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A Simple Salad for a Crazy Good Life

17 May

Since becoming a Mom, I have found it extremely important to find recipes that are simple and healthy. As parents, we need our strength and energy! I have found making salads is where it’s at. It’s a simple formula really – greens, protein, fat and color (sometimes I add in a nut and a fruit). This last week I made a chicken salad with avocado, bacon, cherry tomatoes and a dijon dressing. So easy and soooo yummy! I make this type of salad at least once a week. I can buy the ingredients a day or two in advance and boom – dinner is ready!

This yummy salad is low carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free for people with food allergies – but totally full of flavor!

This recipe makes 2 full entree salads…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 (or more!) slices center-cut bacon, diced
  • 2 boneless, trimmed skinless chicken thighs (4 oz each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp mild jerk seasoning
  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 avocado – halved and then sliced

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

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  • Cook bacon in a large heavy nonstick skillet until crispy, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  • Drain the fat but don’t wipe the skillet, leaving any excess oil in the pan to cook the chicken.
  • Season chicken with salt and jerk seasoning, cook in the skillet over medium-high heat until golden and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
  • Make a bed of the romaine and arugula in a large serving bowl or platter (or divide between 2 plates/bowls). Scatter the cherry tomatoes, avocado and bacon on top.
  • Slice the chicken thighs and add to the salad.
  • To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk the ingredients. Pour over the salad and serve right away.

Enjoy!

 

Braised Rabbit in White Wine, Mustard and Thyme

15 Oct

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into an old friend/cooking teacher – Chef MikeC and, now new friend, Chef Mark Dessert (I know right!! Fantastic last name! for a chef!) I got so excited that I wanted to have them over for dinner. I knew right then and there I had to make something that I had never made before… what a perfect opportunity to learn something new! So I thought to make Rabbit.

I immediately called the butcher I usually go to – Baron’s Meat and Poultry but they didn’t have the rabbit I needed… so I then started to ask around to figure out plan B. I was directed to go to The Local Butcher Shop. I love it there! The people that work there are so nice and wonderful. I will definitely be going back.

The rabbit we cooked that night was amazing. So tender, juicy… flavorful… wonderful! I loved cooking this too. It was so easy and I was able to leave in on the stove and go entertain my friends. This was the perfect meal on a nice Saturday night. We served it with garlic confit mashed potatoes and a fresh green salad. I paired the rabbit with a nice oaky Chardonnay from Deerfield Winery.

BraisedRabbit

Rabbit

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 rabbit – about 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces (I get my butcher to cut it up for me)
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Take out your rabbit 30 minutes prior to cooking – you want your rabbit to be at room temperature. Put salt and pepper on your rabbit.

Melt the butter in a pan and brown the rabbit – about 4 minutes on each side. You might want to do this in batches – you don’t want to crowd the pan! Once the rabbit has browned, remove from the pan and put into a bowl. Sauté the shallots until golden brown and fragrant.

Add the white wine to the pan, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (makes it more flavorful!) Add the mustard, thyme, and water. Bring to a boil. At this point, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Add the rabbit pieces to the pan – coat the rabbit with the sauce. Drop the heat to medium/low and cover for 45 minutes. You want the meat to be super tender and basically fall off the bone. You might need to extend the time to 1 hour, but not much more. Wild rabbits sometimes need more time.

When the rabbit is done, remove the rabbit and place on a heated platter. Turn the heat back up to reduce the sauce about half. Turn off the heat and add the cream. Stir to combine. Pour sauce over the rabbit and serve.

With side dishes and a 3.3 pound rabbit, I was able to feed 6 people. We also served burrata with some bread.

My soul was extremely happy that night. Warmed by wonderful food and great company.

Nectarine Almond Galette

16 Sep

NectarineGalette

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

 

This was the first time I had ever made a galette before… and I think I’ve found my new favorite dessert to make! This was relatively easy… and you can put any kind of fruit inside! I decided to put some beautifully sweet nectarines inside, with some figs on top. Next time I make this – I am going to leave out the figs. They were ok… didn’t add much to the dessert.

I served this with some Berkeley Bowl vanilla ice cream and some Dave’s Gourmet Ginger Peach hot sauce. Next time I think I will put the hot sauce on it all! It added a little more sweetness and a bit of heat – which was the perfect combo for this dessert.

The wonderful thing about galettes is that you can add any kind of fruit you want – plums, grapes, strawberries, cherries… you could even make a savory galette with tomatoes. The combinations are endless.

Enjoy!

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1 Tbsp. natural cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 oz. / 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. yogurt (I used goat yogurt, use what you have)
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 Tbsp. ice water
  • 4 ripe, almost over ripe, nectarines
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp. of fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup muscavado or natural cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • splash of water
  • turbinado sugar, optional
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
  • vanilla bean ice cream, for serving

Combine the first 4 ingredients. Then work in the cold butter into the flower mixture with your hands. Work it until the butter is the size of small peas. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, yogurt, extract and water together. Then add it to the flour-butter bowl – mix with your hands… be sure not to over mix! Shape the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic. Chill for about an hour in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 400˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the nectarines – about a 1/4 inch thick. Put the slices in a mixing bowl and add salt, orange juice, flour, nutmeg and muscavado and stir to combine.

When the dough is ready, lightly flour your working surface and roll out to about 12″ round. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Add the nectarine mixture in the middle – making sure you have about 2″ border of dough. Fold the dough towards the center – pleat the dough so it sticks together when baking. Also, don’t make the folds too thick.

Mix the egg and water together and brush onto the dough using a brush. Sprinkle some turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cooking times vary on your oven. When the galette is done, remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving. Serve with some vanilla ice cream and a sprinkle of some toasted almonds.

Serves between 4-6.

Appetizers Galore

11 Sep

I love making appetizers… a lot of appetizers. I love the variety and the fun you can have with appetizers. Most of the ones I like to make are pretty simple, but pack a lot of flavor. The bites below are some of my favorites…

Crab, sun dried tomato and dill cracker bites… Image
Fresh Summer Rolls…
Image
One of my favorites… Lemon Blackberry Vodka Gelees (recipe)Image
Too many appetizers to name here – you get the idea :)Image
Another fan favorite – Goat Cheese stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. Just cut off the top and a little bit of the bottom, scoop out the insides and then fill with herbed goat cheese and drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and boom! You’ve got yourself a fantastic, easy appetizer.

The sandwich wraps are also pretty easy. Take a lavash wrap, use your favorite kind of spread. I used some plain goat cheese, avocado and fresh herbs, butter lettuce, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts and some salt and pepper. Image
These are also tasty little things too. Also, very simple… not much to look at – but I know I can improve on that. Next time!

Anywho… these are watermelon, prosciutto and manchego cheese bites! Maybe something green or more colorful on them next time? Cilantro? Chiffonade of some sage? Or maybe instead a drizzle of basil oil? So many choices!! Image
I am going to make these next – Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers!Image
I will let you all know how these turn out. Until next time… have a wonderful night. Oh yeah, happy hump day.

Roasted Kabocha Tortellini

10 Sep

Kabocha Squash Tortellini

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Filling:
1 roasted kabocha squash
8 oz of herbed goat cheese (I like this one)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (add more to make it more creamy)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Pasta Wrap:
1 package of wonton wrappers
2 egg whites

Sauce:
8 oz chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 small-med shallot, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Roast the squash until soft at 450˚ for about 30-40 minutes – depending on how big the squash is. When the squash is done cooking and cool enough to touch, mix all filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth. You can add more cream if you want it smoother. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Place wonton wrappers in front of you, like a diamond. Place a small spoonful of the squash mixture in the middle of the wonton wrapper. With a brush, put the egg white wash along the edges to seal. Fold wonton wrapper up from the bottom to form a triangle. Make sure all air bubbles are out so the filling doesn’t come out when cooking. Then take the outside corners and fold inward – on top of each other. Seal with egg whites. Basically fold like tortellini. Place the tortellini on a cookie sheet – not touching one another.

Cook the tortellini for 60 seconds in boiling water. Be sure when you take them out to put them back on the cookie sheet and don’t overlap the pasta! They will stick to each other and cause problems.

To make the sauce:
Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes – until fragrant. Add shallots, garlic and salt. Cook until golden. Add cream and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring and making sure the cream doesn’t curdle. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe make made a ton for me – so I froze the rest. Only cook the amount you will eat. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!

Happy Cooking!

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