"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.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pork Tenderloin with Tomato-Peach Compote

Summer is about tomatoes and when ripe their natural sweetness makes a perfect pairing with that of the peach. The combination is great with juicy curry-rubbed pork.

4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 (3/4-pound) pork tenderloins
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 pound tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 peach, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Equipment: a mortar and pestle

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.

Mash garlic, ginger, curry powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to a paste using mortar and pestle. Rub all over pork.

Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown pork on one side, about 5 minutes, then turn over and transfer skillet to oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 145 to 150°F for juicy meat, 10 to 12 minutes. Let pork rest, uncovered, on a cutting board while making compote.

Add onion to skillet (handle will be very hot) and sauté over medium-high heat until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and peach and sauté until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in thyme and, if desired, sugar.

Slice pork and serve with compote, serve and enjoy!

Smoked Brisket

I was going through the blog and realized I hadn't posted a good smoked brisket preparation yet.  Good barbecue is my favorite food, I could eat it every day.  Brisket does take some practice, but when done right it is out of this world.  I got this recipe and preparation from Grill Master Lee Ann Whippen, she has won numerous National Championships over the years.

6 cups hickory chips
8 to 9 pounds beef brisket, choice grade
Dry rub, recipe follows
Mustard Sauce, recipe follows
Beer Based Mop Sauce, recipe follows
Brisket BBQ Sauce, recipe follows

Dry Rub:
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground cumin

Mustard Sauce:
1 cup yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Beer Based Mop Sauce:
3/4 cup cider vinegar
12 ounces beer
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon BBQ dry rub
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Brisket BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup chili sauce
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons maple syrup

The first step is to trim the fat on brisket to 1/4-inch thickness. Sprinkle brisket generously with the dry rub. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat charcoal smoker for half an hour. Soak the hickory chips for half an hour in water. Drain chips.

Remove the brisket from refrigerator 1 hour prior to cooking and let stand at room temperature. Mop the entire brisket with Mustard Sauce. Place brisket fat side up in a smoker at a preheated temperature of 200 to 225°F. Add 3 handfuls of pre-soaked hickory chips to preheated charcoal (should be at the gray stage). After 3 hours, add another 3 handfuls of chips and mop with Beer Based Mop Sauce.

After 2 more hours, place brisket on 2 pieces of heavy-duty foil and pour 1/4 cup Beer Based Mop Sauce on top of brisket and seal tightly. Continue to cook in smoker another 2 to 4 hours, or until internal temperature reaches 185 degrees F.

Remove brisket from foil and let stand 15 minutes. Slice brisket against the grain into 1/4-inch thickness. Top with Brisket BBQ Sauce.

Mustard Sauce:
Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Beer Based Mop Sauce:
Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Brisket BBQ Sauce:
In a medium to large saucepan, sauté the onions in the butter over medium heat until soft. Add remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tapas style Clams with Chorizo, Peppers, and Potatoes

This is a spectacular dish, just great for a party.  Throw some salsa or Spanish guitar music on and you'll think you're a million miles from home.  The chorizo is spicy, so a little goes a long way, it's spice adds a nice dimension to a skillet full of mouthwatering clams and potatoes.  Serve with some crusty bread and a green salad.

Serves 6

2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (2-inch) piece Spanish chorizo (cured sausage), cut into thin half-moons
2 dozen small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook onions and pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat, covered, 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 3/4-inch pieces.

Add potatoes to skillet and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost tender and vegetables begin to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add wine and briskly simmer, uncovered, 2 minutes.

Add chorizo and clams and cook, covered, shaking skillet occasionally, until clams open wide, 6 to 10 minutes (discard any clams that remain unopened after 10 minutes). Divide among bowls,  sprinkle with parsley, serve and enjoy!

Lamb Chops with Apples and Prunes

This lamb dish is full of French influences, serve over wide egg noodles and some sautéed spinach and it a winner.

1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
10 pitted prunes, chopped
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
4 (1/2-inch-thick) lamb shoulder chops (about 1/2 pound each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Gala apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

Combine brandy, vinegar, prunes, and bay leaf and let stand until ready to use.

Pat lamb chops dry and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Cook lamb, turning once, 6 to 7 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate and let stand, loosely covered. Discard fat from skillet.

Add butter and apple to skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add shallot and garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add prune mixture. Boil until liquid is reduced to a glaze. Add chicken broth and any meat juices from plate and simmer, crushing prunes with a fork, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and discard bay leaf. Serve over lamb.  Enjoy!

Lentil soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole

This is a hearty, no fuss soup that is full of healthy escarole and lentils.  The sausage gives it a terrific meaty feel with zest.  Add some fresh croutons to the top and it's good to go, Enjoy!

1 2/3 cups lentils (11 ounces), rinsed well
5 cups water
3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 pound escarole, chopped (4 cups packed)
1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4-quart pot, uncovered, 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.  Ladle into warm bowls, serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vegetarian White Bean and Thyme Cassoulet

This is a great vegetarian casserole.  Hearty, stick to your ribs without the meat.  Add a good French baguette, soft butter and you've got a winner.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut carrot
1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut parsnip
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups cooked Great Northern beans
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 links frozen meatless Italian sausage, thawed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, parsnip, and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
Place in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add beans and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaf). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.
Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and butter in a small bowl; toss with a fork until moist. Stir breadcrumb mixture and sausage into bean mixture; sprinkle with parsley.

Chicken Tetrazzini

If you're hitting the gym regularly and aren't worried about all the cream, this is a deliciously decadent crowd pleaser.  A slight twist on the the traditional version that has turkey (usually leftover from Thanksgiving) playing center stage.  It's a Giada de Laurentiis recipe, live large and Enjoy!

Serves 8

9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 450° F.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and sauté over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Roasted Pears with Almond Crunch

Love this dessert, crunchy, nutty, delicious. The combination of Amaretto and warm pear juices creates a terrific syrup, and a crisp, nutty topping adds a great note to the tender roasted fruit.

For almond crunch
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sliced almonds (preferably with skins; 2 3/4 oz)

For pears
3 firm Bosc pears (1 1/2 lb total)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons Amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup water

Accompaniment: mascarpone cheese (optional)

Make almond crunch:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Whisk together egg white, sugar, and salt until sugar is completely dissolved, then add almonds, stirring until coated. Spread mixture in a very thin layer on parchment-lined sheet, spreading almonds away from center of pan.

Bake until deep golden, 15 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet on a rack, then break into pieces.

Roast pears:
Increase oven temperature to 425°F.

Halve pears lengthwise and core with melon-ball cutter or a paring knife.

Spread 1 tablespoon butter on bottom of an 8-inch square glass baking dish and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.

Arrange pears, cut sides up, on sugar, then dot pears with remaining tablespoon butter. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon sugar over pears, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon Amaretto.

Roast pears, uncovered, until barely tender, about 25 minutes (sugar will harden on bottom).

Add water, a pinch of salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons Amaretto to baking dish and stir (around pears) until sugar is dissolved, then baste pears with pan juices.

Roast pears, basting twice with pan juices, until tender, about 15 minutes more.

Serve pears, warm or at room temperature, drizzled with pan juices and topped with almond crunch.

Fiery Tomatillo Salsa

I love Mexican food.  I love the aromas, flavors, the celebration that Latin people put into their cuisine.  I love how the acidic, plays off the earthy and the spicy notes, yum!  This is a great spicy addition to fish, chicken, pork, you name it.  Enjoy and Olé!

 1# tomatillos, husked
 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
 1 teaspoon minced garlic
 1 Serrano chile pepper, minced (I usually do more, I love the heat)
 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
 Salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
 2 cups water

Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chile pepper into a saucepan. Season with cilantro, oregano, cumin, and a pinch of salt; add water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.

Using a blender, carefully puree the tomatillo mixture in batches until smooth.  Check seasoning and correct with salt and pepper.  Serve and Enjoy!

Cold Celery and Apple Coulis

This soup, served cold, is awesome for a dinner party on the patio on a hot day.  Very satisfying and a snap to throw together.

Makes about 4 cups

8 to 9 celery ribs, chopped (3 cups)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 (3-inch) piece baguette, crust discarded
1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Garnish: sliced thinly on the bias sliced celery

Purée celery, apple, water, lemon juice, and salt in a blender until smooth. Chill mixture in blender, covered, 1 hour. Re-blend, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Soak bread in strained soup 3 minutes. Rinse blender and pulse almonds until finely ground. Add soup with bread and blend. Then, with motor running, add oil in a slow stream, blending until emulsified.

Serve in chilled cups with thinly sliced celery as garnish and enjoy!

Chilled Zucchini and Cucumber Soup

During the heat of the Summer, this is a terrific cold soup.  I usually serve this with a thin slice of Avocado on top as a garnish or very thinly sliced lemon.  Super easy and tasty, Enjoy!

Makes about 4 cups

1 # zucchini, chopped
3/4 # seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chopped fresh hot green chile
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander

in a food processor, purée zucchini, cucumber, onion, vinegar, water, chile, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander until very smooth.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.

Serve soup in chilled cups and Enjoy!

Veal Chops with Lobster and Artichoke Stuffing

I picked this one up while working in California at The LaQuinta Hotel and Golf Resort.  This dish does require a little more "mashing and bashing" as Jeanne would say, but it's so worth it.  A terrific meal for guests or that special occasion.  Definitely not a dish for those counting calories or worried about clogged arteries.  But, hey you only live once, so GO BIG!  Asparagus spears go especially well with the dish, but it's  It’s important not to over cook them.  They are always best served al danté, or "firm to the tooth".  Once cooked, toss with a small amount of soft butter, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

4 Veal Chops, 1-1 ½” inch thick, frenched (remove all meat and sinew from the
​Extra Virgin Olive Oil
​Salt & Pepper, to taste

​1 Lobster tail, remove meat, discard shell, cut meat into large chunks, reserve in bowl in refrigerator
​1/4 Cup Olive Oil
​½ Cup Artichokes quarters
​¼ Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, sliced thinly
​1 Tbsp Shallots, minced
​1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
​¼ Cup Cognac
​¼ Cup Heavy whipping cream
​½ Cup Arugula, thinly chopped
Squeeze of Fresh Lemon juice
​Salt & Pepper, to taste

Cognac Cream
​2 Tbsp Shallots, minced
​2 Tbsp Butter
​Pinch of Garlic, minced
​1 Cup Veal or Beef Stock (or if you can get it, Demi-Glace)
​1 Cup Heavy whipping cream
​4 oz Butter
​¼ Cup Cognac
​Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Make the Cognac Cream first;

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium high heat.  Add shallots and cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook just until you can smell garlic.  Remove pot away from the heat and add cognac, return to heat.  Add Veal / Beef stock or Demi, increase heat to high and reduce by half volume.  Add cream and reduce again by half.  Be very careful at this stage, the sauce must be watched and whisked regularly.  Do not to let the sauce boil over, this will cause a huge flare up.  Reduce the mixture to a sauce consistency.  Remove from heat and finish by adding the butter and constantly whisking until all the butter is fully incorporated into the sauce.  Season sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.  Reserve warm until serving with veal.


Rap each chops’s bone with aluminum foil to prevent charring.  Drizzle chops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  On a hot grill, mark each side, placing the chops at 10 o’clock for 1-2 minutes, then 2 o’clock for 1-2 minutes, in order to form diamond shapes.  Repeat on the other side.  Remove chops from the grill and place in oven, cook until medium or desired doneness. (Medium doneness - approx. 10 mins.)
Once done, remove from oven, remove foil and hold warm for 5 minutes before you serve them.


While veal is cooking make the stuffing.  Heat a large sauté pan over high heat.  Add olive oil, let it get hot.  Add shallots, cook until translucent, add garlic and cook one minute.  Add lobster meat and let cook another minute.  Add artichokes, and tomatoes continue to cook a few minutes.  Squeeze a little lemon juice over mixture.  Remove pan away from the fire and add cognac, return to heat.  Add cream and let mixture reduce slightly, add arugula and continue to cook until greens have wilted and lobster is cooked (just until flesh turns opaque).  Season the mixture with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and reserve warm until served with the veal.

On warm platter serve the stuffing and arrange the chops on top.  Serve with Cognac cream and Enjoy!

Berry Cobbler with Bourbon Anglaise

I got this fabulous recipe when I was studying at the Culinary Institute of America in the late 80's and it's been a go to dessert ever since.  The last two weeks of our 2 1/2 year program you worked in the American Bounty restaurant on campus.  This was one of the desserts at the time and it's dynamite.  Use whatever fruit is ripe for the season and have fun.  Just be careful, the bourbon crème anglaise is addicting and you'll struggle not to drink it straight or slather it on everything in the kitchen.  Enjoy!

9 oz. All purpose flour
1/2 oz. Baking powder
12 oz. Sugar
4 Eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 capful Vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup each Strawberries (medium cut) and Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Put and even layer of fruit on a buttered and sugared Bennington casserole dish.  Reserve on the side. In a large mixing bowl, sift flour and baking powder.  Add sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, and lemon zest. Beat together until just combined.  Pour batter over fruit and place in oven.  Bake until golden brown about 35-40 minutes.

Bourbon Sauce

4 Egg yolks
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Bourbon
1 cup whipping cream

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sugar very well.  Cook over a water bath, whisking constantly until thick and pale yellow(you will be able to see the bottom of the bowl when you draw a whisk through it).  Remove the bowl from over the hot bath and stir in the bourbon.  Place the bowl in an ice bath and chill down completely.  In another mixing bowl, whip the cream to stiff, fold into chilled sauce.  Serve over the cobbler and Enjoy!

The Menu: June 14th - June 20th

Dinner out - The Union Wood Shop, Clarkston

Sunday-"Father's Day"
Grilled Oysters with Shallot Butter & Champagne
Bone-in Prime Aged Ribeye Steak
Sweet Potato Fries with Green Onions
Red Romaine Salad with a Creamy Garlic Dressing
Blueberry Cobbler with a Bourbon Crème Anglaise

Fish Tacos with a Fiery Tomatillo Salsa, Warm Tortillas
Smashed Avocados
Citrus Slaw

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Italian Spices
Zucchini and Summer Squash with a Honey-Balsamic Glaze

Vegetable and Brown Rice Stir-Fry
Romaine Salad with a Japanese Vinaigrette

Bison Meatloaf with Bacon, Mushroom Gravy
Chopped Salad with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

"Smorgasbord Night"
If it's in the frig you can have it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Banana Bread Squares: Gluten-Free

Adapted from "Cooking for Your Gluten-free Teen" published in The Detroit Free Press
Banana Bread Squares
Makes 9 bars, Prep time: 20 minutes, Total time: 55 Minutes

If you can't find gluten free flower with xanthan gum, the authors suggest adding 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to each cup of gluten-free flour. Xanthan gum adds volume and moisture to gluten-free baked goods. It can be found at large supermarkets.

1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) butter
2/3 Cup packed brown sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/3 Cups smoothly mashed very ripe bananas, about 3 bananas
2 teaspoons dried egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/3 Cups gluten-free flour with xanthan gum or 1 1/3 Cups gluten-free flour mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9X9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper; coat parchment paper with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add bananas and vanilla; beat well.

In another medium bowl, whisk dried egg whites, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and allspice with the flour. Add dry ingredients in batches to banana mixture, beating well after each addition. Batter will be very thick; beat only enough to mix well. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth level with a spatula. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, cool on a rack. When cool, cut into 3 inch squares.

** Chef's notes: Since we don't bake a lot, we don't like spending money on a lot of specialty ingredients that will just go bad on the shelf. When my wife made this, she omitted the dried egg whites and went with normal gluten free flour with no xanthan gum. She added some nuts and raisins, too. It still turned out very moist and light. It wasn't gummy like some gluten-free baked goods can be. Try it. If it doesn't work out for you, you can always invest in the specialty ingredients.**

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Chicken Tandori Style

Serves 6-8

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 -2 jalapeno chiles or 1 -2 serrano chili, seeded and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
3# skinless chicken thighs

Stir together lime juice, coconut milk, minced chiles, salt, turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, and 1 tbsp of oil in a mixing bowl.

Cut slits across the meat of chicken and rub spice mixture all over chicken. Marinate chicken in this mixture for 8 hours or overnight covered in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Put the last tbsp of oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and layer chicken pieces in the bottom of pan. Place chicken in hot oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken is done (you may want to check the chicken about 5 minutes before.  It may need longer than the 30 min, depending on size of pieces). Remove and let rest 5-10 minutes, then serve and Enjoy!

The Menu: June 7th - June 13th

Dinner out

Chicken Tandori style
Indian Spiced Vegetables

Hamburger Wraps with Caramelized Shallots
Baby Kale Salad with Citrus-Herb Vinaigrette

Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos
Peach and Habanero Salsa

Mediterranean Styled Lemon Chicken
Greek Salad

Smorgasbord Night

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimmichurri Sauce
Charred Onions
Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme
Chopped Salad with Balsalmic Vinaigrette

Friday, June 6, 2014

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimmichurri Sauce

Flat iron steak is an incredible cut. Like the skirt steak, it's one that butchers try to keep under wraps.  It's less expensive than the traditional cuts like NY strip, tenderloin, or rib eye, but if cooked right and sliced against the grain it's a total winner.  I served it with a Chimmichurri sauce and grilled onions.  Add a glass of a good Bordeaux or Shiraz and it doesn't get any better.

Makes 6-8 servings

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (about 15) peeled garlic cloves
1/3 cup Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
(2) 1 1/2-pound flat iron steaks

Finely chop first 9 ingredients in a food processor. Set sauce aside.

Cook butter in small heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until brown, about 2 minutes. Add sauce; stir 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium-high heat. Season meat with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.  When grill is ready, place steaks on grill and cook to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove steaks from grill; let stand 5 minutes. Thinly slice steaks across grain. Serve with chimichurri sauce and Enjoy!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thai Spices, Spicy Avocado "Mayo"

I made this tonight and got raved reviews.  The chicken thighs are juicy and very flavorful and the spicy avocado spread adds some heat as a back note.  Everyone said, it's got to go on the blog, so here it is.  I served the chicken between Iceberg lettuce, like a sandwich.  If I were to use bread, I'd put this on either focaccia or warmed French baguette.

Makes 6 servings

6 deboned chicken thighs
4 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1/2" peeled fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons each fresh basil, mint, cilantro, and lemongrass
Juice from 1/2 a lime, with the zest
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and fresh grounded black pepper, to taste
Garnish- Shredded carrots and thinly sliced radishes
Spicy Avocado "Mayo"(recipe follows)

In a food processor, blend garlic, onions, ginger, herbs, lime juice and zest to a paste.  Add oil, pepper flakes, and blend to smooth.

Put the chicken thighs in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Add herb mixture and mix well.  Let sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  While you wait get the grill going and bring to high heat.  Once ready, grill the thighs about 5-6 minutes each side until done.  Remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Assemble sandwich- whether using bread or lettuce, first spread some of the avocado "mayo", then place the chicken down and top with carrot and radish.  If using bread put shredded lettuce down, then place top on the sandwich and secure with a toothpick.  Serve and Enjoy!

Spicy Avocado "Mayo"

1/2 avocado
Juice of a 1/4 lime
Sriracha, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Water to thin

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend smooth.  Use water to bring mixture to the consistency of mayonnaise.  Season with salt and pepper.

The Frittata- A Bacon and Potato Omellette

Eggs are excellent for any meal and one of the things I love the most about them is their ability to work as a canvas with almost any ingredient in an omelette or as the Italians and Spaniards call them, a frittata.  Almost weekly, I gather up the leftovers in the frig and pantry and come up with a unique frittata that never tastes exactly the same, but makes a fantastic meal.
Consider the recipe below as a loose template to be altered according to what you've got lying around. You can substitute cooked pasta and rice for the potatoes, and cooked greens for the raw. Play around with different cheeses, or skip them altogether. Have fun with it and Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings

8 large eggs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, parsley, or tarragon
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small onion, or more to taste, chopped
2 garlic cloves, or more to taste, chopped
2 to 3 cups spinach or arugula, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped roasted peppers, or to taste
3 ounces sliced Provolone (5 to 6 slices), optional

Special equipment:
10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick or cast-iron; heat-proof rubber spatula

Preheat broiler.

Whisk together eggs, basil, parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a large bowl then pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat.

Add potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to skillet, and sauté over medium-high heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Cover skillet and continue to cook over medium-low heat, stirring a few times, until potatoes are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the potatoes with a slotted spoon to bowl containing the bacon.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and sauté onion and garlic over medium-high heat until pale golden, about 4 minutes, then add spinach and sauté until just wilted.

Gently add the potatoes and bacon, the roasted peppers, and remaining tablespoon oil into onion mixture, spreading it evenly.

Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables and cook over medium-high heat, lifting up cooked egg around edges with a heat-proof rubber spatula to let uncooked egg flow underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, until it appears mostly set, with a moist top and center, 3 to 5 minutes more.

Remove lid. If using Provolone, broil frittata 5 to 7 inches from heat until set, but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes, then top with an even layer of cheese and continue to broil until browned and bubbling, 1 to 3 minutes (watch carefully).

If skipping the cheese, broil frittata until the top is lightly browned, 1 to 3 minutes (making sure it doesn't burn).

If using a nonstick skillet, slide the frittata onto a serving plate. If using a cast-iron skillet, cut and serve wedges directly from the skillet.  Serve hot and Enjoy!

Steak with Arugula Salad

This is an Italian classic, known as Straccetti di Manzo.  It's a perfect recipe for either lunch or dinner.  It's easy and fast so this can be a go to for weekday dinners, any day.  Don't be afraid to switch things up either.  Instead of beef go ahead a use Pork tenderloin, Chicken, Shrimp, you name it, it all works.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

5 oz baby arugula
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 lb boneless top loin steak or sirloin (1 inch thick)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large shallot, thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Garnish: freshly ground black pepper
Thinly shaved Parmesan Cheese

Mound arugula on a large platter.

Heat oil with garlic and rosemary in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat, turning garlic once or twice, until garlic is golden, about 4 minutes. Discard garlic and rosemary.

Meanwhile, cut steak crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices and toss with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add meat to skillet all at once and sauté over high heat, tossing with tongs to color evenly, about 1 minute for medium-rare. Arrange steak over arugula using tongs, then add shallot to oil in skillet along with vinegars and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and boil 2 minutes. Pour dressing over steak, garnish with the Parmesan, and serve immediately.  Enjoy!