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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.


Watermelon Radish And Burrata Salad

April 11, 2015



The Watermelon radish is an edible globular root that has the most vivid color you will find in this category.  As with many roots, watermelon radishes should feel heavy for their size, and their skin should feel firm. Avoid watermelon radishes that feel spongy when gently squeezed. The exterior is creamy white with a tinge of pale green at the shoulders. The interior is a deep, fuchsia and magenta color radiating out from the center to white and finishing with lime green. Its flesh is tender crisp with a mild, slightly sweet and peppery flavor. Watermelon radishes range in size from golf ball to soft ball. I added mild creamy burrata to compliment the seasonal root and finished with a light lemon and olive oil drizzle for a beautiful spring salad.

Watermelon Radish and Burrata Salad

Serves 4

8 oz. burrata 

2 Watermelon radishes, thinly sliced (best when sliced with a mandolin)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: Chopped fresh chives, finely grated lemon zest and a green of your choice.

Wash radishes gently to remove any dirt. (do not peel)

Tear burrata into pieces and place on a platter. Toss thinly sliced radishes with oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Arrange radish mixture over cheese and drizzle with any remaining dressing. Top with chives and lemon zest.

Recipe Adapted from: Bon Appetit/ Alison Roman



Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

April 4, 2015


Who’s bringing the deviled eggs? You just might want to volunteer! This clever twist on a traditional deviled egg combines ingredients that mirror jalapeno poppers. The creamy yolks are combined with a bit of cream cheese, jalapeno and green onions. The eggs are then topped with cheddar cheese crisps and a slice of pancetta making for a stunning presentation. This is an eggscellent way to brighten up any Easter buffet.

Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs 
Makes 8 deviled eggs

2 Slices of pancetta

1/4 Cup shredded cheddar

4 Hard boiled eggs  (How to make PERFECT hard-boiled eggs)

1 Tablespoon mayo, or to taste

1 Tablespoon cream cheese, or to taste

1/2 Jalapeno, diced (for more spice, leave some of the vein and a few seeds)

1 Tablespoon sliced green onions

Salt, to taste (careful, the cheese and pancetta also add salt)


Crisp up the pancetta in a non-stick pan over medium heat until edges curl and pancetta is crispy. Set aside. Wipe out the pan and heat over medium heat. Spray your pan with non stick spray and sprinkle shredded cheddar in tiny disks and cook until crispy and golden brown (they will continue to brown a bit while cooling, so don’t cook til dark). Remove from the heat and cool in the pan.

Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half and remove the yolks from the egg halves into a small bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork until fine and crumbly. Mix with the mayo, cream cheese, jalapeño, green onions and salt and pepper to taste. Fill the egg halves with the yolk mixture and top each egg half with a bit of crispy cheese and pancetta.

Adapted from: Iamafoodblog











Pasta with Yogurt, Peas, and Chile

March 28, 2015


DO NOT read this recipe and go….ewww!! These big flavors and ingredients are magical together. Jerusalem, the highly touted cookbook created by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, always seems to get it right. The recipe calls for Greek yogurt to create a cream based sauce. Toss in garlic, olive oil, feta, fresh basil, and pine nuts to make one of the best pasta dishes you will ever eat! This is utter perfection in a bowl. For a quick weeknight dinner, give this tasty, fresh and healthy pasta a try. Past favorite recipes from Jerusalem (and Plenty) are Marinated Mozzerella and Spinach Salad with Dates.

Pasta with Yogurt, Peas and Chile

Serves 6

2 ½ cups whole-milk Greek yogurt
2/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed or pressed
1 pound fresh or thawed frozen peas (I used 1/2 pound) If you LOVE peas use the whole pound.
Kosher salt
1 pound shell pasta (They fill up with lots of goodies)

½ cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons Turkish or Syrian chile flakes, or red pepper flakes
1  2/3 cups basil leaves, coarsely torn
8 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled   (I used 6 ounces)

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the yogurt, 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup of the peas. Process to a uniform pale green sauce, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. (Makes lots of sauce….I only used enough to make it to my desired consistency….had about 1 cup left.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Add the pasta, and cook until it is al dente. While the pasta cooks, warm the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes, and cook for 4 minutes, or until the pine nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, warm the remaining peas in some boiling water (I put a small strainer in the pasta as it was cooking, about 1 minute), then drain.

Drain the cooked pasta well into a colander. Add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce (in your serving bowl); adding it all at once may cause the yogurt to separate. Add the warm peas, the basil, feta, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss gently. Serve immediately, with pine nuts and chile oil spooned over each serving.

Plan for leftovers as this is delicious the next day served cold. Think picnic.

Next time I make this I will lighten the recipe using low-fat yogurt and whole wheat pasta,

Adapted slightly from: Jeruselem, by Yotem Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi










Sweet Pea Pancakes

March 21, 2015















Spring has sprung. Time to close the chapter on cozy comfort food and turn the page to fresh green spring veggies. Fresh peas are a sure sign of Spring and the health benefits are impressive. Green peas contain adequate amounts of anti-oxidants, flavonoids, as well as vitamin A. They’re also rich in phyto-nutrients and minerals.

These tasty little pancakes will certainly turn sweet peas into a savory side for grilled lamb chops or a light lunch paired with a green salad. I like the idea of topping the pancakes with a piece of smoked salmon, a touch of creme fraiche and chives as a Spring appetizer.

I’ve been holding on to this recipe for a couple of years since being introduced to these savory delicacies at a cooking class with Kathy Harrison. Thanks for the inspiration, Kathy!

Sweet Pea Pancakes

2 cups fresh or frozen shelled peas (I used a good quality frozen peas and they were perfect))

1½ tablespoon butter, browned (or melted)

1 egg

1 egg yolk

½ cup heavy cream

1/3 cup all-purpose white flour


Freshly ground pepper

Optional: 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Butter for the griddle

Topping ideas: Crème fraiche or sour cream mixed with chopped chives and maybe a little Meyer lemon zest, smoked salmon, and maybe some pickled capers.

In a small pan over medium heat, cook the butter until brown (but not burnt) and pour it into a small cup to cool. This method adds a rich, nutty flavor. (Or you can just use melted butter.)

If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain and cool them. If using frozen peas, thaw them at room temperature for 20-30 minutes until they are soft but not mushy. Place the peas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk and heavy cream. Blend.

Transfer to a mixing bowl. Whisk in flour and melted butter. Season with salt and pepper. If adding chives, stir in at this time.

Heat a griddle over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and add enough butter or oil to coat the bottom. Drop the batter by spoonfuls and cook for about four minutes, until golden brown at the edges, then flip and cook for another three minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Do Ahead: The batter can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Makes approximately 20 pancakes depending on the size.

Adapted from: Suzanne Goin, The A.O.C. Cookbook





St. Paddy’s Day Stuffed Potaotes

March 13, 2015


Colcannon: mashed potatoes studded with tender cabbage or kale, onions, salt, pepper, butter and cream. This traditional Irish potato dish is typically served on Halloween. Well, I’m turning this savory side into a hearty main for St. Paddy’s Day by adding corned beef and horseradish sauce! Stuffing these spuds with the earthy and creamy flavors makes for a delicious and satisfying meal before you head out to celebrate and pretend you’re Irish. Add a kale salad (see below), some Guinness, this dessert …and you have yourself a fun, affordable menu. A few other party ideas…flatbread, SPD rolls, and SPD grilled cheese.

St. Paddy’s Day Stuffed Potatoes

Serves 4

4 large russet potatoes, scrubbed, pierced a few times with a fork

4-5 slices thick-cut first cut deli corned beef cubed OR shredded leftovers

4 stems (stemmed) and chopped curly kale OR about 1-1/2 cups green cabbage

4 tablespoons chicken stock

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1- 1/2 cups (4 oz) coarsely grated Cheddar Cheese OR Irish Cheddar

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons (or more to taste) horseradish cream (big yum!)

1 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or scallions

*Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake until tender when pierced with a fork, about approximately 1 hour or until fork comes out easily. Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

In a skillet over medium heat, add chicken stock and kale, stirring until kale is wilted, 4 minutes. Set aside.

Cut a 1/2-inch-thick slice lengthwise off the top of each potato; scrape the flesh from the slices into a large bowl and discard the skins. Spoon the flesh from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Add the butter, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and mix with a potato masher until blended; do not overwork (lumps are OK). Gently fold in the corned beef, kale mixture, sour cream, horseradish sauce and half of the cheese with a spatula. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Adjust consistency by adding more sour cream or horseradish sauce if desired.

Rub the outsides of the potato shells with the oil. Distribute the filling among the shells, and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake the potatoes, uncovered, until heated through, 25 to 30 minutes, until hot in the center. Sprinkle the potatoes with the remaining cheese and bake until the cheese melts and browns lightly in some places, 2 to 3 minutes more. Garnish the potatoes with the scallions, and serve.

Add a side salad to get a complete meal. You may want to eliminate the kale from the potato mixture and make this Kale Salad (below).

Kale Salad

Kale bunch, stem removed, thinly sliced

Radishes bunch, thinly sliced

2 carrots, julienned

Salt and Pepper


Keeping it… St. Paddy’s Style

2-3 tablespoons horseradish (to taste) or sauce from above recipe
1/2 cup creme fraiche, add more if needed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (or less, depending on desired consistency)
Salt and pepper to taste






Corned Beef Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Guinness Caramelized Onions

March 7, 2015


It’s savory, sweet, gooey and all around perfect to add to your grilled cheese repertoire. AND just in time for St. Patrick’s Day! Plan for a casual dinner or a tasty leftover creation. Caramelizing the onions in Guinness softens their flavor and adds a note of sweet chocolate. The Dijon and Worcestershire bring a smokey bite while the grated cheddar cheese softens all the flavors to make an over-the-top delicious grilled cheese sandwich!!

Corned Beef Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Guinness Caramelized Onions

Makes 1 sandwich

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1/2 cup Guinness,  in a can (milder flavor)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons grainy mustard

1 tablespoon butter, room temperature

2 slices rye or dark rye, lightly toasted

1/2 cup cheddar, shredded, room temperature

2 ounces cooked corned beef, warm (use leftovers or a very lean deli brand like Boars Head)

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup Guinness , cover and simmer until the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 15 minutes and repeat 2 times.

Remove from heat and mix in the Worcestershire sauce and grainy mustard.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat.

Butter the outside of each slice of bread, sprinkle half of the cheese on the inside of one slice of bread, top with half of the onions, the corned beef, the remaining onions, cheese and finally the other slice of bread.

Add the sandwich to the pan and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-4 minutes per side.

Adapted from: Closetcooking





Braised Short Ribs

February 28, 2015


What’s the perfectly elegant yet casual dinner party meal, you ask? Braised short ribs. This dish has a deep, rich flavor benefiting from a long, slow cooking process.

Short ribs, when done to perfection, literally fall off their bones. Starting with browning the meat and adding the holy trinity of vegetables, (onions, celery and carrots) you are well on your way to creating this mouth-watering dish. The herbs that are natural companions (thyme, oregano and rosemary) along with the braising liquid of wine and broth, create a beautiful sauce. Ideally, cook the day before and refrigerate.

The short ribs are the star of the show, so keep the side simple. Mashed potatoes, polenta or a plain wide noodle are the perfect side to soak up all that yummy sauce. This entree pairs well with a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon.

Braised Short Ribs

Serves 6

5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut crosswise into 2″ pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 750-ml bottle dry red wine (preferably Cabernet Sauvignon)
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
4 cups low-salt beef stock
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoon drippings from pot.
Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes. Stir in wine, then add short ribs with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 1/2 hours. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain the sauce from pot into a bowl. Spoon fat from the surface of sauce and discard.  (This dish is better if made the day before and the sauce is easier to de-fat after being refrigerated.) Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls over mashed potatoes, polenta or noodles with sauce spooned over.
Adapted from: Bon Appetit

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

February 21, 2015




Who doesn’t like (love) Kung Pao Chicken? How about a twist on your favorite Chinese take-out? Just add Brussels Sprouts to your Asian pantry staples…I hope by now you all have the ingredients on hand. Roast these seasonal beauties until they are firm but crisp and then toss into the sweet and spicy sauce for a dish that is layered with flavor. For a vegetarian option, I serve this dish with brown rice topped with roasted peanuts. If you want to add a protein, chicken or salmon is a nice complement.

Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts

Serves 6

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled ginger
2 tablespoons hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
6 dried chiles de árbol, lightly crushed ( I omitted these)
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar, unseasoned
⅓ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 425°. Toss Brussels sprouts and 4 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until softened (but not soft) and browned, 20–25 minutes. Set aside.

Mix cornstarch and 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl until smooth.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chili paste and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 2 minutes. Add chiles, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and ½ cup water and bring to a boil; stir in cornstarch slurry. Simmer, stirring, until sauce coats spoon, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Toss Brussels sprouts with sauce and serve topped with peanuts.
Adapted from: Bon Appetit



Scallops With Brussels Sprouts And Pancetta

February 14, 2015



It’s Valentines Day and you are NOT paying 2x for dinner “out.” This entree, along with a nice bottle of champagne and strawberries, will make for a very special evening at home. With only a handful of ingredients, this meal takes about 20 minutes…all in!! Brussels Sprouts are well accented by crisp pancetta, shallots, and garlic…a perfect accompaniment to the sweet, tender scallops. Drizzle with a light, lemony sauce for a perfect finish. All you procrastinators….you’re welcome!! For a quick and impressive sweet ending I suggest Balsamic Strawberries with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. See recipe below.

Scallops With Brussels Sprouts

Serves 2     OR  1 scallop each for an appetizer course

1/4 cup crème fraîche

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon snipped chives

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 jumbo scallops (about 3/4 pound)

6 thin slices pancetta (about 2 ounces)

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, minced

In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche with the finely grated lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, snipped chives and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season the lemon-chive crème fraîche with salt and pepper.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Generously season the scallops with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet. Cook the scallops over moderately high heat, turning once, until they are golden and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the scallops to a plate; tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Or cook the scallops until caramelized, the Thomas Keller way!

Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and shallot and cook, stirring, until the Brussels sprouts are softened but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the butter and garlic and season with salt and pepper; transfer to plates and top with the scallops. Serve with the lemon-chive crème fraîche.

This dish would also work well for a first course appetizer.

Inspiration from: Maureen

Recipe Adapted from: Food And Wine

Balsamic Strawberries

Serves 2

1 pint (about 2 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced thick, note the heart shape!
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving

Thirty minutes to an hour before serving, combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside at room temperature.

Place a serving of the strawberries in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream on top and dust lightly with lemon zest.

Recipe adapted from: Ina Garten







Momofuku Crack Pie

February 8, 2015


I needed a gesture of thanks…and a BIG one for our awesome neighbors, the Koz family!! We were stranded in Dallas while Chicago was getting pummeled by another storm of the century. They shoveled our driveway that had drifts up to three feet. I knew a sweet treat would be appreciated. And sweet it is!!! This pie is the creation of Christina Tosi, pastry chef at the acclaimed Momofuku Milk Bar (NYC). This infamous pie has a cult following and is as addictive as the name suggests. Although the recipe has lots of steps, it does not require much skill. The result…rich, gooey, chewy, salty, butter-scotchy…………ridiculousness!!!

Momofuku Milk Bar Crack Pie

Two (10-inch) pies      (and that’s a GOOD thing)


For the Oat Cookie:
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
½ cup bread flour
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of baking soda

1 recipe Oat Cookie (above)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Pie Filling
1½ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup dry milk powder
¼ cup cornstarch
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks


1. Make the Oat Cookie: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Scrape the sides of the bowl and, on low-speed, at the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is pale white.

3. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl and, on low-speed, add the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until the dough comes together and there are no remnants of dry ingredients, about 1 minute.

4. Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet and, using an offset spatula, spread to a ¼-inch thickness (it won’t take up the entire sheet). Bake for 15 minutes, or until the middle of the cookie is puffed, but the edges are firmly set. (This will ensure it crumbles like sand.) Cool completely before using.

5. Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, break up the oat cookie into small crumbs resembling wet sand. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir to combine. Add the butter and use a rubber spatula to stir and press the mixture against the sides of the bowl until a cohesive mass forms. If the crust is not moist enough to form a cohesive mass, melt an additional 1 to 1½ tablespoons of butter and mix in as before.

6. Divide the oat cookie crust between two pie plates and press firmly into the pie plates, making sure that the bottom and sides are evenly covered. (If not using immediately, the pie shells can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)

7. Make the Pie Filling: Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until evenly blended. Add the melted butter and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until all of the dry ingredients are moist. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the heavy cream and vanilla, then continue to mix on low-speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until no white streaks remain. Add the egg yolks and mix on low-speed just long enough to combine, until the mixture is glossy, but do not over mix! (If not using immediately, the filling can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

8. Bake the Pie: Place the prepared pie plates on a sheet pan. Divide the filling evenly between the pie crusts; the filling should only fill the plates about ¾ of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes, until the pies are golden brown on top but still very jiggly.

9. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Leave the pies in the oven and the oven door open until the temperature reaches 325 degrees. Once it does, close the oven door and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until the pies are jiggly in the very center, but set around the outer edges.

10. Remove the pies from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Freeze the pies for at least 3 hours or overnight (this step condenses the filling and is a required step). Transfer the pies from the freezer to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. (If not using immediately, the pies can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.)

11. Just prior to serving, dust the pie with powdered sugar. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I suggest serving with whip cream…without any added sugar.

Recipe from: Momofuku Milk Bar

For another Momofuku recipe try….Banana Creme Pie Shooters