Friday 10 August 2012

Grilled Salmon Sandwich

The sauce on these sandwiches are what make them extra special.  You blend dill and basil together and both of these flavors only intensify the salmon even more.  This is a really easy meal that is so satisfying!  We grilled corn as well to have on the side.  Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon Sandwich

  • 2 lbs. fresh salmon fillets (makes 6 sandwiches)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 tspn. white wine vinegar
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4  cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 Tbl. scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 tspn. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tspn. ground pepper
  • 3 tspns. capers, drained
  • 6 rolls
  • 1/4 lb. lettuce mix & fresh basil for topping
-Heat a grill and brush the rack with oil.  Rub the outside of the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Grill for 5 minutes on each side, or until the salmon is almost cooked through.  Return salmon to a plate and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

-For the sauce, place the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, basil, dill, scallions, salt and pepper in a food processor.  Process until combined.  Add the capers and pulse 2 or 3 times.  Assemble the sandwiches on the rolls. Spread the sauce on both sides of the bun and top the salmon with lettuce and basil.  Enjoy!

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Orange Glazed Duck Breasts

This was the first time we cooked duck on the grill, and I highly recommend it.  I was always hesitant to cook duck breasts in the house because they become so easily smokey...the grill is a much better answer.  The subtle orange flavor and crisp outer crust is delicious.  We used leftover meat the next day on a very simple salad.  I served the duck breast over some hearty wild rice, so tasty. Enjoy!

Orange Glazed Duck Breasts

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 Tbl. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 tspn. red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbl. orange marmalade
  • 3 boneless, skinless duck breasts
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
-Finely shred 1 Tbl. zest from 1-2 oranges, then squeeze enough juice from the 2 oranges to make 3 Tbl. Cut one of the oranges into 3 crosswise slices.  Finely shred 1 tspn. of lemon zest, then squeeze enough juice from the lemon to measure 2 Tbl.  In a shallow, non-reactive dish just large enough to hold the duck in a single layer, stir together the orange and lemon zest and juices, the oil, tarragon, and red pepper flakes.  Transfer half of the mixture to a small saucepan and stir in the marmalade; set aside.  Place the duck in the dish and turn to coat both sides.  Cover the marmalade mixture and the duck and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4.

-Set the saucepan over medium-low heat on the stove and simmer for 2 minutes.  Keep the sauce warm.  Season the duck with salt and pepper.  Prepare the grill, and place the duck breasts over direct heat on medium-high.  Turning once or twice, brush with the warm sauce, until charred and cooked to your liking, 8-10 minutes total for pink inside.  Slice the duck and place extra orange slices on the plate with cooked rice.  Enjoy!.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Sausage and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

These shells were tasty and only got better as leftovers.  It is really easy to assemble and great that you can make it beforehand and pop it in the oven before dinner.  I chose to use spicy sausage, but you can supplement with any kind of sausage you prefer.  I made a simple side salad and served the Herbed Skillet Bread as well.  We don't typically go out to eat Italian food, this was one of those dishes that reminded me came from our kitchen. Delicious.  Enjoy!

Sausage and Artichoke Stuffed Shells with Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 1 (12oz.) box of jumbo pasta shells
  • 3 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb. sausage
  • 1/2 tspn. kosher salt, plus 1/2 tspn.
  • 1/2 tspn. ground pepper, plus 1/2 tspn.
  • 1 15 oz. can artichokes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbl. chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 cups Arrabbiata Sauce (below)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
Arrabbiata Sauce
  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 6 oz. sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 3 tspns. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tspn. oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 cups of tomato sauce

-Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and partially cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and the garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add the sausage, 1/2 tspn. salt, 1/2 tspn. pepper and continue to cook until the meat is slightly golden and cooked through.  Add the artichoke hearts and stir to combine.  Remove from the heat and let cool.

-In a large bowl, combine the cooled sausage mixture with the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, basil, parsley and remaining salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  

-Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until tender, about 1 minute.  Add the tomato sauce, red pepper flakes and oregano and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and let cool until ready to use.

-To stuff the shells, cover the bottom of a 9x13x2 baking dish with 1 cup of the sauce.  Take a shell in the palm of your hand and stuff it with a large spoonful of sausage mixture, about 2 Tbl.  Place the stuffed shell in the baking dish.  Continue filling the shells until the baking dish is full.  Drizzle the remaining sauce over the shells, top with grated mozzarella.  Bake at 400 degrees until the shells are warmed through and the cheese browns, about 60 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday 2 August 2012

Egg Tartare Open-face Sandwich

This sandwich is yummy!  I served it still a little warm with a creamy tomato soup.  The dill and capers in this sandwich give it a little extra pop.  This was also the first time I managed to not screw up soft-hard-boiled eggs (whites completely set but the yolks a bit runny)! The way these eggs are cooked make the sauce extra special, holding all the ingredients together.  I used classic white crusty sourdough bread, homemade in my bread maker. Its the perfect meal for lunch or make it a little heartier and add a side soup. Enjoy!

Egg Tartare

  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 gherkins, finely diced
  • 1 Tbl. capers, rinsed
  • 2 Tbl. parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbl. dill, finely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbl. mayonnaise
  • A dab of Dijon mustard
  • 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • sea salt and fresh pepper
  • slices of your favorite bread
-Place the eggs in a pot of hand-hot water and bring to a quick boil, covering the pan.  Boil for exactly 4 minutes (5 min. if they are large), then run the eggs under cold water and peel them as soon as they are cool enough to handle.  Coarsely chop the eggs and mix with the green onions, gherkins, capers, parsley and dill.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo, mustard, and Tabasco.  Gently combine this mixture with the eggs and season with salt & pepper.  Serve on bread, as closed or open sandwiches.  Enjoy!

Monday 30 July 2012

Herbed Skillet Bread

Fresh baked bread and rosemary will fill your whole house when you make this.  This turned out so delicious.  Its the kind of bread you have at a restaurant that you have to restrain yourself from finishing the whole basket because it is so good.  The cast iron skillet acts like a wood-burning oven and makes a wonderful crisp crust.  It is such an easy bread that goes well with so many things.

Herbed Skillet Bread

  • 1 Tbl. sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, divided
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 tspns. sea salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl. olive oil, divided plus more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
-In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of the warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup water, the flour, 1/2 tspn. salt, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended and the mixture forms a soft dough.  Turn the dough out onto a well floured counter and knead smooth, about 10 minutes.  Add additional flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking.  Form the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Turn to coat with the oil.  Seal the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Coat the bottom and sides of a 10 inch skillet with 1 Tbl. of olive oil.  Place the dough in the skillet and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan.  With a sharp knife, score the top lightly in a crisscross pattern.  Brush with the remaining 1 Tbl. olive oil and sprinkle with garlic and rosemary over the top.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tspns. sea salt.  Let rise for 20 minutes.

-While the bread is rising, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place the skillet in the hot oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is a light golden color.  Remove from the pan right away and place on a wire rack to retain the crisp crust.  Drizzle with a little olive oil over the top, slice into wedges and serve warm.  Enjoy!

Friday 27 July 2012

Turkey Rosemary Burgers with Black Bean & Corn Salad

These burgers are so delicious and juicy.  I don't typically make turkey burgers, but with the very few ingredients it takes to make these I was intrigued...especially by the fish sauce.  I found this recipe on a blog I follow called WhiteonRiceCouple.  Their pictures are so inspiring and beautiful.  The burgers did not disappoint, so delicious.  I added chopped jalapeno to the mixture, but you can omit if you don't want added spice.  The salad is a perfect, quick summer salad that usually leaves you with leftovers for the next day.

Turkey Rosemary Burgers

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 Tbl. finely chopped fresh Rosemary
  • 3 Tbl. fish sauce
  • 2 tspns. sugar
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • Hamburger buns and favorite toppings for serving
-In a medium bowl combine turkey, rosemary, fish sauce, sugar, jalapeno and black pepper.  Form into patties. Heat grill or pan over medium high heat.  Cook each side for 4 minutes or until cooked through.  Open and brush both sides of the hamburger buns with olive oil.  Place face side down on the grill and cook until lightly browned.  Assemble burgers with toppings and serve immediately. 

Black Bean & Corn Salad
  • 2 cans black beans, drained, about 30oz.
  • 1 15oz. can corn, drained
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green onions
  • 1/4 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 4 Tbl. sherry vinegar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 Tbl. honey
  • 1 Tbl. salt
  • 1 tspn. pepper
  • 1 tspn. ground cumin
-Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday 23 July 2012

Baked Red Snapper with Zucchini and Tomato

If you want to make a dish that is impressive and so tasty but really easy...try this, so good!  I chose to use a red snapper, but you can also use sole, orange roughy or grouper.  Be sure to make the zucchini slices very thin, and pile them on to look like fish scales, so pretty.  We had crusty white bread slices on the side to scoop up the delicious red sauce.

Baked Red Snapper with Zucchini and Tomato

  • 1 zucchini, cut into slices 1/8 thick
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 whole fish (red snapper, sole, orange roughy or grouper)--I had them clean the entire fish and discard the head
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tspn. sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, quartered
-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, coat the zucchini with 1 Tbs. of olive oil.  Lay the fish on a plate and arrange the slices of zucchini on the fish to resemble scales.  Press down to secure in place and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate.  

-In a medium saute pan, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium high heat.   Add the shallots and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute until soft, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.  Stir in the dill.  Pour the tomato sauce into an attractive baking dish large enough to accommodate the fish.  Place the fish on top of the tomato sauce.

Bake until the fish is opaque throughout, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the oven, garnish with the lemon pieces and serve directly from the baking dish. Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Baby Back Ribs with Cheesy Horseradish Potato Skins

Every summer Aaron and I try to master the perfect ribs.  We have quickly learned that the oven is our best friend when cooking ribs.  Each rack turns out to be so juicy and the meat is literally falling off the bone.  I'm still playing around with different sauces, but this batch turned out pretty good.  Grab lots of napkins!!  The potato skins were delicious...if you love cheese, be sure to try these!

Sweet and Spicy Baby Back Ribs

  • 3 1lb. racks pork ribs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dark lager beer
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. chipotle chile powder
  • 1 cup Thai sweet chile sauce
  • 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. red pepper flakes
-Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Rub the ribs with lemon juice and evenly spread 1 tspn. salt and 1 tspn. pepper.  Place the ribs bone side down in a large roasting pan, then add the beer.  Cover tightly with foil, transfer to the oven and roast until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

-Meanwhile, make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat; add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the chile powder and cook 1 minute.  Stir in the chile sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, red pepper flakes and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half, about 40 minutes.  

-Remove the ribs from the oven; increase the temperature to 400 degrees.  Uncover the pan; carefully pour out the cooking liquid.  Stir 1/4 cup cooking liquid into the sauce, then discard the rest of the liquid.  Generously brush the ribs with the sauce.  Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting, uncovered, until the ribs are golden brown and tender, about 35 minutes.  Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and slice.  Serve with the sauce.  Enjoy!

Cheesy Horseradish Potato Skins

  • 6 russet potatoes
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • salt & fresh pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated muenster cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbs. horseradish
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Pierce the potatoes a few times with a fork.  Place directly on the center of the oven rack and bake until tender, about 1 hour.  Let cool slightly.  Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Halve the potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell; reserve half of the flesh in a bowl.  Brush both sides of the potato skins with 2 Tbs. melted butter and season with salt and pepper.  Arrange skin side up on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 15 minutes.  

-Meanwhile, mash the potato flesh with a fork; mix in the cheddar, muenster, parmesan, 2-3 Tbs. horseradish and the remaining 1 Tbs. of butter.  Stuff into the potato skins, return to the oven and continue baking until golden, about 8 minutes.  Mix the sour cream with the remaining 1 Tbs. horseradish.  Spoon on the potato skins and sprinkle with scallions.  Enjoy!

Monday 7 May 2012

Provencal Lamb

I'm back! Its been awhile since my last posting.  We have been busy!  I have many things I want to share, but wanted to start with the Provencal Lamb that I made for Easter.  Delicious!  I have never cooked a full bone-in leg of lamb and I was so pleased with the results.  The tomato sauce that is roasted along with the lamb is so good you'll want to eat it straight with a spoon.  To accompany the lamb, I made my Yogurt Cucumber salad and homemade rolls.  I'll admit, I was slightly intimidated by the size of the lamb before I cooked it...but it turned out beautifully.  This might become our new Easter tradition.  Enjoy!

Provencal Lamb

  • 1 6-7lb. bone-in leg of lamb, trimmed and tied
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbs. chopped garlic (9 cloves), divided
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 3 lbs. ripe red tomatoes, cored and 1inch diced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good honey, divided
  • 1 large Spanish onion, sliced
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place the leg of lamb in a large roasting pan fat side up and pat it dry with paper towels.  Combine the mustard, 1 Tbs. of the garlic, the rosemary, balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbs. salt, and 1/2 tspn. pepper in a mini food processor and pulse until garlic and rosemary are minced.  Spread the mixture on the lamb.
-Place the tomatoes, olive oil, 1/4 cup of the honey, the onion, the remaining 2 Tbs. garlic, 1 Tbs. salt, and 2 tspns. pepper in a bowl and toss well.  Pour the tomato mixture around the lamb and tuck in the thyme and rosemary sprigs.  Drizzle the lamb with the remaining 1/4 cup of honey.  Roast for 20 minutes.  Turn the heat down to 350 degrees and roast for another 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until a meat thermometer registers 130 to 135 degrees for medium-rare.  Place the lamb on a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
-Discard the herb stems and return the tomatoes to the oven to keep warm.  Slice the lamb, arrange on a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve with the tomatoes and pan juices spooned on top. Enjoy!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Seafood Salad with Cucumber & Fennel

This salad is really simple and so good for you.  The perfect salad to start off Spring. I love cooking with fennel and it really makes this salad pop.  The pomegranate seeds are so delicious and add the perfect amount of tart to go with the shrimp and calamari.  I also love that its a quick dish, really great for busy weekdays.  Enjoy!

Seafood Salad with Cucumber & Fennel

  • 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (use a food processor to make it easy)
  • 1 cucumber, halved down the middle and sliced
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. dill, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 mild chili (jalapeno), chopped
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 12 giant prawns, peeled, deveined, tails on
  • 1/2 lb. baby squid, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbs. sumac spice
  • salt & pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds to garnish
-Trim base and tops of fennel then slice width ways as thinly as possible.  In a bowl, mix the fennel, cucumber, chili, onion, lemon juice & zest, garlic, dill, parsley and 2 Tbs. of oil.  Combine all ingredients until well mixed.  Place a heavy cast iron frying pan over high heat and allow the pan to get very hot.  Mix the prawns and squid with the remaining oil and add to the pan in small batches.  Cook them for 1 minute on each side or until just cooked, stirring often.  Transfer the squid to a chopping board and slice into rings.  Add both prawns and squid to the salad and toss well.  Add the cilantro, sumac, season with salt and pepper and toss again.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds in each individual bowl.  

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Hot Slow-Roasted Pork, Onion, and Mozzarella Sandwiches

These sandwiches are the ultimate comfort food.  It's the perfect sandwich for an early Sunday dinner while watching a game.  This baked pork is my most favorite, and I have made it also by itself with other vegetable sides for a meal.  Delicious!  If you can, splurge on a nice cut of pork shoulder with the bone in...makes a huge difference.  Enjoy!

Hot Slow-Roasted Pork, Onion and Mozzarella Sandwiches


  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 tspns. coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tspns. dried basil
  • 2 tspns. dried oregano
  • 2 tspns. dried rosemary
  • 1 tspn. dried sage
  • 1 tspn. fennel seeds, ground in a mortar with pestle or spice grinder
  • 1 tspn. black pepper
  • 1 9lb whole pork shoulder with bone
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1lb. onions, halved, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1lb. red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 1/2lb. green bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 10 crusty rolls, split, toasted
  • 1 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
-For the Pork:  Chop garlic.  Sprinkle the garlic with 1 1/2 tspns. kosher salt and mince until paste forms.  Transfer the paste to a small bowl; mix in parsley and next 7 ingredients. 

Using a small sharp knife, make 20 evenly spaced 1 inch long, 2 inch-deep slits in pork.  Stuff seasoning mixture into slits. Sprinkle outside of pork with salt and pepper.  Let stand for 1 hour for seasonings to penetrate. 
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  Place rack in large roasting pan; place pork on rack.  Roast until the thermometer inserted into the thickest park registers 170 degrees, about 4 1/2 hours.  Let pork rest 30 minutes.  Transfer to work surface.  Maintain oven temperature and reserve roasting pan.  Thickly slice pork off the bone.  Coarsely chop or tear slices and place in a large baking dish; cover with foil. 
Pour juices from roasting pan into 4 cup measuring cup.  Spoon off fat.  If necessary, add enough water to loosen juices to measure 2 cups.  Stir 2 Tbs. juices and cornstarch in small saucepan until cornstarch dissolves; whisk in remaining juices and vinegar.  Whisk over medium heat until sauce boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

-For the vegetables: Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and all peppers; saute until vegetables are tender and brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Arrange roll bottoms on work surface; mound with warm pork and drizzle with sauce.  Cover with cheese, vegetables, and roll tops.  Server warm.

Thursday 1 March 2012

5 Layer Healthy Mexican Dip

I made this dip for Superbowl Sunday and was really pleased with the way it turned out.   I love that is not only good for you, but so delicious.  It takes a little time to put together, but well worth the wait in the end.  Enjoy!

5 Layer Healthy Mexican Dip

  • 2 tspns. olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (low sodium)
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce from the can, minced (you can use less for not as spicy)
  • 4 Tbl. lime juice
  • 1/4 tspn. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbl.water
  • 1/2 tspn. salt
  • 2 cups corn kernels, frozen
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 Tbl. finely diced jalapeno pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar

-Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook until they soften, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.  Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor or blender with the black beans, chipotle peppers, 2 Tbl. of the lime juice, cumin, water and salt.  Puree until smooth. Set aside.  Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro leaves.  In a small bowl, mash the avocado with the remaining lime juice.  In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, scallion and jalapeno.  Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the black bean dip into the bottom of an 8x8 glass baking dish or serving dish.  Top with the corn mixture, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then the tomatoes.  Top with cheese.  Serve with your choice of chips.

Monday 27 February 2012

Mexican Posole Stew

I tried making Posole a long time ago and it did not turn out great.  I decided to try making it again and change a few things up in my recipe.  This new version I was more than thrilled with, so good!  The stew just got better and better everyday, perfect for leftovers.  You can control the level of spice by adding more or less of the peppers depending on what you like.  I used chicken in my stew, but you can  use slow cooked pork as well.  I roasted a whole chicken in the oven and then shredded the meat with a fork.  Make sure you use a very large pot!

Mexican Posole Stew

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 28 oz. can undrained pinto beans
  • 1 28 oz. can white hominy, drained
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juices, pureed in blender until smooth
  • 1 small can of Jalapenos with juices
  • 1 Tbl. Mexican oregano
  • 1 Tbl. chile powder
  • 1 Tbl. garlic powder
  • 3 tspns. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper
  • Cooked chicken (from a 4-5lb. whole chicken)-shred the meat into smaller pieces
  • To serve: Shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, flour tortillas, cabbage
-Heat oil in a large pot over medium low heat.  Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring often until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes and stir until softened, about 2 minutes longer.  Stir in the broth and the next 8 ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Cover; simmer stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.  Add reserved chicken.  Simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes for the flavors to meld.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Divide among bowls and garnish with cheese, cilantro, lime, cabbage and tortillas.  

Friday 24 February 2012

Simple Thai

Bon Appetit Magazine recently did a feature on Chef Andy Ricker, of Portland's award-winning Pok Pok.  The article features fantastic Thai recipes and tips from his restaurant.  We're big fans of Thai food, but I have only attempted cooking classic Thai dishes limited times.  I decided to make the Fried Prawns with fresh turmeric and garlic with the Long bean, Cucumber, and Tomato salad with Coconut rice.  Delicious!  Check out the article, Chef Andy Ricker gives great tips and guidelines on how to make your meal easy and simple.  Enjoy!

Fried Prawns with fresh turmeric and garlic

  • 1 knob of fresh turmeric, peeled, cut into rounds (about 1 Tbs.)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, tough outer leaves removed, bottom 4" thinly sliced (about 2 Tbs.)
  • 1 tspn. kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 1 lb. uncooked giant prawns, peeled keeping tails intact, deveined
  • Vegetable oil
-Smash turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, and 1 tspn. salt in a mortar with a pestle until a rough paste forms, 3-4 minutes.  Combine prawns and turmeric mixture in a medium bowl.  Stir well, rubbing mixture into prawns.  Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

-Pour oil into a wok or a large nonstick skillet to a depth of 1/2". Heat oil over medium heat until deep fry thermometer registers 300 degrees.  Season prawns with salt; add to wok.  Fry, turning occasionally, until cooked through and lightly golden, 4-6 minutes.
-Using a slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to a platter.  Skim crispy bits from oil and spoon over prawns.  Serve with Coconut Rice (recipe below)

Long Bean, Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  • 2 dried chiles, soaked for 2 minutes in warm water, drained
  • 3 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 lime, cut into 3 wedges
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. dried tiny shrimp
  • 9 long beans or green beans (2 1/2 oz), trimmed, cut into 2 1/2 lengths
  • 2 kirby cucumbers or 1 English hothouse cucumber, coarsely chopped into 1" pieces
  • 2 Tbs. Thai fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbs. crushed roasted, unsalted peanuts
-Place first 4 ingredients in a clay mortar and pound with a wooden pestle until mashed into a fine paste, about 5 minutes.  Add shrimp; mash until pulverized and well combined, about 2 minutes.  (alternatively, process in a mini-processor until finely chopped)  Place beans and tomatoes in a resealable plastic bag.  Roll a rolling pin over bag to bruise vegetables; transfer to a bowl with the cucumber, fish sauce, lime juice, and chile dressing. Let marinate for at least 10 minutes.  Stir in the peanuts.

Coconut Rice
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tspn. kosher salt
-Rinse rice in a large bowl with cool water until water runs clear.  Drain rice.  Combine rice, coconut cream, sugar, salt, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan.  Bring just to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, 40-45 minutes.  Fluff rice with a fork; cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

San Francisco Weekend

I took a weekend getaway to SF to see close friends, celebrate a birthday, cheers to an engagement and go wine tasting. San Francisco has the best food, it was hard for me to decide on where I should have some tasty treats.  Below are a few of the amazing dishes I enjoyed.  I received great recommendations from friends, relied on Yelp and some trusty blogs and I wasn't disappointed.  Each time I go back it feels like home, there is no other city like it.  Great to see everyone and cheers to next time!....I'll bring Aaron and Jack with me next trip :)

Zuni Cafe- Amazing! I have been wanting to go here for so long. We had the best service from Tim, our waiter.  I think service can really make or break the experience at a restaurant and he was fantastic.  I started with some oysters, their oyster list is lengthy and amazing.  I had the duck leg with polenta and mushrooms with a sausage and veggie puree.   I have only had duck breast before and I enjoyed the duck leg because it was less fatty and so flavorful.  This restaurant is so cute, the perfect place to celebrate with my good girlfriends! I just ordered the Zuni cookbook this morning!  (The pictures aren't great, but hopefully you'll get the idea)

Straw- Awesome brunch. So simple and so delicious.  The bloody Mary was so good, the perfect amount of spicy.  I had Wilbers Revival, braised pork hash with creamy grits. The pork was cooked perfectly and the runny egg made it even better.  This place is small and kind of silly, but that is what makes it so worth it.  You can even eat your brunch sitting in a tilt-a-whirl! Our server  had my friend model his pink tassel apron and Bill Withers was blaring in the background, perfect way to start a Saturday.

I love to go wine tasting, specifically in Healdsburg at the smaller wineries.  We had beautiful weather and really great wine.  Some of our favorite wineries: Yoakim Bridge, Wilsons, Robert Young, Bella and many more.  We stopped at Jimtown Store after some tasting and I had a delicious sandwich: Prosciutto with Fig and olive spread & Pt. Reyes blue cheese.  Simple and fantastic! Fun store too...cute homemade items with antiques.

Chez Papa- I have read a lot about Chez Papa, and was excited to eat here.  The food was very good, the service not so much.  I'm not sure I would eat here again, but I did enjoy my meal...even if I had no guidance and waited 25 minutes for my martini.  The restaurant has a cool, hipster vibe and the menu didn't disappoint.  We started with the Kobe beef tartar and Bibb lettuce salad with mustard vinaigrette.  I had the Roasted Butterfish with potato gnocchi and Brussels sprouts.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs with Baked Beans

This meal is perfect for a lazy day.  I love trying different short rib recipes and this one is so easy and very delicious.  The ribs stew in a slow cooker for seven hours and leave your house smelling like heaven.  I can't even begin to describe how tasty the baked beans are.  A lot of homemade baked bean recipes take hours and hours...this one uses canned beans to cut the cooking time in half.  The bonus and my favorite part of these beans is the crumbled pancetta you add to the top with sprinkles of toasted rosemary. Delicious!

Slow Cooked Beef Short Ribs

  • 1 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 soy sauce
  • 3 Tbl. cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbl. dark brown sugar
  • 4 lbs. beef short ribs
-In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat hot, then cook the onion, stirring until softened and golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar, stir until smooth, and heat for 5 minutes.  Place the short ribs on a cast iron pan and cook until well browned.  

-Arrange the ribs in a large slow cooker.  If you have a round slow cooker, stack them.  Pour over the sauce, distributing the onions over all the ribs.  Cover and cook on LOW until tender and the meat starts to separate form the bone, 7-8 hours.  Transfer the ribs to a platter.  Let the sauce cool for a bit, then spoon the liquid fat off the surface and discard.  Pour the sauce over the ribs and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Baked Beans
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 peppers from the canned chipotle chilies in adobo (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 3 28oz. cans of cannelloni beans, drained, rinsed
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • 8 slices pancetta, diced
  • leaves from 6 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • extra virgin olive oil
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put molasses, ketchup, mustard and chilies in blender and puree.  Scrape into a big bowl, add beans and season with salt and pepper. (**the pancetta is salty, so don't over salt the beans)  Toss so beans are coated.  Divide mixture to 4 individual crocks.  Top each crock with pancetta, rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil.  Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the pancetta starts to golden.  Enjoy!