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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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?

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with Bok Choy Salad

Sesame-Crusted Chicken with Bok Choy Salad</span>

Ingredients
2 Chicken Breasts, boneless, skinless, cut in strips
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 Vegetable Oil
2 cups Baby Spinach
2 cups Bok Choy 白菜, chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 Red Onion, diced
1 cup Broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 cup Snow Peas
1 Asian  Nashi Pear ナシ, diced
Water for steaming
1/2-1 cup Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Directions:

  • Prepare pot of water and steamer for steaming/
  • Steam the Broccoli for 2 minutes, just until the color of the Broccoli turns bright green. You do not want to cook it, just steam it to make it tender and colorful. Remove and run through cold water, set to the side.
  • 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 slices 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 pieces on both sides. Place the Chicken pieces on the cooling rack, and then in the Oven to keep warm.
  • Build the Salad (make the dressing now if you have not yet done so as well). You can do this as one big bowl, or in individual bowls–it is up to you.
  • Start with a bed of Spinach.
  • Top with the all the ingredients. You may choose to do this artistically–I like to use the Snow Peas as a frame around the side of the dish. It is completely up to you.
  • Remove the Chicken from the Oven, and slice into 1″ pieces across the strips of Chicken. Place on the top of the Salad.
  • The Salad is ready to serve. You may dress it now, or leave it on the side.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: This salad can serve as a side dish, but also as a main course salad. Though it has “East Asian” flare to it, I would not necessarily call it an Asian salad… maybe East Asian inspired salad with the Bok Choy (白菜), with the Sesame Ginger Dressing are the most Asian aspect of the salad. Some folks may want to add Ramen-style noodles on top. Not a fan of them, I just can’t bring myself to add them to the recipe. So if you do that, please don’t tell me. Thanks.

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.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, halved
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Steak Spice Rub
1-2 tsp Olive Oil
Water for Steaming

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Place the Sprouts in a steamer, and bring to a boil.
  • Cook until the Sprouts start to turn bright green, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Toss the Sprouts in a bowl with the Olive oil, Steak Spice Rub, and Salt.
  • Place on a baking sheet, and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Turn on the Broiler.
  • Move the baking sheet under the Broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until a desired brown is on the top.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTES: Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables–looking at the various recipes on this blog can show you that. I loved them from a young age…probably due to the Jolly Green Giant’s buttery version. This, so far, has been Michael’s favorite version of Brussels Sprouts, as they are extremely healthy, but also very flavorful.

Though in general, I use Kosher Salt or Sea Salt, I have to really push the Sea Salt for this, because of its coarse nature–roasts amazingly.

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.

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Roasted Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Ingredients:
12 fresh Figs
8 Breakfast Sausage Links
12 Walnuts
12 tsp Chèvre Goat Cheese
1 tsp Rosemary, minced
1 tsp Mint, minced
2-4 tsp Honey
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Water (for sausages)

Directions

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add the Water to a skillet, and cook the Sausage Links on medium heat. The water will evaporate as the Sausages cook, allowing them to not burn, yet cook all the way through.
  • Remove the stem of the Figs, and slice an x 1/3 of the way deep with the crux where the stem would have been. This allows for the Fig to be partially divided so that you may stuff it. Dipping a paper towel in Olive Oil, rub the Fig with it and set to the side.
  • Stuff with one walnut to each fig, and then 1 tsp of Chèvre on top.
  • Place on a non-stick baking sheet and put in the oven for 10-12 minutes. You can do this while the Sausage is cooking.
  • When the Sausage is cooked through, remove from the skillet, and pat with paper towels to remove excess grease.
  • Slice each Sausage into thirds. I recommend doing this at an angle for aesthetic value. Set to the side.
  • Remove the Figs from the oven. The Chèvre will have a slight crust, but should not have browned.
  • Plate the Figs and sprinkle the Herbs on top.
  • Drizzle the honey on the figs, and top with a piece of the Sausage.

NOTES: This makes an excellent nibble food for a Brunch or Tea. I recommend using a Maple-flavored Sausage link if you can find them. Do not use a dark strong honey, but rather an orange blossom or wild flower honey. As far as figs go, you can use any ripe fig variety.

Salsiccia Dolce con Peperoni e Cipolle – Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions

Salsiccia Dolce con Peperoni e Cipolle

Ingredients:
6-8 links of Sweet Italian Sausage
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced in strips
1-2 Peperoncini or Banana Peppers, sliced in strips
1 Yellow Onion, cut in wedges
2 cups Plum Tomatoes, diced
4-6 cloves Garlic, sliced
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp dried Basil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
Parmesan, shaved for garnish.

Directions:

  • Poke the Sausage with a fork one or two times.
  • Place the Sausage in a skillet on medium heat with the Water, and cook for 10-15 minutes. Only flip the Sausage once or twice. You are basically poaching the Sausage, but by the time it is cooked, the water will have evaporated.
  • Remove the Sausage to a broiling pan, and place in the Broiler.
  • De-glaze the Skillet with the White Wine.
  • Add the Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes and Herbs to the Skillet.
  • Heat through, stirring often so that nothing sticks or browns; about 5 minutes.
  • Check on the Sausage, and flip so that both sides get broiled.
  • Continue heating the Onions and Peppers for about 2-3 more minutes. If the skillet is small, and thus the mixture very deep, you should cover and let the steam help cook the Onions and Peppers.
  • Plate the Onions and Peppers on a platter, and then arrange the Sausage on top. Serve the Parmesan on the side.

Makes 6-8 Sausages

NOTES: This dish is great by itself or divided into Hoagies. You can use Salsiccia Piccante (Spicy Italian Sausage) if you prefer. Additionally, you may choose to top with Mozzarella, though I think the crunchy nutty flavor of the Parmesan can’t be beat. You can also do the Sausages on the Grill. If you do this, you can cook the Peppers and Onions in the Skillet starting with the adding of the Wine.

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.

Horchata de Arroz – Mexican Rice Milk

Horchata de Arroz

Ingredients:
2 cups long-grain white Rice
3 cups warm Water, for soaking
1/2 cup blanched Almonds, ground
3 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp Vanilla
1 cup Evaporated Milk
3 cups Cold Water
1/2-3/4 cup granulated Sugar

Directions:

  • Place the Rice, Warm Water, ground Almonds, and Cinnamon in a bowl overnight. For the Almonds, you can use a Food Processor to grind them–doesn’t have to be a fine powder.
  • Remove the Cinnamon Sticks and discard.
  • Pour the mixture into a Blender, and blend for 30 seconds.
  • Strain through a Sieve, Cheesecloth, or Coffee Filters into a pitcher.
  • Add Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Sugar, and 2-4 cups
  • Using a Whisk, stir well, and adjust the taste with more Sugar if needed.

Makes about 1/2 a gallon.

NOTES: This beverage is a true Meso-American fusion food. It came from Spain where it was made with tigernuts. In the Americas, due to lack of tigernuts, other ingredients were used. Depending on the Latin American country, you will see Rice or various types of seeds used. Most Mexican varieties are made with Rice with Cinnamon–some adding strawberries or Prickly Pear.

Now the Historian in me read that the name comes from Valencia Spain from orxata deriving from the word for Barley. In traditional Meso-American cooking, it looks like a metate (a stone motar tool) would have been used to grind the rice mixture. One day, I want to get a metate and make it that way LOL!

Palm Breeze

Ingredients:
1 part Orange Juice
1 part Pineapple Juice
1 part Coconut Rum
Ice
Maraschino Cherry for Garnish
Orange 1/4 Wedge for Garnish

Directions:

  • Combine the Rum and Juices. If doing an individual cocktail, put them in a shaker. If making a large amount, add the Rum first, then the Juices and stir well.
  • Pour over Ice and Garnish. If doing an individual cocktail, use a Highball Glass.

NOTES: This screams “SUMMER!” to me. It is tropical, and refreshing, and you can fool yourself into thinking you’re healthy since it’s 2/3 fresh juice. I recommend getting pulp-free juice for this, as it is smoother and like a punch–and whatever you do, make sure it is natural juice–not concentrate with preservatives and HFC.

French Martini

Ingredients
1 1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Raspberry Liquor
2 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Crushed Ice for shaking
Lemon Twist for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine the liquids into a Shaker and shake.
  • Strain into a chilled Martini glass, and garnish.

NOTES:

So here’s a cocktail created to showcase a liquor – Chombord Raspberry Liquor, specifically. The story goes, to promote Chombord, the company created this cocktail. I cannot find any way to validate or invalidate this claim at this point. I imagine to make this really “French” you could use Grey Goose Vodka too. LOL. Anyway, this is one of my favorite drinks, mostly because it is sweet, purple, and frothy from the shaken pineapple juice.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 6:23 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

Lemonade

Ingredients:
6-8 Lemons, for juice
2 lemons, for pitcher
5-6 cups Water
1 1/2-2 cups Granulated Sugar

Directions:

  • Press each “juice” Lemon on the counter and roll; then squeeze the juice into a bowl. Remove any seeds, and add to a 1 gallon or larger pitcher.
  • Heat 1 cup of Water in a kettle until near boiling.
  • Add the Sugar and Hot Water to the Pitcher with the Lemon Juice. If you want extra sweet, use the full amount or more, and if you want it less sweet, use less. Stir to dissolve the Sugar.
  • Slice the remaining Lemons into rings, and place in the pitcher.
  • If serving immediately, add Ice and the remaining Water, until filled. If serving later, or storing in the refrigerator, just fill with the Water until filled.

Makes 1 Gallon

NOTES: Lemonade is one of the quintessential drinks of Summer. I love it–especially with fresh juice. Adding the sliced lemons, allows for a little pulp to mix in, which I just love! What is amazing, is that most store-bought Lemonade tastes blah. I also don’t know how they can get away with adding so many other ingredients! Keep it simple.

Variations:
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

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.

Prosciutto Asparagus

Ingredients:
6-8 oz Prosciutto, pre-sliced, cold
1 bunch Asparagus, woody ends removed
3-6 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
Water for blanching
Salt for water
Big Bowl of Ice Water for cooling

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of Salted Water to a boil.
  • Drop in the Asparagus and let it cook until bright Green–watch it, do not leave. As soon as you see them turning bright green, use tongs and remove to the Ice Water to stop the cooking.
  • Dry off the Asparagus on paper towels.
  • Lay Wax paper on the counter or table, and place slices of Prosciutto flat on the wax paper. You should plan 1 piece per Asparagus spear, unless the Asparagus is extremely big or long.
  • Carefully spread a small schmear of Cream Cheese on the Prosciutto. You do not want too much, or it will be clumpy. Try to make the schmear even. You may not use all of the Cream Cheese
  • Wrap each Prosciutto slice around an Asparagus spear, schmeared side against the stock, spiraling up the stock so the entire stock is covered. It is ok if the Prosciutto overlaps itself a little.
  • The Prosciutto should stick to itself at the end of the wrapping, but if not, add a little Cream Cheese and press.
  • Refrigerate covered until ready to serve.

Serves 8-10

NOTES: You do not want too much Cream Cheese, and you want to avoid it oozing. This is a very simple easy-to-do Hors D’œuvre that is a crowd pleaser. To help cut down the fat, you can use fat-free Cream Cheese or American Neufchâtel–French Neufchâtel is not as spreadable, and harder to acquire.

Summer Pudding

Whole-Wheat Summer Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups Raspberries
2 cups Strawberries, quartered
2 cups Blueberries
1 loaf White Bread, sliced, crusts removed
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Zest
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Port
Mint to Garnish

Directions:

  • Line a Pudding Mold, or Large Bowl with plastic wrap.
  • Line the plastic wrap with the slices of bread, overlapping the edges slightly.
  • Place the Berries, Sugar, Zest, Water, and Port in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring.
  • Pour the mixture into the bread bowl.
  • Cover with more slices of bread, sealing the fruit mixture inside.
  • Place a sheet of Wax Paper over this bread lid, and then cover it in plastic wrap.
  • Place a plate that is slightly smaller than the opening of the bowl on top, and place a 5 lb weight on it, pressing the bread top into the berry mixture.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, as well as the wax paper. Place an inverted serving plate on top of the bowl, and then holding them tightly together, invert so the bowl is on top of the plate.
  • Carefully remove the bowl and the plastic wrap from the molded Pudding.

Serves 8.

NOTES: This English Summer Pudding is super simple to make. You can use any variety of berries you are able to get. If you want it less tart, add a little more sweetener. You can use Whole-Wheat bread instead of White bread, however the bread will not change color as evenly.  This goes very well with Whipped Cream.

Variations:
S›Ƨ – Substitute Splenda® for the Sugar and Water for the Port.

Ṽ›Ɣ – Use a Vegan White bread.

Schnitz un Knepp

Ingredients:
2-3 lb Ham, pre-cooked
2 cups dried Apple Rings
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 Egg, beaten
3 Tbsp Butter, melted
1/2-2/3 cup Milk
Water for Ham and Apples

Directions:

  • Put the Ham in a large pot, and cover with water.
  • Bring to a boil, and then cover and simmer for 2 1/2-3 hours until the ham is very tender.
  • Put the Apple slices in a bowl and cover with water, letting them soak the duration it takes to cook the Ham.
  • Add the Apples, the soaking Water, the Brown Sugar, and the Onions to the Ham, and bring to a boil.
  • In a large bowl combine all the dry Ingredients, Egg, and Butter. Slowly add the Milk to the batter–you may not need all 2/3 cup–you want it to be a sticky and gloppy batter, not runny.
  • Drop Tablespoon size-balls of dough into the Ham pot, and cover.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes, and then serve.

NOTES: Schnitz un Knepp is an Amish dish popular in Pennsylvania. Literally translated, it means “Slices and Buttons”. Schntiz comes from Schnitzen – slices and Knepp for button referring to the dumplings. I don’t know who the ham angered, that it didn’t make it into the name! The first time I had this was at YMCA camp in Ohio, when they took us to an Amish farm. The meal is very simple, and easy to serve to a large group of folks–and not what one gets every day in non-Amish circles. I recommend this with left-over ham after a holiday, or in the fall or winter. I’ve also seen this spelled Schnitz un Gnepp, as well as with the “un” spelled out “und”. The Amish German dialect pounces it “schnitz-un-nep”, alighting the ordinarily pronounced K/G sound right out.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Ingredients:
16 oz uncooked Pasta (Rotini or Penne)
Water for Boiling and Steaming
Iced Water in a large bowl for Shocking the Broccoli
1 Tbsp Salt for Boiling
1 tsp Olive Oil for Boiling
2 cups Broccoli Spears, cut into small pieces
2 cups Pesto, room temperature
1 cup Black Olives, chopped
2 cups marinated Artichoke Hearts, drained, quartered
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Romano, grated

Directions:

  • Cook the Pasta in a large pot wit the Salt and Olive Oil. You want al dente. When you reach al dente, quickly drain and run cold water through the Pasta.
  • In a second pot, steam the Broccoli spears till bright green (about 4 minutes), drain and shock with ice-cold water.
  • Combine all ingredients except the Romano in a large bowl. Mix Well.
  • Sprinkle the top with the grated Romano.

NOTES: This is one of the simplest Pasta Salads you’ll ever make. I always make my own Pesto, since it is cheaper and yields more flavor than most store bought Pestos–that and some of the jarred kind is nasty-oily and looks like it was made from reconstituted dried herbs rather than fresh Basil. You can modify the ingredients based on your tastes for the Salad. Some folks may add fresh Tomatoes instead of the Sun-Dried, or cut up Mozzarella in cubes. Really, it is all up to you.

Potato Salad with Avocado-Yogurt Dressing

Potato Salad with Avocado-Yogurt Dressing

Ingredients:
6 large Red Pontiac Potatoes, cleaned, and chopped
2 Avocados, mashed
1/2 cup Greek-Style Yogurt
3 Tbsp fresh Chives, diced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, diced
1 Roasted Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Roasted Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Salt
Pepper to Taste
Water for boiling

Directions:

  • Boil the Potatoes until fork tender. I suggest cutting them before because they will cook quicker, but you can cut after.
  • While the Potatoes are cooking, in a food processor, combine the Lemon Juice, Yogurt, Avocados, Mustard, and Herbs. Pulse to combine.
  • Slowly drizzle in the Olive Oil.
  • Add Salt and Pepper to Taste.
  • Drain the Potatoes and move them to a large bowl.
  • Add the Roasted Peppers.
  • Slowly add the Dressing, tossing to mix well. You may not use all the dressing.

NOTES: I like Potato Salad, but I often find it either tasting too much like Mustard or too much like BLAH. If you want a kick, add a diced Jalapeño to the mix.

Smoky Baked Beans

Ingredients:
2 cups Haricot/Navy Beans
6-8 cups Water for Soaking
1/2 lb thick-cut Bacon, diced
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
3 Tbsp Honey
1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke
1/2 cup Tomato Paste
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp dried Chipotle Pepper, minced
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, soak the Beans in the Water overnight.
  • Drain the Beans, reserving the liquid.
  • Preheat the Oven to 325F
  • In a large Pot brown the Bacon.
  • Add the Onion and Garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring well.
  • Add 1 cup of the Reserved Water, and all other ingredients EXCEPT the beans, and heat for 5 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Mix with the Beans and place in a Dutch Oven.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, covered.
  • Stir well and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes uncovered.

NOTES: I was a Boy Scout in my younger days. On camp outs I took joy in being on the kitchen patrol and cooking. Then we’d cook them in a cast-iron Dutch Oven over the campfire. Over time my Baked Beans became a request of the troop, though back then I didn’t get to use Jack Daniel’s.

So with regards to Baked Beans, there are a variety of “styles”. In Boston Style, Beans and Salt Pork are stewed with tomato paste and molasses. Southern Style incorporates Mustard and Bacon into the mix. In Vermont north through Quebec the sweetener is Maple Syrup. Cowboy Beans incorporate BBQ Sauce and Ground Beef. My beans are sort of a hybrid of baked beans with a very smoky flavor that is reminiscent of a campfire stove.