Author Archives: Michel

CT Style “Big Game” Show with Ryan Kristafer & Teresa Dufour!

CT Style “Big Game” Show with Ryan & Teresa!

What a blast in The Bender Kitchen today with Ryan Kristafer & Teresa Dufour making my #1 viewed YouTube cooking show, “BEST BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP EVER!”, at 83,000 views and climbing!¬† It was a special day there because Teresa is back after her 4 month maternity leave.

Not only was it fun on the set at WTNH, Channel 8 in The Bender Kitchen but Billy Blanks for Tae Bo was in the house also. Of course, I had to take a couple fun action shots.

The improtant thing I wanted to get across to everyone today on CT Style while showing you how to make “Big Game” food for next weekend is to make ahead! The Guacamole, Hummus and Drunk Blondie Bars with Bourbon Caramel Sauce can all be made one day ahead of the Super Bowl LII. This way you can relax and enjoy being with your friends and still get the well deserved praise of master chef!

Here are those make ahead ideas for Big Game eats next weekend and remember to get your wings and chicken tenderloins early because all the super markets run out by mid week! Have fun and enjoy! ūüôā

Homemade Hummus, Drunk Blondie Bars with Bourbon Caramel Sauce,  Baked Beans, Best Buffalo Chicken Dip Ever! and Homemade Guac!

CT Style Holiday Show with Ryan Kristafer & Sarah Cody Making Bolognese!

CT Style Holiday Show with Ryan & Sarah Making Bolognese!

Holidays are for bringing family and friends together and making special dishes! On the CT Style Holiday Show this past Friday I show you guys an all time favorite of mine for bolognese. If you missed the live show you can watch it on Christmas day when WTNH Channel 8 airs the taped version or click on the link above.

I am truly grateful to have such a wonderful platform as CT Style to try and insire all of you in the kitchen and share my recipes. Having such creative and enthusiastic anchors at WTNH Channel 8 right by my side make it all that much better! On Friday, I wanted to show my appreciation by making Ryan Kristafer and Sarah Cody an extra special holiday treat by serving my light as a feather homemade gnocchi with the bolognese.

This bolognese sauce is like no other that I have ever had. Over the years I have worked hard to perfect¬†this recipe matching a dish I used to have in Urbino, Italy, where I spent a couple of semesters abroad in college. Now all you have to do is follow my recipe and savour over the most amazing and unique bolognese sauce you’ll ever have.


I want to thank The Traveling Epicurean followers for supporting this culinary journey of mine in my efforts to inspire all of you in the kitchen. There’s something about igniting a passion that brings people together with good food and good company building memories that last a life time. Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Blessed 2018 New Year!

There are definitely some other great recipes you ought to check out that would be great with the homemade gnocchi and bolognese like Crab Balls with Homemade Thousand Island, or Best Buffalo Chicken Dip, and for dessert don’t forget the Drunk Blondie Bars with Bourbon Caramel Sauce,¬†Chocolate Crackle Cookies or the Pavlova!



Good Morning Connecticut with Laura & Jocelyn Making Pesto!

Good Morning Connecticut with Laura & Jocelyn Making Pesto

Today I had the pleasure of cooking on the “Good Morning Connecticut” show with Laura Hutchinson and Jocelyn Maminta. Showing them just how easy it was to make my gourmet pesto was exciting because it’s hard to believe something that tastes so delicious can be done in mere minutes.

Making a batch of homemade pesto goes so much further then you think. First of all, it can be frozen easily for future¬† dishes. Second, one batch can make numerous dishes. For example, it’s enough pesto for a pasta dish and a pesto butter log. The pesto butter log is really nice because you can cut off slices from the frozen log any time you need them topping grilled steaks, chicken breasts, or even pork chops oozing the melting basil, garlic and cheese all over¬†creating a whole new level of yum!

The ease of being able to use a food processor to make my homemade gourmet pesto is a wonderful thing!¬† The pesto tastes the same and you still put all the love into it using¬†good ingredients.¬† You can play with this recipe also when it comes to amounts like adding¬†a little more Parmesan if it’s too¬†thin or drizzling in a tad more olive oil if it’s too thick.¬† Making pesto is a very forgiving process…. just trust yourself and be sure to taste as you go along to see if you need to add a sprinkle more of salt and or pepper.

You may want to check out some desserts to go with your pesto dinner like my Saltine Christmas Bark with crushed candy cane, Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies,  Chocolate Crackle Cookies or Crazy Good Candies Pecans.



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 Ingredients for Pesto:

  • 1 pkg. 2-3 cups¬†of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2-3/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 1 lg. garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • dash of Siracha

Directions for Pesto: 

  1. Take the basil leaves off of the stems and place them into the food processor with the pressed garlic.
  2. Begin to pulse while drizzling in all of the olive oil thru the top opening of the food processor.
  3. Once you finish adding the oil you may need to stop and scrape the sides with a spatula if you see large pieces of basil leaves.
  4. Pulse once more, then add the parmesan.
  5. Pulse a couple more times to blend, taste and add salt and pepper and tabasco if you want a little kick to it.
  6. Pulse once more to combine.
  7. The pesto is ready to use.
  8. Serve on PASTA and saut√©ed or grilled shrimp, fish, chicken, pork or steak!…mmm!
  9. If you want to save the pesto put it into a plastic container and drizzle about 1 Tbsp of olive oil right on top, lay a piece of¬†Saran wrap right on top of the new layer of olive oil so there isn’t any¬†air touching (This will keep the basil from oxidizing and turning brown).
  10. At this point you can either keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or put it into the freezer.
  11. When you are ready to use the frozen pesto take it out the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator.
  12. Now that you have this delicious pesto you can easily make the Crostinis with Fresh Mozzarella, Pesto and Roasted Tomato appetizer.

Ingredients for Roasted Tomatoes:

  • 1 lb. grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • s&p to taste

Directions for Roasted Tomatoes:

  1. Slice tomatoes in half, drizzle on olive oil and S&P and roast in a 400¬ļ oven for 15-20 minutes,
  2. Be sure to check the grape tomatoes at 10 minutes so as to not over cook them…everyones oven cooks a little differently.


CT Style with Ryan Kristafer & Sarah Cody Getting Ready for Thanksgiving!

CT Style with Ryan Kristafer & Sarah Cody Getting Ready for Thanksgiving!

It was a special day on CT Style with Ryan Kristafer and Sarah Cody sharing one of my favorite childhood dishes in memory of my Grandma Reilly. I never did get her recipe for her Creamed Onions or pies but she was the inspiration behind my recipe that I have been making for over 20 years now. Cooking in The Bender KItchen, hanging out with Ryan and Sarah was the perfect way to start my Thanksgiving holiday this year!

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that can truly drive you crazy if you don’t do any planning because there are just too many side dishes to make. Needless to say, a little planning goes a long way!

On CT Style I wanted to show you some of the dishes that are total time savers for this Thanksgiving. My Icebox-rolls dough can be made 4 days ahead, shape and rolling out the rolls, dredging in green onions the day before. These icebox dinner rolls are then ready to pop into the oven when your guests arrive giving your house a warm and fuzzy feeling with aromas of homemade baked bread!

The yummy Best Brussel Sprouts Ever are drizzled with olive oil, chopped garlic and roast for only 25 minutes on 350¬ļ without any flipping or fussing. These can be made the night before because the sprouts keep their bright green color and crispness when re-heated the next day!

My Perfect Pie Crust in 5 Minutes is to die for and can be made 1 month ahead, put into the freezer and thawed in the frig 2 days before you need it! Roll out the pie dough the night before Thanksgiving and then bake your delectable Chocolate Pecan Pie the night before and viol√†! Not to mention, the Chocolate Pecan Pie recipe is a melt in your mouth gourmet recipe …it may just be the hit of your holiday!

Finally, there was talk of a Creamed Onion competition recently at Page Hardware in Guilford with owner Andrew Page when we were discussing future cooking demos at Page in the new year! So there just may be a “Creamed Onions” competition coming as well! Page has quite the array of high tech steam ovens, stoves and so much more…it’s almost difficult to pay attention to conversation surrounded by all the beautiflul stainless steel! You really have to check them out. I will keep you all posted on The Traveling Epicurean Cooking Demos and the “competition” in their amazing kitchens at Page in January of 2018!

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Let me know how your recipes turned out and about any new ones that you tried! xxoo




Best Baked Beans! – Show 101

Best Baked Beans! – Show 101

Every time there’s a get together in my neighborhood the first thing that comes to mind, “I hope Linda brings her baked beans!” That’s how good these baked beans are! My friend and neighbor, Linda, graciously offered up her recipe so that I may share it with all of you. Linda titles the recipe “Sue’s Baked Beans” because she got the recipe from her sister Sue who got the recipe from their mom! No matter what the title it’s one great family recipe.

Just the thought of bacon, saute√©d onions and creamy beans and you’ve got my attention. These are a few of the ingredients that go into this Best Baked Beans recipe. Other key ingredients are brown sugar, honey mustard, garlic granules, and to balance out the whole dish¬† apple cider vinegar, of course.

It’s really fairly simple especially since the recipe calls for canned beans. Shhhh …no one has to know that, lol! These beans, in my opinion, taste like they are made from scratch. Our time is very valuable and if you can make baked beans that taste like this you’re one step ahead of the game. These best beaked beans are creamy, flavorful, and a wonderful balance between sweet and tangy making a great addition to grilled fish, chicken, pulled pork or sausages. These will become your go to baked bean recipe once you taste them!

For some other fun BBQ ideas, Homemade BBQ Sauce, Grilled-Marinated Steak on Skewers, Seared Sea Scallops or Stout Braised¬†Pulled Beef Short Ribs and don’t forget to end the meal with some Homemade Hersheys Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake topped with GHOST Peeps!






























  • Bush Beans ‚Äď Vegetarian (large can undrained)
  • Black beans- 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Kidney beans ‚Äď 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Butter beans ‚Äď 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Cannelloni beans – 15 oz. can (drained and rinsed)
  • Bacon – 8 slices Boars Head
  • 2 to 3 onions (chopped)
  • ¬Ĺ cup cider vinegar (add more if you like tangy vs. sweet)
  • 2 to 3 tbls. honey mustard
  • ¬ĺ cup brown sugar
  • ¬Ĺ tsp. garlic powder
  • Ground pepper to taste


  1. Add the 5 cans of beans to a large mixing bowl
  2. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp, drain on paper towels and then crumble into small pieces–save 2 tbls grease
  3. In the same skillet cook chopped onions in the 2 tbls bacon grease until soft
  4. Then add in the crumbled bacon, cider vinegar, brown sugar, honey mustard, garlic powder, and ground pepper and simmer for 10-15 minutes
  5. Pour this mixture over beans and mix well.
  6. Pour into baking crock or dish and bake at 350 degrees for one hour….delicious!




CT Style With Ryan & Sarah Making German Pancakes!

CT Style With Ryan & Sarah Making German Pancakes!

I had a blast today on CT Stlye with Ryan Kristafer and Sarah Cody making German Pancakes. It was so nice to meet Sarah and with Ryan’s fun sense of humor I thought it would be a good idea to bring some Halloween props to the set today. Being so involved in what I was cooking I almost forgot I had these props on the shelf behind me. Leave it to Ryan to see the plastic bloody hand and the laughs carried on!

Fall is such an incredibly exciting season. The aroma’s of the season are enticing for sure. People begin to get into a nesting faze and the baking begins. I love having family and guests over for the holidays and these German Pancakes have always been a big hit. I was turned on to German pancakes some 20 years ago by my Vermont friends and have been making them ever since.

My son loves to eat the German pancakes with maple syrup where as my daughter likes them with butter. I on the other hand like them with jam, berries and maple syrup.¬† That’s why I show you how to make a quick strawberry jam.

This quick jam is so simple, it’s worry free. You make the strawberry jam in 15 minutes while the German pancake is in the oven baking. You need to skim off the white foam that accumulates around the edges of the pan while the strawberries simmer otherwise the jam will be cloudy. While warm this jam makes a wonderfu sauce and as it cools it thickens into a lovely jam. This recipe only makes one small jar, just enough, and must be kept in the refrigerator. It stays good for a couple of weeks, perfect for your breakfast toast.

Hope you have as much fun watching the cooking segment of CT Style as I did being there! xo

Check out these other fall dishes that may interest you like Mediterranean Layered Dip, Eggplant Balls, Lazy Mans Lasagna,¬† Lobster Mac N’ Cheese, and don’t forget my Chocolate Eclairs! Enjoy ūüôā

CT Style with Ryan & Kat Making Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs!

CT Style with Ryan & Kat Making Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs!

I’m always thrilled to be back on CT Style and that’s where I was this past Friday with Ryan Kristafer & Kat Cosley sharing one of my favorite recipes, Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs made with Greek yogurt. This recipe originated from a show I taped at a beach house right here in Madison two years ago with my friend Maria. It’s delicious on the grill outside and I show on easy it is to grill indoors using my “Lodge” reversible cast iron grill-pan.

I had a wonderful time in The Bender Kitchen meeting Kat Cosley, and as always, with Ryan Kristafer’s quick wit sense of humor he takes it up a notch! Having two little ones of her own Kat totally gets the convenience of being able to make different versions of these flavorful Mediterranean meals which can be made ahead for a busy family,

The Mediterranean Yogurt Chicken Kabobs are one of my all time favorites because it’s such a simple process and just so good for you! Marinate, skewer and BBQ…thats it! This recipe oringially came from Epicurious but as I always do, I tweaked it a bit when it was given to me adding in Spanish smoked paprika, a mild, sweet yet smokey spice thats gives a wonderful addition to the recipe.


The sides that go with the kabobs, the homemade tzatziki, hummus and green goddess sauce can be a great compliment to grilled steaks, pork or veal chops, scallops or any fish! These flavors really brighten up any dish. 

You can click on the links above to get to the recipe pages on my website that go with this live cooking segement on CT Style and they are also offered on the CT Style website as well.

You may be looking for something sweet after all these savory dishes so you should check out some of my other recipes like authentic Baklava, Chocolate Crackle Cookies, my own Chocolate Chip Cookie Creation, Drunk Blondie Bars, or Chocolate Pecan Pie







CT Style Making Oysters in Pernod Sauce with Teresa & Scott!

No better way to¬†start out my week then on “CT Style” In The Bender Kitchen with Teresa Dufour and News 8’s newsest ancor Scott McDonnell! It was a fun meeting Scott and having him there in the kitchen too and Teresa’s aura goes without saying…radiant! Summer is still in full swing so oysters were on my mind and here on CT Style I show you how to make my Oysters in Pernod Sauce with Fresh Spinach.

I created this recipe 16 years ago to match a yummy dish I had in New Orleans back in 2001. I have a knack for matching recipes in my test kitchen and that’s what I had done here. The flavors in this dish are a play on the traditional Oysters Rockefeller although with my recipe you don’t have to worry about shucking oysters. I buy my oysters already shucked, flash frozen in their own juices, at my local fish store.

On CT Style I actually used 1 whole quart of flash frozen oysters which contains about 24 oysters. I didn’t quite double the recipe but used 1 1/2 of the amount on the ingredient list. This is a very simple recipe and you will feel like a certified saucier once you taste the outcome.

As for the Pernod, this star-anise liquer is a whopping 40% alcohol although it mellows out quite a bit after simmering for 40 minutes. You’ll end up with a unique and really lovely flavor that’s going to wow you!

One of my favorite things when out a menu for a dinner party is how each dish balances out with the other. To compilment my oysters in Pernod sauce in Pernod Sauce on the CT Style set today I put together a platter of fresh watermelon wedges topped with a very good quality balsamic and feta cheese, sliced peppermint leaves and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. My neighbors have been inspiring me with their watermenlon dishes this summer hence the reasoning behind this combo and what a flavor explosion it is!

The Traveling Epicurean recently presented Oysters in Pernod Sauce with Fresh Spinach at a sold out Merrior-Terrior Event at the Madison Wine Exchange where I served up samplings made with fresh shucked oyters. Joe Dolce, Sommelier at The Madison Exchange teamed up with Joe Dimaggio from “Save the Sound” to hold this event. It also featured special guest and owner¬†of Thimble Island Shellfish Company Life Long Waterman & Oyster Farmer, Jonathan Waters, who supplied the scrumptious freshly shucked oysters. Jonathan Water also talked about the remarkable story of the oyster and its history.






The oysters on the half shell served at this Merrior-Terrior event were each paired to a particular wine, spirit or beer that best complements their individual style. The pairings and commentary was presented by Court of Masters Certified Sommelier, Joe Dolce. It was tons of fun! You should look on the Madison Wine Exchanges website for up and coming events!

If you want to keep on the seafood train you should check out these recipes too like¬†Lobster Mac N’ Cheese,¬†Cold Cucumber Soup with Seared Sea Scallops, Salmon B.L.T. Sliders or Crab Cakes!




Ingredients for Oysters in Pernod Sauce with Fresh Spinach Р                                           Makes 6 appetizers / 4 course size plates:

NOTE: On¬†“CT Style” the finished saut√© pan amount was¬†1 1/2 of the recipe with 1 Quart of Oysters-24, Raw flash frozen from my local seafood store… it’s all in how many oysters you like!

  • 1 pint shucked oysters, fresh or flash frozen raw oysters(12 oysters)
  • 1 package 5 0z. fresh spinach
  • 1 bottle clam juice plus juice from oysters
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream OR can of coconut cream
  • 1 cup half and half OR 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Pernod plus 1 tsp to add at the end for extra flavor
  • 1/2 cup Vermouth or white wine
  • 1/4 cup plum tomatoes (pureed)
  • 1 garlic clove thru garlic press
  • 2 dashes Siracha
  • 1/4 ¬†cup grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion granules
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary tied off with string
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp Wondra flour


  1. Sauté/steam spinach for 3 minutes with 2 tbsp water
  2. Immediately remove spinach to a bowl of ice water to shock, stop the cooking and keep vibrant green color
  3. Place spinach in a small strainer to squeeze out water then place into a small bowl with paper towels to remove any excess water
  4. Add all the above ingredients EXCEPT grated cheese, oysters and spinach to a large sauté pan including the juice form the oysters but NOT the oysters themselves
  5. Note: Make sure to slowly whisk in the 1 tbsn sprinkling of Wondra flour
  6. Bring to a low simmer, keep simmering on low, stir every 10 minutes for 40 min. (do not BOIL or the cream will break and curdle!)
  7. Remove rosemary bundle and bay leaves
  8. Then stir in oysters and spinach and simmer 1-2 minutes just so the oysters cook thru
  9. Stir in the grated cheese
  10. Serve with hearty dense Italian bread OR rice noodles…mmm!
  11. Ganish with finely chopped tomato and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil


CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Summertime Recipes!

CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Summertime Recipes!





Back on CT Style in The Bender Kitchen with Ryan Kristafer and Teresa Dufour this past Thursday morning!  I feel so fortunate to be working with such a wonderful group of people at WTNH Channel 8 who make it so fun to share The Traveling Epicurean recipes with all of you.

My goal for this segment was to show you a couple of creative and really delicious ideas for all your summertime produce. Panzanella and Berries in Dreamy Cream came to mind.

One of the wonderful things about making these dishes is the abundance and variety you have to choose from at the farmers markets in the summer. The incredible flavors in this Panzanella recipe go without saying. All the aroma’s from the fresh herbs, basil, parsley, thyme & oregano to the fresh vegetables like the heirloom tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, red onions really get you salavating. The creaminess from the fresh mozzarella and the crunchy from the homemade croutons balance it all out.

As for the Berries in Dreamy Cream, you can whip this one up in a matter of minutes as well. I’ve been making this sauce for over 20 years and always get the same delightful response from guests after their first bite. You would never think that melting Fluff and cream cheese together could make such a delectable sauce on fresh berries. It’s a sensation you have to treat your self to and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

For other scrumptious, easy go to summertime dishes you’ve got to check out my¬†Salsa 101, Best Guacamole Ever, Zucchini Spaghetti,¬†¬†Fresh Grarden Tomato Sauce¬†or¬†Roasted Garlic & Cannelini Bean Dip¬†!¬†ENJOY!

Super Nutty Seed Bread at April’s

Super Nutty Seed Bread at April’s

This energy boosting, super nutty seed bread topped with chic pea guacamole has both healthy fats and deliciousness…what more could you ask for!

It’s amazing how a hearty, healthy, homemade bread made from ground seeds can be this easy to make! The combination that April offers in her recipe by topping this moist bread with a creamy chic pea guacamole is a win win for me. The textures of the the two really compliment each other.

You really need to check out April’s beautiful website¬†where she offers delicious, healthy recipes along with her wellness programs enrollment availabilty! It was so much fun taping this show with April. With our similar tastes and aspirations I know we’ll be working together to bring you more shows featuring healthy, scrumptious dishes!

For other healthy and delicious dishes you should check out my Zucchini Torta, Zucchini Spaghetti, Salsa 101, or Cold Cucumber Soup with Seared Sea Scallops!…ENJOY ūüôā


















Ingredients for Super Nutty Seed Bread:

  • 1 cup ground oats
  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 3/4 cup ground pumpkin seed
  • 3/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup filtered water

Directions for Nutty Seed Bread – Pre-Heat oven to 350¬ļ

  1. Add egg whites to your cold mixer bowl and whisk until fluffy
  2. Add the first 7 ingredients to a different medium size bowl and whisk together
  3. Add water to the fluffy egg whites and whisk to combine 5 seconds
  4. Stir in the wet ingredients into the dry with a spatula just to combine
  5. Add batter to 2 small loaf pans greased with olive oil
  6. Bake for 35 minutes
  7. Let bread cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out to onto cooling rack to finish cooling
  8. Slice and serve with a healthy serving of Chic Pea Guacamole! Recipe below…

Ingredients for Chic Pea Guacamole:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup chic peas
  • 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes sliced in 1/2
  • Juice from 1 whole lime
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove thru press or finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Directions for Chic Pea Guacamole:

  1. Add avacado and chic peas to a medium size bowl and mash with potato masher to desired texture
  2. Stir in fresh squeezed lime juice, red onion, garlic, cilantro, s & p
  3. At the end stir in sliced cherry tomatoes and serve on a slice of Super Nutty Seed Bread!…mmm!