"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Israeli Couscous with Roasted Butternut Squash and Lemon

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups Israeli couscous or acini di pepe (tiny peppercorn-shaped pasta), about 1 pound
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 475°F.
Zest lemon, reserve.  Cut lemon and squeeze over a bowl to extract juice, reserve.  
Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil and salt to taste in a large shallow baking pan and spread in 1 layer. Roast in upper third of oven 15 minutes, or until squash is just tender, and transfer to a large bowl.
Cook onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to turn golden. Add to squash.
Cook couscous with cinnamon stick in a large pot of boiling salted water 10 minutes, or until just tender, and drain in a colander (do not rinse). Add couscous to vegetables and toss with 2 tablespoon oil to coat.
Add lemon zest and juice, parsley, nuts, raisins, ground cinnamon, and salt to taste. Toss to mix well.

Weekly Menu Oct. 30th - Nov 5th

Roasted Chicken with Indian Spice
Biryani - curried rice
Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette

Turkey Shawarma with flat bread
Lebanese Eggplant and Chickpeas
Tabbouleh salad

Bean and Cheese Burritos
Mexican dirty rice
Chopped Salad with Avocado-Lime dressing

Slow Roasted Halibut
Shaved Asparagus and Fennel Salad
Parsley Potatoes

Chickpea Stew
Israeli Couscous Roasted Butternut Squash and Lemon

Meatball Lasagna
Broccolini with Garlic

Smorgasbord Night

Friday, October 29, 2010

What to do in and around Detroit

We had relatives in that had never been to the area before.  So, we walked around our office and asked people, "What would you consider the "MUST SEES" around town?"  Here's what we got... 

Greektown and the Casinos downtown
Eastern Market
The Detroit Zoo - one of our favorites
The DIA (Friday's they have an excellent Jazz Night)
Cranbrook gardens, science center
(if in the Fall) any of the Cider Mills
Drive down Lake Shore Drive through the "Pointes"
Drive down Jefferson to Belle Isle
Belle Isle
Kennsingtown metropark
The Rouge Plant tour (see the F-150's being built)- this was awesome!
Greenfield Village
The Henry Ford Museum
Go to Windsor for lunch (some of the best Chinese in the area)
The Detroit Science Museum
The Hands on Museum in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor and U of M
Downtown Royal Oak, Friday or Saturday night, Ferndale
Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle
Check out Northville and Plymouth
Walk downtown Birmingham
take a trip to Frankenmouth and Christmas shop, year round
Go downtown Detroit, Campus Martius, ball parks, the Fox, etc.
(late Summer, early Fall) The Renaissance Festival - Holly
The Steam Railroad Institute - Owosso, MI
Get a Coney at Lafayette of American Coney Islands downtown
Experience lunch at Miller's in Dearborn
Do Breakfast at Toast in Ferndale

Apple and Onion Slaw

I recently made this to go with pulled pork, but it would go nicely with either chicken, turkey, grilled salmon, or roasted pork as well.

2 Honeycrisp Apples
1 med. Carrot
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Honey
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

Peel and shred apples and carrot with a box grater.  Transfer to a bowl and add lemon juice, mix well.  Over med-high flame, heat saute pan.  Add butter and melt.  Add shallots and cook to soft, translucent and just starting to color, about 5-6 minutes .  Add honey, cook 1 minute.  Add vinegar and reduce by half.  Add apple mixture and toss well.  Cook until apples are just starting to soften, 3-4 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mexican Brown Rice

1 C. Brown rice
2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
2 large shallots, fine chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 medium Red and Green Pepper, small diced
1 1/2 C. canned diced Tomatoes with liquid
1 1/2 C. Chicken Stock (additional 1/2 c. may be needed)
1 C. water
1 Tbsp. fresh Oregano leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. Chili powder
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1 Tsp. Cumin
1 Bay leaf
salt and Pepper, to taste

In a heavy bottom pot heat oil on med-high heat until it shimmers.  Add shallots, sweat for 2 minutes.  Add peppers and sweat to translucent.  Add garlic, cook 1-2 minutes.  Add spices and cook another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Watch carefully they can easily burn.  Add brown rice, mix well and heat 2 minutes.  Add stock and water, add salt and pepper.  Mixture should taste flavorful, like a soup.  Add bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
Add tomatoes and check liquid in pot.  Mixture should not be dry.  If so, add remaining stock, cover and continue to cook until rice is soft and has opened up, about another 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let steam for 10 more minutes.  Adjust seasoning and serve.

Fish Tacos

2# Mahi-Mahi
6 soft Corn Tortillas
2 Tbsp. Flour
3 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
2-3 small tomatoes, medium dice
2 Green Onions, sliced thin
2 Serrano chiles, sliced thin
1 Lime, cut into wedges
1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese mix
1 C. Arugula, washed and spun dry
Oregano, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste,
Onion powder, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Chili powder, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Corn Salsa (Trader Joe's)
Chunky Salsa (Trader Joe's)
Cole slaw ( I usually make my own with a Broccoli slaw mix)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Over med-high flame heat saute pan.  Season fish with spices, salt and pepper.  Dredge with flour, shake well.  Add vegetable oil to hot pan and heat until shimmering.  Saute fish in batches to a golden brown color and place on baking tray.  Once all the fish has be browned, squeeze a couple of lime wedges over fish and put into oven for 6-8 minutes until just done.
While waiting on fish put the rest of the ingredients in separate small bowls and place on the table for people to use when constructing their tacos.
Remove fish and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Warm soft tortillas in either the microwave, grill or a saute pan.  Serve fish on a platter with the tortillas and enjoy!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weekly Menu Oct. 24th - Oct 29th

Fish Tacos with Roasted Corn Salsa and Crispy Slaw
Mexican Brown rice


Slow Cooked Pork with White Beans and Thyme
Broccoli with Roasted Red Peppers

Vegetable Chili
Corn Bread with Caramelized Vidalia Onions

Sausages with Onions and Green Peppers
Brown Rice Pasta tossed with Garden Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs

Oven Roasted Free Range Chicken with Shallots and Herbs
Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon zest
Fingerling Potatoes with Thyme

"Steak and Martini Night"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf

1 Lb. Ground Turkey
1 small Onion, minced
1 small Green Pepper, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 C. Bread crumbs
2 Eggs, cracked and beaten
Thyme, to taste
Paprika, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp. Ketchup

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a 4 sided baking tray with parchment paper, reserve on the side.
Heat saute pan on med-high, add oil and heat until shimmering.  Add onions and green pepper.  Cook until translucent, 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine Turkey, beaten eggs, bread crumbs, thyme, paprika, and onion mixture.  Mix well (I use latex gloves and mix by hand, squeezing meat mixture though my fingers to combine well).  Transfer Turkey mixture to lined baking tray and form into a loaf.  Place into the oven and cook for 40 minutes.

While loaf cooks in a separate bowl combine mustard and ketchup, mix well.  Reserve.  Once loaf has cooked 40 minutes remove from oven and cover with ketchup mixture, cook another 10 minutes.  Once done, remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before you slice it.  Enjoy!

Broccoli Slaw

1 packet Dole Broccoli slaw
2 shallots, minced
1 glove Garlic, minced
juice of one Lime
2 Tbsp. Sour Cream
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Celery Seed
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients well.  Can be made a day ahead.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eastern Market- Russell Street

Today we are taking a good friend of ours for her first visit to Eastern Market.  She's a hunting widow this weekend (Hubby and kids are out in western MI hunting Turkeys)  I am very excited because, I don't think she has been downtown since moving here from Germany ten years ago.  Jeanne and I love when we get the chance to be Detroit ambassadors.  Last weekend we had Lynn and Dale (sister-in-law and her husband)  in town and we did the same.  They loved the city.  So many people, here and out of state, have such an awful idea of Detroit.  I guess I can't blame them when you see how the National news portrays this area.  It's not until they come and see first hand that they realize how amazing the city can be.

So, today we take Heike down to the "D", to Eastern Market!  It's hard to believe that just 40 minutes from my front door is this Detroit gem. Going down on a Saturday morning is one of my favorite weekend activities.  It's far and away the best farmer's market in the area.  Not only do you have all the small farms from the surrounding area with their organic offerings, but all the wholesale vendors open their doors to the general public.  So, whether you're looking for those rare mushrooms, organic baby greens, smoked meats, artisan cheeses, or the candy you remember as a kid; it's there.  Some weeks we have even found live rabbits for the picking. (I never had the heart to whack Bun-bun) Every year one of my friends gets his Thanksgiving turkey at one of the shops around the corner from the Market that lets you pick a live bird as it walks around the yard, then you come back in an hour or so and it's been butchered.  It's so cool, it's reminiscent of the markets we found in Europe and literally right here in our backyard.

Most weeks in addition to the fruits and vegetables half the market is dedicated to flowers, plants, small shrubs and trees.  We have even gotten our Christmas tree there.  In May around Mother's Day, to celebrate the spring, the Market is absolutely teeming with every type of flower you can name and many I've never heard of.

I can't forget to mention the open pit barbecue on Russell St. which serves up some mean 'Que every weekend with tables right on the street and karaoke going next to it.  The smoke from the barbecue and the sounds of the music waft around parts of the Market adding to the uniqueness of the scene.

Needless to say I can't wait, is it 9 o'clock yet, lets go!

What's for Dinner: Oct. 16th - 22nd

Dinner out - one of my favorite types of dinner (Hong Hua - Farmington Hills, then to The Grapevine - Novi for wine and Jazz with friends, great combo)

Turkey Meatloaf with a Wild Mushroom Gravy
Green Beans
Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions

Pan seared Salmon with Braised Leeks
Asparagus with Lemon zest
Oven Roasted Carrots
Brown rice

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Papaya Salsa
Mashed Plantains with Leeks and Fresh Herbs
Broccoli Slaw

Quinoa, Garbanzo, & Spinach salad with smoked paprika dressing

"Catcher's Catch Can Night" - wicked busy, late meetings today

Grilled Porterhouse Steak
Fingerling Potatoes with roasted Shallots
Brussell Sprouts with Smoked Bacon

Mashed Plantains with Leeks and Fresh Herbs

  • 7 cups water
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 unpeeled large semi-ripe (yellow-black) plantains, ends trimmed, each cut crosswise into thirds

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Bring 7 cups water and broth to boil in heavy large pot. Add plantains. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer until plantains are very tender and yellow-orange (some may begin to come out of peel), about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Cool plantains 10 minutes. Remove peel using hands or small paring knife. Transfer plantains to large glass bowl. Add 1/2 cup of reserved cooking liquid and mash plantains until smooth, adding more liquid by tablespoonfuls to thin mixture, if desired. Set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and sauté until tender but not browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in thyme and parsley. Add leek mixture to mashed plantains; stir to blend. (Can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Microwave on high until heated through before continuing.)
Mix sour cream and cumin into hot plantains. Season with salt and pepper. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small cubes. Scatter butter and pecans over; serve.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Papaya Salsa

For jerk marinade:
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 to 5 fresh Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed and seeded*
    • *(this is very HOT! I use latex gloves when handling the hot chiles.  The faint of heart can substitute 3 or 4 Serrano peppers for a nice heat without blowing fire)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 whole Chickens, breast cut into quarters, thighs and drumsticks separated 

Papaya Salsa

2 pounds papaya (2 preferably pink-fleshed strawberry variety), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups diced (1/4 inch) fresh pineapple (from 1/2 small pineapple)
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Make Jerk marinade:
Blend all marinade ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Marinate and grill chicken:
Divide chicken pieces and marinade between 2 sealable plastic bags. Seal bags, pressing out excess air, then turn bags over several times to distribute marinade. Put bags of chicken in a shallow pan and marinate, chilled, turning once or twice, 1 day.
Let chicken stand at room temperature 1 hour before cooking.
To cook chicken using a charcoal grill:
Open vents on bottom of grill and on lid. Light a large chimney of charcoal briquettes (about 100) and pour them evenly over 1 side of bottom rack (you will have a double or triple layer of charcoal).
When charcoal turns grayish white and you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 3 to 4 seconds, sear chicken in batches on lightly oiled rack over coals until well browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per batch. Move chicken as seared to side of grill with no coals underneath, then cook, covered with lid, until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes more.
To cook chicken using a gas grill:
Preheat burners on high, then adjust heat to moderate. Cook chicken until well browned on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat to low and cook chicken, covered with lid, until cooked through, about 25 minutes more.
Make Salsa:
Mix all ingredients together in bowl, serve

Quinoa, Garbanzo, and Spinach Salad with Smoked Paprika Dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa (9 to 10 ounces), rinsed, drained
  • 4 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
  • 2 15- to 16-ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
  • 1 3/4 cups 1/3-inch cubes unpeeled English hothouse cucumber
  • 1 1-pint container multicolored baby heirloom tomatoes, halved (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about 7 ounces), divided
  • 1/4 cup Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Place quinoa in large saucepan; add enough salted water to cover quinoa by 1 inch. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, 15 to 16 minutes. Drain. Chill until cool.
Meanwhile, combine spinach leaves, garbanzos, cubed cucumber, halved tomatoes, mint leaves, and half of feta cheese in extra-large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.
Whisk vinegar and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining feta over.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Brown Rice Pasta Florentine


1# Brown rice pasta (rotini)
Olive Oil
1 large bag (16 oz.) frozen spinach leaf, thawed and squeeze all water from it
1 medium Onion, small dice
1 medium Green Pepper, small dice
2 cloves Garlic, minced
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
2 eggs, cracked and lightly beaten
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
6 oz. sun-dried Tomatoes, julienned (I used my oven roasted tomatoes I had left over)
1 C. Pasta Sauce (I like Trader Joe's Basil and Garlic)
1 C. Italian shredded Cheese blend
Fresh Oregano, parsley, chopped fine to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil water in large pasta pot with salt until rolling.  Add pasta, stir and cook until al dente ( about 8 minutes).  Drain, cool under cold water and reserve on the side.
In a medium saute pan heat some olive oil until shimmering.  Add onions and green peppers, cook until translucent then add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat and reserve.
In a mixing bowl combine Ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, egg, spinach, onion and pepper mixture, sun-dried tomato, herbs, salt and pepper, mix well.
In a baking dish pour half of the pasta sauce and tilt to evenly coat the bottom.  Add half of the cooked rice pasta and spread evenly across dish.  Sprinkle half of the italian grated cheese mix over the pasta.  Next, evenly spread the spinach mixture on top to form next layer.  Evenly distribute the remaining pasta to form next layer; add remaining sauce to cover and finish with even layer of remaining shredded cheese.  Place dish in the oven and cook for 35-40 minute or until top is bubbling and golden brown.  Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes, serve and enjoy.

Vegetable Chili


4 tablespoons Olive Oil
12-ounces Boca Burger or Morningstar Farms Veggie Burger, crumbled
1 large Onion, medium diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Eggplant, peeled and medium diced
4-ounce Tomato Paste
8-ounce low sodium Chicken Broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 Green Pepper, medium diced
2 Zucchini, medium diced
2 Summer Squash, medium diced
3 medium Carrots, ½-inch pieces
3 stalks Celery, ½-inch pieces
1 15-ounce can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 4-ounce can diced mild green chilies
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
Salt, Pepper to taste
Optional – add hot sauce or substitute diced jalapeno for mild chilies to taste if desire spicy chili


            In a large heavy stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat until oil starts to ripple.  Add eggplant and cook until it starts to turn golden brown.  Add Boca burger, onions, carrots, celery, green pepper, zucchini, squash, chilies, and spices, cook until onions and other vegetables start turning translucent.  Add garlic cook for 1 minute, add tomato paste and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes, and beans.  Bring chili up to a boil and quickly reduce the heat to medium low, salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook until all vegetables are tender 15-20 minutes. 


Vegetable Casserole

2 19-oz. cans Cannellini beans
1 19-oz. can Garbanzo beans
1/4 cup purchased basil pesto
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 16-oz. pkg. refrigerated cooked plain polenta cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
1 8-oz. pkg. finely shredded Italian cheese blend (2 cups)
2 cups fresh spinach
1 cup torn radicchio

A. Rinse and drain beans,  In large bowl combine beans, 2 tablespoons pesto, onion, garlic, & Italian seasoning.
B. In 4 to 5 quart slow cooker layer half of bean mixture, half polenta, and half of the cheese.  Add remaining beans and polenta.  Cover; cook   
    on low heat setting for 4 to 6 hours or on high heat for 2- 2.5 hours.  Add tomatoes, remaining cheese, spinach and radicchio.  Combine remaining pesto and 1 tbsp. water.  Drizzle pesto mixture on casserole.  Let stand uncovered 5 minutes, serve.


  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 ea. shallots, peeled and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • Warm water as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Blender or food processor

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high until simmering.  Add shallots and cook until translucent 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, lower heat and slowly cook mixture until shallots start to break down, about 20-25 minutes.  Watch and stir occasionally; you do not want the shallots to over brown, when done they should be golden in color.  Remove mixture from heat and put in blender or food processor.  Add vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and honey.  Mix well.  While blender or processor is on slowly add the ½ cup of olive oil to emulsify the vinaigrette.  If dressing starts to become too thick slowly add a small amount of warm water to adjust the consistency.  Season the dressing with salt and ground pepper to taste.  You may need to add a small amount of vinegar or oil to adjust dressing to taste.
Dressing can be made 2 or 3 days in advance and held in the refrigerator.  If chilled, let dressing sit at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to using.

Spanish Seafood Paella


1 tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups chopped Onions (about 2 medium)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups long-grain white rice
1 7-ounce jar roasted sliced pimientos with juice
½ tsp crushed saffron threads
2 cups clam juice
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
1 lb. large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 lb. Mahi-Mahi cut into 3 inch pieces (any firm white fish can substitute)
1 lb. cleaned squid, bodies cut into ½ inch rings
1 dz. Clams, scrubbed
1 dz. Mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 cup frozen green peas thawed
Lemon wedges

            Preheat oven to 425°F.  Heat olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sweat until translucent.  Add garlic and sauté until onions are starting to take on a golden brown color.  Stir in rice, roasted pimientos with juice and saffron.  Add clam juice and vegetable stock to pot and bring mixture to a simmer.  Remove from heat.

            Pour rice mixture into 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange shrimp, fish, squid, clam, and mussels in rice mixture.  Cover with foil.

Bake paella until clams and mussels open and rice is tender, about 45 minutes (discard any clams and mussels that do not open).  Remove foil from baking dish.  Let paella stand 10 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 6 to 8 people

Rosemary Shrimp with Mint Pesto

Mint Pesto-

½ cup pine nuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tbsp. feta cheese
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. coarsely chopped jalapeno chili
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


24 large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
24 (4 inch long) woody rosemary sprigs

Mint Pesto –
            Combine first 7 ingredients in processor.  Using on/off turns, process until mixture is smooth.  Add mint leaves and lemon juice; process until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.  Gradually add oil and process until mint pesto is smooth and creamy.  This can be made 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. 

            Preheat broiler.  Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.  Whisk oil, garlic, and parsley in medium bowl to blend.  Add shrimp; toss to coat.  Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.  Arrange shrimp in single layer on broiler pan.  Broil until opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to large bowl; sprinkle with lemon juice and toss with ½ cup mint pesto.  Starting at base end of rosemary, skewer 1 shrimp on each sprig.  Arrange on platter and serve.

Seared Atlantic Salmon with a Citrus Cream


4 Tbsp.            olive oil
4 ea.                 shallots, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
2 ea.                 garlic cloves, minced
1                      8-ounce bottle clam juice
¾ cup               whipping cream
½ cup               white wine
½ cup               fresh orange juice         
2 Tbsp.            sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp.            fresh lime juice
1 tsp.                herbes de Provence*
1 tsp.                Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp.               grated orange zest
½ tsp.               grated   lime zest
Fresh basil leaves

All purpose flour
4 ea.                 5 to 6 ounce Salmon fillets (can use Red Snapper, Tilapia, etc. any firm fish)


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy medium skillet over moderate high heat.  Add shallots and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.  Add clam juice, cream, orange juice, sun-dried tomatoes, lime juice, herbes de Provence, and Worcestershire sauce, citrus zests.  Boil until sauce is reduced to 1 ½ cups stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and refrigerate.  Re-warm before using.)

Place flour in shallow dish.  Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper.  Dredge fish in flour, turning to coat; shake off excess.  Heat remaining oil in heavy large skillet over moderate high heat.  Add salmon and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate.  Add sauce to skillet and bring to simmer.

Plate salmon, then drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with basil and additional orange zest.  Serve.

* A dried herb mix available at specialty stores.  If unavailable, a combination of dried thyme, basil, savory, and fennel seeds can be substituted.

Hearts of Romaine with a Creamy Roquefort Dressing, served with a Garlic and Herb Crostini

2 oz. Shallots, minced
4 oz. Red wine vinegar
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
4 oz. Mayonnaise
½ tsp Sugar
6 oz. Olive oil
4 oz. Canola oil
8 oz. Roquefort cheese, crumbled

1 clove Garlic minced
French Baguette, sliced 3/4 inch thick
1 Tbsp each Fresh Herbs (Italian parsley, thyme, marjoram), chopped fine
2 Romaine lettuce hearts, washed, dried and chopped into bite sized pieces
½ a Cucumber, thinly sliced
Bermuda onion, to taste – thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing is best if made the day or two before you want to use it.  In a large bowl combine the first six (6) ingredients, mix well.   Slowly whisk in the oil, if mixture gets too thick use small amounts of warm water to adjust the consistency.  Gently mix in the cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Adjust acidity with more vinegar or oil to suit your personal preference.   Put dressing in refrigerator and chill. 

Just before you serve the salad, prepare the Croustini .  Brush one side of each slice of Baguette with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic and herbs.  Place under a hot broiler till golden brown.  Reserve warm.  In a large bowl toss the lettuce and just enough dressing to wet the greens.  Place a serving of dressed Romaine on a chilled dish with the thinly sliced cucumber and top with onion.  Place a slice of herb Croustini on the side of the salad and serve

Roasted Sweet-Potato Spears with Bacon Vinaigrette

4 Lbs medium sweet potatoes (about 7)
½ lb sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch strips
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 scallions, thinly sliced, reserving sliced greens separately
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel sweet potatoes then cut each lengthwise into 6 spears.  Arrange in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan.
Cook bacon in a heavy skillet over moderate high heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, 10-15 minutes.  Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.  Pour bacon fat through a fine-mesh sieve over the potato spears and toss with two spatulas to coat.  Sprinkle spears with ½ of the salt and pepper and roast uncovered turn every 15 minutes until potatoes are tender and edges are browned, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Transfer to a serving dish.  Return bacon to cleaned skillet, and then add oil and heat over moderate high heat until hot but not smoking.    Stir in white parts of the scallions and remove from heat.  Stir in vinegar, water, remaining salt and pepper, and pour over the potato spears.  Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve warm.



  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Famous Hotel's Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe

1 lb 4 oz butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups chocolate chips

Mix butter until soft, add sugar and mix until incorporated. Add brown sugar until incorporated and scrape bowl. Add eggs a little at a time until fully incorporated and vanilla extract. Scrape bowl. Combine dry ingredients and add a little at a time to sugar mixture until fully incorporated and scrape bowl.
Add chocolate chips all at once until incorporated.  Use a 4 oz ice cream scoop or ½ cup measure to scoop the raw cookie dough on to a cookie sheet.
Bake at 335˚ F until done about 18-20 minutes.

Ratatouille Provençal


4 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 large Onion, medium diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 large Eggplant, peeled and medium diced
½ cup white wine
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup black olives
1 Green Pepper, medium diced
1 Red Pepper, medium diced
2 Zucchini, medium diced
2 Summer Squash, medium diced
2 tbsp. Fresh basil, minced
1 tbsp. oregano
Salt, Pepper to taste


            In a large heavy stock pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat until oil starts to ripple.  Add eggplant and cook until it starts to turn golden brown.  Add onions and continue to cook until they start turning translucent.  Add garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Add wine and reduce liquid in half.  Add peppers, zucchini, summer squash, basil, oregano, tomatoes and olives.  Cook until vegetables are tender, 10-12 minutes.   Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. 

Can be made, cooled and frozen- lasts up to 1 month.


Quinoa Pilaf


1 cup Quinoa
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 medium onion, small diced
1 carrot, peeled and small diced
1 stalk celery, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock or broth
Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse quinoa 3 or 4 times to remove the bitter residue on the grain.  In a medium, heavy-bottomed, sauce pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Once oil has started to ripple, add onion, carrot, and celery.  Sweat vegetables until they start to turn translucent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add quinoa, stir to well mixed, add bay leaf.  Cook over heat for 1-2 minutes, add chicken stock.  Add salt and pepper, liquid should be flavorful and taste like a soup.  Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat, cook for 10-15 minutes.   When done, the grain appears soft and translucent.  The germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.  Remove bay leaf and add peas and tomatoes, stir together and serve.

Seared Portabella Mushrooms with a Madeira Glaze and Asiago toast

6 oz. Butter
2 oz. Shallots, finely chopped
1# Portabella Mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 oz. Balsamic Vinegar
4 oz. Madeira Wine
2 oz. Olive oil
Chives, for garnish
Baby greens, washed and dried, for garnish
French Baguette, sliced on the bias ½ inch thick
2 cloves Garlic, minced
6 oz. Asiago cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

Brush one side of baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle a small amount of garlic on each slice.  Sprinkle with Asiago cheese, salt and pepper to taste.  Put under broiler and melt to golden brown, remove and reserve warm.  In sauté pan over medium heat melt butter.  Add shallots and cook till translucent.  Add garlic, once you smell aroma, add mushrooms and cook till they wilt.  Increase heat to high and add vinegar and wine reduce to glaze thickness, salt and pepper to taste.  Make small bed in center of plate with greens, place some of the mushroom mixture on greens and spoon some of the glaze over the top.  Place two chive spears crossed over the top and add a baguette slice to side of plate, serve immediately. 

Oven Roasted Asparagus with Red Pepper and Garlic


1 ½ lbs.            asparagus spears
1 ea.                 large garlic clove, halved
1 ea.                 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded, and julienne
2 Tbsp.            olive oil
¼ tsp.               fresh thyme leaves
                        Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Snap off tough ends of asparagus; remove scales with vegetable peeler, set aside.

Rub cut sides of garlic over a baking dish; add garlic to dish.  Add asparagus; drizzle with oil.  Sprinkle with salt, thyme and pepper.  Toss gently.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring once.

While asparagus is cooking; turn one eye of cook top to high heat.  Put red bell pepper directly on flame slowly turning as flesh chars.  Once pepper is completely black put in zip-lock bag  and seal.  Let stand for 10 minutes.  Open bag and under cool water running from the tap, peel the charred skin from the pepper.  Cut top of pepper and discard seeds, halve and trim white veins from the interior of pepper.  Slice very thinly (julienne).   Reserve.  Once asparagus is ready top with julienne peppers and serve.

Pear, Arugula, and Pancetta Salad

For Vinaigrette

1 Tbsp.            Champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp.            mild honey
½ Tbsp.           fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp.            Olive oil
To taste            Salt and Blk. Pepper

For Salad

2 oz.                 thinly sliced pancetta (4-5 slices)
1 Tbsp.            olive oil
2                      firm-ripe pears
4 cups              baby arugula or torn larger arugula (1 ¼ lb.)
3 oz.                 ricotta   salata, thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler

Make Vinaigrette:  Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a salad bowl.  Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well.

Make Salad:  Cook pancetta in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning frequently until just crisp, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain (pancetta will crisp as it cools).  Tear into bite-size pieces.  Halve pears lengthwise, core, and cut lengthwise into 1/4” thick slices.  Add pears to dressing along with arugula, cheese, and pancetta, tossing to coat.  Serve.

Iceberg Wedge with Warm Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing


  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese
  • Buttermilk (optional)

  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
  • Maple syrup
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 large head of iceberg lettuce, cut into 6 wedges, each with some core attached
  • 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Parchment paper

Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add blue cheese and stir until well blended. If too thick, thin with buttermilk by tablespoonfuls to desired consistency. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Preheat oven to 325˚.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Arrange bacon on paper and lightly drizzle bacon with maple syrup.  Put into oven.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until done but, not too crisp. Arrange lettuce on plates. Spoon dressing over. Using slotted spoon, transfer warm bacon from skillet onto salads, dividing equally. Garnish with red onion.