Roasted Cauliflower

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Call me strange but I think roasted cauliflower is really delicious. I know many either shun it or coat in flour and egg and fry it. I think if you ever try it roasted, you will truly find it delicious. And it's so easy, it practically cooks itself.

You will need:

1 Head cauliflower separated into florets, the smaller they are the crunchier it will be when roasted
2 tbs oil ( I use grape)
Salt to taste

Mix cauliflower in oil and salt. Roast in preheated over at 425. Flip every 10 minutes or so to prevent from burning.  You may want to remover the smaller pieces and continue to cook larger pieces till golden brown.

These are a great side dish or yummy alone.

Roasted Cauliflower

Potato Latkes: Experimenting with Fried and Baked Versions

Fried Latkes

Baked Latkes

Happy Belated Hanukkah to my jewish peeps and well as non Jewish peeps who like latkes.  Hanukkah is not Hannukkah without these puppies.

This year, I tried to make 2 versions fried (the authentic way) as well as baked less authentic but more healthy (there is only so healthy potatoes can be).

Judge for yourself but I was rather impressed with the baked ones and might totally switch up next year.


6 all purpose potatoes
1 onion
4 eggs beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (white flour or matzo meal also work)
1 1/2 tsp salt
Oil for frying (I used grape)
Lots of paper towels for draining.

Wash and peel potatoes, keep peeled ones in a bowl of cold water to keep them nice and fresh.

Grate potatoes and onions hopefully you have a food processor. Now is the time to use it. If not, grating will be a huge pain.  Grate potatoes, drain excess liquid, get out as much as you can.

Add eggs, flour and salt. 

For frying, heat a large skillet with plenty of oil. Add about a tablespoon of potato mixture at ta time. Cook till golden and flip over until the other side is golden and cooked through. Drain on paper towel. Repeat till all pancakes are done.

For baking, preheat oven to about 400. Oil baking sheet, baked till golden about 15 minutes, flip over, cook other side till golden. 

I served both fried and baked and really found there was little difference in taste.
We had them with applesauce and with Fage Total 2% (instead of sour cream).

adapted from

Osso Bucco aka Bone with Hole with White Beans

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Osso Bucco. Trust me, it tastes even better then it looks.

Osso Bucco may sound fancy but is actually fairly simple to make and once it's in the oven, you work is basically done. Such a comfort food. Serve over a side of your choice. Mashed potatoes or risotto come to mind.

All the ingredients are an estimate and you can add/remove ingredients without compromising the taste.

This can be made with either veal or beef, I happened to have 2 of each (long story) so I used that. I always braise/stew in a dutch oven that I have from LeCreuset. 

You will need:

4 bones with hole ( I prefer veal but beef is fine too)
Flour for dredging ( I used whole wheat)
1 small can of tomato paste (6 ounces)
1 can of white beans (optional)
4 tbsp of oil (I use grape)
1-1 1/2 cups of white cooking wine
Bay leave
Combo of veggies--carrot, anise, onion, a few garlic cloves.

1) Pulse veggies in your food processor till smooth. Reserve. The veggies can really be modified based on your taste or what you have.

2) Preheat oven to 375.

3) Wash and pat dry your meat. Dredge in flour. In the meantime, heat enough oil in your dutch oven to cover the bottom of the pan. Brown your meat on both sides about 3 minutes per side. Do not crowd. You may need to do this a few times.

This is what it will look like at this point:

Browned Meat Ready for the Oven

4) Remove meat.  If you have oil left, spill out but leave the meat bits. Add a bit more oil. Add the veggie combo from step one. Bring to simmer.  Add can on tomato paste. Bring to simmer. Add back the meat, add about a cup of white wine. Bring to boil. Add enough hot water to just about cover the meat. Add bay leave and fresh thyme. Cover, stick in the oven.

5) Cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover. Cook another 20 minutes. If you are using white beans, drain and rinse. Mix into stew and cook another 20 minutes or so. Meat should be soft and falling of the bone. 

Winter Salad--Kale with Roasted Root Vegetables, Pine nuts and Aged Parmesan

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Winter Salad

If you have been following my little blog even a little, you know by now that I am all about using leftovers in a creative way so that they feel brand new and enjoyable.

Case in point here in this tasty salad. Made some roasted root vegetables last night. Recipe here:

Roasted Root Vegetables. We ate them with shrimp last night. Tonight they were reborn in a winter salad.

You will need 

For the Salad

  1. 2 cups of roasted vegetables. Since mine were leftovers, I reheated them in a pan and added a little maple syrup.
  2. 4 cups washed and spun dried kale with rough center pieces removed
  3. Handful of pine nuts
  4. About 4 table spoons of aged parmesan shaved
  5. about a tbs of maple syrup if you are reheating veggies
For the Dressing:
4 tbs ponzu sauce (soy sauce/lemon juice)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of lemon juice
1/4 shallot finely chopped.

Assemble your dressing in a bowl. Wash and spin dry kale and mix in 3/4 of the dressing. Leave kale to sit in the dressing. Since kale is so rough, I found it gets softer by sitting in the dressing for a bit.

Toast pine nuts in pan. Heat or roast veggies if you are starting from scratch.

Toss veggies into the kale, add remaining dressing. Divide into plates. Top with pine nuts and cheese. 


Roasted Root Vegetables

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Roasted Root Vegetables with Thyme

Roasted root vegetables make a lovely side dish. I made these last night and we ate them as a side to Shrimp Mark Bittman's Way. These would be great with a roast chicken or even for breakfast with some lovely sunny side up eggs.

You can really improvise here as was what veggies you include but the key is to cut them into uniform pieces so that they cook at the same time.

I used:

2 turnips
2 pasnips
2 sweet potatoes
a few sprigs of thyme
3 tbsp of grape oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and cut all your veggies. Toss in a large bowl with oil salt, pepper and thyme. Roast tossing every 15 minutes or so for about 45 minutes total. Put under broiler on high for a few minutes at the end.

Veggies tossed with salt and herbs ready for roasting

Dinner is served: Shrimp "Mark Bittman's Way" and Roasted Root Vegetables

Baked Bison Meatballs with Mushroom Shallot Sauce

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bison Meatballs

Mushroom Shallot Sauce
I don't know why but I have never made meatballs before. This was my first time and of course it's so me to gi for a more exotic meat. Got the recipe from a friend. Made a few modification based on what I had on hard and voila!!! These were super easy and definitely critique approved!

On a whim, also decided to make some mushroom sauce.

Ingredients for the meatballs:
10 ounces ground bison
1 tbsp steak sauce (I used Peter Lugers)
Whole Wheat Panko (Ian's), about 1/2 cup
Chopped finely shallot
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp italian seasoning
Dash of garlic powder
2 tbs grated parmesan cheese
Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I used my Breville Smart Oven to bake these. My newest kitchen purchase that I am in love with.
Mix beef in a large bowl with all the ingredients and mix well. Form 1 1/2 inch meatballs (bigger ok but make them even size and allow extra time for cooking). Place onto backing sheet covered in oil spray. 
Bake till no longer pink in center, about 20 minutes. Turn over half way through.
Meatballs prior to being baked

For Mushroom Sauce:

One pack of white mushrooms chopped
One shallot chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
Thyme (optional)
1 tbs flour (I use whole wheat)
3 tbs water
1 tbsp oil (I use grape)
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute shallots in oil till they start to soften. Add mushrooms, cook about 5 minutes till they start to shirk. Add broth, wine and thyme if using. 
In a small bowl, mix flour with water into a paste. Add to skillet. Simmer about 2 minutes till starts to thicken. I served this over meatballs but would also be good over pasta or mashed potatoes. 

Whole Wheat Lemon Basil Lasagna Roll Ups

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lasagna Roll Ups. A pice got snatched up before it even cooled off

Saw this yumminess written up in People Magazine recently and something about it really appeal to me.  I am usually not a lasagna person, particularly the kind with meat but this one just sounded so light and delish that I could not pass it up. It did not disappoint. I made a few small changes but it's mostly based on Candice Kumai's recipe.

16 lasagna noodles ( I used whole wheat by Bionaturae)
2 1/2-3 cups of marinara sauce ( I used Amy's Organic Basil Marinara)
15 ounces of part skim ricotta (small container)
1 tbsp fresh oregano ( I used dry as did not have fresh)
1 cup fresh basil chopped plus more for garshish
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons 
Salt to taste

1) Preheat oven to 350. 
2) Cook lasagna noodes per package directions till al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water. 
I actually cooked them 4 at a time. It took longer but resulted in no ripped or broken lasagna noodes.
3) Cover bottom on 9x13 inch baking dish with about 1 1/4 cup of marinara sauce.
4) Mix ricotta, basil , lemon zest, oregano and salt in a large bowl. 

5) Spread 2 tbsp of mixture onto each noodle. Roll tightly, place into baking dish. Repeat till done.
6) Cover with remaining sauce. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. 
7) Top with fresh basil.

Ricotta, lemon zest, basil, oregano and salt. This will be inside.

All rolled up. Add sauce on top and stick in the oven.

Finished product.  

I am going to serve this with roasted eggplant. A yummy meatless dinner.

By the way, are wondering what to do with your poor skinless zestless lemons? I was. Did a little research and found a great idea. I squeezed the juice out,  removed seeds and froze in and ice cube tray.
Storing in a ziploc bag for future use. And feeling so very resourceful.

Whole Wheat Penne with Chestnuts, Mushrooms and Shallots

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


All the Thanksgiving cooking left me with about a cup and a half of roasted chestnuts that I needed to use. And all the leftover turkey eating left me craving pasta big time. Turns out, Mark Bittman had a similar idea in 2007. So this is a modified version of his recipe published in the NY Times in December  2007.

  • Whole wheat pasta (penne or ziti) I like De Cecco Whole Wheat Penne
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chestnuts (I used Roland brand in a glass gar that I had left over from thanksgiving)
  • Dried Mushrooms (I used porcinis)
  • 1 cup of shallots (about 4) peeled and sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs oil (I used grape)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • grated cheese to taste
  • Fresh sage leaves divided(optional)
Soak mushrooms in very hot water. 

For the pasta, bring water to boil in large pot. Salt generously.

Heat a skillet on medium high, add oil. Add shallots, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, chop chestnuts into 1/4 inch chunks. Add them to the skillet. Cook for another 5 minutes. 

Remove mushrooms from water, strain and RESEVE liquid. Wash the mushrooms. Chop and add to skillet with a bit more salt and pepper. Add a few sage leaves as well if using. Reserve the rest of sage.

Strain liquid from mushrooms through a seeve or a paper towel, add liquid to your skillet. Cook another 5-7 minutes.

Your mixture will look like this:

Cook pasta till tender but not mushy. Drain pasta, reserve a little water. Combine pasta with the chestnuts/shallot/mushroom mix. Add butter, heat till melted. If needed, add a little reserved water.

Serve immediately topped with grated cheese.

If you are using sage, heat some oil in a small skilled till very hot and fry the sage leaves. I am currently obsessed with doing this. About 2 minutes per side and drain on paper towel. They immediately make a simple pasta look gourmet.

I served this with a side of roasted zucchini. Recipe here:

Enjoy! Hope to see you soon!

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter and a few tips for Thanksgiving Day Success

Thursday, November 22, 2012

*Method adapted from Alton Brown and Sassy Radish

I like to keep things simple and organized. What I have discovered from hosting thanksgiving is that PLANNING is the key to success. If you are organized, even the turkey is not that scary.

I think this year I have really outdone myself and it's because I was way more organized then usual.
I also realized that making the turkey is way easier and FASTER then I thought.

This is my final product and star of the Thanksgiving Day Show.

I buy a kosher antibiotic free turkey every year as I do not like a dry turkey nor do I have space in my fridge to brine a turkey.


1 KOSHER Turkey (mine was about 13 pounds)
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

4 cloves garlic: 2 smashed, 2 finely chopped
1 tablespoon sea salt

4 shallots or one onion sliced


  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (unchopped)
  • 4 sprigs of sage (unchopped)

1) Let turkey come to room temperature, this will take a while so plan in advance. I woke up extra early, took the turkey out and got started on the sides. My bird was room temperature in about 3 hours.

2) Once turkey is at room temperature, wash and pat dry with paper towels.

3) Preheat oven to 500F. Place turkey on roasting rack in roasting pan. If you don't have one, you can make a foil "snake" like contraption and place on the bottom. This will keep your turkey from floating around in the oil/juices it will be spewing.

4) In a large bowl, combine your softened butter, and the CHOPPED herbs. Reserve the unchopped for later. Also, salt, pepper, and chopped garlic. Smoosh it all together because you are about to give your bird a very nice massage. Giggle.

5) MAKE SURE YOUR TURKEYS is at room temperature and is dry. Rub is all over with herbed butter. Make sure to get some under the skin as well. Really get in there like nobody's business.

6) Once your turkey massage is complete, add the shallots, smashed garlic and the UNCHOPPED herbs into the cavity.

7) Take your foil and fold it over to make a triangle. You will need this later to protect the breast from drying out. You will be placing it on the breast pointy side down with the other two points tucked under the wings.  Butter this on both sides. Reserve for later.

8) At this point, your oven should be preheated. Roast the turkey for 30 minutes at 500 degrees. If your smoke alarm is crazy like mine, during this time, it may go off. I actually had to remove the batteries from mine temporarily as it was alarming despite oven windows and door. Watch your turkey, if it's breast is getting too brown, cover with breast plate prior to 30 minutes end.

9) Once 30 minutes are up, reduce oven temperature to 350F and put on breast place if you have not already. Insert thermometer alarm set to 161 degrees. My 13 pound bird took about 2 hours from start to finish--1/2 hour at 500 and 1 1/2 hours at 350.

10) Remove from oven. If you need to, you can reheat at 350 for about 15 minutes

Here you have it. No basting, no brining! Easy Peasy.

I served this with:

Dressing of Cornbread, Sausage, Chestnuts and Leeks

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Candied Yams

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Crunchy Bacon

Butternut Squash Apple Leek Soup with Fried Sage

Another side was pan seared hericot verts--forgot to take a picture.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Crunchy Bacon

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I usually make these without bacon for an every day dinner but for Thanksgiving, I make these WITH BACON since everyone know that thanksgiving calories do not count.


6 cups on brussel sprouts top layer removed and halved
3 tbsp oil
salt to taste
Bacon (I used 1 pack of Applegate Sunday Bacon)
Paper towels for draining

Toss brussel sprouts in oil and salt. Mix well. Roast at 425 for about 30 minutes (toss a few times to avoid burning). For the convection oven, I modified temperature to 400, otherwise, no big difference. Add bacon at the very end of cooking. Mix well and cook another 5 minutes with bacon.

My convection oven is something that I got recently and have been totally obsessed with this think to a point where I barely use my regular oven. The link here in case you are interested. 

Cook bacon till very crunchy. Drain on paper towels. Cut up into small bits. Toss with brussel sprouts. 



Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Apple Chips

Does not get much easier or yummier then this.

All you need is 

Brown Sugar

Wash and dry an apple--I prefer a tart apple like granny smith.

Peel your apple. Using a mandoline, slice very thin. 

Preheat oven to 250F. 

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray, spread thin, careful not to crowd.

Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake about 30 minutes till crispy.

Enjoy. My kids can't get enough of these.

Apple chips with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar

Cranberry Orange Sauce

Monday, November 19, 2012

Another yummy and simple Thanksgiving classic.
If you like a lot of cranberry sauce, double the proportions of this recipe.

1 cup brown sugar (adjust to taste)
1 cup orange juice
1 12 ounce pack cranberries

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in the orange juice. Stir in cranberries and cook about 10 minutes till they start to pop. Remove from heat. Transfer to bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

*adapted from


Candied Yams (Otherwise Known as Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Candied Yams 


6-8 sweet potatoes
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups mini marshmallows (divided)
Ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil, Boil potatoes about 15 minutes till somewhat but not fully cooked.
  3. Drain, cool and peel.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, brown sugar, 2 cups marshmallows, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook stirring occasionally, until marshmallow are melted. 
  5. Stir potatoes into marshmallow sauce. Stir and mash some of the potatoes and break the rest into bite sized  chunks. Transfer to the prepared dish. 
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with the remaining 1 cup of marshmallows. Return to over and bake till marshmallows are golden brown.

Yams after baking for 15 minutes toped with marshmallows and ready to go back in oven for browning

Adapted from

Lamb Roast with Rosemary and Honey Dijon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh lemon zest
3 tsp minced garlic
3 pound lamb roast
Salt to taste

In a small bowl, combine honey, pepper, lemon zest, garlic and rosemary. Mix well and rub all over  both sides of the lamb.

Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove from fridge about 30 minutes prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Place lamb in oiled roasting pan and sprinkle with salt.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 and roast another 35-40 minutes. The internal temperature should be about 145 for medium rare. I don't like it that rare. 150 internal temperature resulted in a medium roast.

Wait 10 minutes before carving.

I served with sweet mashed potatoes and hericot verts.

Recipe for mashed sweet potatoes is here: Mashed Sweet Potatoes and for the hericot verts is here: hericot verts


Adapted from
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Corn Bread, Sausage and Chestnut Dressing

Monday, November 12, 2012

Corn Bread Dressing with Sweet Sausage, Chestnuts, Shallots and Leeks

Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday and I look forward to it all year. I am not such a huge turkey fan but dressing, yams and cranberry sauce is where it's at for me.

I have been making this for a few years now. It's a big hit in our house. Will be making it again this year.

This recipe is loosely based on a Williams Sonoma recipe that I have adapted to fit my needs and taste.


1 bags of corn bread stuffing mix (I like Pepperidge Farm)
3 cups of county style white bread cubed (about 1 loaf)
Oil (as needed, I use grape)
1 bulb of leeks (some people use celery but I hate it so it you prefer it, ok to substitute) finely chopped
1 onion or 2 shallots finely chopped
3-4 links of italian sausage casting removed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup roasted and peeled chestnuts. I take a shortcut here and use 2 bags of ready made ones. See a picture/description of them here:
1/4 cup of fresh herbs (your choice here, I like sage or rosemary or both)
3 cups  of low sodium chicken broth, more if you like your dressing more moist

Preheat oven to 375. Butter a shallow pan.

Cup up your country bread into cubes crusts removed (you can save them for another use such as croutons)

Spread the white bread on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until lightly brown. This can also be done in a toaster over if you prefer.

In the meantime, in a saute pan over medium heat, brown the sausage breaking it up into crumbles with a fork until cooked, about 10 minutes. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon.

If not enough oil, add a bit. Add leek and shallots, saute till translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes, add salt/pepper to taste. Transfer to bowl with sausage. Mix in cornbread, white bread cubes, chestnuts, herbs and stock.

Transfer to pan, cover with foil and bake about 35 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 20 minutes or so, until brown and crispy.

Shrimp Mark Bittman's Way

First, let me just say that I am completely obsessed with Mark Bittman's cooking. I can really credit his book "How to Cook Everything" with teaching me how to cook. I have both editions thank you very much. How sad is that? And though I own many other cook books, his are the only ones that I use regularly. Somehow, every single recipe that I have ever made from his book has always come out.

This one is one of my favorites's. Without further adue,

Shrimp "My Way"  from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves garlic cut into slivers
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of shrimp peeled, deveined, rinsed and dried
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp fresh paprika (recipe calls for spicy but I used smoked)
Mixed fresh parsley for garnish ( I omitted as did not have any on hand)

1) Preheat broiled and adjust rack so that it's as close to heat as possible.
2) In a large oven proof skillet ( I use le creuset cast iron, warm oil over low heat. There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Add garlic to oil and cook till golden for a few minutes.
Raise heat to medium high and add the shrimp, salt, pepper, cumin and paprika. Stir to blend and immediately place under broiler . Cook shaking pan once or twice and stirring if necessary but generally leaving shrimp undisturbed, until they are pink all over and the mixture is bubbly. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on heat of broiler and the size of your shrimp. Garnish with parsley and serve.

We like these with a side of brown rice and string beans. These are also awesome as a party appetizer.

Chestnut Soup w Leeks and Shallots

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Years ago, I tasted Chestnut soup during restaurant week. It was so amazing and I have been trying to recreate it ever since, hopefully a slightly healthier version too.

Initially, I was actually crazy enough to purchase chestnuts, roast them and peel them. Results were phenomenal but it was incredibly time consuming and therefore not going to happen ever again for this working momma.

In come my the amazing discovery of chestnuts that area sold already roasted and peeled! Yeay! That's more like it.  There are various brands that sell and make these, I really have no preference, it's all good. The ones I bought most recently are USDA organic by a Galit.

3 bags of chestnuts 
4 cups of chicken stock (homemade or canned).
   *I used Imagine Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1-2 Leeks white parts only
2- 3 Shallots
2 tbs Grape Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp nutmeg
Thyme (a spigg of fresh if possible) or 1/2 tsp dry
Heavy Cream (1 tsp per serving)

1. Wash leeks really well as they can be sandy. Cut up shallots and leeks. Reserve a bit of leeks for garnish, you will want to pan fry these (see step 6)

2. In a large saucepan, saute chopped shallot and leeks in oil for about 6 minutes till soft. 

3. In the meantime, cut up most of the chestnuts in half. These will be used for soup. Reserve about 1/3 a cup and cut into small pieces. You will want to pan toast these for garnish (See step 5).

4. Add chestnuts halves and stock.  Bring to boil. Add thyme if fresh (else add later). Simmer about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add nutmeg and thyme if using dry. Using emersion blender, carefully blend. If too thick, add more stock and bring to boil again.

5. While the soup is simmering,  preheat small pan and add cooking spray, add small pieces of chestnut to a pan and toast about 5 minutes. 

6. Remove chestnuts, add 1 teaspoon oil and pan fry the remaining leeks till crispy about 5 minutes. 

Add about 1 teaspoon of cream on top. I do this rather than blending with cream to keep is relatively healthy. Garnish with your pan fried leeks and toasted pieces of chestnut.


*Note that if you store this soup, it gets thicker, in that case, add a little more stock when reheating.

Update: Last night I  made this soup again but I avoided adding any dairy(I also pureed all the chestnuts). Instead, I topped it with crunchy bacon. In addition, I had some chanterelle mushrooms that I needed to use up. I sauteed those in the bacon drippings (after spilling out about half). Voila! Another tasty meal!

Curry Coconut Shrimp

Monday, November 5, 2012

1 tsp oil
1/2 cut shallots
1/2 cut diced red pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 can light coconut milk
2 tsp sugar
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp cilantro fresh is best, dry is ok

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Saute shallot, red pepper and garlic until begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

Season with cumin coriander and curry. Cook for 1 more minute. Stir in coconut milk and sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and increase hit to medium high. Cook and stir until shrimp is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Stir in cilantro and cook another minute.

If the sauce is too thin, you can thicken in up by mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of water and adding it to the sauce. I did not do that.

Serve with rice (we prefer brown).


Seared Duck Breast with Blackberry Red Wine Reduction

Monday, October 29, 2012

A disclaimer: the duck breast and sauce in this recipe was prepared by my husband who is a great cook. Now if only he did it more often. 


2 duck breasts each cut in half
Fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups of blackberries
2 tbsp butter
1 tbs oil (I used grape)
1/2 cup of minced shallots
1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon
1 tbs lemon juice
4 tbsp blackberry preserves
Salt pepper to taste
Montreal seasoning (optional)
Herbs de Provence (optional)
Dry coriander (optional)

Preparation for sauce
Puree blackberries and strain the juice. Use only the pulp. You can reserve juice for another use (yummy in a beverage of your choice).
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add shallots and saute for 10 minutes, till tender. Add the red wine and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer till reduced by half. Add the blackberry pulp and preserves, mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil once again then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Lastly, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir for another minute. Makes about 1 cup of sauce.

Preparation for duck breast
Wash and pat dry duck breast. Score the fat by putting some lines diagonally across the fat. Salt and pepper both sides. Use a savory seasoning to taste if desired. 
Preheat skillet. Add 1 tablespoon of grape oil. Place duck breast, fat side down over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Flip the duck over. Add fresh thyme. Sear for another 7 minutes.

Serve with sides of choice and add sauce on top of the duck breast.

We served with sweet mashed potatoes and hericot verts.

You can find the recipe for sweet potatoes here: 

If you are making hericot verts:

1/2 pound of hericot verts (can substitute green beans)
1 tbsp oil (I use grape)
Salt/ pepper to taste

Wash and spin dry hericot verts, remove tails on both sides.
Preheat oil for about 2 minutes. When nice and hot, add your verts. Cook about 15-20 minutes total. We like them w a bit seared. Add salt and pepper to taste.

adapted from 

Arugula Salad w Strawberries, Blueberries, Toasted Almonds, Goat Cheese and Seared Chicken Breast


2 Chicken Breasts
1 Tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Grape Oil

3 cups arugula (washed and spun dried)
1 cup of strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 container soft goat cheese (my favorite brand for salad is Chavrie)
2 tbsp aged balsamic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup wheat berries (optional)

To prepare the chicken breast, I use LeCreuset's Grill Pan. This is the one that I have :  Wash and dry chicken. Heat pan, add oil. Cook chicken till cooked through. About 5-7 minutes per side depending on thickness. Add a splash of soy sauce towards the end.  Cool and slice. 

For wheat berries (if using) 
Note that wheat berries are not berries but a legume which means they do need to be soaked overnight. Totally optional in the salad but do give it a nice texture.

1 cup wheat berries
2 to 2 1/2 cups of water
Note that this will make more wheatberries that you need for the salad but these are good to have on hand for other salads or make a nice hearty breakfast.

Rinse the wheat berries well with cold water. 
Place in bowl filled with cold water and let soak overnight.
Rinse and drain the water.
Place in pan with water, bring to boil.
Cover and let simmer for an 1 hr to 1 1/2 hrs till tender and chewy.

For salad:

Wash and spin dry arugula. Wash, dry and slice strawberries. Wash blueberries.
Thinly slice red onions. Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl.

For dressing, combine balsamic, lemon juice, olive oil. Mix well, add honey and dijon. Mix again. 

In a small, preheated skillet, toast almonds till light brown. About a minute per side.

Dress salad. Top with chicken, scoops of goat cheese and toasted almonds. Serve and enjoy.