Sides

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.




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.

 

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. 





"Angeled Eggs"

AKA Beet and Pomegranate Deviled Eggs

Theyre just too pretty and too healthy to be called Deviled Eggs!

People ask me all the time how I come up with my recipes and my honest answer is I dream about them! Sometimes I have food daydreams that are so detailed and so vivid that I am starting to feel like I am a food psychic, if that even makes sense. This recipe came to me in one of those daydreams.  In my dream I started picturing these beautiful red deviled eggs, which got me wondering how they got red in the first place.  I wanted the eggs to become red in a natural way so I thought of two of my favorite ingredients, beets and pomegranates.  Both have the natural ability to dye foods a vibrant color (and also your hands so watch out), and are also full of nutrients.  The beets give the egg yolk mixture a wonderful earthly flavor as well as some moisture which makes it creamy with no fattening mayo added.  The juicy pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth when you bite into the eggs, cutting through the richness and giving the eggs a fresh finish. These are the perfect edition to your Memorial Day or summer time BBQ!

 

Recipe Feeds about 4-6 people (I estimate everyone at a party will have at least 2 halves or one whole egg)

Ingredients-

  1. 6 Whole Hard-boiled Eggs
  2. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  3. 1/3 of a Small Shallot
  4. 1 Teaspoon Honey
  5. ½ Cup Canned Red Beets Chopped (reserve the liquid the beets come in a set aside)
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar ( You can put more if you like more of a vinegar taste)
  7. Dash of Salt & Pepper
  8. 1 Pomegranate (you will only need the seeds so cut the pomegranate in half and gently pop out the seeds)
  9. Fresh Parsley finely chopped (you can also use mint)

Steps-

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice the eggs in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks gently so you don’t break apart the whites of the egg, and place the hard-boiled yolks into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Set the egg whites aside on a plate.
  2. Blend together the egg yolks, Dijon, shallot, honey, beets, vinegar and salt and pepper until creamy.  If the mixture is too thick add a few drops of the reserved beet juice until you reach the desired consistency and texture.  You want it thick, but still very creamy.
  3. Evenly scoop heaping teaspoons of the egg/beet mixture into the egg white halves.
  4. Garnish with some parsley and about 3-4 pomegranate seeds per egg half.
  5. Serve and enjoy! 

Tabbouleh

This recipe is in honor of my best friend Chris and my sister’s wonderful boyfriend Mel.  Both gentlemen are of Lebanese descent and have introduced me to some traditional Lebanese dishes that were unforgettable.  Of course there is lamb, hummus, falafel etc. but one of my favorite Lebanese specialties is Tabbouleh. Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern dish that may have started as far back as 4,000 years ago when the Arabs started utilizing grains like Bulgar Wheat.  There are many ways to make Tabbouleh and many ways to spell it!  Some recipes utilize much more parsley than Bulgar wheat and others predominantly consist of wheat and use the parsley as more of a flavoring agent.  I love parsley, but I find it can be slightly tough in texture, so I prefer the wheat to be the star of the dish. My version is crunchy, creamy, nutritious and extremely refreshing.  Pair it with a grilled piece of fish, lamb or chicken and you have the perfect healthy/hearty meal.  There are many health benefits to eating this dish…so much that it is known as one of the healthiest salads or sides you can eat!

 

Ingredients-


  1. 8.8 ounces of Bulgar wheat (I use the bag of Trader Joes 10 Minute Bulgar Wheat that is partially cooked)- Cook it according to the directions and cool in the fridge.  I boil mine in part water and part chicken stock to give it more flavor.
  2. 1 Cup English Cucumber Diced
  3. 1 ½ Cups Fresh Tomato Diced
  4. ¼ Cup Green Scallions Finely Chopped
  5. ½ Cup Red Onion Finely Chopped
  6. ¾ Cup Fresh Italian Parsley Chopped
  7. 4 Medium Ears of Fresh Corn
  8. ½ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  9. ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  10. 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  11. ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  12. ¾ Teaspoon Mustard Powder
  13. 2 Teaspoons Honey 

Steps-

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the corn kernels off the cob.  Put all the uncooked kernels in a bowl and toss them with about 1-2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil and a dash of salt and pepper. 
  3. Spread the corn out evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Roast the corn in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or so, or until it is tender and starts to brown slightly. 
  4. Set the corn aside when it is done.
  5. In a large bowl stir together the cooked and cooled bulgar wheat, diced cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, onion, parsley and corn. Set aside.
  6. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard powder and honey.
  7. Pour the oil mixture over the wheat mixture a little at the time, while tossing it with a fork. 
  8. Once the ingredients are all evenly blended together, set it in the fridge to cool.  You can eat it at room temperature, but I prefer to eat it chilled.  You should make it several hour in advance or even a day in advance so all the flavors can macerate.
  9. Serve with your favorite protein.  I enjoy mine with a nice piece of grilled fish, chicken or beef.

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.

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!