"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.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Butternut Squash, Kale, and Goat Cheese Pie

3 Tbsp. Olive oil, more for brushing
2 medium red onions, finely chopped
1/2 small Butternut squash, roughly 1#, peeled and cut into 3/4" pieces
2 tsp. fresh Thyme, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flake
1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
8 oz. frozen phyllo, thawed
4 oz. fresh goat cheese or feta crumbled
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Place rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.  6-8 minutes.  Add squash and cook stirring until tender, 8-10 minutes.  Mix in thyme and red pepper flakes and transfer to a medium bowl.  Wipe out and reserve skillet.

Add kale, eggs, parmesan cheese, and lemon zest to squash mixture and gently combine.  Season with salt and pepper.  Layer phyllo sheets inside reserved skillet.  Working quickly so as to not let the phyllo dry out, Spoon kale and squash mixture into phyllo and dot the top with goat cheese.  Brush edges of phyllo lightly with olive oil and fold over the filling, overlapping slightly, leaving the center exposed.

Place skillet over medium heat until bottom of the pastry is just golden (carefully lift up on one side with a heatproof rubber spatula), about 3 minutes.  Transfer pie in oven and bake until kale is wilted and tender and phyllo is golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove pie from oven, let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing into wedges.  Enjoy!

Pie can be baked 6 hours ahead. Let cool; store uncovered at room temperature.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mexican Avocado Salads

A good friend of ours, Leslie brought this to one of our parties and it was love at first taste.  Think deconstructed Guacamole.  Super easy and a summer go to (has gone to a year rounder for us). Obviously, the key here is ripe avocados and tomatoes.  Fry up fresh tortilla chips for a next level treat.  You're going to be the hit of the party with this one! Enjoy. 

6 Avocados, diced
1 Sweet onion, diced
1 pint Grape tomatoes, diced 
1 c. Pickled Jalapeños with juice
Juice of one lime  
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp. Cilantro (optional)
Salt & fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Garnish- fresh jalapeño slices(optional)
Freshly fried corn tortilla chips

In a large bowl combine all ingredients.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Top with a few fresh jalapeño slices, if using and serve! (Told you it was easy)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ensenada Style Fish Tacos

Rick Bayless is perhaps the foremost authority on Mexican cuisine stateside.  His Frontera Grill is award winning and recipes are fantastic.  I was having a hankering for great fish tacos after reading an article about the Baja peninsula and made these incredibly satisfying tacos.  They are easy, bursting with flavor and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Makes 6 tacos

 2 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt to taste
½ tsp. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. fresh black pepper
1 tsp. yellow mustard (like French's)
1 tsp. concentrated chicken base or chicken-flavor powdered bouillon
1 C. beer, sparkling water or water
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C. all-purpose flour
 Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches for frying
1# boneless, skinless fish filets (practically anything will work, but I like larger-flake, lighter-flavor fish best for this preparation—think halibut, sea bass, grouper and the like)
1/3 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. sour cream
¼ C. milk

12 warm corn tortillas
1 C. (or more) thinly sliced cabbage (I like Napa cabbage best)
About 1 C. salsa (toasted arbol chile salsa, roasted green chile salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa or even one of the Mexican hot sauces like Tamazula or Valentina)
2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges

Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, then mash back and forth with the side of your knife across your cutting board until crushed to a puree. Scrape into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, base or bouillon, beer or water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 370 degrees. While the oil is heating, cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by ½” inch square. Use a pair of tongs to pick up a piece of fish, dip it completely into the batter, and lay it into the oil. Continue with a few more pieces of fish, filling the hot oil with an uncrowded layer. Fry, turning the pieces regularly, until deep golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven on a wire rack set over a sheet pan while you fry the rest of the fish.

Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Set out with the cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Dehydrating the tomatoes is the key to huge flavor in this great appetizer.  Think sophisticated pizza and with only 7 ingredients it couldn’t be easier.  Make the day before since you need about 6 hours in an oven to do these right.  Just reheat or serve at room temperature.  Also goes great in a salad or on your favorite sandwich to “kick it up a notch!”

Makes 2 dozen

Good quality Olive oil

10 ripe Roma tomatoes, tips removed and cut in halve vertically

8-10 cloves of garlic, minced fine

1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 French baguette

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper

¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 225 F.

In a large mixing bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, and basil.  Coat tomatoes liberally with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange tomatoes, cut side down, on paper.  Spoon the remaining garlic mixture on top of each.  Place tray into the oven and roast tomatoes for 5 to 6 hours or until they have shrunk in size by about 75%.  Remove tray from oven and let tomatoes cool.  This step can be done up to 3 days before.  Just make sure to cover and refrigerate.

Preheat broiler and position top shelf at highest position (closest to burner).  Slice baguette into 24, ½” slices and brush with olive oil.  Arrange on a baking sheet and place one tomato (you may have to slice tomatoes if too large for bread. I like to gently press them into the bread with the back of a fork).  Top with cheese and place tray under hot broiler until cheese has turned golden brown and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Menu 4/1 - 4/7/2017

Soy Glazed Chicken
Oven Roasted Broccoli and Mushrooms
Barbecue Ribs
Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw
Chopped Salad with Green Olive Vinaigrette
Oven Roasted Salmon with a Lemon-Caper Butter Sauce
Asparagus with Chopped Egg
Pork Tenderloin with a Dijon Mustard and Herb Crust
Sautéed Apples with Thyme
Chopped Salad with Citrus-Honey dressing
Red Wine Braised Beef
Caramelized Butternut Squash, Carrots and Onions

Pork Chops Milanese
Spaghetti Squash and Asparagus
"Opening Day Party"

Pasta Bake with Pepperoni and Spinach
Mini Meatball Parmesan Sliders

Soy Glazed Chicken

I was watching a travel show and they were showing a Michelin chef in China prepare this incredible Cantonese dish and thought, "WOW, I got to make this!"  You know how sometimes you see something and say- I gotta have that!  Well, this was one of those times.  I served it with a simple steamed rice, so the sauce could shine.  By the way, the sauce is awesome on stewed eggplant (your shoe would taste great with this stuff)  You can add different spices- cinnamon, star anise, Chinese five spice, but here's the basics. 

1 Whole Chicken, cut into parts
1 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Water
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup smashed garlic
1/4 cup minced Ginger
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Sesame seeds

Combine soy, water, sugar, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes in a large pot.  Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Using tongs carefully add chicken pieces and cook for 35 minutes, turning pieces every 5 minutes.  Once chicken is done remove from pot and reserve pieces on a plate.  Continue to reduce soy glaze until thick, maybe another 8-10 minutes.  Then, return chicken to the pot and toss with hot sauce.  Remove chicken and place on a warm serving dish, sprinkle with green onion, sesame seeds, and serve immediately.  Spoon additional sauce into a bowl and serve alone side of chicken.  Serve with white rice.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Weekly Menu 3/11 - 3/17

Dinner out with Friends (Beer and burgers on the East-side)

Roast Chicken Breast stuffed with a Wild Mushroom Duxelle
Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Carrots with Tunisian spice

Chicken Piccata
Chopped Salad with a Honey-Dijon Dressing
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Sweet Potato and Braised Pork Hash
Roasted Broccoli and Onions

Oven Roasted Salmon with Porchetta Crust
Sautéed Zucchini with Italian Herbs
Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries

Spanish Tapas Party

Steak and Wine Night

Spanish Tapas Party

Thought I'd entertain a few clients at my house and thought a Spanish Tapas theme would be perfect.  Great food, Spanish wine, a few beers- the perfect recipe.  Here's the menu and recipes.
Smoked Paprika Almonds (Almendras al Pimenton)
Mixed Spanish Olives
Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla)
Apple and Manchego Crostini
Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
Crispy Potatoes with Aioli and Spicy Tomato Sauce (Patatas Bravas)
Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Olives
Braised Beef in Red Wine
Fresh Fruit
Lemon-Sugar cookies

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla)

1/2 C. olive oil
2 # Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced into rings
6 eggs
1 roasted red pepper, drained and cut into strips
3 oz. Serrano ham, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add half of the potato slices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. When done, remove potatoes to a large bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Cook the remaining potatoes in the oil until tender, then add to the bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Gently toss potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion rings, and gently cook until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Spoon onions onto a plate, and allow to cool while the potatoes finish cooking.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in cooled onions, roasted peppers, and serrano ham. Gently fold in cooked potatoes.

Heat the skillet with the reserved oil over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture, and gently cook until the sides have started to set and the bottom has turned golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Loosen the tortilla with a spatula if needed, then carefully slide onto a large plate. Turn the skillet upside down and place onto the uncooked side of the tortilla. Turn the skillet right-side-up, and remove the plate. Return the skillet to the stove, and continue cooking until the tortilla has set in the center, about 4 minutes.

Slide the tortilla onto a serving plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into six wedges and sprinkle with parsley to serve.

Smoked Paprika Almonds (Almendras al Pimenton)

1 1/2 C. raw almonds
1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
1/2 Tsp. smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°  F.

Spread almonds onto ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

While nuts are toasting, combine salt and paprika in a small spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Grind into a fine powder.

Once almonds are out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with the salt and paprika powder and stir again.  Transfer to serving bowls and serve at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Apple and Manchego Crostini

Ciabatta bread
1 Tbsp. garlic oil
olive oil
1 pink lady apple, cut into wedges
Manchego cheese, cubed
salt and pepper
chives, chopped

Turn on broiler to highest setting. 

Split the ciabatta bread horizontally and brush generously with garlic oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Toast to a golden brown under the broiler.  Remove and reserve to the side. 

Either on a hot grill or in a hot skillet, carefully brush a small amount of olive oil on the surface.  On the grill mark both sides of the apple, about 1-2 minutes per side.  In a skillet, sear each side.  Remove and reserve. 

Assemble each "bite" by first cutting the ciabatta into 1 or 2 bite sized pieces, add a wedge of apple and then cheese.  Use a cocktail pick to secure everything to the bread.  Sprinkle with chive.  Serve and Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Butternut Squash Loaf with Cranberry

½ c. cooked black beans
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ C. diced onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 celery rib, diced small
½ green apple, peeled and diced small
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 C. cooked butternut squash, roughly mashed
½ C. cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp. toasted walnuts, chopped
1 beaten egg
¼ C. panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp. sea salt

Cranberry Glaze

½ C. fresh cranberries
¼ C. ketchup
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
1 garlic clove, minced

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place cranberries on a small baking sheet. Place black beans on another.  Put both in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Warm oil in frying pan over med-low heat; add onion and the minced 3 garlic cloves.  Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add carrot and celery, cook 5 minutes.  Add the apple and Italian seasonings and cook another 3 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine squash, cooked vegetables, quinoa, roasted black beans, walnuts, eggs, panko, and salt.  Mix until well combined.  Transfer mixture to a parchment lined 9x5 loaf pan, smoothing out with a spatula to remove any air bubbles.

Prepare the cranberry glaze- puree roasted cranberries and all glaze ingredients until smooth.  Spoon glaze over squash loaf so fully covered.  Place loaf in oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Weekly Menu Jan. 21- Jan. 27

Dinner out with friends- Chartreuse

Pot Roast with Potatoes, Onions, and Carrots
Mushroom Gravy
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey-Lime Sriracha glaze

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Baby Greens Salad with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sweet-Lemon Dressing

Sous Vide Tuna with Citrus and Dill Pesto
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan

Vegetable,White Bean, and Thyme Cassoulet
Chopped Romaine Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Pan Roasted Black Cod with Braised Leeks
Mixed Greens Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Mystery Night??

Friday, January 20, 2017

Kale and Brussels Sprout Slaw

1/2 # large kale leaves, center rib removed (6 to 8 leaves)
6 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and cored
½ C. shredded carrot
¼ wedge red onion, shaved very thinly
½  small head radicchio, cored
¼ C. freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
½ C. olive oil
2 Tbsp. honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (6-ounce) piece of aged Parmesan cheese

Using a very sharp chef ’s knife, cut the kale, Brussels sprouts, and radicchio crosswise in thin shreds, as you would cut cabbage for coleslaw, and place them in a large bowl. Add carrot and onion.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour enough dressing on the salad to just moisten it, reserving the rest.
Shave the Parmesan in big shards with a vegetable peeler. Add the cheese to the salad and toss it carefully to avoid breaking up the cheese. Check for seasonings, add more vinaigrette, if necessary, and serve cold or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Spicy Thai Coconut Sauce

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
4 to 5 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. coriander

½ tsp. cayenne (increase if you like more heat)
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 can coconut milk
Good Squeeze of fresh Lime juice
Water just to correct consistency
Sea salt, to taste

In a medium sized pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and sweat for 4-5 minutes.  Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne.  Stir and cook another 1-2 minutes to allow spices to bloom.  Add garlic and ginger, stir and cook another minute.  Add coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice, cook another minute.  Taste and correct seasoning with salt. 

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 or 10 minutes.  Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.  Add water only to correct consistency if too thick, sauce should coat the back of a spoon when mixed. 

Bacon Gremolata

Here is a nice addition to an already beautiful topping for vegetables, fish or meat.  Come on, what isn’t better with bacon?  Well, Gremolata is no different.  I’m using this to top a super moist salmon filet this week.  Enjoy!

 6oz. Bacon, Diced
2 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 TBSP grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
3 TBSP minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 TBSP freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBSP toasted pine nuts
2 1/2 TBSP olive oil

In a skillet over medium high heat cook bacon until golden brown, Using a slotted spoon remove bacon from skillet and place in medium mixing bowl.  Discard fat.  Add to bacon the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, parmesan, and pine nuts.

Place Gremolata atop vegetables, meat or fish and enjoy!

Weekly Menu Jan. 14 - Fri 20th

Sous Vide Salmon with Bacon Gremolata
Roasted Carrots and Broccoli
Baby Romaine Salad with Caramelized Onion Vinaigrette

NY Strip Steaks with Cabernet Butter
Zucchini Squash Gratin
Roasted Beet Salad with toasted Pine nuts and Goat Cheese

Indian Spiced Chickpea and Vegetable Stew
Basmati Rice

Roast Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary
Baby Romaine and Frisee with Avocado Salad, Citrus Vinaigrette

Sautéed Kale, Mushrooms, and Carrot Medley tossed in a spicy Coconut Sauce
Romaine Salad with shredded Carrots, Apples, and Beets, Honey-Lemon Vinaigrette

Stir Fried Vegetables with Chinese Styled Shredded Chicken
Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Almonds

Lettuce Wrapped Burgers with Caramelized Onions
Sweet Potato Fries
Warm Brussels Sprouts and Carrot Slaw