hummus

Makes about 2¼ Cups

½ large ripe avocado
1 15½-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
⅓ cup tahini, well mixed
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, finely grated or smashed to a paste with flat side of knife on cutting board
¾ teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
10 cranks freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup cilantro leaves with tender stems
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas; for serving)

Process avocado, chickpeas, tahini, lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and 1 cup cilantro in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute. With the motor running, stream in 2 tablespoon of oil, then continue to process until hummus is very light and creamy, about 1 minute longer. Taste and season with salt, if needed.
Transfer hummus to a shallow bowl. Top with pepitas and cilantro and drizzle with more oil.

Do Ahead: Hummus can be made 4 days ahead. (I know, crazy!) If making this ahead of time, press plastic directly onto the surface before covering and chilling to prevent the mixture from turning brown on top. Use an airtight container.
Recipe by Claire Saffitz/ Bon Appetit

Classic Key Lime Pie

April 24, 2017



Spring Break. Florida. Key Lime Pie. It’s tart, sweet, rich, creamy and perhaps the easiest pie you’ll ever make.  Top the pie with freshly whipped cream and garnish with strips of zest. Your first taste will have you dreaming of white sand beaches.

Classic Key Lime Pie


1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)
3 tablespoons  granulated sugar
2 pinches sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
3 large egg yolks
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 1 dozen tiny key limes or 4 regular limes)

Whipped Topping
3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy whipping cream
**1 to 2 tablespoons powdered or granulated sugar, to taste

**I left the whipping cream without sugar, I feel it balances the   sweetness of the pie.

Preheat oven to 350°

Make crust: Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a standard 9-inch pie dish. Use the outer edge of a heavy measuring cup to press in neat, firm sides. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack while you prepare filling. Leave oven on.

Make filling: Zest limes into the bottom of a medium bowl until you have 1 1/2 tablespoons. Beat zest and egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until thickened again, about 3 minutes more. Squeeze zested limes until you have 2/3 cups juice. Whisk into yolk mixture until combined. Pour into graham crust and bake pie for another 10 minutes, until set but not browned on top at all. Let pie cool completely before adding topping.

Make topping: In a medium bowl, beat cream (and sugar, if using) until soft peaks are formed. Spread over top of chilled pie. Ideally, pie should be chilled at least another 2 to 3 hours with the cream on top so that it can fully set before you take a slice.

Key lime pie keeps in fridge for about a week.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen