Pommes de Terre Gratin avec Chèvre et Emmental

Ingredients:
6 lg Russet Potatoes, clean, skin-on
4 oz Chèvre Goat Cheese, room temperature
6 oz Mozzarella or other mild semi-soft cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 oz Emmental or Swiss Cheese, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Potatoes in 1/4″ disks slices, discarding the ends.
  • In a sauce pot, bring the Heavy Cream and Milk to a simmer on medium heat–stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not bring it to a boil, and do not let it scald.
  • Break the Goat Cheese up and slowly add it to the Milk/Cream mixture, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt.
  • Do the same with the Sour Cream, Butter, and Mozzarella–not all at once, just in small portions, stirring as it mixes.
  • After all is melted and mixed well, remove from heat.
  • Line the Potato Slices in a 9×13 casserole dish. The slices should overlap like fallen dominoes. You can either put all the potatoes in one layer or divide into two layers–up too you. I prefer one Layer.
  • Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Cover with the Cheese/Cream/Milk Mixture.
  • Layer the Emmental cheese slices on top, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake covered for 45min to 1 hour, or until the top begins to brown and it is bubbly on the sides.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTES: So this is really a Cheesy version of Scalloped Potatoes–scalloped referring to the shape of the potatoes and how they are placed in the dish. “Gratin” on it means there is a cheese covering–which is the only way to do potatoes like this, if you ask me. I incorporated two specific mountain cheeses–Emmental from Swizerland and Chèvre from France. In most parts of the US, one will just find them listed as “Swiss Cheese” and “Goat Cheese”. So don’t worry if you don’t find those specific names.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with QuinoaShrimp and Sausage Jambalaya with Quinoa

Ingredients
1 lb jumbo Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
4 cups Chicken Stock
2 cups Quinoa
2 cups Andouille Sausage, sliced
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Green Bell Peppers, chopped
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Bay Leaf
2 tsp Thyme, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
2 tsp Oregano, fresh, chopped (if dried 1/2 tsp)
1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Ground
Tabasco Sauce to taste

Directions:

  • In a large dutch oven, melt the butter and brown the Andouille Sausage.
  • Add the Bell Pepper, Yellow Onion, and Celery, and saute until it is soft.
  • Add the Garlic and stir for another minute or so.
  • Add all Herbs, Shrimp, and Chicken Stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the Quinoa and cook, covered for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add Tabasco Sauce to taste–some like it hotter than others.

Makes 4-6 servings

NOTES: Jambalaya is a traditional dish from Louisiana made from rice and akin to Paella. I thought it would be fun to try this dish with Quinoa instead since I’m not a big fan of Rice. I must say I was quite pleased with the result.

You can add Chicken to this recipe, as most Jambalaya recipes do include chicken. It would be cooked at the same time as the Andouille. Some Jambalaya, especially that near New Orleans is known as “Creole” vs. “Cajun”. The only big difference I’ve been able to note, other than mild spice variations, is the use of Tomatoes in the Creole version. I chose to go with the Cajun style, lacking the tomatoes since it is the Cajuns that are my familial cousins.

Pot de Crème

Ingredients:
2 cups Heavy Cream
6 Egg Yolks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate nibs
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
Water for cooking
Whipped Cream for topping

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 325°F
  • In a large bowl beat the Egg Yolks with 1 cup of Heavy Cream, Vanilla, and Sugar.
  • In a double boiler, melt the Chocolate and other 1/2 cup of Cream.
  • Slowly add the Chocolate Mixture to the Egg Yolks and mix well. Do not add all the Chocolate at once, or it may cook the Eggs!
  • Divide the Mixture into 6 Ramekins or similar oven-proof dishes. Traditionally, you could use Espresso Cups.
  • Place the filled Ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with water so that the water comes up about 1 inch around the Ramekins. If you have a baking dish that has a lid, use that. Otherwise, you will need to cover the baking dish with Aluminum Foil.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the custard begins to set, but is still jiggly.
  • Remove and cool, then chill until you serve (at least 1/2 an hour).
  • Garnish with a dollop of Whipped Cream

Makes 6 Ramekin-sized servings, or 8-10 Espresso-sized servings.

NOTES: So I fell in love with this dish when I happened upon it at a French restaurant called Singe Vert in New York. I asked my chef mentor Philippe Fallait about the dish, and he said it was not as hard as people think but also very rich and that I did not want to know how many egg yolks went into it. Well after much trepidation, I finally built up the nerve to look into this dish–and this year I finally made my recipe and executed it. It was a hit with my closest friends (who are very particular and honest)–I was very excited.

So Pot de Creme is not a custard, not a pudding, and not a mousse, but is very similar to all of those. It is creamy and silky smooth, and very rich.

Haricots Verts à l’Orange – Green Beans with Orange

Haricots Verts à l’Orange

Ingredients:
2 cups Green Beans, stems removed
1 red Peperocini Pepper, de-ribbed, de-seeded, minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Orange Juice
1 tsp Orange Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil on Medium in a heavy skillet.
  • Add the Garlic and Peppers, and toss for 1 minute.
  • Add the Green Beans and mix well. Toss for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the Orange Juice, and continue to toss until Greenbeans are a bright Green, depending on skillet and heat, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Toss in Salt and Pepper to taste, and garnish with Orange Zest.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This adds a citrus flavor to the Green Beans that is a little sweeter and hotter than the normal Lemon juice that one often sees with a stovetop Green Bean saute.

Campfire Chicken Pouches

Dedicated to the men formerly of BSA Troops 354 and 747 of the Yellow River District in the Atlanta Area Council.

Campfire Chicken Pouches

Ingredients
2 Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skinless
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless
1 small Yellow Onion, diced (Vidalia ideally)
1 1/2 dozen Table Mushrooms, quartered
1 yellow Bell Pepper, diced
6 cloves Garlic, slivered
1 Corn on the Cob, cut in half
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
4 Tbsp Butter, divided in sixteen pieces
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
1/2 tsp Cumin, ground
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed, ground
1/4 tsp Fennel Seed, crushed
1/4 tsp dried Oregano, crushed
Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare Coals or Preheat Oven to 350F. If you have the luxury to be camping and cooking over a fire, you’ll want to create an area of charred wood–like a bed of coals. You could also use charcoal in a grill. You should know that on open fires, it is difficult to gauge the temperature–so be vigilant and have tongs ready to move your goods.
  • Cut four pieces of Aluminum Foil AT LEAST 1 foot by 1 1/2 feet. I recommend getting the extra-wide Aluminum Foil and cutting 4 squares.
  • Season the Chicken pieces with Salt and Pepper.
  • On two of the sheets of Aluminum foil, place on each: one Thigh, one Breast, one half of the Corn.
  • Mix the Mushrooms, Peppers, Butter, and Spices together and divide among the two Squares, keeping everything in the center in a mound.
  • Put a Sprig of Rosemary in each.
  • For each pouch, carefully pull two sides together and fold the seam together. Then fold and roll each side remaining. I recommend then placing in a second piece of Aluminum foil and repeating – helps prevent spillage and tares.
  • Roast for about an hour, making sure to heat evenly. If using an oven, place the Pouches on a baking sheet.

Makes 2 pouches (2 servings)

NOTES: So this takes me back to when I was a Boy Scout in troops 354 and 747 in Conyers. We used to make some variation of this on a camping trip–usually with skin-on chicken and a bag of mixed veggies. Sometimes we would add fresh veggies and potatoes, and rarely any herbs or spices outside of Seasoned Salt. This is my version with real Spices, fresh Rosemary, and Mushrooms instead of Potatoes. The vegetables you choose to use are up to you, and limited only by how many they fit inside a pouch. If you use Potatoes, I would suggest adding more salt and pepper.

It is memories of the times like camping that really stand out to me. Looking back, most of my friends from my later troop are very distant now–probably because we’ve moved on geographically, but also because they’re much more conservative than I am–me being gay probably doesn’t help as a result. Regardless, I dedicate this to those folks.

Orange and Fennel Turkey Breasts

Orange and Fennel Turkey Breasts

Ingredients:
2 Turkey Breasts, boneless, & butterfly cut
2 Fennel Bulbs, thinly sliced perpendicular
2 Shallots thinly sliced
1/2 cup Orange Juice
1/4 cup Turkey Stock (or Chicken Stock)
2 Seedless Oranges segment cut
1/4 cup Raisins
2 Tbsp Capers
1/3 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Orange Zest
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Dust the Turkey Breasts with the Cumin, and Salt and Pepper as needed.
  • Heat up a large skillet on medium heat and add the Olive Oil.
  • Saute the Turkey Breasts on both sides, about 3-5 minutes each (depending on thickness) until cooked through and starting to brown. Remove to the side
  • In the Skillet add the Fennel and Onion and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tender.
  • Add the Stock, Orange Juice, and Raisins, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Orange segments and simmer for another 2 minutes, stirring often but trying not to break up the segments.
  • Plate the Turkey and cover with the Fennel Orange topping.
  • Garnish with fresh Parsley, Capers, and Orange Zest.

Makes 2-4 servings (depending on the size of the breasts).

NOTES: I tend to use Naval Oranges for this recipe. In fact if you get two Naval Oranges for segments, and then another 2 for the Juice, it is amazing! Use fresh Zest from the Oranges, not the store-bought kind.

Baked Mahi Mahi with a Bruschetta Topping

Baked Mahi Mahi with a Bruschetta Topping

Ingredients:
4 10-12 oz Fillets Mahi Mahi, skin-on
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
Olive Oil just a drizzle

Bruschetta Topping
6-8 Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 yellow Onion, minced
1 Tbsp Capers, minced
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
2-3 Tbsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil on your stove. There should be enough room for the Tomatoes, but they should not yet be put in the pot.
  • Remove from the heat, and place the tomatoes in the hot water for 1 minute.
  • Using tongs, remove the Tomatoes.
  • Carefully remove the skin with a knife; and then cut in half and remove the seeds and juice.
  • Dice the Tomatoes and set to the side in a large bowl.
  • Add the minced Garlic, Onion, Capers, Balsamic Vinegar, Herbs, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper to taste; Stir well, and leave to marinate. Chill.
  • Preheat the Oven to 425°F.
  • Drizzle a little Olive Oil on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  • Place the Mahi Mahi skin-side down, and sprinkle with Salt (liberally) and Pepper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fish is flaky.
  • Dab each Fish with 1/2 Tbsp of Butter,  and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Use a spatula and to remove the fish and plate.
  • Taking a large spoon, divide the Bruschetta among the four fillets. I recommend draining as much liquid as you can from each spoonful.

Makes: 4 servings.

NOTES: Mahi Mahi is the Hawaiian name for the Dolphinfish, meaning “very strong”. It is a mild fish, similar to a tuna in texture, though the filet is white and usually sold skin-on. Though I’m using a Hawaiian/Caribbean fish, this dish is more of a fusion dish that I came up with when I read somewhere that tomatoes bring out the flavor of the fish.

You may also choose to try this Grilled.  I recommend if you do that, to keep the high heat, but to wrap the fish in aluminum foil or cook it on a closed grill.  Grilling would also provide some smoky flavors to the fish which are amazing!

Braised Rabbit with Dijon Sauce

Dedicated to Tim Mathis, who loved the Dijon Sauce

Ingredients:
1 Rabbit, cut in 6 pieces
1 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Shallots, diced
3 cups Table Mushrooms (small is best)
4 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Dijon Sauce
1/2 cup Stock from Rabbit
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:

  • Sprinkle the Rabbit pieces with Salt and Pepper on all sides.
  • Melt 1 Tbsp Butter and the Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven on medium heat.
  • Brown all the Rabbit pieces and set to the side. Do not over-crowd the Dutch Oven–you can do it in batches.
  • Carefully add the Wine, Garlic, and Shallots, and scrape the sides of the Dutch Oven with a balloon whisk.
  • Add the Chicken Stock, Herbes de Provence, and remaining Tbsp of Butter.
  • Add the Rabbit pieces and Mushrooms. The liquid should mostly cover the Rabbit, if not add more Chicken Stock, Wine, or Water.
  • Bring to a Boil on Medium-High heat.
  • When Boiling, lower heat and bring to a simmer. Cover for 45-60 minutes.
  • Remove Rabbit pieces, and then strain the liquid. Reserve the Mushrooms, Shallots, and Garlic for the side. Reserve 1/2 cup of the Broth for the Sauce.
  • In the empty Dutch Oven, combine the Reserved Broth, Heavy Cream, Honey, and Dijon Mustard, mixing well with a balloon whisk.
  • On medium heat bring to a boil and let roll for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Take the Rabbit pieces and coat them in the sauce, and then plate.
  • Remaining Sauce can be put in a Gravy Boat or bowl. Serve the Mushrooms and Shallots as a side

Makes 3-4 servings.

NOTES: Rabbit cooked this way is very mild, almost like chicken. You should get the Rabbit cut up by your butcher, though it is not hard to do yourself, but if your butcher sells it, then they can cut it. If you have a squeamish friend who fears the Bunny…the same Dijon sauce can be used on grilled or rotisserie chicken. Most folks, honestly would not know they’re eating rabbit unless you told them…just sayin’.  The broth can be saved and used with Pasta or Rice for a nice Soup as well.  You can also add lemon and bring to a boil and add whisked eggs–amazing.

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with a Balsamic Dijon Sauce

Herb-Crusted Tuna Steak with Balsamic Dijon Sauce
And Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 8-10oz Tuna Steaks
1/4 cup Herbes de Provence
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Honey

Directions:

  • Pat the Tuna Steaks with a paper towel and remove excess moisture on the outside. Salt and Pepper both sides.
  • Sprinkle the Herbes de Provence on both sides of the Tuna, and press lightly.
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a skillet until hot.
  • Carefully place the Tuna steaks in the skillet.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, depending on how done you want your Tuna. Do not move them while they are cooking.
  • Using tongs or a spatula, carefully flip the Tuna and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Remove and let rest.
  • Add the Dijon, Butter, and Vinegars to the skillet, and mix well.
  • Lastly add the Honey, and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Drizzle the sauce over the Tuna, or serve on the side.

Makes 2 Tuna Steaks

NOTES: This is a very quick and flavorful way of making Tuna–and not the overused Miso-Wasabi variations people seem to be leaning on as of late. The herbs crust onto the tuna infusing the flavors into the meat. The sauce has a rich sweet and savory silkiness that complements the herbs and tuna.

Chipotle Mesquite Salmon

Ingredients
1 lb Salmon filet, boneless, skinn-on, cut into 2 to 4 pieces
1/4 tsp ground Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp ground dried Chipotle Pepper
1/4 cup BBQ flavored Potato Chips
1/4 cup Honey
Olive Oil for drizzling
Avocado for Garnish

  • Preheat Oven to 400°F.
  • Pat the Salmon dry, and remove any bones.
  • In a bowl, combine the Spices and Potato Chips.
  • Sprinkle liberally over the Salmon fillets, and press. Do not worry as much about the sides, and disregard the skin-side altogether.
  • Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and lightly drizzle the olive oil.
  • Place the Salmon fillets skin down onto the baking sheet.
  • Drizzle the Honey over the fillets.
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes, depending on how done you want the Salmon.
  • While cooking, slice the Avocado in half, remove the pit, and then carefully peal the skin. Set aside until Salmon is done.
  • Plate the Salmon. Slice the Avocado length-wise and thinly. Place a half of Avocado on each Salmon piece.

Makes 2-4 Servings.

NOTES: So this may be a flashback recipe from my poorer youth–but seriously the barbecue chips really add to the recipe. You can choose to use panco breadcrumbs instead, but you’ll want to add some mesquite seasonings, and really unless you have a pre-made mix, it is a pain in the butt.

Festive Noodle Kugel

Ingredients:
12 oz Egg Noodles
8 oz Cream Cheese
8 oz Sour Cream
8 oz Ricotta Cheese
4 Eggs
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Salt
3-4 cups Graham Crackers, crushed
1/2 – 1 cup Raisins (optional)
Water for Boiling
Pinch of Salt for Water

Directions:

  • Bring Water to a Boil and add Salt and Egg Noodles. Cook till al dente. They will cook much quicker than regular pasta, so don’t leave it unattended.
  • Drain the Noodles, and set aside.
  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Divide the Graham Cracker crumbs and sprinkle on the bottom of a casserole dish (9″ x 13″ approximately).
  • In a large bowl combine the Dairy, Eggs, and Spices (and Raisins if using them). Mix well.
  • Fold in the Noodles.
  • Pour mixture (think scoop) into the Casserole dish, and even it out with a spatula.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Graham Cracker Crumbs.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes.

Makes 6-8 servings.

NOTES: This Central European Jewish dish is traditionally served at Hanukkah, though it can be served throughout the year as a festive pudding/custard. I first learned this dish when I found evidence that a section of my family was Ashkenazim and had converted to Catholicism in the 1800s.

Roasted Winter Root Soup

Ingredients:
1 med Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Carrot, skinned, chopped
1 Parsnip, skinned, chopped
1 Turnip, skinned, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, skinned, chopped
2 Potatoes, chopped
2 Kielbasa Sausages, sliced in 1 cm thick rounds
6 cups Vegetable Stock/Broth
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Dill
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add all Root Vegetables and Kielbasa to a Dutch Oven, coat with the Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and then another 10 minutes.
  • Remove and scrap into a large Soup Pot.
  • Add the Vegetable Stock and heat on high heat until it boils.
  • Add the remaining Herbs and Spices, reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a family recipe from my Slovakian side of the family, originating from Medzev, Slovakia (formerly Metzenseifen).

When chopping the vegetables, think of bite-size/spoon size pieces. You can substitute Mushroom Broth or Chicken Stock for the Vegetable Stock. You can also utilize any other cooked Sausage instead of Kielbasa if you like.

This simple, healthy dish will keep you warm on a blustery winter night.

Garlic-Roasted Asparagus with Chestnuts

Ingredients:
2 bunches of Asparagus, trimmed
12 Chestnuts
4 cloves Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Trim the Asparagus by removing the lower 1 to 2 inches of hard stem.
  • Cut an X in the side of each Chestnut.
  • Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, and then add the Chestnuts and boil for 7 minutes.
  • Strain, and run under cool water.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Peel the hulls from the Chestnuts. Then coarsely chop the Chestnuts.
  • Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet.
  • Place the Asparagus on the baking sheet, spreading out as best possible to make an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the Chestnuts, Garlic, Salt, and Pepper over the Asparagus.
  • Drizzle with Olive Oil.
  • Bake for 5-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: So this was another whim that had a good payback. The pre-cooked Chestnuts, when chopped and roasted exhibit an outer crispness that gives way to a sweet creamy meat that complements the Asparagus. The Garlic adds a nice bite, but also a contrast to the sweetness of the Chestnuts and Asparagus–not to mention roasted Garlic smells AMAZING.

I also want to comment on boiling vs. roasting the Chestnuts. Boiling allows for a more even cooking, and it is easier to remove the meat from the shells. Whenever making Chestnuts, always make more than needed, in case one is bad, or ends up falling into your mouth. Additionally, if you’re just making Chestnuts for eating, after boiling, and shelling, you can still roast with a little salt. Believe it or not, most street vendors boil their chestnuts before roasting them in their cart…gives them a reliable easy to preserve and serve product.

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Pan-Seared Duck in a Gingered Cherry Glaze with Fried Sage

Ingredients:
2 1lb Duck Breasts, with Fat
Salt and Pepper to taste
8-12 fresh Sage Leaves
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Cherry Juice
3 oz Kirschwasser
1 tsp Ginger Powder
1 Tbsp Butter

Directions:

  • Score the fat of each Duck Breast, crisscross.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt and Pepper
  • Heat a skillet on medium heat, and place the Breasts fat-side down in the Skillet.
  • Cook for 7-8 minutes, rendering the fat.
  • Flip the Breasts, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes or until Medium Rare.
  • Remove from the pan.
  • In the hot duck fat, place the Sage leaves, and fry for 1-2 minutes, until crisp. Remove to papertowel.
  • Remove the excess fat. You can save it for use in other dishes.
  • On medium heat, deglaze the Skillet with the Kirschwasser and Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Add the Honey, Cherry Juice, and Ginger.
  • Cook for 2 minutes until bubbly, then melt the Butter into the Sauce.
  • Take the Duck Breasts and return them to the Skillet, turning them over in the Sauce to coat.
  • Plate the Duck.
  • Slice the Duck then drizzle some Sauce over the Duck.
  • Garnish with the fried Sage.

Makes 2-4 Servings…each breast is 16 oz, and would make each a very hearty portion. Depending on serving sizes, you could feed up to four people.

NOTES: Duck is a lost poultry to most people. This is probably one of the simplest meals for Duck and it packs an amazing flavorful taste. The Gingered Cherry Sauce compliments the bold flavor of the Duck Breast. The Sage gives an aromatic crispy edible garnish. I would recommend this dish during Christmas, especially a romantic Christmas dinner for two.

Pumpkin Seed and Sage Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

Pumpkin Seed and Sage Crusted Tilapia with Roasted Garlic

Ingredients:
2 heads of Garlic
2 tsp Olive Oil (for roasting)
1 tsp Salt (for roasting)
4 Tilapia fillets
Salt and Pepper to Taste)
1 cup Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tbsp dried Sage
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Take a 12″ x 12″ square of Aluminum foil and crinkle into a nest or bowl, big enough to support the heard of Garlic.
  • Using a chopping knife, cut off the top of the Garlic head, exposing the tops of the cloves.
  • Place the Head in the nest, and drizzle the Olive Oil over the exposed Garlic cloves.
  • Sprinkle with Salt.
  • Place nest on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes or until the Garlic is tender to the touch. Remove when done and set aside.
  • While the Garlic is roasting, place the Pumpkin Seeds and Sage in a food processor and pulse until mealy, like bread crumbs.
  • Salt and Pepper both sides of the Fillets.
  • Place the Pumpkin Seed crumbs in a bag, and dip the Tilapia filets one at a time, pressing the crumbs onto the fillets.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Fry the Fillets for 3-5 minute on each side, until golden brown.
  • Remove the fish and rest on a cooling rack or paper bag to remove excess Oil.
  • Plate the Fillets.
  • Using the Aluminum foil to hold the Garlic, squeeze the cloves out into a bowl, like a paste.
  • Top the Filets with the Roasted Garlic paste.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on the size of the fillets.

NOTES: Pumpkin Seeds are an almost forgotten ingredient, but used as a breading they add a healthy nutty crust. I love this dish also because it smells so good while its being prepared–tips hat to roasted Garlic. Though there are a lot of “steps” to the roasting of the Garlic, this is actually a rather simple yet flavorful meal–the best kind.

Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Mushrooms in a Balsamic Cream Sauce

Ingredients:
1 lb Table Mushrooms, cleaned
4 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • Add the Mushrooms, Garlic, Olive Oil, and liberal Salt to a medium sized skillet on medium heat.
  • Slowly heat the Mushrooms stirring constantly and flipping every few minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, drizzle in the Balsamic Vinegar. Keep stirring.
  • After 2 minutes, add the remaining ingredients.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes, being sure to scrape the sides.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES:

This is a very simple side dish with tons of flavor. The Heavy Cream and Balsamic Vinegar add an almost caramel quality sauce. I am sure there is some sort French name for this type of sauce, but I have no clue what it is.  If you want, you can half or quarter the mushrooms.

Turkey Cutlets with Roasted Apples and Onions

Ingredients
2 Turkey Breasts, skinless, boneless, butterfly cut
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, miced
2 large Apples (Fuji), medium sliced
2 Tbsp fresh Sage, chopped fine
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Allspice
2 tsp Ginger
1 cup Apple Cider

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 350°F.
  • Pour the Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven, and coat the bottom well.
  • Place the Turkey Breasts in a Dutch Oven.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
  • Cover with Sage, Apples, Garlic, and Onions.
  • Pour the Apple Cider over everything.
  • Sprinkle with remaining Spices.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, covered.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: This dish could not be simpler or more healthy. The turkey breast marinates in the onions, apples, and cider making it moist and flavorful. This is one of my favorite one-pot dishes for Autumn.

Roasted Mushrooms and Cipollini Onions

Ingredients:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs Table Mushrooms, cleaned
12-15 Cipollini Onions, peeled, and quartered
2 Tbsp Corn Starch
4-6 cloves Garlic, cut in slivers
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 cups Mushroom Broth or Beef Broth
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Place the Corn Starch in a quart-size plastic bag with the Mushrooms and shake to coat them.
  • Place all ingredients into a Dutch Oven with a lid.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, stirring mid way

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I love these…I love mushrooms in general, but roasted is my favorite. And these are very simple and have a nice Autumnal flare to them. They make a great side item maybe with some crusty bread to sop up the broth–Great with roasts or steak too!

Cipollini onions are like mini sweet onions and have a buttery sweet taste to them. If you cannot find them, use a sweet yellow onion diced.

Mustard and Sage Rainbow Carrots

Ingredients:
8-12 Carrots, various colors
2 Tbsp dried Sage, crushed
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Butter, room temperature
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Cut a 1 1/2″ long piece of Aluminum Foil.
  • Clean the carrots, removing tips, greens, and dirt. No need to skin them, but if there is a knick cut it out. If the carrots are longer than 8 inches, cut them in half.
  • Place them on the center of the Aluminum foil, length-wise.
  • In a bowl, combine the Butter, Honey, Mustard, and Sage
  • Brush the sauce over the Carrots evenly.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Pull the ends of the Aluminum Foil together and form a pocket. Fold the edges in so that the Carrots are sealed into the packet.
  • Place on a cookie sheet, folded edges up, and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: I had not really tried rainbow carrots in the past, opting for the more common orange variety, but there they sat at the local market staring at me and telling me that they would be the best new thing of the fall for me to eat. I will admit, that though I am not a fan of cooked carrots, these are actually pretty tasty. There indeed is a slight difference in taste between the purple, red, orange, and yellow carrots. The Mustard and Sage add a nice autumn flavor to the mix, and the honey retains the sweetness. If you cannot find rainbow carrots, the orange kind work just as well.

Published in: on September 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Curried Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Curried Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:
1 lb ground Turkey
4 Bell Peppers, large
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Shallots, minced
3 Jalapeno Peppers, minced
1-2 Tbsp Ginger, minced
1 Tbsp Chives
1 Tbsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp ground Coriander Seed
2 tsp Salt
1 cup Chickpeas
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
Water for Baking
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt for garnish
Paprika for garnish

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 375°F
  • Fill a baking dish with water, 1 inch deep. The baking dish should ideally be able to be covered with a lid, and large enough to hold the Peppers.
  • Remove the top of the Peppers and all the inside seeds.
  • Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and mix well by hand.
  • Divide the stuffing into the Peppers, and place them in the baking dish with the topside up.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Top with the Yogurt and sprinkle with the Paprika.

Makes 4 Peppers.

NOTES: This is a super simple but flavorful dish. Do not forget the Salt–it is important for bringing out the flavors. My first batch, I left it out and so it was hot but not flavorful–bland even with the Chickpeas. You can also add some seasoning to the Yogurt if you like–it acts as a cooling effect if the Jalapenos prove too spicy. This is an original recipe–inspired by Indian flavors. I hope you enjoy.

Choux de Bruxelles à la Moutarde – Brussels Sprouts in Mustard

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved vertically
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Melt the butter in a skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the Garlic and let it brown about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the Stock and Mutard, and stir well to combine.
  • Add the Brussels Sprouts, and cook for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper to taste.

Makes 4-6 servings (depending on how much you love Brussels Sprouts)

NOTES: This is another super easy, super flavorful recipe to share my love of Brussels Sprouts. The creamy Dijon and Butter play off the Sprouts in an amazing comfort-food way. I recommend only Dijon mustard–no American Yellow, and nothing too spicy brown–takes away from the comfort-food nature of the dish.

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Shrimp and Lobster Scampi

Ingredients:
6 Rock Lobster Tails, shelled, meat cut in large chunks
1 lb Shrimp, shelled, de-veined
1/2 cup Butter
2-3 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced thin
2/3 cup Vermouth
Juice of 2 Lemons
2 cups Broccoli, cut in bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Salt
2 cups Water (for steaming)

Directions

  • Bring the water to boil and place the Broccoli in a Steamer.
  • Sprinkle liberally with Salt, and drizzle the Olive Oil over them.
  • Close and steam for 3-5 minutes or until the Broccoli begins to turn bright Green. Set to the Side.
  • Pat the Shrimp and Lobster meat dry, and sprinkle the rest of the Salt, as well as the Cayenne Pepper on all sides of the meat.
  • Melt the Butter in a large skillet, and when the bubbles die down, carefully add the Shrimp and Lobster.
  • Cook thoroughly in the Butter on all sides, about 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring often.
  • Carefully remove the Lobster and Shrimp to a bowl, leaving the Butter in the skillet. If there are small remnants of Lobster, that is ok.
  • Add the Garlic, Vermouth, and Lemon to the Butter. Be careful in case the flame rises.
  • Cook stirring for about 6 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Toss in the Lobster, Shrimp, and Broccoli.
  • Heat for another 3 minutes, tossing well.
  • Serve as is, or over Pasta or Rice.

Makes 4 Servings, 6 if you use over Pasta or Rice.

NOTES: I love this type of buttery, velvety, lemony, goodness of a dish. I would love to know from where in the world it really came from. In America, we tend to say it is an Italian dish, but so much of our Italian dishes are really in the “spirit of Italy”. In England, Scampi is a bar food made from a Prawn that is battered and fried–nothing like the dish we think of. The name Scampi is Italian in origin, though it refers not to the method of cooking, but rather to a lobster-like curved (ref. scampo) crustacean. The American version of Scampi uses Shrimp, though one often can find “Chicken Scampi”, suggesting that in America, we’ve lost the meaning of the word and use it to refer to the method of cooking it in a garlicky, lemony, butter and wine sauce. Nothing new there.

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with an Apricot Ginger Sauce

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with an Apricot Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:
2 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts, butterfly-cut
1-2 cups All-Purpose Flour (for dredging)
1 Egg, beaten (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Water (for dredging)
1 Tbsp Honey (for dredging)
1 cup Sesame Seeds (for dredging)
Salt and Pepper for seasoning the Chicken
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Sauce:
1 cup dried Apricots, diced fine
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, julienne cut
1 cup Peach Schnapps
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the Apricots in the Peach Schnapps for 1/2 an hour.
  • Set up dredging stations: 1 tray with Flour; 1 tray with Egg, Water, and Honey; and one tray for Sesame Seeds. Do not put all the Sesame Seeds in the tray, as you can always add more, but after you’ve dredged, can’t use the left overs.
  • Pat the Chicken breasts dry with a paper towel, and season with Salt and Pepper.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the Flour on both sides; then the Egg mixture on both sides; and finally the Sesame Seeds. Set to the side.
  • Turn the Oven on to 200F, and cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over the pan. Set to the side.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet, and brown the Chicken on both sides. Place the Chicken breasts on the cooling rack, and then in the Oven to keep warm.
  • In a Sauce Pan, melt 6 Tbsp of Butter.
  • Add the Garlic and Spices, and let cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Schnapps-soaked Peaches (liquid and all) to the Pot, and stir well. Heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover in the Apricot Ginger Sauce.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a recipe I came up with to appease Michael–he loves Apricots. I’m not really a big fan, though from time to time I will eat one. It has a sort of Asian feel to it, though I personally see it as more of a Middle-Eastern flavor. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Blackened Chicken with Grilled Fruit

Ingredients:
3 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, butterfly cut
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2 – 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Blackened Seasoning
2 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Coriander Seed
3/4 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 Tsp White Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Thyme dried
1/2 tsp Oregano dried
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds dried

Grilled Fruit
1 Papaya, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1 Pineapple, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 Mangoes, skinned, cut in chunks or slices
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper ground
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit and place on Skewers.
  • Brush with Olive Oil.
  • Sprinkle with Salt, Pepper, and Cinnamon.
  • Place on a hot grill or in the Broiler for 5 minutes per side. Set to the side, or cook while you prepare the Chicken.
  • Put all of the Ingredients of the Blackened Spice Rub in a Mortar and rub with the Pestle to mix well and open up some of the spices and herbs. Place to the side.
  • Begin heating a cast-iron skillet on high with the Olive Oil. You do not need to use all of it, just enough to coat the skillet. You do not want a puddle of oil.
  • Dredge the Chicken in the melted Butter, and then coat with the Spice Rub on all sides.
  • Place in the Skillet, and cook both sides. They will blacken because of the Butter and herbs. Each side should be about 5 minutes. Because the Chicken was butterfly cut, it will cook all the way through.
  • Plate the Chicken and cover with the Grilled Fruit (on or off the skewers, your choice).

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: Blackening is a technique of cooking often associated with Cajun cooking. I have read some places that attribute it however to a modern chef named Paul Prudhomme (who specializes in Cajun cooking). Whether an old technique, or a modern one, it extremely flavorful. I recommend playing with the amounts of spices–some like it hot, some don’t like it as hot–but Blackened is intended to be Spicy. If you are wanting to cheat, pick up some Hot Shot instead of the various types of Peppercorns, but do not skimp on the flavors. A lot of folks seem to want to avoid using Butter in the recipe–it is essential for true Blackened food, as the milk solids are part of the Blackening process. If you want a spicy chicken on the grill with the rub, great, but it’s not truly Blackened… just spicy ;-).  

Also, just a note, this Blackened Spice Rub can be used on Fish (it’s original intention), as well as other forms of protein.

Baja Shrimp and Jicama Salad

Baja Shrimp and Jicama Salad

Ingredients
1 lb Shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 Jicama root, skinned, diced
2 Mangoes, diced
2 Avocados, diced
1 small Yellow Onion, diced
6 cloves Garlic
3 Jalapeño Peppers
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Juice of 2 Limes
2 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped coarsely

Directions

  • In a skillet, on medium heat, toast the whole cloves of Garlic and whole Jalapeño Peppers. As each side begins to brown, turn them. Do not let them over cook–you are just toasting them. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the Shrimp to the skillet with the remaining Olive Oil. Toss in the Spices and let each side cook until the Shrimp are pink and cooked through. Toss them as you cook them to help coat them in the oil and Spices. Remove and set to the side to cool.
  • When the Garlic and Jalapeño Peppers are cool to touch, mince them (de-seed the Jalapeño to lower the heat). Set to the side.
  • When the Shrimp are cool to touch, chop them into bite-size pieces. Set to the side.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss well. Adjust the spice level with more Cayenne Pepper if need be.

Makes about 6-8 cups.

NOTES: Jicama is one of my favorite root vegetables. It is sometimes referred to as a Mexican Turnip–but it tastes NOTHING like a Turnip. Jicama originated in Mexico and derives its name from the Nahuatl name xicamatl. If I were to describe the flavor, I’d say it is a cross between a Pear, a Potato, and a Carrot–think of it as a mildly-sweet watery root vegetable. This salad showcases it with sweet Mango, creamy Avocado, and spicy Shrimp.  I also used employed toasting Garlic and Peppers–a common Mexican cooking style that awakens the flavors.  You can use this salad as  a side dish, or as a salsa over grilled fish or chicken.

Jicama is also a great addition to any Crudités platters.

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