Category Archives: Herbs

pureed cilanto, garlic and Greek yogurt, Basil pesto

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 SauceChocolate Crackle Cookies or the Pavlova!

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 sweetsimpledelicious.com 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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 350º

  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!

Panzanella at Chef Marco’s

Panzanella at Chef Marco’s

Juicy heirloom tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and homemade golden croutons packed with garlic, purple onions, cucumbers and lots of fresh herbs make up this perfectly scrumptious summertime salad called Panzanella! Basil, parsley, oregano, thyme and a special dijon sauce really give this refreshing salad a delicious flavor and brightness.

I was recently able to coordinate schedules with my foodie friend Chef Marco so he could share his Panzanella recipe with you. Marco and his wife Sheryl, another big foodie, had this amazing dish at their house last summer and it still leaves a fresh impression on my mind. Probably because of all the fresh ingredients that come together with bursting flavor on your first bite.

Even though you can make this Panzanella all year long you couldn’t have a more perfect dish to make with the fresh summertime produce the local vendors offer at the farmers markets! Enjoy and make sure to check out Salsa 101, Salmon B.L.T. Slider’s, Lobster Mac N’ Cheese or Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie for your next get together!

You need to check out the WTNH Channel 8, “CT Style Morning Show” where I featured THIS recipe with Ryan Kristafer and Teresa Dufour! So much fun cooking with them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for the Panzanella Salad (NOTE: it always a good idea to toast croutons the day before if possible)

  • 1 loaf sour dough bread or ciabatta loaf – make croutons out of the whole loaf using 3 1/2 cups only for this Panzanella Salad, saving the rest of the croutons in a ZipLoc baggie in the freezer for future panzanella dishes!
  • 2 lbs assorted tomatoes, reds, yellow, tiger, heirlooms, etc. cut into 1″ pieces – Ratio is a little more tomatoes to bread
  • 1-2 cup fresh mozzarella cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced European cucumber, sliced in 1/2 and seeded…run a small spoon down the center of the cucumber to remove inner seeds
  • 1/2 cup thinly slice purple onion
  • 2 tsp garlic puree -put thru garlic press (1 tsp is for the special dressing below, 1 tsp for Panzanella)
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • fresh herbs: 1/2 cup chopped basil, 1 tsp chopped oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/4 cup parsley…all finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 special sauce recipe below

Directions for the Salad:

  1. Pre-heat Covection oven to 400º
  2. Make special sauce recipe below and set aside
  3. Cut up sour dough or ciabatta loaf into 1″ cube and place on cookie tray lined with foil
  4. Drizzle 1/4 cup olive oil all over the cubed up bread pieces and sprinkle with s & p
  5. Bake the bread until deep golden , about 12 minutes …keep an eye on it not to burn
  6. Let croutons cool completely
  7. Cut up tomatoes and fresh mozzarella into approx. 1 ” cubed pieces
  8. Cut cucumber in 1/2 length wise
  9. Peel and seed cucumber running a small spoon down the center to remove seeds then thinly slice cucumber half moons
  10. Cut 1 purple onion in 1/2 and thinly slice
  11. Put garlic thru garlic press
  12. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, garlic puree, herbs and mozzarella to a large bowl
  13. Then add in the croutons, drizzle 1/3 cup of special sauce over salad
  14. Toss and serve immediately…MMM!
  15. NOTE: Add in everything but the croutons and special sauce until right before you are ready to enjoy the Panzanella salad! ENJOY!

Ingredients for ther Special Dressing:

  • 1 heaping tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic puree
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup exta-virgin olive oil

Directions for dressing:

  1. Add first 4 ingrdients to a small bowl and slowly drizzle in while continuously whisking 1/4 cup olive oil (the dijon will help to emusify dressing)

New England Clam Chowder – My Secret Ingredients!

New England Clam Chowder – My Secret Ingredients!

This Creamy New England Clam Chowder bursting with clam broth flavor, tender clams, melt in your mouth potatoes and a hint of smokey from the bacon I can make 12 months of the year! My secret ingredients in this homemade New England Clam Chowder push it right over the top! My mother was whipping up creamy New England clam chowder when I was little so making homemade soups just comes naturally to me. This clam chowder recipe kind of reminds me of my no-nonsense crab cake recipe, no extra fillers! Topped with a little dollop of butter, a few dashes of tabasco and some oyster crackers brings me to chowda heaven!

My first secret ingredient in this New England Clam Chowder is dry cream sherry. De-glazing and simmering with dry sherry brings it to a whole new level. It really gives the chowder that extra something special everyone will be trying to figure out! If you have the time you really ought to pick up the Spnanish dry sherry called Amontilado for only $11 a bottle. It will last a while in your cupboard and help you to create amazing dishes.  I would never not think of putting a big splash of dry sherry into my chowder! You will understand why once you try it this way …you’ll never go back to sherry-less chowder!

My second secret ingredient is Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour, it’s a godsend. You don’t have to bother with a roux and worrying about lumps in your soup, sauce or gravy ever. It will change the way you cook! You can add the Wondra at any time during the creation of your dish and it magically dissolves. Now granted, sometimes we need a roux, like for making a gumbo and you need to devlop a nutty flavor from the roux working it into deep, dark golden color but we don’t want that here in the New England Clam Chowder so why add the extra work!

Sure it’s nice if it’s the right time of the year and you’ve set aside time to find and buy fresh whole clams to cook up for your chowder but my recipe can be made at the snap of your fingers, 12 months of the year and taste like restaurant quality chowder! It’s easy to do. I always stock my cabinets with snows clams and broth for chowder or linguine and clam sauce!

This New England Clam Chowder is especially great for parties like Memorial Day, which is right around the corner! Another great party dish you may want to add is Buffalo Chicken DipBEST Guacamole Ever, Salsa 101, Homemade Sweet & Tangy BBQ Sauce, or a gorgeous and most delicious Pavlova for dessert!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients (NOTE- Quantities can easily be halfed OR quartered …it’s still delicious!):

  • 6 cans “Snows” clams – 5 “chopped” clams & 1 “minced”
  • 5 Bottles “Snows Clam Broth = 6 cups broth (5 cups bottle + 1 cup comes from the cans after you drain the clams)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3/4 cup good dry cream sherry -(the pink one) Spanish Dry Sherry “Amontillado” is one of my favorites (1/4 cup to de-glaze onion/celery and 1/2 cup to simmer with broth base)
  • 2 slices minced bacon (smokey flavor ONLY not maple)
  • 2 extra lg potatoes or 4 small diced to 1/2″ size
  • 1 celery stalk grated or finely diced
  • 1 whole sweet onion grated or finely diced
  • 1 bunch rosemary tied with string … just a flavor bundle – to be removed
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 3 sprinkles of “Wondra-Quick Dissolving Flour”

Directions:

  1. Slice lg onion in 1/2, peel outer layer and grate OR finely chop whole onion
  2. Grate OR finely chop or 2 celery stalks, if grating….just grate the underside of stalk ending with ourter stringy rib section to discard
  3. Slice 3 slice of smoked bacon, then dice that
  4. Add diced bacon to large pot and begin to sauté on low, just want the bacon to become slightly golden…not dark
  5. Add in grated onion and celery and saute until lightly golden
  6. De-glaze with 1/4 cup dry cream sherry
  7. In 1 minute add in diced Yukon potatoes and all the clam broth from cans and bottles and 2 bay leaves and 1 tsp salt
  8. Bring to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender but FIRM because the potatoes will continue to cook even after you take them off the heat
  9. Tie off a bundle of fresh rosemary with cotton string
  10. At the 5 minute mark of simmering the potatoes ADD in the rosemary bundle and 1/2 cup of dry cream sherry and bring back to a low simmer
  11. At the last 2 minutes of simmering the potaotes ADD in 3 cups of heavy cream, 1/4 tsp finely ground blk pepper and possibly 1 tsp more of salt (you need to taste here to see if your chowder needs this addition of salt) and bring back to a low simmer
  12. Take the New England Clam Chowder base off the heat and gently stir in all the clams
  13. Remove the the rosemary bundle and the bay leaves and serve with Tabasco and oyster crackers
  14. If this is for the following day cool chowder completely at room temp allowing space with the cover for the soup to evaporate, place in frig
  15. When re-heat the soup watch carefully not to bring to a boil …just heat thru…mmm! Enjoy!

 

 

 

Torta de Pollo with Chef Mark

Torta de Pollo with Chef Mark

Torta de Pollo is a delicious and innovative way to change up the ole chicken pot pie not to mention it’s a down right fun thing to do! That’s what Chef Mark has done here layering tortilla’s with chicken and vegetables instead using a traditional pie crust. A Spanish Dry Sherry, called Amontillado, certainly takes this chicken pot pie version to a new level. Using these tortilla’s will save you time from making and fussing with a pie crust and who doesn’t love that.

Chef Mark has some wonderful flavor building steps going on here in his Torta de Pollo as he graces us with his truffle salt and Himalayan salt rock.  Let’s not forget his de-glazing of the veggies with this Spanish Dry Sherry called Amontillado by Savory and James that every kitchen should carry for a mere $13 a bottle. It would be silly not to have this in your cubbard!

Using the tortilla’s instead of the pie crust gives this Torta de Pollo an almost creamy texture. Changing up a chicken pot pie recipe like this, swapping out the tortilla’s for the pie crust, is such a creative and easy thing to do. It reminds me of a couple other of my favorites like chicken enchiladas or chicken cordon blue because of the swiss cheese in with the layers.

No baking time is another wonderful feature of this recipe. Once you sauté the veggies and make the “special sauce” consisting of chicken stock, rosemary, heavy cream and Spanish sherry you then cover the torta with this delectable sauce and flash broil it for 3-5 minutes…voilà! You certainly won’t be disappointed with this one! Enjoy and have fun using your favorite vegetables!

My BEST Crab Cakes with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing would make a great appetizer addition to the Torta de Pollo, and, or my Baked Aparagus Wrapped in Prosciuto. Don’t forget to have a yummy salad on the side like a Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons or Fennel and Citrus Salad with a Tangering Dressing! You’ll definitely need a sweet in your back pocket so go for the Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie and that should do the trick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for Torta de Pollo:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 pkg 8″ flour tortilla’s
  • 3/4 cups Emmetaler Swiss cheese – NOTE: 1/4 cup is for “the special sauce”
  • 3/4 cups Comté cheese – NotE: 1/4 cup is for “the special sauce”
  • 1/2 cup each chopped broccoli and cauliflower
  • 1/4 each, julienne parsnips, chopped peppers & celery
  • 1/2 lb portabella mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb small assorted colored potatoes, purple & yellow THINLY sliced
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lg garlic clove thru press
  • 1 shallots sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt (truffle salt if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 9 x 13 baking dish (will be wider then the tortilla’s
  • fresh rosemary for “Special Sauce” – recipe below
  • 1 cup heavy cream for “Special Sauce” – recipe below

Directions for Torta de Pollo:

  1. Remove all the meat from the rotisserie chicken
  2. Slice up the chicken to bite size pieces and set aside
  3. Add remaining rotisserie chicken, the bones & the skin to a medium size pot and add 1 celery stalk, onion skin, and 1 carrot cover with water and bring to a simmer for 1/2-1 hr
  4. Warm sliced de-boned chicken in a medium pan with 1 cup chicken stock on low heat
  5. Put sliced mushrooms in a hot sauté pan and cook for 5 minutes, stir after a minute…don’t worry if they seem to stick it’s ok
  6. Now add 1/4 tsp salt to mushrooms
  7. Move sautéed mushrooms to the side and add in 2 tbsp olive oil with the slice potaotes
  8. Sauté potatoes for 3 minutes
  9. Then add parnips, peppers, celery, garlic, shallots and lemon zest
  10.  Add in broccoli, cauliflower, cook 1 minute
  11. Deglaze with 1/3 cup dry sherry
  12. Add in frozen peas, add 1 cup chicken stock, bring to a simmer
  13. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp Berbere spice
  14. Let veggie reduce 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated
  15. Put wrapped 10-12 flour tortilla’s in foil in a warm oven
  16. Begin to layer Torta de Pollo
  17. Add 3 tbsp chicken chicken stock to bottom of baking dish
  18. Begin with tortilla, then 1/2 cup chicken & 1/4 cup swiss, then a tortilla, 1/2 cup veggies (without any excess juice), tortilla, and repeat until 10 layers – 4 or 5 chicken layers & 4 or 5 veggie layers. Note: push down slightly as you are layering to keep shape flatter
  19. Make “Special Sauce” -see below
  20. Pour all the sauce over the Torta de Pollo and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, til slightly bubbly
  21. Slice and serve with a drizzle of extra sauce over the top…mmm!

Ingredients & Directions for “Special Sauce”:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded Comte swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Emmentaler swiss cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  1. Using same veggie sauté pan add in first 3 ingredients, and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes
  2. Reduce slightly and then stir in cheeses, rosemary, s & p
  3. Pour over Torta de Pollo to place under broiler

 

Tortellini at The Gulla’s

Tortellini at The Gulla’s

You know this labor of love is so worth the effort when you taste how tender and flavorful these homemade tortellini are! The delicate, circular shaped pasta are stuffed with a purée of sundried tomato, mozzarella, and Reggiano Parmesan and served in one of my all time favorites, a tomato-cream sauce.  I introduced Steve to another easy and scrumptious sauce, Gorganzola Dolce-Cream Sauce that’s garnished with fresh thyme and a drizzle of truffle oil! 

This past weekend I was at The Gulla’s house with Steve and his son Maximo making their homemade tortellini. Steve dedicates a few hours every Christmas Eve making these little gourmet bites for his family’s Christmas dinner. Making these tortellini is definitely a labor of love because you are creating each little amazing folded bundle of pasta by hand.

Having a Smart pasta machine like Steve’s really cuts down on the labor of making tortellini as the pasta comes out of the machine in long ready-made sheets in mere minutes. It’s a very cool process putting out smooth sheets of pasta in 3 minutes flat but you can also learn to make Steve’s tortellini using homemade pasta too if you don’t own an Smart pasta machine. I have a homemade pasta recipe below for all of us without a pasta machine who don’t want to miss out on learning how to make these incredible tortellini.

As Italian legend goes on how the shape of the tortellini came about dates back to the days when Venus, the Goddess of Love, was traveling to a small town in Italy between Modena and Bologna. She was staying at a tavern where the Innkeeper was so taken by her beauty he peeked thru the key to her room one night and got a glimse of her navel. He rushed to the kitchen and created a pasta in the likeness of her belly button. And that’s how the shape of the tortellini came about, the belly button pasta! Who Knew?

While you are working hard forming these wonderful tortellini you may need a little sip of something to get you through like a Metaxa Mojito! And for easy nibbles you can pick on some Mango Salsa, Sweet Potato Fries and Green Goddess Dip II,  Best Guacamole Ever or some delicious Mediterranean Layered Dip!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INGRDIENTS for making PASTA in The Smart Pasta Machine:

  • 3 parts flour
  • 1 part semolina
  • 180 ml OR 3/4 cup of water for 2 lbs flour in pasta machine
  • 1 egg and 1 tsp water whisked in a small bowl – set aside until ready to form tortellini

INGREDIENTS for Sun-dried Tomato FILLING:                                                                                         NOTE: THIS FILLING IS UNBELIEVEABLY DELICIOUS!…try it on crostini OR on crusty bread!

  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella – whole milk or part skim
  • 1/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Purée these ingredients with an immersion blender or add to food processor and pulse. Start with 2 tbsp of olive oil and add a little extra if needed to purée til smooth texture

DIRECTIONS FOR FORMING THE TORTELLINI WITH SHEETS OF PASTA MADE FROM THE PASTA MACHINE:

  1. Begin to cut 2″ circles with your cookie cutter out of the machine made sheets of pasta
  2. Brush top 1/2 of the circle edge with a whisked egg
  3. Place 1/4 tsp of sun dried tomato filling in the middle of the circle pasta
  4. Fold the circle in 1/2
  5. Press to SEAL the 1/2 circle of pasta…VERY IMPORTANT to SEAL this edge!
  6. Take 1/2 circle and wrap around your pinky having each end meet
  7. Press these two ends together to seal and form one continous circular shape
  8. Fold down top of circular pasta to form tortellini
  9. Place in a bowl as you finish each one until you gone thru all the pasta sheets
  10. Bring large pan of salted water to a boil and add fresh pasta
  11. Cook pasta for 8 minutes, test pieces of pasta for proper doneness
  12. Serve with tomato-cream sauce or Gorganzola Dolce-cream sauce, garnish with thyme and truffle oil … mmm!

INGREDIENTS FOR TOMATO-CREAM SAUCE:

  • 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 1/4 cup POMI “strained tomaotes” – 1 med box – 26 oz.
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Sauté finely chopped garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 3 minutes, add in POMI strained tomatoes, salt & oregano and simmer for 15 minutes. Add in 2 cups of heavy cream to tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer for 15 miutes more. Serve with cooked tortellini, garnish with fresh thyme (and truffle oil.

INGREDIENTS FOR GORGANZOLA DOLCE-CREAM SAUCE:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup Gorganzola Dolce cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • truffle oil

Add heavy cream, Gorganzola, and vermouth to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. When it comes to a simmer whisk the melted cheese into the cream and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with tortellini, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves and a drizzle of truffle oil.

INGREDIENTS for Easy Homemade-Handmade Pasta- (Recipe from “Pasta at Vin’s“)

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 1/2  – 5 lg eggs
  • 1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put the kneading attachment on your food processor and add the flour
  2. Add the salt and olive oil
  3. Turn on the food processor to slow
  4. Add in 1 tbsp of water
  5. Begin adding in 1 egg at a time with the processor still on slow
  6. Add in the rest of the eggs
  7. Keep the food processor going on medium speed to begin kneading the dough
  8. Let knead for about 8 minutes until the texture turns into a smooth consistency
  9. Remove the pasta dough and place onto the counter
  10. Knead briefly with your hands and let sit for 1/2 hr.
  11. NOTE: Vin does not cover his pasta dough while it sits for the 1/2 so it can begin to dry out  a little bit
  12. Sprinkle some flour onto the counter or work surface and cut pasta dough into 8 pieces
  13. Begin to roll out each piece of dough to your desired thickness, into long lasagna-like sheets
  14. Sprinkle more flour on top of each thinly rolled out pasta piece and begin to cut out 2″ circles with your cookie cutter
  15. Brush top 1/2 of the circle edge with a whisked egg
  16. Place 1/4 tsp of sun dried tomato filling in the middle of the circle pasta
  17. Fold the circle in 1/2
  18. Press to SEAL the 1/2 circle of pasta…VERY IMPORTANT to SEAL this edge!
  19. Take 1/2 circle and wrap around your pinky having each end meet
  20. Press these two ends together to seal and form one continous circular shape
  21. Fold down top of circular pasta to form tortellini
  22. Place in a bowl as you finish each one until you gone thru all the pasta sheets
  23. Bring large pan of salted water to a boil and add fresh pasta
  24. Cook pasta for 8 minutes, test pieces of pasta for proper doneness
  25. Serve with tomato-cream sauce or Gorganzola Dolce-cream sauce, garnish with thyme and truffle oil … mmm!

 

 

#1 Meatball at Kevin & Jori’s

#1 Meatball at Kevin & Jori’s

It was definitely worth the wait to find out how to make Kevin and Jori Smith’s oh so sucullent and flavorful meatballs! It took a little patience to sync our schedules thru this busy holiday season but we were finally able to tape these #1 Meatball winners from the recent competition,  “Lisa & Vin’s 2016 Meatball Throw Down”! It’s a team effort between Kevin and Jori that produces one of the best meatball’s I have ever tasted. Watch out Dan Holzman from “The Meatball Shop” in NYC for these amazing meatballs will turn heads!

Come to find out Kevin and Jori won Lisa & Vin’s Meatball Competition the year before as well! Once you have your first bite into these melt-in-your-mouth meatballs you will know exactly why.

Not only were we eating Kevin and Jori’s amazing meatballs while taping the #1 Meatball show but Vin made is homemade pasta we call “The Trucals” from the show “Homemade Pasta at Vin’s”. Vin makes his pasta with a special roller called the trucal iron hence the name “The Trucals”.  This trucal iron that belonged to his grandfather cuts thick strands of pasta as you roll over it making for a hardy, chewy, yet tender strand of pasta.

If it couldn’t get any better then that Kevin added in an incredible garlic-basil bread and Jori her luscious tomato-basil salad with fresh Burrata cheese! Talk about the perfect meal…OMG! I am truly excited that I am able to bring you Kevin and Jori’s winning meatball reicpe. I know you will love them as much as I do!

You will need to have some amazing desserts up your sleeve to live up to these meatball standards like my Drunk Blondie Bars with a Caramel Bourbon Sauce, Chocolate Crackle Cookies, OR my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe! Then there’s Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie or a Chocolate Pecan Pie where you’ll always need just one more little fork full! LOL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Bottom photos courtesy of Gianni Esposito)

Ingredients for #1 Meatball Makes Approx 55 Meatballs:                                                                -Note: this is a large recipe… you can 1/2 the reicpe for a lesser amount of course and remember meatballs FREEZE really  well, raw or cooked!

  • 6 lbs meat: 2 lb. ground beef 80/20, 2 lb. ground veal, 2lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 2 whole heads roasted garlic (Keep garlic heads in foil the whole time for this meatball recipe)
  • 3 cups grated pecorino romano grated cheese
  • 2 3/4 cups homemade ciabatta bread crumbs – 2 loaves of ciabatta – the bottom 1/2’s
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Prociutto di Parma
  • 4 lg basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 eggs (Kevin likes 1 1/2 egg per lb of meat)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  2. Drizzle 2 heads of garlic with a tbsp of olive oil wrap in foil, place into oven for 35-40 minutes
  3. Slice loaves of ciabatta in 1/2, save tops for garlic bread – recipe for spread below
  4. Cut up bottom havles in small cubes, place on a cookie tray and bake until golden approx. 12 minutes
  5. Cool bread cubes then pulse to a crumb in a food processor
  6. Add ground beef, veal, and pork to a large mixing bowl
  7. Add in chopped prosciutto, salt, Percorino cheese, and bread crumbs
  8. Mix with hands to start combining
  9. Add in 7 lg eggs to meat and again mix with hands to combine, folding meat over and over
  10. Squeeze roasted garlic bulbs out of their sleeves and put into food processor or little chopper with olive oil and 4 basil leaves and purée
  11. Add this mixture to the meatball mixture and again mix folding over and over to combine
  12. Roll into 2″ size meatballs
  13. Pour 1/2″ high olive oil into large sauté pan and heat on med/high – MUST BE OLIVE OIL!
  14. Add in 8-9 meatballs at a time, don’t over crowd pan
  15. Cook on all sides until golden approx 6 minutes
  16. Remove to plate and serve with pasta, you can find Vin’s homemade pasta, “The Trucals” which are sooooo worth the effort!
  17. Serve with garlic bread too…mangia mangia 🙂

Garlic Bread Spread:

  • Ciabatta tops
  • 3/4 stick softened butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecorino grated cheese
  • 4 basil leaves chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves finely chopped

Mix all ingredients above, smear onto ciabatta halves and bake for 12-15 minutes on 375º YUM!

Lisa & Vin’s Meatball Throw Down

Lisa & Vin’s Meatball Throw Down

Wow! What an impression 9 simmering trays of meatballs made when you walked into Lisa & Vin Esposito’s kitchen this past fall for their 2016 Annual Meatball Competition! There were meatball’s with sauce, meatball’s without sauce, and some topped with hot cherry peppers. All I know is the aroma’s of the meatball’s, tomato sauce, basil, and garlic had you salavating in mere minutes in anticipation of sampling these delectable little morsels.

The Esposito’s actually started this meatball competition about 4 years ago with 22 meatball entries! Realizing that it was difficult to judge with too many to try in order to submit an objective ballot they are now down to 9 meatball entries in the competition.

It took a little patience to get thru the holiday’s to coordinate next week’s show, the winner of “Lisa & Vin’s 2016 Annual Meatball Throw Down” but it was worth it! Everyone loves a great meatball and I’m happy to say I had voted for the winner’s meatball in this competition! I’m excited to get you the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So be sure to stay tuned next week when I will reveal this 1st place winner and the winning meatball recipe from Lisa & Vin’s 2016 Meatball Throw Down! In the mean time you can check out my Turkey or Italian beef meatballs. Then there’s the giant meatballs with a Secret ingredient in the Meatball Recipe from Glenn’s New Haven Apizza. You could always keep with a beef theme with my Braciole and while you are making all these yummy Italian dishes you will need some Homemade Pasta and a Caesar Salad! Mangia, mangia 🙂

 

 

Creamed Onions

Creamed Onions

Creamed Onions, inspired by my Grandma Reilly, are put together in mere minutes then baked in the oven until bubbly making for the perfectly saucey side dish. My secret ingredient in the creamed onions offers a suble flavor bringing together the heavy cream, half and half, white wine, chicken broth, and mild Emmentaler Swiss cheese.

The secret addition in these creamed onions that give’s this dish that extra special something is evaporated milk. A small amount of Emmentaler is the other delicate flavor. Emmentaler is a very mild swiss cheese with remarkable melting qualities usually found in fondue recipe’s. I never got the recipe from my Grandma but thru many yummy test runs figured it out and have been making this recipe for over 15 years.

I began reminiscing about my Grandma’s Reilly’s holiday dishes when Pem McNerney, Living Editor, for The Source and other Shoreline newpapers recently sent me an email with a list of questions pertaining to Thanksgiving asking me if I wanted to elaborate, I was happy to oblige. Look for the hyper-links below the creamed onion recipe to help with your Thanksgiving Dinner!

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Ingredients for Creamed Onions:

  • 2 frozen bags (approx 2 lbs.) of white pearls onions 14 – 16 oz each bag
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup white wine- chardonay
  • 1/2 chicken broth
  • 1 small can evaporated milk (the 5 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup grated Emmentaler Swiss cheese
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated blk pepper OR white pepper

Directions for Creamed Onions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add frozen white pearl onions
  2. Bring back to a simmer, and keep simmering for 20 minutes
  3. Mix corn starch and Emmentaler cheese in a small bowl, set aside
  4. Remove simmering pearl onions to the baking dish with a slotted spoon
  5. Drain water from sauce pan
  6. Using SAME pan (no need to clean) add heavy cream, half and half, evaporated milk, chix broth, and salt and pepper and bring to a low bubbling simmer
  7. Whisk in Emmentaler cheese-corn starch mixture until combined, 20 seconds…keep whisking until melted in and then…
  8. Remove from heat immediately and pour over onions in baking dish
  9. Stir to even coating onions and bake for 35 minutes on 350º until bubbly, it will be golden around the egdes
  10. Note: Grilled ribeye or Filet Mignon, creamed onions and a drizzle of truffle oil is OUTRAGEOUS! Enjoy! 🙂
  11. NOTE: These creamed onions get even better when re-heated because the onions break down a little and melt into the sauce…MMM!

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Thanksgiving Memories

When I think of Thanksgiving many nostalgic memories come rushing in. It’s easy to do with all the aroma’s of this festive season.  The first fond memories I had of Thanksgiving were going to Grandma Reilly’s house having her homemade pies and creamed onions! The blueberry pie with a crispy, flaky crust and oozing sweet blueberries was my favorite. Her lemon meringue pie at a very close second. Not that her creamed onions didn’t leave a huge impression on me. Unfortunately, I never did get her pie crust recipes but have spent many hours fooling with pie crusts until I got it right, my “perfect pie crust in 5 minutes” with a “blueberry pie” filling to emulate her’s! –  http://thetravelingepicurean.com/perfect-pie-crust-in-5-minutes/  and  http://thetravelingepicurean.com/best-blueberry-pie/ .

The hard thing about Thanksgiving is there are so many dishes to make it can be exhausting. There’s the dilemma of which one’s are tradition, which one’s your favorite and can I eliminate any of them? The best answer is don’t be a control freak or a kitchen hog and have everyone join in doing their part, laughing, mixing, tasting, working along side of you. It’s ok to delegate out some of those tasks. Then it doesn’t seem like work at all! This being said, one Thanksgiving in particular comes to mind. Years ago while living in San Francisco my dear friends Lisa, Bobby, Pam and John came out West with their children and parents to visit more family and invited us to stay with them as well.  

This was a grand occasion, not only was I excited to be with my nostalgic East coast friend’s for this Thanksgiving holiday but they rented out The Historic Spreckels House in Sonoma, CA. It was breathtaking! We went wine tasting, played football on the grounds, and read lots of storybook’s to the little ones. The lasting impression for me here was all the fun we had in the kitchen. We all pitched in together to make a gourmet Thanksgiving dinner that could have been a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. My contribution to the dinner were my “Easy Icebox Dinner Rolls” that I dredged in chopped green onion and fresh rosemary. Nothing like adding to the aroma’s of roasted turkeys then with that of fresh baked breads. – http://thetravelingepicurean.com/easy-icebox-dinner-rolls-2/

The great thing about these icebox rolls is you can make the dough 4 days ahead. I call that brilliant! It’s key to staying sane on a holiday like Thanksgiving. These rolls have turned into tradition for me and my family, a dish that everyone asks about when ever they arrive. My friend Laura, and loyal Traveling Epicurean follower from Carmel, California will text me pictures of her “easy icebox rolls” every Thanksgiving. She writes, “it’s a family tradition and traditions create memories that last for generations.”

The most important thing about preparing for a holiday like Thanksgiving is timing. For instance, the pie crusts can easily be made a month ahead and put into the freezer. Take them out two days before to thaw. Roll them out, get them into your pie dish and back into the fridge until the night before when you can put together filling’s and bake.

Roasting the brussel sprouts on a cookie tray with chopped garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper is another time saver. Set aside after roasting in a heat proof serving dish and warm right before sitting down. This is the most delicious way I have ever had brussel sprouts. Once you try this way you’ll be hooked. – http://thetravelingepicurean.com/best-brussel-sprouts-ever/

My tip of the day: “Wondra flour” for your gravy is a God send! Don’t waste your time fussing with a roux! Is it too lumpy, will it dissolve, is it too thick, did the raw flour taste cook out? Forget about it… Wondra dissolves immediately and gives your gravy a luscious sheen in mere minutes. Yeah!

It’s funny because most of my friends who came out to stay with me when I was living in San Francisco knew they were to bring a tub of Mashmallow Fluff and a shrunk-wrapped pizza from Modern Apizza in New Haven. A couple of my favorite’s that you couldn’t get out there. Yet, the side dish that baffle’s me the most on Thanksgiving is the marshmallow’s on sweet potatoes. It’s something i just can’t wrap my brain around. The fact is, my confusion of why someone want’s marshmallow’s baked on sweet potatoes doesn’t really matter because this dish has been around since the early 1900’s. It is a tradition for many family’s on Thanksgiving. That to me say’s it all. Now nuts in cranberry sauce? I won’t even go there.

How I love this holiday and sharing other friend’s traditions with my children. Last year my kids and I had a blast on Thanksgiving meeting my family out at  an early Thanksgiving brunch, then it was off to my friend’s Marco and Sheryl’s Lathrop Manor in Norwich, CT, where they also reside. At dinner time we sat down with a house full of their relatives and friends to Marco’s gourmet dinner. His buttery mashed potatoes were over the top!. Conversation at dinner had my kids learning about Benedict Arnold and Connecticut history. Come to find out Arnold actually lived in this Lathrop Manor in the seventeenth century working as an apprentice to the Lathrops, the first apothecary in Connecticut…in this part of the world! Their Lathrop Manor is being remodeling right now but you can check out this very cool house in one of The Traveling Epicurean shows called “Salmon B.L T’s at Marco’s” – http://thetravelingepicurean.com/gourmet-salmon-b-l-t-sliders-at-marcos/

This Thanksgiving I am looking forward to going to my parents house early. Having them spend time with my children, seeing my brother and his family, then off to dear friends for a second round of festivities later on! Making more fun memories unique to each one of us! Family, friends and food bringing us all together once again. May you be thankful for having the chance to spend precious time with your family and friend’s this 2016 Thanksgiving Holiday!!

Warm Holiday Wishes,                                                                                                                               The Traveling Epicurean                                                                                                                             Michel Vejar

Thanksgiving Pictures of The Spreckles House in Sonoma, California

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