Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

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Maple Bourbon Glazed BBQ Pork Chops with Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

Ingredients:
4-6 medium sized “new potatoes”, Red Pontiac, Melody, or Russet, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 large pimento-stuffed Manzanilla Olives, sliced in thirds perpendicular to the pit (optional)
4 Scallions, cut in 2-3mm pieces, white separated from the greens
1 Tbsp Green Peppercorns
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/8 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, toss the Cumin, paprika, Chipotle, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Black & White Pepper. Use a fork to mix well.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until browned, about 7 minutes–you want a crust on them.
  • Toss in the white portion of the Scallions, Olives, Green Peppercorns, and Spice mixture, and stir while it cooks for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, and pour in the Bourbon. Replace the pan to the heat, mindful that the alcohol may flare up. To avoid injury, keep your body away from the pan, and do not have your face near it.
  • Drizzle in the Maple Syrup and adjust the seasonings. Let cook for 1 more minute, allowing the maple syrup to glaze over everything.
  • Plate, and garnish with the green portion of the Scallions.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: I cannot emphasize enough the need for caution when adding the Bourbon to the hot pan. The risk of flare up is decreased by removing the pan from the heat. I recommend you have a lid ready, just in case, and of course a working fire extinguisher. In general, if you remove from the heat to add the alcohol, the likelihood of it flaring up is much reduced, verses if you were to just add it while over the flames, the vapors could ignite like flash paper.

The Olives are optional–but I recommend trying it with them because they offer a flavor contrast to the spicy and sweet bbq glaze.

Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

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Egyptian Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Red Potatoes

Ingredients:
4 medium sized Red Pontiac Potatoes, cut in 2mm slices
2 cups Sugar Snap Peas
2 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar Glaze
1/4 cup Bacon Bits (Real or Soy)
1 Lime
1 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  • In a bowl, toss the Potatoes with Italian Seasoning, Crushed Red Pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until fork tender and browned, about 7 minutes. Toss and stir so they do not stick.
  • Halve the Lime, and squirt the juice over the Potatoes. Invert the peal and leave to cook with the Potatoes for 2 minutes, stirring.
  • Add the Sugar Snap Peas, Balsamic Vinegar Glaze, and Sour Cream, and 2 Tbsp water to the pan. Stir well, so everything is coated, and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Toss in the Bacon Bits, remove from heat and serve.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: It is rare that I say this, but I prefer this with the soy-based Bacon Bits rather than real Bacon. One can also use fat-free sour cream and reduce the calories further. Be sure not to add too much salt to the potatoes, as they Bacon Bits will add some when added.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Céleri Rémoulade – Celeriac Salad

Céleri Rémoulade

Ingredients:
1 Celeriac Bulb, cleaned
1 Carrot, cleaned
1 small Cucumber, seeded and Julianne cut.
3 Shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 – 1 cup Walnuts, crushed
1 cup Greek-Style Yoghurt
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Almond Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp fresh Mint, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Dill, minced
2 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper

Directions:

  • Clean the Celeriac root by removing any scraggly roots and outer surface. Cut into pieces small enough to be easy to grate. I prefer to use my Food Processor’s food grater, so I make the pieces big enough to fit through the feeder. If you shred by hand, you may want them a good size for holding. Do the same thing with the Carrot.
  • Shred both the Celeriac and Carrot.
  • In a large bowl, combine the Celeriac, Carrot, Shallots, Cucumber, and Walnuts, and toss with your hands to mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine all remaining ingredients and whisk together into a dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the dry ingredients and mix well.

NOTES: Celeriac is one of those under-used vegetables in my opinion. Honestly, I don’t know why–its not too difficult to prepare, and you can eat it raw or cooked in any way imaginable that most root vegetables are cooked. Now regarding the Rémoulade itself. Traditionally, this would be made with Mayonnaise, and would not have Ginger and maybe a different set of spices. I found that a little bland and had to add some kick to it, but not overpower the fresh-taste of the Celeriac itself. The Rémoulade can be served as a side dish, or in a similar fashion to Cole Slaw–though it is not as strong. Many folks serve it as a side to fish. I prefer to eat it by itself as a side salad.

Snap Peas and Black Beans

Snap Peas and Black Beans

Ingredients:
2 cups Black Beans, drained
1 cup Snap Peas, in pod
1 Shallot, chopped
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/2 tsp Ginger powder
1 tsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Sweat the Shallot in the Olive Oil with the Salt and Pepper in a Skillet on medium heat.
  • When the Shallots start to become translucent, add the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often so that the Black Beans do not stick.

Makes 3 Servings.

NOTES: This was a quick and easy dish that I came up with this Spring. The sweetness of the Peas is a good contrast to the Black Beans which seem to absorb the flavors of the Cumin and Shallots. You don’t want to overcook this, as you do want the Snap Peas to be crunchy still.

Caribbean Chickpeas

Caribbean Chickpeas

Ingredients
4 cups reconstituted Chickpeas
1/2 cup Black Olives, sliced
2-4 cloves Garlic
1-2 Jalapeño Peppers
4 Green Onions, diced (just the lower 2 inches), reserve the Green part
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
2 tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp ground Coriander Seed
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions

  • Heat a Sauce Pan on medium heat, and add the Olive Oil, Garlic, Scallion, Jalapenos, and Salt. Sweat the mixture for 1 minute, not browning anything.
  • Add the Chickpeas, and mix well. Heat thoroughly, about 2 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, and mix well. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  • While it is cooking, take the reserved Green part of the Green Onion, and dice for garnish.
  • Plate the Chickpeas, and garnish with the fresh Green Onion.

Makes 4 servings.

Prickly-Pear Fruit Salad

Ingredients:
4 Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit
2 Kiwi
1 Mango
1 Orange
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1-2 tsp Granulated Sugar
Dash of Cinnamon
1 tsp Orange Zest
Fresh Mint for Garnish

Directions:

  • Prepare the Fruit.
    • Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit: Cut off the top and bottom, and cut a line across the flesh lengthwise, about 1 cm deep (at most). Carefully pull the Skin from the magenta flesh. Be careful, as there may still be spines on the skin. Slice in disks or dice into bite-size pieces. Be careful not to make them too small.
    • Kiwi: Peel the skin and then slice into disks. Discard the ends.
    • Mango: Peel the skin, and slice the flesh off the core. Dice the flesh into bite size pieces.
    • Orange: Using a knife, cut away the skin, exposing the orange slices. Use a sharp knife and cut out the segments.
  • In a Bowl, whip the Cream, Sugar, and Cinnamon until peaks form.
  • Plate the Fruit in small bowls, and add a dollop of the Whipped Cream.
  • Add Orange Zest and Mint as a Garnish.

Makes 3 servings.

NOTES: Prickly-Pear Cactus Fruit are also known as “Indian Figs” or tuna in Spanish, and are the fruit of the Opuntia genus of cacti also known as Nopales. They come in a variety of colors, but I like the magenta ones.  The consistency is somewhat like watermelon, and the seeds are edible.  This fruit salad is great especially when chilled in the freezer for 20 minutes before serving (Obviously, you’d not put the Whipped Cream on till after you take it out and plate it).

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.

Brussels Sprouts in Pomegranate Butter Sauce

Ingredients
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and quartered vertically.
1 Shallot, minced
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp Corn Starch
1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

  • Melt the Butter in a medium skillet on a medium flame.
  • Saute the Shallots in the Butter, until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Toss in the Brussels Sprouts, and coat with the Butter and Shallots.
  • Drizzle in the Honey, and mix well.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the Chicken Stock and Corn Starch.
  • Add to the skillet, and bring to a simmer, stirring well.
  • Remove to a bowl, and toss in the Pomegranate seeds.
  • Season to taste.

Makes about 4 servings.

NOTES: So this was an experiment that went over well. The tender buttery Brussels Sprouts are a great contrast to the crisp sweet Pomegranate. The colors also are very pleasing–and Christmasy for those who want a little extra festive bunch of Sprouts! Though, I certainly will not be waiting till the Yuletide to eat mine. They’d be great as a side at any Valentine’s day dinner.

Butternut Squash Roasted with Apples, Pears, & Sausage

Ingredients:
2 Butternut Squash, skinned, and cut in bite-size chunks
4 Apples, cut in bite-size chunks
2 Pears, cut in bite-size chunks
5 links Sweet Italian Sausage
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Yellow Onions, diced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Sage, chopped fine
2-4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Allspice

Directions:

  • Remove the casing from the Sausage, crumble and brown it in a Skillet on medium-low heat with the Olive Oil. Drain excess grease.
  • In a baking dish, combine all Ingredients (including the Sausage), and mix well.
  • Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until the Squash is tender.

Makes 8 Servings.

NOTES: This is a great way to introduce folks to Squash at a holiday meal. The Sausage, Fruit, and Maple Syrup add a festive flare that feed off the savory-sweet nature of Butternut Squash. You can substitute other varieties of winter squash for the Butternut Squash–just don’t use canned or frozen pureed squash! It won’t work!

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.

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Brussels Sprouts in a Maple Butter Sauce

Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cleaned, quartered
2 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 clove Garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • In a sauce pan on high heat, melt the Butter into the Chicken Broth with the Maple Syrup.
  • Add all other Ingredients, and coat the sprouts well.
  • Cook for 5-7 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly, or until the sprouts are tender.

Makes 4 servings

NOTES: This is a super simple way of doing Sprouts with a nice Autumn flavor. The Butter and Maple Syrup cut the bitterness of the Sprouts amazingly. I love Brussels Sprouts and finding new ways to eat them is a treat.

Applesauce

Ingredients:
8 Apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup Apple Juice
2 Tbsp Honey
5 strips Lemon peel (just the zest)
1-2 Tbsp Cinnamon, ground (depending on taste)
1 tsp Cloves, ground

Directions:

  • Add all Ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the Lemon Peel.
  • Use a Potato Masher to mash the Apple mixture to your desired chunkiness.
  • Serve hot or cold.

Makes about 6-8 servings (less if you’re like me and want a big serving!)

NOTES: Who doesn’t like applesauce? This is like the best thing Eve could have made Adam–and it is so simple, yet folks still insist on buying it in the store with preservative and HFCs in it. Stop the insanity and make your own!

When picking your apples, think of sweeter varieties, rather than tangier ones like Granny Smith. You can mix up the varieties as well, and get a fuller flavor of apples. I often substitute a natural Apple Cider for the Apple Juice to make it even richer. If you taste the prepared Applesauce and it is too bitter, just add a little more honey or a tsp of Brown Sugar.

Sautéed Spinach Parmesan

Sautéed Spinach Parmesan

Ingredients:
1 lb Baby Spinach, cleaned
6-8 cloves Garlic, sliced length-wise thinly
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
Juice of 1 Lemon
6-8 Tbsp grated Parmesan, or equivalent shaved Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions

  • Heat the Oil in a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the Crushed Red Pepper and Garlic, and saute for 30 seconds to let the oils infuse with the Olive Oil. Stir, and do not let it brown.
  • Add the Baby Spinach with tongs.
  • Let cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it begins to wilt, using the tongs to stir so none burn.
  • Squeeze the Juice of the Lemon over the Spinach, and toss.
  • Plate the Spinach and top with the Parmesan.
  • Keeping in mind, the Parmesan can be salty, season to taste.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTE: I love sauteed spinach, but prefer to use Baby Spinach because it usually comes prepackaged, cleaned, and is easier to eat. I like mine Lemony, Garlicky, with a mix of Hot from the Crushed Red Pepper soothed by the nutty, salty Parmesan. This is also a very QUICK side dish to make, and can often be done with oil used for accompanying chicken dishes–so less mess!

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.

Creamy Red Coleslaw

Dedicated to The Rev. Tommy S., my Southern brother in Christ and friend in Dorothy, in honor of his recent move.

Creamy Red Coleslaw

Ingredients:
1 head Red Cabbage (about 4 cups shredded, shredded finely
1 large Carrot, shredded
1/4 Yellow Onion, grated
1 1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tsp fresh Ginger, grated
1/4 cup Raisins
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp fresh Chives
1 tsp Steak Spice Rub
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, combine the Cabbage, Carrots, Ginger, Onion, and Raisins. Toss together.
  • In a gallon-size zipping baggy, combine the Mayonnaise, Dijon Mustard, Chives, Herbes de Provence, Steak Spice Rub, Salt and Pepper, Sugar, Juices, and Vinegar. Seal and mix well.
  • Pour over the top of the Cabbage Mix, and sprinkle with the Sesame Seeds.
  • Fold the mixture together until everything is coated.

NOTES: This is a tangy flavorful Cole Slaw that is very creamy. If you do not have Herbes de Provence, then you can substitute with Parsley, Basil, and a little Oregano and Thyme… just make sure the total amount is similar. This can be saved, sealed, for a week, and will become more flavorful as you go.

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

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.