Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna


By replacing lasagna noodles with thin sliced zucchini you can create a delicious, lower carb (gluten-free) lasagna that’s loaded with vegetables, and you won’t miss the pasta.

1 lb 90-95% lean beef
4 cloves garlic
1/2 yellow onion
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper
28 oz can crushed organic tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8″ thick
15 oz part-skim ricotta
16 oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large egg

In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt.

When cooked, drain in colander to remove any fat.
Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes.

Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.

Simmer on low for at least 30-40 minutes, covered.
Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.
Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8″ thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.

On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.
Preheat oven to 350°
In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well.

In a 9×12 casserole spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Then place some of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with the mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. Top with sauce and mozzarella and cover with foil.

Bake 45 minutes covered at 375°, then uncovered 15 minutes. Let stand about 5-10 minutes before serving.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts With Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts With 
Feta Cheese and Balsamic Reduction 
1/2 pound Brussels Sprouts
2 strips bacon (turkey or pork)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
If using turkey bacon, use a non-stick pan.

Wash and cut brussels sprouts into halves.  Reheat the pan with bacon drippings on medium heat, add brussels sprouts cut side down.

Flip brussels sprouts once they have turned golden brown, about 6 minutes.

Add chicken stock and cook uncovered until the stock is soaked into the brussels sprouts, about 10 to 12 minutes.

While the brussels sprouts are cooking, place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium-high saucepan until reduced by half.

Chop bacon into small bits.

Combine cooked brussels sprouts, bacon, feta cheese crumbles, thyme, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Dish brussels sprouts onto plates, drizzle reduction over top of sprouts. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baked German Potato Salad

Baked German Potato Salad

12 medium red potatoes (about 3 pounds)
8 bacon strips
2 medium onions, chopped
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup water, divided
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sweet pickle juice
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
4-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

In a saucepan, cook the potatoes just until tender; drain.  Peel and slice into an ungreased baking dish; set aside.

In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp; drain reserving 2 tablespoons drippings.  Crumble and set aside.
Saute onions in drippings until tender.  Stir in brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, vinegar, pickle juice, salt, parsley, and celery seed.  Simmer uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile combine remaining water (2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon) with flour and stir until smooth.  Stir into onion mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for about 2 minutes until thickened.  Pour over potatoes.  Add crumbled bacon.  Gently stir to coat.

Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Yield 8 to 10 servings.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

2 eggs
2/3 cup white sugar
4 Tbsp pineapple juice
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt


1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick or 4 Tbsp)
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
1-can pineapple rings
6-maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, add eggs, white sugar, and pineapple juice. Beat for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and turn mixer back on for 2 minutes.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar. Stir on low heat for one minute.

Spoon a layer of the warm brown sugar mixture into the bottom of each muffin tin, then place a pineapple ring on top. Add a cherry in the middle of each pineapple. Pour cake mixture over to fill muffin tin 3/4 of the way full. If you are using regular muffin tins, you will need to cut down the rings to fit or just use pineapple tidbits.

Bake jumbo cakes for 25 minutes. Bake regular cakes for 20 minutes. If you choose to make a large cake, bake for 22-25 minutes in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. The cake is done with a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven. Let cool in pan for 3 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each cake to help loosen in case it sticks a little. Place a wire cooling rack on top, and quickly flip over on top of sheet tray to catch extra drippings.
Place wire rack of cakes on sheet tray to cool.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Peppercorn Garlic Rubbed Grilled Flank With Bacon Balsamic Glaze

Peppercorn Garlic Rubbed Grilled 
Flank With Bacon Balsamic Glaze
Creamy Roasted-Scented Polenta

2 T. multi colored peppercorns, cracked 
1 (2 lb.) flank steak
Salt to taste
2 tsp. garlic granules

2 T. grapeseed or vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth 2 tsp. cornstarch

2 T. chopped fresh parsley
Serves 4.

1. Rub both sides of the flank steak with cracked peppercorns, salt and garlic granules. Dab or brush with the oil. Grill steak 5 to 7 minutes per side to desired doneness. Let stand rest for 10 minutes before slicing crosswise into thin slices.

2. While steak is cooking, place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until browned and crisp. Add balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer; cook for about 5 minutes until liquid reduces and thickens. Whisk cornstarch into broth and whisk into the pan. Simmer 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve sauce spooned over sliced meat topped with a sprinkle of parsley and a side of Polenta.

Creamy Rosemary-Scented Polenta
5 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Serves 4 to 6.

Place chicken broth, garlic and rosemary in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and stir until wilted.

Add cream and simmer until almost absorbed and polenta is cooked. Add parmesan and stir until cheese melts.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bacon Beef Burgers With Bacon Balsamic Onion Jam With Chipotle Mayo

Bacon Beef Burgers With Bacon Balsamic 
Onion Jam With Chipotle Mayo   Serves 4

Red Onion Jam:
4 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut  crosswise into 1/2-inch strips 
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup water

Chipotle Mayo:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp. minced chipotle chilies in adobo with sauce 1/2 tsp. sugar

2 thick slices applewood-smoked bacon 
1 1/2 lbs. lean good-quality ground beef 
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste
4 large slices Cheddar cheese 

4 sesame hamburger buns, split

1. For the jam, cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until lightly browned but not yet crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 to 3 Tbs. of bacon fat from the skillet.

Add the onion to the skillet, season with a little salt and pepper, cover the pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, add a splash of water, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and beginning to color, about 10 minutes.

Add the vinegar, mustard, and 1/3 cup water. Return the bacon to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has thickened and most of it has been absorbed, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or refrigerate for up to 2 days and gently reheat before serving.

For Chipotle Mayo, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve and up to 3 days ahead.

With a sharp knife or food processor, mince the bacon. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and add the ground beef, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Using a fork, gently toss until well mixed but not overworked. Form into 4 equal patties, each 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Press your thumb in the center of each patty to create a deep depression.

Preheat grill. Grill the burgers over direct heat until grill marks form, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more; top with cheese and cook an additional minute to well done. Burgers can be moved to cool part of the grill if flare-ups occur and to finish cooking through.

Transfer the burgers to a plate and tent them with aluminum foil. Toast the cut sides of the buns on the grill until golden grill marks form. Spread the Chipotle Mayo on the bottom buns.

Top with burgers and then about 1/4 cup of the Red Onion Jam followed by the top bun; serve immediately. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Magic Broccoli and Carrot Salad

Magic Carrot and Broccoli Salad
Yield: Serves 6-8
4 cups broccoli, florets only, chopped3 large carrots, grated (peeled or not, your choice)
1 cup shredded red cabbage
2 green onions, sliced
1 red apple, peel on, cored and diced
1 cup sliced green olives
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, toasted chopped
1/2 cup organic raisins
For the vinaigrette
1 cup paleo mayo
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
1 tbsp salted herbs (or use more salt)
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


Prep all the fruits and vegetables as specified in the list of ingredients and throw them into a large mixing bowl, along with the olives, raisins and hazelnuts. Set aside.

Make the salad dressing: place all the ingredients into a mason type jar and give it a good shake; Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well.

You can serve your salad immediately but it would greatly benefit from sitting a couple of hours in the fridge to allow flavors to meld.

This salad will keep miraculously well for up to a week (and more) in an airtight container.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Brunswick Grill Salad Dressing

Brunswick Grill Salad Dressing

The Brunswick Grill Restaurant was once located in the small town of Willard Ohio. It was known for good home-style food but the "Brunswick Salad Dressing" was everyone's favorite. The owners were generous with sharing the recipe if requested. Ask any Willardite about their memories of this by-gone time and the dressing is certain to surface and often with bragging rites that they had the authentic recipe.  It was a must with any meal at "The Brunswick Grill".

1 cup Mazola Oil
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 med. onion, grated or puree
The secret ingredient:
2 reg. sized HEINZ ketsup, Must be Heinz.

Mix in bowl or blender - Makes 1-1/2 Quarts

Monday, June 22, 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a 
paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey (agave would be amazing too!)
1 teaspoon baking powder**
a pinch of salt if your peanut butter doesn’t have salt in it
1/2 cup chocolate chips

**If you need grain-free baking powder, you can use 1 part cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda + 2 parts arrowroot.
Preheat your oven to 350°F 

Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.

Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.

With wet hands, form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes.

Yields about fourteen 1 1/2″ cookie dough balls.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mile High Meringue

Mile Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Pie

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This pie, is tart, sweet… and rich! The extra-creamy meringue is made with Marshmallow Fluff™.
Bake your favorite pie crust recipe in a deep-dish pie pan, if you have one; it’ll help support the meringue.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice (optional, for an exceptionally 

    tart and tasty filling)
6 tablespoons butter

3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Marshmallow Fluff or marshmallow creme
Filling: Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a saucepan. Add the eggs and whisk well, then whisk in the juice. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it's very hot; it may come to a boil, or it may just "seethe" a bit, like it's trying to boil and not quite making it. Let it boil or seethe for 30 seconds. Stir in the butter, stirring until it melts, then pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Rub a piece of butter over the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill for several hours before topping with the meringue.

Meringue: Preheat your oven to 375°F with the oven rack in the lowest position.

Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt, sugar and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until the meringue is thick and shiny. Beat in the marshmallow creme or fluff.

Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Top it with the meringue, using a spatula to form peaks. Bake the pie for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the meringue has browned. Remove it from the oven, cool it, and refrigerate until serving. Yield: 10 servings.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blackberry Violet Shortcakes

Blackberry Violet Shortcakes

The delicate flavour of violets is mostly in their lovely fragrance. Gorgeous candied violets, available at fine grocers, introduce this fragrance to these shortcake biscuits topped with a simple white chocolate mousse and blackberries flavoured with Crème Yvette, a knock-out violet liqueur arguably better than the real thing.

3 cups blackberries
⅓ cup Crème Yvette liqueur
3 tbsp sugar

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups cake and pastry flour
4 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter,
cut into chunks
1 tbsp finely chopped
candied violets
1 cup plus 1 tbsp cold whipping cream, divided
⅓ cup cold water
Sanding or coarse sugar

¼ cup plus 1 cup cold whipping cream, divided
3 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Place blackberries in a heatproof bowl. Combine Crème Yvette and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour hot syrup over blackberries and stir to coat. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to a day.

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a food processor, combine all-purpose flour, cake and pastry flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse to cut into pea-size pieces; turn out into a large bowl and stir in candied violets.

In a large measuring cup, combine 1 cup cream and the water; pour over flour mixture. Stir until dough just comes together and turn out onto work surface. Knead 2 to 3 times, and flatten into a disc 1 inch high. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut into 8 biscuits, regathering dough if necessary. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush tops with remaining 1 tbsp cream and sprinkle each with a small amount of sanding sugar.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden and puffed. Remove to a rack to cool.

To make white chocolate mousse, bring ¼ cup cream to a boil; stir in white chocolate until melted. Cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, whip remaining 1 cup cream to medium peaks. Continue beating and slowly add chocolate mixture; whip to stiff peaks.

To serve, split biscuits in half and arrange bottoms individually on plates. Dress with an equal amount of mousse, berries and syrup; top with biscuit halves.
Serves 8

Friday, June 19, 2015

Refrigerator Pickles 
Makes about 6 Cups 
1 cup white vinegar 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 cup water 
1-2 teaspoons celery seed (I use 2) 
1 teaspoon salt 
3 cups sliced cucumber 
3 small onions, thinly sliced 
Place sliced cucumber and onions in a large container or bowl. In a separate bowl, stir vinegar, sugar, water and salt together until dissolved. Add celery seed. Pour mixture over cucumber and onions and refrigerate.  I sometimes nibble on them the same day but they taste best in 1-2 days in my opinion.   Keeps for 2-3 months. 

Thai Lemon Shrimp Toss


1 lb. large shrimp, cleaned with tails removed
1/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce 

    (available at Trader Joe’s or Asian stores) 
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 Thai kaffir lime leaves 

   (available at Asian stores—keeps well in freezer) 
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce or to taste
1 T. fish sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. light brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Cooked Jasmine Rice

Place shrimp in a medium bowl. Add all remaining ingredients except the cilantro and let stand for 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and marinade and bring to a simmer. Simmer shrimp, stirring often, until shrimp are cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove lime leaves and stir in cilantro. 

Serve with Jasmine Rice. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

German Cucumber Salad

German Cucumber Salad

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 cucumber
1 medium to large tomato
2 slices onion (slice like you would for onion rings)
2-4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 - 3/4 tsp dill
Pinch of salt


Peel and slice your cucumber, slice your tomato, and slice your onion. I like to slice, then quarter the onion because its easier to eat.

In a bowl, combine dill and salt.
Add sour cream or yogurt and lemon juice to taste. Mix well.
Add onion, cucumber, and tomato to the mixture. Stir until the veggies are coated with the dressing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Golden Caramel and ChocolateTart

Golden Caramel and Chocolate Tart
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large egg yolk

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large egg yolks

In a food processor, pulse the flour with the confectioners’ sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of peas. Add the egg yolk and pulse in 10-second increments until incorporated, about 4 long pulses. Transfer the pastry to a sheet of parchment paper, shape into a disk and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Roll out the pastry to a 12-inch round. Slide the pastry on the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate the pastry until firm, about 1 hour. 

Let the pastry stand at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften. Discard the top sheet of parchment paper and invert the pastry into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom; fit the pastry into the pan and trim the overhang. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400°. 
Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry is set and lightly browned at the edge. Remove the parchment paper and weights and bake the pastry for 5 minutes more, until lightly browned on the bottom. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°.
MAKE THE FILLING In a microwave-safe small bowl, microwave the chocolate at high power in 30-second bursts, just until melted. Let cool slightly. 

Pour the melted chocolate into the baked tart shell, spreading it evenly over the bottom. In a small skillet, stir 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar with the lemon juice and ¼ cup of water over moderately high heat until the sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture starts to color, about 5 minutes. 

Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until a lightly golden caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in the cream and salt, then let the caramel cool to room temperature. 

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar until smooth. Stir the caramel into the egg yolk mixture, then pour the custard evenly over the chocolate in the tart shell. Transfer the tart to a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is still slightly wobbly in the middle. 

Transfer the tart to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until set and thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours. Unmold the caramel tart and serve. 

MAKE AHEAD The pastry can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before rolling out and baking. The caramel tart can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Poached Scallops In Brandy Cream Sauce With Melted Fontina Cheese And Crispy Pancetta

Poached Scallops In Brandy Cream
Sauce With Melted Fontina Cheese
And Crispy Pancetta

Mary Ann Vitale owner of two restaurants, Lal Traverna and Sorella della Taverna in LaJolla CA, also professional chef taught cooking classes at the Great News Cooking School which is soon to close.  I attended her class, "Seafood Extravaganza". I now have posted the five recipes from this class.  Enjoy.
3 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup brandy
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons parsley, rough chop
1 pound scallops U-10
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Italian Fontina cheese, grated
3 ounces pancetta, small dice, cooked crispy
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add the garlic, parsley, scallions, and brandy.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the scallops and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes covered.  Remove cover and stir in the cream.  DO NOT BOIL, stirring constantly until sauce starts to thicken.

Sprinkle on the Fontina cheese and return skillet to the oven.  Bake scallops (or broil) until cheese is melted and starts to get golden brown.

Place scallops on a platter and drizzle with any additional sauce.  Sprinkle with crispy pancetta and serve hot.

Note:  Pancetta is Italian cured bacon.  A good substitute is a smoked thick sliced bacon.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Crunchy Fried Shrimp With Chipotle Honey Glaze And Fresh Corn Polenta With Parmesan Mascarpone

Crunchy Fried Shrimp With
Chipotle Honey Glaze And
Fresh Corn Polenta With
Parmesan Mascarpone 

Mary Ann Vitale owner of two restaurants, Lal Traverna and Sorella della Taverna in LaJolla CA, also professional chef taught cooking classes at the Great News Cooking School which is soon to close.  I attended her class, "Seafood Extravaganza". I will post the five recipes from this class.  Enjoy.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons canned chipotle chilies, and
   1 teaspoon sauce
1 pound shrimp (16 to 20 count) Mexican 
   Whites, peeled deveined and tails on
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons golden brown sugar
4 scallions, finely sliced
Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until golden brown and caramelized.  Add garlic, cumin and oregano;  stir together one minute.  Add water, vinegar, and chipotle to a food processor bowl, puree until smooth.

Pour half of the puree over the shrimp, toss to coat.  Cover and chill for two hours. 

Pour remaining puree into a heavy skillet, add orange juice and brown sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until glaze is thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup.  Remove from the heat and cool.

Pre-heat grill or grill pan to medium high heat.

Remove shrimp from the marinade and pat dry on paper towels.  Brush the shrimp with the orange juice glaze and place on grill.  Continue to brush with more glaze, cooking 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve hot.
Fresh Corn Polenta With 
Parmesan And Mascarpone
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1 1/2 cups polenta
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated
2 cup corn, fresh off the cob
Bring chicken broth, whole milk, and cream to a boil in a heavy bottomed pan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Gradually whisk in the polenta.  Reduce heat, stir in the corn and cook for 10 to 12 minutes.  Add the cheeses, stir until melted.  Whisk in the butter.  Pour into serving bowls and spoon Chipotle sauce over top.  Serve hot!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Roasted Salmon Filet With Caramelized Fennel And Crispy Leek Topping

Roasted Salmon Filet With
Caramelized Fennel And
Crispy Leek Topping

Mary Ann Vitale owner of two restaurants, Lal Traverna and Sorella della Taverna in LaJolla CA, also professional chef taught cooking classes at the Great News Cooking School which is soon to close.  I attended her class, "Seafood Extravaganza". I will post the five recipes from this class.  Enjoy.
Compound Butter:
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons shallot, minced
2 tablespoons parsley, rough chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Pernod
Toast fennel seeds in a non-stick fry pan until fragrant. Stir and shake pan being careful not to burn seeds.  Cool

In the bowl of a food process add the butter and shallots, Pernod, and 1 tablespoon of seeds.  Season with salt and pepper and pulse until well blended.  Remove mixture to a bowl and stir in parsley.

Salmon:   Serves 4
2 Fennel bulbs with fronds quartered
   and cut in thin slices
4 6-8 ounce salmon filets
3 tablespoons Pernod
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add 1 tablespoon of the compound butter to a large skillet and add sliced fennel bulb and 2 tablespoons water.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until fennel is crisp tender and begins to turn golden brown and caramelized.  Transfer to plate.

Rub salmon filets with olive oil on both sides and season with salt and pepper.  Place salmon on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast in oven for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and add a dollop of compound butter to each filet.  Divide fennel evenly over each filet and sprinkle on Pernod.  Return to oven and bake an additional 5 minutes or until salmon is firm to the touch and cooked through.  Transfer salmon to platter and sprinkle with fried leeks.
Crispy Fried Leeks:
Oil for frying
3 cups matchstick strips leeks
About 5 small leeks, white abad pale green parts only.  Soak leeks and rinse and drain well.  DRY thoroughly!  Heat oil to 350 degrees.  Fry leeks in small batches, about 30 seconds.  Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Roasted Proscuitto Wrapped Halibut With Hazelnut Romesco Sauce and Arugula Garnish

Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Halibut
 With Hazelnut Romesco Sauce 
and Arugula Sauce

Mary Ann Vitale owner of two restaurants, Lal Traverna and Sorella della Taverna in LaJolla CA, also professional chef taught cooking classes at the Great News Cooking School which is soon to close.  I attended her class, "Seafood Extravaganza". I will post the five recipes from this class.  Enjoy.

4 6-ounce halibut filets 
8 thinly sliced prosciutto, 
   about 1/4 pound
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sprinkle halibut lightly with salt and pepper.  Tightly wrap each halibut filet with 2 thin slices of prosciutto to cover all of the filet.  Melt the butter in the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat until oil is very hot.  Sear halibut, turning over once until prosciutto is golden brown and crisp.  Place skillet in oven, uncovered and roast for an additional 10 minutes or until fish is cooked in the center.
Romesco Sauce
3/4 cup bread cubes, 1/2 inch cubes
1 large red onion
2 plum tomatoes
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted 
   and skins removed
 1/2 cup piquillio peppers - bottled, 
   drained well
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss onion, tomato, garlic with 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Place on a shallow baking pan spread out evenly.  Roast until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.  Stir in hazelnuts and bread cubes, roast until golden 10 to 15 minutes.  Cool.

In a blender or food processor bowl blend toasted bread mixture  piquillo peppers, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, paprika, and cayenne pepper, adding water if needed 1 tablespoon at a time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arugula Garnish
3 cups arugula
1/2 cup red radishes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Toss arugula, radishes and olive oil in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top each halibut with a small amount of arugula garnish and a dollop of Romesco Sauce on the side.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Mussels In Lemon And Saffron Cream With Tarragon Pesto Crostini

Mussels In Lemon And Saffron Cream
With Tarragon Pesto Crostini

Mary Ann Vitale owner of two restaurants, Lal Traverna and Sorella della Taverna in LaJolla CA, also professional chef taught cooking classes at the Great News Cooking School which is soon to close.  I attended her class, "Seafood Extravaganza". I will post the five recipes from this class.  Enjoy.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, thinly sliced, soaked in 
   cold water, rinsed and dried thoroughly
4 dozen mussels, scrubbed, rinsed and debearded
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Italian parsley, rough chopped
1/2 tsp saffron threads
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 garlic cloves-thinly sliced
2 teaspoon lemon zest
Melt butter in heavy bottom sauté pan.  Add leeks: sauté until tender, then add garlic, continue to cook 1 minute longer.  Add wine and lemon zest to the pan and bring to a boil, then add the mussels.  Cook over high heat, covered until the mussels open, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Using a large slotted spoon remove mussels from the pan to a large bowl.  (DISCARD any mussels that have not opened).  
Strain all of the juices from the pan, add the cream, and saffron; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until reduced to sauce consistency, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the parsley and add the mussels.  Stir over medium heat until heated through.  Divide mussels among 4 bowls; pour sauce over top.

Tarragon Pesto Crostini  makes 15 - 20

8 to 10 slices of baguette, 1/4" thick - brushed with melted butter and toasted.
1 cup Italian parsley
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup tarragon leaves
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mint
1/2 cup pecorino romano, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup basil
In the bowl of a food processor blend together all ingredients except the olive oil.  Gradually add the oil in a slow stream.  Taste for seasoning and spread on the crostini.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Brussels Sprouts and Anjou Pear Salad

Brussels Sprouts And Anjou Pear Salad

Yield: Serves 6 - 8

2lb Brussels sprouts
1/4 small red cabbage, shaved (about 2 cups)
2 underripe Anjou pears, peel on, cored and 

1/2 cup organic raisins
1/4 cup raw pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

The Dressing
1/4 cup extra light tasting olive oil
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp white baslamic vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper


Place the shaved Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl, place the shaved red cabbage, along with the julienned pear, raisins, toasted pecans, macadamia nuts, sage and thyme. Set that aside as well.

Make the dressing: in a large glass measuring cup, add all the ingredients and mix well with a flat whisk until smooth, creamy and slightly emulsified. Pour this dressing over the shaved Brussels sprouts and mix really well with your hands, massaging and bruising the sprouts quite aggressively for 2 or 3 minutes to get them to soften up and release some of their water. Then, add the rest of the reserved ingredients and continue mixing with your hands, delicately this time, until all the ingredients are well combined and coated in the dressing.

Cover the salad and transfer it to the refrigerator; let it rest for at least 2 hours to allow for flavors to meld, or better yet overnight.

This salad will remain surprisingly fresh for up to 5 days if kept refrigerated in an airtight container.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pistachio-Vanilla Bean Cookies

Pistachio-Vanilla Bean Cookies

1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped salted dry-roasted pistachio nuts
6 ounces white chocolate (with cocoa butter), cut up
2 teaspoons shortening

In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. 

Using the tip of a knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean halves into butter mixture. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in pistachios.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 1 1/2-inch-thick log (about 7 inches long). Wrap each log in waxed paper; twist the ends. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Cut chilled or frozen logs into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices about 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake about 10 minutes or just until firm and browned on the bottoms. Cool on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks; cool.
In a heavy small saucepan combine white chocolate and shortening; heat and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate mixture; place on a wire rack over waxed paper and let stand until set.   Makes 56 cookies 1 1/2"

From the Test Kitchen
To Store:
Layer chocolate-coated cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cookies before serving.