Tag Archives: garlic

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!

Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs

Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs

The magic of braising, turning a tough cut of meat into fork tender, is a no brainer for me. Braising these beef short ribs in a combination of stout beer, red wine, beef stock, soy sauce, whole peeled tomatoes, a mirepoix, and creative assortment of spices make for a luscious dish. Then piling the stout braised beef short ribs on top of yukon mashes potatoes made with half & half, heavy cream, butter, paper thin red onions and a healthy drizzle of truffle oil puts it right over the top!

These stout braised beef short ribs came from Firefly Farms in North Stonington, CT. Firefly is one of two farm’s in Connecticut Certified Humane! When you are buying from a farm like Firefly, who’s practices are above and beyond, you know you are getting a product of a different caliber. The beef I used in this stout braised short ribs recipe was moist, tender, and packed full of flavorful.

We all have some idea of the instense amount of work that goes into farming but their practices at Firefly Farm take it way beyond that. Analyzing agricultural charts dating back to World War II to understand and perfect feeds for each of their endandered breeds they raise on their farm is a grand example of that. Getting the animals diets just right to yeild a most natural and high quality product.

The lard that Firefly offers makes the perfect pie crust, as shown in “Death by Chocolate Meringue Pie”. It is unsaturated because of the attention to detail of the mulefoot hogs diet, one without corn or soy. And oh boy, you should try their bacon!

The special stout I got to braise the beef short ribs was creamy and smooth bringing deep luscious flavors to the dish. The stout came from some friends who have made home craft brewing a hobby, and they call themselves The Bilco Boys Brewery. It’s like night and day to taste a fresh homemade-crafted brew. I find the beer much smoother and the flavors really fresh from citrus to notes of chocolate with a creamy mouth finish. Make sure to keep an eye out for another up and coming craft brewing show next week with The Bilco Boys!

I know you will enjoy the ease of these stout braised beef short ribs whether Flanken or English cut. The end product is the easy sell here. You should try my Homemade Caesar Salad to go along with the ribs, or how about  Spanakopita for an appetizer. If you have a little time on your hands one weekend definitely try this amazing Pickled Eggplant recipe, perfect for holiday gifts! You will need dessert too so be sure to take a look at the beautiful and delicious Pavlova or my special Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies!

DSCN4572-300x225

cookedspan

pickperfect

IMG_7406

IMG_6064

 

 

 

img_9074

img_9054

img_9114

 

 

 

img_9125

stoutribss

stouttom

 

 

 

 

stoutbeef

img_9144

img_9168

 

 

 

img_9171

img_9174

img_9176

 

 

 

 

img_9184

img_9198

stoutribs

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for Beef Short Ribs:

  • 5-6 lbs Beef short ribs (Firefly Farms if possible)  Flanken Cut if you want to remove the meat as I did in show OR English Cut – 1″ X 3″ pieces
  • 2 bottles STOUT
  • 1 cup red wine, cabernet
  • 2 cup beef stock
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lg onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks coarsely chopped
  • 1 lg carrot coarsely chopped
  • 4 lg garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • 1 leek coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Wondra flour (quick dissolve flour)
  • 1 RECIPE Yukon Mashed Potatoes
  • OPTIONAL: Truffle oil – finishing oil to drizzle over stout braised short ribs, yukon mashed potatoes and gravy

Directions for Beef Short Ribs:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º
  2. Rub spice mixture all over ribs anf marinate for 4-12 hours or over night
  3. Pat dry ribs without removing all the spices
  4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large dutch oven or pan
  5. Begin to sear beef short ribs in pan with olive oil, you will have to probably do this in two batches so you don’t crowd the pan
  6. Sear the ribs 3-4 minutes on each side until browned
  7. Remove 1st batch of ribs, set aside in a lg bowl and brown 2nd batch of beef short ribs
  8. Remove 2nd batch of ribs to bowl
  9. Then add in mirepoix with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper to dutch oven
  10. Sauté for 5-8 minutes until softened
  11. Add in 2 bottles stout, 1 cup cabernet, 2 cups beef stock, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 cup whole peeled tomatoes and 1 bay leaf to dutch oven
  12. Add all of the beef short ribs back into the dutch oven making sure the liquid is 3/4 up the side of the meat
  13. Bring to a simmer on the stove for 15 minutes
  14. Cover Dutch oven and place into a pre-heated 350º oven for 3 hours
  15. Every 50-60 minutes check on the ribs to fiip over and make sure you don’t need to add more liquid – it shouldn’t be dry (if it is you can add a splash of water, red wine, or more beef broth…all will work great)
  16. While the beef short ribs are braising in the oven whisk together the glaze
  17. At the 3 hour mark remove beef and place the ribs onto a cookie tray
  18. Put the oven on Broil
  19. Brush a coat of glaze on one side of the ribs and place under the broiler of 2 minutes (only 1 side)
  20. Tilt Dutch oven pan to the side to skim oil off the top of braised veggies
  21. Push all the braised veggies thru a strainer set over a bowl to catch all the juices
  22. Make sure to scrape juices on bottom of the strainer into the bowl too
  23. Add the strained gravy juices to a sauce pan and bring to a simmer on low
  24. Whisk in 1 tsp of Wondra flour into the gravy and simmer for 15 minutes to thicken slightly (if it gets too thick you can add in a splash of red wine or beef broth)
  25. If you have Flanken Cut Short ribs remove meat for bones and place in heat proof pan until you are ready to place on top of pile of mashed potatoes with a drizzle of gravy and truffle oil, and a sprinkle of chives
  26. If you have English Cut short ribs place 2 ribs per person onto a pile of Yukon Mashed Potatoes with a drizzle of thickened gravy, truffle oil and a sprinkle of chopped chives, then serve… mangia, mangia!
  27. NOTE: For a finishing oil drizzle Truffle oil all over dish for an extra wow!
  28. NOTE: If you are not eating ribs right away, and want to re-heat add to a heat proof dish, add 1/4-1/2 cup of red wine and beef stock and re-heat on a 350º oven for 30-40 minutes

Spice Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic granuales
  • 1 tsp onion granuales
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp five spice
  • 2  tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp blk pepper

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp kethcup
  • 1 tbsp soy
  • 1 tsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • a few dashes of favorite hot sauce (Siracha)

Whisk in a medium bowl until combined and brush on ribs

Feta-Basil Pesto

Feta-Basil Pesto

No doubt about it once you try this feta-basil pesto you will be hook! The creamy, French sheep’s milk feta pushes this pesto into a whole new arena! Combined with the fresh, floral basil leaves, Italian Reggiano Parmeggiano, extra-virgin olive oil and garlic are a creation that’s just born to go together! Done in mere minutes in a food processor there’s no excuse not to make this delectable sauce bursting with flavor every chance you get!

Making fresh feta-basil pesto can’t be any easier then the convenience of your food processor! There’s no need whatsoever lugging out the ole mortar and pestle making a huge project out of something that literally take’s 2 minutes to make. No cooking, no baking, no washing, NO FUSS, just load up the food processor and pulse. Voilà, you have a gourmet sauce that turns around any dish you add it to into gourmet.

One of the appetizer’s I like to make with feta-basil pesto are Crostini with Fresh Mozzarella and Roasted tomatoes. Let’s not forget to try the feta-basil pesto on seared Scallops, Swordfish or even Sweet Potato Fries! And then there’s the obvious, top EASY PEASY pasta or Zucchini spaghetti with the feta-basil pesto and you feel like a king. Any way you look at it this feta-basil pesto is a no brainer, a win-win situation! So get on it! lol … xoxo

IMG_7288

027

IMG_0668

fetapesto

IMG_2418

 

 

img_8522

fetagar

fetapulsejpg

 

 

 

fetareggiano

fetafeta

fetapulsejpg

 

 

 

 

fetahot

img_8558

img_8565

 

 

 

pestcrostini

IMG_2026

IMG_6818

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 sheep’s milk feta cheese – from local cheese shop if you can! It’s the star of the show!
  • 2 packed cups – fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 packed Reggiano Parmasan – freshly grated if you can
  • 1 extra lg OR 2 medium garlic cloves put thru garlic press
  • 1/4 cup PLUS 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few dashes of your fav hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Place 2 packed cups of basil, 2 tbsp of olive oil, garlic thru garlic press, a sprinkle of s & p in food processor and pulse 6x
  2. Scrape down sides and add in Reggiano Parmesan and sheep’s milk feta and pulse 4x more
  3. Scrape down sides and add in a few dashes of hot sauce
  4. Drizzle in thru top opening of food processor 3 more tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil and pulse 3x more …voila you have feta-basil pesto! It’s as easy as that! 🙂
  5. Add this feta-basil to Crostini with Fresh Mozzarella & Roasted Tomatoes for an appetizer that’s sure to turn heads!
  6. OR EASY PEASY …Add the feta-basil pesto to some sautéed shrimp and pasta! YUM!

Pickled Eggplant at Nancy’s

Pickled Eggplant at Nancy’s

pickperfectThere’s nothing like homemade Pickled Eggplant with thinly sliced strands of eggplant delicately flavored by vinegar, garlic, red hot chili pepper’s, oil-cured black olives and capers all nestled in an olive oil bath. The oil-cured, black olives, add a burst of rich, meaty, sweetness and then there’s a little pucker from the capers. Similar to the oil-cured olives, the eggplant become’s sweet in the beginning of the pickling process when the salt pulls out all the moisture and bitterness.

When Nancy first gave me a jar of her delectable pickled eggplant I knew I would have to get the recipe. Not only is her pickled eggplant to die for but everything she cooks is of the same standard, absolutely delicious! Along with inspiring me in the kitchen, Nancy had the same effect on me on the golf course when I first started playing 8 years ago. She has such tenacity and determination when playing I call her the fiesty golfer! Considering how difficult the game of golf can be, she’s the perfect person to learn the game with.

I had so much fun at Nancy’s house last week making her pickled eggplant. It’s so worth the effort you put into making your own, a most rewarding process when you taste the final product. All of these incredible flavors come together to make an amazing eggplant appetizer like you’ve never had before! You just can’t buy this in the stores!

You may just want to turn your party into an anti-pasto party with other dishes to compliment your pickled eggplant like Guacamole Crostini, Roasted Garlic Bean Dip, Arancini Reubens Balls w/Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Spanakopita w/Metaxa Mojito’s and, or Homemade Pesto w/Fresh Mozzarella & tomato Crostini! Yum! Hope to recieve an invite to your delectable party lol 🙂

IMG_7767

IMG_6722

030-300x225

cookedspan

IMG_2026

 

 

img_8354

img_8357

pickslice pickstrips

 

 

img_8366picksaltjpg

 

 

 

 

img_8381

 

picksalt

pickpillow

 

 

 

pickwash

img_8388

pickvinegar

img_8442

 

pickstirpicegg

 

 

 

pickledegg

pickledwash

 

img_8458

 

 

 

 

 

 

pickelstir

pickjarpickjarring

 

 

 

 

picklejar

pickperfect

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 9 large eggplants
  • 10 cups distilled white vinegar – 3/4 of gallon jug
  • 10 cups water
  • 4 cups olive oil
  • approx 1/2 container of Mortons salt… use 1/3 cup per eggplant
  • 2 cups Italian black oil cured olives – seedless
  • 1 long hot red pepper
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 8 lg garlic cloves coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano OR 2 tbsp fresh oregano dried in the microwave
  • 1 large pickling crock
  • 2 clean white cotton pillow cases
  • 1 extra large bowl to tranfer wet eggplant in pillow cases back and forth from washing machine
  • a case of canning jars

Directions:

  1. Peel and slice all 9 eggplants into 1/8″ thick pieces
  2. Stack slices and cut into 1/8″ strips
  3. Place cut up strips into large pickling crock
  4. After the addition of each cut up eggpant sprinkle in about 1/3 cup salt and mix strips around with salt by hand
  5. Go thru all 9 eggplant making sure to spinkle 1/3 cup salt after addition
  6. Place a small dish on top of all the sliced eggplant so that the dish fits into the crock
  7. Place the gallon jug of vinegar onto dish and let sit 2-3 hours
  8. Remove vinegar bottle weight and plate from crock – at this point there will be a lot of dark brown juice extracted from the eggplant
  9. Transfer eggplant to a clean pillow case a handful at a time leaving behind the brown juice
  10. Divide all the eggplant into 2 pillow cases and tie off the ends into knots so as the eggplant doesn’t come out when you “spin” it in the washer
  11. Rinse out the pickling crock
  12. Take the two pillow cases full of eggplant to the washer and put on “spin” cycle only – NO WATER
  13. After spin stops, remove eggplant from pillow cases & place back into crock (save pillow cases in a large bowl ready to use one more time before cleaning)
  14. Add in chopped garlic cloves and sliced hot pepper
  15. Bring 10 cups vinegar/10 cups water to a rapid boil
  16. Pour vinegar/water mix over eggplant strands in crock
  17. Stir breifly to mix and cover
  18. Let ferment until cooled approx. for 3 hours giving the eggplant a stir at 1 1/2 hour mark
  19. When the eggplant is cooled remove from crock back into pillow caeses
  20. Divide up the eggplant and place back into the same two pillow cases you used on first spin
  21. At this point run all the jars thru dishwasher – time it so they are hot ready to jar the pickled eggplant after 2nd spin (give it about 1/2 hour-depending on timing of your own dishwasher)
  22. Put all the tops to the canning jars in a pan of water, bring to a boil to sterilze as well
  23. Place the eggplant strands back in the washer on “spin” cylce only again – NO WATER
  24. Rinse crock
  25. Microwave fresh oregano in a microwave for 1 minute, crumble the oregano leaves off the stem and set aside
  26. Add spun pickled eggplant back into the clean crock, add in 4 cups olive oil, 2 cups oil-cured black olives, 2 tbsps of caper and 2 tbsp of fresh microwaved oregano
  27. Take hot jars out of the dishwasher and begin to fill with eggplant
  28. Top off the pickled eggplant in the jars with a drizzle of olive oil keeping 1/2″ from the top
  29. Wipe the top of the jars clean with a clean paper towel and seal with the hot tops you boiled on the stove – Be Careful Not To Burn yourself here
  30. Approx 5 hours after putting the tops on the jars, gently push down on the middle circle to hear a small pop and complete the “seal” – NOTE: they may pop down completing that last seal all on their own
  31. The pickled eggplant is done and will keep for months at room temp
  32. I keep an opened jar in the fridge and bring to room temperature when ever I serve it…YUM!

 

 

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce

When the aroma from your fresh garden tomato sauce smells exactly like a tomato plucked right out of your garden on a sultry summer day you know you have the right recipe! With all the beautiful weather we have had this summer everyone has an abundance of produce coming out of their garden’s. What a better way to dive right in and try your hand at making your very own tomato sauce. And when you taste how delicious the puréed tomatoes are as a raw sauce you may just stop right there. After that first taste of the raw tomato sauce there might not be any left over to go to the next simmering step!

I was very excited when some friend’s of mine, Becky and Mike, offered up a large bag of their fresh garden plum tomatoes. I knew I wanted to make fresh garden tomato sauce with them right off the bat. This is a bit nastalgic for me because it reminds me of when my mother used to make fresh garden tomato sauce for us when I was young.

It’s really an easy process of peeling, seeding and then puréeing the tomatoes with some sautéed onions and garlic. The more tomatoes you have the longer it well take but it’s so worth it. The fact that you can freeze the sauce for a later date makes it all worth while! What I love about making this fresh garden tomato sauce, other then the fact that it smells utterly amazing, is it’s just as delicious eating it raw as cooked. In fact, when I make this I can’t decide which I like better so I continue on to make both cause it’s so darn simple to do that once you are in the process.

Once you see how easy to make your own sauce it may become a new family staple for you. You just might get inspired to make it a family affair having everyone join in to make homemade gnocchi or zucchini pasta too. Don’t forget the gourmet Caesar salad and then of course there’s an amazing ricotta pie or go for the death by chocolate meringue pie!

IMG_7868

zucspaghetti

DSCN4572-300x225

IMG_7641

IMG_8098

 

img_8165fresh-core

freshboil

 

 

 

freshice

freshskin

freshseeds

 

 

 

 

img_8215

freshpuree

img_8249

 

 

 

 

 

img_8258

img_8240

img_8241

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 91 fresh garden tomatoes OR as many as you have
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, LESS if you have a smaller amount of plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 5 lg fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lg dried bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup red wine – for the simmered sauce
  • 1 tsp finely ground Italian seasoning
  • 1 small Vadalia onion finely chopped
  • 4 extra lg OR 6 medium size garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup white wine to de-glaze the sautéed onions and garlic

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil adding in 1 tbsp of salt
  2. Core the stem side of all your tomatoes
  3. Get a large bowl of ice water ready to put the tomatoes in after you blanch them
  4. Add plum tomatoes to boiling water, 25-30 at a time and blanch for 30-45 seconds, it’s totally fine if it goes past 45 seconds cause it’s going to take you a minute or two to scoop the tomatoes out
  5. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water and submerse into the ice water
  6. Repeat until you have gone thru all your tomatoes
  7. Begin to remove the loosened skins from the tomatoes then placing into another bowl as you go
  8. Cut or tear tomatoes in half with your hands and remove most of the seeds putting pulp in one bowl and tomato flesh in another
  9. Spoon off any excess water that rises to the top of the bowl with all the tomato flesh
  10. Sauté chopped onion and garlic cloves til tranlucent
  11. De-glaze onions and garlic with 1/4 cup white wine
  12. Let the alcohol burn off and reduce slightly
  13. Begin to purée tomatoes and sauteed onions in the food processor in batches
  14. Add the puréed tomatoes/onions back into the large pan that you blanched the tomatoes in as you go along
  15. When done puréeing add salt and pepper to taste and voilà there is your raw sauce
  16. FOR RAW SAUCE: top pasta with raw sauce and sprinkle some fresh julienned basil, Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  17. FOR COOKED SAUCE: Put the pot of puréed tomatoes/onion back on the stove and add in the 5 extra lg fresh basil leaves, bay leaf, sugar, Italian spices, red wine and simmer for 1-2 hours…mangia mangia!!

Secret Meatball Recipe at Glenn’s New Haven Apizza

Secret Meatball Recipe at Glenn’s New Haven Apizza

One of the most delicious meatballs you’ll ever have and the mammoth size will knock you for a loop! Glenn Proto, at New Haven Apizza & Bakery, right here in our very own Madison, CT, shared his mother, Annette’s, secret meatball recipe with me this week. The ingredients he use’s in his meatballs couldn’t get any fresher because he even grind’s his own meats for these meatballs. Freshly ground brisket, short ribs, 80/20 beef and Longhini sweet sausage are the main ingredients in his meatballs. Oh, but let’s not forget what he calls his “secret” to the meatballs, his addition of finely chopped pepperoni! Glenn says this is what give’s these authentic Italian meatball’s that extra special something!

Once we get past all the freshly ground meat that goes into Glenn’s meatballs the love doesn’t stop there, he then caramelizes red onions, adds in Ricotta fina (a special and costly ricotta from the very best Liuzzi Cheese in North Haven,CT, eggs, grated Romano cheese, Italian cubed up bread soaked in heavy cream, and fresh garlic and herbs! Wow, he doesn’t hold back on quality that’s for sure. What an incredible ingredient list for these most flavorful and succulent morsels. Maybe I shouldn’t use the word “morsels” either because the size of these meatball’s are cray cray! It was a blast rolling the meat mixture into bigger then baseball size meatballs with Glenn and his son Dylan. Isn’t it wonderful how the tradition carries on as Dylan and his siblings grew up making these incredible meatballs just as Glenn did. And now, we can add some of this lovely tradition into our kitchen’s since Glenn was so kind as to share his family’s recipe with all of us. He believe’s traditions and recipe’s are meant to be shared so everyone can enjoy them!

Hope you enjoy this secret meatball recipe show and remember he serve’s up 3 of these colossal meatballs in one “spaghetti and meatball” order from his restaurant! You might want to start with a few appetizer’s like my crab cakes, buffalo chicken dip, Mediterranean layered dip, spanakopita or my hummus!

DSCN45211-300x225

buffdip

IMG_5437

cookedspan

IMG_5097

 

 

 

IMG_7328

IMG_7338

IMG_7342

 

 

 

IMG_7332

IMG_7334

IMG_7344

 

 

 

IMG_7351

IMG_7388

meatbll

 

 

 

 

 

Glenn’s Mammoth Size Meatballs – makes approx 10-12 Colossal Size…Can make them smaller to yield more meatballs!

  • 2 1/2 lbs. of ground beef (.75 lbs ea. of ground brisket, short ribs and 80/20 ground beef)
  • 1 1/4 lbs. Longhini sweet sausage
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pepperoni
  • 2 cups Italian bread after soaked in heavy cream and squeezed slightly  (1 lb. about 1  loaf of Italian bread, cubed and soaked in heavy cream)
  • 2-3 cups heavy cream – to soak cubed up Italian bread
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 1 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 3/4 cup ricotta (ricotta fina if you can get it)
  • 3/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1/3 heaping cup finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup caramelized red onions (finely chop 2 med. size red onions and sauté on medium/high with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter for 5 minutes and then twenty minutes on low with adding 1 tbsp sugar and 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp finely ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º
  2. Cube up the Italian loaf of bread to 3/4″ pieces
  3. Add cubed up bread to 2 – 3 cups heavy cream – should be enough to have all the pieces get saturated and soak for approx 15 minutes
  4. Add beef and sausage to a large bowl and combine with your hands
  5. Add in the pepperoni and the rest of the ingredients in the list and combine with your hands – Don’t over mixed meat …just until combined
  6. Begin to roll meat mixture into desired size meatballs dipping your hands in the left over the heavy cream to help smooth the edges of the meat while shaping them
  7. Place the meatballs onto a cookie tray..they can be right next to each other
  8. Note: the larger they are the longer you will bake them
  9. Bake for 45-60 until the tops are crispy and brown …mangia, mangia!

 

Green Goddess Sauce ll

Green Goddess Sauce ll

Having my green goddess sauce ll at your next party will be sure to turn heads. It’s kind of like wearing a new party dress! This green goddess sauce is made in mere minutes in a blender. It’s a blend of Greek yogurt, mayo, fresh mint leaves and cilantro, garlic, green onion, lemon juice, olive oil and rice wine vinegar.  You don’t even have to waste time chopping finely because it all get puréed anyways!

Decorating your party plates with my green goddess sauce will make for a lovely presentation, a more formal one, but having a bowl or pouring cup of the sauce on the table will do the trick quite nicely! In fact, the latter might be better since there’s a good possibility your guest’s will be going back for seconds.

This green goddess sauce is so versatile because it literally goes with all foods! It’s heavenly on seared scallops…all fish for that matter, swordfish, rack of lamb, pulled beef tacos, Sweet Potato Fries , Baked Crispy Fries, or Baked Coconut Shrimp and even cut veggies!

027

IMG_3234

IMG_0672

IMG_0668

iphone pictures 447

 

 

IMG_6920

iphone pictures 1167

iphone pictures 1168

iphone pictures 1191

 

iphone pictures 331iphone pictures 316

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6956IMG_6962

 

IMG_0672

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayo (I use Hellman’s)
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves (1 cup loose)
  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove put thru garlic press
  • 1/2 jalapeño diced
  • 4 lg stalks, 6 small of green onion chopped coarsely
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tsp sugar  – (NOTE: I forgot to add this in the show, but it really needs this for balance 🙂
  • s & p
  • If it’s not hot enough with the jalapeno add a dash of Siracha

Directions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into a blender an purée for 10 seconds…be patient – you may need to stop and stir everything to get it going but do NOT add any more liquid
  2. Stop blender and scrap down sides to get the larger leaf pieces and blend for 5 more seconds and violà!
  3. Taste here and add salt and pepper
  4. Add a dash of Siracha – you need to taste the sauce first, sometimes a jalapeño can be super hot and other times it can be a mellow hot
  5. This sauce gets even better if you can pop it into the fridge for an hour and let the flavors mingle, the sauce will thicken up a little too!
  6. Make this ahead of time and keep sauce in a plastic container and refrigerate.  It stays nicely for days in frig.
  7. This green sauce is absolutely delicious on so many things…be creative.

Best Shrimp Scampi!

Best Shrimp Scampi!

shrimpyShrimp scampi is one of those delicious dishes that’s sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face just on aroma’s alone! Shrimp sautéed in olive oil and butter with lots of garlic, shallots, clam broth, and white wine topped with fresh lemon juice, parsley and Parmesan make’s for a grand party atop a pile of linguine!

This quickie gourmet sauce I have created for you in this shrimp scampi dish is a light sauce, yet packed with flavor. The way we do this is by concentrating the juice’s released from those sautéed shrimp along with a couple of bottles of clam stock simmering for a brief seven minutes. The traditional and time consuming way to create this lovely stock would be to simmer the shrimp shells in white wine for a while like you would for a lobster bisque stock. The objective here was to take a short cut to accommodate our busy every day lives without foregoing taste by using bottled clam stock. Voilà, you have an amazing flavor base for our shrimp scampi with linguine in seven minutes.

One of my favorite way’s to serve the shrimp scampi with linguine is by offering up a Parmesan with red pepper flake’s mixed right into it. It’s nice to offer two small dishes of Parmesan, one with the pepper flakes and one without. By adding the red pepper flakes to the grated cheese guests are less likely to accidentally sprinkle on too much because it’s dispersed throughout the cheese.

You might want to try some homemade pasta to go with this wonderful shrimp scampi or even a Caesar Salad.  Some chocolate crackle cookies would be great for dessert or homemade chocolate eclairs with an incredibly easy and luscious vanilla filling. Then again there those drunk blondie bars with the bourbon caramel sauce that are to die for! Enjoy! 🙂

IMG_4327

DSCN4572-300x225

IMG_3663

IMG_6379

IMG_6622

 

 

IMG_6780IMG_6793

shrimpwinejpg

 

 

 

shrimp gsrlic

shrimpclam

IMG_6801

 

 

 

shrimpy

shrimplemon

 

IMG_6805

 

 

 

shrimpbutter

srhimp pasta

shrimpeparsley

 

 

 

IMG_6819

IMG_6822

IMG_6818

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for Shrimp Scampi with Linguine – 6-10 People:

  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs of peeled & deveined large shrimp (ask for a certain number of shrimp …2-5 per person depending on what other side dishes you are serving)
  • 2 bottle of Snows clam broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine – pinot grigio
  • 4 lg garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 2 lg garlic clove smashed
  • 1/4  cup finely chopped FRESH FLAT LEAF Italian parsley
  • 5 Tbsp salted butter
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb pasta – linguine or linguine fini
  • 2 lemons
  • Reggiano Parmesano
  • Red pepper flakes -OPTIONAL
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and devein shrimp
  2. Bring large pan of salted water to a boil
  3. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp butter and 2 lg crushed garlic cloves to large sauté pan over med/high heat
  4. When the pan is hot add in the shrimp
  5. Saute for 2 1/2 minutes per side
  6. Remove shrimp and garlic – set aside
  7. Add in 1 tbsp olive oil, finely chopped garlic and shallots into the same pan and saute til soft (lightly golden) for about 2-3 minutes
  8. Then pour in both cans of clam juice with the garlic and shallots
  9. Bring to a boil over high heat, turn down to a low simmer for 7 minutes
  10. Add pasta to boiling salted water and cook until aldente (don’t over cook!)
  11. Let pan with the clam broth/garlic simmer and reduce by 1/3
  12. Add shrimp back into reduced clam broth/garlic
  13. Add in juice from 1 whole lemon and 3 tbsp of chopped parsley to shrimp scampi
  14. Add in salt and pepper here to taste
  15. Simmer on LOW for 2 more minutes
  16. Drain pasta and pour out pasta into a large serving platter or bowl
  17. Add in 4 tbsp of butter to pasta and toss, add in salt and pepper to taste …taste the pasta and make sure the pasta is PROPERLY seasoned at this point
  18. Pour the shrimp scampi mixture over the pasta
  19. Sprinkle with more fresh chopped parsley and grated cheese and serve…YUM!
  20. NOTE: Make sure that each person gets some of that tasty broth in their dish

Homemade Pan Pizza

Homemade Pan Pizza

Homemade pan pizza made with different themed toppings from clams casino, to Hawaiian and Greek make for perfect party hors d’ oeuvres! Everyone seems to find their favorite flavors. When the sizzling pan pizza comes out of the oven heads turn especially when the aromas from the garlic, clams, bacon, onions and peppers fill the air!

The wonderful thing about all the different themed toppings for your pan pizza is you don’t need much in terms of quantity. The dough you make the day before, but if you forgot or didn’t have time it will still work if you make it the same day. If you make the dough the same day you don’t put it into the frig but let it proof for an hour and a half in a warm spot to develop some of that texture and flavor. The whole idea behind the “proofing in the refrigerator” is it let’s you do other things while the dough slowly rises developing a killer texture and flavor like in my delicious “Icebox Dinner Rolls”. So take advantage of this refrigerator method, you will be happy you did. 

As for my pizza sauce, it couldn’t get any easier because it’s puréed only, not cooked. If you go into a pizza place and inquire about their sauce the majority will tell you the tomato sauce is raw. I know because I have done just this, but they don’t always like to give away their pizza secrets so easily. To the raw, whole peeled tomatoes I add a garlic clove that I put thru the press, salt, pepper and some Italian seasonings and then it’s puréed. Keeping the tomatoes raw really compliments all those other strong flavors from the toppings yet not seeping into the background still being a pertinent player in the pizza game!

Have some fun with these pizza’s and customize those toppings on your homemade pan pizza! My favorite is the clams casino pizza because you have the best of both world’s, flavor’s and crispy, chewy edges. You can’t beat the garlic, clams, bacon and pepper combo. Drizzling on the extra clam juice not only makes it taste that much better but it let’s the crust get a little crispy while keeping the toppings moist enough so not to burn. With that in mind make sure to pour on any of the extra juices from what ever you are cutting up as when you are slicing up the cherry tomatoes. Another very important tip is to keep all the toppings, including the sauce and mozzarella, in the cold refrigerator until the last minute. This helps the toppings to cook properly giving the crust time to crisp up.

Enjoy the show and definitely think about some appetizer’s to go with these sizzling homemade pan pizza’s like my Caesar Salad, Crab Cakes, Baked Asparagus wrapped in Proscuitto, Spanakopita or my Roasted Chic Peas. All will bring a smile to your face I promise! 🙂

DSCN4572-300x225

DSCN45211-300x225

iphone-pictures-572-300x225

cookedspan

iphone pictures 989

 

 

IMG_6226

IMG_6105IMG_6123

 

 

IMG_6127

IMG_6170

rolldough

 

 

 

oilpan

dougpan

sran

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_6133

IMG_6145

piz

 

 

 

moz

feta

clams

 

IMG_6257

 

IMG_6258

IMG_6204

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients for 1 Sheet Pan Pizza Dough – 12.5″ x 17.5″ x 1″ tray:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water 105º-110º
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet yeast or 2 1/4 tsp – not rapid rise
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for the pizza dough
  • 1/3 extra virgin olive oil for the sheet pan
  • Plus more olive oil to drizzle on top of the pizza’s before baking

My Pizza Sauce – Enough for 2 Sheet Pan Pizza’s:

  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes (drained if the pulp is watery) pureed with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 finely ground Italian seasonings, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1 lg garlic clove put thru garlic press

Ingredients For The Toppings From The Show for 2 Trays of Pizza:

  • Clams Casino Pizza – (for 1/2 the pizza) 1-2 cans 1 cup of Snows canned clams drained except 3 tbsp of clam juice per can to drizzle over pizza,  1/4 cup of chopped peppers, 3/4 cup sliced thick cut bacon, 1 garlic clove thru press, 1 tsp chopped sweet onions
  • Greek Pizza – 3/4 cup sliced cheery tomatoes, 3/4 cup sheep’s milk feta, 1/4 cup sliced sweet onion, 1/2 cup sliced kalmata or canned black olives, 1/3 cup chiffonade basil
  • Bacon Pizza – 1 cup thick sliced bacon (for 1/2 of the pizza)
  • Hawaiian Pizza – 1 cup sliced ham, 1/2 cup chopped pineapple, 1/2 cup sliced green onions with whites too

Directions – (Pre-heat the oven to 450º right before the pizza dough has it’s final proof and make sure the rack is in the lowest possible position):

  1. Warm the stainless steel mixing bowl with warm water for 5 minutes
  2. Empty out warm water and add packet of yeast to mixing bowl
  3. Add in 1 1/2 cups of water at 105º-110º to the yeast
  4. Add in 1/2 tsp sugar and let the yeast proof for 10 nminutes
  5. Tour on knead hook and begin to add in 3 tbsp olive oil, flour and salt
  6. Keep mixing and knead with hook after it forms a dough ball for 10 minutes
  7. Take dough off of hook and onto a floured counter
  8. Knead by hand for 2 minutes and place into a large oiled bowl
  9. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 18-24 hrs.
  10. When you are ready to make the pizza make sure to take out of the frig and let the cold dough sit for approx. 2 hrs. – this will make it easier to work with
  11. When the dough has sat for 2 hrs. turn out onto floured surface and begin to roll out and stretch to the size of the cookie tray
  12. Pour 1/3 cup of olive oil onto cookie tray and place the rolled out pizza dough onto olive oil
  13. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes
  14. Remove plastic wrap and stretch the dough if needed to the edges of the pan and using your thumb press the egde of the dough into the edges of the cookie tray to form a crust – this will become a crispy and chewy egde that you will love! 
  15. Spoon pureed tomatoes onto the dough and sprinkle mozzarella
  16. Add you desired topping and give a drizzle of olive oil across the top of the pizza and put into a 450º oven for 16-20 minutes.
  17. Definitely check at the 15 minute mark as all oven are different
  18. You want  the edges dark golden and the middle is sizzling
  19. Take out and let sit for 5 minutes
  20. Using a large spatula remove the pizza in one piece to a large cutting board and slice, or slice in the cookie tray

Best Hummus Ever

Best Hummus Ever!

My Best Hummus Ever recipe is going to become a go to dish for you when you see how gosh darn easy it is to make it yourself! Chic peas, tahini paste, garlic, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and salt in a food processor, purée until smooth and violà you have an amazing dip. Wait, there is one caveat to this best hummus ever recipe. My secret to a silky, smooth homemade hummus is removing the skins from the chic peas. This is actually a very easy task that will take you about five to ten minutes and it makes all the difference in the texture and taste for your hummus. It’s still quicker than taking that trip to the market for the already prepared hummus.

Hummus is such a versatile kind of dip where you can change it up in so many ways to get a new flavor. You can add a teaspoon of cumin to give it a bright, floral and lemony flavor. You could add in smoked paprika, hot sauce, or even throw in some roasted red peppers when you go to purée the chic peas for a beautiful reddish roasted pepper hummus. The options really are endless so don’t be afraid to have some fun here.

Biting the bullet and buying the jar of Tahini paste is totally worth it because it will last a long, long time and you will get many, many hummus dishes from this! For all you local followers I buy my jar of Tahini paste at FoodWorks Natural Market in Guilford, CT.

If you like this best hummus ever recipe you may want to try my Michigan Sauce, yogurt chicken kabobs and tzatziki beef bourguignon where you make an amazing Indian spiced tomato-cream dish on the 2nd day or Sea bass with green goddess sauce. Then you can end the meal with the cake that won’t last or an apple sauce-caramel sundae!

150150boeuf

iphone pictures 1194

iphone pictures 2345

IMG_4085

IMG_3072

 

 

IMG_5029

IMG_5056

IMG_5058

 

 

 

 

IMG_5076

IMG_5097

 

 

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can chic peas – garbanzo beans drained, rinsed and with skins removed (I used Goya)
  • 3 tbsp – In the show I said 1/4 cup but I actually think 3 tbsp is better (a little milder)… Tahini has a strong flavor.
  • Food Works in Guilford has Tahini Paste (note: this is a good investment because it will last a long, long time and you will get many, many hummus dishes from it 🙂
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ex-large garlic clove put thru press for a fine mash
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt – will add 1/4 tsp at a time
  • 1-3 tbsp water
  • a few dashes of Siracha or your favorite hot sauce (you can find Siracha near the Tabasco in the store)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Drain, wash and remove the skins from the chic peas by gently squeezing the peas between your fingers to loosen and remove the outer skin
  • Put the chic peas, tahini paste, a garlic clove put thru garlic press, olive oil and fresh lemon juice in the food processor and run for 1 minute
  • Stop and scrap down the sides of the processor
  • Add 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1 tbsp of water and purée 1 minute
  • Stop and taste, you will probably need to add 1 tsp sea salt more and 1 tbsp water getting it to thin it out a bit (adding the water aerates the dip lightening it up)
  • Run the processor for 1 more minute
  • Check to make sure hummus is the thickness you want – you may want 1 tbsp more of water
  • Turn out hummus into a bowl and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil
  • And, OR Sprinkle with paprika, OR top with 2 tbsp chopped kalamata olives or cucumber salad in the center of the hummus
  • Serve with blue chips, pita or naan
  • CUCUMBER SALAD: 1/4 cup finely chopped European cucumber, 2 tbsp finely chopped cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp finely chopped kalamata olive and red onion, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of s & p – combine all ingredients in a sm bowl