Dinner

Faux Thai Peanut "Noodles"

Ever since I got engaged in November I have been trying my best to eat less carbs...I mean have you ever tried on wedding dresses? Most of the designer gowns come off the runway and go right to the Trunk Shows, so yea were talking size 2 and less. Needless to say the less bloat the better. Although I am trying to eat healthier I still want to enjoy my meals especially after a long work day.  This dish is truly crave-able because it has one of the most craved ingredients in it, Peanut Butter. The peanut butter gives it the creamiest most delicious texture, the soy sauce gives it the perfect umami salty bite and the lime and cilantro both cut through the richness with their fresh flavor. Peanut Butter noodles in an Asian Restaurant can really pack a punch in the carb/calorie department but swapping the pasta out for Spaghetti Squash makes this almost guilt free. And hey it is Vegan and Gluten Free (if you use GF soy sauce)!

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Ingredients-

  • 1 Large Spaghetti Squash
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chunky Peanut Butter (or whatever kind you like, creamy will work as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Oil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice and more for Garnish
  • 1 Medium Garlic Glove
  • 1.5 Teaspoons freshly grated peeled Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • Freshly Chopped Cilantro
  • Black Sesame Seeds or Chopped Peanuts (Garnish) (optional)

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the Spaghetti Squash lengthwise and brush the inner flesh with Olive Oil and Season with Salt, Black Pepper and a squeeze of fresh Lime juice.  
  3. Roast on a parchment lined sheet pan cut side down.Roast for roughly 45 minutes or until you can easily puncture the outside skin with a fork.  While the squash is roasting make the sauce.
  4. When the squash is done, scrape the inside of the squash into strands with a fork, it will resemble spaghetti. Leave it a little al dente so it has a slight bite like pasta. 
  5.  In a food processor or bullet blender, puree the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice water,  grated ginger, garlic clove, Sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. In a large pan or pot on low heat toss the cooked spaghetti squash with the sauce until the sauce is fully incorporated. Plate and season with salt and pepper as needed but the soy is salty so you may not need it. Squeeze Fresh lime juice over the top and top with fresh chopped Cilantro and Black Sesame Seeds or Chopped Peanuts. Serve and enjoy! 

Indian Style Chicken

Try this easy, healthy and hearty meal full of bold flavors! 

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Recipe Feeds 3-4 People

Ingredients-

2 Lbs Raw, skinless, boneless chicken breast cubed (about 1.5 inch cubes)
1 Large yellow onion thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic minced finely
2 Bay Leaves
1 Bell Pepper diced (Best to use Red or Green)
2 Teaspoon of Ground Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
3 tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Coriander
2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger grated and minced
Dash of Cayenne
(1) 15.5oz can of Chickpeas (drained)
3/4 cup of tomato purée or canned diced tomato (my favorite is San Marzano)
1 can coconut milk
Salt and Black pepper to taste ( you will need at least 1 teaspoon salt)
Splash of chicken stock or Water 

**Great Served with Warm Naan Bread! My favorite is from Trader Joes freezer section! **

 

  1. Heat coconut oil in a pot, preferably a ceramic, dutch oven style pot.  
  2. In a small bowl mix together the Turmeric, Chili Powder, Coriander, Cayenne, a dash of freshly ground black pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken cubes in half of the spice mixture. 
  4. Add the chicken to the hot pot with the coconut oil and cook until brown on all sides but not fully cooked. Remove from the pot and set aside. 
  5. Right away add the sliced onions, bell pepper and bay leaves and sweat them until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant. 
  6. Add the chicken back to the pot and sprinkle in the remaining spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes to get the spices to bloom. 
  7. Now add the tomato puree (or diced tomato) and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and chickpeas.  If there isn't enough liquid add about 1/4 cup or so of chicken stock just to get the liquid to almost cover the chicken mixture. 
  8. Stir it all together and let it simmer with the lid on for about 30-40 minutes. Make sure it is simmering and not a rolling boil. Then remove the lid and allow some of the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken slightly. The longer you cook, the thicker the "gravy" will be. I like mine on the creamier side. Once the chicken is very tender and the sauce is to your liking, check the seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm with Naan bread, or even on top of rice!  You can garnish with chopped cilantro if you want a hint of freshness. Enjoy!

 

Pasta with Sausage & Wilted Spinach

It’s getting cold out here in NYC, so after a long day at work and walking around the cold, busy city, sometimes you just need a rustic, comforting meal like pasta. I love pasta because the possibilities are endless and even something as simple as pasta with butter and parmesan cheese can be oh so satisfying. With pasta simplicity is sometimes best! This recipe is simple but the flavors are bold! The fennel seed in the Italian sausage combined with the spice from the red pepper flakes, the acid from the wine, the freshness of spinach and the creaminess of the cheese…it is just delicioso! This recipe is great because it takes about as much time as it takes to boil the pasta water and cook the pasta. The sauce only requires one pan and it doesn’t need to simmer for hours, super duper easy. Enjoy!

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Feeds about 2-3 People

Ingredients-

  1. 4 Italian Sausages (Medium size) (3 sweet and 1 hot, or more hot if you like it spicy)-Remove from the casing and crumble into small pieces.
  2. 1 Large Shallot diced small (or half a medium yellow onion)
  3. 1 Bay Leaf
  4. 1 Large Garlic Clove minced fine
  5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  6. 1 Cup Dry White Wine
  7. ½ Cup Heavy Cream
  8. ¼ Cup Chopped Fresh Basil
  9. ¼ Cup Beef or Chicken Broth
  10. 4 Ounces Baby Spinach
  11. Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  12. ¼ Cup of Grated Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top when serving)
  13. Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  14. ½ Lb Fresh Pasta (Any type works- Tagliatelle, Fettucine, Rigatoni, Orecchiette)

 

 

 

Steps-

  1. While you are prepping the sausage boil the water for the pasta. Be sure to salt your water so the pasta is flavorful.
  2. In a large skillet on medium-low heat sweat the shallots and Bay Leaf in about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil until they are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and Red Pepper Flakes just until fragrant.  
  3. Add the crumbled raw sausage into the pan and cook until cooked through and brown.
  4. Add the white wine and cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add the chicken broth cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Allow the liquid to reduce until it is “nappant” or can coat the back of a spoon. Set aside for a moment while you cook the pasta.
  6. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. IF you are cooking fresh pasta it should only take few minutes but follow the directions on the pasta packaging.  When you drain the pasta be sure to reserve some of the liquid and set it aside in a cup or bowl.
  7. When the pasta is ready put the sausage back on the stove on medium heat. Add the cheese and stir until combined. At the very end add the baby spinach until wilted but still green. Then toss in the chopped basil.
  8. Toss the pasta with the sausage mixture.  IF there is not enough liquid to coat the pasta, add a little of the hot pasta water. To serve, top the pasta with a little more parm cheese and more fresh basil if you like.

Enjoy!

**For a variation: Add some chopped marinated Sundried Tomatoes or even swap out the spinach for some Broccoli Rabe, Chopped Broccolini or Fresh Peas.

 

 

Garlic Parmesan Wings

Growing up in a big Italian household we did not eat chicken wings…they just aren’t something Italians make! So then I went to college in Pennsylvania where you can find wings on every corner and what can I say…I fell in love! Not only did I fall in love with chicken wings, but I fell in love with a red headed, wing loving boy named Dan.  Now here we are 6 years later, living together and I’m making chicken wings for him in our tiny NYC apartment.  I try not to make the same wing recipe twice.  I am always coming up with new and innovative wing flavors that are quick and easy to execute. Here is my Italian take on chicken wings! You’ve got zesty spices and fresh herbs like rosemary, basil and garlic and the beautiful salty bite of the fresh Parmesan.

 

 

 

Feeds about 2 people

Ingredients-

  1. 2 ½ Lbs Chicken Wings (make sure the drum stick is detached from the small wing)
  2. ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  3. ¼ Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  4. ½ Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  5. 1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary Chopped finely
  6. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  7. ¼ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  8. ½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
  9. 1 Teaspoon Dried Parsley Flakes
  10. Dash of Cayenne Pepper (or more if you like spice)
  11. 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  12. 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil
  13. 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  14. ¼ Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese or Locatelli Cheese

Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing to Serve

 

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. In a small bowl stir together the Cumin, Mustard Powder, Oregano, Rosemary, Salt and Pepper, Onion Powder, Parsley and Cayenne.
  3. Lay the chicken wings on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken wings with all of the spice mixture.
  5. Bake the chicken wings for about 20 minutes.  While the chicken is baking, mix together the butter, fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt.
  6. When the chicken is cooked through, toss the wings with the butter mixture until fully coated.  Then place the wings back in the oven for about 10 more minutes until they are golden and fragrant.
  7. Serve with the ranch or blue cheese  and even hot sauce if you’d like and enjoy!

Miso Glazed Fish

The reason why I love living in New York City so much is because I can get the best food from any  type of cuisine at any time. My sister recently introduced me to this fabulous Japanese restaurant in the West Village that is serving up some super authentic yet innovative dishes every evening. One of our favorite dishes that they serve is their Miso Black Cod. One night I decided to surprise my big sis and make my own version of this flavorful fish. The marinade is super simple and tastes good on pretty much any white flaky fish or even salmon.  I even toss veggies in it and roast them until caramelized and tender. The salty, umami flavor or the miso paste (which is fermented soy beans), along with the sweet dark brown sugar and tangy Japanese cooking wine..hello heaven! Yea let me hear you say it "Oh Ive Got Room For More!"

Ingredients-

For the Glaze- Enough for about 1 Lb of Fish (enough for 2 people)

  1. 2.5 Tablespoons White/Blond Miso Paste (I use low sodium. You can usually find it in the grocery store's refrigerated section)
  2. 2.5 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  3. 1 Large Clove of Garlic Minced
  4. 1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  5. 2 Tablespoons Mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  6. 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
  7. 1/5 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger (I grate it fresh on a microplane)
  8. A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  9. A dash of ground black pepper

Garnish- Toasted Sesame Seeds and Chopped Scallions

Fish-

I use fresh Cod filets or even fresh Atlantic Salmon.  Traditionally this is made with Cod. For this amount of marinade I buy 1 Lb of fish which will feed roughly 2 people.  You can even toss your vegetables like broccoli or diced Japanese eggplant in this marinade and roast them until tender.  This marinade brings so much flavor to just about any fish or veggie!

Steps-

  1. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Place your fish in a ziplock bag or in a container and baste the filets with about 2-3 tablespoons of the marinade. Set the rest of the sauce aside. 
  3. Marinate the fish in the fridge for about 45 minutes, but no more than 1 hour. For the last 15 minutes remove the fish from the fridge, you don't want to start cooking it when it is ice cold.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375F. Heat up an oven proof skillet or grill pan with low sides on medium heat. Put a small drizzle of olive oil on the pan to prevent the fish from sticking. Gently place the fish onto the hot pan. Allow the fish to get slightly charred and caramelized on one side. 
  5. Take the fish off the heat when you see the fish has caramelized on one side. Do not flip it it may fall apart if you are using cod. Baste the fish with as much of the remaining marinade as you can get on it. Then place the pan in the oven so the fish can cook through. It should only take about 5-6 minutes. Just make sure the fish is flaky and not cold or raw in the center. 
  6. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and scallions over the fish and serve with your favorite veggies, rice or whatever you'd like! I love to baste some eggplant in the same marinade and roast it until tender and golden.  I also love to serve this with nice greens like sautéed garlic broccolini. 

Squash Toast

I would like to think I am not like all the other 20 something year old years, except for my taste in television shows. I have to admit I love the show The Bachelor. The drama, the unrealistic dates, the sappy proposal speeches, you just can't not get hooked! Why am I bringing this up? Well my sister, my best friend and I have Bachelor Mondays where we each take turns hosting the group for dinner and of course The Bachelor viewing. For the shows big finale, my best friend Rebecca had one wish, and that was for me to recreate her favorite appetizer from one of the best restaurants in NYC. Lucky for her, her best friend (me) is a chef, so helloooo challenge accepted and dominated, but of course I had to put my own "Got Room For More" spin on it.  I changed up the type of squash and added the beautiful nutty crunch of the toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Well lets just say I totally got the rose that night...and so did Lauren B (who we were rooting for since day 1). You go girl! Now what to do until The Bachelorette starts..sigh. We cannot wait to cheer on JoJo the newly elected Bachelorette while we stuff our faces and cry about how we don't look as good in a bikini.

Ingredients-

  1. 1  2 1/2- to 3-pound Butternut Squash, Acorn Squash or kabocha, peeled, seeded and diced into 3/4 inch pieces  (NOTE: I use one acorn squash and 1 small butternut squash. I find the blend is very nice)
  2. 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for the bread
  3. ½ teaspoon dried chile flakes
  4. 1 Tablespoon Honey (I like a nice wildflower honey)
  5. 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  6. 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  7. ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  8. ¼ cup maple syrup
  9. 4 slices country bread, 1-inch thick ( I prefer Puglisi bread or ciabata
  10. ½ cup fresh, creamy ricotta cheese
  11.  Coarse salt & Ground black pepper to taste
  12. 4 tablespoons chopped mint
  13. 3-4 Tablespoons of toasted, hulled Pumpkin Seeds

Steps-

 

  1. Heat the oven to 450F. Combine the squash, 1/4 cup olive oil, chile flakes, honey and 2 teaspoons of salt in a bowl and toss well. Transfer the mixture to a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until tender and slightly colored, about 20-25 minutes or a little longer. You want the squash to be fork tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat, add the onions and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are very soft and darkening, at least 20 minutes.Add the vinegar and syrup, stir and reduce until syrupy and broken down, again at least 15-20 minutes or so. You want it to be a nice caramelized, cohesive mixture that has a jam like texture. 
  3. Combine squash and onions in a bowl and smash with a fork until combined. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil onto a baking sheet. Place slices of the bread onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the tops of the bread with more olive oil.  Sprinkle the bread with some ground black pepper. Toast in the oven on 400F until the bread is toasted and slightly golden, but not too toasted where it is very hard to eat. (but please toast to your liking! My grandfather likes it burnt..I mean completely burnt ;) )
  5. Spread the ricotta cheese on toasts, then top with the squash-onion mixture. Sprinkle with a small pinch of coarse salt, a little bit of the toasted pumpkin seeds and finally the fresh mint.

Roasted Ranch Chicken

So I am a New York girl, born and raised, and where I am from Ranch dressing was not really a thing. When I was 18 this New York girl went off to college in a new land called Pennsylvania where the bagels were rolls with holes in them and the pizza, oh the pizza, it was so bad you had to drench it in ranch dressing. I will never forget the first time I saw people putting ranch on pizza, I was floored, I was disgusted! But then I tasted the pizza and quickly found myself reaching for the bottle of the tangy creamy stuff just to mask the taste of the overly sweet, poorly spiced tomato sauce. To make a long story short, after years of consuming ranch dressing in college I began to love the stuff and according to Hidden Valley the rest of America is obsessed with it too. Here is a simple chicken recipe that utilizes dry ranch seasoning which is cheap and believe it or not, super flavorful! I never thought I would be cooking with that stuff, its a little bit of an insult to my culinary degree but I won't tell if you don't tell ;) 


Ingredients-

Preheat the oven to 400F.

1 Large oven roaster chicken (about 5-6lbs) (take out the pack of gizzards inside the rear cavity and rinse off the chicken with cold water)

1 Large Ranch Seasoning Packet (I used Lipton brand) It may be by the soups in a box

1 Stick of Unsalted Butter Softened Slightly

2 Medium Size Carrots Peeled and cut into 2 inch long pieces

2 shallots cut in quarters

2 Large Stalks of Celery

Salt and Pepper

Wondra Flour (very fine flour for the gravy)

Steps-

Place the chicken with the breast up on a roasting pan. Make sure it is dry and if not pat it down with paper towels. 

Stir the entire ranch seasoning packet into a bowl with the softened butter and mix until well combined. 

Stuff the cavity of the chicken with a few pieces of carrot, celery and shallot and then place the remaining mirepoix around the chicken on the roasting pan.

Loosen the skin of the chicken with your hands gently, being careful not to tear it. Then take the seasoned butter and rub it under the skin of the chicken generously. Make sure you get the thigh area and as close to the legs as you can. Take some of the butter and rub it on the outside of the skin as well, this will give it color and help it to crisp up. Sprinkle the skin with a little salt and ground pepper, not too much salt though as the ranch seasoning has a lot of salt. 

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until the juices run clear and the chicken reaches 165F in the thickest part of the meat. Make sure to take the temperature of the thigh as well since the dark meat usually takes longer to cook. 

Take the chicken and place it on a cutting board and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan in a pot and as the grease settles to the top, skim the oil off and discard, leaving you with just the juice of the chicken. 

Place the drippings back on the stove in a small pot, add a tablespoon of Wondra flour at a time and whisk quickly. Cook down and add more flour until you reach your desired thickness for the gravy.

Cut up the chicken and serve with the roasted veggies from the pan and the gravy. 



Neapolitan Egg Stuffing

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is enjoying my family recipes that have been passed down for generations. For as long as I can remember I have been enjoying my grandma's Neapolitan style stuffing every Thanksgiving. The most unique part of this stuffing is that the main ingredient is not bread, it is actually egg. This stuffing will really give you a true taste of old world Naples, Italy, because it contains a few classic Neapolitan ingredients including Pine Nuts, Raisins and Prosciutto. This stuffing is sweet and savory and has a wonderful moist, eggy texture. You can make the stuffing and then put it inside the turkey before you cook the big bird, or you can make it separate like my family does. 

 

Ingredients-

  1. 10 Large Eggs (beaten in a bowl)
  2. 1 Small Mozzarella about 3/4 LB diced small (you can use a bran like Polly-O because it doesn't release as much water) 
  3. 1 Cup Raisins
  4. 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
  5. Two 10 oz Boxes of White Mushrooms- You will be using the stems only! Remove the Stems and  boil them for 5-10 minutes or until tender. Drain and dry with paper towels. Then dice into small pieces. 
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste
  7. 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (I use Locatelli)
  8. 1/3 cup Plain Breadcrumbs
  9. 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts, lightly toasted 
  10. 3 Thin Slices of Prosciutto Chopped into Small Pieces
  11. Olive Oil

 

Steps-

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  2. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan (just enough to coat the pan).
  3. Pour the stuffing mixture all at once into the pan and use a wooden spoon to push the ingredients around as they cook just like you would scrambled eggs. 
  4. Once the eggs fully scramble and the ingredients come together and the cheese is melted etc. you are all done! If you make it ahead, just pour the stuffing into a pyrex dish and then reheat in a low oven.  You can also stuff your turkey with this stuffing and tie the legs of the turkey closed so it doesn't fall out. 

Acorn Squash with Apple, Sage Cream & Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

It is that time of year again! Thanksgiving is just 10 days away! Everybody knows that the turkey is just a showpiece, we all really look forward to the side dishes! Acorn squash is the perfect Thanksgiving side because everyone gets their own little "cup" of sweet and savory goodness. This recipe is beautiful and will surely take your Thanksgiving dinner Instagram pic to the next level. The squash is rich and slightly sweet with the addition of the dark brown sugar, and then the sage yogurt cream gives it this perfect tangy flavor that cuts through the sweetness, the apples give it a nice juicy freshness and finally we top it all off with spicy toasted pumpkin seeds which give this dish the most satisfying crunch. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Ingredients-

  1. Acorn Squash- 1 half per person
  2. Dark Brown Sugar (1 Tablespoons per half)
  3. Salted Butter (1 Tablespoon per half of squash)
  4. salt and black pepper
  5. Dash of Cinnamon per squash
  6. Dash of Nutmeg per squash
  7. Pinch of Clove per squash
  8. Olive Oil to baste the squash before baking
  9. 1-2 Apples shredded on a mandolin or cut into a fine julienne (I like honey crisp apples but granny smith or macintosh are great too
  10. Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (recipe below)
  11. Sage Cream (recipe below)

Pumpkin Seeds-

 

  1. 1/3 Cup light brown sugar
  2. 2 cups pumpkin seeds shelled
  3. 1 large egg white
  4. 1teaspoon cinnamon
  5. ¼ Teaspooon Ground Ginger
  6. ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  7. ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  8. a few dashes of cayenne pepper (if you like spicy you can add ¼-1/2 teaspoon)

Sage Cream-

  1. 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I use Fage 0% fat to cut calories)
  2. 6-8 Fresh Sage Leaves
  3. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  4. Small Pinch of salt and pepper

Steps-

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds-

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F
  2. Stir together all the ingredients.
  3. Spread the seeds out on a parchment paper lined sheet pan in one layer.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until puffed up slightly and brown. Keep an eye on them because they can burn easily. Remove from the oven and stir them up a bit then pop them back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool and dry out . Sprinkle with a little extra salt if needed.

Sage Cream-

  1. In a food processor or blender, blend together the yogurt, sage leaves, honey, tiny pinch of salt and pepper. Blend until the sage is nicely chopped up and incorporated into the yogurt.  If it is too thick to blend add a drop of water.
  2. Set aside in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Acorn Squash-

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F
  2. Cut the Squashes in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  3. Place the squash halves on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle the insides of the squash with some olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle each squash half with salt and pepper, a dash of nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, and a nice sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
  5. Bake the squash for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and top each squash half with 1 tablespoon of the salted butter and 1 Tablespoon of Dark Brown Sugar and place back in the oven. Bake for another 15 minutes then remove and baste the squash with the melted butter and brown sugar from the center of the squash. Bake another 10-15 minutes  or  so, until the squash is fork tender.  Remove from the oven.

**To assemble- Top each acorn squash half with some shredded apple, a nice dollop of sage cream and then finish it off with some spiced pumpkin seeds.




Danielle's Chicken and Waffles

We all know that brunch is a GRFM specialty.  Chicken and Waffles is an iconic Southern, American dish, but this aint your mama's chicken and waffles, this new and improved.  This has everything you want in a good southern dish, but with a more refined twist.  First off my waffles are not just plain ol buttermilk waffles, they are buttermilk, cheddar, cornbread waffles! They are subtley cheesy, mildly sweet and the perfect texture.  They are crisp on the outside, but the club soda that is folded in the batter really gives them this wonderful airiness inside and the buttermilk of course gives them the perfect amount of moisture. The sweet and savory honey butter full of fresh thyme and honey just elevates the whole dish as it brings this very aromatic, floral note to the dish. The fried chicken is rather perfect if I do say so myself.  The combo of the rice flour and cornstarch along with the spices, gives the chicken the perfect, extra crispy, texture on the outside, just like your favorite fast food restaurant..but totally better.  Soaking the chicken in buttermilk and Harissa makes the meat so incredibly juicy and flavorful it almost explodes when you bite into it. How I recommend you eat this dish is, you need to eat each element of this dish all at once, in one big, messy, orgasmic bite. You need that fluffy, cheesy, corny waffle with that crispy, spicy, juicy fried chicken, the creamy, floral, salty honey butter and finally the sweet, sticky, delicious maple syrup...try not to drool on yourself there, I know you did. 

Ingredients- 

Fried Chicken

  1. 1  1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  3. 1/4 Cup Rice Flour 
  4. 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  5. 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt plus more to sprinkle on the finished fried chicken
  6. 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  8. 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  10. 1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or if you like spicy go for 1/3 teaspoon)
  11. 1/4 Teaspoon of Oregano 
  12. 1 Lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut lengthways so they are about 1  1/2 inches thick)- You can do this same recipe for chicken wings or any chicken pieces on the bone
  13. Harissa Paste (A spicy, savory pepper spread) You will use about 1 Tablespoon
  14. Buttermilk (enough to cover the chicken- about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
  15. Canola Oil for frying

 

Steps-

  1. The night before you are serving up your fried chicken, you will want to do this step! When the chicken soaks in the buttermilk mixture overnight it is magical! 
  2. First you want to coat your cut chicken breasts in the Harissa paste using your hands (use gloves if you have them and don't touch your eyes!).  Make sure they are fully coated. 
  3. Stir together in a bowl the paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard powder, cayenne and oregano. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the chicken that you tossed in the Harissa, set the rest of the spice mixture aside for later. Place the chicken in a sealable plastic container or a heavy duty ziplock bag.  Pour buttermilk over the chicken until it just covers the chicken.  
  4. Allow the chicken to sit no less than 4 hours but preferable overnight, it makes a huge difference. 
  5. The next day, fill a large dutch oven or large pot with canola oil.  You want enough oil where the chicken can be fully submerged. Heat the oil on the stove until it reaches about 360F, use an oil thermometer if you have one.  Remove the chicken from the fridge. Stir together the AP flour, rice flour, baking powder, cornstarch and the remaining spice mixture. Piece by piece, remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture and allow the excess to drip off.  Drop the chicken into the flour mixture in a sealable container or large ziploc bag. Toss to coat the chicken and then once all the chicken is coated, seal up the container or bag and shake to get the chickens really encrusted in the flora mixture. You can use your hands to press more flour onto the chicken if necessary. 
  6. Preheat your oven to 300F
  7. Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time until they are golden brown and crispy and fully cooked inside.  Remove form the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan.  Sprinkle the finished chicken with salt. As you are frying the rest of the chicken, place the finished chicken thats on the rack into the oven to stay warm and crispy.  Keeping it on the rack will keep it from getting too oily and soggy. 

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup cornmeal
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. 1  1/3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  8. 3 large eggs
  9. 1 cup buttermilk
  10. 1 cup club soda
  11. 1/3 cup canola oil

Steps-

  1. Sift together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in cheese. Combine eggs, buttermilk, and canola and gently stir into dry ingredients just until blended. Next with a rubber spatula gently fold in the club soda until fully combined.  
  2.  
  3. Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray.  Spoon batter onto preheated waffle iron. Cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp and golden brown and fully cooked on the inside. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4.  
  5. Transfer waffles to a baking sheet with a wire rack, and keep warm, uncovered, in the oven at 200° until ready to serve. Waffles can be frozen in zip-top freezer bags and reheated in oven or toaster oven or oven.
  6. For the chicken and waffles- For each person, place 2 waffles on each plate, top these waffles with a dollop of honey thyme butter, few pieces of fried chicken and then drizzle it all with some maple syrup :) 

Honey Thyme Butter-

  1. Salted Butter room temperature or softened until spreadable 
  2. Fresh Thyme
  3. Honey

Stir together the butter with some fresh thyme and a good amount of honey.  Taste it and adjust according to your preference! I love a good amount of honey and thyme in mine. 

 

The ULTIMATE Fish Tacos

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! Growing up in a very Italian family, I was never introduced to Mexican food.  It wasn't until I was in late High School that I experienced it for the first time when my friends took me to a local Mexican joint.  Lets just say I fell in love right away! Now Mexican food is a staple in my diet, and  it is one of the most fun types of cuisine to make especially when you are entertaining.  Last month I spent 2 weeks in sunny California, where Mexican food restaurants are on every corner, and each have something fresh and delicious to offer.  My favorite Mexican dishes have a nice balance of meaty, creamy, spicy, sweet, crunchy and zesty.  I have made many fish tacos over the past few years and I can honestly say that this is my BEST one yet.  This one has a layer of creamy, rich avocado, crunchy and sharp red cabbage and jicama slaw, crunchy, smoky Chipotle Beer Battered Fish, sweet and juicy Grilled Chili Lime Apricots and finally a silky, tangy Lime Crema. If you make these tonight for your Cinco de Mayo fiesta along side a cold margarita, you will have your family and friends salsa dancing through the house.    .

 

Feeds 4 People

Ingredients-

Crispy Beer Battered Fish-

  1. 1.5 Lbs of Fresh White Fish (I use Flounder but Cod is great too) - Make sure there is no skin or bones! Cut the filets in half long ways if they are very large.
  2. 1 Can of Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
  3. 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour (You can use White Rice Flour as well) plus some extra rice flour to dredge the fish in
  4. 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
  5. 3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  6. 1 Large Egg
  7. 1/2 Teaspoon Salt plus more to sprinkle on the hot fish when it comes out of the oil.
  8. 1/4 Teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
  9. 3/4 Cup of Beer (I use Budweiser) 
  10. Canola Oil for Frying

Red Cabbage & Jicama Slaw-

  1. 1  1/2 Cups Shredded Red Cabbage
  2. 1/2 Cup Peeled Jicama Shredded (Use a Mandoline or a knife to julienne the jicama into thin strips similar in size to the shredded cabbage)
  3. 3 Scallions Chopped
  4. 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  5. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  6. 3 Tablespoons Mayo
  7. 1 Teaspoon Celery Seed
  8. A few drops of Fresh Lemon Juice
  9. Salt and Pepper to Taste 

Chili Lime Grilled Apricots-

  1. 3 Ripe Apricots cut into 1/3 inch slices (you can use peaches as well!)
  2. Mexican Chili Powder
  3. 2 Teaspoons Dark Brown Sugar 
  4. Lime Zest (about 1/3 of the zest of 1 lime) Be sure to only get the green part because the white is bitter
  5. Dash of Paprika
  6. Pinch of Salt 

Lime Crema-

  1. 1 Cup Sour Cream
  2. Juice of 1/2 Lime plus the zest of 1/2 Lime
  3. 1 1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger Root (peeled and grated)
  4. 3 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro (you can put more if you love cilantro!)
  5. Salt and Pepper to taste

Garnishes- 

  1. Flour Tortillas (Corn Tortillas are great too)- I put mine in the oven for a few minutes to warm/soften them up 
  2. Sliced Ripe Avocados (a must!)
  3. Chopped Cilantro
  4. Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (optional)
  5. If you like more heat add some hot sauce, Sliced Jalepenos or spicy salsa!

 

Steps-

Marinate the Fish-

  1. Open the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and pour it into a container.  
  2. Place the fish filets in the container and rub the sauce all over the fish.  Set in the fridge for about 45 mins to an hour while you are making all the other elements of the dish. 

Red Cabbage & Jicama Slaw-

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the Vinegar, Mayo, Dijon, Celery Seed, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper.
  2. In a larger bowl toss together the Shredded Red Cabbage, Shredded Jicama and Chopped Scallion. 
  3. Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss until evenly coated. Set aside in an air tight container int the fridge.  You can do this a day ahead or a few hours ahead if you'd like so the flavors meld together.

 

Lime Crema-

  1. In a food processor blend all the ingredients until smooth. Adjust the seasoning if need be.
  2. Set in the fridge covered until its time to eat.

Chili Lime Apricots-

  1. Gently toss the sliced Apricots with the brown sugar, lime zest, a few dashes of Mexican Chili Powder and one dash of Paprika and a pinch of salt. Make sure they are evenly coated. 
  2. Heat an indoor grill pan or skillet on medium high heat. When it is nice and hot wipe the pan with a little bit of canola or olive oil so the fruit doesn't stick.
  3. Grill the Apricots on both sides until they are nice and caramelized on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside on a plate.

Beer Battered Fish-

  1. In a shallow, side dish whisk together the 1/2 cup rice flour, AP flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and egg.  Slowly whisk in the beer.
  2. Heat a deep skillet on medium heat and add the canola oil until nice and hot.  To test if the oil is ready, place a drop of batter into the oil and if it starts to brown and float to the top and bubble up around it then the oil is ready.
  3. Take the fish out of the adobo sauce and dredge it in rice flour on all sides until it is covered.  Then gently dip the fish in the batter allowing the entire filet to get coated, then let the excess drip off.  Quickly lay the fish in the hot oil.
  4. Cook the fish on one side until it is nice and crispy and golden brown then using tongs gently flip the fish onto the other side.  Cook until golden and then transfer onto a pan lined with paper towels to get ride of excess grease.  Sprinkle with more salt when it is hot.  Be careful not to crown the fish in the hot oil because the temperature will go down and you will have soggy fish.  Do it in batches or have two pans going at once so you can cook it all at once.

Build your Tacos!-

In a warm tortilla place a few slices of ripe avocado. 

Place a nice scoop of the cabbage jicama slaw on top of the avocado.

Place a piece of the crispy fish on top.

Place a few sliced of the grilled chili lime apricots on top of the fish 

drizzle it all with the Lime Crema and then top it with a little chopped cilantro and any other toppings you'd like, including Mexican shredded cheese, diced jalepenos or salsa.  In my opinion salsa is not needed because the apricots give the taco a nice juiciness and fruitiness that a mango salsa would do!

 

 

 

Lebanese Brussel Sprouts

One of my favorite things about living in NYC is that you can find any cuisine from any part of the world, no matter how obscure.  One of my top 5 favorite cuisines is Lebanese food.  Of course the hummus, Babaganoush, lamb dishes and Tabbouleh are second to none, but one of my favorite Lebanese restaurants in town, has the best brussel sprouts you will ever taste.  So good that I did everything in my power to figure out the recipe.  After a few trial runs I came pretty darn close to the recipe! These are perfect for your next dinner party or holiday celebration!  They are nutty and sweet and umami and they take you on a flavor journey. This dish consists of Brussel Sprouts, a mint yogurt sauce, fig jam, toasted walnuts and sliced red grapes.  With each bite and each breath you will be introduced to new flavors and textures. A great recipe isn't one dimensional, it makes you experience and array of different flavors as you are eating it. This gorgeous dish is sure to impress!

brussel fig.jpg

 

Ingredients- 

  1. 1/2 Cup Water
  2. 10 Dried Black Mission Figs (cut the stems off)
  3. 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
  4. 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  5. About 18 oz Brussel Sprouts (I use two round containers you buy in the grocery store)
  6. Olive Oil
  7. 3/4 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (I like to use Fage brand)
  8. 1  Garlic Clove Minced 
  9. 2 Heaping Teaspoons Tahini Paste (Sesame Paste)
  10. 2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  11. 1  1/2  Tablespoons Fresh Mint Chopped
  12. 1/2 Cup Red Seedless Grapes Sliced Thin
  13. 1/3 Cup (or more depending on what you like) of Lightly Toasted Walnut Halves
  14. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Prepare the Fig Jam by placing the dried figs, the water, sugar and vinegar in a small pot.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook the figs until they rehydrate and almost all of the liquid is evaporated and whatever is left is syrup like.  Allow to cool for a few minutes and then place in a food processor or blender until smooth and jam like.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the Yogurt Sauce by blending the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, Fresh Mint, Garlic, Tahini, and a dash of Salt and Pepper. 
  4. Wash and dry the Brussel Sprouts and cut the tough core off the bottom.  Slice each sprout in half or in quarters if they are really big.  You just want them bite size.  Lay them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and drizzle them with olive oil , the 2 Tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar and salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven until they are golden brown and crispy on the edges and tender inside. 
  5. Place the Brussel Sprouts in a bowl and toss them in a few spoonfuls of the yogurt sauce and a few spoonfuls of the fig jam, and the toasted walnuts.  You do not want them saturated in it, you just want them to pick up some of the flavor.  
  6. Plate them on on a nice serving dish and sprinkle some more of the nuts nicely on top along with a nice sprinkle of the sliced grapes.  Using a spoon drizzle some more of the yogurt sauce on top and then dot some more of the fig jam on top.  Garnish with more fresh mint if you'd like. 

Brussel Sprout Slaw

Spring is coming! We have moved from 15 degree temperatures to 50 degrees within one weeks time and it feels oh so good.  Spring to me means fresh veggies and salads, or anything light and fresh.  Over the course of a few years, Brussel Sprouts have become HUGE!  They are one of the most popular items on restaurant menus and one of the easiest vegetables to pick up at the grocery store. I turned an American favorite, Coleslaw, into a unique slaw equipped with crunchy, shredded brussel sprouts, crisp granny smith apple and bright, green onion and celery seed.  Serve this one beside sandwiches at a luncheon or BBQ or with any dinner entree. Enjoy!


Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 cup mayo (you can use lite mayo or even creme fraiche)
  2. 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  3. 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  4. 2-3 cups Shredded Brussel Sprouts (I bought them pre shredded but if you cannot find them just cut the tough core off the bottom of the sprouts and then chiffonade the leaves (cut into thin slices)
  5. 1/2 Granny Smith Apple Peeled and Shredded (I use the julienne setting on my mandolin slicer or you can do it by hand or on the large hole of a cheese grater.
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Celery Seed (a spice you can find in any spice isle!)
  7. 1 Tablespoon of Sugar
  8. 1/2 Cup of Chopped Scallions (green part only)
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. 4 Tablespoons Chopped Flat Leaf Italian Parsley


Steps-

  1. Whisk together the mayo dijon, vinegar, sugar, celery seed and salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl toss together the Brussel Sprouts, Apple, Scallions and Parsley.
  3. Pour the dressing over the sprout mixture little by little until it is dressed to your liking.  
  4. You can eat it right away but it is best to wrap it up and put in in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so the flavors really come together.

 

Three Bean Pasta Fagioli

Nothing is better than a hot bowl of Pasta "Fazool" on a cold winter day! Everyone knows February is award show month, and this is my "Award Show Meal."  I like to make a big pot of this and then cuddle up in sweats on the couch with my boyfriend and friends in front of the television. We sit and watch all of our favorite celebrities in awe, commenting on their wacky outfits and their butchered acceptance speeches...and the good ones too. 

Ingredients-

  1. 4 celery stalks diced small
  2. 1 cup carrot diced small
  3. 1 medium/large onion diced small (an onion about the size of a large orange)
  4. 4 pieces of bacon diced small
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  8. 2 Ounces Kale -Chiffonade
  9. 3 small garlic cloves minced
  10. 2 Sprigs of fresh rosemary chopped up finely
  11. 2 cups canned diced tomatoes with some of the juice 
  12. 1/3 cup dried brown or green lentils
  13. 14 oz canned Cannellini white beans
  14. 15.5 oz can of Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  15. 14oz chickpeas 
  16. 6 cups Chicken stock/broth
  17. 1 cup white wine
  18. 1 Cup Small Pasta (I prefer Ditalini or small shells)
  19. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  20. Fresh Parmegiano Reggiano Cheese


Steps-

  1. Heat a large ceramic pot (like a Le Creuset if you have it) on medium-low heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat renders, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside (you will add it back in). Add the onion, carrot, celery, red pepper flakes and bay leaves and increase the heat to medium; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly so the garlic doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
  2. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced slightly. Add the bacon back to the pot along with the broth, beans, lentils, chickpeas, diced tomatoes and rosemary. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the lentils are just tender, 15-30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer 1 cup of the bean mixture and a little liquid to a blender or food processor. Hold a kitchen towel over the opening to prevent splatters as the liquid is very hot. Purée until smooth and add back into the pot.  This will help to thicken the soup slightly.
  4. Add the dried pasta to the pot and stir to incorporate. Turn the heat up to a gentle boil and cook until the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite, anywhere from 8-12 minutes depending on the type of pasta you used. The soup will thicken a bit by the time the pasta is cooked. Discard the bay leaves.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle each portion with a touch of extra-virgin olive oil and grate a good amount of Parmegiano Reggiano on top.

I love to serve this with some homemade Focaccia bread. Check out Tyler Florence's recipe! I just use his bread recipe without his toppings and add lots of fresh rosemary and sea salt to mine  before baking and it compliments the soup perfectly. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/fabulous-focaccia-recipe.html

Butternut Squash- Two Meals 1 Ingredient

I am a woman with a very demanding full time job and a big appetite.  I love a good home cooked meal as much as the rest of you, but we all know that time is of the essence during the work week. Stressful business meetings, long commutes, squeezing in time at the gym and keeping up with emails seems to be the weekly routine for most of us living in Metropolitan cities, but I can show you how you can prep one simple ingredient at the beginning of the week, maybe Sunday evening, and have several completely different tasting meals all week long. 

1. Roasted Butternut Squash-

  1. 1 Large Butternut Squash (peeled, seeds scooped out and cut into 1 inch cubes) I like to but the pre-cut squash in the produce fridge to save some time!
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Fresh Sage (About 3-4 Leaves)- Chiffonade (finely chopped)
  4. 3 Small Shallots Chopped
  5. Salt & Pepper

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. In a roasting pan toss together the squash, sage, salt and pepper to taste and the shallots.  
  3. Drizzle on Olive Oil just to coat each piece of squash with a thin layer of oil.
  4. Roast in the oven for roughly 25-35 minutes tossing them mid way through the cooking process for more even cooking.  They are done when they are slightly golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside.  You want to be able to prick them with a fork easily.
  5. I like to eat the squash in a kale salad with a simple vinaigrette, dried cranberries or cherries, and chopped almonds or walnuts. You can also eat it as a side with any protein you like!

2. Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients-

  1. Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage (see above)
  2. Chicken Stock
  3. Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt (or Creme Fraisce or Sour Cream)
  4. Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

  1. Blend the Roasted Squash in a blender until creamy.  Add a heaping dollop or two of the Greek Yogurt and some Chicken Stock until you reach your desired texture.  If you like you soup thick put less stock, if you like it a little thinner keep adding stock a little at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Heat up in a pot or in the microwave and serve! Also good with toasted shelled pumpkin seeds as a garnish.  

 

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash Fritters- Vegetarian "Crab Cakes"

I HATED leftovers as a child!  I always felt like they never tasted fresh, and being the foodie that I am, I didn't want to have the same dish multiple times in one week.  Once I started managing restaurants and cooking in professional kitchens, I realized how important it is to take the scraps and leftovers of your vegetables, meats, cheeses etc. and use them to create more dishes!  Ultimately, if you throw good, useable leftovers in the garbage, you are throwing money in the garbage!  This week I had a substantial amount of Spaghetti Squash leftover, so I got a little creative and created a delicious appetizer to bring to my friend's apartment for dinner. These fritters are crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful on the inside.  The pleasantly stringy texture of the spaghetti squash and the flavors of the capers, sun dried tomatoes and breadcrumbs oddly make these little patties taste just like crab cakes! My friends kept insisting that I was lying to them and that they were crab cakes and not vegetable fritters!  So if you are a vegetarian or have vegetarian guests, this is the perfect dish to serve!  You can even make a "crab cake" sandwich by making a larger spaghetti squash patty, put it on a nice brioche bun with a cajun style aioli and top it with some mixed greens..now how delicious does that sound!


Ingredients-

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

Canola Oil

5 Sun Dried Tomatoes chopped fine (you can use more if you'd like)

2 Small Cloves of Garlic Minced

Seasoned Breadcrumbs (about 1 cup sometimes you need a little more)

1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1  1/2- 2 Tablespoons Capers

2 Eggs beaten

Flour (you just need a few Teaspoons for the mixture to hold together)

About 4-5 Large Fresh Basil Leaves Chiffonade (sliced into thin ribbons)

Salt & Pepper


Steps-

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half vertically using a big chefs knife.  Scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of the squash and then drizzle the flesh with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place the cut side down onto a foil or parchment line sheet pan and roast in the oven about 35-45 minutes or until a fork can easily poke through the outer skin of the spaghetti squash.  

When the squash is cooked, using a fork scrape the squash flesh into a bowl.  It should fall into the bowl like spaghetti! Let it cool and set aside.

Once the spaghetti squash is cooled place in some paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and try to squeeze out any excess water that the squash naturally has.

Place the squash in a bowl and add the minced garlic, chopped sun dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese an capers.  Add the 2 beaten eggs and a dash of salt and black pepper.  Stir together until combined.

Add the seasoned breadcrumbs, about 1 Cup and stir together.  Add about 2 Tablespoons of Flour and stir together.  This will help to bind the mixture.  If you try to fry them and they are not crisping up and are just falling apart, add a little more breadcrumbs and flour.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with Canola Oil and heat on medium heat.  Test the temperature of the oil by placing a dot of the batter into the oil and if the oil sizzles around the batter, your mixture is ready.  Scoop about 1  1/2 Tablespoons of the mixture into you hands, make a ball, and flatten it out into a pancake shape.  You want them about 1/3 inch thick.  Place them in the pan with the hot oil and fry until golden brown and crusty on the bottom and then flip and brown the other side. Only fry a few at a time so they brown evenly and the oil temperature doesn't drop.

When they are cooked place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve with a dollop of the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Crema! See below!


Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Crema-

Ingredients-

Plain Greek Yogurt

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (you can also use regular pesto)

2 Large Basil Leaves Chiffonade

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Steps-

1. Mix together some Sun Dried Tomato Pesto with the Greek Yogurt, a drizzle of Olive Oil and the chopped Basil. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper, and give it a taste!  If you feel the flavor or color is too bland add more of the pesto! That is all there is too it!




Veal Rollatini- Veal cutlets stuffed with goat cheese, tomato & eggplant

Rollatini are a fantastic dish to make when you're having guests over for dinner or even on a day when you have limited time but still want a hearty delicious meal.  Rollatini looks very impressive and fancy, but it is very easy to make!  If you don't like veal, you can use thinly pounded chicken cutlets instead!  I often will make Rollatini with fish like flounder too but will stuff it with grilled zucchini, caramelized onion and tomato with no cheese for a lighter meal.  I serve my Veal Rollatini with tomato sauce for some moisture but you can eat it with Basil Pesto instead, a Marsala wine sauce or a Balamic reduction.

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Medium Eggplant  Peeled and Sliced into very thin rounds
  2. 3 ounces Goat Cheese (You can also use shredded mozzarella)
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. Lemon Juice
  5. 1 Medium Tomato Sliced very Thin
  6. 2 Large Veal Cutlets Pounded Very Thin
  7. Balsamic Vinegar
  8. 1 Egg
  9. Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  10. Fresh Basil Leaves
  11. Salt and Pepper
  12. Canola/Vegetable Oil
  13. Tomato Sauce or Basil Pesto to top the Rollatini

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Toss the sliced eggplant with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.  On a barbeque grill, grill pan or george forman style grill or panini press, grill the eggplant on both sides until it has nice grill marks and is very soft and tender. Set aside
  3. Next assemble the Rollatini by spreading about 1-1.5 ounces of goat cheese on one side of each veal cutlet.  
  4. Next place slices of eggplant on top of the goat cheese (enough to cover most of the veal cutlet. Then drizzle the eggplant with some Balsamic Vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Next place about two very thin slices of tomato on top of the goat cheese. Squeeze a few drops of lemon on the tomatoes and sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper.  It is important to season each ingredient so you have flavor throughout.
  6. Place 2 basil leaves on top of the tomatoes. 
  7. Gently and tightly roll up the stuffed veal.  Use some of the goat cheese to glue the seam closed or secure with a tooth pick.  Sprinkle the outside of the rollatini with salt and pepper.
  8. Beat the egg in a bowl and then carefully dip the rollatini in the egg and then the seasoned bread crumbs to coat it.  
  9. Pour enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to coat the bottom in a thin layer.  Heat the oil on medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, place the rollatini in the pan seam side down.  Once the rolaltini is golden brown, flip it onto the other side and brown it on the other side.
  10. Remove the rollatini from the pan with a spatula and place it on a baking sheet seam side down.  Place in the oven for a few minutes or until the meat is fully cooked and the rollatini is hot throughout.  While the rollatini is in the oven, heat the tomato sauce on the stove.
  11. Plate the rollatini and spoon some tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with some chopped basil.  If you do not want tomato sauce, you can drizzle some basil pesto over the top instead!
  12. ENJOY!