Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fruited Couscous

1 C Orange Juice
1 C Water
2 T Butter
1/4 t Salt
Bring above ingredients to a boil then add:
2 C Whole Wheat Couscous
Take off heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

1/3 C Dried Cranberries
1/3 C Dried Mango, Chopped
1/3 C Dry Roasted Pistachios, shelled
1/3 C Sliced Green Onions
1/2 C Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, (This vinegar is at Trader Joe's, if not available in your area combine 1/4 C Orange Juice & 1/4 C Cider Vinegar)
Toss Together and serve.

For a little spice you can substitute or add Dried Chili Mango & Dried Chili Pineapple. Available at Trader Joe's and most Latin Markets.

Background: I love this recipe for its ease and flavor. Serve it warm with pork, or cold with grilled salmon. Play with it and add your favorite dried fruits! xo

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lemon Rosemary Risotto

(Serves 4 as a side)
2 shallots
1 stick Celery
4 T Butter
1 T Olive oil
10 ounces Arborio Rice
41/2 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Zest and Juice of half of a lemon
Needle from 2 small sprigs fresh Rosemary, Chopped finely
1 egg yolk
4 tablespoons Grated Parmesan, plus some to sprinkle
4 T Whipping cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

Process shallots and celery until they are very finely chopped. Heat 2 T butter, olive oil and the shallot & celery mixture in a saucepan, cook to soften, approx 5 mins. Add the rice, stirring to give a good coating of oil and butter. Add 1 cup stock, sauté until absorbed, stirring occasionally. Repeat until rice is al dente.
Add rosemary and lemon zest.
In a small bowl beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, cream and pepper.
When risotto is ready, take off heat and add egg mixture, remaining butter and salt to taste, garnish with Parmesan and rosemary sprigs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lamb Loin with Black Bean Sauce

2 15 oz Cans Black Beans, drained
2 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
6 Pieces Boneless Lamb Loin, 4-6 ounces each
4 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup dry White Wine

Season the lamb with salt & pepper. In a skillet over high heat, warm the olive oil. Cook the Lamb for 8-10 minutes, turning once. Remove from pan and set aside and keep warm. Add the wine, garlic & beans to the pan with the cooking juices. Simmer for 10 minutes and season with salt & pepper. Slice the lamb and place on a bed of arugula, spinach, rice or noodles and top with the black bean sauce. Serves 6.

Background: I found this recipe in an Italian cooking magazine. I love it because it is so simple and sooo good. If you don't like lamb you can use chicken breasts, thighs or pork tenderloin cut into 4-6 ounce pieces. xo

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 Cup Greek Yogurt, non-fat is fine
2 T Ground Cumin
1 t Ground Cinnamon
2 t Cayenne Pepper
2 t Black Pepper
1 T Ginger, Minced -available in a tube with the fresh herbs at Safeway
1 t salt
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into Bite-size

In a large bowl combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger & salt. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or more.

Broil marinated chicken for 10 minutes turning once. Set aside.

1 T Butter
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, Minced
1/2 t Cumin
1 T Garam Masala
2 t Paprika
1 t salt or to taste
1 8 ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 C Cream, Half & Half, or Greek Yogurt
1/4 C Cilantro, chopped

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato, half of the cilantro and cream. Simmer on low until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer another 10 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro. Serves 4.

Serve with rice and Steamed Vegetables.

Background: I first tasted this homemade version while traveling to New Jersey with my friend Susan. We were staying with her friend Barbara and were so excited to know she was making us one of our favorite Indian dishes for dinner. Barbara graciously shared her recipe, we both loved it and couldn't wait to get home and make it! And now we do, often! xo

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 2/3 Cup Wheat Flour - or white if that's what you have!
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Ground Cinnamon
1/2 t salt
2 Eggs
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Olive oil
3 1/2 Bananas, ripe & mashed, a pastry cutter works well for mashing!
2 T Greek Yogurt, Non-fat is fine
1 t Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup Chocolate Chips
2/3 Cup, Nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In medium bowl mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, & salt. Beat sugar & eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add oil to egg mixture and beat. Add mashed bananas, yogurt, & vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients. Pour into muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes. Can be made into bread by spraying a loaf pan with Pam and baking for 45 minutes to an hour. I also sprinkle each muffin with cinnamon sugar before baking!

Background: I made these muffins to take to my kids in college. When I went to visit, upon meeting my son's dorm mates, they eagerly asked "are you the one who made those amazing muffins!". I also gave them to my girlfriends, they requested that I put the recipe on the blog as they loved them, too! So here it is! Enjoy!xo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fish Verabella

2 lbs fish, your favorite such as Salmon, Sole, etc.
2 Lemons
2 T Olive oil
6 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Onions, Chopped
1 28 oz Can Diced Tomatoes
20 Pitted Kalamata Olives, roughly chopped or left whole
2 T Capers, drained
2 T Italian Parsley, chopped
1/2 t Dried Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
1 Cup Dry White Wine

Sprinkle fish with salt and place in shallow pan. Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice over fillets.

Heat oil in a large saute' pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden
about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, olives, capers, parsley, oregano, bay leaves & white wine. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes.

Add filets, cover and cook turning once about 4 minutes per side. Discard bay leaves.

Serves 4-6. I like to serve with rice and steamed veggies tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper.

Background: I developed this recipe for my friend Fern when she asked me for a fish recipe with kalamata olives, capers & oregano. I named it Fish Verabella because I took the ingredients I liked from 2 of my favorite recipes, Chicken Mirabella and Fish Veracruz. I think you will enjoy the combination, too! xo

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Caesar Salad Dressing

3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1/2 Cup Best Foods Mayonaise
1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 T Drained Capers
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Dijon Mustard
Juice of one whole Lemon
1 Can Anchovies with Oil(optional of course)
Salt & Pepper to taste.
1/2 Cup Olive Oil

Put all ingredients in a bowl or food processor. Process or use a hand immersion blender until combined. Slowly add olive oil slowly so it emulsifies and becomes somewhat thick.
Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

A Caesar Salad consists of Romaine Lettuce, Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Croutons & this Dressing!

Background: My friend Jeanne makes the best Caesar Salad and always served them at her kids birthday parties. It was the one salad my kids would eat back then. I asked her to share her recipe, and she did! I modified the I always do! I added the olive oil for a smoother finish.xo

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake

1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Light Olive Oil
4 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray a 9 X 13 glass baking dish with Pam.
Combine and pour into a 9 X 13 glass baking dish

In food processor or bowl add:
1 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup Oat Meal
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 t Cinnamon
Pulse to mix or use your fork or pastry cutter to combine.
1 Cup Butter, cut into pieces
Cut into flour mixture with pastry cutter or pulse in food processor until it resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle on top of batter in baking dish making sure the edges are fully covered. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Background: This coffee cake is so moist and delicious and is so easy to make! I first had this coffee cake at my friend Susan's and loved it. My kids love waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of this baking. I use whole wheat flour, oat meal and olive oil in an attempt to make it somewhat healthy without compromising the flavor. If you don't have whole wheat flour, olive oil or oats on hand you can use what you have, like white flour and vegetable oil. Either way I think it will become a family favorite for you as it is for us! xo

Friday, October 23, 2009

Braised Pork with Red Chile Sauce

3 lbs Lean Pork
2 T Olive Oil
2 Large Onions, Chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced or Pressed
6 T Chili Powder
1 T Cumin
2 t Oregano, Crumbled
1-2 Fresh Jalapenos or 2-3 t Red Pepper Flakes
1 1/4 Cups Water
1 t Sugar
1 1/2 t Salt
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 Cup Half & Half

Trim and discard fat from meat and cut into 1 inch cubes. In a wide frying pan if using a slow cooker, in pressure cooker or large stock pot if that's you're using, heat oil over medium heat. Add meat and brown lightly, add onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano. Cook until onion is limp. Move into slow cooker. Stir in water, sugar, salt, tomato paste.
For Slow cooker cook covered all day on medium.
For Stock pot cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours or until meat is shreddable.
For Pressure cooker. Cook on low heat for 1 hour.

Stir in half & half, cook until mixture boils. Shred meat.

Serve over steamed rice garnished with fresh avocado, sour cream and lime.

Can be also be used for tamale or enchalada filling.

Background: This recipe is a staple in our house, everyone loves it and it makes a great next day meal in enchaladas. xo

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lemon Pepper Salmon

1 T Olive Oil
1 T Butter
2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped finely
2 cups Sliced Mushrooms
4 4 oz Salmon Fillets or your favorite fish
1/4 t Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1/4 t Paprika
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
1 Large Tomato, chopped
2 Green Onions, Sliced
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Basil

In a small bowl mix lemon pepper, paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are tender. Place fillets over mushrooms and sprinkle with spice mixture.

Cover skillet and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until fish is cooked through.

Combine tomato, green onions & basil.

I like to serve this on a bed of brown rice, topped with the mushrooms, then the fish fillet and sprinkled with the tomato, green onion & basil mixture. Accompanied by fresh spinach sauteed in olive oil, garlic, & sprinkled with lemon juice.

Background: We like to have fish at least once a week, so I am always looking for fresh and tasty fish dishes. This one fits the bill! I like it with Mahi Mahi and Sole, too. xo

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 3. Easily doubled or tripled for that matter!  Can be assembled 1 day ahead.  Can also be frozen for up to a month.

1 large eggplant
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 lb shredded Mozzarella or Quattro Fromaggio
1 large bunch fresh basil, chopped
8 oz shredded Parmesan or Asiago for sprinkling on each layer

Slice eggplant in quarter inch slices and lay on a large baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and lightly salt and pepper.  Roast in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until eggplant is soft but not mushy.

While eggplant is roasting , in a saucepan saute the diced tomatoes on medium heat until they have reduced by half.  Set aside.  If you like a little zing you can add red pepper flakes to the reduced tomatoes.  

Spray a square baking dish with Pam. 
Layer one third of the eggplant in the bottom of the dish. 

Then one third of the reduced tomatoes.
One third of the Mozzarella.
One third of the Basil.
Sprinkle with Parmesan
Repeat until you have used all ingredients finishing with cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through and cheese is bubbling.

Serve with penne pasta tossed lightly with olive oil,  a bit of butter, & chopped Italian parsley and a Arugula salad or your favorite salad. 

Background: This recipe came about when my friend Frances got an Italian cookbook from a friend who had just visited Italy.  The original recipe required frying and breading the eggplant.  I thought the dish was so flavorful with the reduced tomatoes and basil that I could leave the frying out and make it a little easier and healthier.  This is a tasty dish that is light and easy!  Trust yourself, if you think you can make a recipe better or healthier, try it!  You may create something amazing!  And when you do, send it to me!  xo


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brasciole Braised Short Ribs

4 cross cut short ribs, about 4 lbs or a 4lb brisket, cut into serving size pieces
1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin or what you have
2 T roughly chopped garlic
2 T fennel seeds
1 1/2 t  red pepper flakes
4 cups or one 28 oz can Marinara Sauce, Prego works well
4 t Chicken Broth Powder
1/4 cup capers, drained
2 bay leaves
2 T finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T grated lemon zest

In a large roasting pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add meat and brown on all sides.  Remove meat,  add garlic and saute' until lightly brown, this happens quickly,  add fennel and red pepper flakes.  Add Marinara, chicken stock powder, capers & bay leaves and mix well.  Return meat to roasting pan.  Cover and put in a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily.  If using a briskit cut in 3 inch by 3 inch squares. 
Place on creamy polenta and cover with sauce.  Combine Italian parsley and lemon zest and sprinkle over meat and sauce. 
Serves 4-6

Creamy Polenta:  you can make the polenta or buy it premade in a tube and add 1/4 cup half & half and 2 T butter, microwave per package instructions.
I also serve with French Green Beans sauteed in olive oil, garlic, onions, salt & pepper.

This is so tasty, the meat is like buttah!  It is a great meal when you are having guests as everything can be prepared ahead of time and reheated just before serving!

Enjoy! xo

Background:  This is a recipe I first tasted at a Cooks with Books dinner with Michael Chiarello at The Left Bank restaurant in Larkspur, CA.  I went with my Mom, sister and friend Lorraine.   I loved this dish!  The original recipe required a brining and grilling process prior to baking.  Last Sunday, I tried the recipe without that process and it tasted great! 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deb’s Awesome Veggie Chili

2 T olive oil
2 ribs celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
2 onions chopped
Saute’ above ingredients until veggies are tender.

Add all next ingredients and bring to a boil for 20 - 30 minutes.
1 pint prepared salsa
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can creamed corn
1 15 oz can kidney beans, undrained
1 15 oz can white beans, undrained
1 28 oz can black beans, undrained
3 zucchini, cut in bite size pieces
8 oz sliced mushrooms
3 cups broccoli florettes
1 bunch red swiss chard, chopped, can use spinach
1 can mazo blanco or canned hominy, drained

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin

Serve with additional salsa, tortilla chips and top with shredded cheddar cheese.

Background: I created this recipe when I was cooking for my friend Kim who is a vegetarian. My garden had graced me with lots of zucchini, tomatoes and swiss chard. I adapted the recipe for canned tomatoes, but feel free to use fresh! Add leftover grilled chicken if you want to a more protien. I love this and find it tasty and satisfying, and hope you do, too! xo