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crab salad

Apple & Celery Root Roulade with Fresh Crab on Fresh Greens with homemade Tomato Vinaigrette Celeriac remoulade is the French answer to coleslaw. Shredded ribbons of celeriac are tossed in a sauce of mayonnaise, lemon, and mustard. I found this lovely espelette pepper mustard. Espellete is from the basque region of spain, and it adds a spicy heat to the recipe that really works. I mix in flecks of sweet-tart green shreds of Granny Smith apples for sweetness, crowned with nubs of jumbo lump crabmeat. I'll serve it over fresh greens from the farmers's market dressed in a tomato vinaigrette. _________________________________ Apple & Celery Root Roulade (recipe adapted from seriouseats.com) Ingredients: Juice of 1 lemon 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or your favorite spicy mustard) 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard 1 tablespoon chervil, chopped (fresh parsley will work very nicely here as well) 4 cups grated celeriac (about 1/2 large celeriac; a food processor works wonders here) 1 Granny Smith apple, grated 8 ounces jumbo lump crab meat In a bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, mustards, and chervil with salt and pepper. Toss the celeriac and apple with the remoulade sauce as soon as they are grated to prevent browning. I like to ring-mold the remoulade, and top it with the simple crab meat, and serve with lemon wedges. You could also toss everything together, and serve with crusty bread, or even lettuce cups. Tomato Vinaigrette (recipe from my Mom's recipe cards, source unknown) Ingredients: 8 ounces very ripe tomatoes 1/4 cup sherry vinegar 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, grated 1/4 cup olive oil Halve the tomatoes. Squeeze the halves into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. You should get about 1/2 cup of tomato juice and pulp. Add the vinegar, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, mustard, and garlic to the bowl and whisk to combine. While whisking, slowly pour in the oil. Continue to whisk until emulsified. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

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Sugar Tomato and White Peach Chutney

I adore chutneys - and here is a quick one that is made with seasonal white peaches and sugar tomatoes. It comes together quickly, but for the flavors to really explode when served - you should let the chutney sit for at least eight hours - or best 24 hours, before serving. It is colourful and flavorful and would make a great compliment for any pork or lamb entree. (and would be great with chicken, beef or tofu as well) I, personally, love the combination of sweet and spicy with any main course protein.
  • 1/2 pint sugar baby tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 ripe white peaches, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot curry powder
  • 2 medium shallots, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
Add olive oil to a pan on medium-high heat and immediately add the shallots, once softened, add the curry powder and ginger until fragrant. Turn the heat down to medium and add tomatoes and peaches and stir just to coat - let the tomatoes and peaches cook for 8-10 minutes till you start to notice the juices thickening. Make sure to carefully scrape any browning off the pan and into the juices. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely. Put in a Tupperware or jar for at least 8 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. You can either serve it warm or cold.
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Tuna Sashimi with Curry Oil Flash

  I saw this trick tableside at a restaurant in Las Vegas. So easy to do at home and SO delicious.   1/2 pound Ahi sliced into cubes 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder, toasted in a dry pan Pinch of salt 1/4 cup canola oil ½ tablespoon finely julienned fresh ginger toast the curry powder in a dry pan - as it becomes fragrant add the oil and heat until near smoking. Stir in the ginger, remove from the stove, and immediately spoon a bit of the oil over one portion of fish. The fish should sizzle when the oil hits it; garnish with chopped chives and sesame seeds then serve immediately
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I cook a lot - so it takes a truly extraordinary recipe for my husband to remember it and request them by name. Chocolate Lava Cookies are his favorite for many reasons. Just a hint of coffee flavor in a vanilla infused crispy yet also soft chocolate chip cookie. The recipe is a little time intensive - but is purposely built to just make a dozen cookies. Ingredients for Cookies • 1/3 cup salted butter • 1/3 cup light brown sugar packed • 3 tablespoons white sugar • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 large egg yolk • 3/4 cup white all-purpose flour NOT packed into the measuring cup • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1/3 cup high quality milk-chocolate chunks or chips Ingredients for the Ganache • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into 3/4 -inch pieces • 1 cup heavy cream • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder • 1 1/2 tablespoons Kahlúa Instructions for Ganache Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until bubbles appear around the edge; remove from the heat. Add the espresso powder and stir to dissolve. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate until melted and smooth. Stir in the Kahlúa. For easier spooning in this recipe don't let it cool to firm - I find that by the time I have the cookies made it needs stirring to be spoonable into the cookies Instructions for Cookies 1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, partially melt the butter in the microwave. (Just enough that you'll be able to easily mix it) 2. With a spoon or a whisk, whisk in the brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract (scale down or up to taste preference - I like a strong vanilla flavor) into the bowl of the butter. 3. Stir until completely smooth and then stir in the egg yolk. (The more yellow the yolk, the more flavor your cookies will have. Organic eggs are generally larger and more yellow which is what I used). 4. Measure the flour carefully making sure not to pack in the flour. 5. Stir in the flour and baking soda and mix well. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl. (If not, add a bit more flour until a good dough is formed). 6. Stir in the chocolate chips. Knead the chips into the dough. 7. Place the dough in an airtight container and in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour and preferably overnight (overnight will yield a greater flavor as the ingredients meld together). 8. When ready to bake, set the oven temperature at 350 degrees. 9. Roll a dozen balls of dough that are even (If you have a food scale, I get the best results from cookies that are 1.3 ounces.) 11. Using a nonstick cupcake tin - press one cookie's worth of dough into the bottom of each cupcake holder. Then spoon on top of the cookie, 1 rounded tablespoon of the ganache, then top the ganache with another cookie's worth of dough. Don't try to press it down to seal it in - or you'll get a ganache splatterathon. (not that I know this from experience or anything) 12. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top 13. Allow the cookies to continue to "bake" on the cookie sheet for 3 more minutes before removing to a cooling rack. As they cool they will "crater" leaving room for a perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream which I then drizzel with caramel sauce (caramel sauce is available in the caramel sauce aisle at your grocery)
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Glazed Lemon and Fruit Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients Cookies: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 lemon, zested 1/4 cup of your favorite fruit jelly or preserve
Glaze: 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 3 tablespoons lemon juice 1 lemon, zested Add Checked Items To Grocery ListDirectionsPreheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cookies: In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Put an indentation for the jelly or jam - being careful not to break all the way through the cookie. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the fruit jelly as a jewel center.
Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2-teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours.
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Bob's Mole Style Stewed Chicken

  • 2 dried Ancho chilies
  • 3 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • One 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 tablespoons lard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raisins
  • 10 whole almonds
  • 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 3-4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces each (or precut pieces from the grocery, I go boneless, but a lot of people like the extra flavor of bone in)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  1. In a medium bowl, cover all of the chili peppers with hot water. Let them stand for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet, combine sesame seeds with the anise, cumin, coriander, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Toast over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool then grind the seeds and spices to a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
  3. Using the same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the lard over medium low heat. Stir in the raisins, almonds and cook the mixture until the almonds are toasted and the raisins are plump, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve.
  4. Melt 1 tablespoon lard in skillet. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, onions and the spice powder and cook over medium high heat until just simmering, about 7 minutes. Add the drained chilies and the chicken stock, cover partially, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from the heat. Working in batches, transfer sauce and chocolate to a blender and puree until smooth, if using a standing blender; if using an immersion blender, blend until smooth in skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point you can refrigerate the mole for up to 10 days, or freeze.
  5. When you are ready to slow cook - here are the steps:
    1. a 1 pd bag of frozen chicken thighs or breasts in the crockpot
    2. 6 julienned shallots, in the crockpot
    3. 1 16 oz bag UNSALTED cashews in the crockpot
    4. The entire batch of mole sauce over all the ingredients and stir
    5. For extra richness, I add two cups of beef stock. but chicken stock or vegetable stock is more traditional.
    6. Cook on low in the crock pot for 7 hours - leaving on warm till you ready to serve
  6. I like to serve my chicken over butter noodles versus enchiladas or rice. I just like it that way! Traditionally this dish is served over rice or with tortillas.
  7. Cooking in the crockpot - the sauce is a little less thick than if we cooked it in the oven. If the sauce comes out too thin for your taste, you can always scoop out some of the sauce and reduce in a saucepan on the stovetop.
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Meringue cookies are my favorite "holiday potluck" dessert. There is a tidal wave of chocolate and nuts in every bite, and they turn out light and delicate. There is a reason the nickname of these cookies is "Forgotten Kisses" - probably because when you make them - you don't want to share them so they become forgotten. "Oh the potluck was today? oh darn, and I made meringue cookies" LOL! The best part of these is they come together VERY fast - and are absolutely delicious whether you dip them in chocolate or not. I add raspberry extract to mine just for that extra bit of layered flavors. They always turn out perfectly - and you can't really beat these for simplicity.   Ingredients
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy.
  3. Add the cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.)
  4. Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar has been added, add the raspberry extract.
  5. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight.
  6. Gently fold in the half of the chocolate chips and half the chopped nuts. Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies.
  7. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry.
  8. Using a double boiler - or metal bowl over a softly boiling pot of water, melt the rest of the chocolate.
  9. Dip dried meringues in the chocolate then roll them in the leftover walnuts and put on parchment to set.
Yield: about 4 dozen carefully measured cookies. I like mine a bit bigger - so the recipe nets two dozen.
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Seared Chicken and Autumn Vegetables

This dish is bursting with the savory-sweet flavors of autumn. We’re searing chicken thighs and sautéing creamy purple top turnip and tender cabbage. Then we’re finishing them in a light pan sauce—or “jus”—made with dried figs, sharp whole grain mustard, thyme and tart apple cider. The key to beautifully crisp chicken is drying your chicken thoroughly, using a hot pan and letting the skin get browned and crispy before flipping. This way, all of the incredibly flavorful fond (the browned bits) left behind can be used to coat the vegetables and make the delicious pan sauce.  This recipe really takes advantage of the ingredients and with patience, comes out perfect every time. It's one of those frustrating recipes that until you add the cider, mustard and figs, you don't realize what an amazing plate of food you have in front of you. :) I hope you like this one as much as I do.
  • 2 Boneless, Skin-On Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Purple Top Turnip
  • 3 thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 Cone Cabbage
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons Chicken Demi-Glace
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Ounce Dried Figs
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Grain Djion Mustard
  • ¼ Cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, diced
  1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and medium dice the turnip. Peel and medium dice the onion. Remove and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage; halve, core and medium dice. Pick the thyme leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Small dice the figs.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken, skin sides down. Cook 6 to 8 minutes on the first side, or until the skin is browned and crispy. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just cooked through. Transfer to a plate, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond; heat on medium-high until hot. Add the turnip and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned and slightly tender.
  4. Add the onion, cabbage and all but a big pinch of the thyme to the pan of turnip; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted.
  5. To the pan of vegetables, add the figs, mustard, demi-glace, apple cider, ⅓ cup of water and cooked chicken (along with any juices from the plate); season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly reduced in volume. Add the butter and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Remove from heat.
  6. Divide the finished vegetables and chicken between 2 dishes. Garnish with the craisins, walmuts, and remaining thyme.
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Well I'm on my second week of Blue Apron, and this week's grand slam is this slaw. Again, flavors I would have never though to put all together, but it creates a flavorful slaw that is now going in my top ten side dishes list going into the holiday party season. I think for a party side dish I'd add craisins, candied walnuts or pomegranate seeds. But here is the recipe as I made it today:
  • Cup Semi-Pearled Farro
  • 4 Ounces Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Large Bunch Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Shallot
  • 2 Tablespoons Citrus White Vinegar (or white vinegar of your choice)
  1. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the farro. Cook 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly.
  2. While the farro cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts; then grate them. Zest the lemon, then quarter and deseed the lemon. Peel and mince the shallot to get 2 tablespoons of minced shallot (you may have extra); place in a bowl with the juice of 3 lemon wedges. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Core and then grate the entire apple.
  3. In a medium pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the Brussels sprouts, vinegar and lemon zest; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Add apples and cook for 1-2 minutes then take off the heat.
  4. Add the mustard to the shallot-lemon juice mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until thoroughly combined.
  5. To the bowl of cooked Brussels sprouts, add the hot cooked farro and the vinaigrette. Stir to thoroughly combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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20151001_155050So today was my first launch into making a Blue Apron recipe. The first recipe is a spicy turkey and chickpea chili with eggplant, tomato sauce and spices. The recipe had no glitches; and came together really quickly. Right off the bat, the flavor and texture combos were something I would have never thought of  - but that make sense. Crunchy red onion, soft chickpeas, heavily spiced turkey -- with a delicious middle eastern cheese called Labneh - and toasted pita croutons. Not like any chili I've ever had, but oh my gosh! :) Labneh is a rich, creamy cheese made from strained yogurt. ("Laban" is the word for strained, or "Greek," yogurt in Arabic.) Mixed here with lemon juice and salt and pepper, it's absolutely divine! The recipe comes together very quickly and was incredibly flavorful! It is very onion centric - so if someone in your household doesn't like chunks of onion, take 3/4 of the diced onion in a food processor and pulse into a paste. That will keep a strong onion flavor without as much chunks of onion in the recipe. This is a great first impression for me from Blue Apron. The recipe made 6 cups of chili, easily tupperwareable into individual servings. (Yay, Portion Control!) and the toppings and the croutons keep well in tuppers as well. This recipe was a solid win! In the recipe, you'll see the spice blend. In the Blue Apron box is came premade and I just added it, but they are kind enough in the recipe to show the ingredients. However, most stores carry a pre-made "ras el hanout" blend - dried orange peel and Aleppo Pepper are usually available at cooking stores like SurLaTable or WilliamsSonoma; and are fun to have in the pantry to add a hint of something special. Vegetarians: You could VERY easily adapt this with spiced tofu instead of turkey for a splendid meal everyone at your table would enjoy, vegetarian or not. :) Ingredients
  • 10 Ounces Ground Turkey
  • 1 Pocketless Pita
  • Cups Chickpeas
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 3 Tablespoons Labneh Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Turkey Chili Spice Blend (Equal parts: All-Purpose Flour, Ras El Hanout, Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom, Crushed Aleppo Pepper & Dried Orange Peel)
Directions
  1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Small dice the pita. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Cut off and discard the stem end of the eggplant; small dice. Peel and small dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic; using the flat side of your knife, smash until it resembles a paste (or use a zester). Using a peeler, remove the yellow rind of the lemon, avoiding the white pith; mince the rind to get 2 teaspoons of zest (or use a zester). Quarter and deseed the lemon. Finely chop the cilantro leaves and stems.
  2. In a large, straight-sided pan (or large pot), heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the pita; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and toasted. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan.
  3. In the pan used to toast the pita, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the eggplant; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the ground turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. Add the onion, spice blend, tomato paste and ¾ of the garlic paste to the pan of eggplant and turkey; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant and the onion is softened. Add the chickpeas and 2 cups of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Chermoula & Cheese Topping: While the chili cooks, in a small bowl, combine the labneh cheese and the juice of 1 lemon wedge; season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the cilantro, lemon zest, remaining garlic paste and the juice of the remaining lemon wedges; season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in enough olive oil to create a thick paste.
  6. Divide the finished chili between 2 bowls. Garnish with the pita croutons, chermoula and seasoned labneh cheese. Enjoy!

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Blue Apron

So I joined Blue Apron, after getting a glowing review from my friend Linda. Blue Apron describes itself like this:
Blue Apron makes cooking fun and easy. We'll provide you with all the ingredients that you need to make a delicious meal in exactly the right proportions. http://www.blueapron.com
I tried a neighbors box a few weeks back - and what I liked was the lack of food waste. They literally ship to you EXACTLY what you need to make two portions and now more. I'm constantly having herbs and greens and specialty ingredients go bad. So I'm looking forward to being better at that. I am also excited to try some new things - or ingredients I use prepared in new ways. I get my first box tomorrow. They've been criticized for the sheer amount of packaging they send everything in - but I know I'll reuse all their resealable bags and such - - - and they just sent out an email announcing they are changing all their packaging choices to be able to put in local recycling programs. I'll be posting here about recipes that work, ones that don't - and what I do change them up while I'm cooking. I will also be posting their promotional images along with side by side photos of how the actual recipe looks on the plate by the time I'm done with it. :) Here is this week's selections and the photos provided with each recipe: [gallery link="none" size="medium" ids="1505,1506,1507"]
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(Cooking) Moonblush Tomato Pasta Sauce

This time of year, when our gardens are overflowing with tomatoes, nothing makes me happier than fresh tomato sauce. It is one of those old fashioned recipes that always delivers. And this overnight in the oven method, makes it easier than ever. The slow roasting renders the entire plum tomato useable in the finished pasta sauce.  The sauce will last in the freezer in small portions, for up to three months. So you can thaw summer fresh tomato taste later in the fall and early winter. Truly - this recipe is both failsafe and always delicious.  Ingredients:
  • 1 lb (about 24) of cherry or other baby tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
Directions: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them out cut side up in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil. Put them in the oven, and immediately turn it off. Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for a day without opening the door. Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully heat over medium heat - and serve with hot pasta.
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(Cooking) The many faces of quinoa

I honestly have made this recipe for so long I can't remember where I found it - and it changes every time I make it. Quinoa is one of those grains you can cook SO many different ways. Quinoa can be coloured and cooked in so many different liquids: chicken stock, beef stock, orange juice, pomegranate juice, beet juice (for spectacular colouring results) and the list goes on. To read more about quinoa - check this page out. A favorite way to make it is to cook it in 1 cup of orange juice and 1 cup of pomegranate juice. (it turns it this really cool shade of pink!) - and then tossing the quinoa with fruit and yogurt for a breakfast side or main course. I'm not a heavy eater first thing so many times before heading out on a bike ride I'll make "breakfast quinoa" to make sure I get my protein to fuel my riding adventures. One of my favorite year around side dishes is a balsamic quinoa salad. I cook the quinoa in chicken stock - then toss it with marinated tomatoes and english cucumber in a balsamic vinaigrette. Talking about it is making me hungry - so I guess I'll share that recipe as well, making this post a two-fer! BREAKFAST QUINOA 1 cup prepared quinoa, cooked in equal parts orange juice and pomegranate juice 1/4 cup diced strawberries 1/4 cup raspberries 1/4 cup banana, sliced 1/4 blueberries 1/4 granola of your choice a leaf or two of finely diced fresh mint leaves 1/3 greek yogurt Dice up your fruit and toss in granola and yogurt, then add the cooled, prepared quinoa. Super easy - and can be made the night before for easy eating!
QUINOA BALSAMIC SALAD 1 cup prepared quinoa, cooked in chicken stock 1 english cucumber, diced fine 1 pound plum tomatoes, quartered 1/4 cup balsamic of your choice 2 tablespoons dried lavendar 1/4 cup slivered almonds 1/4 cup crumbled feta a splash of olive oil salt and pepper Dice your cucumber and tomatoes and put in a bowl with balsamic, lavender, almonds and olive oil. Toss to coat and refrigerate. Prepare your quinoa - set aside to cool. Just before serving mix the one cup of cold quinoa into the vegetables and balsamic, sprinkle with Feta cheese and serve.  
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(Cooking) Oaxacan Chocolate Coffee

mexican hot chocolate

 

With the pumpkin spice craze poised to take over the culinary imagination of our coffee shops from now until November 1st, I'd like to present an alternative. My go to beverage is Oaxacan Chocolate Coffee. Mexico is one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world, and the largest producer of organic coffee, accounting for 60% of world production. The vast majority of Mexican coffee, and particularly organic coffee, is grown by small farmers in the southern-most states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. The Oaxaca region is also known for seriously dark chocolates and earthy chiles like Ancho and Chipotle. Many of their recipes combine the coffee, chocolate and chiles - or get ground into all kinds of mole powder and sauce. What I like about this recipe is that it makes a lot - then you have a sealed container to use for several weeks. When I first made this up I was a bit hesitant to use ancho chile powder in my coffee, but a little goes a long way - and it gives the recipe that 'hint of heat' and it partners with the cinnamon to make a delicious cup of coffee. I make batches of this all winter long, often gifting it to coworkers or neighbors. The ingredients are simple -

  • 3 tablespoons chopped Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita or Ibarra)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup dark cocoa
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla powder
  • ⅜ teaspoon (or a pinch) ancho pepper powder, or more to taste

Put all these ingredients into a small jar, and shake to combine. Keep refrigerated. To make a spicy cup of coffee, make your morning coffee, and add two heaping tablespoons of this mixture to your coffee and stir.      

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This is one of my favorite quick weeknight meals. Some foodie friends turned me on to Fig Balsamic Vinegar - and if you are a fan of balsamics, fig balsamic is a whole different level. It's a regular visitor to my shopping cart at the store. This recipe mixes the good stuff with Herbs D'Provence, fresh garlic and a little olive oil for a dressing on our gnocchi. Gnocchi are one of those pastas that freak people out, mostly because of overdramatic Gordon Ramsey cooking competitions on TV. With patience and practice, making gnocchi at home is easy and a great pleasure. (here is my favorite recipe) but sometimes on the weeknight, there isn't time, so picking up some store bought gnocchi is perfectly fine. They key to perfect gnochhi is to be very careful not to overcook them. As SOON as they start floating to the top, they should come out of the water and be strained. Overcooked gnochhi are sad little drenched pillows; and not nearly as fun.
  • 1 cup Spinach Greens or Spicy Mix pre-washed salad
  • 2 cups store bought gnochhi
  • 4 tablespoons Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon Herbs D'Provence (traditionally a mix of dried savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano and lavendar leaves)
  • fresh ground parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan add the olive oil and garlic, cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add to the pan the balsamic and water and cook until it reduces about half. It should start to become almost a syrup but a little lighter. Remove from heat. Bring the water to a boil in your pasta pot, then turn the heat down to medium high. Gnocchi don't like being boiled, but rather just warmed up. When the gnochhi float to the top, put them in a collander and drain the excess water away. Grind fresh salt and pepper on the hot gnocchi and toss. Add the Herbs D'Provence and Balsamic Reduction and toss only to coat. Serve the piping hot gnocchi over spicy greens with a dusting of fresh parmesan cheese, and additional salt and pepper to taste. The hot gnochhi will wilt the greens a little, making them stick to the pasta. Easy to make, and absolutely delicious to eat!  
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(Cooking) Homemade Fish Sandwich with Slaw

One of my favorite experiments in the kitchen is making something at home that feels like a treat when I go out to eat. I love fish and chips! (way more than I probably should) On a recent vacation, I had basically a "fish and chips sandwich" - and thought, when I get home -- I totally need to make this. I discovered my friends over at serious eats (my favorite foody site: http://www.seriouseats.com) had already done research into a the best methods for making a fish sandwich at home. I added a bit of cayenne to the breading - and diced a chipolte pepper with some adobe sauce (from the canned variety) and added it to the slaw. With a beer, this is a close to perfect meal. You can serve this with french fries, some good old fashioned ruffle potato chips, or as is with the amazing slaw. It really is a "you can't go wrong" kind of food situation! Recipe and photo from seriouseats.com
  • For the Slaw:
  • 1 small head cabbage, finely shredded (about 1 1/2 quarts)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • For the Tartar Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • For the Fish:
  • 1 1/2 to 2 quarts peanut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 12 ounces cod filet, cut into four 3-ounce portions
  • 1 cup light beer
  • 4 soft toasted burger buns
 
  1. For the Slaw: Toss cabbage and onion with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and lots of black pepper and set aside. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, and sugar in a medium bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, Make the Tartar Sauce: Combine mayonnaise, relish, capers, sugar, and dijon mustard. Set aside.
  3. To finish slaw, pick up salted cabbage and onions in batches with your bare hands and squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to bowl with dressing. Discard excess liquid. Toss slaw to combine and season to taste with more salt and pepper if desired.
  4. For the Fish: Preheat oil to 350°F in a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer. Combine 1 cup of flour, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, baking powder, and paprika in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place remaining flour in a large bowl. Add fish and toss to coat.
  5. Add beer to flour/cornstarch mixture and whisk until a batter is just formed. A few small lumps of dry flour are ok. Transfer fish to batter and turn to coat. Working one piece at a time, pick up the fish and allow excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Return it to the bowl with dry flour and quickly coat it on both sides. Pick up the fish with your hands, tossing it gently in your open finger to get rid of excess flour. Carefully lower it into the hot oil. Repeat with remaining fish.
  6. Cook, shaking the pan gently and agitating the oil with a wire mesh spider or tongs constantly, turning the fish until it is golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season immediately with salt.
  7. To serve, place a small pile of slaw on the bottom half of each bun. Top with a piece of fish and a dollop of tartar sauce. Close buns. Serve with extra slaw and sauce on the side.
 
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Slow cookers are the perfect Friday dinner choice. You can heavily spice a beautiful cut of meat and let it slow cook and roll around in it's juices. In this case, we take a pork shoulder, dice it up, brown it in the skillet, then slow cook it for five hours. The result is a seriously flavorful tomato curry sauce and perfectly tender pork. I serve it over pasta. ------------------------------------------
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of much excess fat, then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoon curry powder preferably Madras, or more to taste (see headnote)
  • 1/2 cup no-salt-added beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Use paper towels to pat the pork dry. Working in batches, add to the skillet and cook until the pieces are lightly browned on all sides, transferring them to the (unheated) slow cooker as you go; this will take about 20 minutes total. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Add the onion and carrot to the skillet; stir to coat, then cook for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the onion is golden. Stir in the garlic and curry powder; cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the broth, using a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour this mixture over the pork in the slow cooker. Stir in the tomato puree and season lightly with salt. Place the lid on the slow-cooker and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until the pork is tender; about an hour before it is done, taste the pork and adjust the seasoning as needed. I like the curry to be very strong so will often add extra an hour before. Serve hot.
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(Cooking) Poke Ahi Bowl

Since our vacation to Hawaii last spring, I've been a bit obsessed over how to make the best Poke Ahi bowl. Poke Ahi is tuna, served raw in a marinade. It's honestly super simple to make - just mix it all together in a bowl, leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve over rice. I serve mine over rice with some soy available on the side. A little research shows that there are dozens of recipes and variations, as it's all about the marinade and the adds to your bowl. Trying this out a few times, I have found (as with most fresh delicious ingredients) that keeping it simply and herbaceous is the best route. Don't let the idea of raw fish get you all afraid to try this, but it's important to get the best Ahi you can find, usually at the fish market or a Whole Foods. If you tell the fishmonger what you are using it for, they will give you a filet with the least amount of marbling. This is a fresh hot summer night dinner that is loaded with spicy flavor and is actually, real good for you too! Break open a nice Japanese beer - and you are all set to eat well while beating the heat.
  • 2 pounds sushi-grade Ahi tuna
  • 1/4 cup Ogonori (fresh seaweed) or dried nori
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce (Yamasa is preferred)
  • salt, to taste
  • hot chili flakes (optional)
As I said - the preparation is easy. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. I serve it over white rice with some soy on the side. This two pound preparation - serves 4.
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(Cooking) Cupcake Quiches

I just finished making these Cupcake Fritatas for brunch. Making them in the cupcake tins is a fast, quick way to pull off a recipe that in a saucepan takes more time and is less "fingerfoody" to serve for brunch. They were superb.  This is a versatile recipe, as you can add any veggies you may prefer, add or replace other ingredients to satisfy your own individual flavor. These are perfect as an appetizer for any party you may think of having in the future, as a quick lunch fix or whatever you may want! You can keep them vegetarian by skipping the bacon. You can add any other veggies of your choice. The sky is the limit so I hope you get creative with them. So many different kinds of cheese work too - cheddar, gouda, gruyere. Once you get the basic recipe down, it's a home run. Enjoy!       Ingredients:
6 eggs, beaten, I always use organic eggs 1 cup egg whites, I buy them in a container 1/2 cup WHOLE milk 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar 2 red peppers, chopped 1 green pepper, chopped 1 onion, chopped 1 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons olive oil 3 garlic cloves, chopped 3-4 green onions, chopped 6 slices Canadian bacon, chopped.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. On a sauce pan over medium heat heat the oil and add the veggies except the garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and bacon and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. In a bowl mix regular eggs, milk and egg whites. Divide veggie mixture between the muffin tins. Add a sprinkle of cheese, then top veggies with 3-4 tablespoons of the egg mixture. (filling the cup in the pan to 3/4 full) Sprinkle each fritata with the green onions and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the fritatas cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Run a small knife along side each fritatta to release it from the pan. Serve warm.
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I've been working on making this recipe really work for a while. It's easy to bread fish, and baking it makes it a healthy choice. It also allows you to use any fresh herb you'd like (from Basil to Parsely to Cilantro to Herbs D'Provence) because you don't need to worry about the breading scorching the fresh herbs in a hot pan of oil. So this recipe really is a win win. The second score is the fresh tartar sauce recipe. Honestly - you'll never buy store bought tartar once you realize how fresh and delicious the stuff made at home in your kitchen is. Best part, the whole shoot and shebang can be made and on your table in about 30 minutes. Can't beat that! Enjoy!
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. minced red onion
  • 2 Tbs. sweet pickle relish or dill pickle relish
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. capers, drained, rinsed, and chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Herbs D'Provence
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless tilapia fillets (about 4 oz. each)
  • 1 large lemon, cut into wedges
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, red onion, relish, parsley, capers, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate. Line up three wide shallow dishes. Put the flour in the first; beat the eggs lightly in the second; put the breadcrumbs, ginger and parmesan in the third. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper. Working with one fillet at a time, coat it with flour and shake off the excess. Then dip the fillet in the egg and dredge it in the breadcrumbs and ginger, patting them on to help them adhere. Set each breaded fillet  on the baking sheet with parchment as you finish it. Sprinkle the Herbs D'Provence over the finished filets. Put in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and the tartar sauce.
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