Thursday, March 31, 2016

Easy Nutty Toffee

Easy Nutty Toffee
My cousin Ann Baker shared this "Tried and True" recipe. 
Melt 6 T butter in large skillet.
Add 2 C sugar
2/3 C water  
5 cups nuts, any kind or mixture
Cook over medium heat about 5 mins stirring often. 
Add 5 cups nuts - unsalted but any kind. Can be all cashews. I added peanuts, pine nuts, walnuts and pecans. In second batch I added 1/2 cup dried cranberries. 
Continue to stir until mixture darkens and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 15 or more minutes.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in 
2 teaspoon nutmeg, 
2 teaspoon cinnamon  
1 or more tablespoon sea salt.
Quickly pour into greased cookie sheet, thinning out layer with wooden spoon. 
Allow to dry several hours. Makes about 8 cups.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate
1/2 cup hazelnuts, whole, skin on
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 cups whole milk, cold
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder, European-style
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar, or as needed
1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, store-bought or homemade
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped into stiff peaks, for topping

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Toast the hazelnuts in the oven until lightly brown, about 10 to 15 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Once toasted, place them on a towel and rub well to remove the skins.

Place skinned hazelnuts into the Vitamix or blender container and secure lid.  
Select Variable 6.  (6 of 10 speeds)

Use the On/Off switch to quickly pulse until just evenly ground, but not floury; reserve.

In a saucepan, stir together the cold milk, cream, cocoa powder, and sugar and bring to a simmer over low heat; make sure there aren’t any lumps. Remove from the heat and pour into the bowl with the ground hazelnuts. Let steep for at least 1 hour, until cool. You may do this the day before and let the mixture rest in the refrigerator.

Strain the milk-hazelnut-cocoa mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a saucepan, making sure you press the hazelnuts well to release the flavor. Heat the milk until it is warm, but not boiling, over low heat, remove from the heat, add the blended chocolate, chocolate hazelnut spread (see recipe), and mix well until the chocolate is melted. When ready to serve, reheat the hot chocolate and serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Best Coconut Pie

Best Coconut Pie
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
2 1/4 cups fresh or well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened dried coconut, toasted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1. To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives used scissors-fashion until the butter is the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over the mixture, stirring with a fork to moisten it evenly. Continue adding water until the dough just begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers; do not overwork the dough. Press the dough together into a ball and knead lightly. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for up to 2 days.

2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.

3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12- to 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch glass pie plate and gently press the pastry against the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Turn the overhang under and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom and sides of the shell with a fork.

4. Line the pie shell with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, pressing it snugly into the bottom and against the sides, and fill with uncooked rice or beans. Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Remove the foil and rice and bake for 8 to 10 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

5. To make the filling: Bring the coconut milk just to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

6. Beat the sugar and egg yolks with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large deep bowl until very thick and pale and the volume has increased at least three times. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in the flour, cornstarch, and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. While beating, gradually pour in the warm coconut milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil and thickens, then boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add 3/4 cup of the coconut and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla.

7. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and let cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set, or for up to 1 day.

8. Beat the heavy cream with the confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large deep bowl until it holds stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the remaining vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold about one-quarter of the whipped cream into the pastry cream.

9. Transfer the pastry cream to the crust and smooth the top with a small offset spatula. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top with the clean offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for up to 4 hours, before serving.

10. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining toasted coconut. Serve cut into wedges.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Warm Spring Salad

Warm Spring Salad

Yield: 4 servings
1 cup uncooked quinoa (or try speltberries, but note they are not GF)
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, sliced into rounds or half moons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch asparagus, ends broken off and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup diced strawberries (optional)
3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or other sweetener)
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt & lots of pepper, to taste
lemon zest, for garnish
Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and place into a medium pot. Add 1.5 cups vegetable broth (or water) and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover with tight-fitting lid, and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until fluffy and all the water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, grab a very large skillet or wok. Sauté the leek and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add in the asparagus and sauté for another 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, but still a bit crisp. Stir in the strawberries (optional), peas, and parsley. Heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt) to taste. Pour dressing onto skillet mixture and stir in the cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper & enjoy! This would also be lovely with nuts or seeds sprinkled on top.

Oh, I forgot to mention – this is also fantastic served cold too!

Read more:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Compound butters

Compound Butters
Ingredients with Directions:

Compound Butter - Adding Things to Butter to Make it Extra Awesome

Lemon Miso Butter:

Use a food processor to whip 
1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 
1 tablespoon miso, 
zest of one lemon (or yuzu), 
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, and 
1/2 teaspoon ground toasted cumin. Taste and adjust if needed. 
Fold in the sesame seeds. 
Great on: brown rice bowls, roasted delicate squash, sautéed vegetables, roasted tomatoes... 

Saffron Date Butter:
1 pinch of saffron threads in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, 
allow to sit for five minutes. Use a food processor to whip 
1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 
1 tablespoon honey, and 
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt. Add the saffron-almond mixture, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl regularly. Pulse in 
five plump dates, leaving them a bit chunky. 
Great on: hot oatmeal, flatbreads, sautéed greens...

Garlic Green Olive Butter:
Use a food processor to whip 
1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 
1 large clove of peeled garlic, and 
lots of freshly ground black pepper. Start with 1/8 teaspoon, but add more if you like. Pulse in 
dozen plump green olives that you have pitted, rinsed, and dried in a clean towel. I like to squeeze the olives between my palms to rid them of as much olive water as possible before pulsing them in. Great on: pasta, polenta, a wide range of vegetables, it's easy magic.

Scallion Dill Butter: 
Use a food processor to whip 
1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Pulse in 
a scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, 
a large clove of garlic (or 1 head of trimmed green garlic), 
2 scallions, and 
a handful of fresh dill you've de-stemmed. 
Pulse well here, until everything blends together into a vibrant, electric green butter. Great on: just about everything - grilled asparagus, to finish sautéed mushrooms, perfect on corn later in the year, or cornbread ;)....biscuits, polenta, rice bowls, potatoes, egg salad...

Roasted Strawberry Ginger Butter:
This is a bonus butter - I didn't include a photo here, but I make it on occasion during strawberry season using strawberries I've roasted and cooled. Use a food processor to whip 
1 stick (4 oz.) of room temperature unsalted butter until fluffy. Transfer to a bowl and fold in 
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, 
3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger, 
15 chopped, candied pecans, and a 
couple of teaspoons of runny honey. Stir until everything comes together, and then loosely fold in about 
1/4 cup roasted strawberries. Great with: brunch.
Prep time: 5 min

Friday, March 25, 2016

Seared Lamb Chops With Mint Salt

Seared Lamb Chops With Mint Salt

Seared Lamb Chops with Mint Salt Dry Rub, Maureen Abood

The chops can be broiled or grilled rather than pan-seared. For searing, it's helpful to use a splatter guard.
Serves: 3

6 lamb chops (or more, or fewer)
Mint Salt, Garlic Mint Salt, or your own combination of dried mint and sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

DirectionsRub the lamb chops liberally with mint salt on all sides. Rest for up to an hour, or refrigerate over night, then bring the chops to room temperature.
In a heavy saute pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat until the butter is melted and hot, but not smoking. Swirl the pan to combine the fats.
Place the lamb chops in the hot pan, listening for the big sizzle. Adjust the heat down a touch if needed. If there’s no big sizzle, remove the chops and heat the pan until it’s hot but not smoking.
Cook the chops until they are deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook to desired doneness. For medium rare, cook for about 15-20 minutes.
Be sure to turn the chops to sear the fatty sides so those are golden and the fat is somewhat rendered.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Blackened Salmon With Cajun Tartar Sauce

Blackened Salmon With Cajun Tartar Sauce 
Serves 4 to 6.
1 T. coarse salt
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. sweet paprika
1 T. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne
4 to 6 (5 to 6 oz.) salmon fillets 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted Lemon wedges

Tartar Sauce:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 T. Creole or Dijon mustard
1 T. minced shallots
1 T. minced pimiento stuffed olives
1 T. minced pickled jalapenos
1 T. fresh lemon juice or more to taste 1 T. Cajun seasoning reserved

from salmon rub
1 tsp. hot sauce or to taste

1. Combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, peppers and cayenne in a small bowl to make the rub. Remove 1 T. of the rub to a small bowl and whisk in remaining Tartar Sauce ingredients, adding more lemon juice and/or hot sauce to taste. (Tartar Sauce keeps refrigerated up to 1 week.)

2. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet until very hot. Coat the salmon fillets well with the rub. Add to hot skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve salmon topped with a dollop of tartar sauce (passing the remaining sauce) and a lemon to squeeze over all. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Parmesan And Dill Baked Fish Fillets With A Breadcrumb Topping

Parmesan And Dill Baked Fish Fillets 
With A Breadcrumb Topping
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan 

2 T. fresh lemon juice
2 T. chopped green onions
1 T. chopped fresh dill
Pinch cayenne
4 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs 

Serves 4.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, parmesan, lemon juice, green onions, dill and cayenne.

2. Arrange fish fillets on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Divide the mayonnaise mixture evenly among the salmon fillets and spread to cover the top. Top with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until top is nicely browned and fish is cooked through. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Zucchini Fritters With Roasted Tomatoes

 Zucchini Fritters With Roasted Tomatoes

Fritters make a nice change from the usual canapés and when you make them with fresh zucchini and tomatoes, you can’t go wrong. You can cook the fritters up to a day ahead, let them cool then wrap and refrigerate them. Reheat fritters on the rack set on the baking sheet in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 to 15 minutes just before serving with warm or room-temperature roasted tomatoes. Sprigs of fresh herbs are all you need for garnish.

Roasted Tomatoes
2 cups (500 mL) grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Zucchini Fritters
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
2 eggs
¾ cup plain yogurt
1½ cups shredded zucchini,
approximately 1 zucchini
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (basil,
oregano, tarragon, thyme, parsley and/or sage)
Vegetable oil

For the roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 400°F

Tip:  Use two container lids with a sides.  I use Cool Whip.  Lay washed tomatoes on lid.  Place and secure a second lid on top.  With a large sharp knife cut through and all tomatoes are sliced.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine tomatoes, garlic and oil in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place, cut-side up, on baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

For the zucchini fritters, preheat oven to 300°F.   Place an ovenproof cooling rack on a large baking sheet and place in the oven.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl. In another bowl, using a fork, whisk together eggs and yogurt. Stir in zucchini and herbs. Pour over flour mixture and combine with a fork just until evenly moistened.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in a thin layer of oil and swirl to coat pan. Drop a heaping tbsp of batter for each fritter into pan, being careful not to crowd the pan, and flatten slightly. Cook for about 3 minutes or until dry around the edges and bottoms are browned. Flip over and cook for about 3 minutes until browned and cooked through. Transfer to rack in the oven. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil and adjusting the heat as necessary between batches.

Top hot fritters with roasted tomatoes and place on a serving platter.

Makes about 24 fritters

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kapusniak Cabbage Potato and Kielbasa Soup

1 tablespoon (15ml) vegetable oil
6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4 X 1/2" pieces

12 ounces kielbasa or other smoked Polish    
     sausage split lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small head cabbage, cut into 1/2- to 1/4-inch
8 ounces sauerkraut with juice (1 cup)
8 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium
   chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, stems reserved separately
1 large russet potato, peeled, split in quarters 
   lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus more 
    for seasoning
Fresh crusty bread, for serving

Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add bacon and kielbasa and cook, stirring, until fat is rendering and bacon and sausage are browning in spots, about 5 minutes. 

Add onion and carrot and cook, stirring, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add cabbage and cook, stirring, until lightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Add sauerkraut with its juice, chicken stock, bay leaves, dill stems, and potato. Season to taste with salt.

Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir together cornstarch, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon cold water and stir to form a slurry. Pour slurry into the soup and stir until evenly distributed. Return to a boil (soup should thicken very slightly). Season to taste with more salt and white pepper as desired. Stir in chopped dill and serve with bread.

  • Sunday, March 20, 2016

    Chocolate Pots Of Creme

    Chocolate Pots Of Creme
    Serves 6
    For a stimulating sweet, nothing beats chocolate. A study found that people are more turned on by the sensation of dark chocolate melting in their mouths than by kissing. The reason: it’s rich in phenylethylamine, a “love chemical” that releases feel-good endorphins. For best results, Kilham suggests using “the highest cocoa-solid content you can consume—preferably above 70 percent.”

    1 egg
    1 egg yolk
    2 Tbs. sugar
    1 5-oz. can low-fat or fat-free evaporated milk
    ⅓ cup low-fat or skim milk
    2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate, such as Green & Black’s Organic Baking Bar, or 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
    ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
    ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, plus more for sprinkling, optional
    Pinch of salt
    whipped cream for garnish, optional

    Preheat oven to 300°F. Place 6 1/2-cup ramekins in large roasting pan.

    Whisk together egg, egg yolk, and sugar in large bowl. Set aside.

    Bring evaporated milk and milk to a boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate. Return to heat, and simmer 1 minute, or until chocolate is melted, whisking constantly.

    Whisk 1/2 cup chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Add remaining chocolate mixture to egg mixture in steady stream, whisking constantly. Stir in vanilla, nutmeg, and salt.

    Pour 1/3 cup custard into each custard cup. Place roasting pan in oven, and fill half full with boiling water. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until custards are set. Remove custard cups from water bath with tongs, cool, then chill. Serve garnished with whipped cream and sprinkling of ground nutmeg, if using.

    Saturday, March 19, 2016

    Sweet Potato Salad

    Sweet Potato Salad
    Thanks to the power combination of sweet potatoes, edamame, corn, and pepitas all tossed together in a rich yogurt-based dressing this salad will sustain you throughout the afternoon.
    Yield: serves 6
    2 large (1.5 pounds) orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (yams), peeled, quartered
    1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
    1 cup frozen corn
    1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 shallot, minced
    1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
    1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sweet potatoes and simmer until fork tender (but not mushy), about 20 minutes. In the last 3 to 4 minutes add the edamame and corn. Drain and set aside to cool.

    In a large salad bowl whisk together the yogurt, oil, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the red pepper, shallot, cilantro or parsley, and pumpkin seeds.

    Allow the sweet potatoes to cool then chop into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the bowl along with the edamame and corn. Toss until well combined.

    Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

    Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    Baked Zucchini And Corn Chimichangas With Black Bean Sauce And Crema

    Baked Zucchini And Corn Chimichang 
    With Black Bean Sauce and Crema 
    6 T. vegetable oil, divided use 3 medium zucchini, diced
    1-4 oz. can diced green chilies 1/2 cup chopped onion

    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 to 2 tsp. minced chipotle chilies

    in adobo
    1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed 1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
    2 T. chopped cilantro plus more

    for ganish
    1 1/2 cups grated Jack cheese
    Serves 8.
    8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
    1 cup crema (Mexican crème fraîche)

    Black Bean Sauce:
    1 T. vegetable oil
    1/2 cup chopped onions
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 T. minced jalapeno chili, with or

    without seeds and membrane 2-15 oz. cans (2 cups) cooked black
    beans, drained and rinsed 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    3/4 cup chicken broth or water 1 T. fresh lime juice or to taste Salt to taste

    For Chimichangas, heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the zucchini, canned chilies, onion, garlic, chipotle chilies, cumin, oregano and cook until vegetable are just tender, about 8 minutes, stirring often. Stir in corn and set aside to cool slightly.

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir tortilla chips, cilantro and cheese into filling. Lay out the flour tortillas and divide the filling evening among them. Fold tortillas over filling, fold in ends and roll up. Place chimichangas seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bush with oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until browned and crisp.

    Black Bean Sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic and jalapeno and cook 3 minutes to soften onion. Stir in beans, oregano and broth or water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Puree sauce until smooth and return to saucepan. Stir in lime juice and salt to taste. Reheat when ready to serve, adding more water if sauce is too thick or boiling down a bit if too thin.

    To serve, place chimichangas on serving plates. Top each with a spoonful of the Black Bean Sauce and then drizzle with Crema and sprinkle with cilantro. 

    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    Wilted Spinach And Garlic Crostini

    Wilted Spinach And Garlic Crostini
    Deep, earthy, green spinach with lots of garlic sits atop a toasted baguette slice for the perfect contrast of crunch and softness. For an added flavour hit, place a shaving of aged manchego cheese on top of the spinach before serving. Make the crostini ahead of time and keep on hand for a quick appetizer accompaniment.

    Half French baguette, sliced
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    Sea salt
    Two 10 oz. bags baby spinach, rinsed
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    2 anchovies, minced
    ½ tsp hot pepper flakes
    Roasted garlic
    Shaved Monchego cheese



    Preheat oven to 425ºF

    2. Brush baguette slices with some of the oil and place on large baking sheet. Toast in oven for about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and let cool.

    3. Cook spinach, 1 bag's worth at a time, in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often for about 5 minutes or until wilted. Place in colander and drain well. Repeat with remaining bag. Set aside.

    4. Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, anchovies and hot pepper flakes for about 2 minutes or until golden. Add spinach and toss to coat with oil and garlic sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes or until well coated and warmed. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt.

    5. Divide mixture among toasted baguette slices, top with roasted garlic or Monchego cheese and serve.

    Makes about 24 crostini

    Wednesday, March 16, 2016

    Cheesy Breadsticks

    Cheesy Breadsticks
    1 recipe pizza dough
    garlic powder
    mozzarella cheese, shredded
    basil, chopped

    1/2 cup butter, melted
    mozzarella cheese, shredded
    basil, chopped
    Parmesan cheese

    Marinara sauce
    Spread pizza dough in a a large rectangle on parchment paper. Spread on a half of the dough the garlic powder, mozzarella cheese, and chopped basil. 

    Bring the half of the dough to sandwich the portion with the cheese and spices. Seal the edges. With a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut toward the folded edge making cut 7/8 through dough toward fold. 

    Do not cut through the folded edge.

    Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with salt, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese OR cheddar cheese. 

    Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with Marinara sauce

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016

    Persian Fried Chicken

    Persian Fried Chicken
    ½ teaspoon saffron
    2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt
    1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1 tablespoon dried mint
    1 tablespoon salt, more for sprinkling
    ½ teaspoon black pepper
    Oil for frying
    1 cup walnut pieces
    1 lemon, cut into wedges

    Directions:In a small bowl, combine saffron with 1 tablespoon water and let soak 10 minutes. 

    Place in food processor with yogurt and garlic and purée until smooth and yellow. 

    Place chicken in glass or ceramic bowl; pour yogurt mixture on top, turn to coat; cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

    In a medium bowl, combine flour, paprika, mint, salt and pepper. 

    Heat a generous half-inch oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Drop in a bit of bread to test temperature; oil should bubble vigorously. 

    Working in batches to avoid crowding, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, then fry until golden brown on both sides, about 7 minutes a side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

    Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately, topped with walnuts and lemon wedges.

    Monday, March 14, 2016

    Tahini-Date Granola Bars With Dried Apricots

    Tahini-Date Granola Bars, 
    with Dried Apricots

    2 cups pitted Medjool dates
    ½ cup honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup
    ½ cup tahini
    3 tablespoons peanut butter
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    3 cups old-fashioned oats, toasted
    1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
    1 cup desiccated (unsweetened) coconut flakes
    1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

    Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with parchment paper, creating a sling by letting it hang over the long sides by a couple of inches. Process the dates to a paste in the food processor, or chop finely by hand (processing is best).

    In a small saucepan, combine the honey, tahini, peanut butter, and salt. Warm over low heat until heated through and smooth, stirring occasionally. Add the date mixture and continue heating and stirring occasionally until smooth.

    In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, and apricots. Pour the tahini-date mixture over top and stir to combine, which can take a couple of minutes.

    Spread granola mixture in the prepared pan, using a piece of wax paper to press and flatten it evenly. Chill for about 15 minutes, then cut into bars. The bars will last fine at room temperature, in the open air, for a couple of weeks and remain soft and chewy. 

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

    Corned Beef

     I gave up boiling my corned beef years ago. My family whinged the first time, until they started stuffing it in their faces, and now I am on the hook to do what I do, every year. I roast it. If I have time, I soak it in water to leach some of the salt out, but at the very least I rinse it thoroughly.

     Then in a roasting pan lined with foil then a layer of parchment paper, I cut onions into thick slices and peel carrots to put under the roast, to serve as a rack. 

    Then the roast - liberally rubbed with yellow mustard, then a mixture of brown sugar and a garlic herb rub. No extra salt.

     Then, a bottle of beer in the bottom of the pan, and it's all wrapped up first in the parchment layer then covered tightly with the tin foil.

     I roast that on 300 or so for a few hours, or until I really start to smell it, then uncover it and roast at 400 for at least a half hour until it's all brown and happy on top. Let it rest, then slice. 

    Serve with garlic mashed potatoes (no more yucky boiled salty potatoes) and braised spicy carrots and cabbage. Boom!

    Saturday, March 12, 2016

    Corned Beef In Five Days


    (makes 6-8 servings)
    • 1 1/2 cup kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
    • 3/4 tablespoon ground allspice
    • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
    • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
    • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
    • 3 cups of beer
    • 1 beef brisket (fresh, 4-6 lbs), point cut and trimmed of excess fat.
    • 1 bottle Guinness or other stout or porter
    • 4 bay leaves
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 2 whole cloves
    • 1 dried chile de arbol
    • 12 baby turnips, trimmed
    • 8 red-skinned potatoes halved
    • 6 medium carrots, peeled
    • 4 medium onions, peeled, halved pole to pole
    • 1 head of cabbage, quartered
    1. Add the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, cloves, peppercorns, and coriander seeds to a skillet and toast on high heat until fragrant (and the mustard seeds start to pop). Transfer the seeds to a blender and pulse twice before combining with the rest of the thyme and bay leavesfor the brine in a small bowl.
    2. Add 5 cups of water and 3 cups of lager to a deep roasting pan. Add the salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Spear the brisket about 30 times per side with a meat fork or metal skewer. Rub each side evenly with the spice mixture then submerge in the liquid. Top with a heavy platter to weigh down. Cover and refrigerate for 5 days, stirring the liquid and turning the brisket once a day.
    3. When the beef is done curing, remove the brisket from the brine and rinse in cold water. Place the brisket in a large pot and add the stout and just enough water to cover by 1″. Wrap cheese cloth around the bay leaves, coriander seeds, allspice, and chile, enclosing completely and tie with string to secure. Add the spice blend to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the beef is tender (about 2 1/4 hours).
    4. Transfer the beef to a large baking sheet. Add the turnips and remaining vegetables to the liquid in the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil gently until the vegetables are tender (about 25 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to the baking sheet with the beef.
    5. Return the beef to the pot and re-warm for 5 minutes, then discard the spice bag.
    6. Cut the beef and serve with horseradish sauce and mustard.

    Friday, March 11, 2016

    Roasted Chickpeas

    Roasted Chickpeas

    2 15-oz cans  chickpeas rinsed and drained (approximately 4 cups)
     tbsp canola oil
      freshly ground black pepper (about 8 twists of the pepper mill) 

    Preheat oven to 400F

    Dry excess moisture from Chickpeas using paper towel.  Combine chickpeas, canola oil and spices in medium bowl.  Stir and spread onto parchment paper cookie sheet.

    Roast for 30 minutes in oven.  Stir, roast another 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.