"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.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Menu September 28th - October 4th

Cider Brined Free Range Chicken
Micro Greens Salad with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette, Toasted Walnuts

Oven Roasted Pork Loin with Braised Fennel
Asparagus with Lemon and Shave and Parmesan

Turkey Enchiladas
Salsa Fresco

Eggplant Lasagna
Romaine with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Curried Vegetable and Red Lentil Stew
Roasted Cauliflower

Grilled Salmon with Caramelized Shallot Jam
Italian Seasoned Green Beans

"Steak and Martini Night"

Zucchini and Red Pepper Enchiladas

For enchiladas:
1 large white onion, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 red bell peppers, quartered
3/4 pound medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
12 (6-to 7-inch) soft corn tortillas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 ounces crumbled queso fresco or ricotta salata

For pumpkin-seed salsa:
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/3 cups raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups water

For tomato salsa:
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh serrano chile, including seeds
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Garnish: cilantro leaves

Start enchiladas:
Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .
Preheat oven to 350°F .
Secure each onion round with a wooden pick for grilling. Oil grill rack, then grill vegetables, covered, turning occasionally, until tender (6 to 8 minutes for bell peppers and zucchini; 10 to 12 minutes for onion), transferring to a bowl.
Wrap tortillas in stacks of 6 in foil and heat in oven, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make pumpkin-seed salsa:
Cook chile, garlic, cumin, and pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring, until seeds pop, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer 3 tablespoons seeds with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve. Purée remaining seeds and oil with cilantro, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth.

Make tomato salsa:
Stir together tomatoes, onion, chile, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Assemble and fry enchiladas:
Cut vegetables into strips. Spread 2 teaspoons pumpkin-seed salsa on each warm tortilla and top with some of grilled vegetables, then roll up. Heat oil (1/2 cup) in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry enchiladas, seam side down first, in 2 batches, turning once, until lightly browned and heated through, about 2 minutes per batch. Transfer enchiladas to plates, then drizzle with remaining pumpkin-seed salsa and sprinkle with reserved seeds and cheese. Serve with tomato salsa and Enjoy!

Creamed Corn with Cilantro and Queso Fresco

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups chopped scallions (about 6 large)
12 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 large garlic clove
6 ounces queso fresco or mild feta, crumbled (1 1/3 cups)
1 cup cilantro sprigs

Heat butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides, then cook scallions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add corn and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
Stir together cream and cornstarch in a small bowl until thoroughly combined, then add to corn and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Transfer 1 1/2 cups corn mixture to a blender with garlic and purée until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until just heated through.
Transfer corn to a large shallow serving bowl and sprinkle cheese and cilantro over top. Serve and Enjoy!

Caramelized Chipotle Chicken

This is a really good preparation, a delicious crowd-pleaser. There's enough chipotle here to make your lips hum, but not so much as to overshadow the the other ingredients.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (from a 7-ounce can)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 pounds each), each cut into 8 pieces

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook garlic, stirring constantly, until golden, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, about 15 minutes.
Add garlic and remaining ingredients, except chicken, to skillet with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.
Coat chicken with half of sauce, then roast, skin side up, in a 17-by 11-inch heavy 4-sided sheet pan 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with remaining sauce, then continue roasting until chicken is cooked through and well browned in spots, 20 to 25 minutes more.  Serve and Enjoy!

Roasted Jalapeño Hot Sauce

With the help from my lovely wife and her exceptionally grown jalapeños, I took her bounty and created a sauce that is very addicting.  Terrific by itself on tortilla chips or a great complement to meats, fish, and eggs or anything you want to add a zip to.

Makes 2 cups

24 Jalapeños
1 shallot, peeled
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 c. Rice vinegar
3/4 c. Apple vinegar
1/2 c. Water
3 Tbsp. Grape seed oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Heat grill to hot.  Put peppers in a small bowl and add one Tbsp oil, coat well.  Put peppers on the hot grill.  Char skins very well, they will turn black, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove and return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.  Wearing latex gloves, pull the stem and skin off of each pepper.  Put peppers, shallot, and garlic in cuisinart and purée.  Add lime juice, vinegars, and water.  Mix well.  Slowly add remaining oil to mixture while cuisinart is running.  Season with salt and pepper. Serve and Enjoy!

*If desired to increase the heat, I've added drops of habanero sauce.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekly Menu September 21st - September 27th

Meatloaf with Wild Mushrooms
Roasted Root Vegetables with Red Bliss Potato Medley

Grilled Salmon with Sesame Kale Chips
Asparagus with Shallots
Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

Braised Chicken Thighs with Onions and Peppers
Sweet Potatoes with Chives

Chinese Stir Fried Vegetables
Cilantro and Spring Onion Rice

Vegetable Chili

Leftover Night

Grilled Aged Bone-in NY Strip Steak
Wild Mushroom Sauté
Crispy Brussels Spouts with Walnuts and Bacon
Green Beans with Roasted Red Peppers
Baked Potato

Monday, September 16, 2013


Each Summer, on the first warm weekend, we have a party by the water with our friends.  We cook up obscene amounts of food, laugh, and enjoy the company of some really terrific people.  Its tradition that we serve three different drinks for them to sample.  We ask them to vote for the one they liked the most and the winning concoction becomes our drink for the summer.  This was our winner this year, named after its creator, Brian Scott Tepper.

2 oz. Tequila
4 oz. fresh Grapefruit juice
Dash Pomegranate juice
Simple syrup to taste
Splash soda water

Over lots of ice shake the first four ingredients.  Pour into glass and top with soda.  Serve with a pink grapefruit supreme.  Enjoy!

* Supreming is a technique that removes the membrane from citrus fruit so it can be served in slices.  To supreme an orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit, begin by trimming off the very top and bottom of the fruit with a sharp knife. Next, set the fruit on end, and carefully cut the skin from its flesh, beginning at the top and following the curves down. Then, carefully cut out each section of the fruit by inserting the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane on both sides. The wedges should come out easily, leaving only the membrane intact.

Summer Beer a.k.a "Sip and go naked"

As we start saying goodbye to summer and the trees begin to turn hues of yellow, red, and orange, I am thinking fondly of this fabulous cocktail we enjoyed by the lake this summer.  This is a tremendous concoction for a warm breezy, lazy day by the water or anywhere else for that matter.  Warning, they sneak up on you mighty fast. Enjoy!

1 (12oz) can frozen pink lemonade
12oz. Water
12 oz. Vodka
1 (12oz.) beer

In a large pitcher mix lemonade, water, and vodka.  Add the beer and stir.  Serve over lots of ice.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Chicken Thighs with Cuban Spice, Saffron Rice with Chorizo

Serves 6

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño chile
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
10 chicken thighs with skin and bone (about 4 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound fully cooked Spanish chorizo
2 cups finely chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or short-grain white rice
2 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 canned piquillo pepper or 1 whole canned pimiento, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Whisk first 11 ingredients in medium bowl for marinade. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag; add marinade. Seal bag; turn several times to coat chicken. Refrigerate chicken at least 4 hours and up to 1 day, turning bag occasionally. Using tongs, transfer chicken from bag to plate, allowing excess marinade to drip back into bag. Reserve marinade.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large wide pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and sauté until beginning to brown and fat begins to render, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chorizo to medium bowl. Increase heat to medium-high. Add half of chicken, skin side down, to pot. Sauté until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons fat from pot; discard excess fat. Add chopped onions; sauté 4 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add chopped bell pepper and chopped garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Mix in rice, stirring to blend with vegetables. Add 2 1/2 cups broth, tomatoes with any juice, paprika, saffron, and reserved marinade. Bring to boil, stirring to blend. Return chicken, chorizo, and any accumulated juices to pot, pressing chicken partially into rice.
Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Arrange piquillo pepper strips over chicken pieces. Cover and continue to simmer until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if rice is dry, about 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer rice and chicken to large shallow bowl. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges,  serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu Sept. 14th - Sept. 20th

Chicken Thighs with Cuban Spice
Saffron Rice with Chorizo
Green Beans with Olive Oil, Sea Salt, and Fresh ground Black Pepper

Eggplant Lasagna
Chopped Salad, Creamy Garlic Dressing

Turkey Burritos
Spicy Pinto Beans

Pork and White Bean Stew
Romaine Salad with Lemon-Honey Dressing

Black Bean Burgers, Red Pepper and Garlic Aoili

"Clean out the Frig Night"

Dinner out in Plymouth- Plymouth Fish Seafood Market

Pork and White Bean Stew

  • This is a terrific, easy dish to prepare.  Also know as Cassoulet it is a rustic French country recipe that will definitely get you raved reviews!  To get a jump start on a weeknight dinner, complete steps 1 to 7 of the recipe on Sunday and store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then simply add the bread-crumb mixture and bake for 1 hour.

  • 2 pounds country-style spareribs (or pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch-thick slices)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, plus 1 whole clove
  • 2 whole sprigs fresh thyme, plus 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 1 pound bacon (slab is best), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup coarse bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place the spareribs in a heavy pot with half the onion, half the minced garlic, and the thyme sprigs.
3. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Remove the ribs; set aside.
5. In the same pot, over medium heat, brown the bacon.
6. Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat and add the celery, carrot, salt, pepper, thyme leaves, and the remaining onion and garlic (minced and whole) and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Add the broth, wine, tomatoes, bay leaves, and beans. Bring to a simmer, then add the cooked ribs.
8. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the olive oil, bread crumbs, and parsley.
9. Sprinkle the bread-crumb mixture over the stew and bake for 1 hour, uncovered, occasionally pressing the bread crumbs into the mixture to thicken it.
10. Let cool, serve and Enjoy!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Menu Sept. 7th - Sept. 14th

Low Country Catfish in a Pecan-Maple Crust
Southern Styled Grits
Green Beans

Pork Chops with Grilled Bourbon Peaches
Roasted Cauliflower

Vegetarian Chili
Chickpea Crisps

Roast Chicken Breast with Fennel, Onion, and Carrots
Wild Mushroom Rice

Pasta with Meat Sauce
Celery Salad

Garden Vegetable Omelette with Cheese
Potato Hash
Tomato Salad with Chive Oil

"Steak & Martini Night"

"Happy 21st Anniversary"
Dinner at Tre Monti Ristaurante

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Veal Osso Buco

This classic veal dish is tremendous.  The veal is braised to fork tender in a luxurious sauce.  Serve with a risotto, polenta, or any potato and you've got a superstar dish!  This recipe is by Chef Gianni Scappin and was from his series, Italian Cooking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America

1/2 cup olive oil
4 (1 1/2-inch-thick) pieces center cut veal osso buco
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium onion, minced
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, washed and minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup dry white wine
4 whole fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 dry bay leaf
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cups peeled and crushed plum tomatoes
1 cup veal or chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a heavy pot over moderately high heat, warm the olive oil.

2. Generously season the osso buco with salt and pepper, then dredge completely in the flour.

3. Add the onion, leek, carrots, and celery to the oil in the skillet and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Push the vegetables to the outside of the pan and add the osso buco. Sear each side of the osso buco until deep golden brown, about 8 minutes total.

4. Add the wine, sage, rosemary, bay leaf, 2 tablespoons of parsley, tomatoes, and stock, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and transfer it to the oven. Braise until the meat is very tender and can be easily pulled apart with a fork, about 2 hours.

5. Remove the osso buco from the pot and, if desired, reduce the sauce on the stovetop. Remove and discard the herb stems before serving. Prepare a gremolata by stirring together the lemon zest and the remaining chopped parsley.

Serve the osso buco garnished with sauce and the gremolata, Enjoy!