Monday, December 31, 2012

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Our daughters are fans of Ina Garten's recipes.  This is the dish that Barbara served at her Christmas party.  We doubled the recipe and decided the dish is better not doubled or fit in a dish that can accommodate four pounds of shrimp.  It is a very delicious preparation.


Baked Shrimp Scampi

2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, All Rights Reserved
Prep Time:
30 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
13 min
6 servings


  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.
In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.
Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pineapple-Ginger Cocktail

Pineapple-Ginger Sparkling Wine Cocktail
Our daughter Barbara offered this recipe.  We both are on a "ginger-kick" during this holiday season.  
Pineapple-Ginger Sparkling Wine Cocktail
Makes 1

Adapted from Saveur.

1-inch cube fresh pineapple
1/4-inch slice fresh ginger, unpeeled
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 1/4 ounce rye whiskey
Champagne or sparkling wine

1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the pineapple with the ginger and sugar.

2. Add the lime juice and whiskey, then add some ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain the mixture into a glass then top the glass off with Champagne or sparkling wine and add a twist of lemon or lime to the glass. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Marinated Mushrooms

Marinated Mushrooms
This is another great recipe from our friend Carrie Jackson.  I have tasted the mushrooms and highly recommend this recipe.
4 pounds whole mushrooms (1-2" cut in half if too large)
1 quart hardy Burgundy wine
1/4 pound butter
11/2 teaspoon worcestshire sauce
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups boiling water
4 beef bullion cubes
4 chicken bouillon cubes
Cut mushroom stems flush with mushroom caps.  (do not pull stems out.).  Bring all ingredients to a boil, add mushrooms and simmer covered.  Remove cover and simmer 3 to 5 hours, until liquid barely covers mushrooms.  Serve with toothpicks in a warming casserole. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lindsay Roasted Olives

Lindsay Roasted Olives
This is a recipe from our friend Carrie Jackson who is an excellent cook and great hostess.
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup ripe pitted olives (canned black)
1 cup Greek Kalmata Olives
1 cup garlic stuffed Spanish Olives
1 tablespoon Herbs of Provence
8 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 baguette, sliced 1/4 inch slices, toasted
Mix well and arrange single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake 425 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool and serve with toasted baguette. 
Hint:  Rough chop to help stay on the bread slices.  Round olives tend to roll off.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Date Cheese Ball

Date Cheese Ball
Serves 8
Orange zest and fresh thyme give this party staple a gourmet flair. Serve with assorted crackers, toasted baguette slices, and pear and apple wedges. This recipe can be made up to three days ahead.
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 4-oz. log goat cheese or blue cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
  • 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped pitted dates
1. Toast almonds in small skillet over medium-low heat 3 to 5 minutes, or until light brown. Transfer to plate to cool.
2. Process cream cheese, goat cheese, orange zest, thyme, and salt in food processor until smooth. Transfer to small bowl, and stir in dates. Coat large rectangle of plastic wrap with cooking spray, and scoop cheese mixture onto it. Shape into ball, wrapping in plastic, and chill 1 hour.
3. Roll cheese ball in toasted almonds, pressing to adhere. Refrigerate wrapped in clean plastic wrap until ready to serve. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Biscotti

This is a recipe that I found on Giada De Laurentis food network.  I am making this recipe to gift neighbors who were so helpful recently.
Holiday Biscotti


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
  • Red and green sugar crystals, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries. 
Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Lola Granola Bars

This is a recipe from Food Network.  Commercially prepared granola bars have ingredients many of us try to avoid which are known to be not heart healthy.  This is a healthy choice!

Lola Granola Bars
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup whole raw almonds, skin on
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 7- by 11-inch baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
In a bowl, stir the oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, coconut, flax seed meal and cinnamon. Transfer to a dry sheet tray and toast in the oven for 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
While dry ingredients toast, in a medium pot, add the honey, coconut oil and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the honey turns a copper color, 12 to 15 minutes.
Pour the honey into the dry ingredients and mix until well coated with the honey mixture.
Pour onto the prepared baking pan. Pack down the ingredients. Bake for about 10 minutes; the middle may seem slightly sticky but it will cool nicely. Let cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Flip over, take off the parchment and cut into rectangles. Serve.
For other flavors, make the following substitutions to the recipe above:
Ruby (Cranberry): Omit the almonds and add an additional 1/4 cup dried cranberries.
Nathan (Blueberry/Almond): Substitute the cranberries with dried blueberries.
Enzo: (Cashew/Almond): Omit the cranberries and add 1/4 cup cashews to the dry ingredients.
Ellie (Cashew/Date): Substitute the almonds with cashews and substitute the cranberries with dried dates.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Roasted Garlic Soup

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter 
with Hemp, Flax, and Chia Seed

Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter 

with Hemp, Flax, and Chia Seed

I try to incorporate as many grains as possible in my diet after reading an article several years ago. The Harvard Medical School published that most diets are Niacin deficient due to insufficient use of grains. Reap the benefits of no cholesterol with a nut butter. Serve on bread or with apple slices. This recipe comes from the blog "Oh She Glows". Use a food processor not a Vita Mix to process until smooth as it must be frequently stirred. This is so well worth the ingredients as it is delicious.
2 cup raw almonds
2 Tbsp whole flax seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick mat. In a large bowl, mix together the almonds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and maple syrup. Spread out almond mixture onto baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring once half way through.

2. Remove from oven and allow the almond mixture to cool for a few minutes before placing into a food processor. Process for about 10 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30-60 seconds as needed. The mixture will be very drippy and smooth when ready. Add in the vanilla, salt, and cinnamon and process until mixed well.

3. Remove the almond butter from the processor. If you’d like crunchy almond butter, add some almonds (~1/2 cup?) into the (now empty) processor and process until chunky. Stir the chunky almonds into the almond butter. Makes 1 and 1/4 cups or a bit more depending on how much you lick the bowl.
Yield: 1 1/4 cup.

Adapted from Ashley and inspired by Naturally Nutty’s.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chia Almond Pudding

Chia Almond Pudding

I saw chia seeds in the bulk food aisle of my grocery store when I was buying my Thanksgiving meal groceries.  All I could think of was cha-cha-cha-chia!  Then I learned the seeds are filled with protein and fiber and were first used by the Aztec Indians to thicken foods.  This article I am posting appeared in my hometown paper.  I also found another recipe for their use which I will post tomorrow.

Top this pudding with whipped cream and a sprinkle of chia seeds. Or drizzle it with a bit of honey or agave syrup.
Start to finish: Overnight (5 minutes active)
Servings: 4
2 cups vanilla almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Stir well. Leave the bowl on the counter and stir once a minute for about 10 minutes. This prevents the seeds from clumping as they absorb liquid. Cover and refrigerate the bowl for at least 6 hours, or ideally overnight. When you think of it, give the pudding a stir.

J.M. Hirsch is the national food editor for The Associated Press.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kale Salad

Kale Salad
This beautiful salad recipe was recommended by our daughter Barbara and is taken from the blog "Oh She Glows".  Kale is so nutritious  but is a very fibrous green.  The dressing, which is applied 15 minutes or more prior to serving, massages and tenderizes the Kale.  The lemon in the dressing is used to tenderize the leaves.  Serves 4.  I doubled this recipe for our Thanksgiving Dinner.
1/2 large head Kale (about 4 to 6 cups)
1 cup finely chopped onion.
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped carrot (2 small carrots)
1 English cucumber (2 cups chopped halves)
1 avocado, chopped
1 1/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes
1/2 cup mixed raisins or Goji berries
1/4 cup hemp seed 
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Lemon Tahini Dressing recipe follows
Chop vegetables and mix in a large mixing bow.  Reserve hemp seed and walnuts for sprinkling on top.
Make the Tahini-Lemon Dressing in a food processor and process until smooth.
Tear the leaves off the Kale stem and rip into bite size pieces.  Wash and dry the kale leaves.
Mix the vegetables, kale leaves, and full batch of dressing, (3/4 to 1 cup) in large bowl until thoroughly combined.
Place in refrigerator to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.  Serves 4.  Keeps in refrigerator in a sealed container for 1 day.
Tahini-Lemon Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Nutritional yeast
2-4 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
1 teaspoon Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 Tablespoons water or as needed
In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until smooth.  Makes just under 1 cup.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dinner Rolls

Dinner Rolls   My Favorite
These rolls are soft like wheat bread but have a nutty whole-grain flavor that comes from wheat germ.  Placing the rolls together in a pan so that they touch as they bake makes them especially tender.  These rolls were served at our Thanksgiving dinner. 
Yield: 16 delicious dinner rolls.
2 teaspoons or 1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
2 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened, plus more for greasing bowl and brushing dough.
3 Tablespoons honey or 1/4 cup packed brown sugar.
3/4 cup water
Stir yeast into 1/4 cup warm water (105'-115' F) until dissolved and add a pinch of sugar to proof.  Let stand 10 minutes.
Combine flour, wheat germ, and salt in bowl of food processor, stand mixer, or regular bowl.  (Reserve 1/3 cup flour if kneading by hand.)
Stir butter and honey into 3/4 cup warm water.  Stir yeast mixture and butter mixture into flour mixture.  (If using food processor, add liquids through feed tube with processor running.  If using stand mixer with dough hook, add liquids in steady stream with mixer on low speed.)  Follow kneading instructions below.
Place dough in buttered bowl, and cover.  Let rise in warm place 45 minutes to one hour, or until doubled in volume.  Deflate dough and divide into quarters, then divide each quarter into 4 pieces.  Roll dough into balls on floured surface.  Place dough balls in 4 rows in greased 9 inch baking pan.
Cover dough; let rise 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375'F.  Brush dough with melted butter, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until tops of rolls are golden and edges are browned.  Serve warm.
Stand Mixer Directions:  (with dough hook)  Place dry ingredients in mixer bowl, and fit mixer with dough hook.  Mix on low speed 1 minute to combine.  With mixer running at low speed, add yeast and liquids bu pouring them down the inside of the bowl.  Increase speed to medium-low and mix 2 minutes.  Let dough rest 5 minutes.  Mix at medium-low speed 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth.  Increase speed to medium, and mix 2 minutes.  Kneading is done when dough makes a slapping sound as it hits the side of the bowl.  Dough temperature should be close to 90 F'.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Edaname Dip

Edamane Dip
This is a healthy dip that has a wonderful nutty flavor!
1 cup toasted slivered almonds 
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen edaname 
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Zest and Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 garlic minced
1 Tablespoons cilantro
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Vegetable slices \ rice crackers
Whirl almonds in a food processor until finely ground about 2 minutes.
Add 1/3 cup water and remaining ingredients through soy sauce.  Whirl until blended, about 3 minutes.
Spoon into a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve with vegetable sticks and rice crackers.
Delicious and Nutritious!   

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Relish
Yesterday the lady ahead of me at the checkout in the grocery store was buying six bags of cranberries.  The cashier questioned what her plans were with six bags.   Her friends request this "gift" each year and they all have brought their jar with their name.
This sounded interesting to me and worth the try.  No more jello.
1# bag of cranberries
1 orange
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons Burbon
Cut both ends from the orange and cut into smaller pieces and removing seeds.  Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until it is well chopped and mixed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Quick Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts and Lemon

Quick Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Toasted Walnuts
This is an Associated Press recipe found in the newspaper of my hometown.

The simple tricks for perfect Brussels sprouts

The simplicity of this technique is, of course, a huge bonus on Thanksgiving Day, when you are trying to cook 500 other dishes at the same time. You can either pre-saute the sprouts, then quickly reheat them when the moment is right, or just cook them from start to finish while someone else is carving the turkey.
Even more impressive than the process is the result — the surprising deliciousness of these shredded sauteed Brussels sprouts. You don't need a lot of fat to cook them in, and the little guys pair up nicely with all sorts of toasted nuts. I've opted for walnuts in this recipe, but swap in your favorite. And a tart little spritz of lemon provides the finishing touch.
Take my word for it; when it comes to Brussels sprouts, this recipe has turned haters into believers over and over again.
By the way, who put the Brussels in Brussels sprouts? The Belgians, of course. The sprouts were first cultivated in large quantities in Belgium in the late 1500s, and introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s.
Quick Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Walnuts and Lemon
Start to finish: 15 minutes
Servings: 6
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Put the walnuts in a pie plate and toast them in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are fragrant and are a shade darker.
Trim the Brussels sprouts and discard any damaged outside leaves. Use a food processor fitted with the thin slicing blade to shred the sprouts.
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the sprouts and lemon zest, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until crisp tender, about 5 minutes. The pan will seem very crowded in the beginning, but the Brussels sprouts will shrink down quickly. Season with salt and pepper, 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and the walnuts. Serve right away.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roasted Fennel With Parmesan Vinaigrette

Roasted Fennel With Parmesan Vinaigrette
This recipe was found in the Vegetarian Times magazine.  It sounds much like the recipe our daughter uses to prepare the nutritious vegetable.  Roasting fennel concentrates its natural sweetness.  A sprinkling of Parmesan gives it a crunchy crust.  Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced (4 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium fennel bulbs, quartered
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425F.  Coat baking sheet or roasting pan with cooking spray.

Blend oil, garlic, vinegar. mustard, salt and pepper in mini food processor until smooth.  Toss fennel with oil mixture and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.

Place fennel on prepared baking sheet and roast 35 to 40 minutes until fennel quarters are tender and the outer edges are golden brown.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Butternut Penne With Pistachio Pesto

Butternut Penne With Pistachio Pesto
Last evening I prepared dinner at our son's home.  We all have a fondness for butternut squash.  I gave this recipe as an offering for dinner and all agreed that it sounded like a winner.  A WINNER it was indeed.   This recipe came from the blog, Sprouted Kitchen.

I have decided their reason a Meyer lemon is suggested in the recipe.  I used a regular lemon and the lemon flavor had a very slight dominance in the pesto flavor but it wasn't distasteful.  This is a recipe that I would definitely make over and over again.

2 lbs. (one large) butternut squash, peeled seeded and cut into 1'' pieces
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
2 tsp. smoked paprika (Pimenton)
1 tsp. sea salt
bit of fresh grated nutmeg
8 oz. brown rice, quinoa or whole grain penne pasta
2 huge handfuls (about 3 cups) well chopped baby spinach or swiss
Pistachio Pesto
1 large/ 2 small cloves garlic
zest and juice of one meyer lemon or lime
1/3 cup toasted, unsalted pistachio nuts
1 jalepeno or serrano, seeded (I leave a few seeds for spice)
1 cup packed herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, chives, basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino, plus more for garnish
1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
few pinches of salt and pepper
Directions:Preheat the oven to 450' and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut cubes with the olive oil (enough to coat), smoked paprika, salt, a grate of nutmeg and toss to coat. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are charred.

Cook the pasta according to instructions, reserving one cup of the cooking water.

For the pesto, add the garlic, lemon zest and juice to the processor and pulse a few times to break down. Add the jalepeno, pistachios, herbs and parmesan and run the processor to mix, about 30 seconds. Drizzle in the olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper until combined. Taste and alter as desired. If you want it thinner, add a splash of water or oil.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pesto, greens, drained pasta and half of the pasta water and toss gently. The warm pasta and water will wilt the greens perfectly. Add water if needed.

Garnish with a fresh grate of cheese, pepper and any leftover herbs.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tagliolini with Fish

Tagliolini is a long very thin spaghetti.   This is a pasta recipe using chopped tomatoes with fish and vegetables in a cream sauce.  Italian pasta is not about tomato sauce, oregano and cheese from a box.  It is fresh ingredients with freshly grated cheese (never on fish or seafood) and a variety of vegetables.  Pesto, cream sauces, butter, and olive oil are often used as sauces with pasta.  Pasta is simple, delicious, and prepared in minimal time.  Sauces cooked for hours are only for TV.
Tagliolini With Fish
300 g  or 1/2 lb. tagliolini
300 g  or 1/2 lb. freshwater fish (perch or 
100 g or 1 cup chopped tomatoes
100 g or 1 cup chopped vegetables (a 
                mixture of carrot, celery, 
                or onion)
2 Tablespoons cream
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Clean and fillet the fish.  Saute the vegetables in oil until softened.  Add the chopped tomatoes and cream to the vegetables: simmer for a few minutes.  Add the fish fillets and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.  Cook the pasta al dente in salted boiling water.  When done, drain the pasta (saving 1 /2 cup of the cooking water).  Place the pasta in a bowl and toss with sauce and serve.   Serves 4

Butternut Squash With Spinach Au Gratin

Yesterday I shopped at Trader Joe's.  The sampling was two of my favorite vegetables, butternut squash and spinach au gratin.  The offering was paired with a pork roast.  I can usually find a recipe and tweak it to what I think resembles the flavor I want when making the dish.   This is my offering.  
Serves 6
Butternut Squash and 
Creamed Spinach Au Gratin
1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach , stems discarded or 
   16 oz. frozen spinach, thawed  
2 1/2 to 3 Tablespoons butter, plus additional for   
   greasing the baking dish. 
3/8 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and 
Parmesan cheese for topping
If using fresh spinach, bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a 6 to 8 quart pot over high heat.  Add spinach a few handfuls at a time with tongs, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain in a colander and rinse under cool water.

Thoroughly squeeze cooked or frozen spinach in small handfuls to remove excess moisture, then coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.

Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in an 8 inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, then cook onion until softened 3 to 5 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add mixture to spinach along with salt and pepper, nutmeg, and cream; stir to combine. 

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400 F.  Butter a shallow baking dish.  I used a 7 X 10 baking dish.

Cut squash to separate bulb section from solid neck section, then cut pieces lengthwise into lengthwise pieces into 1/8 inch thick slices or slicer.

Layer squash and spinach mixture in baking dish, using squash as bottom layer and ending as top layer, layering with three layers of squash and two layers of spinach.  Dot with  remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with parchment or waxed paper.  Bake until squash is tender and bubbly 30 to 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the squash slice.  Check to make sure squash is fork tender.  Remove paper and bake until au gratin is browned in spots, 10 to 15 additional minutes or broil 3 inches from heat, 2 to 3 minutes.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Filert of Beef With Fennel And ALmond Sauce

This is another recipe I brought back from France.  Europeans have such a great repertoire of sauces to accompany meat dishes which makes their food so unique but simply delicious.  Again I have translated the recipe with a program on the computer.
Filet of Beef With Fennel Served With Almond Sauce
3 cloves garlic 
50 g blanched almonds
100 g green pitted olives
1 teaspoon capers
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
4 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper, chili powder
1/2 bouquet oregano
 1/2 bouquet basil
2 fennel bulbs
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon butter
2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
3/4 cup white wine
10 cherry tomatoes
4 slices of filet of beef
Sea salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Cracked pepper 
2 Tablespoons butter
2 sprigs rosemary

Peel and chop the garlic, chop the almonds and bake 45 minutes in  1 1/4 cup of water. Reduce then puree garlic, almonds, olives, capers and lemon juice in a blender. Gradually incorporate the device makes a pasty consistency. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of meeting chilli powder. Finely chop and add oregano and basil.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Clean and cut the fennel into thick slices or quarters. Heat the olive oil in a pan baking, brown the fennel 2 to 3 minutes sprinkle with sugar, stir briefly and let caramelize. Add the butter and bay leaves, salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with white wine. Place the pan in the middle of the oven and simmer vegetables covered for 1 hour. Wash and halve the tomatoes, leave out the fennel.

Meanwhile salt and brown the beef fillets 1 to 2 minutes on each side in a cast iron pan in olive oil on stove.   Pepper fillets, add the butter and rosemary. Finish cooking the meat over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes basting constantly with melted butter.

Let fillets stand a few minutes on a warm plate tented with foil.  Serve with fennel and sauce of olives and almonds. Accompany this dish with mashed potatoes or classic au gratin potatoes.