Tag Archives: mint

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!

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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.

Cold Cucumber Soup

Cold Cucumber Soup

This homemade cold cucumber soup is out of this world! It has texture and flavors that won’t stop! Not one of the flavors in this soup over powers another, it’s the perfect balance. You actually find yourself trying to distinguish between them only because you are aware of all the fresh vegetables and herbs that went into this amazing cold soup.

Being a born and raised East Coaster I have to say I have never been a big “cold soup” kind of person. With our unbearably cold winters we have here I really appreciate a very hot bowl of soup to warm the bones. So when ever I’m making this cold cucumber soup I’m slightly biased going in, not willing to give merit where it is due, until I take my first spoonful and it all changes!

My cold cucumber soup completely stands on it’s own and is very satisfying not to mention the medicinal qualities that cucumbers offer. Cucumber’s can reduce puffiness, help to eliminate toxins in your body and we all know that slice’s of cucumber over your eyes can help to reduce dark circles! Some of the vitamin’s cucumber’s offer are A, C and folic acid and minerals of potassium and magnesium.  All and all this homemade cold cucumber soup is a win win situation.

This homemade cold cucumber soup would be great for lunch with a side sandwich or grill up some shrimp like I did in the show. One of my favorite accents to this soup are seared scallops cut in half and placed right in the center on the soup. You can check out in my “Seared Scallop Show” to see exactly how to make the scallops.

King crab meat is also a lovely topping to this cold cucumber soup and was a big hit when I presented this soup this way to the tasting judges at my second MasterChef open casting call in NYC this past March (2016)! All of the MasterChef casting call judges didn’t have any critique for my soup during the tasting phase…they just said “they really, really loved it!” When I made my cucumber soup for the MasterChef casting call I added fresh fennel to the recipe to change it up and give it that je ne sais qua…that extra special something!

This cold cucumber soup is an amazing way to start your dinner party or even have for a luncheon. If you are thinking of other course’s to add to your soup you should check out my stuffed mushrooms, yogurt chicken kabobs, bolognese sauce with homemade pasta and end with my perfect chocolate cake that will rock your world! Enjoy 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 2 European cucumbers peeled and cubed – 4 1/2 cups – you do not need to remove seeds with the European cucumbers
  • If you are using regular cucumbers, peel and slice down the middle and remove the seeds scooping them out with a small spoon and cut into chunks
  • 3 ex-lg green onions or 5 small sliced in 1″ pieces from green tips to whitish green stems
  • 1/4 cup of diced cherry tomatoes OR diced heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ an avocado cut in chunks
  • 1 jalapeño chopped (take out seeds)
  • 1 lg garlic clove put through garlic press
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp Greek Yogurt – whole milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp of honey
  • 1/4 cup of seasoned rice vinegar
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt – to taste  – (NOTE: I said 1 tsp in the show but I meant to say 1/2 tsp!)
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground pepper

         -FOR COLD CUCUMBER & FENNEL SOUP …ADD:

  • 1 cup cut up fresh FENNEL  …for a change up try this with the FENNEL – YUM!
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • seared scallops , cooked Lobster, Shrimp, or Crab to top the soup in the center

Directions:

    1. Add all the ingredients in the list above to your blender except olive oil
    2. Begin to puree while slowly pouring in olive oil through the opening at the top
    3. Continue to puree for 20-30 seconds
    4. Be patient, all the vegetables in the cucumber soup will begin to slowly puree
    5. Stop and scrape down any herbs or vegetables stuck on the side’s and pulse for 10 more seconds
    6. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour
    7. Serve with a sprinkle of dill, finely chopped tomato, cucumber and avocado
    8. Top the center of the soup with seared scallops – room temperature cooked lobster, king crab meat, or shrimp AND then a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Beet Salad with Mint & Feta

Roasted Beet Salad with Mint & Feta

For anyone who loves beets as much as I do and wants an easier way to prepare them this is your answer! In my roasted beet recipe you wash them, peel them with a potato peeler, slice and roast them for 15 minutes…that’s it. You use a potato peeler with the giant size beets because they get such a tough, dirty exterior, but if you have medium to small beets, the younger ones, there is NO NEED to peel them at all!…use a mushroom brush or brand new sponge and rub them under water and you will see how nice the outside of the beet gets cleaned up, slice and roast. Then you let them cool, add some vinegar, mint and feta and you have yourself a sweet beet salad. Now I show you how to stack them in a cylinder for a nice presentation if you are having friends over but if you want to be casual just toss them in a bowl, sprinkle with a mint-feta mixture and serve. You’ll look at beets in a whole new way and you won’t be so apt to procrastinate. If you go into a whole foods for produce they are going to have to prettiest beets you have ever seen. You can get golden beets, sweet naturally stripe beets (called chioggia beets) in pink and golden hues with darker pink or white swirls going around. It will take your beet experience to a whole new level.

I like pretty much all good feta but am partial to sheep’s milk feta because I find it creamy and soft in flavor. You really don’t need that much either on the salad just a sprinkle is good so you don’t loose the taste of the sweet beets. The mint you can pick up anywhere but let me tell you I have peppermint growing wild in my back yard and I love it! You need not pay any attention to it unless you want to try and contain it because mint is a very happy plant that comes back every year and just keeps growing. The aroma is nice and refreshing also to have in your yard.

Before you start with this cold roasted beet salad you can offer up warm baked coconut shrimp with a hot pepper jelly, bake asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto, clam puffs, and or some roasted chick peas. And don’t forget about dinner with maybe an Asian shrimp and rice noodle dish or sautéed chicken on a roasted garlic & cannellini bean purée. Finally, there is dessert you know with some chocolate-avocado mousse or Pavlova with fresh fruits which you can totally make ahead so you don’t get too tired to have fun with your dinner guests not to mention you can make any and all of those appetizers in the list above ahead of time also…just need a little planning! …OR you could just put this all on hold and make reservations at one of my restaurant reviews like Chamard Vineyards in Clinton,CT or The Oyster Club in Mystic, CT.

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Ingredients – Serves 4 or 5/6 small:

  • 1 large bunch of beets (3 large bulbs or 4 small)
  • 1/2 cup feta (I used Castella Bulgarian Feta Cheese – a sheeps milk feta)
  • 1/2 Tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (i like to use “seasoned” rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar to cut the sweet in the “seasoned”
  • 2 Tbsp julienned mint leaves and 4 center picks for the middle if you are using a ring mold
  • 1 recipe challah bread garlic croutons (optional)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400º
  2. Cut the stems off the beets
  3. Cut the ends of the beets
  4. Then peel the beets with a potato peeler if you have giant size beets but if you have the lovely medium-small beet size NO NEED to peel… just use a mushroom brush or brand new sponge and rub them under water and the skins are ready to go!
  5. Slice the beets in 1/2, put the flat side down and begin to slice 1/4″ slice and cut those in 1/2 so you are atually quartering them…see photo
  6. Put them on a cookie tray and add 3 Tbsp olive oil
  7. Sprinkle 1/2 Tsp salt and put them into the oven for 15 minutes
  8. Crumble feta to measure 1/2 cup
  9. Julienne mint leaves and add to feta and set aside
  10. Take the tray out and let cool for 5 minutes
  11. If you see a little moisture appear on top of the beets while cooling just pat gently with a paper towel
  12. Using a spatula put them into a medium size bowl and let them cool fully
  13. When they are cool add 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar and toss..that’s it
  14. Now either spoon roasted sliced beets into a cylinder ring to mold…fill only 1/2 way up and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of mint-feta mix on top
  15. Gently remove ring mold pulling straight up
  16. You can serve now or drizzle some good extra-virgin olive oil back and forth across the plate (just for presentation)
  17. You can also crumble challah bread garlic crouton on top of that
  18. OR put the roasted sweet beets into a bowl and add vinegars and sprinkle with mint-feta mixture and serve…DO NOT toss here because the feta will turn pink from the beets