Tag Archives: herbs

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash

So we are well into the New Year, and it’s definitely time to up my game and start smashing my fitness and healthy cooking and eating goals for this year.

I’ve joined a new gym, hired a Personal Trainer and committing to doing Yoga, Pilates, Barre and weight training plus lots of walking at least 4 times a week from now on. I’m also focusing on lower carb eating for a while – cutting out sugar, processed foods, carb loaded foods. And drinking more water, getting more rest and taking my vitamins. The list goes on! Gosh, getting healthy and in shape is not easy.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash

I decided to make a lighter version of Lemon Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti that’s normally loaded. I swapped out healthy spaghetti squash roasted with olive oil, sea salt and pepper instead of pasta to lighten up the carbs and calories.

Spaghetti Squash

Then I simply shredded it into spaghetti strands with a fork…

Sautéed Lemon Garlic Shrimp

and sautéed some sliced fresh garlic and shrimp in olive oil, butter, red chile pepper,  fresh parsley and a big splash of fresh lemon juice. YUM!

Lemon Garlic Roasted Spaghetti Squash

It’s so light and delicious i don’t even miss the pasta or bread (truly!) This lovely dish is also low in calories and high in protein – two staples to losing weight. Not to mention staying full and energized without the sugar highs and lows from eating all those heavy carbs.

You can also add more veggies to the dish if you like..try sautéing some mushrooms, zucchini, cherry tomatoes or bell peppers and adding them to the mix. I absolutely love the possibilities of this dish! Who needs pasta when you have delicious buttery strands of squash instead? Please add your comments below on how you would make or alter the dish – creativity is good!

Hope you enjoy the recipe and here’s to happy and healthy New Year to all of you. xx

Lemon Garlic Shrimp w/ Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: Makes 4-5 cups Spaghetti Squash and approximately 3 cups of Lemon Garlic Shrimp, serving 2.

This light and healthy dish is made with roasted spaghetti squash topped with sautéed shrimp, garlic, olive oil, chile flakes, lemon and parsley. Super easy and tasty and low on the carbs!

Ingredients

  • Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 (3-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (16-20 ct)
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Pinch of red pepper chile flakes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Roasted Spaghetti Squash:
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds and inner membranes. Drizzle and rub squash with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the halves, cut side down, in a large baking dish and roast squash for 35-45 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove squash from oven and turn side up, letting it cool for about 10 minutes.
  6. Scrape the inside of the squash with a fork to make spaghetti strands and serve with the Lemon Garlic Shrimp.
  7. Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  8. Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat in a skillet until shimmering, then add the sliced garlic and cook while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  9. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are slightly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, red pepper flakes and parsley; toss to combine.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately over roasted spaghetti squash.
  11. Garnish with additional fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
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http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/01/31/lemon-garlic-shrimp-w-spaghetti-squash/

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Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Honey & Thyme

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

So it’s Friday. And a lovely Spring day. I was in the mood to make something lovely to eat, preferably with a sweet and savory twist. I’ve also been on a baking kick lately, not sure why but I’m loving experimenting with different flavors and textures of pizzas and tarts and pies.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

I decided to make a delicious rustic pizza made with some red grapes, shallots, sharp white cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and some thin cut Italian ham. I simply rolled out some refrigerated pizza dough and then topped it off with some olive oil, all the pizza ingredients, and some fresh thyme.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

I popped it into a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes until all the cheese and crust was bubbly and golden brown, then finished this beauty off with some sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, some fresh basil and drizzles of honey.

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

This is the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously. The contrast of the sweet grapes, shallots and honey with the sharp and tangy cheddar cheese and salty, crispy ham are like a true love affair…in Paris.

I’m thinking the only thing better than this would be an actual trip to Paris..on the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. With a chocolate croissant and cafe au lait in hand. With a really cute French guy. Ooh La La.

Aaah – a girl can dream, can’t she? (Happy Friday!)

Rustic Pizza with Grapes, Shallots, Ham & Thyme

Rustic Pizza with Ham, Grapes, Shallots, Cheese, Honey & Thyme

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8

Serving Size: 1 slice/wedge

Ingredients

  • 1 package of refrigerated pizza dough (or homemade if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp White Cheddar cheese
  • 4-6 thin slices Italian ham or prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Honey for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Spray a pizza sheet with oil and stretch out pizza dough to the edges making a thin crust.
  3. Drizzle the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with the shredded Mozzarella cheese. Add the sliced shallots, ham, grapes and White cheddar cheese on to the dough evenly. Top with some fresh thyme leaves and red pepper flakes.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
  5. Top with fresh basil, sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and drizzle with honey.
  6. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Notes

You can also substitute prosciutto or bacon for the ham, and top with some fresh ricotta cheese if desired.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/04/17/rustic-pizza-with-ham-grapes-shallots-cheese-honey-thyme/

 

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The Perfect Beach Bash + An Amazing Shrimp & Veggie Salad w/ Lemon-Herb Dressing

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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 with some menu ideas featuring lots of fresh seafood, finger foods, and refreshing fruits and veggies.

ShrimpPastaSalad-RecipeShot

One of my favorite recipes to make for a summer outdoor beach party is a Shrimp and Veggie Pasta Salad with Lemon-Herb Vinaigrette. It has a light, lemony herb dressing with fresh basil and tarragon, lots of veggies including cucumbers, celery, roasted red peppers, grilled corn and scallions for some extra crunch, and fresh sautéed savory shrimp. It goes perfectly with grilled chicken, burgers, skewers and fresh fruit like watermelon, pineapple and mango.

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I made this amazing summer salad using my KitchenAid® 3-Speed Hand Blender – check out the full post on KitchenEnthusiast.com for the full recipe and all my fun tips on creating the Perfect Beach Bash this Summer!

CLICK HERE FOR PARTY PLANNING TIPS AND THE FULL RECIPE! http://blog.kitchenaid.com/tips-perfect-beach-party-recipe/

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My Favorite Roasted Squash Recipes

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite Fall veggies to make is Squash. I absolutely love the buttery, savory smell of it roasting in the oven and it’s so easy to make.

There are plenty of different varieties of Squash, but one of the most popular ones to make for the holidays is Butternut Squash, which has a sweet, creamy, buttery flesh. Other popular Squash varieties include Kabocha, Acorn, Spaghetti, Long Neck and Cheddar Cheese squash. There are different ways to prepare squash but the easiest and most flavorful way is by roasting it in the oven on a sheet pan for about 30 minutes to an hour. Simply cut the squash in half (or peel and cut into medium chunks or slices), scoop out the seeds and fibrous flesh and drizzle with olive oil or butter, some fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, and sprinkle on some brown sugar or drizzle with honey or maple syrup for a luscious, buttery, sweet and savory dish.

You can also sprinkle on some fresh herbs (parsley, sage, thyme, chives, tarragon) and garlic or add a dash of cayenne or cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves for some spicy layers of flavor. Some ideas for the squash leftovers are to add the roasted squash to Macaroni and Cheese, Wild Rice or Orzo, or make a healthy salad by adding it to some spinach, chard or kale, apples, some toasted walnuts or pecans, cranberries or pomegranate seeds, tossed in a light herb vinaigrette dressing. However you make it, it’s simply delicious; and perfect as a Thanksgiving side or Fall vegetarian side dish.

Check out the different types of squash on Saveur.com website and enjoy my favorite squash recipes below!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Butter and Herbs
Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Butter and Herbs

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Butter and Herbs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (Pink Himalayan or Fleur de Sel)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Fines Herbes (parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half cross-wise and remove top and bottom stems. Scrape out all the seeds and fibers inside; discard. Peel the squash and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Place squash on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Dot with small chunks of butter and sprinkle nutmeg, salt and pepper, brown sugar and herbs over squash. Mix together and place sheet in preheated oven.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, stir the squash around the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes and remove from oven.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/12/my-favorite-roasted-squash-recipes/

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cayenne Maple Syrup
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cayenne Maple Syrup

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cayenne Maple Syrup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half with a large knife and scoop out the seeds and insides with a large spoon; discard.
  2. Place squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and rub on both sides of squash. Dot squash with butter and season with salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. Drizzle maple syrup over the squash. Add some water to the bottom of the baking sheet (about an inch) and place in oven.
  3. Roast squash for 45 minutes to an hour, until flesh is soft and caramelized. (You may want to check on the squash half way through and brush some of the butter and syrup over the tops of the squash as it's baking to keep it from drying out.)
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/12/my-favorite-roasted-squash-recipes/

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Toasted Pinenuts, Sage and Parmesan
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Toasted Pinenuts, Sage and Parmesan

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts, Sage and Parmesan

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 small spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Pierce squash all over with a knife and roast spaghetti squash for 1 hour. When squash pierces easily with a knife, remove from oven; let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard seeds. Use a large fork to scrape the squash into long 'spaghetti-like' strands.
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan over medium heat until golden for about 5 minutes. After the nuts are toasted, remove them from the pan and add the olive oil, a tablespoon of butter, and sage leaves. Sauté mixture until the sage leaves are crispy. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.
  5. Crush the sage leaves in the garlic oil mixture, and then pour it over the warmed squash. Add the additional tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper and top with toasted pine nuts and shredded parmesan cheese.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/12/my-favorite-roasted-squash-recipes/

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Other Squash Recipes you may enjoy:

The Kitchn’s 10 ways to eat an Acorn Squash

Cooking Light Butternut Squash Recipes

Taste of Home Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Food 52 Butternut Squash Recipe Contest

Brown Eyed Baker’s Butternut Squash and Bacon Mac & Cheese

 

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A Delish Father’s Day Menu

Summertime is always my favorite time of year – when the sun is always shining, a warm breeze is in the air, and all the flowers, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables are in full bloom. Everyone is out grilling BBQ, visiting the farmer’s markets, having picnics in the park and enjoying the sunny, lazy days with friends and family. With Summer quickly approaching, I created this great Father’s Day Menu you’ll love: Grilled Rosemary and Garlic Steak with Portabella Mushrooms and Peppers, a Bistro-Style Herbed Potato Salad and a refreshing Watermelon-Strawberry Salad.

Roasted Garlic Rosemary Steak
Roasted Garlic Rosemary Steak

This is an easy and delicious recipe for Grilled Rosemary and Garlic Steak with Portabella Mushrooms and Peppers that has a tangy garlic and red wine flavor. Start with Tavern Direct Roasted Garlic Cabernet (or any red-wine and garlic vinaigrette dressing) to marinate the steak and veggies before grilling to give it a tender robust flavor. After grilling, top it all off with Steak Sauce, fresh rosemary and a bit of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper for a healthy, tasty Summer BBQ!

Strawberry-Watermelon Salad
Strawberry-Watermelon Salad

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 – I recommend Tavern on the Green Citrus Balsamic– a refreshing blend of orange, tangerine and lime essence.

Bistro-Style Herbed Potato Salad
Bistro-Style Herbed Potato Salad

The French-Bistro Herbed Potato Salad is 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 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 a nice tangy flavor. I added some dried dill (you could also use fresh) and a few chopped green onions for an extra dash of flavor – enjoy!

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Steak with Portabella Mushrooms and Peppers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 23 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 steaks (T-bone, NY Strip or Ribeye), about 1 ½ inches thick
  • 3 red, yellow & orange peppers, julienned
  • 3 Portabellos, stems removed, sliced
  • 1 cup Tavern Direct Roasted Garlic Cabernet Marinade (or red-wine vinaigrette dressing)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Steak Sauce, for serving if desired (Tavern Direct or desired brand)
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, snipped

Instructions

  1. Preheat a charcoal grill or grill pan to medium high. Preheat a separate medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Place steaks in a baking dish or large freezer bag and pour marinade over steaks, coating evenly. Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper and rosemary and let marinate for up to 1 hour at room temperature uncovered.
  3. Slice bell peppers and Portobello mushrooms and marinate in separate mixing bowls. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both and mix through, marinating for approximately 30-45 minutes.
  4. Spray the sauté pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Sauté the sliced peppers until soft and slightly browned about 5-7 minutes. Remove and cover with foil.
  5. Spray the grill or grill pan with cooking spray or olive oil and place Portabella mushrooms on grill. Cook approximately 5-7 minutes per side until soft and grill marks appear. Remove and cover with foil on a separate plate.
  6. Let the charcoal grill or grill pan heat up to high again. Spray with oil and cook steaks approximately 5 minutes per side (for medium rare), 7-8 minutes per side (for medium).
  7. Remove steaks from grill and let sit for 5-10 minutes under foil tent to let juices redistribute. Plate and serve steaks with mushrooms and peppers.?Drizzle the Steak Sauce over steak, if desired.
  8. Sprinkle Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh rosemary.
  9. Serves 4.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/14/a-perfect-summer-fathers-day-menu/

Bistro-Style Herbed Potato Salad

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds salt potatoes, halved (or new potatoes)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper?
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (light yellow, not extra virgin)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon dried Fines herbes
  • 1/4 small Vidalia onion, chopped fine
  • 1-2 green onions, sliced

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water so that potatoes are covered approximately under 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Cool potatoes under cold water then drain and set aside.
  3. To make the salad dressing: whisk together oil, mustard, vinegar, shallot, and herbs in a 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.
  4. Let salad cool and marinate at room temperature, then garnish with additional green onions and parsley for serving.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/14/a-perfect-summer-fathers-day-menu/

Strawberry-Watermelon Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 watermelon, cubed
  • 3 cups strawberries, halved
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
  • fresh mint or micro greens, for garnish

Instructions

  1. To make the simple syrup, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, let simmer for about 5 minutes and cool.
  2. 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.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/06/14/a-perfect-summer-fathers-day-menu/

*Chef’s Note: The only thing missing is dessert and wine to make it a full meal: I recommend a lovely lemon or pistachio gelato for dessert, and a bold Cabernet or hearty red wine to pair with the Steak and salads. 

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Find Tavern on the Green Products online at www.taverndirect.com – all their products were designed by Lou Bivona, a Rochester native, in conjunction with the legendary NYC restaurant in Central Park, Tavern on the Green. With every sale, a portion of all proceeds goes to the charity National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

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Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves

Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves
Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves

This is a lovely Thai dish, not only in taste but in presentation. I made this with some good friends of mine in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend on their Big Green Egg grill. If you haven’t seen one of these things – its totally cool and easy to use. And it’s BIG. And GREEN. And looks like and EGG. It’s actually a ceramic grill and smoker that reaches temperatures up to 700 degrees F and has the ability to grill, smoke or steam everything on the planet in about 15-20 minutes. Very cool. Anyways, we decided to make this Thai Sea Bass in Banana Leaves recipe from their Big Green Egg Cookbook and took a trip over to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market (which is also totally awesome if you haven’t been there – you must!). We picked up some fresh Sea Bass steaks (you can also use fillets), herbs, red curry paste, and banana leaves (which actually come frozen and need to be defrosted and cut down to size first before using).

Banana leaves are often used in Thai cooking to wrap around fish and add subtle flavor to whatever food they surround. This recipe was surprisingly easy to make and had wonderful tasty Asian flavors from the fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, ginger and garlic and Thai chile) and lime. The red curry sauce is also easy to make by adding some paste to coconut milk and chicken stock and letting it simmer down while you grill/steam the fish in the banana leaves on the Big Green Egg. You just lay down a strip of the herb mixture, top it with some fish and lime slices, drizzle a little bit of oil, salt and pepper and then wrap the fish up in the leaves into cute little packets and throw them on the Big Green Egg (or any covered grill will do). After about 15-20 minutes you just unwrap the little packets, and top the fish with the curry sauce and serve with a side of lemony buttered green beans and fresh corn on the cob to go with it. Fresh, healthy and delicious.

Ingredients

1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk
1 teaspoon red curry paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup firmly packed chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup crushed garlic
1 thinly sliced red jalapeno or serrano pepper
4 banana leaves (cut to 12 inches square)
4 (6 to 7 ounce) sea bass fillets or steaks
1 lime, cut into 8 thin slices
2 tablespoons canola oil or spray
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Big Green Egg
Big Green Egg

Preheat the EGG (or grill) to 350 degrees F.

Sea Bass and lime
Sea Bass and lime

Prep fish and lime and set aside to begin making coconut curry.

Red Curry Coconut Sauce
Red Curry Coconut Sauce

To make the sauce, combine the coconut milk, curry paste and chicken stock in a small saucepan. Simmer on the stovetop over medium heat for 10 minutes, then keep warm.

Chopped Herbs
Chopped Herbs

Combine all the herbs (basil, mint, cilantro, ginger, garlic and chile) in a medium bowl and mix well.

Banana Leaves
Banana Leaves

Lay the banana leaves out flat,

Sea Bass & Herbs on Leaves
Sea Bass & Herbs on Leaves

and place 3 to 4 tablespoons of the herb mixture on the center of each leaf and top each mound of herbs with fish.

Fish, Herbs and Lime on Leaves
Fish, Herbs and Lime on Leaves

Top each packet with 2 lime slices and 1/2 teaspoon canola oil (or some oil spray).

Folding Banana Leaf Packets
Folding Banana Leaf Packets

Season with salt and pepper and begin folding packets by folding the sides of the leaf inward, then fold the top and bottom over and tucking the ends under (kinda like making a banana leaf fish burrito!!).

Folded Leaves ready for the grill
Folded Leaves ready for the grill

Secure each packet with butcher’s twine and brush or spray more oil on the outside of the leaves.

Grilled Banana Leaves
Grilled Banana Leaves

Place the leaves directly on the EGG porcelain-coated grid (or regular grill if using) and close the lid. Grill for 7 to 8 minutes per side, until the interior of the fish is opaque (unwrap a package and insert a knife into the fish to test). Transfer the fish to individual plates, remove the twine, open the top, and spoon the curry sauce over the fish. Serve while hot and with a side of buttery lemon green beans and fresh corn on the cob. For wine pairing, serve with a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Serves 4.

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Get more great recipes for the Big Green Egg

Check out the Big Green Egg Cookbook

 

 

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A LOVE-ly Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta Tart

Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta Tart
Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta Tart

With all the cooking I’ve been doing lately, I’ve decided to mix it up and experiment with some baking.  I’m obsessed with savory tarts and quiches – perfect comfort food for this cold Winter we’re having in New York. I also haven’t played with puff pastry too much, so I though a free-form Spinach, Artichoke & Ricotta tart would be fun to make for my sweetie on Valentine’s Day.

This recipe is fairly easy to make and healthy with all the veggies loaded on top. The light and creamy ricotta base has lemon zest, thyme and fines herbs to give it a bright, fresh flavor. It’s topped with sautéed fresh spinach and artichokes with a little bit of garlic and chile flakes, and I also used a combination of two flavor-infused oils by Tavern Direct – one with Lemon and Pepper, and the other with Chile Pepper and Garlic to give it a little more kick. You could also substitute the veggies with some zucchini and yellow squash and some shallots or sweet potato with bacon and kale. The tart is topped off with four shredded Italian cheeses, then  baked to a flaky, golden brown perfection. I used a frozen puff pastry, which is convenient to use, but if you prefer you can make your own puff pastry dough, which is a bit more time and effort but delicious all the same – Martha Stewart has a great recipe on her site. This scrumptious, savory tart is great served with a green salad and a crisp glass of white wine.

Ingredients

1 15 oz container Ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tbsp fines herbes, dried
1 egg yolk
Rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp olive oil (can substitute lemon, garlic or chile-infused oils for more flavor)
3 handfuls fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 pkg frozen artichokes, drained and chopped into large chunks
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (add more or less to adjust heat)
1 puff pastry sheet
1 cup shredded Italian cheeses (Fontina, Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella)
Kosher or Sea Salt, to taste
Fresh ground garlic and black pepper seasoning, to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Ricotta and Lemon and Herbs
Ricotta and Lemon and Herbs

In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, thyme, fines herbes, lemon rind and egg yolk until smooth. Set aside.

Spinach and Artichokes
Spinach and Artichokes

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add artichokes and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and saute until it begins to wilt, another 1-2 minutes. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and saute 1 additional minute. Remove from heat, cover with saucepan lid and set aside.

Floured Pastry
Floured Pastry

Roll out pastry dough and sprinkle with a little bit of flour. Score around the edges with a sharp knife to make a 1 inch border and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Garlic Butter Wash
Garlic Butter Wash

Melt the butter and minced garlic on the stove or in the microwave for about 1 minute. With a pastry brush, coat the entire pastry sheet with the garlic butter.

Ricotta Mixture on Tart
Ricotta Mixture on Tart

Spread the ricotta mixture within the border on to the pastry sheet.

Spinach and Artichokes on Tart
Spinach and Artichokes on Tart

Top with spinach, artichoke, garlic and red pepper topping.

Sprinkle Four Cheese Topping
Sprinkle Four Cheese Topping

Scatter the grated cheeses over the entire tart and season with salt and pepper or garlic pepper seasoning to taste.

Flaky, Buttery, Creamy Goodness
Flaky, Buttery, Creamy Goodness

Place the tart in the oven and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for about 5-10 minutes.

Slice and serve warm with a green salad and a glass of crisp white wine. Delectable.

Serves 6.

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A Taste of Tuscany

Eggplant Crostini

Tuscany is probably one of the most beautiful and scenic regions of Italy and the most popular places to visit, known for its rolling hills, mesmerizing sunsets,  rustic landscapes, vineyards, farmhouses and olive groves. I have not had the opportunity to visit there yet, but I love the cuisine and it’s first on my list when I plan my next trip to Italy (hopefully sometime next year!)

Tuscan cuisine is a simple and earthy way of cooking, which centers around fresh and local ingredients from the farming region such as olive oil, greens, poultry, beans, beef, pork, rabbit, lamb, and sausages. Crostini is a famous antipasti which are little toasted breads spread with toppings such as olive tapenade or chicken liver pates. Bruschetta is also a popular antipasti made with rustic bread, fresh chopped tomatoes and garlic. Other popular dishes from the area are Panzanella (bread salad), Minestrone soup, Pasta Fagiole (cannelloni bean and pasta soup) and Ribollita.

Because of the ample farm land in Tuscany and areas surrounding Florence, there is a large production of olive oil, grapes and wine, and a variety of fruits and vegetables and herbs such as pears, oranges, thyme, rosemary, tomatoes, wild mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus, spinach and beans – all main ingredients in Tuscan cooking. Risotto is an earthy dish that incorporates many of these vegetables and cheeses from the region. Fennel is another ingredient often used in salad and sautéed with meat dishes. In Florence, Pecorino (a salty sheep’s milk cheese) tends to have herbs, garlic and red pepper added for flavor and is served shaved in salads or as cut in chunks served with grapes, olives and rustic breads like Foccacia bread with rosemary and olive oil.

Almond and Anise Biscotti and Oranges in Marsala Glaze are standard desserts and most of the wine that originates in the area is Chianti, aged in small oak barrels. Another popular white wine is Vernaccia, ranging from light and crisp to full-bodied, made in a small medieval town known as San Gimignano.

The following is a sampling of some of my favorite Tuscan recipes that use rustic and earthy ingredients originating from a Tuscan Cooking class I took at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. If you’re interested in learning more about Tuscan cooking there are a variety of cookbooks sold online, as well as cooking excursions in Tuscany with local chefs and other sites dedicated to Tuscan cooking.

Mushroom Risotto

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom stock:

½ lb. cremini mushrooms

½ lb. white button mushrooms

½ lb. shitake mushrooms

2 quarts chicken stock

½ c. dried porcini mushrooms

4 tbsp butter

3 oz. Madeira wine

Risotto:

3 tbsp butter

2 shallots, finely minced

4 c. Arborio rice

¾ c. white wine

Mushroom stock (reserved)

1 tbsp. minced chives

1 tbsp. Italian parsley

¼ c. grated Pecorino Romano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the mushroom stock, wash and trim the stems of the fresh mushrooms. Reserve the stems and slice the mushroom caps for use later in the recipe. (Make sure to dust of the dirt first and don’t soak the mushrooms).

Combine the chicken stock, stems, dried porcini mushrooms in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes over low heat. Strain through a cheesecloth and reserve the liquid for the risotto.

Heat a large sauté pan and add 4 tbsp of butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until browned. Deglaze the Madeira and reduce until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Reserve the mushrooms. (Try to let the Madeira glaze sit, don’t stir).

For the risotto, heat a wide pot or rondeau (flat bottom pot with tall sides) over medium-high heat and add 2 tbsp butter. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir the mixture together to coat the rice with the shallots and butter.

Add the white wine, lower the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine has evaporated. Begin adding the mushroom stock, a large ladleful at a time. Continue to add the mushroom stock (slowly and continuously), stirring constantly until the rice is just cooked through and all the stock has been absorbed, about 20 mins. The rice should be slightly al dente but have a creamy consistency and not dry.

Stir in the reserved mushrooms, the remaining tablespoon of butter, chives, and parsley. Top off the risotto with Pecorino Romano and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6.

Pork Chops with Fennel

Pork Chops with Olives and Fennel

¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, crushed

4 pork rib chops, bone in

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 tbsp. fennel seeds, crushed

1 c. white wine

2 fennel bulbs, cored and quartered or cut into eighths

6 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped

¼ c. Gaeta olives, pitted

1 spring rosemary

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with sides over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it turns brown, and remove the garlic. Season the pork chops with salt and add them to the pan. Cook until one side is brown, then turn and brown the other side. Remove and reserve until later. Add the fennel seeds to the pan and cook for 1 minute (toast them lightly to release oils and flavor, watch closely to not  burn them).

Remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with wine. Return the pan to the heat and cook until wine nearly evaporates. Add the fennel pieces, tomatoes, olives and rosemary.

Bring the liquid to a simmer and add the pork chops back to the pan. Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes more or until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Remove the chops and if liquid is too runny, reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.

This recipe can also be made with veal chops, and for extra flavor and to ensure juicy chops that won’t dry out, soak them in a brine overnight made out of 2 quarts of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of salt and throw in some chopped up herbs such as rosemary or thyme.

Makes 4 servings.

Pollo alla Toscana

Pollo alla Toscana (Tuscan Chicken)

2 c. dried navy beans, soaked overnight (or canned beans drained and rinsed)

1/3 c. diced slab bacon or pancetta

2 (4 lb.) chickens, cut up into 8 pieces each

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Flour for dredging

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

2 celery ribs, diced small

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup white wine (dry and crisp, such as Chablis)

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tsp. freshly minced rosemary

3 canned plum tomatoes, chopped

2 tbsp freshly minced parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain and rinse the soaked beans. Discard the liquid.

In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add the rinsed and soaked beans. Cook them until they are soft, but not mushy. Drain the beans, but reserve the cooking liquid.

Cook the bacon in a large rondeau or Dutch oven until just browned. Using a slotted spoon put the bacon on paper towels to drain, reserving the fat in the pan.

Pat the chicken pieces dry, season with salt and papper and dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Heat the bacon fat over high heat and when it is hot, add the chicken and cook, in batches, turning the pieces once, until the skin becomes golden brown and crisp. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the onions, celery and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with the wine. Return the pan to the heat and bring it to a boil, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and reduce by 1/3. Return the chicken and bacon to the pan, add the beans, thyme, rosemary, tomatoes, and 2 cups of the reserved beans cooking liquid (liquid should come half way up the pan, use more or less accordingly). Cover, place in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink and most of the liquid has absorbed. You may have to add more liquid if it looks dry.

Season with salt and papper to taste and garnish with parsley.

Makes 8 servings.

Cipolline Onions

Cipolline Agro Dolce (Caramelized Cipolline Onions)

2 lbs. Cippoline onions

6 tbsp sugar

½ c. red wine vinegar

8 sage leaves

¾ c. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

Blanch the onions for 2 minutes in boiling water. With a slotted spoon, immediately remove the onions and place them in ice water. Remove when cool and peel removing the stem and first layer of skin.

In a large baking dish, mix the onions, sugar, vinegar, sage, olive oil, and salt making sure that onions are coated evenly (this makes a lot of liquid so you don’t need to use it all).

Bake in the oven for approx. 60 mins, or until the onions are well caramelized. Make sure to turn the onions and watch them while in the oven, taking care to not let them burn.

Makes 6 servings.

Pear and Fennel Salad

Pear and Fennel Salad

2 fennel bulbs, cored and cut into thin slices

8 cups mixed salad greens (red leaf, Bibb, Boston and Radiccio), washed and dried

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

3 red Bartlett or Bosc pears, cut in half, cored and thinly sliced

Combine the fennel with the salad greens. Refrigerate until ready to toss.

When ready to toss, add the salt and pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Toss gently and arrange on individual plates or a platter. Top with the pear slices and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Glazed Oranges and Biscotti

Oranges in Marsala Glaze

6 large navel oranges, peeled and pith removed (save one peel with pith removed)

¼ c. sugar

¾ c. sweet Marsala wine

½ c. Cointreau (orange liqueur)

12 mint leaves

In a small saucepan with boiling water, simmer the orange peel over high heat for 5 mins; drain and set aside. When cool, slice into julienne strips.

Separate each orange into sections, removing all membrane between sections. Place sectioned oranges in a large bowl, cover and chill.

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, Marsala, and Cointreau. Bring to a boil over medium heat until the mixture has reduced by half or until it becomes syrupy. Add orange peel strips to the syrup and chill. To serve, spoon orange sections into individual dessert dishes. Top with Marsala glaze. Garnish with mint leaves.

Tip: this dessert is delicious topped over Vanilla ice cream and served with Almond and Anise biscotti on the side.

Makes 6 servings.

Other Tuscan recipes you might enjoy:

Panzanella (Bread Salad)

Peach Bellini

Crostini with Roasted Eggplant

Olive Tapenade

Chicken Liver Pate

Pasta e Fagioli

Minestrone

Ribollita (Bread Soup)

Bistecca alla Florentine (Tuscan Steak)

Almond and Anise Biscotti

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A Few of My Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and there’s no guessing why – it’s all about visiting friends and family, being thankful for the wonderful things in our lives and of course, it’s all about the food.

Turkey and Dressing is the normal star of the table, but I love to experiment with the side dishes to mix it up and spice up the menu each year. Here’s a couple of recipes I plan on making this year (one tried and true, one a new experiment!)..would love to hear from all of you what your favorite side dishes are and what you’ll be making this year that’s a change from just mashed potatoes and green bean casserole!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Shallots 

brussel sprouts with bacon, shallots and balsamic vinegar

I made this recipe a couple Thanksgivings ago and it was an absolute delicious hit at the table! The crispy bacon, butter and shallots, mixed with the tangy vinegar gives the brussel sprouts an amazing trio of flavors and the roasting in the oven technique cooks down the balsamic into a glaze coating the crispy oven browned sprouts. The original recipe came from Williams Sonoma and I adapted it a bit by adding the balsamic vinegar and shallots. Thought you didn’t like brussel sprouts? Wait until you try this recipe.

Ingredients:

Water to steam
1 pound large Brussels sprouts
2 ounces thin-sliced pancetta or bacon (3-4 slices)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon premium unsalted butter
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste

Preparation:

Add water to a large pot with a steamer basket and bring to a boil.

Trim the sprouts: Slice off the base and remove the outer leaves. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise through the core, then make V-shaped cuts to remove the core. With your thumbs on the either side of the V, twist the sprout to open up the leaves a bit. Steam the sprouts for 5 minutes until bright green and tender.

Meanwhile, saute the sliced pancetta or bacon over medium heat in a small skillet until the edges have started to brown, breaking it into pieces with a spatula while it cooks. Remove the cooked bacon and reserve the bacon grease, adding a teaspoon of butter and then add the shallots and cook until soft and golden.

Drain the water from the steamer and plunge sprouts into ice water to stop the cooking, pat dry with paper towels and return the sprouts to the hot pan. Stir in with the pancetta and shallot mixture, including the fat in the skillet. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until the vinegar reduces and the sprouts are brown on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce and toss well.

Put the entire mixture in to a casserole baking dish and cook in the oven for 20 mins on 350 degrees until golden brown. Take out of the oven, drizzle a little more olive oil on top, stir well and serve.

Serves 4-6.

—–

Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash and Potato Gratin

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Potato Gratin

Everyone loves mashed potatoes and gravy for Thanksgiving but this year I decided I’m going to make a Gratin, but mix it up with not just potatoes and cheese, but adding some butternut squash and sweet potatoes to give it a kick and blended flavors of 3 of my favorite veggie sides. The decadent consistency of the garlic Gruyere cream sauce with this trio of veggies is a delicious twist on this classic French potato dish.

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove
½ tsp. sweet paprika
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg
1/3 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/3 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly rub garlic on the bottom and sides of a shallow porcelain gratin dish or medium sized glass casserole dish. Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle the nutmeg and paprika in the heavy cream and stir. Peel the potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash and cut them into thin slices.

Layer the potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese and then 1/3 of the cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a second layer using the squash, another 1/3 of the cheese and then 1/3 of the cream. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Add the top layer using the sweet potatoes, the last 1/3 of the cheese and final 1/3 of the cream. Top it off with a dash more salt and pepper. Sprinkle the entire top of the casserole with fresh Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley or thyme.

Bake uncovered, about an 50-60 minutes until the gratin is golden brown on top and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

—–

Wild Rice with Cranberries and Pecans

wildricecranberrysalad2

My mom always used to make a wild rice casserole over the holidays with either chicken or shrimp which is delicious as a main course or buffet dinner, but for a Thanksgiving side, this recipe is a bit lighter with tart cranberries to complement the turkey and some pecans for extra crunch.

4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
3 large shallots minced
2 cups wild rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a saucepan over medium low heat bring stock to a simmer. In a heavy 2-quart flameproof casserole over medium heat melt butter with the oil. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, add rice and stir until the grains are well coated about 3 minutes.

Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, bay leaf, thyme, sea salt and white pepper. Bring to a simmer then stir and cover. Transfer casserole to the oven and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.

Serves 4-6.

—–

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

cheddar biscuits

Having lived in the South in Atlanta for over a decade, I grew a love for fresh, homemade buttery biscuits. They definitely beat your standard prepackaged rolls from the grocery store and are delicious hot out of the oven with a little bit of real (yes, real!) butter. This version is made with milk, cream and fresh herbs (chives and parsley), mixed with tangy shredded cheddar andParmesan cheese with a dash of cayenne for a spicy kick.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cayenne together using a whisk. Add the herbs, cheese and buttermilk. Stir together until dough forms. Once dough has formed, using an ice cream scooper, scoop out dough onto baking tray. With a brush, lightly butter tops. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serves 4-6.

Recipe adapted from The Neely’s – Food Network

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