"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.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Carrot Bacon

Last night I was doing a vegetarian dinner of creamy lemon pasta with asparagus and thought a bacon component would be a nice touch, sort of like a carbonara.  I love carrots and thought why not carrot bacon?!  Slice it thin, marinate in some liquid smoke, roast it off and viola!  Having thought I was a pioneer of this idea, I went to google and found out I wasn't even close.  Leave it to those vegans.  Countless versions already done.  So, while not original, it was delicious.  Have fun and Enjoy!

6-8 large carrots
1/2 cup vegetable broth (could use chicken stock too)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Sliced carrots into thin strips using either a mandolin or food processor to keep them uniform. In a small bowl, whisk together broth, soy sauce, olive oil, liquid smoke, and paprika. In a shallow dish, mix carrots with broth mixture until carrots are completely coated. Arrange carrot slices on a foil wrapped baking sheet, making sure they don’t overlap. 

Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from the oven and flip carrots. Put baking sheet back in the oven to bake for another 10-15 minutes. (It might take more less time depending on how thick or thin you slice your carrots.) You’ll know you’re  bacon is done when the edges are crispy and the center of each looks dry. 

Carefully move the bacon to a plate with a paper towel to soak up any extra oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Let cool to room temperature before crumbling over a salad or putting on a sandwich. Store in airtight container in the fridge.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Creamy Lemon Pasta

This creamy, bright lemon pasta is just right for a great easy and fast vegetarian dinner. If you want to reduce calories, you can substitute the cream for a rich vegetable stock or chicken stock if keeping it vegetarian is not a consideration.  If using stock, I would add a teaspoon corn starch when thickening sauce). This also can be "hefted up" by adding sautéed fish, shrimp or chicken.

1 lemon

1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
1# spaghetti
3 Tbsp. butter, in pieces
4 oz. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1 to 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste 

Zest lemon and slice into matchsticks. Juice lemon, strain and reserve. Place zest in a large non-reactive pan with wine and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and cook until it reduces to a syrupy mixture, about 1/4 cup, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from heat and pour in about a 1/4 cup of the cream (stock). Stir, then pour in remaining cream (stock with corn starch). Return to heat and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened and reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain.

Return the hot pasta pot to the stove. Pour in cream mixture (stock), butter and lemon juice; stir, then add hot drained pasta and a few tablespoons of cooking water. Toss together and then the cheese in 3 or 4 parts, tossing each to meld with sauce. Add more cooking water if sauce is too thick and crumbly.

Plate each portion of pasta on plates and drizzle each with olive oil, a little sea salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Orange Beef with Scallion Rice

1 1/2 pounds beef top sirloin
3 Tbsp. peanut oil (can also use vegetable oil)
2 Tbsp. Corn starch
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup white sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 large head of broccoli, cut into small florets 
Zest from one orange
2 Tbsp. fresh squeeze lemon juice
1 tsp crushed red pepper flake

2 cups, plus 1/4 cup Chicken stock 
1 cup long grain rice
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sliced scallions 

Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper 

 In a heavy bottom pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add rice and mix to coat completely.  Heat rice for 2 to 3 minutes, stir. Add chicken stock (or water), scallions and salt. (Taste liquid, it should taste like soup.) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until rice is tender and all liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and reserve covered.

In a small bowl whisk together orange juice concentrate, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt; Set aside. Trim beef and slice into strips, lay out on a pan lined with paper towel. Season with salt and fresh black pepper. Toss with cornstarch and coat evenly.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium high heat until hot. (you should see the top of the oil start shimmer smoke lightly) add beef, turn heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until know longer pink, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger, cook another minute.  Add broccoli, stir and cook until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in reserved sauce, 1/4 cup chicken stock, orange zest, lemon juice and crushed red pepper flake. Cook, stirring until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. 

Serve on a bed of the scallion rice and Enjoy!

Menu 11/25 - 12/1

Christmas Party at Bob and Tammy's

Chinese Orange Beef with Broccoli
Scallion Rice

Grilled Salmon with Lemon and Dill Butter
Pan Roasted Kale with Garlic and Chiles

Lemon Pasta
Sautéed Zucchini Squash with Italian Herbs
Chopped Romaine Salad with Roasted Beets

Dinner out - Celebrating E's Birthday

Christmas Party at Gil's

Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri sauce
Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash
Oven Roasted Carrots with Golden Raisins and Moroccan Spice

Skillet Apple Pie

Apple pie, especially this time of year (any time actually) is an absolute go to for dessert.  This preparation is so easy that you could just about have pie any day of the week, not just for a special occasion.  I know, your waistline will curse this recipe, but your taste buds will go wild.  The brown sugar and butter underneath the crust on the pan bottom makes a fantastic, nutty, delicious note to this winner of a dessert.  Enjoy!

2# Granny Smith apples
2# Braeburn apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 package refrigerated piecrust
1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Vanilla ice cream (or any other you'd like- Butter Pecan is great)

Preheat oven to 350°F

Peel apples and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and 3/4 of cup granulated sugar.

Melt butter in a 10 inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and place one piecrust in skillet over brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over piecrust, and top with remaining pie crust.  Whisk egg whites until foamy., then brush the top of the pie with the whites.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut 4 or 5 slits in the top for steam to escape.

Please pie in the oven and bake for 1 hour (you may need an additional 10 minutes if not golden brown enough) or until golden brown and bubbly.  If excessive browning starts to occur, shield with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving. Top each piece with ice cream and enjoy!

Shredded Chicken Adobo Tacos

We had a hankering for a good street food Mexican. You know, double soft warm corn tortillas filled with Carnitas or shredded smoked chicken and all the extras (white onion, Queso fresco, cilantro, etc.) So, I found this recipe in the New York Times which looked very authentic. The only change I made was instead of cooking the chicken from a raw state, I got a rotisserie chicken at the market and remove the skin, then shredded. It makes this super fast and easy. Be aware that chipotle chiles are spicy, so if you’re not into too much heat, go lightly. The smokiness of the adobo does make this dish a total winner, enjoy!

(for the sake of time you can substitute a cooked rotisserie chicken and disregard the first seven ingredients)

4large bone in chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds
3 scallions, left hall, 
1 Bay leaf
1 thyme branch
3 black peppercorns
1 allspice berry
2 cloves
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 or 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from the can
1/2 cup chicken broth
8 fresh corn tortillas


One small white onion, finally chopped, soaked and ice water for 10 minutes and drained
Finley sliced Serrano chiles, can use jalapeño instead
Sliced radishes
Sliced avocado
Crumbled case so fresco or mild feta cheese
Crème fraiche or Mexican Crema
Cilantro sprigs
Dried oregano
Lime wedges
(Disregard the first step if you’re using cooked chicken. Just shred and reserved for the steps that follow)
Put chicken thighs in a sauce pan and cover with 3 cups of water. Add scallions, Bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove chicken and cool. Shred chicken with your fingers, discarding skin and bone. Strain broth and reserve; you should have about 2 cups shredded chicken.

Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion, season with salt and cook until softened in a bit browned, about 5minutes. Add garlic and cumin, cook for one more minute. Add chop chipotle chili in adobo sauce and stir to combine. Add shredded chicken and stir to coat. Add chicken broth and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce is thickened somewhat. Correct seasoning with salt if needed. Keep warm.

Warm the tortillas over steam, keeping them soft and pliable. I like to stack what I need, wrap them in tinfoil and put in 350°F oven for five minutes. If I need to hold them warm for any length of time, reduce oven temperature to 180°F.

 Build the tacos quickly: put a spoonful of the saucy chicken in the center of each tortilla. Top with a teaspoon of chopped white onion, a few slivers of Serrano chili, some radish and avocado slices, a teaspoon of queso fresco and a teaspoon of Crema. Add a few cilantro sprigs and a small pinch of oregano. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side. Ole, enjoy!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Mexican Slaw

Juice from 2 limes
1Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 dried arbol chile, stemmed, seeded and cut into rings
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 C. shredded peeled jicama
3 medium raw beets, peeled and shredded
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and grated

In a small mix bowl combine the first 6 ingredients and whisk together to form the dressing for your salad. Reserve.  In a large bowl, mix together the jicama, beets, and cucumber.  Top with dressing and toss to fully coat.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours (can be as long as overnight).  Serve cold and Enjoy!

Thanksgiving 2017

Ahh, once again we are at my favorite holiday; nothing beats it.  I find there is something magical about getting into the kitchen with family and friends (yes, at my house we all join in) and cooking a terrific meal together.  Then, sitting down around the table with a few more (many) bottles of great wine and having a really long dinner with tons of conversation, laughs, and reflection on why we are so fortunate to have the love of those that mean so much to us.  It is truly a special time and I love it!

This year we are going with very simple appetizers, but crowd favorites.  A dry brined bird, which Kim will expertly roast off in the oven. And, yes you do see Tator Tots on the menu(Ore-ida brand and they will go for a swim in the fryer to get that perfect crunch).  Many favorite sides and  lastly, not one, but two pies- both classics.  Enjoy!!

Appetizers –
Homemade Guacamole and Salsa
Warm Tortilla chips

Charcuterie board-
Serrano Ham
Manchego cheese
Fig spread
Kim’s Sweet and Sour Pickles

Dinner –
Brined and Roasted Whole Turkey
Pan Gravy
Balsamic Glazed Caramelized Shallots
Cranberry Sauce with Orange and Walnuts
Sausage and Herb Dressing
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Tator Tots with Spicy Ketchup
Maple Glazed Root Vegetables
Parmesan and Bacon Green Beans
Skillet Apple Pie, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Warm Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Weekly Menu: 11/18 - 11/25

Tilapia with Crab and Spinach Stuffing
Lyonnaise Potatoes
Roasted Carrots with Onion

Pork Carnitas with Warm Corn Tortillas
Black Bean Salad with Avocado, Cilantro, and Lime
Mexican Style Slaw

Chinese Vegetable Stir Fry
Steamed Rice with Scallions

Portuguese Kale and Sausage Soup
Romaine Salad with Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette

Beef Chili
Jalapeno Corn Bread

Thanksgiving Dinner- "The Best Holiday of the Year!!"

Dinner out

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tilapia with a Crab and Spinach Stuffing

Makes 4 servings

4 Tilapia filets
8 oz. Crab claw meat
½ sweet onion, minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
6 portabella mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 oz. olive oil
2 oz. butter, plus some to grease baking dish
12 oz. bag of frozen spinach
1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese
4 oz. dry vermouth
2 Tsp. Old Bay seasoning
½ C. Panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400⁰ F

Place a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and butter.  Once butter has melted, add onions, mushrooms, and garlic.  Cook for 3-4 minutes until soften; add spinach and cook until most of the liquid has been evaporated, 8-10 minutes.  Add vermouth and reduce by half.  Add cheese and crab, gentle stir together.  Season with Old Bay and correct seasonings with salt and pepper.  Remove stuffing from heat and reserve.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish with soften butter.  Place tilapia filets in dish, season with salt and pepper.  Divide stuffing amongst the four filets gently patting down onto fish.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil.  Place into hot oven for 20-25 minutes until fish is cooked.  Turn oven’s broiler on high and move the dish to the top rack.  Cook another 3-5 minutes under the broiler to deepen the golden color.  Remove and serve.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Best Roast Chicken; Trust Me!

Dry brining with salt before roasting in a very hot oven is the secret to this scrumptious recipe.  Once you are ready to cook the chicken, you can always hit it with herbs and spices (a rub) to enhance the flavors.  Some coriander, red pepper flake and mustard powder makes a nice warm glow to the bird.  Or, just some coarsely ground fennel seeds and black peppercorns.  Also, curry and garlic powder mixed and sprinkled on is very nice.  It’s almost limitless the fun you can have.  Just plain is also amazing.  Lastly, you can always arrange some veggies around the bird as it goes into the oven for a built-in side dish.  Onions, carrots, celery, and russet potatoes are good go-to’s.  But, don’t forget winter squash (like Kabocha or Acorn), fennel wedges, leeks, even some thick chopped bacon or pancetta can make a great accompaniment.

3 ½ -4# Chicken
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
12’ cast iron skillet (can also use an enameled cast-iron baking dish)
Olive oil
Kitchen twine

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt inside and out.  Now, tie the legs together with kitchen twine and let sit for an hour minimum. (Salting the bird ahead of time allows the seasoning to really penetrate the meat.  An hour is great, but longer is better.  You can go up to a day ahead of time, just make sure to refrigerate the bird if you do.)

Place a rack in the upper third of your oven and set the cast iron skillet on the rack.  Preheat oven to 425°F.  Once oven reaches temperature, pat chicken dry with paper towels again and lightly coat with olive oil.  Drizzle a bit more oil into hot skillet which will prevent sticking.  Place chicken in the center of the skillet and roast for 50-60 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should register 155°F.  It’ll climb to 165°F as the bird rests.)

Remove from oven and let the chicken rest for 20 minutes (and up to 45 minutes).  Transfer to a cutting board and carve.  Enjoy!

Weekly Menu 11/4 - 11/10

Pan Roasted Black Cod topped with Shrimp and Spinach
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Oven Roasted Pork Loin with a Fennel and Mustard Crust
Apple Sauce
Chopped Salad tossed in a Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Loaf with Cranberry
Grilled Romaine with Parmesan, Roasted Garlic Dressing

Indian Spiced Red Lentil and Vegetable Stew
Basmati Rice

White Chicken Chili
Acorn Squash with a Spiced Cider Glaze

Dinner at Republic (Detroit)
Taste of France with Wine Pairings Event

Grilled Beef Tenderloin with a Cabernet-Mushroom sauce
Oven Roasted Broccoli
Mashed Parsnips with Parmesan and Green Onion

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Weekly Menu

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Chimichurri Sauce
Vegetable Medley with Herbs

Grilled Salmon with Olive Oil and Red Onion
Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Butternut Crusted Meat Pie
Sautéed Tuscan Kale with garlic and Chile flake

Chicken Piccata with Spaghetti Squash
Sautéed Zucchini with Italian Herbs

Pan Roasted Cod with Lemon and Capers
Oven Roasted Asparagus
Summer Squash with Shallots and Dill

Grilled Beef Tenderloin wrapped in Bacon
Roasted Acorn Squash with a Citrus-Honey Glaze
Chopped Romaine Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Out with Friends in the "D"

Butternut Crusted Meat Pie

I was taking a walk with the dog and thinking what I was going to make for dinner. We had some butternut squash in there and about a pound of ground beef in the frig. I decided to do a riff on a classic, Shepherds pie. I figured with the weather getting colder it would be a nice change of pace and the squash would go well with the beef.


1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1 1/2” chunks
1 tablespoon soften butter 
1–2 pinches of ground ginger
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Meat filling:
2 Tbsp. Olive oil 
1# ground beef 
1 medium onion, peeled and diced small
1 rib celery, washed and diced small
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced medium

1 russet potato, peeled and diced medium
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 Bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme 
Tabasco sauce, to taste
A good hand full flat leaf parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

 Preheat oven to 400° F

On a baking sheet put butternut squash chunks drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper; mix well. Please squash into oven and bake until soft 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large skillet put 2 tablespoons of olive oil and warm over medium-high heat.  Add onions, carrots, & celery and cook until they start to get soft 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and ground beef. Season well with salt and pepper and using fork break up large pieces. Brown meat, 8-10 minutes then add tomato paste, mix well.  Continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes then add chicken stock, parsnips, potatoes, Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaf and Tabasco. Mix and let cook down a little for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and reserve.

By now, your squash is done. Remove from oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher or kitchen spoon mash the squash with a couple pinches of ground ginger and some butter. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Transfer the beef mixture to a casserole or pie dish. Take the squash mash and spread on top to create an even topping. Dot the top with soft butter. Place pie in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Top should be a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Fennel Rubbed Leg of Lamb with Carrots and Salsa Verde

(1) 4-5#  butterfly boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finally chopped
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 # small to medium carrots.

Salsa Verde 

1/2 cup finally chopped parsley
1/4 cup finally chopped chives
2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 300°

Season lamb generously with salt and pepper. Let’s sit out at room temperature while you prepare the rub.  Using a spice mill or mortar and pestle coarsely ground fennel seeds and red pepper flakes. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in garlic and 3 tablespoons oil. Evenly rub lamb all over with spice mix, making sure to work it into every nook and cranny.

 Heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. As soon as oil is hot and shimmering, add lamb to skillet and sear. Remove and reserve.

Trim and peel carrots, scatter along the outer edges of the large rimmed baking sheet. Place seared lamb in the center. Drizzle olive oil over carrots, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast lamb and carrots until thermometer inserted into the center of the Leg registers 135° for medium rare, 75 to 90 minutes. Transfer Lamb to a cutting board and tent with foil, let rest 20 minutes. Leave oven on. 

Salsa Verde-

While the lamb is resting, transfer carrots to a platter and carefully pour any juices from the baking sheet into a small bowl. Transfer carrots back to baking sheet and pop into the oven. Roast 5 minutes to reheat.

Meanwhile, mix parsley, chives, lemon juice, pan juices, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper and more lemon juice if needed.

Remove twine from Lamb and slice about half inch thick (You can go really go as thick or thin as you would like) arrange on a platter and serve with warm roasted carrots and salsa verde along side.


Radicchio with creamy tahini dressing and salted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt
1/2 small red onion, very thinly slice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon tahini
2 medium or 4 small heads of radicchio, leaves separated, large leaves torn
Olive oil, for drizzling

Lightly crush sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle and transfer to a small bowl. Add a few pinches of sea salt, toss to combine. Set aside.

Toss onion and lemon juice in a large bowl, season with kosher salt and pepper. Let’s sit 5 minutes to lightly pickle. 

Meanwhile, mix yogurt, tahini, and 2 tablespoons water in another small bowl until smooth. Season dressing with kosher salt and pepper. 

Add radicchio to bowl with onion and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat, season with kosher salt and pepper. Transfer salad to a platter and drizzle with tahini dressing. Sprinkle reserve salted sesame seeds over salad. Serve and enjoy!

Sous Vide Tuna

I absolutely love my Sous Vide machine ("Sous Vide", French for cooking under vacuum).  The technique poaches the food slowly using very precise temperatures and circulating water while the food is in a vacuum sealed plastic bag.  The result is the most moist, flavorful fish (or whatever you are cooking)!

2 Sashimi grade tuna steaks
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 slices lemon
1 green onion, sliced thinly
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat water bath to 115° using sous vide machine. 
Place tuna steaks in medium mixing bowl. Add all ingredients and gently toss. Transfer each steak into its own plastic Ziploc bag, Making sure that each steak gets two sprigs of thyme and two slices of lemon.  Vacuum seal and place in water bath, making sure each is fully submerged.  Cook for 45 minutes.  Once done, remove bags from water bath and then remove tuna from their bags. Remove thyme sprigs and lemon discard. 

In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Once hot, quickly sear each steak on each side, 1-2 minutes. Remove and let rest for five minutes, served With fresh thyme sprigs and very thin slice of lemon for garnish.  Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin with Golden Beets

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
2 coarsely chopped medium onions
3 medium golden beets, scrubbed and cut into small wedges
4  garlic cloves, minced
2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped mint
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots, chopped

Kosher salt and Fresh ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium – high. Season the pork tenderloin with salt and black pepper.  Once oil starts to smoke place pork in pan and cook until browned on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter and reserve. 

Add onions and beets to the same skillet and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, sauerkraut, vinegar, chicken broth, white wine, and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Cooking till beats or fork tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
Return pork to skillet and push down, nestling into liquid. Increase heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, turning the meat from time to time. Cook until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 150°, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer port to a cutting board and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.

Meanwhile, mix olive oil, mint, parsley, toasted walnuts, apricots, and rest of lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Slice pork into 1/2” slices.  Spoon beat mixture onto plates, arrange pork on top. Spoon walnut mixture over. Serve and enjoy!

Plum cake - Zuetschge Kuchen

Kim's mother learned this from her mother in Germany and has passed the recipe down.  If you can find the prune plums (mid-end of summer) it will be well worth the hunt.  One of the best cakes I've had in a long time!
1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup butter
1egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups. Purple plum (prune plums)

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons softened butter
Crumble all ingredients together in separate bowl and reserve

Preheat oven to 375° F.

In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer, blend butter till smooth and then slowly add dry ingredients. In their own bowl beat egg yolk, add milk and mix. Add this to butter mixture and combine well.

Transfer dough to a greased 11 x 7 pan and press down on bottom and sides. Press plum slices into dough overlapping plums. Sprinkle on topping. 

 Put the pan in preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes.  Let cake cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before slicing.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

We recently went to a friend's house  in Cincinnati for a long weekend and brought this for an item to serve with breakfast.  It was very moist and delicious. It can easily be converted to a gluten-free bread by switching out the AP flour for your favorite GF one.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pound fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 loaf pans. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. Fold in zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. 

Transfer to the prepared loaf pans. Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until knife inserted in the center of the love comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Serve and Enjoy!

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 Salad

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!