There’s nothing I love to eat more in the summer than some fresh seafood to enjoy with friends for a backyard BBQ, picnic or beach party. Everyone loves Lobster Rolls, but they can get a little pricey, and take a lot of work to make enough for a crowd. If you’re in the mood for seafood, Alaskan King Crab BLT sandwiches are a fresh, healthy and less expensive alternative, and a fun addition to your next...
Summer is here and it’s absolutely my favorite time of the year! The sun is shining, the trees are in bloom, and everyone is outside enjoying the weather making it prime time for entertaining family and friends with barbecue and cocktails by the beach, lake or even in the backyard by the pool. I’ve put together some party planning and decorating tips for the perfect summer outdoor beach party, along...
Last Sunday on a cold rainy night last week, I started craving some homey pan-roasted chicken. And since I had some fresh asparagus from the farmer’s market I wanted to make some roasted asparagus to go with.
I found a recipe on Food.com‘s website by Rachael Ray for Garlic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon that looked pretty delicious and decided to make my own version by tweaking the...
Well, Spring is FINALLY here and the weather in NYC has been absolutely gorgeous this past week. I get so motivated when the weather warms up to go walking in the park, get moving around town, and most of all start eating healthy and maybe drop a few pounds or two to get ready for Summer. Plus, with all the gorgeous fresh fruits and veggies at the farmers markets – it’s hard to resist dreaming...
I don’t know about you, but Thai food is one of my favorite foods ever. I love the harmony of flavors and textures in Thai food that all play together like a perfect symphony. One of my all time favorites is Thai Peanut Noodles – similar to Pad Thai, but with a smooth peanut sauce with a hint of heat. I decided to kick it up a notch by adding some Spicy Thai Chicken that pairs perfectly with...
Pizza is probably one of my most favorite things on the planet. Seriously. Who can resist that crispy crunchy crust topped with melted gooey cheese and fresh, savory baked toppings? A pizza is a creative endeavor that is only limited to your imagination. The pizza dough is like a blank canvas just waiting for the artist to paint a masterpiece on.
I recently did a photo shoot for The Works Catering group in NYC. I worked with their corporate Executive Chef and Food and Beverage Director to pull together a new library of food photography for their website and advertising/marketing materials. I shot over 25 photos of their delicious mouthwatering appetizers, entrees and desserts with my team stylist Laurie Knoop and assistants Maike Paul and Liz...
There’s nothing better in the Summer than a visit to the Farmer’s Market to get some super fresh veggies that are ripe in the peak of the season. Some of my favorites are fresh cherry tomatoes, zucchini and corn that are lightly roasted or sauteed tossed with some roasted garlic, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese over pasta. It’s light, healthy and...
We sat around a big table in a private room upstairs and learned the techniques, traditions and passions behind producing a perfectly thin crispy Neapolitan pizza while sipping on Italian wines and making new friends.
Making Pizza Dough
We learned the intricacies behind making and kneading our own dough accustom to the Neapolitan style by making wells of flour filled with yeast water and the patient process of kneading using only 2 fingers as the dough slowly came together by kneading, mixing and adding more flour and water.
Chef Chris throwing dough
We watched Chef Chris toss pizza dough in the air and even tried it ourselves (too fun!).
Chef Chris demonstrating how to sauce the pizza
We then made our own Margherita sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, and topped off the pizzas with cubes of fresh cow’s milk Mozzarella and fresh basil before our pizzas were thrown delicately into a 900 degree oven on a pizza peel to reveal a perfectly crispy gorgeous pizza of bubbly cheesy goodness.
Prepping our Pizzas
Layer the dough with sauce…
San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil
Add some delicious Fresh Cow’s Milk Mozzarella and Basil…
Good Times constructing our pizzas
Patiently waiting for the oven…
Pizzas ready for the Wood-fired oven
Look. At. This. Masterpiece. Creation.
And let the deliciousness devouring begin.
The story behind Neapolitan pizza goes like this: In June 1889, a Neapolitan tavern owner Raffaele Esposito served the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, a special dish named in her honor. The wood-fired Flatbread was topped with Melted Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce and Basil leaves, symbolizing the colors of the Italian Flag. The Queen was so pleased with her meal that she had a wood-fired “flat-bread oven” built into the palace. And history was made.
Pizzaiolo at 180
The art behind making a perfect, true Neapolitan pizza has become a standard practice with strict rules of approval. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana is a non-profit official governing association in Italy that maintains the standards and regulations of all Pizzaioli and Establshments serving Vera Napoletana Pizza. It was founded in Naples in 1984 by the oldest and well-known Neapolitan pizzaioli, and according to the “rules” proposed by them, there are specific ingredients and techniques that must be used to pass the official Italian seal of approval.
The Perfect Neapolitan Pizza
So just what are the secrets behind making that crispy crust with gooey cheese and succulent sauce? Here’s a few secrets from Restaurateur/Chef and native New Yorker, Nick Accardi of Tavola in Hell’s Kitchen:
Measure by weight rather than volume to get the perfect water to flour ratio for your crust. Many elements can change the density of ingredients such as age, storage temperature, or environmental climate. Measuring by weight assures the perfect hydration ratio.
Use double zero (type 00) flour which is a highly refined flour that has been milled to a standard “00” and completely free of bran or germ.
Use natural Neapolitan yeast or brewer’s yeast, sea salt and water. (New York City tap water is the BEST secret ingredient in making the perfect pizza dough!)
Keep yeast refrigerated and check the expiration date on the package to make sure it’s fresh.
The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer.
Allow the dough to rise for 24 hours at room temperature. The bare minimum standard is 6 hours (after mixing let the dough rise for 2 hours, then hand cut and roll into small balls, let rise for 4 more hours).
After the rising process, the dough must be formed by hand without the help of a rolling pin or other machine, and may be no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. Use your hands to gently work the dough from the center outward.
Use San Marzano tomatoes, which grow on the volcanic plains to the south of Mount Vesuvius, for the pizza sauce like a bona fide pro (easy to find in grocery stores or Italian markets).
Vera Napoletana Pizza must be made using only fresh, all-natural, non-processed ingredients including Fior di Latte (Cow’s Milk) or Bufala Mozzarella, fresh basil and drizzled with real Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can find Genuine imported EVOO also at Italian markets such as Eataly or Tavola in NYC.
Less is More: Don’t drown a pizza in sauce and toppings. The most delicious pies use smaller portions of the highest quality of fresh ingredients.
A thin crust is the signature trait of Neapolitan pizza. While having a wood fired oven at home is not common these days, making your crust as thin as possible will allow for fast cooking time, which intensifies and seals in the flavors of each ingredient. Note: The Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana requires the thickness of the crust to be 1-2 cm.
The pizza must be baked for 60-90 seconds in a 905°F stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant.
There are three official variants: pizza marinara, which is made with tomato, garlic, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, pizza Margherita, made with tomato, sliced mozzarella, basil and extra-virgin olive oil, and pizza Margherita extra made with tomato, mozzarella from Campania in fillets, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
A great home kitchen version of authentic Neapolitan pizza
For the dough:
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water 100-110 degrees
4 cups unbleached “00” flour (see note) or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for bowl
For the topping:
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, passed with juices through a food mill
12 ounces Mozzarella di Bufala (see note) or mozzarella fior di latte cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
4 large or 8 small basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
Medium coarse sea salt
Special equipment: a pizza stone and peel
Make the dough: Sprinkle yeast over water; let stand until yeast is creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. (If yeast does not become creamy, discard and start over with new yeast.)
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt; form a well in center. Add yeast mixture and oil; stir until dough just comes together. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead vigorously, for 10 minutes. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let rest for 10 minutes, then knead vigorously for 10 minutes more. Lightly oil a large bowl. Form dough into a ball, transfer to bowl and turn to lightly coat with oil. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Punch down dough with your fist (dough will be stiff), then fold sides over one another, turn dough, tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Divide dough into 4 pieces; shape pieces into balls and place on a lightly floured work surface, leaving a few inches between balls. Loosely cover with a damp dishtowel (not terry cloth) and let rise at warm room temperature until doubled, about 2 hours; time may vary depending on room temperature and freshness of yeast. If skin forms on dough while rising, lightly spray surface with water.
Heat Stone While Dough Rises: Position rack in lower third of oven. Place pizza stone on rack. At least 45 minutes before baking pizza, heat oven to maximum temperature (500 to 550 degrees).
Assemble Pizza: On a lightly floured work surface, press 1 dough ball with your fingers to begin to shape into a round. Use your fist and hands to gently stretch dough to a 10-inch round. (A floured rolling pin can be used to help roll out dough.) Transfer dough to a lightly floured peel; gently shake peel to make sure dough does not stick.
Working fairly quickly, spread a 1/3 cup sauce over dough, leaving about a 1/2 -inch border. Tear 3 ounces cheese into pieces and arrange on top of sauce. Tear 1 or 2 basil leaves into small pieces and arrange on top. Drizzle very lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Slide pizza onto stone. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling in spots and edge of dough is crisp and golden, about 7 minutes. Using the peel and a large spatula or pair of tongs, transfer pizza to a plate and serve. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Note: Soft “00” flour produces a pliable, easy-to-work-with pizza dough and a tender yet sturdy crust with a crisp yet not too dry edge. Mozzarella fior di latte has a firmer texture than Mozzarella di Bufala, which falls apart when cut, though both cheeses are creamy when melted. You can find “00” flour, San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, mozzarella fior di latte at Italian markets, specialty stores, and online.
Summer is here and what better way to spend it than dining out on a rooftop, in a garden or an outside patio eating some glorious Summer food with a cocktail in your hand to soak up the sun? Or you might be in the mood for seafood, whether it be a luscious Lobster Roll, some rockin’ Sushi, a dozen steamed clams or fresh shrimp cocktail with a sexy margarita or fruity cocktail to accompany. The best part about Summer is being able to buy some of your own fresh seafood at a local market and firing it up on the grill. Where should I go do you ask? Well listen up friends. There’s some amazing places right here in NYC to please your palate and your eyes.
I had a great opportunity to do photography and write two feature stories about the Top Seafood Spots, Outdoor Dining destinations and local seafood markets in NYC for Downtown Magazine Summer issue. And oh, what a fun story this was! I visited some of NYC’s top seafood joints, swanky rooftops, garden patios and local seafood markets to come up with THE Hot List for your enjoyment this Summer. Keep reading for the full reviews in the article and scroll further down to see some great photos and links to the coolest, swankiest, tastiest hot spots in town this Summer.
Check out the tearsheets and more fun photos from the story below! (CLICK PHOTOS BELOW TO ENLARGE)
Summer is my favorite time of year – blue sunny skies, lazy days on the patio, weekend trips to the beach and lake and backyard gatherings with friends and family. Most of all, I love the fresh juicy fruits of summer – stone fruits like peaches and plums and cherries and all the fresh berries in season like blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.
Over the July 4th holiday weekend we had a fun backyard BBQ at my parents house with some of my relatives that I haven’t seen in awhile. I used to look forward to all the fun cookouts we did every summer with my family and cousins when I was a kid so it was a fun surprise to hear they were coming over for the day.
I wanted to make a special summery dessert and something different than our usual holiday traditions such as Aunt Irene’s Reception Salad and Grandma’s Lemon Meringue Pie. I decided on a Peach-Raspberry Almond Vanilla Cream Tart made with luscious juicy fresh peaches and raspberries that are bathed in a gorgeous peach glaze. They lie on a bed of sweet creamy ricotta and cream cheese blended with a hint of almond and vanilla on top of a flaky buttery puff pastry as the base.
The combination of the sweet fruit and tangy sweet almond vanilla cream over the layers of flaky buttery pastry was the perfect refreshing yet sinful treat to top off an awesome hot Summer day out on the back patio. My Aunt and Grandma may not be with us anymore to make their legendary desserts, but I’ve decided to step in their shoes and make this delicious concoction a new yearly tradition for our family summer backyard gatherings going forward.
Savoring the Fruits of Summer :: Peach-Raspberry Almond Vanilla Cream Tart
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Yield: Makes 2 tarts serving 12 to 16.
2 puff pastry sheets, defrosted
2 tablespoons water
2 peaches, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 lemon rind quarters
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese (one regular, one light) at room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 peaches, sliced thin
1 cup raspberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Tart pastry: Rollout puff pastry sheets on a floured surface and place on two lightly greased rectangular baking sheets.
Score a 1-inch border around each pastry sheet. Beat eggs and water together and lightly brush the pastry sheets.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and let pastry sheets cool completely.
Glaze: Meanwhile, dice two peaches and add sugar, lemon juice, lemon rinds and 2 cups of water into a small-medium pan on the stove. Simmer over medium heat until the peach is soft and the glaze is thickened about 10-15 minutes. Remove the lemon rinds and let the glaze cool to the side.
Cream Filling: In a large mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and almond extract. Beat together with a mixer until smooth and spread evenly on to each pastry sheet, leaving a 1-inch border on the pastry. Arrange the peach slices on top of the cream filling in layered rows and brush the peaches with all but a few tablespoons of the glaze. Toss the raspberries with the rest of the glaze and randomly place on top of the peaches. Serve right away or keep cool in the refrigerator covered for a few hours.
To serve, cut the tarts into squares and garnish with toasted almonds or whipped cream if desired.
Chef’s Note: The pastry and cream filling is really delicious and super versatile for making any type of fruit tart. You can substitute the peaches and raspberries for any type of berry – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries or use fresh plums or kiwi fruit and adjust the recipe accordingly for the glaze and fruit topping. You can also substitute some toasted pistachios in place of the almonds. Get creative!
Summer is in the air and it’s that time of year to cool down with some refreshing cocktails and light small bites. I love melon in the Summer time, especially paired with cucumbers with their light flavors that make a great refreshing cocktail.
I created a Cucumber-Melon Martini that’s made with Stoli vodka, cucumber liqueur, agave cayenne lemonade (or regular lemonade or limeade), garnished with cucumbers, mint and cubes of honeydew melon. It has a hint of sweetness from the lemonade and a lovely refreshing flavor from the melons and cucumbers and a spike of minty freshness and kick of heat from the cayenne lemonade.
A great small bite pairing to go with the martinis are Prosciutto, Melon and Feta Bites. They’re super easy to make and just as light and refreshing as the cocktails that go with them.
A little bit sweet, a little bit tangy and a whole lot delicious. Here’s to the lazy days of Summer! ENJOY
Stoli Cucumber-Melon Martini Recipe
1 part Stoli vodka
1 part cucumber liqueur
2 parts lemonade or limeade
Garnish with Cucumber slices, honeydew melon cubes and fresh mint sprigs
Pour vodka and lemon or limeade into a drink shaker over ice. Shake well and strain into martini glasses. Drop cubes of melon into the martini. Garnish with cucumber slices and fresh mint sprigs.
Makes 1 cocktail.
Prosciutto-Melon-Feta Bites Recipe
1 package of prosciutto, sliced thin and cut in half (about 20 slices)
1 package of feta cheese, sliced into ¼ inch sliced cubes
8 ounces honeydew melon, cubed
8 ounces cantaloupe melon, cubed
Prep all ingredients by cutting the feta cheese and melons into similar size chunks. First layer the melon with the feta, then top with a slice of prosciutto folded into small squares and secure with toothpicks. Serve on a platter along with the Cucumber-Melon Martinis.
Makes approximately 20 small bites.
Note: You can also include watermelon in the mix for some extra flavor or serve the bites over arugula with a cucumber melon vinaigrette. Simply throw the melon and cucumber slices in a blender with some olive oil and vinegar, a dash of salt and pepper; then drizzle over the bites.
Summer has quickly arrived and it’s that time of year again to shed a few pounds and hit the beach. I’ve decided to muster up some will power and started experimenting with a low carb diet with grand visions of lazy days on the beach in that bikini I need to fit back into. The bad news is whenever I decide to go on a diet, my brain automatically starts thinking about all the evil foods I CAN’T eat – pizza being one of the first things I start craving.
I decided to make a low-carb pizza using a parmesan garlic cauliflower crust. It sounds weird, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and a great substitute for traditional pizza dough when you want a healthier option to cut some carbs out of your diet (while satisfying your cravings for pizza which are absolutely NOT allowed when you’re doing low carb!) I’m absolutely in LOVE with spinach artichoke dip and thought I would make a lighter version mixed with some fresh ricotta, garlic, onion and parmesan cheese to top the pizza.
I found a gorgeous head of bright yellow Carnival cauliflower and simply shredded and chopped it into a fine crumble (you can also do this in a food processor or blender). Then I chopped up some garlic and threw them both in the microwave for about 8 minutes, then drained and let cool.
You simply need to mix in some grated parmesan cheese (or any other shredded cheese you like), an egg, garlic, dried minced onion, herbs de Provence (or dried oregano or basil), a few sesame or chia seeds (optional), some yeast, almond flour and sea salt and black pepper. Then pat the mixture on to a greased pizza sheet or Silpat mat, then bake for about 10-15 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown.
In the meantime, to make the luscious (and healthy) spinach, artichoke and ricotta topping – simply sauté the spinach with some garlic and olive oil, mix in some chopped up artichoke hearts (precooked), fresh minced garlic, ricotta cheese and shredded parmesan cheese, then top the pizza crust spreading the mixture in an even layer. Top with some additional shredded cheese (I used sharp white cheddar but you can use mozzarella or Monterey jack or any other cheese you like that melts well), and then scoop some light and fluffy ricotta cheese on top of the mixture and bake for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly.
In my experiment I found that you shouldn’t spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.
Also, let the pizza cool for about 5 minutes or so before slicing it. Top with additional salt and pepper, red pepper flakes if desired, and grated parmesan cheese.
Preheat the oven to 425. Prepare the cauliflower crust ingredients and pat down on a greased pizza pan.
Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to get golden brown around the edges.
Top pizza crust with spinach artichoke mixture, shredded cheese and ricotta. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Let pizza cool down for 5-10 minutes and cut into slices.
Garnish with additional salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
½ teaspoon herbs de provence (or dried basil or oregano)
½ teaspoon dried minced onion
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425.
Grease a 9-10” round pizza pan or place Silpat mat on a rectangular baking sheet.
Shred and chop cauliflower into fine crumbles (either by hand with a large Chef’s knife or with a food processor).
Mince the garlic and add to the cauliflower in a microwave-safe large bowl.
Microwave covered with plastic wrap for about 7-8 minutes.
Uncover, drain and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Add the next nine ingredients and mix together well.
Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove the crust from oven and set aside.
In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.
1 package frozen artichokes, defrosted (or 1-14 oz can, drained)
1-15 oz container ricotta cheese, divided in half
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup white cheddar cheese (can sub Monterey jack or mozzarella), shredded
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.
Place the spinach in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 8 minutes on HIGH.
Mince the shallots and garlic cloves and drain the spinach (pressing out extra liquids).
Add one tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the spinach for another few minutes, mixing all ingredients together. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Microwave the artichokes in a large microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on HIGH and drain. (if using canned artichokes, simply drain).
Chop the artichokes up into small pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
Add half of the container of ricotta cheese, 1 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and mix well.
Stir in the spinach, shallots and garlic mixture.
Drizzle or spray some olive oil lightly on to the parbaked cauliflower pizza crust.
Spread the spinach, artichoke and ricotta mixture evenly over the crust.
Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes and scoop out a few large tablespoons of ricotta cheese and place on top of the pizza.
Bake at 425 degrees for another 7-10 minutes until the cheeses are melted and bubbly and the crust edges are light golden brown. (Watch crust edges to make sure they don't burn).
Remove pizza from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Slice into wedges (or squares if making rectangular pizza) and top with additional red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
In my experiment I found that you shouldn't spread the pizza crust out on the pan too thin, as it is more fragile than a traditional dough crust and needs to be a bit thick to hold up the ingredients. So try to keep the crust about ¾” to 1 inch thick evenly all around to the edges or it will burn.
There’s no better time than Memorial Day weekend to break out the grill and cook up some tasty BBQ to celebrate the beginning of Summer! I had the opportunity to create some recipes with Stoli Vodka for the holiday and decided to make Grilled Honey Orange Chicken Skewers with a Cucumber Orange Cilantro Salsa – a savory and light dish with tons of flavor and a hit of refreshment from the oranges and cucumbers. I used Stoli Ohranj (Orange flavor) and Stoli Sticki (Honey flavor) in both the chicken marinade and my delicious Honey Orange Blossom Cocktails.
The cocktails are made with a shot of each Stoli vodka flavor, honey, orange blossom water, vanilla extract, and organic lemon infused sparkling spring water, garnished with fresh orange slices and edible flowers. It’s light and refreshing with just a dash of honey and orange to cool your palette. It reminds me of a Creamsicle (remember those??) – the perfect treat for a hot Summer day.
I hope you enjoy the recipes and have an amazing Memorial Day weekend with family and friends..as for me, I’m hitting the beach for a dose of sunshine and R&R!
Please do not share or use images without my expressed permission. If you want to share this post on social media, feel free, as long as you credit the story and recipes and photos to Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet and provide a link back to the original story on my website. Thanks!
If you haven’t tried Moroccan Harissa before, listen up. It’s a lovely pepper sauce blend made with chili peppers, bell peppers, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt. That’s it. And it’s totally delicious.
Harissa is a staple of Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine, and it is the central condiment in kitchens in North Africa used as a spread, a dip or drizzled on top of nearly any dish. Versatile as it is, you can pair it with lamb or pork, fish, chicken or beef as a marinade or base for a Moroccan tagine dish. Drizzle some over couscous and grilled vegetables, or use it as a dressing for potatoes or dip some grilled flatbread or pita in it.
I first tried Mina Harissa Pepper Sauce last year when I met owner and creator Mina from Casablanca Foods at the Just Food Conference, and fell in love. They were giving away samples of their red pepper Harissa sauce that came in three different styles (Mild, Medium and Spicy). It had just the right amount of heat, and tons of flavor from the chilies,bellpeppers and garlic.
They now have a new flavor made with green chilies and green peppers that is equally delicious with a medium spicy heat and tangy flavor. I was lucky enough to sample some of this new green goodness sauce and created a tasty, fun recipe to go with it – Spiced Moroccan Burgers with Green Harissa, Feta and Mint over Grilled Pita. The burgers are mildly spiced with cumin, ancho chile, onion, garlic and mint, then served over grilled pita and topped with the green harissa sauce, crumbly fresh feta, chopped fresh mint and sun dried tomatoes. They’re super easy to make, and super flavorful with the delicious blend of spices, fresh herbs and ingredients. Enjoy!
Spiced Moroccan Burgers with Green Harissa, Feta and Mint
SPICED MOROCCAN BURGERS
1 pound ground beef or lamb
3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup mint, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons garlic herb infused oil, for basting
1/2 cup Mina Harissa Green Harissa Pepper Sauce
2-4 sun dried tomatoes, for garnish
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped for garnish
Dash of smoked paprika, for garnish
GRILLED PITA BREAD
2-4 pieces of pita or flatbread
1-2 tablespoon garlic herb infused oil
Sea Salt, for garnish
Smoked paprika, for garnish
Preheat a grill pan over medium high heat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef or lamb with the next 8 ingredients (through minced garlic).
Gently knead the meat mixture together until ingredients are combined, and make 4-6 burger patties in the shape of an oval, brush burger patties with herb infused oil and set aside.
To make the grilled pita bread: drizzle a tablespoon of herb infused oil on to both sides of the pitas and grill for a few minutes on each side until lightly browned and grill marks appear. Cook each pita separately (depending on the size of your grill pan).
Remove pita from pan and sprinkle with sea salt and smoked paprika, cover with foil to keep warm while burgers are cooking.
Add the burger patties to the heated grill pan, and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side (for medium) until grill marks appear and they are cooked according to your liking.
To serve, place a piece of pita bread on each plate (either whole or broken into two pieces) and place burgers on top of the pita (or in the pita if you prefer).
Top burgers with sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, green harissa sauce, fresh chopped mint, a dash of smoked paprika, additional salt and pepper if desired, to taste.
This is an amazing dish that is popular in my hometown in Upstate Rochester, NY. The Italian-American immigrants first introduced this dish in NYC and then migrated Upstate. The recipe stems from the French Veal Francaise or Chicken Francaise dish, which uses lightly-floured thin veal or chicken cutlets, which are then coated with a parsley-parmesan cheese-egg mixture and sauteed until golden brown. The luscious sauce is made with garlic, butter, lemon, white wine or sherry, and parsley which is served over the top of the golden brown chicken. I decided to serve this with steamed broccolini, a Chinese broccoli that is similar to Broccoli Rabe, and topped it with the lemon butter sauce and an extra splash of fresh lemon juice for a light and healthy dinner.
This dish has a lovely tangy and buttery flavor with the lemon, wine and garlic, and the flour coating is super light as I made it with an ultra-fine flour (Wegman’s Pan-Searing Flour) or you could use Wondra, then seasoned it with salt and pepper and a hint of cayenne. If you want to use sherry instead of a white wine, this will give you a sweeter flavor to the sauce. I made my sauce with a Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is light and fruity and gives it a nice semi-sweet tangy flavor.
Serve the chicken and broccolini with some crusty french bread or some pasta (with more lemon-butter sauce, parmesan cheese and parsley over the top!) and a glass of white wine. Enjoy!
Mince the parsley for the egg, cheese and parsley mix.
Prep the wet and dry ingredients to dip the chicken in (flour first, egg-cheese-parsley mixture second).
Saute the chicken in olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat for approx. 6 minutes on one side.
Flip chicken over and saute another 6 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside, covered in a foil tent.
Saute minced garlic for 1-2 minutes.
Add wine, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.
Add broth and lemon juice and let cook for approx. 5-7 minutes to reduce liquid by half. Stir in cold butter and red pepper flakes.
Return chicken to the pan and bring to a boil, simmering for another 5-10 minutes to let liquid reduce further and infuse flavors in the chicken. Throw in some extra chopped parsley. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Insert steamer basket with broccolini and steam covered for about 5 minutes.
Remove cover and let cook over boiling water for another 5 minutes or so, until broccolini is fork tender but still bright green.
Plate the chicken and broccolini and spoon the lemon-wine-garlic butter sauce over the top of both. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.
Enjoy with a glass of white wine and some crusty Italian bread or pasta (with some of that luscious buttery-lemon-wine sauce over the top).
This is an amazing dish that is popular in my hometown in Upstate Rochester, NY. The Italian-American immigrants first introduced this dish in NYC and then migrated Upstate. The recipe stems from the French Veal Francaise or Chicken Francaise dish, which uses lightly-floured thin veal or chicken cutlets, which are then coated with a parsley-parmesan cheese-egg mixture and sauteed until golden brown.
The luscious sauce is made with garlic, butter, lemon, white wine or sherry, and parsley which is served over the top of the golden brown chicken. I decided to serve this with steamed broccolini, a Chinese broccoli that is similar to Broccoli Rabe, and then topped it with the lemon butter sauce for a fresh and healthy Sunday dinner. It has a lovely tangy and buttery flavor with the lemon, wine and garlic, and the coating is super light as I made it with an ultra-fine flour (Wegman's Pan-Searing Flour) or you could use Wondra, or a regular flour then season it with salt and pepper and a hint of cayenne.
If you want to use sherry instead of a white wine, this will also give you a sweeter flavor to the sauce. I made this with a Marlborough New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc which is light and fruity and gives it a nice semi-sweet tangy flavor.
1/4 cup olive oil/canola oil blend for sauteing (I used Colavita Garlic Oil Blend)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1/2 cup of superfine flour (Pan Searing flour or Wondra)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup white wine or sherry
1 cup chicken broth
Juice from 1 1/2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
Lemon wedges, for garnish
1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed
Heat oil in a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, cheese, salt and pepper, cayenne and fresh parsley in a large mixing bowl.
Place flour in another flat bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts, then dredge each one in flour first (left hand), then egg mixture (right hand).
Place chicken into the heated saute pan and cook for 6 minutes on one side. Flip chicken over and saute for another 6 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from pan and set aside, covered with a foil tent.
In the same skillet, saute the minced garlic for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
Add the wine and bring liquid to a boil over high heat, scraping up the brown bits in the pan.
Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice and red pepper flakes (if using) and let reduce by half, another 5-7 minutes.
Stir in the butter and whisk until it melts.
Add chicken back into the pan with the sauce and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.
Place chicken on serving plate with the steamed broccolini and spoon lemon butter sauce over the top of both.
Garnish with lemon wedges and additional chopped parsley if desired.
Steam broccolini for about 5 minutes, covered. Remove lid and steam for another 5 minutes until fork tender but still bright green.
Top broccolini with Lemon Butter sauce, additional lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
This dish is a special treat I created for a recent audition for a new cooking show for ABC – I decided to create a dish that would not only impress the food judges and producers but also one featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients and irresistible to the tastebuds! Fresh Pan-seared Scallops served in a Leek and Thyme Wine Cream sauce with a side of Orzo (a small rice-shaped pasta) made with Meyer lemon-infused oil, lemon zest, and leeks. Sauteed Zucchini and Summer Squash is a perfect accompaniment to the scallops and orzo; made with garlic, olive oil, herbs de Provence, and a touch of butter, topped with some Himalayan pink onion sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks and saute for about 5 minutes until soft.
Add orzo, broth, wine, thyme, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper to taste; mix ingredients together and bring to a boil. Cover and immediately reduce to a simmer on low heat.
Cook orzo for about 15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and stir ingredients together. Pasta should be al dente and will be an opaque color when done. (Read the package directions if adjusting quantity to ensure cooking time is correct).
Set aside, covered, and keep warm. Serve with the Pan-seared Scallops and Leek-Thyme Wine Cream Sauce and Sauteed Zucchini Squash.
Pan-Seared Scallops in Leek & Thyme Wine Cream Sauce
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 leek, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 cup half and half
1 pound jumbo sea scallops
Kosher or Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
Saute garlic and leeks in olive oil over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn garlic.
Add the wine, chicken broth, parsley and thyme, raise the heat to medium-high and let the liquid thicken and reduce to about half, stirring often (cook about 5-7 minutes until you get desired thickness).
Stir in the cream, reduce heat to low and let simmer for another minute or so, mixing the sauce well.
Rinse sea scallops and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in a cast iron saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the scallops for about 3 minutes on each side, until a golden brown crust forms and scallops are no longer pink (do not turn scallops until each side is done).
Serve scallops with the Leek and Thyme Wine Cream Sauce garnished with some extra parsley and thyme with the Lemon-Leek Orzo and Sauteed Zucchini (recipes follow). A crisp white wine such as a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc is the recommended pairing for this dish.
Summer is my favorite time of year – family picnics, outdoor BBQs, trips to the park or lake, birthday and graduation parties and alfresco dining on the back patio. On a recent trip home to visit my family, I found a treasured recipe book of my Grandmother’s family recipes that I grew up with and I couldn’t resist sharing some of them with you.
I found a few classic summer side salads that are perfect for an outdoor picnic or BBQ – fresh, tasty and most of all they remind me of home when my family made these for our own Summer parties gathered around the table. In fact, the Broccoli Salad was such a hit that it made it to TWO parties in one week! Enjoy. (and stay tuned for future posts with more of my Grandma’s recipes!)
Cut raw broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Cook bacon until crisp and crumble. Add onion and raisins. Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together and add to other ingredients. Garnish with sunflower seeds. Must be made the night before. Stir occasionally to blend flavors.
Note: Peel broccoli stalks and then cut into thin slices and add to the other mixture. Dressing may seem dry but don't add extra as it will get mushy from moisture in the broccoli while marinating.
Cook macaroni. Cut provolone, salami, and pepperoni into small bite size pieces. Slice olives. Cut tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Chop onion, pepper and celery. Combine all ingredients, toss and chill overnight. Add provolone cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan, basil or oregano leaves just before serving and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6-8 medium Salt or Red Potatoes, skin on and cut into halves or wedges.
1 can drained green beans
1 sliced large red or vidalia onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
Sliced green onions, for garnish
Boil potatoes in salted water and drain, cool and set aside. Cut cooled potatoes into halves or wedges and add green beans and onion. Drizzle mixture with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a small amount of balsamic vinegar, to taste. Add salt and pepper, oregano or Italian seasoning, and blend well into the salad. Let salad marinate in the refrigerator and serve room temperature garnished with green onions.
I found a delicious recipe for a Grapefruit, Avocado and Fennel Salad that I had to make – it’s a fresh combination of healthy grapefruit, avocados and fennel with a light, tangy Asian Citrus dressing made with fruit juice, honey, olive and sesame oil and a little bit of onion and mustard. The original recipe called for a pound of fennel, but I switched it up by adding sliced celery and fresh salad mix (any lettuce will do but I used an Italian Romaine, green leaf and cabbage mix). I also added some some fresh grapefruit juice into the dressing and topped the salad with some sliced toasted almonds for some nutty flavor and crunch. You could also throw in some sesame seeds or sunflower seeds which would be great too. The original recipe called for twice the amount of dressing which I cut in half, and I recommend tossing the dressing on at the end instead of all together with the salad, to avoid any mushiness and to keep the veggies fresh and crunchy. If you want to double the dressing recipe below, use half of it as a marinade for some grilled chicken or shrimp and toss either of those into the salad for a full meal. Light, tangy, refreshing and delicious! Perfect summer salad – enjoy.
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 large pink grapefruits, sectioned
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut into paper-thin slices
2 celery stalks, cut into thin slices
1 large avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, cut into thin slices
1 bag of fresh salad mix
1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
To make the dressing: whisk together all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
To make the salad: cut the grapefruits in half, and cut around the edge and in between the pith, peel and cut out the wedges, removing all pith and peel. Trim the top and bottom off of the fennel bulb, remove the core and cut into paper thin slices. Cut celery into thin slices. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Cut thin slices and remove the outer skin.
Toss salad mix into a large salad bowl, and add grapefruit wedges, fennel and celery slices and add dressing, tossing to coat. Top the salad with avocado slices and sliced toasted almonds and salt and pepper to taste.
Summer is the time of year where all I want to do is flee to the ocean, bask in some sunshine and eat some really good seafood. With July 4th approaching us, my photographer friend and partner Maike Paul decided we wanted to do a test shoot together and make some crazy good Lobster Rolls and a July 4th Feast.
We picked up a fresh lobster at a local seafood market in Brooklyn (who we named Lobster Louie) and he accompanied us as we walked around Williamsburg searching for a big steam pot and some fresh ingredients and props to make our succulent Lobster Rolls. We picked up some fresh corn on the cob, scallions, chives, celery, and lemons, some crunchy Kettle chips, Corona and limes, heirloom tomatoes and lettuce to make a salad to accompany our feast.
Lobster Rolls are fairly easy to make – and if you’re squeamish like I am, you might want to get a helper to cook the lobster in the steam pot (we recruited Maike’s boyfriend). One tip I recommend is to put the whole lobster in the freezer for about 15 minutes before boiling it as it makes the lobster “sleepy” – it’s a more humane way to cook a live lobster and you’ll feel less guilty, I promise. You can also use frozen lobster if you just don’t want to deal with the complication and doom all together!
Lobster Rolls & July 4 Feast
We brushed some light butter on the hot dog buns and put them in a grill pan for a few minutes to make them toasty and browned. New England-style buns are the best, but if you can’t find them, regular top-split buns are fine.
To make the corn on the cob, boil it first for about 10 minutes to soften it and then brush the corn with some butter and throw them in a grill pan or a charcoal grill to get some nice grill marks and then top it off with some sea salt and Old Bay Seasoning or paprika for some extra savory flavor. Make a fresh green salad with heirloom tomatoes and a light lemon vinaigrette to accompany along with some crunchy BBQ Kettle Chips and a cold, refreshing Corona with lime. Now that’s a July 4 feast to remember! Enjoy.
1/8 cup fresh chives, thinly sliced (plus more for garnish)
1/4 cup fresh green onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. (4 cups) cooked lobster meat
6 hot dog rolls, New England-style or split-top rolls
4-6 fresh corn on the cob, husked
butter, for basting corn and hot dog rolls
4-6 small heirloom tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 head green leaf lettuce
2-3 tablespoons lemon vinaigrette dressing, for salad
2-3 limes, for Corona
Bring a large steam pot full of water to a rolling boil and prep all fresh ingredients. Boil lobster for about 10-12 minutes and let cool for another 10 minutes.
Remove the lobster claws and the tail and split open the shell to remove fresh cooked lobster, and cut up the lobster meat into large chunks and remove residue by rinsing under cold water.
In a large bowl, add the lobster meat and stir in celery, mayonnaise, water, chives, green onions, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper, Old Bay seasoning or paprika. Season to taste with more lemon, paprika, salt, and pepper if desired. Garnish with additional chopped chives.
Boil the corn on the cob for about 10 minutes until soft. Brush with butter and grill in a grill pan for about 5 more minutes until grill marks appear. Sprinkle with sea salt and Old Bay seasoning or paprika.
Brush the hot dog rolls lightly with butter, and grill in a grill pan over medium-high until they get browned and toasty. Serve the lobster salad in toasted buns with the corn on the cob and a fresh green salad with heirloom tomatoes and a light lemon vinaigrette dressing and fresh ground black pepper.
Serve with a bowl of crunchy BBQ Kettle chips and a Corona with lime or crisp Sauvignon Blanc white wine.
If using a whole live lobster, put in the freezer for 15 minutes before boiling - this is a more humane way of cooking the lobster. You can also use frozen lobster tails if you desire equalling 4 cups to make this recipe. An alternative to the mayo-based lobster salad is to toss the fresh cooked lobster in some butter with fresh tarragon and salt and pepper (Connecticut-style)!
OK folks – listen up. It’s that time of year again where Summer is coming, the sun is shining and we need to fit into that teeny bikini again… With Memorial Day approaching and sunny days on the boat, beach and lake ahead, I whipped up this recipe for a refreshingly light crab salad to get myself ready for the weekend. Chock full of fresh crab, lemon, veggies and tasty herbs and seasonings, you’ll love this healthy salad made with a low-fat dressing of grapeseed oil, white wine vinegar, lemon and a hint of low-fat/low-calorie mayonnaise. It’s full of flavor, vitamins, and protein, and so light it won’t touch your waistline.
If you aren’t into crab meat then switch it up and make this with tuna, shrimp or shredded chicken. Serve the salad over large lettuce leaves with some slices of fresh avocado and lemon wedges on salad greens and hit the beach while rockin’ that bikini! If you want to make a sandwich try it on a whole wheat pita or low carb tortilla wrap to keep light! Enjoy!
1 lb cooked lump crab meat (can also sub tuna, shrimp or chicken)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
lemon juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 orange or red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup red onion, diced fine
1/2 cup cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked white pepper
1/2 teaspoon Jane’s Krazy Salt (or any seasoned salt you have)
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
1 small red or green chile, diced fine (optional)
3 tablespoons light/low cal mayonnaise
Garnish: salad greens, sliced avocado, lemon wedges
Mix cooked crab meat with oil and vinegar and lemon juice, stir well and break up crab meat into flaky pieces. Add diced celery, orange or red pepper, onion, cucumber, cilantro, salt, pepper, crazy salt, chile flakes, green chiles and mayonnaise. Cover well and place salad in the refrigerator for an hour to chill and let the flavors meld. Serve over mixed greens with slices of avocado and fresh lemon wedges.
The temperatures are rising and the sun is shining which means one thing – Spring is finally here. For me, that means lighter flavors, fresh herbs, fruits and veggies from the farmers market, and seafood, seafood, seafood.
My photographer friend, Maike Paul and I decided to partner up together and shoot a pasta dish together in her studio. I made a lovely Sauteed Shrimp Fettucine in Lemon Butter Sauce that was fresh, light and fairly simple to make (not to mention absolutely scrumptious!) I found some fresh, succulent jumbo shrimp and sautéed them in butter and olive oil with garlic, making a bright, velvety lemon butter sauce by adding lemon juice, lemon zest, and some white wine. I added a little extra butter into the sauce, threw in a few scallions and fresh garlic, and topped it off with some fresh parsley and a pinch of cayenne and red pepper flakes to give it some extra flavor and kick. If you want to make the sauteed shrimp and skip the pasta for a lighter dish, go for it – it’s totally amazing on it’s own or with a salad and some crusty bread (and a glass of white wine to accompany, of course!) Enjoy.
Sauteed Shrimp Fettucine in Lemon Butter Sauce
1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sauce
3/4 pound fettucine (or linguine, angel hair, spaghetti)
4 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound jumbo shrimp (about 12 jumbo or 16 large shrimp), peeled and deveined, tails intact
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 large scallions, sliced
1/2 lemon, zest grated for sauce plus extra for garnish
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
pinch of cayenne
Garnish: parsley, lemon zest, red pepper, salt and pepper
Drizzle the vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.
Prep all ingredients (chop garlic, parsley, green onions, zest and halve the lemons and squeeze juice, measure out oil, lemon juice, wine, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes).
Sauteed Shrimp in Lemon Butter Sauce
Melt butter and olive oil in another large pan over medium-low heat and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the shrimp, salt, and pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add parsley, lemon zest, wine, lemon juice, lemon slices, scallions and red pepper flakes; cook for 1-2 additional minutes. Stir and remove from heat.
When the pasta is done, drain the cooked pasta and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve with additional chopped fresh parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste, cayenne and red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve with a glass of white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc) and a green salad or crusty bread.
Adapted from Linguine with Shrimp Scampi by Ina Garten, Food Network
Peaches. There’s something so satisfying about biting into the sweet, juicy flesh that quenches the thirst for a cool and refreshing treat in the summertime.
Even the perfectly round shape, bright peachy red and fuzzy exterior gives it a heavenly appeal.
Peach Still Life
Almost too pretty to eat.
Peach, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Salad
This recipe pairs white peaches with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella in a tangy sweet vinaigrette. It’s refreshing and light and the salty prosciutto paired with the cool, mild mozzarella and sweet peaches is a combination to die for. You can also substitute the mozzarella with Ricotta Salata (fresh ricotta) or Feta Cheese, and add some sliced or slivered almonds for crunch if you like. Serve this salad with some crusty bread and a glass of white wine – perfect for a lunch or dinner side salad with an Italian dish.
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 head leafy green lettuce
2 large white peaches, sliced into wedges
½ red onion, sliced paper thin
3-4 slices prosciutto, sliced thin and torn into pieces
3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded into pieces
Combine lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Gradually drizzle in olive oil, stirring constantly, until vinaigrette is mixed thoroughly and doesn’t separate.
Combine lettuce and peach wedges in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss to coat.
Arrange salad on serving dish or in individual bowls and top with prosciutto, red onion and mozzarella cheese. Top with freshly cracked black pepper.
Summertime always remind me of home – when the sun is shining, a warm breeze is in the air, locusts are humming and all the flowers, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are in full bloom. There’s a small local farmer’s market up in Webster, NY not far from where I grew up that I used to visit with my Mom as a kid. We would buy fresh apple cider and donuts, pumpkins for Halloween and fresh corn and melons for our summer picnics. This year I went home to visit for Fourth of July weekend, and my Mom and I visited once again to buy some fresh fruit and veggies for our holiday BBQ feast.
Herman’s Farm Market & Cider Mill
I was craving some juicy watermelon and strawberries and went on a mission. There’s nothing like that first bite of sweet, cool, bright pink flesh of melon and ruby red berries in the summertime.
This Watermelon and Strawberry Salad is a simple combination of fresh watermelon, strawberries and a few blueberries mixed in with a little bit of lemon juice, sugar and water to make a simple refreshing syrup to macerate the fruit. This is how we traditionally make the fruit salad but you can also toss the fruit in a citrus infused balsamic vinegar for a tangy contrast with the sweet fruit – a good friend of mine made this salad and used Tavern on the Green Citrus which has a blend of orange, tangerine and lime essence and is just as delicious!
Ripe Juicy Strawberries
I found a recipe for a French Potato Salad made with salt potatoes and fresh herbs, a lightened up version from the heavier mayonnaise-laden salads from our family picnics of the past.
It calls for salt (or new) potatoes (red or yellow), shallots, parsley and thyme tossed in an oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard base making it light and tangy.
Fresh parsley adds some green…and the sweet shallots mixed with thyme, dill and onions gives it nice fresh flavor. I added some dried dill (you could also use fresh) and a few chopped green onions for an extra dash of flavor - délicieux!
Fresh market grown. Simple, fast and delicious. And most of all homemade with love, and my Mom - just like the good old days.
French Herbed Potato Salad
French Herbed Potato Salad
2 lbs red or yellow salt potatoes, halved
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 c olive oil (light yellow, not extra virgin)
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp dried or fresh dill
1/4 small Vidalia onion, chopped fine
1-2 green onions, sliced
Place potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water covering potatoes by about an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Run under cold water to cool slightly, then drain.
While potatoes are cooking, whisk together oil, mustard, vinegar, shallot, parsley, thyme and dill in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add cooked potatoes and chopped onion and 1/2 of the green onions to the dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with additional green onions and parsley and serve at room temperature.
1/2 c sugar
1 c water
1/4 watermelon, cut into cubes
3 c strawberries, halved
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice garnish: fresh mint leaves (torn into small pieces) or microgreens
To make the simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, let simmer for about 5 minutes and cool.
Place watermelon, strawberries and blueberries in a large bowl and add the syrup, mixing well. Add a dash of lemon juice and garnish with mint or microgreens.
Summer is finally on it’s way and along with the warm weather and sunshine comes grilling season! For Memorial Day, my beau and I went to Brighton Beach and soaked up the sun, sand and waves on a gorgeous, relaxing day. We hit the fresh fish, fruit and vegetable markets to pick up some gorgeous iced shrimp and some fresh ground chicken, pineapples, onion, cilantro and broccoli slaw and headed home to Manhattan to stoke up the fires and make some awesome BBQ rooftop-style.
Aiming to keep it light, we decided to whip up my infamous Chicken Burgers with my secret recipe made with Dale’s Steak Seasoning (a delicious find I discovered when living in Atlanta and great on anything grilled!) made with soy sauce, garlic, paprika and ginger mixed with some other spices mixed into the ground chicken (garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and smoked paprika). We also made our signature Teriyaki Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs marinated in Tavern on the Green‘s tasty Golden Ginger Teriyaki Sauce with ingredients of soy sauce, lemon, red wine vinegar, ginger, honey, and spices with pineapple juice and let them marinade for up to an hour. For grilling, we smoked them up over some Mesquite flavored coals to give the Chicken and Shrimp a delicious charred, smoky flavor. To top it off, we enjoyed a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and some Broccoli Slaw and enjoyed our rooftop dinner watching the stars on a lovely, breezy summer night overlooking the East side of Manhattan. Happy Summer on it’s way!
Tasty Chicken Burgers
1 lb ground chicken (breast meat)
1 lb ground chicken (thigh meat)
1/2 tbsp garlic powder or 1 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp Dale’s Seasoning (can substitute soy sauce)
1 tbsp Paula Deen House Seasoning (can substitute garlic salt and pepper mix) 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup Japanese Panko bread crumbs
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2-3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
fresh ground and pepper to taste
4 cheese slices, Muenster or Monterey Jack
Mix all ingredients except the cheese together with the ground chicken and mix thoroughly with your fingers in a claw motion until mixed well. Place burgers in a baking dish and cover, let marinade in refrigerator for up to 1 hour. Preheat grill with Mesquite Charcoal. Form meat mixture into 10-12 patties and grill over med-high heat for 5-6 mins each side until no longer pink. Melt cheese slices over burgers last 5 mins of grilling, covering grill to melt cheese. Serve with broccoli slaw and garlic dill pickles.
Fresh Shrimp from the Market
Teriyaki Shrimp Kabobs
1.5 lb fresh Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 can pineapple chunks, or 1.5 cups fresh pineapple chunks
1/2 large red onion, cut into large chunks
Tavern on the Green Golden Ginger Teriyaki Sauce
1/2 cup Pineapple juice
In a large resealable plastic bag or plastic bowl, combine shrimp with Teriyaki Sesame Marinade and Pineapple juice; cover or seal and let marinate in the refrigerator for up to 2 hours.
Drain and discard marinade. On 8 metal or soaked bamboo skewers, alternately thread shrimp, pineapple and onion. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill kabobs, covered, over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side or until shrimp turn pink.
2 bags (3-ounce) Ramen Noodle Soup in Oriental
3/4 stick butter
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 bags (12-ounce) bags broccoli cole slaw (in the bagged salad section of the grocery store)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds Chopped green onions, for garnish
Put the ramen noodles in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin while melting butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally (keep temperature at low/medium heat). Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions.
Here are a few of my favorite things I am crushing on – some new and notable, and others just downright awesome and worthy of a shout out – people, places, things that are just absolutely THE BOMB.
If you’re looking for a magical place to wine and dine near NYC’s Theatre District, this is the place you must see and experience before or after a night on Broadway. Chez Josephine, owned by Jean-Claude Baker and Jarry Baker, is located on 42nd Street and 9th Avenue. This beautiful restaurant is in tribute to Jean-Claude’s mother (adopted) Josephine Baker, and a vivid return to 1920s and 1930s Paris – the city she loved and thrived in during her career as a premiere entertainer and stage and screen star. It’s a great place to relax with a cocktail and live music – the jazz piano and singers located in the center of the dining room will entertain you as you dine in this enchanting place. The decor is elegant and charming, with its ornate blue tin ceilings, red velvet walls, black glass chandeliers and life-sized vintage portraits of Ms. Baker throughout the restaurant. The French Bistro-style cuisine is delightful in every way with elegant cocktails, salads, entrees and desserts. On a recent visit I experienced a truly delicious and enchanting dinner here with a friend. We started out our meal with some lovely French Sauvignon/Semillon wine and an appetizer of Sauteed Jumbo Sea Scallops wrapped in crispy flavorful Prosciutto with a gorgeous sauce over the top. For our entrees, we ordered the Amish Roasted Chicken, over a bed of crushed zucchin, garlic and fresh goat cheese and their spectacular Lobster Salad. For dessert, we sampled the elegant Peach Raspberry Melba Ice Cream, Creme Brulee and Cappuccino before another cocktail to finish off the evening as we listened to the beautiful jazz music in the buzzing dining room. They also have a weekly Prix Fixe Sunday Brunch for $20 including a Soup or Salad for starters, a main Brunch item such as French Toast or Spaghetti Bolognese, and coffee or tea and a dessert. You don’t want to miss this place the next time you visit NYC. It will take you back in time and space to a beautiful early century Paris and envelop you with all the glitter and drama and beauty of Ms. Josephine Baker herself.
I recently visited this awesome Spanish restaurant in the West Village called Tio Pepe – and had an amazing meal there. We started out with some lovely Rioja wine and Stuffed Piquillo Peppers and Gambas al Ajillo — sauteed shrimp with garlic, olive oil, and Albarino wine for an appetizer, then had the Entrecote a la Parilla — grilled choice sirloin steak with garlic, olive oil and sea salt served with sauteed julienned vegetables and a potato cake; and Paella Valenciana — Saffron laced Bomba rice with clams, mussels, shrimp, chicken, and chorizo for our entree. For dessert, we had the luscious Flan al Caramelo — a traditional Spanish custard topped in caramel sauce to finish off our meal. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!
It’s in a gorgeous elegant space, with a back sun-lit patio area with a wood burning oven where they make their own pizzas and other main dishes on the menu, including the Paella. Tio Pepe is the only restaurant in New York – and one of the only in the US – to use this type of wood burning oven when preparing traditional Spanish fare. The oven was installed this year as a new addition to Tio Pepe, a cornerstone of the West Village for 44 years. Chef Jose Zamora joined Tio Pepe as part of the restaurants commitment to authentic Spanish cuisine.
The owners of Tio Pepe are Jimmy Sanz and his family. Originally from Spain, the Sanz and has been serving NY locals and tourists traditional Spanish and Mexican cuisine for over four decades at their stable of NY restaurants including: Tio Pepe, Casa Pepe,Las Ramblas, Burrito Loco, The Taco Shop and Da Rosina. Chef Jose Zamora is a native of Tarragona, Spain. He began his career working at a family friend’s restaurant. He received two culinary degrees, one from Le Cordon Bleu in the U.S. and one from the Institution Culinario de Cambrils in Spain. His cooking is inspired by both Spanish and French cuisine. He is devoted to using the best ingredients and implementing a simplistic stylist technique with dynamic presentation. As the new executive chef at Tio Pepe, his goal is to provide memorable dining experiences through passionately created culinary dishes.
There’s tons of cool hotels in New York City – but I recently discovered one that is not only super cool but gorgeous inside with its modern design and rooftop patio deck outside.
YOTEL New Yorkcollaborated with NYC-based custom bike company Mott Street Cycles Customs (formerly STRADA Customs) in honor of Bike Month in May. I got to preview these cool cruisers at the YOTEL X MSC: The YOTEL Cruiser Launch Event earlier this month for cocktails & light bites from China Grill Management’s brand new menus for this season at The Terrace at YOTEL New York. They had a live DJ and raffles to to win an MSC Customs bike while we sipped cocktails on the roofdeck.
The YOTEL x MSC Customs partnership provides a fun and eco-friendly experience that is integral to the New York City lifestyle and offers hotel guests specially designed bikes to use as a complimentary amenity throughout their stay. The 2014 fleet of bikes feature three color variations – purple, green and white –along with the YOTEL logo, hand-painted wood grain fenders, leather grips and leather saddles, creating a distinct look exclusive to YOTEL and brand new for this year. Guests can book their bike reservation through the concierge desk who will direct them to Bike and Rollat Pier 84, along 12th Avenue to pick up their custom cruisers.
Mouth is a really cool online foodie store, but it’s not your average online shop, it’s only indie food by indie artisan food producers and everything is handmade, small batch, and made in the USA. Mouth curates and hunts down the coolest new indie products on the market and then curates all these goodies into cool gift packages based on a holiday, occasion, or gift ideas such as: Birthday in a Bag, Breakfast in Bed, Bring Home the Bacon,Bee Happy Taster, or Brooklyn Taster, just to name a few. Maple Bourbon Bread and Butter Pickles, an endless array of honeys and jams, cheese, chocolate, sea salts, salami, cookbooks, herbs and spices, jerky, caramels, condiments, and the list goes on and on. This is a foodie’s dream come to true, and their site makes it super easy to search for and buy super cool gourmet artisan food to your favorite foodie friends and family. I could just shop here all day long.
Bacardi just released nationwide the newest addition to its flavored rum family: Bacardi Mango Fusion. The new flavored rum fuses refreshing juicy mango and orange flavors and can be consumed as a shot or mixed with fruit juices, lemon-lime soda, or sweet-and-sour mix as a cocktail. It has a light, crisp flavor profile and is perfect mixed with OJ, or angostura bitters, or with Bacardi Coconut Rum and a splash of grenadine. Check out some of their new Cocktail Recipes!
If you haven’t tried a SmashBurger yet, well, you need to. They just opened a new location in NYC near the Empire State Building, and I was able to attend their Grand Opening not too long ago where they gave out free burgers all day long to New Yorkers to sample their goods. Their handcrafted burgers are smashed, seared and seasoned to order, using our fresh, never frozen 100% Certified Angus Beef. They have tons of amazing sides to go with of course, I tried the Signature Smashfries which are hand-tossed with garlic, rosemary and olive oil – and absolutely DELICIOUS. They also have fun menu items like hand-breaded haystack onions and fried pickles, hand-spun shakes, grilled or crispy chicken sandwiches, split and grilled hot dogs, crisp entrée salads and black bean veggie burgers with tons of fresh toppings including Truffle Mushroom, Avocado, and Spicy Jalapeno. This is no ordinary burger joint – it’s outta control super good.
Maia is more than just delicious Less-Sweet Non-Fat & Low-Fat yogurt. It is packed with 25+ Billion strands of live active probiotic bacteria, Prebiotic Fiber, Protein, and all the other goodies you need to empower health & wellness. Maia’s grass-fed milk comes from local dairy farmers (never giving their cows hormones) so every cup is fresher and friendlier to the environment. Maia is Gluten-Free too! They have eight delicious flavors: Plain, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, Raspberry Lime, Peach, Pineapple and Pomegranate Cherry. This Greek yogurt is rich and creamy and perfect for making Fruit and Granola parfaits, topping Quesadillas, or making a delicious low fat yogurt dip for crackers and fresh veggies. Delicious! Click here to see what all the buzz is about!
First we had donuts, then we had croissants, then we had cronuts. Well here;s the coolest new food fad by a place in Chicago called Waffles Cafe who’s created the WONUT. A cross between a waffle and a donut – these babies are made with a thick waffle batter in either chocolate, vanilla or red velvet. Then they are poured into an iron press and then deep-fried until they are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Then the fun begins – they are glazed and topped with all kinds of gorgeous toppings – chocolate, sugar, maple, sprinkles, pistachios, cocoa, granola, dried fruits, marshmallow, chopped nuts, you name it. These sweet treats are selling for $2.35 a piece and yes, they’ve been selling like hotcakes since they invented these gorgeous things. I’m sure it won’t be long before they hit the streets of NYC. At least I’m hoping. Otherwise, it’s a great excuse to take a roadtrip to Chicago for one for these delightful creations.
a thicker version of their signature waffle batter. Red velvet, vanilla and chocolate batter get poured into the iron press and cooked to the perfect crunchy-on-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside texture. Next, the wonuts are dipped and fried in vegetable shortening, then covered in gobs of marshmallow, glaze and sprinkles.
Read more at http://www.foodbeast.com/2014/04/24/wonuts-waffle-donuts/#PhUiKMfIQYRxoMXA.99
a thicker version of their signature waffle batter. Red velvet, vanilla and chocolate batter get poured into the iron press and cooked to the perfect crunchy-on-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside texture. Next, the wonuts are dipped and fried in vegetable shortening, then covered in gobs of marshmallow, glaze and sprinkles.
Read more at http://www.foodbeast.com/2014/04/24/wonuts-waffle-donuts/#PhUiKMfIQYRxoMXA.99
This is a groovy little place I stumbled upon in the East Village one night when I was looking for a quick bite and a cocktail. It’s cozy, busy (in a good way), and the moody lighting and delicious wafts of the food will draw you in – just grab a seat at the bar and be prepared to swoon over their awesome menu of Southern comfort food and cocktails. Must try the fresh baked homemade pretzels with beer cheese, the redhead buttermilk fried chicken over creamy grits, with a soy-molasses jus, sesame, ham, b&b pickles. Other favorites are the cheeseburger with homemade waffle chips, the homemade bacon peanut brittle, stout braised short ribs, and the brussels sprouts seared in duck fat, wine and apples are to DIE FOR. And you can’t leave this place without trying their signature cocktail -the redhead fizz made with orange vodka, elderflower cordial, fresh lemon juice. This has to be one of my favorite finds yet.
Bocca Di Bacco is an Italian restaurant with six locations in NYC, their newest one opening on the Upper West Side on W 85th Street. It’s a favorite spot for celebrities, tourist and native New Yorkers and they are famous for their Sunday Brunch. Their top-notch Italian cuisine is designed by Food Network Judge Chef Kristin Sollenne, and they also have an excellent wine selection with 500 of the best wines from renowned Italian wineries. I recently went to the 7th Ave & 21st street location for dinner and sampled the Eggplant Involtini, made with fresh buffalo ricotta, fresh eggplant and mint served in a gorgeous red sauce. For dinner my friend and I had the Braised Short Ribs over Stewed Cabbage and the Roasted Pork Chops with Rosemary Potatoes. We finished off our lovely meal with a boozy dessert made with Prosecco, Mango Puree and Whipped Egg Whites topped with a sprinkling of ground espresso. Delicioso!
I recently got invited to the Annual Pie PartyGEPotluck with a group of food professionals from NYC, NJ and PA, and in order to attend you had to be a food professional and of course, bring a unique and delicious pie. Tickets to this awesome event were a hot commodity and sold out as always, so thanks to Harvard Common Press for releasing an extra ticket last minute me! I knew everyone would probably bring an array of sweet, and gooey pies and tarts – enough to make you swoon and pass out from a sugar coma.
I’m not really a huge sweets person so I decided to make a savory Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie with Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs, which is really more like a tart or quiche, just to switch it up and bring something different to the party.
Plus we got some great swag bags full of goodies from our generous sponsors to take home with us to enjoy all the leftover pie for the next week.
Pie pans from Anolon, gorgeous knives from Wusthof, measuring spoons and a strawberry huller from OXO, a take home container by Snapware, a gorgeous Aussie Beef Pie from Dub Pies, mini Jarlsberg cheese and lots of beautiful creamy butter from Kerrygold USA.
All hail to the pie makers!
Now back to my pie. This is one of my favorite recipes ever. It has a delicious buttery crust with a savory filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch. It’s kind of like a big cheesy potato casserole you’d make for Thanksgiving dinner except it’s a pie. And who doesn’t love a good homemade fresh pie right out of the oven? I advise making two, though, (just double the pie filling recipe below) because this one will get snatched up quicker than you can grab your fork and say “pie”.
The pie has a delicious buttery crust with a handmade dough and a hearty filling of thinly sliced potatoes, crispy bacon, Gruyere cheese, sage, shallots and garlic, with a touch of cream and crème fraiche inside to make it extra creamy and give a nice sauce to envelop all those delicious potatoes. It’s then baked into a golden brown and topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, chopped Italian parsley, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for a finishing touch.
Pie Crust (For two 9-inch crusts):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter; cut into ½ inch cubes
6 tablespoons ice water
Potato Pie Filling (For one 9-inch Pie):
6 slices of bacon or pancetta
4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/16”
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
¼ cup half and half
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons crème fraiche (for garnish)
1-2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)
For the dough, mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse to mix until a coarse meal forms. Gradually add the ice water in until moist clumps form in the dough. Gather the dough and form into a ball. Divide in half and flatten into disks. Wrap each dough disk in plastic and chill it for at least one to two hours before rolling it out.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Gently roll out the pie dough on a floured surface and place into a lightly greased nine-inch round pie dish. Trim and flute the edges, set aside.
Cook the bacon slices in a large sauté pan over medium heat until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels, crumble into small pieces and set aside.
For the potato pie filling, peel and slice the potatoes thinly (about 1/16” rounds) with a mandolin or knife; chop shallots, garlic and sage leaves. Whisk two tablespoons of crème fraiche into the half and half in a small bowl.
Toss the sliced potatoes with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes in the dish in a circular overlapping pattern, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the shallots, garlic, sage, Gruyere cheese, half and half/crème fraiche mixture, and crumbled bacon. Repeat 2-3 more layers until all of the potato mixture and fillings are inside the pie shell. Top the pie with a little extra shredded Gruyere cheese and olive oil.
Bake the pie for about 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
Cool the pie on a baking rack for about 5 minutes and then top with a dollop or two of more crème fraiche, chopped parsley, sea salt and pepper for garnish.
You can also substitute pancetta or ham for the bacon, and mix in some Swiss or Emmenthaler cheese to the Gruyere if you want to make it extra cheesy and melty. Play around with the herbs too – throw in a little rosemary or thyme if you like. This recipe makes two 9-inch piecrusts, so if you want to make two pies, just double the pie filling recipe.
Stay tuned for my next episode of Cooking with Color 4 Kids® airing May 24 from 9-9:30 am on cable TV in NYC! Lots of colorful, healthy food and talented young chefs presenting the artful creations they submitted for the Michelle Obama & Epicurious’ Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids State Dinnerrecipe contest!
We are also looking for a few kids who would like to participate on this episode Cooking with Color 4 Kids® – we will be taping the show at BRIC Arts Center on Wed May 14 from -10 pm. We would like to call a few kids in to the show between 8-9 pm to ask the kids who are cooking their recipes a few questions via Skype. They will be on the show for about a minute interacting with myself and the kids during the live show taping on screen. The show will be airing live on the internet and on cable TV in NYC on Sat May 24 from 9-9:30 am. Send me a DM with your Skype address if interested and I will send you details on how we will Skype you in to the show and where you can watch it on the 24th!
View Cooking with Color 4 Kids® on BRIC Brooklyn Public Network Cablecasts:
Brooklyn Channels: Time Warner 34 / Cablevision 67 / RCN 82 / Verizon FiOS 42
BRIC Brooklyn Public Network cablecasts in all five boroughs exclusively on Verizon FiOS cable. Watch the program online on BPN Channel 3, by visiting: http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/watch-brooklyn-public-network
Spring is here, and there’s nothing better than gathering a few friends together for a casual get together with some canapés and cocktails featuring the fresh produce of the season. Fava Beans, Baby Garden Peas and Strawberries are a few of my favorites that start popping up in April and May with the first bloom of Spring.
I love to use my KitchenAid® 13-Cup Food Processor for making quick and tasty dips and spreads – I simply toss all the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor and give it a few whirls to make easy canapés and appetizers for sharing with friends.
An easy, fun idea is to serve crostini with a spread made of baby garden peas and fava beans, mixed with roasted garlic, mint, greek yogurt, feta cheese, lemon zest and olive oil. The flavors are bright, and it’s a light and healthy appetizer, perfect for spreading on toast and serving with fresh veggies for dipping. I love to serve them with some light Spring cocktails made with vodka, lemonade, fresh strawberries, mint and soda – perfect complement for the bite sized crostini! You can also make crostini with different veggies such as roasted red pepper, artichokes, avocado, olives – whatever you’re in the mood for!
Check out my post on KitchenAid’s Kitchenthusiast Blog for recipes, party ideas and how-to’s to get your Spring party started!
Spring is on the way, and there’s nothing I love to cook more than fresh greens. Broccoli rabe is one of my favorites, also known as cime di rapa (meaning “turnip tops”), rapini, broccoli di rapa and broccoletti in Italy. The young leaves of the plant are used in cooking along with the clusters of green buds that resemble small heads of broccoli. The flavor of the vegetable is slightly nutty, bitter and pungent and has tons of vitamin A, potassium, calcium and iron, with its peak season from fall to spring.
I decided to incorporate it into a cheesy baked pasta dish made with fresh sweet Italian sausage and three cheeses (ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella), along with some fun mushroom flavored pasta, tossed in truffle oil. I picked up some fresh broccoli rabe at the farmers market and sautéed it with some garlic, red pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil until aromatic, then tossed it into a big casserole dish with the pasta, cheeses and a dash of nutmeg and lemon zest, and baked it into a big pot of golden bubbly brown goodness.
The dish is a perfect light one-pot dish, and is superb served with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping. Andiamo a mangiare!
1 bunch broccoli rabe, stems removed, chopped into large pieces
1 pound of pasta (dried ziti or penne, or chunky pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons white truffle oil
Extra Virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 pound ground sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 (15 ounce) container whole milk ricotta
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 egg, whisked
A dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
Fresh ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” or 10” round casserole dish and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set up an ice bath in a large bowl to the side. Cook the broccoli rabe in the boiling water for 1 minute and immediately remove and plunge into ice bath to cool for another few minutes. Pat dry and set aside. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse pasta in cool water to stop cooking, while reserving ¼ cup of hot pasta water. Toss with white truffle oil and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring the pan to a medium heat. Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes for about a minute or two, until soft and aromatic. Add the broccoli rabe and toss with olive oil, add salt and heat through. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, heat more olive oil over medium high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until soft and light golden brown. Add ground sausage and cook until browned, drain off any excess fat.
Return the cooked pasta and broccoli rabe into the large sauté pan with the sausage and onion mixture.
Toss the ricotta cheese with whisked egg, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the cooked pasta, broccoli rabe and sausage-onion mixture in the large sauté pan, mixing ingredients together well. Stir in ¼ cup of pasta water to make a light sauce.
Place the pasta mixture into the greased casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish.
Serve with a glass of crisp Italian white wine, a simple Arugula salad tossed with lemon, S&P, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and crusty Italian bread with olive oil and red pepper flakes for dipping.
There’s nothing better than a big pot of soup in the Winter – and this has been the longest one..ever. I’ve always loved my Gram’s Minestrone soup – chock full of veggies, ground beef and pasta and thought I would make a spin on it by making it a combination of her Minestrone and Italian Wedding Soup just for fun. I made a batch of chicken meatballs with lots of parmesan cheese, garlic, onion and fresh parsley..browned them up a bit before adding some kale, carrots, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and orzo and let it all simmer up into a big batch of healthy, heartwarming goodness. I topped it off with some extra grated parmesan, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and mopped it up with some fresh baked Italian Rosemary bread from Todaro Bros. down the street.
Who says you can’t have some fun during a blizzard? I’m happy as a clam right now. Or as a meatball, bathing in that gorgeous broth with veggies.
Kristen Hess is a NYC-based Food Stylist, Photographer, Writer and Creative Director. Her client experience includes: Subway Restaurants, Grapes From CA, Food Network, Castello Cheese, Unilever, Bacardi, Stoli, Today.com, ShapeMagazine.com, KitchenAid, Nespresso, Buitoni, Colavita, Kraft Foods, The Works Catering, Downtown Magazine NYC, NYS Restaurant Association, Domino's Pizza, Cole's Supermarkets, Brown Brothers Wine and more.
Kristen is also the host of Cooking with Color 4 Kids®, a TV show that teaches children how to cook healthy, colorful food using fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the color palette. Learn more about becoming a sponsor or how to get involved with the TV show at http://www.ediningnews.com/cwc
The Artful Gourmet blog is a celebration of the art of food and cooking through colorful stories, recipes and photography.
Food Styling & Photography Portfolio: http://www.kristenhess.com