Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Spiced Lentil Soup

Dedicated to my fellow parishioners at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke in the Fields, Greenwich Village, NYC

IngredientsVegan
7 cups Vegetable Broth
2 cups Red Lentils, dry, rinsed
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Sweet Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups crushed Tomatoes
1/2 cup flat-leaf Parsley, chopped fine
1 cup Celery, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp ground Cumin
1 tsp Zaatar
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp ground Marjoram
1/2 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1/4 tsp Salt

Lemon wedges

Directions:

  • In a gallon size pot on medium heat, combine the Onion, Salt, Pepper, and Olive Oil; cook until the onions softens.
  • Add the Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, and Celery. Continue to saute until the Celery starts to soften.
  • Add all the other spices, and mix well so that the spices get into the oil and juices in the pot.
  • Add the Tomato, Vegetable Broth, and Lentils; bring to a boil, stirring often so that nothing sticks.
  • Reduce to a simmer, add the Parsley, and let cook until the Lentils become tender.
  • Taste, and adjust the seasoning and spices to your preferred tastes.
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge. Squirt the juice on the Soup.

Makes about 6 servings

NOTES:Lentil Soup is eaten in various parts of the world. This recipe utilizes spices from Northern Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Zaatar a spice blend used in North Africa, especially Egypt and Libya, often added to meats or rubbed in olive oil on flat bread. It is made up of Sumac, Oregano, Sesame Seed, often with other spices.

Lentil soup can be modified to your prefered tastes and needs. You can add chopped spinach or kale, or diced carrots or sweet potatoes. Keep in mind if you add additional starches, you may need to add additional spices. This meal is vegan, however one can add meat like chicken or lamb to it–or even sausage. It is also common to garnish with sour cream or yogurt.

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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!

Almaunde Gingyuer Sawse for Capouns Ysode – Chicken in an Almond-Ginger Sauce

Almaund Gingyeur Sawse for Capouns Ysode

Ingredients:
1 Roasting Hen
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 head garlic/top removed.

Bouquet Garni:
2 Bay Leaves
2 Sprigs Rosemary
2-4 Sprigs Parsley

Sauce:
1 cup Almonds, raw or blanched (preferably)
1/2 cup Ginger, diced
3 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Corn Starch

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F
  • Wash Chicken inside and out, and wipe dry.
  • Stuff the Bouquet Garni and Garlic Head into the Chicken.
  • Truss and tie the legs together.
  • Sprinkle Chicken with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Roast the Chicken, uncovered, breast side up. Baste it occasionally–the more you baste, the juicier the meat. You should allow 30 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer placed in the breast reads 160°F. Be sure not to be touching a bone with the probe.
  • Using a food processor, combine all ingredients of the Sauce.
  • Pulse until the Sauce is smooth
  • On a low heat, cook in a Sauce Pot until a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
  • Carve the Chicken and plate.
  • The Sauce may be poured over the Chicken, or used for dipping.

Makes 1 Roasting Hen, (2-4 servings, depending on size).

NOTES: This recipe is one that I came up with reading Medieval English recipes. It is really a hybrid of two recipes, Sawce Gingyeur and Sawce Blaunche for Capons Ysode. Both recipes are below in the original Middle English. The sauce came as an inspiration also from reading the ingredients purchased by a King of France while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London–his “court” served roast chicken and lamb covered in a Ginger and Almond sauce. Unfortunately, that mere reference was not enough for a recipe–so I compared it to what recipes were available to me and came up with this sauce. For the choices of ingredients, I wanted to use fresh Ginger, as that was what was used by imprisoned king’s chef.  I added a few spices that would be commonly used at the time, and substituted cornstarch for the process of straining vinegar-soaked bread for thickening.  Also, as it is not common to find verijuice, I used a combination of White Wine Vinegar and White Wine.  Finally, I did add Butter and Chicken Stock to add a smooth and rich texture and flavor.  Though this may not be a word-for-word rendition of a recorded Medieval recipe, I do feel it is in the style and spirit of one.

Sawce Gingyeur
Take white brede, stepe it with vynegre, and draw it .ij. or .iij. tymes thurgh a straynour; and thanne put ther-to poudre gingere, and serue forthe.

–from Ashmole MS 1439

Sawce Blaunche for Capouns Ysode
Take almaundes blaunched and grynde hem al to doust; temper hit vp with verious and powdour of gyngyuer, and messe it forth.

–from 140. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century

Pantzaria Salata – Παντζάρια Σαλάτα – Beetroot Salad

Παντζάρια Σαλάτα

Ingredients:
4-6 Fresh Beets (more if they are small)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh and chopped
1/2 Tbsp Mint, fresh and chopped
Salt to taste
Water for boiling

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Wash the Beets, removing the stems and any long taproots. Place in the boiling water and cook for 45 minutes to an hour–longer if the Beets are large. Beets are done when they are not only fork-tender, but the outer skin easily rubs off.
  • Remove from the heat, and run under cool water, rubbing off the outer skin. Let cool.
  • Chop the Beets into bite-size pieces. I prefer slicing them and then cutting the slices in half.
  • Toss with all the other ingredients, and place in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: This is a traditional Greek recipe for Beets. Some folks will also suggest parboiling the Beet greens and chopping them up and mixing them in the salad, but I am not a fan of that. This recipe is a recipe for folks who don’t normally like Beets–like me. I have never been a big fan of beets, finding them too–I don’t know what the word is…. beety? Anyway, this recipe cuts the flavor of the Beets with the Vinegar, Garlic, and fresh Parsley. I highly recommend you use high-quality Vinegar and Olive Oil for this recipe–not the cheap one on sale–you’ll be much happier. Also, never ever, ever use canned Beets–seriously, do you like your food tasting like salt and tin?

Purée de Carottes – Mashed Carrots

Purée de Carottes

Ingredients:
1 lbs. Baby Carrots
1/2 cup Orange Juice
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 slice Ginger
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 Bay Leaf
2 sprigs Thyme
1 sprig Rosemary
2 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Place the Carrots in the a Sauce pan with the Orange Juice and enough additional Water to cover over the Carrots.
  • Tie the Bay Leaf, Rosemary, and Thyme into a bouquet garni, and place in the water with the Carrots.
  • Add the crushed Garlic, and the slice of Ginger.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain, and remove the Bouquet Garni, and Ginger (keep the Garlic).
  • Place in a Food Processor and mix with the Cumin, Butter, and Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Place in a serving dish, and garnish with the Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Carrots are hard to manually mash because of their fibrous nature. Thus, I have employed the use of a Food Processor. You may also choose to cook it with a potato and mash it with it as well.

Variations
Ṽ›Ɣ – Replace the Butter with Margarine.

Escalope de Veau Comtoise – Comte Veal Scaloppini

Escalope de Veau Comtoise

Ingredients:
6 Veal cutlets, pounded thin
6 pieces Ham, thinly sliced
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (for coating)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cups Table Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 – 2 cups Comte cheese, shredded
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
1 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300°F.
  • Place the Flour in a container and dredge the Veal cutlets.
  • In a large skillet, brown each piece of chicken on both sides in the Olive Oil. When each piece is browned, remove from the skillet and place in a baking dish.
  • Place a piece of ham on each cutlet, and then cover with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While it is baking, deglaze the skillet with the wine.
  • Add the Mushrooms, and cook for 4 minutes.
  • Add the Heavy Cream and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the Veal from the oven; and plate.
  • Cover with the Mushroom Sauce.
  • Garnish with the fresh Parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

NOTES: I love looking at the cuisine of my the regions of the world from which my family comes. This recipe is a typical dish from the Franche-Comte region of France where my paternal grandmother’s paternal grandmother Adele Francais was born. This dish uses Comte cheese, a regional cheese similar to Gruyère. In fact you can substitute Gruyère for Comte if you cannot find Comte.  For those who object to the use of Veal, you can use Chicken cutlets.

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ratatouille Niçoise Rustique

Ingredients:
3-4 Tomatoes, ripe
1 lg Zucchini, diced
1 Japanese Eggplant, diced
1 – 2 Bell Peppers
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
5 cloves Garlic, sliced
2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh Rosemary
2 sprigs fresh Thyme
2 tsp fresh Basil, chopped fine
2 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 cup Pinot Grigio or other Dry white wine.
1 Tbsp Salt
Pepper to taste
Water for Parboiling

Directions:

  • Bring a Pot of water to a boil. This will be used to help remove the skins from the Tomatoes.
  • While the water is being brought to a boil, prepare all the vegetables. When dicing, try to keep the sizes of the items the same.
  • When the water boils, use tongs, to place the Tomatoes into the water for 45 seconds. Remove them and peel the skins off. Be careful as they will be hot.
  • Slice the Tomatoes horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Remove the stem from the top half by cutting it out with a paring knife.
  • In a Dutch Oven, add the Onions, Garlic, and Bell Peppers to 1/2 the Olive Oil and 1/2 the Salt.
  • Saute on medium heat, sweating the onions, and cooking down the Peppers for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a separate skillet, add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the remaining Olive Oil and Salt.
  • Saute on medium-low heat, allowing the sides of the Zucchini and Eggplant to brown a little–about 3-6 minutes.
  • Stir both pots often so as to not allow anything to burn.
  • Add the Tomatoes and herbs to the Onion Pepper mixture and cook until the Zucchini and Eggplant in the other pot are lightly browned.
  • Add the Zucchini and Eggplant to the Tomato Mixture.
  • Add the Wine at this point, and mix well.
  • Let stew on the lowest setting, covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring often, to make sure nothing is sticking. Remove the Bay Leaf and Sprigs of Herbs before serving.

Makes 4 side-dish servings.

NOTES: Ratatouille is a Provencal dish–often called a peasant dish because of the simple ingredients. In the 1970s it became popular in America thanks to Julia Childs. There was a resurgence in the first decade of the 21st century with Disney’s Ratatouille, a film about a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef–and succeeds! I will admit, that my desire to make this came solely from the movie–yes I hold my head in shame. One aspect of the movie does ring true, and spoke to me, and that was the common mantra that “Anyone Can Cook”. And I think that is VERY important to remember.

Looking at the Ratatouille recipes that were out there, I noticed that their production suggested the individual cooking of each vegetable–something that just seems counter-intuitive to a “peasant” dish, but rather a chef’s way to keep individual flavors and deal with varying cooking times. My version uses two cooking dishes, dividing up the items based on how I thought it would be best to cook them.

This serves as a side dish but can also be served over Rice or Pasta as an entree.  I prefer it as a side dish with a good roast.

Scaloppine di Pollo al Vino Bianco con Limone – Chicken Francaise

Chicken Francaise

Ingredients:
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour (for coating)
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs (for coating)
2 Eggs (for coating)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Basil
4 Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless, butterfly cut and pounded about 1/4″ thick
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Butter
3 clove Garlic, thinly sliced vertically
1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other white wine
1/4 cup Chicken Broth
1 tsp Corn Starch
Juice of 2 Lemons
1 Lemon, thinly sliced horizontally
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine

Directions:

  • Set up a dredging station using three pie pans. In one pan put the Flour, in the next the Eggs (beaten with a little water), in the next the Bread Crumbs and dried Herbs.
  • Season the Chicken with Salt and Pepper on both sides
  • Dredge the chicken in the Flour, then the Eggs, then the Bread Crumbs and set to the side
  • In a large skillet, brown each piece of chicken on both sides in the Olive Oil. When each piece is browned, remove from the skillet and place on a cookie sheet in the oven on the lowest setting, just to keep it warm.
  • Remove the Oil, and wipe it clean.
  • Heat the Butter on-low medium heat
  • In a small bowl combine Broth and Corn Starch, whipping until there are no lumps.
  • Add the Garlic, Wine, Broth, Lemon Juice, and Lemon Slices to the pan.
  • Simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly so to not burn about 5 mins.
  • Place the Chicken on Serving platter and cover with the Lemon Slices and Wine Sauce and garnish with the Parsley

NOTES: I have tried to find a definitive answer as to whether or not this dish is French or Italian–since one usually sees it in Italian restaurants in America.  No one including the infamous Wikipedia seem to agree.  I would guess is that it is an Italian-American dish that is influenced by the French style of cooking with Wine and Butter.

An easy way to pound the chicken flat is to place it between two sheets of cellophane with a little bit of olive oil. Take the back of a skillet and pound flat (or use a meat mallet if too heavy).

Variations:
Chicken Marsala – similar, flour-dredged Chicken with Marsala wine, Mushrooms, and Prosciutto.
Chicken Piccata – similar, flour-dredged Chicken with Capers.
Chicken Scaloppine – similar, flour-dredged Chicken with Cream-based lemon sauce.

Tabbouleh – تبولة

Ingredients:
1 cup Bulgur Wheat
2 cups Boiling Water
3 Plum Tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 Cucumbers, peeled and diced
3 Green Onions, diced fine
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh Mint, chopped
1 tsp Cumin, ground
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
2/3 cup Olive Oil

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, soak the Bulgur Wheat and Boiling Water for 30 minutes.
  • Using a cheese cloth, squeeze out any excess liquid from the Bulgur Wheat.
  • Return to a bowl and combine all ingredients. Mix well.

NOTES: Tabbouleh was another New York discovery for me – not having ever experienced it in Georgia or Ohio. I fell in love with it. It is light and fluffy and highly flavorful. Thanks to my love Michael for introducing it to me.

Camarones Pimentón y Judías Verdes – Paprika Shrimp and Green Beans

Camarones Pimentón y Judías Verdes

Ingredients:
1-2 Shallots, chopped
5 cloves Garlic, minced crudely
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 lb Shrimp, cleaned (shells, veins removed)
3 cups Green Beans, cut in 1-1 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup Sherry
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil on medium heat in a large skillet until hot.
  • Add the Shallots, Garlic, Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, and Cayenne Pepper to the oil. Stirring constantly, heat for 1 minute to release the oils from the spices.
  • Add the Shrimp and Green Beans and toss in the Oil.
  • Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring constantly. Make sure to flip the Shrimp to ensure both sides are cooked.
  • Stir in the Sherry, Lemon Juice, and Parsley, and cover for 2-4 minutes.
  • Add Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Serves 4.

NOTES: This is a flavorful dish from Spanish cuisine. You can kick it up a notch by adding more Cayenne Pepper. I prefer this as a festive side dish, however you can serve this as a main dish with a side of Yellow Rice or Quinoa.

Soupe à l’oignon – French Onion Soup

Dedicated to my mother who LOVES French Onion Soup, and who introduced it to me.
Vegetarian Variation is dedicated to Abigail Wickes, my favorite vegetari-friend.

Ingredients:
5-6 Vidalia Onions or Sweet Yellow Onions, cut in 1/8″ wedges
3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Sherry
6 cups Beef Broth
2 cloves Garlic, minced
Bouquet Garni – 4 sprigs Thyme, 2 springs Parsley, 2 Bay Leaves, wrapped in twine
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Baguette, cut in 1/2 inch pieces (about 6 pieces)
2-2 1/2 cups Gruyère, shredded

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot on the stove on low heat, with the Butter, Onions, and Salt.
  • Cook until the Onions start to break down, and turn a warm color, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the Sherry (careful of flames), and deglaze any pieces of Onion. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the Beef Broth, and deglaze again. Onions should start turning darker. Continue cooking for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, the Bouquet Garni, and the remaining Beef Broth. Taste and add Pepper and/or Salt to taste. Scrape any pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan, and raise the heat to high.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After about 15 minutes of simmering, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Arrange the Baguette slices on a baking sheet, and cook for 8-10 minutes, or just until starting to crisp.
  • When the Soup and Croûtons are finished, remove from heat.
  • Ladle the Soup into oven-safe bowls (1 bowl per person, about 6-bowls), leaving space for the Croûtons to rest on top. Discard the Bouquet Garni when you get to it.
  • Place bowls on the baking sheet; add the Croûtons, and cover with the Gruyère.
  • Turn on the Broiler, and carefully place the baking sheet as close to it as possible. If this is an electric broiler, you will need to raise your rack to the top level PRIOR to turning it on, keeping in mind it will be hot from the making of the Croûtons. If this is a bottom broiler, place in the drawer, and push it in.
  • Broil for about 4-6 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly with a few touches of brown. Be careful removing the baking sheet from the oven, as it and the contents on it will be extremely hot. Serve each bowl on a small plate, so as to help absorb the heat

Serves about 6.

NOTES: Onion Soup is one of the oldest soups that is known, with documents showing its production back to at least the Roman times. In the 1960s there was a resurgence of French cooking, and the “French Onion Soup” hit its American hay-day. Now most diners and steakhouses serve some variation of the soup. What is amazing, is how many actually taste GOOD–folks giving in to high-sodium broths, and dried herbs. This is easily one of my favorite soups.

Variations:
M›Ṽ – Use Mushroom or Vegetable Stock instead of Beef Stock, and add 1 drop of Liquid Smoke to give it a deeper flavor.

Pininyahang Manok – Pineapple Chicken

Pininyahang Manok – Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients:
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Jalapeños, minced
2 Tbsp fresh Ginger, minced
1 Pineapple, diced (about 4 cups)
2 links Chorizo Español picante, sliced into rounds
1 lb Chicken Breast, diced (boneless, skinless)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
1/4 cup Coconut Water
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tbsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Prepare all ingredients before starting.
  • In a large pot, on medium heat, combine the Onion, Bell Pepper and Jalapeños; cooking for about minutes.
  • Add the Garlic, Ginger, Chorizo, and Pineapple.
  • You want to sauté these ingredients, letting them brown and caramelize a little for flavor.
  • Add the Chicken, Crushed Red Pepper, Pineapple Juice, and Coconut Water.
  • Let the Chicken cook through, about 5-10 minutes. You can speed this up by putting a lid on effectively steaming and poaching at the same time.
  • Add the fresh Parsley, and Season with Salt and Pepper; cook for an additional minute.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Pininyahang Manok is essentially a Filipino chicken stew with pineapple. I have substituted Coconut Water for Coconut Milk, though you can retain the milk instead if you prefer. I have also added Chorizo to give it a depth of smoky, salty flavor. With regards to the chicken, you can also use bone-in chicken pieces–but I’d suggest Thighs instead of breasts.

This dish would serve well as a stew, but also can be served over rice.

The Chorizo used is a Spanish-style cured Chorizo–unlike the Mexican variety which, though flavorful, is raw and often cooked like ground beef. Spanish-style Chorizo comes in “dulce” and “picante”–with my preference for picante in this dish. Do not accidentally use a Portuguese Chouriço de Sangue, often marketed as just Chouriço, as it is VERY different.

Bruschetta al Pomodoro – Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:
1 Baguette
1/4 cup Parmesan
6-8 Plum Tomatoes
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 cloves Garlic, whole
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup + 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, Balsamic Vinegar, Herbs, 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper to taste; Stir well, and leave to marinate.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Slice the Baguette into 1/4″ thick rounds, on a diagonal.
  • Using a pastry Brush, liberally brush on the 1/2 cup of Olive Oil. You may need more or less, depending on the baguettes.
  • Place in the oven and toast for about 5 minutes, or until the the bread begins to turn golden.
  • Remove the croutes from the oven, and while warm, rub the whole garlic over the tops of them.
  • Sprinkle liberally with the Parmesan. You may use less or more, depending on the size of the croutes.
  • When ready to serve, spoon the Tomato topping onto the croutes.

Serves about 10 as an appetizer.

NOTES: You can use bigger bread pieces and serve this as a salad or meal. With regards to serving as an appetizer, you can also choose to leave the tomatoes in a bowl with a spoon, and arrange the Parmesan croutes on a tray, and allow the guests to top their own. Bruschetta is a central Italian food, that consists of grilled bread with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, and other toppings like Prosciutto or grilled vegetables. I prefer the traditional tomato-basil relish, myself. This used to be my favorite appetizer when we would go to Italian restaurants–a special occasion as they were always expensive in Georgia. Who knew the food was so inexpensive and EASY to make!

Variations:
Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Vegan bread and omit the Parmesan.

Bresaola Salad

Ingredients:
8 oz Bresaola, chilled
4 oz Parmesan (block)
8 cups Arugula
1 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley
8 Figs, quartered
1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for drizzling)
Balsamic Vinegar (for drizzling)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Lemon, cut in quarters

Directions:

  • Arrange the Bresaola on a platter or on individual plates (this serves 4). You will be making the salad in the middle of the plate, and will want the Bresaola to extend beyond the Salad like a border. If you are using small plates, the pieces should cover the entire area. If you are using a large plate, try to cover the entire area, but focus on the outer edge. Make it look decorative and pretty.
  • Mix together the Parsley and the Arugula.
  • Place the Arugula/Parsley in the center of the plate on top of the Bresaola, utilizing it as a border.
  • Place the Figs and Cherry Tomatoes decoratively among the Arugula.
  • Using a Cheese shaver, or a vegetable peeler, slice curls of Parmesan and place on top of the Arugula.
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle with Salt and Pepper, and drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.
  • Serve the wedges on the side of the Salad, and instruct the diner to squeeze the Lemon over the salad, just before consuming.

Serves 4

NOTES: Bresaola is one of the treats that I ran into when moving to New York. I had been aware of Prosciutto in Georgia, but had never seen Bresaola. They are very similar, only that Bresaola is an air-dried beef tenderloin. Its origins are in northern Italy near Lombardy. I simply love it!

Bresaola Crostini
Ingredients:
1 loaf Ciabatta
8 oz Bresaola
4 oz Parmesan
4 cups Arugula
1/2 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley
6-8 Figs, quartered
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Ciabatta into 1/4″ slices. You may choose to slice each slice in half, so that they are bite-size pieces.
  • Arrange the slices on a Baking Sheet.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush on Olive Oil on both sides.
  • Bake for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Let the Crostini cool completely.
  • Arrange the Bresaola on the Crostini. You may fold the pieces, but do not want any hanging off the crostini too far.
  • Using a Vegetable Peeler, shave a slice of Parmesan and place it on top of the Bresaola.
  • Next, top with the Arugula, not putting too much.
  • Place a quarter of Fig on top of the Arugula, and drizzle with the Balsamic Vinegar, and a little more Olive Oil.

NOTES: This is a flavorful appetizer that takes the Bresaola Salad from the dinner plate to your hand.

Chimichurri

Dedicated to my friend Anahi G. who educated me about Salmuera

Chimichurri-Marinated Skirt Steak and Chicken,
Grilled with Onions and Chimicurri Sauce on the side

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Oregano
8 cloves Garlic
1/2 cup warm Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Salt
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 wedge of Lemon
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a bowl, whisk the Salt and warm water together to dissolve. In Spanish, this is called salmuera which acts like a brine.
  • Combine the Herbs, Garlic, Cumin, Crushed Red Pepper into a Food Processor and pules a couple times.
  • Squeeze in the Juice from the wedge of Lemon, and drizzle in the Salmuera and Red Wine Vinegar, pulsing.
  • Remove to a bowl, and stir in the Olive Oil, and Salt and Pepper.

NOTES: This is a very simple Argentinian marinade and sauce. The first time I ever had it was in Jackson Heights, NY at one of their many tasty Argentine places. It should be chunky and not a paste like an Adobo or Pesto. Some Recipes will include Onion and sweet Red Peppers. I prefer to keep those out. If you are able, instead of the American variety of Crushed Red Pepper, try to get Aji Molido also known as Aji Triturado–a more authentic Argentine variety of Crushed Red Pepper. You can vary the amounts of spice and garlic based on your tastes. This marinade is great on Steaks and Chicken, but can also be used with Fish. Serve it as a sauce on the side of Steak or drizzled over Roasted Potatoes as well–you can’t go wrong!

Trying to find an etymology for the word has proved interesting.   Various sources say it was either created by an English soldier or butcher named Jimmy Curry or Jimmy McCurry, who created the sauce–and folks unable to say his name morphed it into chimichurri.  It seems far-fetched to me.  Similarly, one origins story says that it was introduced about the time England was trying to invade Argentina, and captured soldiers would ask for a sauce with their meat “Give me a curry” that somehow morphed into chimichurri by natives trying to mimic them.  It just seems strange to me that there would be any English involvement in the creation of this dish–but hey, I wasn’t there.

Salade Andalouse aux Crevettes – Andalusian Salad with Shrimp

Ingredients:
1 cup Rice, cooked
8 large Shrimp, veined, steamed, cold, chopped
6-8 Pimento-Stuffed Olives, sliced
2 Plum Tomatoes, chopped
2-4 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp Chives, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
Butterhead Lettuce for Plating
Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley for Garnish

Directions:

  • In a bowl, combine the Mayonnaise, Paprika, Garlic, and Chives.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Rice, Shrimp, and Olives.
  • Mix in the Mayonnaise.
  • Line the Salad Plates with Bib Lettuce.
  • Divide the mixture into 4 portions (this dish makes 4 portions, so if you have made more or less, divide the mixture into the appropriate portions.
  • Spoon the Portions on top of the Bib Lettuce. You can use pastry rings or a plastic lined ramekin stuffed with the portion of the salad inverted over the plate to make a fancier salad as well.
  • Top the Salad with pieces of Tomato, a Salt and Pepper to taste, and Fresh Parsley.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Andalusian Salad is a French Salad that captures the romantic flavors of of Al-Andalus (الأندلس‎) region of Spain and Portugal. You can always kick up the spice by adding some Cayenne Pepper. If you prefer to serve this from a large bowl, rather than individual portions, then chop the lettuce and garnish the salad with an outer ring of lettuce, and an inner area of tomatoes, topped with Parsley in the middle.

Cornish Hens with Shallot-Sage-Raspberry Stuffing and Raspberry Sherry Sauce

Cornish Hen with Shallot-Sage-Raspberry Stuffing and and a Raspberry Sherry Sauce

Ingredients:
2 Cornish Hens, giblets removed, patted dry
6 slices Whole Wheat Bread
1/2 cup Raspberries
1 Shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 Tbsp fresh Sage, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh Thyme, crushed
2 tsp fresh Oregano, chopped fine
1 tsp fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1 Egg
1/6 cup Chicken Broth
1/6 cup Sherry
1/6 cup Berry Juice
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Raspberry Sherry Sauce (below)

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400F
  • In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients except the Raspberry Sauce and Olive Oil; and mush together.
  • Wash the Hens, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Stuff half of the dressing into each Hen.
  • Using cooking twine, Truss-up the Hens.
  • In a heavy skillet, on high heat, add the Olive Oil and brown each side of the Hens(about 2-4 minutes).
  • Place in a baking dish, and drizzle any Oil from the pan over the Hens.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, covered.
  • Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the Raspberry Sherry Sauce.
  • Plate and pour the Raspberry Sherry Sauce over each Hen.

NOTES: This recipe was an inspiration from The Legend of the Seeker, where in an episode one of the characters requests this dish! I couldn’t help but figure out a way to make it myself.

Raspberry Sherry Sauce
Ingredients:
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup Sherry
1/2 cup Berry Juice
1 Shallot, diced
1 tsp Cornstarch
2 cups Raspberries
1 tsp fresh Ginger, diced
1 tsp fresh Sage, diced
1 Tbsp Butter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a Sauce Pan, combine the Butter, Shallot, Ginger, and a pinch of Salt, cooking until the shallot is translucent.
  • In a cup, whisk together the Cornstarch and Berry Juice.
  • Add all ingredients to the Sauce Pan, stirring on medium heat.
  • Crush the berries with your spoon as they cook.
  • Reduce to 1 cup of liquid, stirring often.

NOTES: Though this sauce is perfect for the Cornish hens, you can serve it with other meats like Duck or Quail. Some folks prefer to strain the sauce before serving using a sieve to remove the Berry seeds. I like the berry seeds, myself, but it is completely at your discretion.

Pollo alla Romana – Roman-Style Chicken

Pollo alla Romana

Ingredients:
6-8 fillets of Chicken Breasts, thin sliced, boneless, skinless
1 Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped
6 slices Prosciutto, chopped
2 Plum Tomatoes, diced
1 head of Roasted Garlic
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio
1 cup Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp fresh Basil
1 Tbsp fresh Oregano
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
2 Tbsp fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Romano Cheese, grated

Directions:

  • Do all necessary roasting ahead of time.
  • In a large skillet, brown the Chicken Fillets in the Olive Oil.
  • Remove the Fillets to the side.
  • Add the Peppers and Prosciutto, and cook until the Prosciutto starts to crisp, about 4 minutes.
  • Squeeze the Garlic into a Mortar and Pestle, and grind.
  • Add Garlic, Tomatoes, Chicken Stock, Wine, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to the skillet.
  • Heat for 10 minutes, and then add the Chicken Fillets back to the skillet.
  • Cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  • Just before serving, stir in the Capers and Parsley.
  • Garnish with grated Romano Cheese.

Serves 3-4 people (portion 2 fillets per person)

NOTES: So it was a long weekend, and my partner volunteered to cook. He loves chicken, so he started looking online for a chicken recipe. I should mention he is not a good cook–toast and oatmeal he does well, but not much more than that. So he found a recipe for Roman-Style Chicken by Giada DiLaurentis. I had a feeling he would not end up cooking, and by the time we got back from the store, it dawned on him how much work would be involved. So it was saved for another night. I don’t like to do other people’s recipes, so I compare them to similar recipes and then make my own version with my own variations. This is my version of Roman-Style Chicken that resulted from my research and comparisons. I decided to add some different herbage, deepen the flavors with roasted peppers and garlic, as well as adding Romano cheese over the top. This is a light summery Italian meal, and it does not need a side of pasta!

Oven-Roasted Tomato Parmesan

Oven-Roasted Tomato Parmesan

Ingredients:
4 Plum Tomatoes, halved vertically
2 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
3 Tbsp Parmesan, shredded
1 tsp Parsley, dried
1/2 tsp Oregano, dried
1 tsp Basil, dried
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Black Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 400°F.
  • Place the Tomatoes cut-side up on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, and crimp the Aluminum foil to act as an edge around the tomatoes. Prick the Tomatoes with a fork several times.
  • In a bowl, combine all other ingredients, and mix well.
  • Use your hands or a spoon, and divide the topping on each of the Tomatoes
  • Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Lower heat to 250°F, and roast for another 30 minutes.

Serves 4.

NOTES: I love roasted tomatoes. This is a quick and easy way to make them, that you can start before you start cooking, and let cook till you’re ready to serve. It is also very hard to mess up, unless you spill one onto the floor! You can try to grill them as well. To do that, you will cut them, rub with olive oil, and grill. Then place on an aluminum-lined grate, and cover with the topping.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 pieces of Bacon, diced
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Clam meat, diced
1 cup Clam Juice
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepot, cook the Bacon until crisp on medium heat.
  • Add the Onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the Potatoes and Garlic, coating with the Oily Onion/Bacon mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter and the Flour to form a paste called a beurre manié.
  • Add the beurre manié, Clams, and Clam Juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Milk, Heavy Cream, and Herbs.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

NOTES: I prefer to use bigger chunks in my Clam Chowder, so my dices are a little bigger than others…especially the Clams. However you should avoid having whole clams as they can be chewy–quartering is the best. I have no problem using high-quality canned clams for this, so long as preserved in water and not oil. Oh, and you’ll notice that I omitted the use of Salt in this recipe. This is because of the salty bacon and salty clam juice, and the lower amount of potatoes, however you can always add salt to taste.

There are other types of Clam Chowder — Manhattan, Rhode Island, and Outer Banks (from the Carolinas), but none of them have the appeal of New England Clam Chowder to me. This is a true comfort food, and reminds me of the days when my family would go to buffet restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse and Golden Corral. I would always start with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, and pick out the potatoes which seemed to take away from the clams!

Variations:
Cassava Clam Chowder – Substitute Cassava for the Potatoes.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder –  When adding the Clams, also add 1 cup diced Tomatoes.

Pollo e Carciofi al Vino Bianco – Chicken and Artichoke Fettuccine

Pollo e Carciofi al Vino Bianco

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless, cut into strips
2 cups Marinated Artichoke Hearts, quartered
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 large Red Onion, diced
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 cup Pinot Grigio or White Wine
1 Tbsp Basil, chopped fine
1/2 Tbsp Oregano, chopped fine
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Salt
2-4 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
1 lb Fettuccine (fresh if possible)
Water for boiling
1 tsp Capers for Garnish

Directions:

  • Strain the Oil from the Artichokes into a bowl containing the Chicken. Set the Artichokes to the side, but marinade the Chicken for 1 hour.
  • When ready to cook, begin heating a pot of water on high heat for the Pasta.
  • In a large skillet, combine 1 Tbsp of the Olive Oil with the Onions and Salt, and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Add the Garlic, Crushed Red Pepper, and Chicken (with the Oil) and sauté until the Chicken begins to brown.
  • Add the White Wine, careful as it may flare up. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring well.
  • Add the Artichokes and Cherry Tomatoes and cook for another 2-5 minutes until heated through.
  • Add the Pasta to the water when it is boiling. Watch if you are using fresh Fettuccine as it cooks quicker than dried.
  • Strain the Pasta and toss with the Parmesan, Salt, Pepper, Herbs and the remaining Olive Oil in a large bowl.
  • Add the Chicken Artichoke Mixture, and toss well.

Makes about 4-6 Servings.

NOTES: So I had to come up with dinner at the last minute, and searched the cupboard and fridge for ingredients – the result was this dish. It is similar to Chicken Vino Bianco from Olive Garden (which I admit I did not know existed until I was trying to search for similar dishes to come up with a name for what I made), except that I add vegetables, do not use the large amount of Butter, nor did I batter the Chicken. Thus we find a healthier, lighter, dish that is still full of flavor.

Linguine ai Frutti di Mare all’Arrabbiata – Seafood Fra Diavolo

Dedicated to Alex Merati, Epicurean

Ingredients:
6-8 cups Arrabbiata Sauce
1/2 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
12 Shrimp, peeled, de-veined
6 Sea Scallops, quartered
12 Little Neck Clams, cleaned
12 Mussels, cleaned
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 lb Linguine
1 tsp Salt
Water for Linguine

Directions:

  • Prepare the Arrabbiata Sauce in a large sauce pan.
  • In a separate pot bring the Water and Salt to boil and cook the Linguine till al dente.
  • Drain the Pasta and set aside.
  • Using the same pot, add the Olive Oil, White Wine, and the Seafood and cook until the Clams and Mussels have begun to open, about 5-7 minutes. Stir so that all sides cook.
  • When the Clams and Mussels have stopped opening, discard the unopened ones.
  • Add the Arrabbiata Sauce to the Seafood and mix well.
  • Remove from heat and plate on the Pasta, using the Parsley as garnish.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: The variation of the amount of Sauce is dependent upon how much you want with your pasta. Americans tend to like more than Europeans, in my experience.

Seafood Fra Diavolo

Arrabbiata Sauce – Fra Diavolo Sauce

Ingredients:
4-6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped fine
2 tsp Oregano, chopped fine
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cups Tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the Olive Oil in a Saucepan with the Garlic, Parsley and Oregano on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the Onion and sauté until near translucent, stirring continually.
  • Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Discard the Bay Leaf before serving.

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

NOTES: The best pasta to use for this is Penne Rigate because it absorbs the sauce well. Arrabbiata is a red sauce that is spiced with Crushed Red Pepper flakes meaning roughly “Angry Sauce” though I’ve been told it has the connotation of “Pissed-Off Sauce”. It is often called Fra Diavolo meaning “Brother of the Devil” in America, though when so called, a protein like Seafood or Chicken is added.

I grew up with Arrabbiata Sauce as my main pasta sauce but it was called Marinara and it was spicy. In reality we were eating Arrabbiata Sauce instead and just didn’t know the name difference. My Italian side of the family is from the Molise region of Italy, in the town of Campobasso.

Herbed Egg Salad

Ingredients:
6 Eggs, hardboiled and diced
1 small Red Onion, minced
1 large Sweet Gherkin, minced
1 tsp Capers, minced
2-3 Tbsp Greek-style Yogurt
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Basil, chopped fine
1 tsp Parsley, chopped fine
1/2 tsp Chives, chopped fine
Dash of Paprika

Directions:

  • Mix everything but the Yogurt together.
  • Slowly incorporate the Yogurt to the desired consistency.

NOTES: Egg Salad is an American dish that is commonly served as a sandwich or on on a bed of lettuce. This recipe uses Greek Yogurt rather than Mayonnaise, however if you prefer you can substitute Mayo for the Yogurt. Greek Yogurt is denser and less runny than other Yogurts.