Lunch

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!

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.

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!




Summertime Crostini

In the summertime we tend to have parties and celebrations to go to every weekend, whether they be graduation parties, summer BBQs, 4th of July bashes etc.  Here are three crostini recipes that are full of fresh, bright flavors, colors and textures.  If you bring any of these to your next get-together, your friends and family will think you paid a high-end caterer to make them..they look  and taste that impressive!  The best part is they are pretty darn easy! 

Fava Bean Ricotta Crostini-

Ingredients-

  1. Fresh Ricotta Cheese
  2. Baguette or 7 grain or Ciabatta (whatever you like!!)
  3. 1  1/4 Cups Shelled Fava Beans
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. 7-8 Fresh Mint Leaves (washed thoroughly)
  6. The Juice of Half a Large Lemon
  7. 2 Small Garlic Cloves (or 1 Large Garlic Clove)
  8. Salt & Pepper
  9. Sugar Snap Peas for Garnish
  10. Parmesan Cheese or Manchego Cheese (Using a vegetable peeler make little shavings of the cheese)

Steps-

  1. Remove and discard the stem and natural "string" from each Sugar Snap Pea Pod. Set aside. 
  2. Fill a large bowl of water with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and then drop the Sugar Snap Peas in the water.  Boil them in the water for 2 minutes only and then using a slotted spoon remove them from the water and place them in the bowl of ice water to shock them.  This helps them retain their color and crunch and cooks them ever so slightly.  Once they are cooled in the ice water remove them and dry them off on paper towels (set aside in fridge for garnish).
  3. Do the same thing with the shucked Fava Beans but for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain and shock in the ice water then remove the outer skin gently.  Try not to break up the beans you want them to hold their beautiful shape.
  4. In a food processor, blend together the Fava Beans, Mint Leaves, Lemon Juice, Garlic, about 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a dash of Salt and Pepper.  You want everything to combine and become a soft, creamy, thick spread.  If it is too thick add more OIive Oil and a drop more Lemon Juice.
  5. Put in a small bowl or tupperware and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top, cover tightly and place in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  Tip: If you are gluten free or don't want the carbs you can each this like a dip with sliced raw veggies!
  6. Slice your baguette thin on a bias, drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on a cookie sheet.  Place them in the oven on 400F and toast them up until they are golden.  You want them to get crunchy but not so hard that they turn to stone.
  7. When you are ready to serve your guests, assemble your crostini by spreading about a teaspoon of ricotta on each slice of bread, then spread a little Fava Bean spread, then a few shavings of parmesan cheese (or manchego) and then top it with the Sugar Snap Pea.  Finish them with a tiny drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a sprinkle of sea salt (or regular salt if you have no sea salt).

 

Tomato Mozzarella Crostini 

Ingredients- 

  1. Fresh Salted Mozzarella
  2. Heirloom Tomatoes Diced Small (I use a mixture of red, orange and yellow but if they are out of season the red will be just fine)
  3. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. Fresh Tarragon ( f you don't like Tarragon just use Basil but Tarragon has a unique flavor that I find is refreshing and delicious!)
  5. Minced Garlic
  6. Salt and Pepper
  7. Baguette (or any bread you like)
  8. Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Steps-

  1. Mix the diced tomatoes, some chopped tarragon and a little minced garlic in a bowl.  Drizzle some extra virgin olive soil over the top along with some salt and pepper.  I didn't put amount here because it depends on how much you are making and it depends on taste!  Jus taste and season accordingly.  If you like a lot of garlic then put more, if not then just put a drop.
  2. Let the tomatoes marinate covered in the fridge for at least a half an hour or overnight if you are prepping ahead.
  3. Slice your baguette thin on a bias, drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on a cookie sheet.  Place them in the oven on 400F and toast them up until they are golden.  You want them to get crunchy but not so hard that they turn to stone.
  4. When you are almost ready to serve, slice the fresh mozzarella into thin slices that fit perfectly onto each slice of toasted bread.  
  5. Place one slice of mozzarella on each piece of bread and then top with a heaping spoonful of the marinated tomatoes. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic or balsamic reduction if you would like (I like to use the fig balsamic that is discussed in the next recipe below).

Balsamic Fig & Havarti Crostini

Ingredients-

  1. Fresh, Ripe Black Mission Figs
  2. Balsamic Vinegar (good quality)
  3. Havarti Cheese
  4. Fresh Sage (chiffonade- chopped in very fine slices)
  5. Salt & Pepper
  6. Baguette (or whatever bread you like)

Steps-

  1. Slice the figs into 1/4 inch slices starting at the top by the stem.  Place the figs in a small bowl and pour the balsamic vinegar over the top so that they are soaking in the vinegar.
  2. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.  I even like to do this step 2 or 3 days in advance because the figs really marinate in the vinegar and also end up infusing the vinegar which is great for drizzling over your crostini or on your salad.
  3. Slice your baguette thin on a bias, drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and place them on a cookie sheet.  Place them in the oven on 400F and toast them up until they are golden.  You want them to get crunchy but not so hard that they turn to stone. Leave the oven on.
  4. When you are almost ready to serve, slice the Havarti cheese into thin slices that fit perfectly onto each slice of toasted bread.  Place a slice of cheese onto each piece of bread and then put them on a sheet pan and place them back in the oven just until the cheese melts.
  5. Take them out of the oven and sprinkle each one with a little of the fresh chopped sage.
  6. Place one slice of marinated fig onto each crostini and drizzle each one with a little more of the fig infused balsamic.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and you are ready to serve!

Summer Lovin Salad- Fava Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, Watercress, Mint Vinaigrette & Manchego Cheese

 

We are in the final days of Spring and sailing right into summertime which to me means sunshine, the beach, relaxing in the park and...the BEST fruits and vegetables are in season!  This salad is the perfect addition to your summer BBQ or dinner party menu.  It is light, refreshing, crisp and very unique in flavor and appearance.  It is unique in that it doesn't have your typical ingredients like Romaine, Arugula or Iceberg.  It uses three things that are in season right now and they are Fava Beans, Watercress and Sugar Snap Peas.  Fava beans are not a common ingredient for most households but they should be! They are beautiful to look at and have a creamy, but crisp texture and almost a cheesy, earthy flavor that goes perfect with my mint vinaigrette and the Manchego cheese. 

Ingredients-

1  1/2 Cups Shucked Fava Beans

3/4 Lb Sugar Snap Peas Washed Throughly

1/2 Cup Watercress Leaves (remove the large tough stems)

1/3 Cup Pearl Onions (frozen and thawed)- You can use fresh as well but make sure you cook them through.

White Sugar (just a dash or two)

Manchego Cheese (Using a potato peeler or mandolin shave long thin strips of cheese and set aside)

Dressing-

1/4-1/3 Cup Fresh Mint Leaves

Juice of half a Lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Canola Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Honey (you can always add more if the dressing is too bitter)

1 Heaping Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard

1 Small Clove of Garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps-

First prepare the dressing by blending the Mint, Dijon, Lemon Juice, Garlic, Honey, a dash of salt and pepper and a drizzle of both olive oil and canola oil (using a blend of oils prevents the dressing from being too bitter) in a food processor or blender.   Add more oil a little at a time until it reaches the consistency of a vinaigrette or lite dressing  Add more salt and pepper if needed. Seal in a container and set aside in the fridge to let the flavors meld together.

The Salad-

Remove and discard the stem and natural "string" from each Sugar Snap Pea Pod. Set aside. 

Fill a large bowl of water with ice and water and set aside. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil and then drop the Sugar Snap Peas in the water.  Boil them in the water for 2 minutes only and then using a slotted spoon remove them from the water and place them in the bowl of ice water to shock them.  This helps them retain their color and crunch and cooks them ever so slightly.  Once they are cooled in the ice water remove them and dry them off on paper towels (set aside).

Do the same thing with the shucked Fava Beans but for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain and shock in the ice water then remove the outer skin gently.  Try not to break up the beans you want them to hold their beautiful shape.

In a small frying pan, place the peeled pearl onions and sprinkle them with a little white sugar.  Cook on medium heat rolling them around and coating them with the sugar until the onions caramelize/brown and they are cooked and heated through.  Set aside.  

Toss the Fava Beans together in a large bowl with the Snap Peas, pearl onions and the cleaned Watercress.

Dress the Salad with a little vinaigrette at a time, making sure you coat each pea and bean evenly but do not over dress.  

Spoon the salad onto a serving dish and then take a few shavings of the Manchego Cheese and lay it on top as shown in my photo.  You can also just shave the cheese and toss it with the salad!  

Enjoy!



"Gagoots & Eggs"- Zucchini & Eggs

Italian Americans have quite a Rolodex of slang terms especially when it comes to foods. Whether it be mootsadell (mozzarella), proschoot (prosciutto), manigot (manicotti) we've got a name for everything! One of my grandmother's famous dishes also happens to have one of the funniest names, and it is called "Gagoots and Eggs" or (Zucchini and Eggs).  "Gagoots" comes from the word "cucuzza" which is a word for squash in the Italian language. This recipes has just a few simple ingredients and is the perfect lunch/dinner time sandwich, or side dish with meat or fish, or just a great afternoon snack. You can ask my grandma, this simple dish is such a crowd pleasure that all 10 of her grandchildren have her hovering over the stove frying up pounds and pounds of zucchini so they can all get a taste. My gagoots brings the kids to the yard and they're like it's betta than yours... 
 

Feeds 2-3 people

Ingredients- 

  1. 4 medium to large zucchini (leave the skin on just cut the ends off)
  2. 4 eggs beaten and set aside
  3. Canola/vegetable oil
  4. Extra virgin olive oil
  5. Salt and pepper
  6. Bread of your choice (I like a baguette or any Italian bread)


Steps-

  1. Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the zucchini in very thin rounds. The mandolin is a great tool because it takes about 1 minute to slice the whole zucchini,  and it slices it paper thin, which is what you want. 
  2. Next, pour equal parts of canola oil and extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan until the oil completely coats the bottom of the pan. You want about 1/8 inch-1/4 inch of oil in the pan. 
  3. Heat the oil on medium heat until it gets hot enough where it sizzles and little when you put in a piece of zucchini. The key to this is you want the zucchini to brown and cook evenly. Once the oil is hot. Place a single layer of zucchini flat around the pan in the oil. Let it cook until it gets golden brown and then flip each piece with tongs or a fork and cook on the other side until it browns. Once It's brown and cooked on both sides, using a slotted spoon or tongs take the zucchini out and place it onto paper towels to drain some oil out. Sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper while they are hot so it sticks. 
  4. Repeat the frying process until all the zucchini is cooked. In between each batch add more oil if you need to or it will burn.
  5. Once all the zucchini is fried wipe out the excess oil and grease felt the pan. Add a little more clean olive oil to the pan just about a tablespoon or so just to cost the pan and place it on medium heat.
  6. Pour all the browned zucchini back into the pan And spread it out evenly. Pour the beaten eggs over the top of the zucchini and let it sit a few seconds. When you see the eggs are starting to cook use a wooden spoon and stir the mixture all around as if you were making scrambled eggs and let the eggs cook and meld with the zucchini.
  7. Once the eggs are cooked and everything is blended together, pour the zucchini and eggs into a bowls and add a little more salt and pepper to taste.
  8. You can now eat it as is or put it on some nice warm, toasty Italian bread. 





Lamb Burgers with Bacon Tomato Jam, Fennel Mint Slaw and Chevre Goat Cheese

Spring: In like a lion and out like a lamb burger?

April is here which means warmer weather, rain showers, budding trees, my favorite Cadbury chocolate eggs and of course Easter! Many families like to celebrate Easter with a big ol’ honey baked ham or a delicious leg of lamb.  To celebrate the start of Spring I created a lamb burger that has such dynamic flavors and textures that you might even make these babies the Easter dinner headliner.  Don’t like lamb?  No problem! Make this recipe using good old fashioned beef chuck burgers!  But...wow…the grassy flavor of the lamb combined with the tangy, creamy goat cheese, the crisp, lemony fennel and mint slaw, and the smoky and sweet bacon tomato jam are culinary chemistry:  flavors that interact with each other perfectly in your mouth.  This recipe is BAAAHHHDDD AS$...ok that was cheesy.  Tip: Make extra bacon jam and use it on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, make little crostini hors d’oeuvres with the jam and gouda or Havarti cheese, put it on turkey club sandwiches or even savory scones! The fennel salad is even great as just a side dish or as a substitute for boring old coleslaw that is full of fattening mayo!  

Bacon Tomato Jam

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 of a Pound of raw Bacon diced into small pieces
  2. 2 ½ Cups Ripe Tomatoes-Diced Small ( About 5 Medium Tomatoes)
  3. ½ a Large Viladlia Onion- Diced Small
  4. ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
  5. 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  6. ½ Teaspoon Salt (or more..taste it)
  7. 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Steps-

  1. Cook the bacon in a deep skillet or medium saucepan until it is crispy and brown.  Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon, drain it on paper towels and set it aside.  Reserve about 1 ½ Tablespoons of the bacon fat in the pan.
  2. Put the pan with the bacon fat on low-medium heat on the stove.  Add the onion, tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil stirring often.
  3. Add the bacon back to the pan with the tomato mixture.
  4. Simmer stirring with a wooden spoon pretty frequently (making sure it doesn’t burn) until it starts to thicken and the onions get soft and caramelized.  You will cook it for about 30- 40 minutes or until most of the water evaporates and you are left with a thick jammy texture.
  5. Put in mason jars or a bowl and refrigerate.


Fennel Mint Slaw-

Ingredients-

  1. 1 Large Fennel Bulb
  2. 2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  3. 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  5. 1 Teaspoon Whole Grain Mustard
  6. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  7. 1 ½ to 2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint Chopped Fine
  8. 2 Teaspoons Shallot Minced (or Red or White Onion)

Steps-

  1. Using a knife or a mandolin, shave or thinly slice the fennel into 1/8 inch slices starting from the bottom of the bulb.  Do not use the green, “hair” or “fronds”at the top of the fennel bulb. Fennel has this great anise flavor and its texture is like celery meets an onion.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, whole grain mustard, salt, pepper and shallot.
  3. Toss the fresh mint with the fennel in a big bowl.
  4. Toss the fennel with the dressing and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight so the fennel can really marinate in the flavors.

Lamb Burgers- Makes 4 Burgers

Ingredients-

  1. 1 ½ Pounds Ground Lamb ( sometimes I mix 1 lb lamb and ½  pound of ground chuck for extra flavor)
  2. ½ Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  3. 1/3 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. 4 Burger Buns- Preferably Ciabatta Rolls (scooped out so there isn’t too much bread)
  6. Butter
  7. Bacon Tomato Jam (recipe above)
  8. Fennel Mint Slaw (recipe above)
  9. 4 oz Creamy Chevre Goat Cheese

Steps-

  1. Preheat your outdoor barbeque, indoor grill pan or George Forman Grill.
  2. Using your hands, mix together the ground meat with the garlic and oregano.  Make 4 equal sized burger patties that are about ¾ to 1 inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the burgers for above 5-6 minutes on each side or until they are just slightly pink inside (or however you like them!) While the burgers are grilling, spread a little butter on the inside of the burger buns and place them on the grill as well.  Get the buns nice and toasty on all sides.
  4. Spread about 1 Tablespoon (or more ;) ) of the Bacon Tomato Jam on the inside of each bun half.
  5. When the burgers are cooked, place the burgers on the jam coated buns and top each one with about 1 ounce of goat cheese.  Top the goat cheese with a nice little mound of the Fennel Mint Slaw and place the top of the bun on top.

Serve and salivate!




Tangy Cucumber Salad

I love to pair some of my richer and meatier entrees with very light, fresh sides .  I want my side dishes to compliment the key component of the dish rather than overshadow it, and that is exactly what this salad does.   My crispy, vinegary Cucumber Salad tingles the taste buds like a fresh pickle from your favorite deli. The pleasantly acidic flavors seem to cleanse your palate as you enjoy your meal.  As an added plus, there are barely any calories in this dish!

 

Ingredients-

  1. 3 Cups of Thinly Sliced Cucumbers (Paper thin! Use a mandolin if you have one)
  2. 1/3 Cup Thinly Sliced Red Onion
  3. 3 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  4. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  5. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  6. 1 Tablespoon Fresh Dill Finely Chopped

Steps-

  1. In a medium bowl stir together the Cucumbers, Red Onion and Dill.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the Vinegar, Dijon, and Honey.
  3. Pour the dressing over the cucumber mixture and toss to coat each cucumber.
  4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight) to allow the cucumbers to marinate and pick up the wonderful flavors of the dressing.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Fig Salad with a Citrus Vinaigrette and Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano

August may mean that summer is almost over, but it also means that fig season has begun! Figs have a very special place in my heart because I grew up with a fig tree in my backyard, I make hundreds of Sicilian fig cookies with my Grandmother and sisters every Christmas, and my winning dish on Andersen Cooper’s Chopped contained fresh figs. What many people don’t realize is that they are incredibly versatile.

Figs are great by themselves, with yogurt and a drizzle of honey, in cakes and cookies, with gourmet cheeses, in chicken dishes, or in salads like you see here.

The fruity, sweet figs compliment the peppery arugula and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano perfectly.


Ingredients-

Citrus Vinaigrette-

  1. ¼ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  2. Pinch of Orange Zest
  3. 1 ½ Teaspoons Olive Oil
  4. 1 Tablespoons Red Onion (Finely Chopped)
  5. 1 Tablespoon plus 1 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  6. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  7. Dash of Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)

Fig Salad-

(Feeds 2-3 People)

  1. 3 Cups Baby Arugula
  2. 5 Fresh Black Mission Figs quartered
  3. Parmigiano Reggiano  

Steps-

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, red onion, balsamic, honey, salt and pepper. Set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the arugula and figs.
  3. Pour as much dressing as you’d like over the top of the salad and toss until fully coated.
  4. Using a vegetable peeler, shave pieces of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of each salad.

Healthy Napa Chicken Salad

One of my favorite dishes of all time is good Ol'fashioned chicken salad.  I am not quite sure what it is that tickles my fancy so much, but I could eat it every single day!  Since eating pounds of mayonnaise every week is not a heart healthy option, I decided to put my own spin on the classic Napa Almond Chicken Salad.  I lighten up the recipe by substituting a portion of the mayo with Greek yogurt just like I do in my “Po-Yo” Potato Salad (Recipe also on the site).  To cut on carbs I serve it in Butter Lettuce leaves, so you can just roll it up and eat it as a lettuce wrap.  The crunch of the toasted slivered almonds, the tanginess of the dressing, the lemony bite of the Tarragon and the burst of sweetness from the crisp red grapes…sigh… you cant get any better than that! 

Ingredients-

  1. ¼ Cup of my Sherry Tarragon Mayo (Recipe on the Grilled Salmon Sandwich post)
  2. 1/3 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (0% or 2% fat)
  3. 1 ½  Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  4. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  5. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Fresh Tarragon Leaves Finely Chopped
  7. 2 Tablespoons Red Onion Finely Chopped
  8. 2 Cooked Chicken Breasts (About 1.5 lbs) Diced Small (Roast in the oven on 400F for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked)
  9. 1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds (lightly toasted)
  10. 1/3 Cup Celery Peeled and sliced into small pieces
  11. 1/2 Cup Red Grapes (cut in half) 

Steps-

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the Sherry Tarragon Mayo, the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper, tarragon and red onion.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, almonds, grapes and celery.
  3. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until the chicken is evenly coated 
  4. Serve on top of Butter Lettuce leaves, on your favorite bread, or just by itself! 

 

Grilled Salmon Sandwiches with Carrots, Cucumber, Avocado and a Sherry Tarragon Mayo

I recently had a dish with a Sherry Mayo on it, and it was so delicious and unique, I knew I had to come up with my own recipe and share it with my readers.   The Sherry Tarragon Mayo that I came up with is so simple to make, but the flavors are so dynamic.  The Cooking Sherry itself is slightly sweet and slightly nutty, and the Tarragon has wonderful hints of fennel/licorice, pepper, and pine that can completely transform a dish.  This mayo is perfect in a chicken salad, with sliced turkey or with salmon, as I did in this dish.  The flavorful mayo, creamy avocado slices, earthy carrots, refreshing cucumbers and sweet and spicy salmon filet all come together harmoniously on the crispy Ciabata bread.  This sandwich is perfect for a luncheon with friends, but is also hearty enough to be eaten for dinner!

 

Sherry Tarragon Mayo-

Makes about 1/3 cup of mayo (enough for 3-4 Salmon Sandwiches)

Ingredients-

  1. 1/3 Cup Hellmann's Lite Mayo
  2. 1 Medium Shallot
  3. ½ Teaspoon Fresh Tarragon Leaves (Chopped)
  4. 1 Small Garlic Clove
  5. 2 ½ Teaspoons Cooking Sherry (you can get it in the grocery store)
  6. 1 ½ Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  7. Dash of Black Pepper
  8. Pinch of Salt
  9. ¼ Teaspoon White Sugar

Steps-

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until the garlic and shallot are chopped finely and everything is combined.
  2. I like to put the mayo in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or so, so the flavors really come together.

Salmon Sandwiches-

Makes 2 Sandwiches

Ingredients-

  1. Sherry Tarragon Mayo
  2. Ciabata Bread or Baguettes (Toasted)
  3. 2 Raw Salmon Filets (About .3 lbs per sandwich)
  4. 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  5. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  6. ¼ Teaspoon SIracha Hot Sauce
  7. Salt and Pepper
  8. 1 ½ Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. Grated Carrots (I used a peeler to grate them)
  10. Thinly Sliced Cucumber
  11. Sliced Ripe Avocado

Steps-

  1. Mix the Soy Sauce, Honey, Siracha and Olive Oil together in a bowl.
  2. Place the Salmon filets in a large Ziploc bag and pour the soy sauce mixture in. Gently shake the bag and get the salmon completely covered in the mixture.  Set in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to marinate.
  3. Heat your grill pan or outdoor grill on medium/low heat.
  4. When the pan is hot, spray it with nonstick cooking spray and place the salmon filets on the pan.
  5. Grill the salmon for about 4-5 minutes on each side or until it is cooked all the way through. During the cooking process pour any extra marinade over the top.
  6. Spread a few Tablespoons (or as much as you like) of the Sherry Tarragon Mayo onto the bread slices. 
  7. Next, top the bottom slice of bread with the grated carrots and sliced avocado. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the avocado.
  8. Place the Salmon filet on the sandwich next and then top with the cucumber slices.  I put mayo on both slices of bread so that is hold everything together.
  9. Enjoy! (Click the picture of the sandwich to see more photos)

Tropical Shrimp & Mango Stuffed Avocados

I won’t lie, I love rich, butter-filled dishes, but sometimes you just need something light, fresh and full of nutrients!  One of my favorite ingredients to cook with is avocados, because when they are ripe, they have such a wonderful creaminess that can add so much flavor and richness to a dish.  Shrimp is a healthy protein choice when cooking because it is filling but very low in calories. Shrimp is like a blank canvas, in that will absorb the flavors and colors of the marinade you put on it.  The fun part about this recipe is that the avocado also acts as the serving dish.  It is such a beautiful & colorful presentation that will take your guests on a trip to the tropics any time of year! Got Room For More?  Follow Got Room For More on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram! I would love to hear your comments and recipe requests!

Recipe Feeds 3 people

Ingredients-

  1. 25-30 Raw Deveined Shrimp (Small/medium shrimp…not rock shrimp because those are too small) (You want about 8-10 shrimp per person)
  2. 2 Ripe Avocados
  3. ½ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  4. 2 Teaspoons Honey
  5. ½ Teaspoon Salt
  6. ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  7. A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  8. A dash of Coriander
  9. 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  10. 1/4 Teaspoon Ginger Paste (Comes in a small jar or use fresh grated)
  11. ½ Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  12. 2 Teaspoons Chopped Cilantro (If you do not like Cilantro then use Parsley)
  13. 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Red Onion
  14. ¼ Cup Fresh Diced Tomato (I used some red and some yellow)
  15. ½ a Very Ripe Mango Diced in Small Pieces
  16. Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt (I use Greek Yogurt b/c it is low in fat and a similar texture)

Steps-

  1. Stir together the Orange Juice, Mango, Honey, Salt, Pepper, Coriander, Red Pepper, Vinegar, Ginger, Garlic, Cilantro and Red Onion.
  2. Pour 3/4 of the mixture on top of the shrimp in a separate bowl and set the rest of the marinade aside. Put the shrimp in the fridge and let it marinate for about 15-20 minutes
  3. Remove the shrimp from the fridge and grill them on a grill pan or outdoor grill for a few minutes on each side or until they turn slightly orange and are fully cooked.
  4. Set the shrimp aside
  5. Cut the avocados in half vertically and remove the pit.  Leave the skin on!
  6. Scoop out about half of the flesh of each avocado, so that you create nice little hollow avocado bowls. Chop up whatever you remove and add with to the shrimp. Each person should receive one half of an avocado. Since this recipe is for 3 people, scoop out the 4th half completely, and dice it up.  Throw the scooped out/diced flesh into the bowl with the grilled shrimp.
  7. Toss the diced tomatoes in with the shrimp and pour the remaining marinade over the mixture.
  8. Toss it all up so that everything is fully coated in the sauce.
  9. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the semi-scooped out avocado halves and then put a nice helping of the shrimp salad in each one as if it were a serving bowl.
  10. Put a small dollop of sour cream or Greek Yogurt on each stuffed avocado and then garnish with cilantro or parsley.
  11. Serve with Corn, red cabbage slaw, a salad or just by itself! You can even use tortilla chips to scoop it out!

Watermelon, Arugula Salad with Goat Feta & Heirloom Tomatoes

Who doesn't love juicy, bright summer fruits on a warm, sunny day?  This salad is super simple to make, but the flavors and presentation are incredibly impressive and eye-catching. The earthy, peppery taste of the arugula and olive oil mixed with the natural sweetness of the watermelon and the briny bite from the Goat feta cheese is simply perfection. Forget about that bland, mixed green salad or that boring Caesar, and give this a try!  Like what you see? Like what you taste?  #GotRoomForMore on Twitter and send me a pic of the Got Room For More recipes you try!

 

Ingredients

  1. 2.5 ounces of Baby Arugula
  2. 1.5 lbs Seedless Watermelon cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  3. Extra virgin olive oil
  4. ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  5. .25 lbs Goat Feta cut into small cubes (about ¼ inch thick)
  6. 1 Cup of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (orange, yellow, green and red to bring out color)
  7. Salt and Pepper

 

Steps

  1. Cut tomatoes in half if they're very small and quarter them if they are on the larger side, and put them into a large bowl
  2. Put the balsamic in a small nonstick pan on the stove on medium heat. Cook for a few minutes until it bubbles and turns into the consistency of chocolate syrup.
  3. Set aside to cool slightly while to do the next steps
  4. Toss together the arugula, watermelon, and feta in the bowl with the tomatoes
  5. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the top to taste
  6. Drizzle 3 or so tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top and toss with salad tongs (you may want more or less..eyeball it. The juice from the melon also acts as part of the dressing so you do not want to over dress it).
  7. Drizzle the balsamic over the top and toss lightly
  8. Serve on its own or as a side or starter course

"Po-Yo" (Potato Salad made with Greek Yogurt)

There is one ingredient that is used in many popular recipes that people either love or DESPISE…mayonnaise.  Personally, I love the stuff, on sandwiches, in tuna salad or on a juicy hamburger, but it just isn't the healthiest of condiments.  When making a side dish to bring on a trip to rural Pennsylvania, I started to think of fresh, new ways to concoct popular summer sides such as potato salad and macaroni salad.  As I was strolling through the dairy isle I came across one of my favorite things, Greek Yogurt.  I used the yogurt in this recipe as if it were mayo, and to my surprise, it was simply delicious!  If you are a health nut or just not a fan of mayonnaise, I promise you, you will love this creamy, tangy, spicy potato salad recipe.

(Feeds 6-8 people)

Ingredients

  1. 3 lb bag of baby red potatoes washed and quartered (keep skin on
  2. 1 cup of 2% Greek Plain Yogurt (I prefer Fage or Chobani)
  3. 2 ½ Tablespoons Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
  4.  1 ½ Tablespoons Honey
  5. The Juice of half a medium size lemon
  6. Dash of salt and pepper
  7.  1 Tablespoon White Distilled Vinegar
  8.  3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Dill
  9.  1/2 a medium red onion diced very small
  10.  1/3 Cup chopped celery
  11. 3 Hard boiled eggs chopped (If you are super healthy conscious remove the yolks)

Steps

  1. Place the quartered red potatoes into a medium size pot and fill it with cold water until the water is about 2 inches above the potatoes.
  2. Bring the potatoes to a boil and cook them until they are tender and can be easily pricked with a fork (but still maintain their shape).  Do not overcook the potatoes or the texture of the potato salad will be sticky and starchy.
  3. Drain the potatoes, put them in a bowl with a paper towel on top and place them in the refrigerator.  The potatoes must be fully cooled before you dress them.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together all of the remaining ingredients except for the eggs.
  5. Remove the potatoes from the fridge and gently stir in the chopped eggs
  6. Pour the yogurt mixture over the potatoes a little bit at a time until each potato is fully coated.  You may use all of the dressing but some people may prefer it on the dryer side.  
  7. Serve next to burgers, roasted pork, sausage, hot dogs, chicken…the possibilities are endless!