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Feta Tapenade Tarte Soleil

March 5, 2016


Tarte Soleil or sun pie. This impressive appetizer is much easier to prepare than it looks. It’s  made with store-bought puffed pastry that is defrosted overnight. In a food processor the tapenade is quickly made with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, garlic, oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper. With some creative twists and a feta dip, you have a stunning, savory Mediterranean dish.

Feta Tapenade Tarte Soleil

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 teaspoon dried oregano or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil or reserved oil from tomatoes, plus more if needed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes to taste

2 packages puffed pastry  (thaw in fridge overnight)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 tablespoon sesame to sprinkle (optional)

6 ounces feta, crumbled
2 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Coarse or kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

Make the filling: Blend ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped and spreadable. Mixture will be thick. You can thin it with more olive oil if needed.  Adjust seasonings to taste. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble the tart: Roll first package puffed pastry flat on a large piece of parchment paper or reusable baking mat into a 12-inch circle; use a 12-inch round plate or bowl to mark the size for a clean cut. Repeat with second dough, setting one aside in the fridge until needed.

Place pastry on a parchment. Spread with filling to all but 1-inch from edge. Dab edges with water and place second round on top. Set a small glass upside down in the middle. Being careful not to cut through parchment paper or baking mat, cut away from glass (not through center) in quarters, or at the 3-, 6-, 9- and 12 o’clock marks. Cut through each quarter again, making 8 strips, and again, making 16 strips, and one last time so that you have 32 “rays” of pastry emanating from the center. If at any point in the cutting the pastry too soft and getting difficult to cut, place the tray in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it back up.

Remove glass. Place finger near center of each ray and gently twist each strand a few times. Beat egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; brush it over pastry and sprinkle with seeds, if desired.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown all over.

Meanwhile, make whipped feta dip: Blend all filling ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Place in bowl for dipping.

Remove tart from oven, let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a serving platter. Tear off rays of sun, dip in whipped feta.

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen









Chicken Pot Pie Pizza

February 27, 2016



Who can resist a bowl of savory chicken pot pie, topped with a buttery, flakey crust? Who can resist pizza? When the two become one magic happens. I rolled out some store bought dough, made a quick béchamel, topped with diced veggies, shredded chicken and diced baby potatoes. I baked til it was crispy. Then I had my sous chef (aka Randy) give it a taste. His response was “this is chicken pot pie pizza!!.” It is honestly crazy that this simple concoction combines two family favorites into one.

Chicken Pot Pie Pizza

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon of butter

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/3 cup shredded cooked chicken

1/4 small onion, diced

Couple of baby potatoes, boiled and diced

1 carrot, diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 ball no-knead pizza dough or store bought pizza dough

Salt and pepper, to taste

Arrange a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

If you have any cooked chicken and potatoes on hand, perfect. Shredd the chicken and cube the potatoes. OR boil a couple of potatoes and cook a small chicken breast (then cube or shredd).

In a small pan, heat up the butter over medium heat. When melted, sprinkle on the flour and stir until the flour is completely incorporated. Pour in the chicken stock in a thin stream while whisking. Whisk occasionally, on medium heat, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Roll out the  dough to your desired shape.  Spread the slightly cool béchamel evenly on the dough. Top with shredded mozzarella, cooked chicken, diced onions, boiled and cubed potatoes, diced carrots, and diced celery. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is puffy, crisp and slightly blistered.

Adapted from: i am a food blog  (A Favorite!)






Lentil Soup With Sweet Potatoes And Spinach

February 18, 2016



Lentils are small but mighty, often referred to as “the poor man’s meat.” A member of the legume family, they are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowering fiber (16 grams per cup). They are also beneficial in managing blood-sugar disorders. Lentils provide  excellent amounts of seven important minerals, our B-vitamins and protein (18 grams per cup). All with virtually no fat.

This soup is nutty and earthy in flavor and packed with yummy veggies. We incorporate this powerhouse meal about every 10 days in our house during the chilly months. It pulls together quickly with most of these ingredients on hand and also freezes well. Double up.



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced      (I add about 6 or more, love, love!)
1 celery stalk, diced       (I add a few)
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
4 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth (or veggie)
2 cups water
2 cans (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups chopped fresh spinach

****Alternative flavor profile: Eliminate thyme and rosemary . Instead add 2 teaspoons curry and 2 teaspoons cumin. Taste to adjust.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender and garlic is light brown in color. Add carrot, celery, and sweet potatoes. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, and water. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Cook on medium-low heat for about 35-40 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

Add the fresh spinach and stir. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove bay leaves and serve warm.





Avocado Toasts

February 13, 2016


I was at a recent brunch and tried an entrée I usually overlook. Avocado Toast. Sure I like avocados, but this idea just seemed too simple or potentially bland. Wrong.  A trendy Chicago restaurant, Bar Sienna, boasts it’s their number one brunch order. Sold. A simple concept recipe with endless possibilities. The basic idea is to grab a ripe avocado, a piece of multi-grain toast and make it your own. I mashed up the avocado and spiced it up with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. I then layered tomato, a few slices of radish and topped with a poached egg sprinkled with paprika. (A drizzle of balsamic glaze would be nice). I set the toast on a bed of greens drizzled with olive oil and salt and pepper. This is a great idea for a crowd. Speaking of crowds…as I watched order after order come out of the kitchen, I was curious how they keep making all those poached eggs. I have heard of poaching eggs days before use but was a bit skeptical that this technique would really work. Well, once again…wrong. I made the eggs the day before and reheated them in simmering water until they were warm. Genius. I now have visions of Mother’s Day brunch making Eggs Benedict for 12. I love this idea.



Herbed Shrimp Capellini with Spicy Breadcrumbs

February 9, 2016


If you’re planning a romantic evening at home this Valentine’s Day perhaps I can help. This entree is not only delicious and easy, it will certainly set the tone for this special night in. Breadcrumbs are combined with fresh herbs, lemon juice and butter, then baked for 10 minutes. You then marinate the shrimp with a similar flavor profile as the breadcrumbs then cook the pasta and combine. Pair with a side salad, finish off with chocolate and of coarse, enjoy with sparkling wine or champagne. More suggestions for the evening include…Caramelized Seared Scallops, Salmon with leeks and Beurre Blanc Sauce, Cioppino, Lobster Risotto, Beet and Cheese Napoleons, Blood Orange and Fennel Salad, SS Kale Salad, Chocolate Lava Cake, Creme Brûlée and Salted Butter Caramel Chocolate Mousse.

Bread Crumbs
1/4 pound Italian bread, torn
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped oregano
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt

20 jumbo shrimp (2 pounds), shelled and deveined
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced basil
1 1/2 teaspoons minced oregano
1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Kosher salt
3/4 pound capellini or angel hair pasta
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Herbed Shrimp Capellini

Serves 6

Bread Crumbs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the bread with the parsley, oregano, garlic and crushed red pepper until coarse crumbs form. Add the melted butter and lemon juice and pulse until evenly moistened. Season with salt and pepper, then spread the bread crumbs in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and crisp; let cool.

Preheat the broiler and bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the shallot, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the shrimp in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (not on parchment paper, as photographed). Broil 6 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until lightly browned and just cooked through; flip the shrimp halfway through broiling.

Meanwhile, cook the capellini in the boiling water until al dente. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Add the lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Arrange the shrimp over the pasta and sprinkle some of the spicy bread crumbs on top. Serve right away, passing additional bread crumbs and olive oil at the table.

Adapted from: Andrew Zimmern
















Super Bowl Potato Skins

February 5, 2016


Super Bowl Sunday will not be your healthiest day of the year, so just go with it. And you may not be a fan of the big game, so turn your focus to the other competition in the room…the food. These crispy boats are filled with sharp cheddar, Monterey jack and bacon. Top with sour cream and chopped scallions to finish strong. It’s one day….give the people what they want.

Potato Skins

Makes 16 wedges

4 large baking potatoes
Vegetable oil
6 slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and diced
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups grated monterey jack or other mild melting cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream and chopped scallions, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the potatoes and thoroughly dry them. Rub the potatoes with vegetable oil and place on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Flip them over halfway through baking to even out the cooking.

Leave the oven on, and set aside potatoes until they are cool enough to handle. Carefully cut each potato into quarters, lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out all but 1/2-inch of potato from each wedge. Place potato skins on sheet, spacing about 1-inch apart. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return them to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, to crisp them up.

Meanwhile, combine the shredded cheeses, bacon bits and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl.

Remove the skins from the oven and top each one with a mound of the cheese mixture. Return to the oven and bake until the the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.

Serve hot from the oven topped with sour cream and green onions.

Adapted from: Lottie and Doof








Beef And Bacon Meatloaf… And THE Meatloaf Sandwich

January 30, 2016



IMG_3453Meatloaf. A staple on every Mother’s menu because it was an affordable meal that could feed the family for a few days. Here’s a tasty update on this little piece of Americana. Warning: this is NOT your Mother’s meatloaf. The seasoned stock keeps this meatloaf moist and full of flavor and the tasty topping adds a nice combination of sweet and spice. And the bacon, well, adds bacon!! The leftovers, if there are any, make for a delicious sandwich. Pile on the cheese, ketchup, and caramelized onions and you have a grilled cheese meatloaf sandwich that will rival any diner.

Following the meatloaf recipe…..the sandwich!

Beef and Bacon Meatloaf

Serves: 8
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, grated on large holes of a box grater
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
¾ cup ketchup
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs
⅔ cup fine breadcrumbs
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds ground beef chuck (15% fat)
6 thin strips bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Heat oil over medium in a small skillet. Add onion and cook oil soft, about 4 minutes. Then add garlic, cook for an additional 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, bring ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and cayenne to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Transfer 2 tablespoons ketchup mixture to a blender; add broth and parsley and blend until smooth. Set remaining ketchup mixture aside.
Add broth mixture, eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper to onion and garlic; mix to combine. Add beef and mix well with your hands to combine. Transfer meatloaf mixture to prepared pan and form into a long log (about 12″x5″). Spread reserved ketchup mixture over top and drape bacon over loaf, tucking underneath. ( I would trim the bacon just at the bottom of the loaf and slightly tuck. My experience was the bacon does not crisp underneath and just adds fat.) Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 165° and bacon is crisp, 70–80 minutes. (If the meat is done and the bacon needs additional crisping…set under the broiler for a few minutes till desired crispiness.) Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. (The loaf needs to set up for perfect slices.)

Adapted from: Bon Appetit






Meatloaf Sandwich

Make it your own. Or as shown…..

Sourdough slathered on the outsides with butter.

Add White cheddar, meatloaf, mayo (optional), sharp cheddar, caramelized onions. Grill til all melty!! I cooked the sandwich on a grill pan TENTED with foil to help the cheese melt.

***you could save some of the ketchup from the top of the loaf to add on the sandwich.



Daube de Boeuf with Belgian Ale

January 23, 2016


In Andrew Zimmern’s words, “this is a warm hug from the inside out.” Daube de Boeuf, a classic Provencal stew, is the ultimate comfort food. This variation from Zimmern uses Belgian ale instead of the traditional red wine version. Like most braised dishes this dish is best the day after. Our experience with this bowl of hug was certainly delicious the day it was made, but outstanding the following day. Serve with crusty French bread.

Daube de Boeuf with Belgian Ale

Serves 6

3 pounds trimmed beef chuck, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (Have your butcher cut and trim beef)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
One 12-ounce bottle Duvel or other Belgian golden ale
4 cups beef stock or low-sodium broth
3 thyme sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs and 1 bay leaf, tied in cheesecloth
10 new potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice (or lots more)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine the beef and flour and shake well. Remove the beef from the bag, shaking off the excess flour.

In a large cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add one-third of the beef and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 5 minutes; reduce the heat if the meat browns too quickly. Transfer the meat to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and beef.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the casserole. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the beer and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef back to the casserole along with the stock and herb bundle. Bring the stew to a boil, cover and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Gently stir the potatoes and carrots into the stew, cover and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until the vegetables are tender. Discard the herb bundle. Stir in the Dijon and vinegar, season the stew with salt and pepper and serve.
MAKE AHEAD: 3 days

*the next day stew, I added quinoa as it was rewarming to thicken  up some of that sauce. Delicious.

***My lucky, lucky niece works for Andrew Zimmern, tests recipes and photographs his work. Thanks Madeleine for this inspiration.

Adapted from: Andrew Zimmern




Roasted Chicken with Tomato, Basil and Ciabatta

January 16, 2016


When Courtney raves and receives raves about a comfort food recipe, I listen! This recipe is simply about the layering of ingredients that LOVE hanging out together. In a large roasting pan, start with chunks of a ciabatta loaf. Then add tomatoes, olives, a whole garlic bulb, fresh basil, salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Finish with placing a cut up roaster on top and bake for an hour or so.  Something magical happens when all these yummy flavors melt together and THAT base of ciabatta soaks up all those juices, and well… words!

Roasted Chicken with Tomato and Basil and Ciabatta

Serves: The Whole Family!

1 ciabatta loaf
2 big handfuls of cherry tomatoes
1 big handful of the best olives you can afford
1 big garlic bulb
Fresh basil
One whole cut up fryer chicken (I have the butcher cut the fryer)
Good olive oil
Salt & pepper
Red chili flakes
8 slices of pancetta

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper the chickenn. Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and brown the skin side of chicken til crispy. (Just a few minutes…you don’t want to cook the chicken). You can omit this step and broil the chicken in the last step of the recipe.
In a large roasting pan, tear up a ciabatta loaf and layer the bottom. Along with it goes two big handfuls of cherry tomatoes, one big handful of good quality olives and one big garlic bulb broken into cloves, skin still on.
Tear up some fresh basil and sprinkle throughout.
Pour a generous amount of good olive oil, salt & pepper, and a sprinkle of red chili flakes. Toss with your hands and then reposition chicken or on top.
Roast for 30 minutes. Remove and reposition chicken and roast another 30. Take out and place 8 slices of pancetta on top of the chicken skin and roast 15 minutes more. (For all you pancetta experts, the photo shows prosciutto on top. That’s what I had on hand. You NEED to use pancetta for a smokey finish).
At this point your chicken will be cooked through. This is where you can turn the broiler on if you have not already browned the chicken. This will crisp up the chicken and pancetta.
Before serving, add a few fresh basil leaves for color.
Adapted from: A Life From Scratch






Crispy Buffalo Cheddar Potato Nachos

January 9, 2016


I’m very aware it’s January. New year, new starts, new body, blah, blah, blah. It’s also game month. Enjoy your kale Monday thru Saturday. Enjoy these tasty, savory, splurgy nachos while watching your favorite game or just feet up with a good book (The Past), a binge watch (Making A Murderer!) or a cozy fire!

Crispy Buffalo Cheddar Potato Nachos

Serves 4…(but really 2)

4 russet potatoes, slice in 1/4 inch rounds (I sliced them thinner)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup hot sauce (like…Franks Hot Sauce)
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
Chopped cilantro and green onion, for serving
Buttermilk ranch, for serving

Preheat the oven 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the thinly sliced potato rounds among the baking sheets. Drizzle the potatoes evenly with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and then season the potatoes to taste with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, watching closely to monitor baking. While the potatoes are baking, whisk together the butter, hot sauce and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. When the potatoes are crisp and lightly golden, remove them from the oven and drizzle with the buffalo sauce. Add the cheddar and blue cheese. Return the pans to the oven and bake for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Remove and top with fresh cilantro, green onions and sliced avocado. Serve with ranch dressing.

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest






A Galette of Winter Greens

January 3, 2016

IMG_3282This stunning galette combines mushrooms, leeks, parmesan and 12 cups of spinach. TWELVE CUPS OF SPINACH. Delicious way to eat your greens!!  An elegant side to a tenderloin or a simple weekend lunch.

Galette of Winter Greens


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
pinch of sea salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
6-7 tablespoons ice water

12 packed cups spinach leaves
1/2 cup sliced leeks
3 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
2 cups fresh wild mushrooms
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Italian parsley

Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir. Cut butter into pieces and add to the mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut butter into the flour mix. Keep mixing until the butter is reduced to pea-sized bits. Drizzle 5 tablespoons of ice water into the bowl and continue to mix ingredients with pastry cutter. Even though the mixture will still be quite crumbly at this point, squeeze some dough between your fingers and see if it holds together. You will probably need to add at least another tablespoon or two of ice water to get your dough to hold together. (Don’t overwork or over-wet your dough: a nice, slightly crumbly dough with smears of butter throughout will give you a great flaky crust later.)

Place a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it on the counter next to your mixing bowl. Using your hands, gently gather the dough into a ball and place it in the center of the plastic. Wrap the ball in plastic and use the heel of your hand to flatten the dough a into a thick round. Chill the wrapped dough in the fridge for at least a hour, or up to two days.

Preheat oven to 375.

Thoroughly wash and trim spinach. If you are using baby spinach, you can keep the leaves whole. If using larger spinach leaves, chop them coarsely. Set aside.

Wash leeks, making sure to get the dirt out from between the layers. Trim off the roots and slice the whites and pale greens into thin rounds.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and a pinch of salt to the warm oil, cover pan and cook leeks until tender. When leeks have softened, add spinach leaves and another pinch of salt, toss them with the oil and leeks. (Add one cup of spinach at a time til wilted.) Cover and continue to cook over medium heat until spinach is tender.

Remove spinach and leeks from pan and set aside. When the greens have cooled, squeeze out any excess water that the spinach is holding on to.

Prep your mushrooms. Using a brush, wipe all the dirt off the mushrooms. Coarsely chop.

Heat a medium cast iron or saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes and add 1 tbsp. olive oil and salt. Cook until mushrooms are tender, but not well-done. Set aside cooked mushrooms.

Take your chilled dough out of the fridge. Cover a cutting board with a big piece of parchment paper. Place your dough on the parchment. Sprinkle a bit of extra flour over the top of the dough and dust your rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough into a nice large circle or oval. Slide the rolled-out galette dough (keeping it on the parchment) onto a baking sheet.

Leaving a couple of inches of dough around the edge of your rectangle/circle and sprinkle 3/4 cup of Parmesan over the the middle portion. Then add the spinach, leeks, and mushrooms. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top. Fold up the edges. Place the galette in your 375 degree oven.

Baking for 35-40 minutes until your galette is golden brown. You can eat it warm or let it cool to room temperature.

Sprinkle with parsley.
Adapted from: Yummy Supper








Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

December 30, 2015



Mix AND bake a chocolate chip cookie all in one skillet!! This recipe had me at one skillet (and one spoon). Serve this giant baked cookie right out of the skillet with 4 scoops of ice cream and 4 spoons. Slightly under-cook for a gooey, chewy fun dessert. In the words of my kids, WHAT????!!!!!!! Indeed.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie
1 stick butter
½ cups granulated sugar
½ cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoons salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, cut in chunks (I used a dark chocolate, salted Fannie May bar!)

Flaked salt, to finish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet set over medium-low heat. (my skillet is bigger so the cookie was not as thick as I would have liked, but still great) Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let rest until pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.
Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture, and use a fork to whisk it into the mixture. Place flour, baking soda, and salt on top, and very carefully stir into the mixture until smooth and well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chunks. Sprinkle with flaked salt. Place in the oven for 15-25 minutes, (take out earlier than later for a chewy,  gooey middle) or until starting to turn golden on the top and around the edges, but still soft in the center.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, and spoons!!

**you could also drizzle caramel sauce and chocolate shavings.








Leek Bread Pudding

December 25, 2015


My computer went to computer heaven and took along many of my December posts and photos!!! Fortunately, I had this recipe on my list from last year to try. Success with a capitol S!  This bread pudding will be present on my Christmas menu to accompany beef tenderloin. Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc) once again helps the home cook elevate their game. This savory side combines braised leeks,  herbs, cream and cheese. The result is a souffle-like dish that is rich and creamy. Move over mashed potatoes!

Leek Bread Pudding

Serves 10-12

2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
12 cups 1-inch cubes crustless Brioche or Pullman sandwich loaf
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
3 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
3 cups heavy cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded Comté or Emmentaler (I used Gruyere)

Preheat the oven to 350°.
Put the leek rounds in a large bowl of water and soak so that any dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Set a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, lift the leeks from the water, drain, and add them to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. As the leeks begin to soften, lower the heat to medium-low. The leeks will release liquid. Stir in the butter to emulsify, and season with pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a parchment lid, and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the leeks are very soft, 30 to 35 minutes. If at any point the butter breaks or looks oily, stir in about a tablespoon of water to re-emulsify the sauce. Remove and discard the parchment lid.

Meanwhile, spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan about halfway through, until dry and pale gold. Transfer to a large bowl. Leave the oven on.

Add the leeks to the bread and toss well, then add the chives and thyme.

Lightly whisk the eggs in another large bowl. Whisk in the milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spread half the leeks and croutons in the pan and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup cheese. Scatter the remaining leeks and croutons over and top with another 1/4 cup cheese. Pour in enough of the custard mixture to cover the bread and press gently on the bread so it soaks in the milk. Let soak for about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining custard, allowing some of the soaked cubes of bread to protrude. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup cheese on top and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the pudding feels set and the top is brown and bubbling. (After reading a number of reviews, the cooking time seems to come in around 45 minutes to an hour).Keep a close watch at the 45 minute mark.


Roasted Cranberries Ricotta And Honey Crostini

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

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

November 14, 2015



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

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Serves: 6 to 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from: The Bitten Word






Roasted Cauliflower With Crunch Butter and Pickled Peppers

November 8, 2015


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

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

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

First make pickled peppers.

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



French Apple Cake

November 4, 2015


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

Apple Cake

Makes one 8-inch cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve with Creme Fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

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

Adapted from: Dorie Greenspan: Around My French Table









Sweet Potato Galettes

November 1, 2015



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

Sweet Potato Galettes

Makes 6 galettes 

3 sweet potatoes  (I only needed 2)

9 oz puff pastry

1  egg, lightly beaten

6 1/2 tablespoons sour cream

3 1/2 tablespoons aged goat cheese

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

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

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Coarse sea salt and freshly 
ground black pepper

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

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

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

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

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


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

Choose potatoes that are similar in diameter.

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

Adapted from: Yotan Ottolenghi






Crusted Butternut Squash

October 23, 2015



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

Crusted Butternut Squash

Serves 4

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

2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 minced garlic clove

1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves

A handful of pine nuts

Salt and Pepper

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

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

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

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



Apple Dutch Baby

October 20, 2015



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

Serves 4

Apple Cider Syrup

4 cups apple cider

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dutch Baby

3 large eggs, room temperature

¾ cup whole milk, room temperature

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

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

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Powdered sugar for dusting

Apple Cider Syrup

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

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

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

Dutch Baby

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

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

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

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

Adapted from: Bon Appetit





Cider Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Vegetables and Apples

October 17, 2015


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

Cider Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Vegetables an Apples

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


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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from: Epicurious

Herbed Rotisserie Chicken

October 10, 2015



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

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

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

Herbed Rotisserie Chicken

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

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

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

Adapted from: Bon Appetit






Corn And Pancetta Salad

September 30, 2015


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

Corn And Pancetta Salad

Serves 6

6 large ears of corn

8 scallions

4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice

1/2 cup olive oil

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered

Salt and pepper

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

1/2 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

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

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Shaved Gruyere cheese, for serving

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



Tomato Sauce With Onion And Butter

September 23, 2015



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

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

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

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

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

Serves 6 (sauce for 1 pound of pasta)

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

tablespoons butter

medium onion, peeled and cut in half

Salt to taste

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

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

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

Zucchini, Rice And Cheese Gratin

September 19, 2015



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

Zucchini, Rice and Cheese Gratin 

Serves 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sprinkle with reserved cheese and remaining olive oil.

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

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





Corn Fritters with Cilantro Lime Sauce

September 3, 2015



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

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

Farmstand Flatbread

August 26, 2015


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

Farmstand Flatbread

1 pkg of pizza dough

Olive oil

Garlic Salt and Pepper

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

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

2 farmstand tomatoes, sliced

Basil leaves, sliced thin

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



Grilled Corn And Black Bean Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing

August 15, 2015



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

Grilled Corn And Black Bean Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing

Serves 6

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

Greens ( I used spinach and baby kale)


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

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

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

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

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

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


Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

August 8, 2015


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

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

*Makes about 30 crisps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen





Bloody Mary Salad

August 4, 2015


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

Bloody Mary Salad

Serves 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from: The First Mess