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!
Grilled Honey Orange Chicken Skewers w/ Cucumber-Orange-Cilantro Salsa
- Honey Orange Chicken:
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Stoli Ohranj vodka
- 1 tablespoon Stoli Sticki vodka
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 6 chives, minced fine
- ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ red onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into large chunks
- Cucumber-Orange-Cilantro Salsa:
- ½ large orange, chopped fine
- ½ cucumber, diced fine
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 6 chives, minced fine
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced fine
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Honey Orange Chicken:
- Cut chicken into large chunks and set aside.
- Soak wooden skewers in water for at least an hour before using (or simply use metal skewers to make your life easier).
- Combine next 11 ingredients (orange juice through S&P) in a large mixing bowl, add chicken and let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
- Remove chicken from fridge and let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat.
- Thread marinated chicken, red onion and bell peppers onto skewers (should make at least 4 large or 5 medium skewers).
- Grill chicken skewers about 10-12 minutes until cooked through (internal temperature should read 165 degrees), turning once.
- Serve with Cucumber-Orange-Cilantro and grilled pita or flatbread and Stoli Honey Orange Blossom Cocktails.
- Cucumber-Orange-Cilantro Salsa:
- In a medium mixing bowl, add diced cucumber, orange pieces, fresh cilantro, chives and diced jalapeno.
- Add olive oil and vinegar, and S&P to taste, mixing thoroughly.
- Serve on top of grilled chicken skewers or on the side.
About Stoli Vodka
Stoli Sticki has hints of honey and herb flavors, slightly sweet and floral.
Stoli Ohranj has a bright orange flavor of orange zest and varied flavors such as mandarin, kumquat and tangerine with a hint of lemon.
The two mixed together are the perfect combination for my BBQ marinade and refreshing cocktails!
Find out more about Stoli Vodka
Become a fan on Stoli’s Facebook page
Become a fan on Twitter: http://bit.ly/11deDwL
Become a fan on Pinterest: http://bit.ly/197F9PJ
This is a sponsored post created for Stoli Vodka – I received samples of Stoli product for purposes of sampling and creating recipes and photographs for the Stoli brand. All opinions, recipes, ideas and photographs are my own, copyright © 2013 Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet.
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!
Savor Stoli Responsibly. STOLICHNAYA® Premium Vodka. 40%
Alc/Vol. Distilled from grain. William Grant & Sons, Inc. New York, NY. © 2012 Spirits International, B.V
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!)
- 2 bunches fresh broccoli
- 8 slices bacon
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- Sunflower Seeds, for garnish
- 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.
- 1 pound medium shells or rotini pasta
- 1/2 pound provolone or fontina cheese
- 1/4 pound hard salami
- 1/4 pound pepperoni
- 1/4 pound prosciutto
- 1 small can black olives
- 1 small jar green or kalamata olives
- 3 tomatoes (sub Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped)
- 1 green or red pepper, diced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup cider or wine vinegar
- Fresh basil or oregano leaves for garnish
- 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.
Italian Potato Salad
- 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.
Grapefruit, Avocado and Fennel Salad
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.
Grapefruit, Avocado & Fennel Salad
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 tablespoon Vidalia onion, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 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.
Recipe inspired by and adapted from Epicurious
Lobster Rolls & July 4 Feast
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.
Crazy Good Lobster Rolls & a July 4 Feast
- 3/4 cup celery, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup water
- 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)!
Watch the video from Fine Cooking on how to humanely cook a live lobster
Food Network Lobster Rolls by Sarah’s Secrets
Amateur Gourmet’s Lobster Rolls
Ellie Krieger’s Lobster Rolls
Connecticut-Style Lobster Rolls by Serious Eats
Lobsters with Laura Lobster Rolls
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.
Prep time: 10 minutes / Total time: 10 minutes
Other Crab Salad Recipes you may enjoy:
Giada’s Crab Salad
Epicurious Crab Salad Sandwiches
AllRecipes.com Crab Salad
Beyond the Plate Crab Salad with Spicy Citrus Dressing
Food and Wine Thai Mango Crab Salad
Shrimp Scampi Pasta
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
White Peach, Prosciutto & Mozzarella Salad
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.
Serve with crusty bread and a glass of white wine (Reisling or Chardonnay pairs well).
Other Peach Recipes you may enjoy:
Grilled Chicken and Peach Salad
Oprah’s Summer Peach Salad
Paula Deen’s Grilled Peach Salad
Roasted Beet, Peach and Goat Cheese Salad
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.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living.
Strawberry Watermelon Salad
Strawberry Watermelon Salad
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.
Tasty Chicken Burgers and Shrimp Kabobs
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.
Asian Broccoli Slaw
Asian Broccoli Slaw
Recipe by Paula Deen, Food Network
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
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown or white sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 ramen noodle seasoning packet
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.
photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet
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.
photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet
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 York collaborated 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 Roll at Pier 84, along 12th Avenue to pick up their custom cruisers.
photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet
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.
photo credit: Mouth
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!
photo credit: Bacardi
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.
photo credit: SmashBurger
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!
photo credit: Maia Yogurt
The Wonut – Waffle Cafe, Chicago
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.
photo credit: Waffles Cafe
The Redhead NYC
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.
photo credit: The Redhead
Bocca di Bacco, NYC
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!
photo credit: Kristen Hess/The Artful Gourmet
I recently got invited to the Annual Pie Party GE Potluck 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.
The 3 hour party had hundreds of gorgeous sweet and savory pies from food bloggers, writers, and local Chefs in the food industry, and was planned and hosted by Jackie Gordon aka The Diva That Ate New York and Ken Leung aka Hungry Rabbit at the gorgeous GE Monogram Design Center in NYC.
We had tons of fun meeting other foodies
and sampling the goods,
watched a cooking demo by Chef Tagere showing us how to make gorgeous handmade Empanadas,
and did lots and lots of eating
and drinking and mingling with some of the best foodies on the East Coast!
Our awesome sponsors of this amazing party were: OXO, Jarlsberg, Kerrygold, Dub Pies, Wusthof, Snapware, Woolwich Dairy and Anolon.
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”.
Potato, Bacon & Gruyere Pie w/ Shallots, Creme Fraiche & Fresh Herbs
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
- Sea salt
- 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.
Photo Gallery from the Event (just click the photos to enlarge and see slideshow)
GE Monogram: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twittter: @GEMonogramNYC
Jarlsberg: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twittter: @JarlsbergUSA
Kerrygold: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twttter: @KerrygoldUSA
WÜSTHOF: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twitter: @WÜSTHOF
Anolon: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twitter: @Anolon
OXO: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twitter: @OXO
Dub Pies: LIKR on FB
Follow on Twitter: @dubpies
Harvard Common Press: LIKE on FB
Follow on Twitter: @HCPDishes
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 Dinner recipe 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:
Spring Canapes & Cocktails!
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!
Minted Pea & Fava Bean Crostini
Strawberry Mint Vodka Lemonade Cocktails
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.
Chicken Meatball Soup with Kale, Chickpeas & Orzo
- Chicken Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain, dried)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon minced dried onion
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Tony Chacere's Creole Seasoning (or sub seasoned salt or poultry seasoning)
- pinch of cayenne
- pinch of nutmeg
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Deliciously Dill Blend (The Spice Hunter)
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 20 baby carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water (use 3 or 4 if you like a thinner soup)
- 1 (28 ounce) can chopped Italian tomatoes
- 1 bunch kale, torn (ribs and stems removed)
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 cup orzo or other small pasta (ditalini, pastina, risi or stars)
- Make the meatballs:
- Preheat a dutch oven over medium heat and spray with some cooking oil.
- Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and stir. Mix together well with your hands and roll into small meatballs (about 1 1/2 inch size), place on a baking sheet or plate.
- Brown meatballs in batches for about 6-8 minutes until lightly golden brown (but not cooked all the way through).
- Remove meatballs, cover and set aside while prepping soup ingredients.
- Make the soup:
- Add additional 2 tablespoons of oil to the Dutch oven and saute onions, garlic and carrots for about 6 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Stir in broth, water, and tomatoes; cook over medium-high for about 5-7 minutes until liquid comes to a boil.
- Add kale, chickpeas, orzo to the pot, let soup come to a steady rolling boil for about 5 mins or so.
- Add browned meatballs, cover and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until orzo and meatballs are cooked through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in large soup bowls topped with additional grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley for garnish and a side of crusty Italian bread or Rosemary Foccacia bread for mopping up the soup.
- Don't forget the wine, fireplace, and your Valentine to make it a complete meal.
Recipe adapted from my Grandma’s Classic Minestrone Soup and Italian Wedding Soup by Whole Foods.