"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, November 8, 2015

Chickpea Tikka Masala

We like to treat Monday as "Meat-less Monday".  Not only a catchy title, but a good recovery day from what usually are crazy, eat whatever weekends (also catchy and fun!)  This meal prep's quickly, can be on the table in less than 30 minutes start to finish, and is very tasty.  Enjoy!

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile, minced
1 Tbsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 can (28oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 cups chickpeas (cooked or canned)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil over medium heat and add onions.  Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add ginger, chile, garam masala, and tomato paste.  Cook 1 minute more.  Season mixture with salt and pepper, add crushed tomatoes and chickpeas.  Bring to a simmer and cook, covered 15 minutes.  Stir in cream and cilantro and serve immediately.  A good accompaniment is brown rice, Enjoy!

Slow Cooked Moroccan Spiced Chicken

This preparation is super easy and a terrific work-week meal.  It can be made in a slow cooker or in the oven, your choice.

2 Tbsp. Cumin
2 tsp. Coriander
2# Boneless Chicken, white and dark meat
2 onions, medium dice
2 carrots, medium dice
4 parsnips, peeled and medium dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 cups prepared couscous
Chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients except couscous and parsley in a slow cooker. Mix well to combine.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through.  If using oven preheat to 300F and do the same as above just in a large casserole dish.  Cover and place in oven for 3-4 hours.

Serve over warm couscous and garnish with parsley.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Menu Nov. 7th - Nov. 11th

Moroccan Chicken with Couscous
Green beans with Shallots

Beef Stew with Parsnip Gratin

Grilled Salmon with Fennel and Lemon
Broccoli with Caramelized Onions

Vegetable Stir-fry
Brown Rice with Scallions

Soy Glazed Oven Roasted Chicken
Chopped Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Pasta with Meatballs, Marinara sauce

Smorgasbord Night

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The weekly Menu Sept. 26th - Oct. 2nd

Pan Seared Porterhouse Steak
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Onions and Bacon

Grilled Pork Chops with a Shallot-Apple Compote
Romaine Salad with Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast with Wild Mushroom Sauce
Ginger Carrots and Grilled Zucchini

Chinese Vegetable Stir-Fry with Braised Pork
Green Onion Jasmine Rice

Chicken, Mushroom, Leeks, and Date Cassoulet
Baby Kale Salad with Warm Shallot Vinaigrette

Pan Seared Salmon topped with Spinach Rockefeller
Summer Squash Medallions with Basil and Parmesan

"Catcher's Catch Can" Night

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash with Onions and Bacon

1 large Butternut squash, peeled and 1” diced
2 oz. Maple Syrup
Large Onion, cut into 1” dice
4 oz. Bacon, diced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, sliced thinly
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
4 oz. Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400⁰ F.

In a sauté pan combine garlic slices and oil.  Heat over medium heat, cooking garlic to golden brown.  Remove garlic and discard.  In a large mixing bowl combine squash, onion and garlic oil.  Toss and season with salt and pepper then spread mixture onto a baking sheet.  Place into oven and roast for 15 minutes.  Using a kitchen spoon, toss well and place back into oven for another 15-20 minutes.  For the last 5 minutes, drizzle syrup over mixture, mix well and finish roasting. Squash should be a beautiful brown and tender and bacon crispy.  Remove from oven, top with shaved parmesan.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper, serve and Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

(Wheat-free) Cacao-Coconut Truffles

Being allergic to both wheat and dairy makes the dessert course something I usually avoid. Amazing how a great single barrel scotch, bourbon or after dinner drink makes one soon forget the sweets. Lucky for me though, our good friend Anat Shlagman shared this excellent recipe. She brought these delicious little balls, a great riff on a truffle, to a party a couple of weeks ago and I had to know the recipe. Anat, you're a master, thank you. Enjoy!

·         6-10 dates (soaked overnight and drained) – adjust as sweet as you want
·         ½ cup peanut butter or almond butter (can use coconut oil instead)
·         2-3 tbs cacao – adjust as bitter as you want
·         1 tsp of powdered herbs – Echinacea, elder berry, dandelion, turmeric, oatstraw, ginger, cayenne, alfalfa, nettle, raspberry
·         ½ -1 cup coconut flakes – adjust for the consistency

Preparation - In a big bowl:
·         Mash dates with a fork or in blender
·         Add peanut butter and keep mixing
·         Add cacao and herbs
·         Add coconut flakes until mixture reaches a stable consistency to create balls
·         Adjust any flavors by adding more cacao or, if needed to sweeten, can add some honey
·         Create balls and spread coconut flakes when all balls are done

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The menu: June 21st - June 26th

"Father's Day"- Dinner out: The Republic, Detroit

Grilled Steelhead Trout with Lemon and Capers
Charred Red Onion and Avocado, served on a bed of Red Romaine, creamy Garlic Dressing
Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Thyme and Olives

Vegetable Stir-fry with Szechuan Pork
Brown Rice with Scallions

Grilled NY Strip Steak, Shallot and Red Wine Butter
Chopped Salad with Italian Dressing
Grilled Leeks

Oven Roasted Chicken with a Honey-Plum Barbecue sauce
Baby Greens Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Mystery Night- Whatever catches our fancy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sour Cherry Vinaigrette

A terrific dressing for a summer salad.  I am pairing this with a pork tenderloin and it should be excellent.

1 1/2 Cup Tart Cherry Juice
1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
Juice of one Lemon
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup Salad Oil (I usually use Grape seed oil)
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper to taste

Please cherry Juice in a saucepan with the shallots and garlic, reduce over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until about ½ cup remains. Let cool.

Pour cherry juice, vinegar and lemon juice in to a large measuring cup (I like to use a 3 cup measuring cup) Add mustard and using a hand blender, blend for thirty seconds.
Add oil very slowly and blend until all is incorporated and you have an emulsified dressing.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Toss your salad lightly and Enjoy!

Will keep in the refrigerator for a week.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Menu: June 13th - June 19th

Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Shallots, Mango, and Lime
Smashed Avocado
Grilled Parmesan Asparagus

Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin, sautéed Grapes served with a Madeira wine sauce
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with onions and garlic
Chopped Salad with Sour Cherry Vinaigrette

Turkey Burgers with Caramelized Red Onion and Avocado, served on a bed of Red Romaine, creamy Garlic Dressing

Vegetable Stir-fry with Szechuan Pork

Turkey Sloppy Joe
Garden Salad with Warm Shallot and Bacon Vinaigrette

"Smorgasbord Night"

Jim and Debbie Sue Dinner Party
Guacamole with chips
Jamón Serrano, Manchego cheese, and Spanish olives
Chicken Molé enchiladas
Chopped salad with a lime-cumin vinaigrette
Variety of chocolates with Orange slices and fresh berries

Basil Smash

Our good friend and bartender, Trina at Beau's gave us this recipe for a dinner party as a signature drink and we've never looked back.  Deliciously crisp and refreshing.  Really smashing up the basil and a lot of it is key.  Make sure you strain before serving it or your guests will have it in there teeth.  Just fantastic on a warm summer night on the patio with good friends.

Good Dry English Gin (Bombay Sapphire)
Lemon juice
Simple Syrup
Lots of crushed ice
Cucumber slice
Basil leaf

In a shaker aggressively muddle a good bit of basil, simple syrup, and lemon juice.  Strain mixture into a high ball glass.  Fill glass with crushed ice and add gin.  Garnish with a slice of cucumber and basil.  Enjoy!

The elixir (basil, lemon, and syrup) can be made in a big batch and keeps for a week in the refrigerator.  Note of caution, use cheese cloth (I've used nylons before) to strain and remove all basil leaves.  If left in the mixture it will turn brown.

Greek Style Brown Rice Salad

2 cups Brown rice, cooked and cooled
To taste add:
Green onion, sliced thinly
Grape tomatoes, quartered
Red, green, and yellow bell peppers, small dice
Garbanzo beans, drained
Mint, oregano, flat leaf parsley


1/4 cup Red wine vinegar garlic
1/3 cup Olive oil
2 tablespoons Red onion, minced
1 tablespoon Feta cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon Honey
Pinch Herb mix from above
Squeeze Fresh lemon juice
Salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and toss with dressing.  Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The menu: June 7th - June 12th

Dinner out - China Cafe, Novi

Thai-style Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps
Chopped Salad with a Lime-Chili Dressing

Mahi-mahi Lettuce "tacos" with Salsa Fresco and Jalapeño Crema

Vegetable Stir-fry with Brown Rice and green onions

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Herbs
Baby Greens Salad with Shredded Beets and Carrots, Citrus Vinaigrette

Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Dill Butter
Roasted Onions, Zucchini and Summer Squash
Brown Rice

Grilled NY Strip Steaks with Cabernet Sauce
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Olive oil
Oven Roasted Carrots with Indian spice

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Apple and Onion Jam

4 oz good smoked bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons Olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small green apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoon Raisins, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped fine
1/4 cup veal or chicken stock

In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until it starts to brown 4-5 minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and the onion and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, water and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are very soft, about 45 minutes. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apple and raisins. Sauté until slightly soft and caramelized, about 3-5 minutes. Add the thyme and onion-Apple mixture to the pan. Continue to sauté until the flavors have blended, about 2-3 minutes longer.

Adjust consistency of jam using the stock and cook for another minute or so.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.  This can be served warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Weekly Menu: May 16th - 22nd

Grilled Pork Loin with an Apple and Onion Jam
Zucchini and Summer Squash with Parmesan
Roasted Cauliflower with Moroccan Spice
Chopped Salad with a Lemon-Honey Vinaigrette

Grilled Salmon with Dill and Lemon
Broccoli and Red Onions
Sautéed Swiss Chard

Mexican Shredded Chicken with Lettuce Tacos
Salsa Fresco

Greek-style Bison with Grilled Eggplant and Humus

Chicken Parmigiana
Baby Greens Salad, Shallot Vinaigrette

Olive oil and Lemon Grilled Corvina
Charred Onions with Vegetables
Brown Rice

Grilled Fat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Roasted Asparagus with Garlic
Oven Roasted Carrots with Honey and Thai Spice
Chopped Red Romaine and Shredded Beets, Creamy Garlic Dressing

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Menu 3/29 - 4/3

Seared Salmon with Caper Butter
Steamed Broccoli
Baby Kale Salad, Caramelized Onion Vinaigrette

Tandoori Style Chicken
Sautéed Zucchini Squash

Stir-fried Vegetables with Pork

Oven Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Onions

Bison Meatballs and Spaghetti Squash

Passover Seder
Chicken Soup with Dill and Spring Vegetables
Smoked Salmon served on Baby Bibb Lettuce cups, Caper and Onion cream
Brisket in Red wine and wild Mushrooms
Zucchini Spears with Pear and Parmesan
Apple, Almond, and Prune Matzo Brei

Smoked Fish Cakes with Beet Vinaigrette

Serves 8

Beet vinaigrette:
2 medium red beets (about 8 ounces total)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

Fish fritters:
1 12-ounce skinless cod or pike fillet
5 tablespoons (or more) vegetable oil, divided
8 ounces smoked whitefish, skin and bones removed, flaked
3 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 piece matzo, finely crushed (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill plus more for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

For beet vinaigrette:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets individually in foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and roast until tender, 50-60 minutes. Let cool. Peel and cut into 1/4" cubes.

Whisk lemon juice, horseradish, and vinegar in a medium bowl; gradually add oil, whisking to blend well. Season with salt. DO AHEAD: Beets and vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

For fish fritters:
Heat oven to 400°F. Place cod on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub with 1 tablespoon oil. Roast until just opaque in center, 10-15 minutes. Let fish cool, then flake with a fork.

Mix cod, whitefish, eggs, shallot, matzo, chives, 2 tablespoons dill, and 2 tablespoons water in a medium bowl. Season with pepper and mix vigorously to combine (mixture will be stiff). DO AHEAD: Fritter mixture can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.

Reduce oven temperature to 200°F; set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, drop scant 1/4-cupfuls of fritter mixture into skillet; press gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook, turning once and adding more oil if needed, until golden brown and crispy around edges, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to prepared rack. Keep warm in oven while cooking remaining fritters.

Mix beets into vinaigrette. Serve fritters with vinaigrette; top with dill.

Slow Cooker Pork Shoulder

Here's another very good preparation for slow and low pork.  Great for throwing it it before you leave for the day and dinner is ready when you're home.  Enjoy.

3 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt (if desired, you can cut back on the salt by only using 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if desired, you can cut back on the pepper by only using ½ teaspoon of cayenne)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cup honey
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
3 to 3 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut in half

Special equipment - Crock Pot

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the first six ingredients (all of the spices) with a fork.
Pour in the honey, vinegar, and olive oil and stir to form a paste.
Place the onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Top it with the 2 pieces of pork and then pour the honey paste over all sides of the pork pieces. It’s okay if some of it (or a lot of it) just drips down to the bottom.
Turn the slow cooker on to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Menu: 3/21 - 3/27

Grilled Salmon on a bed of Puréed Parsnips
Roasted Beets with a Citrus Vinaigrette
Steamed Broccoli

Beef Teriyaki with Chinese Vegetables
Brown Rice with Scallions

Chicken with Red Thai Curry

Carnitas with Salsa Verde
Romaine Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Onions
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Basil Oil
Chopped Salad with Roast Garlic Dressing

"Left-over Night" - Let's clean out he frig

Roast Beef with a Horseradish and Herb Crust
Wild Mushroom Ragú
Sautéed Spinach
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Braised Chicken Legs with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Cilantro

Here's another great, simple dish the family will love and its's easy on the pocketbook. Pureeing the garlic, onions and cilantro, then cooking them with the mushrooms in chicken fat, gives this tomato-based sauce an incredible depth of flavor.  It's easy to make and everyone will think you slaved away, but we'll know that wasn't the case.  It'll be our little secret.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 whole chicken legs, cut into thighs and drumsticks (2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound white mushrooms, quartered
3 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup tomato sauce

In a very large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook them over moderate heat, undisturbed, until they begin to brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the garlic cloves with the onion and cilantro leaves. Add the garlic and onion puree to the mushrooms and cook over moderate heat until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce. Return the chicken legs to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer the sauce until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Season the braised chicken legs with salt and pepper, transfer them to plates and serve with the sauce.

Braised Chicken Legs with Herbs

Here is a delicious, easy, and inexpensive family meal adapted from Cal Peternell’s, “Twelve Recipes,” published in 2014 by HarperCollins.  I love bringing humble ingredients together, preparing them well and turning out fantastic crowd pleasing fare.  As with all braising technique, there are two steps to the process; searing the meat in fat on high heat to obtain a beautiful crispy, crusty outside and then cooking it low and slow in liquid until very tender.  These two steps can lead to endless riffs on the recipe and can take this where ever you want it to go.  First, season the chicken and brown it well in a pan. Salt, pepper and flour are what’s called for in this basic recipe, but adding some paprika would be a delicious option, or some cumin, coriander, paprika and a dash of cinnamon and caraway for a scent of Morocco. Then, braise it in liquid — white wine for the classic, red wine for a coq-au-vin feel, or with beer, chicken stock or plain water.  This recipe call for the braising in the oven, but you could easily do it on the stovetop as well, simmering the chicken slowly beneath a lid. Pair with rice or boiled potatoes, with couscous, with big hunks of garlic bread.

6 chicken legs, thigh and drumstick together
 Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
 All-purpose flour, for dredging (I substitute rice flour)
4 to 5 tablespoons neutral oil, or unsalted butter
¾ cup white or red wine, beer, chicken stock or water
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
3 sprigs of thyme, rosemary or sage, leaves removed and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock, or water
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley leaves

Season chicken legs with salt and pepper and let them sit for a while, 15 minutes to an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 450°F.

Put a cup or two of flour in a large bowl, add half the chicken and tumble the legs around to coat.
Set a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in 2 tablespoons oil or butter and allow to melt and foam. Shake excess flour off the chicken legs and slide them into the hot pan in one layer; adjust the heat so the legs sear nicely. When the legs begin to brown, after about 5 minutes, turn them over to brown the other side, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a platter and repeat with remaining legs, adding more oil or butter if the pan seems dry.
Pour off the grease in the pan and add the wine or other liquid to the skillet, scraping at the sticky bits. Let simmer over medium heat until pan is completely deglazed. Pour that liquid into a small bowl and set aside.
Add remaining oil or butter to the pan and allow it to heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened nicely, approximately 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and bay leaf and cook for a minute or so, then return all the chicken to the pan, skin side up, along with the reserved glazing liquid and between 1 and 3 cups stock or water, enough to come up the sides of the chicken, about half way. Bring to a simmer and then put the skillet in the oven.
After 5 minutes or so, reduce the oven heat to 325°F and cook until chicken is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. (Test for doneness by inserting a slender-bladed knife into the meat. It should pull out easily.) Remove the skillet from the oven, lift the legs from the skillet and put them aside again. Pour the liquid contents of the skillet into a small bowl and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so, letting the fat rise to the surface. Use a small ladle to skim off and discard the fat, then return liquid to the pan, along with the chicken. Bring back to a simmer on the stovetop, then return to the oven for 5 minutes or so before serving, sprinkled with the chopped parsley, or save to reheat later.

The Menu: Feb. 28th - Mar. 6th

Seared Salmon topped with a Sticky Asian Glaze
Green Beans with Garlic and Red Chiles
Roasted Carrots with Honey and Spice

Braised Chicken Legs with Mushrooms, Garlic, and Cilantro
Chopped House Salad, Shallot Vinaigrette

Bison Meatloaf
Mashed Cauliflower with Chopped Kale and Green Onions
Roasted Beets with Caramelized Onions and Marcona Almonds

Mahi-Mahi Lettuce Wraps with Green Salsa
Smashed Avocado
Mixed Green Salad with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Pulled Chicken tossed with Sriracha, Honey, and Lime
Romaine Salad with Oregano-Cumin Vinaigrette

"Everything but the kitchen sink" Salad
(My version of a left-over dinner night)

"Steak and Martini night"

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Menu: Feb. 14th - Feb. 20th

Pan Seared Shrimp with Pasta tossed in Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parmesan
Green Beans with Almonds
Baby Greens Salad, Balsamic-Honey Vinaigrette

Bison Meatloaf, Mushroom Gravy
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shallots

Roasted Monkfish, Black Olive Sauce
Mashed Cauliflower

West Indian Vegetable Curry
Basmati Rice with Scallions

Herb Roasted Chicken
Romaine Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Slow Roasted Shredded Pork, Salsa Verde
Zucchini and Carrot Pancakes

Grilled Aged Porterhouse Steak, Shallot Butter
Sautéed Baby Spinach
Braised Mushrooms
Chopped Salad with Italian Vinaigrette

Roasted Monkfish with a Black Olive Sauce and Mashed Cauliflower

If you've never had Monkfish before, you're in for a treat.  Not only easy to prepare, but it's a mild, terrificly meaty fish reminicient of lobster.  In fact, it is known as "poor man's lobster" in many circles.  One thing to note, it contains a high level of moisture that tends to come out during cooking.  So, if not handled properly, instead of roasting you end up almost boiling the fish in its own juices. What will stop this from happening is season the fish with salt about an hour before cooking. This draws out any excess moisture – then just pat it dry and away you go, ready to cook. This fish is also great for grilling, pan searing or frying.  You can do so many things with it, for example bread with seasoned Panko or chopped nuts for an added dimension.  This is a dynamite recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver, which is very tasty, so Enjoy!

For the fish:
sea salt
zest of 2 lemons plus a little juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves picked
4 monkish fillets
olive oil
2 bunches arugula, washed and drained

For the black olive sauce:
2 large handfuls black olives, stoned and very roughly chopped
red chili flake, to taste
1 small handful fresh herbs (basil, marjoram and parsley), finely chopped
1 heart celery, yellow leaves chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar

For the cauliflower-lemon mash:
1 large head cauliflower
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon

In a pestle and mortar grind up 2 teaspoons of salt with the lemon zest and rosemary and rub this all over the fish fillets. Put the fillets in a dish in the fridge and let them sit there for an hour.

While you wait, make the black olive sauce by mixing all the ingredients except the vinegar together. You want the sauce to have the consistency of a coarse salsa. Then carefully balance the flavors with the vinegar to taste.

Now, onto the cauliflower mash.  Bring a pot of salted water to the boil.  Rough chop the cauliflower and carefully put it in the pot and cook until tender. Then drain very well.  Pour out the boiling water and return pot back to the heat.  Return the drained cauliflower back to the pot and dry for a minute or two.  Now, mash the cauliflower and add some of the olive oil and chicken stock. You're looking for the same consistency of mashed potatoes.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Pat the fish dry with some paper towel and then drizzle with a little olive oil. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and fry the fillets in the pan for 2 minutes. Then turn them over and put the pan in your preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Once cooked, remove from oven and serve the fish with some of the juices, a serving of the mashed cauliflower, the black olive sauce, and a little arugula dressed with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Absolutely, Delicious, "pain in the ass" Pork Roast

So, every once in a while I come across a recipe/preparation that is a complete pain to make, but oh so worth it.  This one totally qualifies.  As Guy Fieri would say, “It’s a three day adventure in flavor-town”.  The end result is moist, succulent pork that’s crispy on the outside and fantastic with the salsa verde.  I reserve these for the weekend and Sunday dinners, when I have more time and can put it all together.  Thank you Cal Peternell of Chez Panisse and Bon appetite!

Serves 6-8 people

For the pork:
One 4 to 5-pound boneless, skinless pork shoulder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for reheating
1 yellow onion, halved and thickly sliced
1 large carrot, cut in thick slices
1 celery stalk, cut in thick slices
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled and cut in half
1 bay leaf
3 parsley sprigs
3 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 cup dry white wine, such as Riesling
3 to 6 cups homemade chicken stock or water

For the salsa verde:

Vegetable oil, for frying (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup rosemary leaves
1/4 cup sage leaves
Pinch kosher salt
1 bunch parsley, washed, dried, and leaves picked from stems
1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Day 1: Prep the pork:
Place pork shoulder on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with 1 tablespoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Day 2: Cook the pork:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat a large heavy pot (such as a Dutch oven) over high; add 1/4 cup oil, onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to sizzle; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, herbs, and spices and sauté for 1 minute more. Add the wine and bring to a simmer.

Place the pork on top of the aromatics and add enough stock or water to come halfway up the pork. Bring liquid to a simmer, and then cover pot with a lid or a couple layers of foil.

Transfer pot to oven and cook for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 325°F and cook until the meat is quite tender, about 3 hours. (To test for doneness, insert a slender, sharp knife into the middle of the roast; it should pull out easily.)

When meat is cooked, transfer it to a separate container, reserving the pan juices. Set a colander over a large bowl, and strain the pan juice into the bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Let strained pan juices until fat rises to the top, about 5 minutes. With a small ladle, skim off and discard the fat. Pour the skimmed, strained pan juices over the pork and let cool to room temperature; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3: Crisp the pork and make the sauce:
One hour before you're ready to serve the pork, remove the meat from its cooking liquid and cut (while still cold) into neat 1-inch slices; set aside. Pour cooking liquid in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer and reduce by a third. Season to taste, cover, and keep warm.

While your pork comes to room temperature, prepare the salsa verde. Line a large plate with a paper towel, and place it next to the stove, alongside a slotted spoon or "spider" spatula. In a small skillet, heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat. When the oil starts to look swirly, drop in a single rosemary leaf to test for readiness: if it sinks quietly to the bottom, the oil's not ready. When a leaf sizzles, but not in a frantic way, you are ready to fry.

Add the rosemary leaves to the oil and fry until the sizzling subsides, about 1 minute. Using the slotted spoon or spider, scoop the herbs from the oil and place the on the paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with the sage leaves in the same oil; remove skillet from heat.

On a cutting board, gather the parsley leaves into a ball, holding them down on the cutting board as if they were trying to run away. Slice this parsley bundle thinly, as if it were a single vegetable. As you slice, the ball will come apart, but just bunch it back together as best you can, keep slicing, and you'll have a nice head start on the chopping that remains. Anchor the tip of the knife to the cutting board and use a paper cutter-like motion to chop away at your pile. Go over it a couple of times, then slide the knife under, like a spatula, and flip it over. Continue chopping and flipping until the parsley is finely chopped; transfer to a medium bowl.

Render the garlic a paste by either pounding it in a mortar with a pinch of salt, or with a knife on a cutting board, again with salt. When the garlic is almost a thick liquid, transfer it the bowl with the parsley; add the fried herbs and the olive oil. Stir salsa verde to combine, adding more salt or oil as needed.

To serve:
Heat a grill, grill pan, griddle, or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, coat the grill or pan with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, cook until well browned and crispy on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Pour the reduced pan juices onto a serving platter with the pork (but not over the slices or they will lose some crispness) and arrange pork slices on top. Serve with salsa verde spooned over the top, or served alongside and Enjoy!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Menu: Jan 31st - Feb. 6th

White Chicken Chili
Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Super Bowl Party

Spicy Thai Fish Stew
(used same recipe as my Sweet Potato Curry, just substituted cod and some shrimp for sweet potato and added chopped kale.)
Basmati Rice with Scallions

Bison Hash with Wild Mushrooms
Sautéed Kale and Caramelized Onions

Chicken Caesar Salad

Curried Indian Vegetable Stew
Basmati Rice

Grilled Aged NY Strip Steaks
Sautéed Spinach
Braised Mushrooms
Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sticky Asian Hot Wings

2 large garlic clove
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons Sriracha
2 tablespoons mild honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Optional: for hotter wings, cayenne to taste
3# chicken wings
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
1 scallion (green part only), finely chopped

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and line a large shallow baking pan with foil, lightly oil.

Mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt using a large heavy knife. Transfer garlic paste to a large bowl and stir in soy sauce, Sriracha, hoisin, honey, oil, and (if using cayenne). Add wings to sauce, stirring to coat.

Arrange wings in 1 layer in baking pan and roast, turning over once, until cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer wings to a large serving bowl and toss with sesame seeds and scallion.  Serve and Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Super Bowl Fluffernutter Pie

Why Fluffernutter you ask?  Well, did you know that marshmallow creme was invented in Massachusetts?  The Fluffernutter sandwich, sweet marshmallow creme and peanut butter on white bread, earliest recipe has been found dated during World War I.  It was finally given its name by an advertising agency in 1960 as a more effective way to market it.  The sandwich is particularly popular in New England and has been proposed as the official state sandwich of Massachusetts.  So, I thought why not make it one of the desserts to represent the New England Patriots?  Here it is, a New England Classic, Enjoy!

1 classic graham cracker pie crust (prepared or make it from scratch)


 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
 1/3 cup white sugar
 6 tablespoons butter, melted
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 7 minutes. Cool. If recipe calls for unbaked pie shell, just chill for about 1 hour.


1 cup heavy cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup Fluff
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts and mini marshmallows for topping

Bake the pie dough in a 9" pie dish until golden brown according to recipe. Let cool completely.

Whip the heavy cream in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff but moist peaks form. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Next, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth in the bowl of your stand mixer. Scrape down sides, add the Fluff and confectioners' sugar and beat until combined and smooth.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Spread the peanut butter mixture into the prepared pie crust and sprinkle the peanuts and marshmallows around the edges if desired.

Allow to set in fridge for at least two hours before slicing and serving.

Seattle Blueberry Dutch Baby

2 cups blueberries
3 eggs, at room temperature
⅔ cup milk, at room temperature ( I used 2%)
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup white granulated sugar
pinch of salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
zest of 1 lemon, grated

Preheat oven to 425F.

With the back of a spoon, grind the zest into the sugar. Do this on a flat surface ( a clean cutting board or counter works best). Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, in a medium bowl, until frothy.
Add milk, flour, lemon zest sugar, and salt. Beat until smooth. The batter will be very thin. With a rubber spatula, fold in blueberries.
Place cast iron skillet over medium heat and add butter to pan. Melt butter and swirl to coat skillet. You want the skillet to be hot when you add the batter.
When butter is melted and the skillet is hot, pour batter into skillet and place skillet in oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and puffed.
Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar and serve immediately.
p.s. The longer it sits, the more it will deflate, which is totally normal and OK
*Special Equipment - 10" round cast iron skillet

Super Bowl 2015

It's the best time of the year, the biggest game of the year; The Super Bowl!  The game, the commercials, ok who's fooling who?  It's all about the party and the food.  Just as the Seahawks (who I'm routing for as my Lions are also watching the game) and the Patriots are already prepping for the big day, so am I.  My theme each year is to showcase a number of dishes from each city or region and have my guest vote for which trumps the other. (It usually turns out to be a draw, as the regional cuisines are always fantastic). I split the room and the buffet down the middle with the competitions colors on each side and we throw down!  I am super (no pun) excited for this year's party and know our guests will be thrilled.  I can't wait and I hope you're using this event as an excuse to throw your own shindig!  Here's the menu at my party this year with recipes to follow.

Cured Meat Tray with Aged Vermont Cheddar and Apples
Chile-Lime Cashews
Sushi Rolls served with Smoked Whitefish and Salmon
Cape Cod Potato Chips with Caramelized Onion Dip
Vegetable Crudité with Fresh Hummus
Seattle Styled Cream Cheese Hotdogs
Sticky Asian Hot Wings
New England Lobster Rolls
Seattle Blueberry Dutch Baby
Fluffernutter Pie

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Weekly Menu 17th - 23rd

San Francisco Cioppino
Oven Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Brined Pork Chops with Braised Cabbage
Baby Greens Salad with a Sherry Vinaigrette

Szechuan Chicken and Broccoli

Bison Meatloaf with Bacon and Prunes
Sautéed Kale and Shiitake Mushrooms

Herb Roast Chicken
Roasted Fennel and Root Vegetables

Curried Vegetable Stew
Basmati Rice

Smoked Turkey and Vegetable Stew
Chopped Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sweet Potato Curry

Found this in Bon Appétit magazine and its a winner, very good.  Simple to make and delicious, especially the next day.  I substituted red chili flakes for the Thai chile and used lemongrass paste (found it by the fresh herbs at the market) instead of the fresh (couldn't find).  Don't be afraid to make the full recipe and have leftovers for lunches during the week.  I also use this recipe to make a killer Thai fish stew, just substituted cod and some shrimp for sweet potato and added chopped kale.  Fish only needs about 8 minutes at the end to cook


1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, coarsely chopped
1 2” piece ginger, peeled, chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
¼ cup red curry paste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 13.5-oz. cans coconut milk
1½ pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1” pieces
¾ pound small or young carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 2” pieces
6 medium shallots, peeled keeping roots intact, quartered lengthwise
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Steamed jasmine rice (for serving)
Thinly sliced scallions, basil leaves, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)

Pulse lemongrass, ginger, and garlic in a food processor until very finely chopped.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add lemongrass mixture and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; season with salt. Add curry and tomato pastes and cook, stirring, until darkened, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut milk; season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until curry is rich and full of flavor, 20–25 minutes.
Add sweet potatoes and carrots, then pour in water to cover. Partially cover pot and cook until carrots are crisp-tender, 10–15 minutes. Add shallots and cook until potatoes are tender and shallots are soft, 15–20 minutes.
Add chile, if desired, and lime juice to curry and spoon over rice. Top with scallions, basil, and cilantro; serve with lime wedges.
Do Ahead: Curry can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.

It's a New Year, time to reinvent by getting back to the basics

Happy New Year to all!  I'm back from a terrific vacation and raring to start 2015 with healthy, energetic, delicious fare.
Over the last half of 2014 my wife and I had been following Lyn-Genet Recitas', "The Plan" with great success.  The basis of "The Plan" is that everyone's body chemistry is different and each of us will react to different foods.  When our bodies react negatively to the food we eat, we produce inflammation much like when we are injured.  This inflammation is very harmful, leading to weight gain and long term serious health issues.  Recitas' book is a guide to how you can isolate those foods that are uniquely good for you (non-reactive) and avoid those that don't work for you (reactive).
Following this system, I've not only been able to identify those foods that make me feel bad or gain weight, but have dramatically increased my energy and lost 30 pounds!  Since everyone is different, my daughter, my wife and I all have composed individual lists of what we can eat and what we need to avoid.  Thankfully, there are many, many foods we all can have, so preparing meals in our house is still pretty simple.
We are starting '15 (Monday) with the first three day cleanse described in her book to reset our bodies as we start the New Year.  I am excited going into the year with a plan that is super healthy, makes me feel great, and will get me to my goal weight. (205- 15 pounds away!)

Dinner out

Pot Roast with Braised Mushrooms
Sautéed Spinach
Parsnip Purée with Green Onions

Sautéed Kale with Shiitakes and Vegetables
Grated Carrot and Beet Salad, Pumpkin Seeds

Sautéed Kale with Shiitakes and Vegetables
Basmati Rice with Pumpkin Seeds
Beet and Carrot Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Grilled Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon
Oven Roasted Vegetables with Orange Oil

Butternut Squash Curry
Jasmine Rice

Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Dill
Baby Romaine Salad with Avocado and Citrus Vinaigrette