"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, December 31, 2018

It’s Winter, Let’s Grill! Skewer Fun!

The middle of winter is the best time to think about grilling outside. I grill year round, but it’s never too early to think about the warm weather, a chilled beverage, and some beautifully grilling meats over the hot coals. Skewers are the perfect vessel and you can be very creative. Here are a couple of really fun recipes.

 Sweet and Spicy Bacon with ScallionGinger Relish
 These beauties need to be attended to go the entire time they are on the grill to minimize the rocks. Be patient and you will be rewarded. If you try to rush them, they’ll burn to a crisp.

6 scallions, thinly slice
1 Serano chile, thinly slice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated peel ginger
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
Kosher salt

Bacon and assembly-

Vegetable oil (for grill)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 pound thick cut bacon
Lime wedges (for serving)

(8) 8”-12” long metal skewers

Relish: toss scallions, chile, lime juice, oil, ginger, & brown sugar in a medium bowl. Season with salt, mix and reserve.

Prepare grill for medium high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank calls on one side of the grill. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off) oil grate. Combine honey, sambal oelek, vinegar, and sriracha in a small bowl. Set glaze aside.

Thread bacon onto 6 to 8 skewers, folding back and forth in accordion style. Grill over indirect heat, turning every minute or so or until browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Base with reserved glaze turning every 30 seconds or so, until lacquered and slightly sticky, about three minutes (move to and even cooler spot if needed to keep glaze from scorching). Serve bacon with relish and lime wedges, Enjoy!

Do ahead: glaze can be made one week ahead covered and chilled in the refrigerator.

Cumin-Chile Lamb with Garlic Yogurt

Garlic Yogurt:
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon  black pepper corns
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Vegetable oil ( for grill)
1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Finally grated lemon zest, for serving

To make yogurt stir garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice into yogurt in a small bowl to combine. Season with salt and pepper. This can be made three days ahead. Cover and chill.

Coarsely grind  cumin seeds, peppercorns, caraway seeds, red pepper flakes, and sugar and spice mill or with the mortar and pesto until only a few whole spices remain.

Prepare a grill for medium high in direct heat (for a charcoal grill, bank calls on one side of the grill. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off).
Oil grates. Thread lamb on to 6-8 skewers, leaving a small gap between each piece of meat. Season with salt, then sprinkle generously with spice blend, pressing it onto the meat with your hands to help it adhere if needed. Grill lamb over direct heat, turning every minute or so, until browned and beginning to char in spots, about 4 minutes. Move to cooler side of grilling continue to cook lamb until desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for medium rare.

Top garlic yogurt with cracked black pepper and a little lemon zest. Serve along side the lamb. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Kale, Swiss chard, and shrimp stuffing

 One of my clients was kind enough to overnight a couple of beautiful Maine lobsters to us yesterday. It was completely unexpected, but we were very excited. I decided to make the stuffing and roast them off  in a very hot oven. It was delicious and a fantastic presentation. This stuffing would be delicious by itself if you bump up the amount of shrimp or add another fish like cod or any firm white fish. The recipe can be used with any fish or even chicken or beef for a play on surf and turf. Enjoy!

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 rib celery, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 # raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped small
1 bunch Tuscan kale, washed, ribs removed and thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and thinly sliced (stems too)
1/4 C. White wine
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 live lobsters, split lengthwise

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add shallots and celery, sweat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add thinly slice kale and Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until wilted. Add shrimp, mix thoroughly and Koch just until shrimp starts turning opaque. Add wine and deglaze pan. Add thyme, mix and cook another minute.  Remove from heat and transferred to large mixing bowl. Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Add breadcrumbs Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. With a large kitchen spoon mix to incorporate.

Place split lobsters on sheet tray, stuff body cavity and tail with stuffing. Squeeze fresh lemon over stuffing and place into hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes until stuffing  is golden brown and lobster is cooked. Remove and let sit for five minutes, serve and enjoy!

*  if I was preparing this as a meal by adding additional fish, I would grease a casserole dish, add  stuffing to dish, then in hot oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. I would  serve with rice or even a potato dish. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Broccoli Salad

1 C. Mayonnaise
1/4 C. White Sugar
1/4 C. Cider vinegar
8 C. small head broccoli (just break up the large head into bite-sized pieces)
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1/4 C. Green onions, sliced thin 
1/4 C. Pecans, roughly chopped 
1 # smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled 
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar and Colby cheese
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

In a large mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar and cider.  Mix well with a whisk to blend.  Add all the other ingredients and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Spicy Pulled Pork and Chile Stew

Nothing is better on a cold winter night then a bowl of warm spicy chili. My inspiration for this came from wanting to make a white chicken chili, but the chicken was frozen and I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of defrosting and cooking it. We had some pulled pork in the fridge already prepared (thanks Sam's club) and thought adding butternut squash and potatoes would be a nice addition. The result was a smoky, tender pork and mild heat of the diced green chilies provided an excellent flavor combination and really lends itself to the comforting warmth of the dish without overpowering spice.  Enjoy!

* please note that I do not measure out my spices, salt and pepper when throwing together a new recipe. I eye them out and just add a little of this and a little of that. It comes with years of experience, you may need to correct the amounts to your particular tastes.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium Red onion, diced
1 medium Carrot, diced
1 rib Celery, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2# smoked pulled pork (I like Sam’s club’s)
1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can white beans
1 can green chiles

3 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp. Cumin 
1 Tbsp. Chile powder  
2 tsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Thyme
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 

Avocado slices
Dollop of Sour cream
Tortilla chips

 In a large stock pot put olive oil and butter over medium high heat to get hot. Add onion, celery, carrots and sweat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for an additional minute and then add squash and potato. Mix and cook for 5 minutes. Add pulled pork, tomatoes, stock, beans, chiles, Bay leaves, and spices. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. (depending on personal preference, you may want to add additional spices as well)

Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes and squash are tender. Cover, turn off heat and let sit for 30 minutes. 

To serve, ladle into bowls, top with a couple of slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream and serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Itailan Sunday Dinner Braciole and Sauce

I love this one.  It is one of those recipes that has become one of our family classics and will show up at many of the holidays and large family gatherings.  Yes, it's work and takes a couple days preparation, but you will be rewarded with everyone never missing a meal at your house once they've had it and know it's on the menu.  This is that good! 
The day before you want to serve this dish prep the Braciole and make the meatballs.  I have made the entire dish, sauce and all a day or two ahead (just gets better with time) and reheated for my dinner party.  Doing it ahead makes for a stress free party and you can enjoy family and friends rather than being in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Serves an army!

2 # Beef top round, sliced thin (have butcher do two 1# pieces)
1/2 C. breadcrumbs
1/4 C. chopped garlic
1/4# Soppressata, sliced thin
1/4# provolone cheese, sliced
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
kitchen twine, to tie meat

1/2# each ground beef, pork, and veal
2 eggs
3/4 C. fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 C. milk
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chopped parsley
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 C. each diced onion, celery, and carrot
8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced as thin as you can
3 bay leaves
2 cans whole San Marzano tomatoes (crush by hand and reserve in bowl)
1 small can tomato paste
1 C. chicken stock
2 Tbsp. oregano
1/2 C. fresh basil, coarse chopped
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

At least 1# rigatoni pasta or any wide, large pasta (amount depends on the size of the crowd, good rule of thumb is 3/4 C. dry pasta per person)
1 rack baby back ribs, cut into individual ribs
1 # sweet Italian fennel sausage
1# fresh Ricotta cheese
1/2 C. grated pecorino cheese, extra for the table
1/2 C. chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

Braciole- you're making a rolled up log that when cut will look like a pinwheel.

Pound out the beef to about an 1/8 of an inch thickness, thin but not too thin to rip the meat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Lay down the Soppressata, then provolone on top of the meat, sprinkle on garlic, breadcrumbs, and parsley.  Taking an edge of the meat, roll away from you to form a log.  Use kitchen twine to tie, not too tight, but to secure the roll.  Wrap each in plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl combine breadcrumbs and milk.  Let absorb for 5 minutes.  Reserve.  In a large mixing bowl combine the rest of the ingredients.  Add breadcrumb and milk mixture.  I wash my hands very well and mix this all by hand, squishing the mixture between my finger to insure a really thorough mix.  I then taste test (you don't want to cook the entire batch to find they are under seasoned)  by heating a small frying pan, take a small amount of the mixture flatten to a disk and cook it until done.  I taste and correct the mixture if need be.  Portion mixture out to make 2-3" diameter (or any size you like) meatballs and place on a greased baking sheet.  Once all the mixture is balled up, place meatballs in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes or until browned and cooked through.  Remove from oven, let cool to room temperature.  Place in large ziplocked bag and reserve in the refrigerator until making the dish. (this can be done 3 or 4 days ahead if you like)


Place a large stock or sauce pot on stovetop and get hot over medium heat.  Add butter, onions, celery, and carrot.  Sweat vegetables for 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute.  Add pork ribs, sausage, Braciole, meatballs, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Add oregano and basil, stir.  Cook sauce for another 3 1/2 hours.  Keep an eye on it that it doesn't boil, you want just a nice slow simmer, stir from time to time.

30 minutes before you want to eat, get a large pot of salted water on the fire to boil.  Once at a rolling boil, add pasta and cook for about 8-10 minutes.  I like mine al dente.  Drain well and put on a large serving platter.  Top pasta with meats and sauce, then dollop the ricotta cheese over the top.  Sprinkle over the top with pecorino and parsley. Make sure to have extra grated pecorino for the table.  Serve and Enjoy! Abbondanza!!

Prosciutto Bread

I was watching one of the cooking shows and saw this preparation, it looked amazing.  So, I went into the kitchen this weekend and copied the idea for a friends dinner, it was a huge hit.  I served alongside homemade marinara for dipping which really took it over the top.  With store bought pizza dough, it's super easy and delicious.  We loved it so much, I'm doing it as an appetizer for Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy!

1 store bought pizza dough
2-3 oz. of each of the following;
1/2# Provolone cheese
1/4C. grated pecorino cheese
1-2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Fresh grated Black pepper, to taste
chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
2 Tbsp. flour, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor roughly grind the five deli meats together. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.  Add provolone to processor and rough grind, add to meat mixture.  Grind some black pepper to taste over mixture, mix well.  Take pizza dough and stretch it slightly to form a fat flat disk no bigger then the circumference of the bowl you're using.  Place on top of meat and cheese and press dough down into mixture.  Carefully turn dough and repeat to the other side.  You are pressing the meat and cheese into the dough, keeping it in it's disk shape. 

Sprinkle some flour on your counter (so dough doesn't stick).  Transfer dough to dusted counter.  Fold two sides of the dough towards the middle and then roll to form a log.  I stretch the log out a little for more even baking.  Transfer bread to a greased sheet tray, brush the top with a little olive oil and place into hot oven. 

Bake for 40 minutes or until crust is nicely browned.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.  Using a serrated knife, slice bread and place on platter.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, grind some fresh black pepper over and sprinkle with pecorino cheese.  Top with chopped parsley and serve.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Weekly Menu 11/4-11/10

Herb rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Fennel and Carrots
Chopped Salad with Fig-Thyme Vinaigrette

Oven Roasted Black Cod
Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Olives and Preserved Lemon
BBQ glazed carrots

Butternut Squash, Kale, and Chicken Stew, bacon crumble
Baked Sweet Potato chips

New England style Fish Cakes
Parmesan crusted Asparagus

Grilled Salmon with pesto
Steamed Broccoli and Garlic

"Steak and Red Wine night"
Medium-rare aged Porterhouse steak with herb butter
Sautéed Spinach with toasted pine nuts
Oven roasted Carrots with Harissa and Honey
Roasted Acorn Squash

Cast Iron Roast Chicken
Roasted Baby Bliss Potatoes with Sea Salt and Thyme
Root Vegetable Casserole

The Perfect Roasted Nut

I am using almonds, but any nut can be substituted.  After much experimenting, I found that 15 minutes in my ovens puts a perfect amount of roast to the nuts.  You may want to use less time your first go round and see where they are as your oven maybe different.  Depending on my mood, I have finished these with brown sugar and cayenne, Old Bay, or cinnamon and sugar is nice too around the holidays.  Enjoy! 

1# raw Almonds
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. very hot water
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Sea salt for tossing

Heat oven to 375°F.
In a small bowl dilute salt in hot water, stir until mostly dissolved. Put almonds in large bowl and coat with salted water, toss to coat evenly. Place baking mat on sheet tray, pour on almonds and arrange in single layer. Place in oven for 8 minutes. Remove,  mix well & put back in oven for an additional 7 minutes.
Remove from oven and place in mixing bowl, coat with olive oil and additional salt. Let fully cool in bowl (hot nuts will absorb the oil). Stir in air tight container. Enjoy!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad

2 ears of fresh corn
1 avocado, diced
Juice of one lime
2-3 Tbsp. Red onion, minced
1 Tbsp. Cilantro, minced
1 Red bell pepper, cut in half
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
Course Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat grill to high. Remove husk from corn and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and black pepper. Place ears of corn on the grill and char all sides, cook about 7 to 8 minutes total, you want the kernels to still have a slight crunch to them. Toss Red pepper halves with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Cook 4 to 5 minutes each side. Removed and reserve.

Using a sharp knife remove kernels off each ear into a mixing bowl. Dice red pepper and add to corn. Add red onion, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, avocado. Carefully mix, you don't want to mash the avocado rather keeping the dice intact as much as possible. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper. 
Serve and Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Capers

2 Tbsp. good olive oil plus extra
1 large eggplant
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. minced red onion
3 Tbsp. capers
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped fine

Slice eggplant thickly and salt both sides reserve on a paper towel for 10 minutes to draw out moisture . This step reduces the bitterness of the eggplant.

Preheat grill to high. Brush excess salt off of eggplant slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and coat evenly. Place eggplant on the grill and cook 4-5 minutes each side. Remove from direct heat and place on upper grill racks to continue cooking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until very soft.

Remove eggplant once done and reserve on cutting board until cool enough to handle. Roughly chop eggplant and place back in mixing bowl.  Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly to incorporate. Check seasoning, correct with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve and enjoy!

Menu 6/16 - 6/21

Brisket rub Salmon and Grilled flat iron steak
Roasted Eggplant with Sun-dried tomato, garlic and capers
Corn & Avocado Salad with Cilantro and Lime


Sunday- "Father's Day"

Slow Roasted BBQ Spare Ribs
Cole Slaw
Grilled Radicchio with Strawberries and Cashews tossed in a Pomegranate dressing
Smokey Tuscan Kale


Oven Roasted Black Cod with Lemon and Capers
Zucchini Ribbons tossed with Roasted Grape Tomato vinaigrette
Spaghetti Squash with Olive Oil, black pepper and Parmesan

Business Dinner at Joe Muer Seafood

Brined and Grilled Chicken
Roasted Broccoli and Asparagus

Dinner out in Ferndale

"Steak and Red Wine night"

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

This can be made on the grill as easily as in the oven.  Simple, easy, and with tremendous flavors.  Great with scalloped potatoes, roasted vegetables or a fresh salad.  Enjoy!

serves 4-6

3# Pork tenderloins (2- 1 1/2# each)
4 cloves Garlic, peeled and crushed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Rosemary, stems removed
2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp. olive oil separated
1 tsp. each of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C. beef stock
1/2 C. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. caper berries ( can substitute capers)

Preheat the oven to 450˚F.

Combine the garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, one tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Press this mixture onto the tenderloins.

In a large skillet with an oven proof handle, heat 1 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the tenderloins and cook, turning frequently, until brown on all sides, about 8-10 minutes.

Transfer to the oven and roast for about 12 minutes. (Don't overcook your pork, keep it nice and moist, not dried out. Internal temp should be between 145°-160°F.) Remove pork from the pan and keep warm.(Important, let pork rest 7-10 minutes before you slice.  This allows the juices to remain in the meat and not run out all over your cutting board and the plate, keeping the meat very flavorful and juicy)
Set the pan over high heat and stir in the beef stock and vinegar, scraping up the cooked bits. Bring this to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Turn the heat off, whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time until melted. Stir in the capers.
Slice the tenderloin into thick 1" slices and serve with balsamic caper sauce over the top. Enjoy!

Weekly Menu: 5/19-5/25/18

Pulled chicken and pork tacos
Avocado Salad with Pickled Jalapenos
Roasted corn and black bean salsa
Habanero and pineapple salsa

Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Spaghetti squash
Steamed Broccoli with Citrus-herb Butter

Grilled Vegetable Pasta with roasted Grape Tomatoes and Basil

Grilled Lamb Kofta with Tzatziki sauce 
Cucumber, Tomato, & Red Onion Salad
Roasted Eggplant
Hummus with vegetables

Sous Vide Tuna with Caper berries and Lemon
Sautéed Tuscan Kale Chopped
Garden Salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette

BBQ Chicken
Roasted corn with cilantro and crumbled Queso Fresco
Romaine Salad with Sweet Onion Vinaigrette

“Steak and Red Wine Night”

Monday, May 7, 2018

Butternut squash with dates and walnuts

So, I know it’s May and Spring has finally sprung, it was 80° today in Detroit, Butternut squash might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But, I love butternut squash; when roasted, it becomes so luxurious and comforting. You could easily add bacon to this one and it would be a grand slam. I was keeping it vegetarian, for meatless Monday, but will definitely be making this again with pork.

1 medium to large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 small onion, diced
1 glove garlic, minced
1/2 C. toasted walnuts, cut into pieces
1/4 C. dates, pitted and chopped
1 tsp. fresh sage
1 tsp.  fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 Jalapeño pepper, minced (add more if you like the heat) A good squeeze of fresh lemon juice Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cover the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with a parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the squash, onion, garlic, herbs, jalapeño, salt and black pepper. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of good olive oil and toss to evenly coat the squash.  Pour contents of bowl onto the baking sheet and using kitchen tongs space squash evenly in a single layer. Place into oven and roast for 20 minutes. Remove squash from oven and using the kitchen tongs turn the squash.  Add dates, honey, and lemon juice to the hot squash. Mix well to coat all the pieces. Place back into oven and roast another 15 minutes. Remove and serve hot.  Enjoy!

Grilled, Chilled Shrimp with an Adobo Aioli

You can certainly serve these by themselves, just dynamite.  I added the aioli, because I wanted there to be a heat note that I thinks adds to the shrimp.  And, let's face it, it always fun to dip our food into something.  Enjoy!

2# large shrimp (16 to 20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1/4 C. minced fresh parsley
1/4 C. Minced fresh basil
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 C. olive oil
1 lemon, juiced

Adobo Aioli:
1/4 C. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Chipotle peppers in Adobo
squeeze lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced

Make the aioli by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.  Reserve in the refrigerator, can be made 3-4 days ahead of time.
For the shrimp, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and allow them to marinate for 1 hour room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Heat grill and brush with oil to prevent sticking.

 Skewer shrimp.  Grill the shrimp for only 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Plate, serve with dipping sauce, and enjoy!

Grilled Radicchio

Looking for something different to spice it up.  With warmer weather here, it's always cool to grill different hearty lettuces to make a salad or side dish really stand out.  The bitterness of the Radicchio stands up nicely to the garlic and citrus.  The creamy-nuttiness of the pecorino adds a terrific counterpoint to the dish.  Enjoy!

1/3 C. Olive oil
1/4 C. Balsamic vinegar
4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. Rosemary, minced
1 tsp. Orange peel, grated
2 Tbsp. Orange juice
1/2 tsp. Red pepper flake
1 head Radicchio, trimmed stem and quartered
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C. Shaved Pecorino cheese

Preheat grill, get it hot.

In a blender combine the first 7 ingredients. Blend to a vinaigrette (you may need to add a little water to correct the consistency)

Place the lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the vinaigrette, then add salt and pepper; let sit 15 minutes.

Place the radicchio onto the hot grill for about 3 minutes a side. You want the outer leaves to get a nice char. Remove and put on you platter, drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle top with cheese. Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

I love roasted beets and the goat cheese is such a classic go with.  I use latex gloves to handle the beets, so my hands aren't ruby red for the rest of the day.  Enjoy!

Serves 4

6 fresh large beets, peeled, washed and cut into 2” pieces
Good olive oil
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
4 ounces of goat cheese, roughly crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a medium sized mixing bowl toss beets with olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and black pepper. 

Place on a rimmed baking pan that is lined with parchment paper. Place pan with beets into hot oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and using a kitchen spoon turn beets and return to oven for another 10-12 minutes or until beets are cooked all the way through.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Add crumbled goat cheese and top with walnuts, serve and enjoy!

Chicken stuffed with Ham and Mushrooms

Sometimes dishes just come to me.  I knew I was going to do something with the chicken breasts we had in the frig.  I normally don't like breast meat, I'm a dark meat guy.  Give me a succulent thigh, braised or brined, then grilled and I'm lovin' it.  But, this is what we had.  I saw the ham and put the rest together.  It came out great and pretty easy to assemble and cook.  I finished the chicken with a little butter and used the pan juices for a quick and easy sauce, but you could make a separate sauce too. Enjoy!

Serves 6

4 skinned and deboned chicken breasts
1/2# good smoked ham, shaved thinly
1 C. sliced baby Bella mushrooms
2 shallots, minced
1/4 C. Chicken stick or broth
3/4 C. Grated Gruyere cheese
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. Paprika
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Wooden toothpicks

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add some olive oil and get hot. Add shallots, stir and cook until translucent; about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook another minute. Add mushrooms and season with sea salt to help bring out moisture. Stir and cook until mushrooms get golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add stock and fresh time to taste, mix well and reduce liquid until almost dry. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and let cool on the side.

Using a very sharp knife carefully cut a pocket in each chicken breast. Stuff each breast by layering some smoked ham, then mushroom mixture and top with some cheese. Gently press down on top of the chicken breast and using a few wooden toothpicks secure edges of the pocket, so filling does not come out during cooking. Place stuffed chicken on a rimmed baking pan and season with paprika, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and place in hot oven. Cook for 25 minutes, then transfer under hot broiler for last 4-5 minutes to get brown. Remove from broiler and let rest for 10 minutes.

Remove toothpicks and slice on the bias. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Colcannon Potatoes

Keeping with Sunday's Irish themed dinner, this staple was a must.  Traditionally done with cabbage, I substituted kale.  It came out a winner and added some nice color to the plate.  If you have left-overs, add a whole egg and form into small cakes and fry up golden brown.  Makes a nice take on hash browns for breakfast or goes great with a salad for lunch.  Enjoy!

Serves 4-6
1 small bunch kale, washed, stem removed, and shredded
1/2 cup chicken stock
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
3 strips of good smoked bacon, cooked and chopped

Garnish- Fresh parsley, minced

Place cut potatoes into a large pot filled with water, salt and bring to boil.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are tender.

While potatoes are cooking, place kale and chicken stock in a large sauce pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered, until kale is tender about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid in a bowl. Place green onions in drained kale liquid and keep warm.

Drain potatoes; place in a large bowl and mash. Add mayonnaise, kale and chicken stock with onions.  Mix until just blended.  Correct seasoning with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  To serve, drizzle with butter top with parsley and bacon. Enjoy!

Oven Braised Corned Beef

A good corned beef dinner is not just for St. Paddy's day. I served this with sautéed Swiss Chard, dates and toasted pumpkin seeds and a nice serving of Colcannon Potatoes.  I added some horseradish mustard on the side and away we go!  Of course, braised cabbage is traditional AND boiled potatoes of some sort. (Yes, and beer)  30-40 minutes before beef is ready to come out of the oven you can add carrots, cabbage, and potatoes to make a fabulous one pot meal if you like.  Have fun and Enjoy!

Olive oil
3# Corned Beef brisket with seasoning packet
1 bottle good hoppy beer
1/2 C. Chicken stock or broth
3 Tbsps. brown sugar
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. Garlic powder
2 Bay leaves

Remove corned beef brisket from package, reserve spice packet. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry.  Rub spice packet on fat side of brisket and garlic powder on all sides. Reserve off to the side for an hour to let reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 275° F.
In a Dutch oven heat a tablespoon of olive oil over med-high heat.  Add sliced onions and cook till they soften and start to turn brown, 4-5 minutes.  Add beer, chicken stock, brown sugar, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, add corned beef; cover and place into oven.  Cook for 1 1/2 hours then check the amount of liquid in Dutch oven around beef, add additional stock if low or starting to dry. Cover and continue to cook another 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and let sit covered for 30 minutes. Remove brisket from Dutch oven and slice across the grain with a serrated blade.  Serve with your favorite mustard or horseradish if you like. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Weekly Menu 4/8- 4/14

Braised Corned Beef with Horseradish Mustard sauce
Colcannon potatoes
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and Dates

Pan Roasted Black Cod Vera Cruz
Oven Roasted Eggplant
Crispy Asparagus with Shallots

Sticky Soy Glazed Pork Loin
Stir-Fried Vegetables
Chopped Salad with a Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette

Marinated and Grilled Chicken
Spaghetti Squash with Olive Oil, Parmesan, and Garlic
Oven Roasted Broccoli

Wheat-Free Pasta and Vegetables with Roasted Tomatoes and Basil
Grilled Caesar Salad

Sous Vide New York Strip Steak
Chophouse Salad with Italian Vinaigrette
Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Whitefish with Crab Stuffing

I love this combination to "fancy" it up for dinner.  It's simple to make, so you don't have to wait for the weekend.  I served it with simple steamed broccoli and a sweet potato and smoked ham hash.  It works nicely with rice and asparagus also.  I served a nice New Zealand sauvignon blanc which paired perfectly.  Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

2 whitefish filets
olive oil

1 can crab meat
2 Tbsp. diced onion
2 Tbsp. diced celery
1 Tbsp. diced green bell pepper
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1/4 C. panko breadcrumbs, plus a little extra fro topping
dash or two paprika
2-3 dashes Tabasco
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Prepare stuffing; in a mixing bowl combine all ingredients.  Mix to combine, being careful not to break up the crab too much.  Set aside.

Take a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on paper where you will be laying the fish.  Lay fish, skin side down.  Lightly season filets with salt and pepper.  Take stuffing and spread evenly on fish.  Sprinkle extra breadcrumbs on top and drizzle with olive oil. 

Place sheet tray with fish into hot oven and cook for 20-25 minutes or until fish is cooked through and stuffing is browned.  You may need to finish under the broiler to get the golden brown color you desire on top.  Remove fish from oven and let rest 5-7 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Lamb Chops with a Goat Cheese Crust

I learned this preparation at the famed Greenbrier Hotel while apprenticing there after culinary school.  The creamy, earthiness of the chevre cheese makes a fantastic compliment to the lamb.  Served with a simple lamb jus, rosemary roasted potatoes and heirloom carrots for a terrific weekend or holiday meal.

Serves 4-6 people

2 racks of lamb, frenched and trimmed (Frenching is just removing the fat and sinew from the bones of the lamb rack to give them a clean, neat appearance)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
4 oz. mild goat cheese, warmed to room temperature
1/2 C. panko bread crumbs
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Season lamb generously with salt and pepper.  Drizzle each with olive oil and reserve.  Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over high heat.  Make sure your hood vent is on, you are about to create a lot of smoke.  Once pan is very hot place lamb racks (one at a time) in the skillet fat side down and sear brown on all sides about 4-5 minutes then turn and sear the other side.  (This can be done outside on your grill, so you don't smoke up the house) Remove and reserve on a sheet pan.  Repeat with the other rack.  Once cool enough to handle rub garlic and herbs over entire surface of each rack.  Then coat each with mustard.  With bones facing down and using a rubber spatula, spread goat cheese evenly across each of the loin parts of the lamb, leaving the bones as clean as possible.  Once complete, coat each rack on all sides with breadcrumbs.

Place racks on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet and into the hot oven; cook for 20-25 minutes until breadcrumbs have browned and lamb is medium-rare (125° F internal temperature).  If crumbs aren't sufficiently brown you can place racks under a hot broiler for a minute to get the color right.  Remove lamb from oven, reserve off to the side and DO NOT TOUCH for 10-15 minutes.  This is essential for the meat to rest and not bleed all over your board once cut.  Once rested properly, slice between ever two bones (double chops) and serve.  Enjoy!

Kim's Southwest Wedge Salad

As much as I love to cook, having someone cook for me is a very close second.  Especially, when it's done well.  Last night Kim took over the helm and prepared an expertly done grilled Romaine salad with an addictive Poblano dressing.  It included Mexican spiced chicken and a host of ingredients that came together in a smoky, seductive plate that I can't get off my mind.  It's simple, easy to prepare and you're going to love it.  Thanks Babe!  Enjoy!!

Poblano Dressing
1/2 C. fresh cilantro
1/2 C. roughly chopped Poblano pepper
1/4 C. olive oil
2 Tbsps. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 Tbsp. agave (can also use honey)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 garlic clove
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

3 strips smoked bacon, diced
1# boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1"cubes (strips or shredded after cooked can work too)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 red onion, sliced into rings
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 ears corn, shucked
1 C. cherry tomatoes
1 head red romaine, stem trimmed (but, still intact so head stays together)
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

Preheat broiler to high heat.  Preheat grill to high.

Prepare dressing; place all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until completely smooth.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl add chicken, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper.  Toss to coat and set aside.  Broiler should be hot by now.  In a shallow oven dish, toss tomatoes with olive oil and place under broiler to blister; 2-3 minutes, then turn and 2-3 minutes more.  Remove, turn off broiler and reserve on the side.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add bacon and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towel.  Chop bacon roughly and set aside.

Add chicken to hot bacon fat in skillet and cook over medium-high heat until cooked through 5-7 minutes.  Remove chicken and reserve in a bowl covered with tin foil to keep warm.  Add onion rings to hot skillet and sauté until slightly charred, 4-5 minutes.

Remove skillet from flame and add ears of corn directly to the burner.  Cook on burner for 5-7 minutes rotating corn frequently until slightly charred on all sides.  (The corn will pop and make all kinds of noise, this is normal and kinda fun!)  Once done, slice the corn off the cob and set aside in a small bowl.

Drizzle some olive oil on the cut-side of the romaine and season with salt and pepper.  Place cut-side down on very hot grill at a ten o'clock position (we're going to get those really cool diamond shaped char marks), press down gently and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  Using tongs move lettuce to a two o'clock position, press down gently and let cook for another minute or two.  (You are looking to just char the lettuce a bit, not cook it so as to be limp and mushy.  The lettuce should still be crisp, while getting a beautiful smoky quality from the grill.)

Assemble your salads; Use the lettuce wedge as the base and top with all the ingredients, don't forget the avocado.  Drizzle dressing over and serve.  Enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Lemon Bars

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For filling:
6 extra large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioner sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350° F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in a bowl with an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt, with the mixer on low, add to the butter and mix until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands, press it into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking sheet. Building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill for 15 minutes.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on. 

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioner sugar. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

1 red bell pepper
1 green onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Agave syrup (Can substitute honey)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Oregano
Juice of one lime
1/4 C. White vinegar
1/4 C. Olive oil
1/2 C. Canola oil
Kosher Salt and pepper

First, roast the red pepper.  This is easily done by turning one of the eyes on your range top to high.  Using tongs, place the whole red pepper directly onto the burner and let the skin char black.  Make sure to char the entire outside of the pepper.  This will take about five minutes. Make sure you rotate the pepper to blacken all of the skin. Once complete, remove from burner and place in bowl, cover tightly with saran wrap. Set aside and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Once done remove pepper and in the sink under a light stream of water, using a small utility knife (or fingers) remove all the charred skin, leaving the red flesh.  (This technique will allow you to very easily remove the skin and gives the pepper a beautiful smoky quality.) 
Now remove the stem, seeds, and ribs out of the pepper.  (I make all my dressings in a 4 cup Pyrex mixing cup and use a mixing wand to incorporate all ingredients.  Other than my 8" chef's knife and pans, it's the most used tool in my kitchen, I love it!!)  Assuming you don't have a wand, you can use a blender or food processor also.  If so, add all ingredients and process until fully emulsified.  Season with salt and pepper, Enjoy!
If you don't have any of these tools, just chop pepper finely and add to a clean mixing bowl.  Add all other ingredients EXCEPT the oils, salt and black pepper. Mix together.  Take a kitchen towel, twirl to make kind of a rope and place on the counter in a circle (looks like a towel ring).  Place the bowl in the center, so towel acts as a sort of base.  This will stop the bowl from rocking or moving as you are now going to do a whole lot of whisking.  Once ready, using your whisk (a fork can work too), very vigorously start whisking as you very slowly stream the oils into mixture and emulsify your dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Mexican chicken casserole

This casserole is very easy to put together and quick enough to do (because of the cooked chicken) during the week. It was an instant hit with the family. I served it with mashed avocados and a simple salad tossed in a roasted red pepper vinaigrette. I’m sure it’ll be a hit with yours, Enjoy!

1 cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded (I love Costco for these, very large birds and you can't beat the price)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 medium white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded Mexican style or taco cheese
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Coriander
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp. Cilantro
1 Tbsp. chipotle in adobo sauce (some may find these very hot, use to taste)
1 Jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, diced finely
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Sliced green onion to garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well until cheese and mayonnaise is fully incorporated. Lightly grease a casserole dish and add mixture to it. Cover and place in hot oven for 30 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted.  Garnish with green onion, serve and Enjoy!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Jalapeno and Cheddar Corn Muffins

These beauties are easy to throw together and delicious.  I made a chicken white bean chili last week and made these as a go with.  Can't get your hands on fresh tender corn, no problem, frozen will do.  Just make sure to fully thaw before you add them to the batter.  Enjoy!

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter plus more to grease muffin tin
1 C. tender raw corn kernels (use frozen (fully thawed) if fresh is unavailable)
1 jalapeno chile, chopped finely
Kosher salt
White pepper (use fresh cracked black if don't have)
1 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. white or yellow cornmeal
1 1/s tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
4 oz. grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Using soften butter grease muffin tins and reserve off to the side.

Put 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and heat over med-high heat.  Add corn and jalapeno and cook for 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and reserve off to the side.  Melt remaining 4 tablespoons in a separate pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients plus 1 teaspoon salt (except cheese).  Beat in buttermilk and eggs to make a thick batter.  Add corn, chiles, cheese, and melted butter.  Mix to incorporate.

Using a spoon put batter into each greased tin, fill 3/4 way.  Place into over and bake for 10 minutes (if using larger muffin tins you may need to cook longer, use toothpick to test doneness) until golden brown and a toothpick comes out cleanly.  Let cool 15 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!