Tag Archives: white wine

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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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!

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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!!

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! 🙂

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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

Curry Shrimp & Snow Peas

Curry Shrimp & Snow Peas

Curry shrimp & snow peas is a luscious dish with a complex sauce that tastes like you spent all day on it! I serve up this yummy creation with fresh chopped dill and jasmine rice. Basmati is my other go to rice. This curry shrimp dish is made with snow peas, coconut milk, white wine, curry, turmeric, coriander, sour cream, half and half, chicken broth and fresh limes.

For goodness sake, don’t waste your time with an instant rice with no texture or flavor. Making good jasmine or basmati rice couldn’t get any easier just follow the directions on the label. When I make rice I always turn off the stove five minutes early. I then stir the rice and let it sit for ten minutes with the cover on. When you are ready for the rice give it another stir, add a tablespoon or two of butter, a sprinkle of salt and voilà.

One of the best things about making this incredible curry shrimp and snow peas is getting it done in fifteen minutes. A good time saver when cooking with shrimp is to buy already peel and devein shrimp. Make sure to get good, meaty shrimp from your local seafood store where all they sell is seafood. Considering the shrimp takes on a main roll in this curry shrimp and snow peas you better darn well get some decent shrimp and make your efforts worth while!

Before serving up this velvety curry shrimp and snow peas you will probably have time to make some appetizer’s like my best guacamole ever, or black bean & mango salsa, or baked sweet potato fries with my green goddess dipping sauce. For dessert, maybe something sweet but on the lighter side you should try fresh berries in a dreamy cream or my fresh berry granita!

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Ingredients for Curry Shrimp & Snow peas -(makes 6 servings):

  • 1 lb large good meaty shrimp from your local SEAFOOD store- peel & devein (better results if you don’t use pre-packaged frozen shrimp)
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh snow peas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic put through garlic press
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • juice from 1 1/2 -2 limes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (if you don’t have turmeric or coriander use 2 1/2 tsp curry)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
  • 4 cups cooked rice – Jasmine or Basmati rice cooked to directions
  • fresh dill – 1/2 cup chopped coarsely added to cooked rice

Directions:

  1. Remove tail shells from all the shrimp and set aside
  2. Cook Jasmine rice and set aside
  3. Add coconut oil or olive oil and chopped onion to a large sauté pan on med/high heat
  4. Add in curry spices, and a sprinkle of salt stirring with onions sautéing for 2 minutes
  5. NOTE: Adding in curry now with onions will elininate potential of curry becoming grainy
  6. Add in garlic and stir
  7. De-glaze with wine
  8. Simmer and reduce the sauce for 2 minutes
  9. Add chicken broth and bring back to a simmer
  10. Add in snow peas and simmer 1 minute
  11. Add in coconut milk, whisk to mix
  12. Add in half and half, bring back to a simmer for 2-3 minutes
  13. Add in 1 tbsp butter and all of the raw shrimp simmer for 3 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through
  14. Whisk in 3 tbsp sour cream and just warm through
  15. Take off heat and squeeze juice from 1 1/2 fresh limes
  16. Taste and add sprinkle of salt if needed
  17. Add fresh chopped dill to Jasmine rice and serve with Curry Shrimp & Snow Peas
  18. Optional: Add a few dashes of Siracha, Franks Red Hot or Tabasco to heat it up a little

 

Arancini Reuben Balls

Arancini Reuben Balls

My homemade Arancini Reuben Balls are absolutely gourmet. Arancini balls, also called risotto balls, are an Italian appetizer made with left over risotto, stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto, then breaded and deep fried! Oh boy, they are out of this world. They are crispy on the outside, and creamy and cheesy on the the inside. You can eat them plain or serve them with a tomato sauce.

My homemade Arancini Reuben Balls are made with risotto, diced corned beef, Swiss cheese, cream cheese and sautéed jalapeño’s to incorporate that “popper” flavor! I serve them with my gourmet thousand island dressing which I make with Greek yogurt and a creamy horseradish to compliment the corned beef. The flavors of the risotto balls paired up with the thousand island dressing are outstanding!

Do you remember having poppers? You know, those deep fried jalapeno’s stuffed with cream cheese? Wow, I used to love those little morsels and I haven’t had them in ages so that’s why I thought it would be fun to put a twist on my Risotto Reuben Balls. It was a great idea too because the cream cheese lightens up the risotto balls and the jalapeno’s give it that something extra special!

You’ll be so happy when you make these homemade gourmet Arancini Reuben Balls with your left over St. Patrick’s Day corned beef. They freeze up really well too which will make for a nice little treat at a later date although I highly doubt you’ll have any left behind.

My thousand island dressing is fantastic as a dip for my baked sweet potato fries too. You might want some other appetizer’s to go along with the Risotto Reuben Balls like my crab cakes, or bloody Mary shrimp. You could even serve them as an appetizer to a homemade pasta dinner served with a Caesar Salad and some chocolate pecan pie for dessert! Hope you enjoy the show 🙂

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Risotto Ingredients and Directions – Total time to make approx. 30 minutes: (I halved my recipe specifically for the Arancini Reuben Balls but I usually make full (dbl) this amount) 

  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tbsp butter and a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 4 cups hot chicken broth – homemade or store bought
  • 1/2 cup grated Reggiano Parmesano

Directions: 

  1. In small pot heat 4 cups chicken stock til simmering
  2. melt 1 tbsp butter in different medium size pot 
  3. add onion to medium size pot and sauté on low til soft and translucent. 
  4. Turn up heat to med. and add in 1 cup Arborio rice and saute til the rice looks chalky while stirring all along
  5. Pour in 1/3 cup white wine, keep stirring and when wine is absorbed begin to add in 4 cups of the simmering chicken stock ONLY 1/2 cup at a time-it will be approx 4 minutes for each addition 
  6. ONLY add in chicken stock when previously addition is completely absorbed while STIRRING all the time
  7. Stir in 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 cup Reggiano Parmesano after the last of the chicken stock is absorbed, then let cool to make Arancini Reuben Balls.

Ingredients- Makes 20 – 1 1/2″ Arancini Balls:

  • 1 1/4 cup diced into 1/4″ pieces of corned beef
  • 2 cups cooked risotto (see below for recipe my recipe for risotto)
  • 4 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated and packed Jarlsberg swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated and packed mozzarella cheese
  • 2 jalapeno’s finely diced and sauteed just til barely softened 2 minutes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

Directions for Arancini Reuben Balls:

  1. Put all of the above ingredients into a large bowl and stir with spatula til mixed
  2. Use cookie scoop and from balls, roll in hands after scooping to get nice and round
  3. Whisk eggs in a med. bowl
  4. Add bread crumbs to another and begin the dip formed risotto balls into egg and them into bread crumbs and place on dish
  5. Put breaded risotto Reuben balls in frig for 20-30 minutes
  6. When the Reuben balls are chilled heat 1/2″ vegetable oil in medium size pan and begin to heat on low for 5 minutes and then turn up to med/high to 350º
  7. Add in Arancini Reuben Balls in 2 batches into hot oil
  8. Fry for about 2 minutes and then turn over for another 2 minutes til golden
  9. Remove to cookie rack covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil
  10. Plate up Arancini Reuben Balls with my homemade gourmet thousand island recipe below 🙂

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This Thousand Island Dressing is great on Reuben Wraps also

INGREDIENTS FOR THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING:

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I ONLY use Helman’s)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 Heaping tbsp finely chopped cornichons
  • 1 Heaping tbsp sweet relish
  • 1 Hesping tbsp grated sweet onion
  • 1 Heaping tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp creamy horseradish
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp “seasoned” rice wine vinegar
  • 2 dashes of Siracha

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put all ingredients into a large bowl and whisk til combined

 

Chicken Piccata-Easy Gourmet

Chicken Piccata-Easy Gourmet

My Chicken Piccata-Easy Gourmet recipe really is an uncomplicated dish that will knock your socks off! The chicken cutlets are so tender that they are almost falling apart in it’s delicate wine-shallot sauce with capers, paper thin Baby Bella mushrooms and fresh squeezed lemon is truly amazing. It has a delicate zing from the capers, and a brightness from that fresh squeezed lemon at the end. I serve up this chicken piccata with fresh sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes that just seems to pull it all together almost making it a comfort food with the mouth watering wine gravy and mashed potatoes. It is a dish that you may just start to crave! It only takes about 30 minutes to make so it should definitely be part of your cooking repertoire considering how incredible it tastes!

Even my kids love it although I do put aside several pieces for them at the point right after I deg-laze with wine and before I add the mushrooms and capers because that’s just not their thing …yet! -This way everyone is happy.

I don’t use too much butter in this recipe. I don’t think there is a big need for that with all these amazing layered flavors from the chicken, shallots, mushrooms, capers, white wine, chicken broth and lemon juice.  The light flour coating on the chicken when dredging it to sauté helps to thicken the sauce right there.  I see many recipes adding a ton of butter “to thicken” it and it’s just not necessary. Enjoy making this tasty dish and be sure to watch it on my Chicken Piccata cooking show video either posted right here (listed under “videos” tab above) or on my YouTube channel.

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Ingredients: Serves 4-6 people if served with mashed potatoes and fresh sautéed spinach

  • 3 lg chicken breasts or 4 med. sliced into 3 and pounded thinly
  • 3 tbsp lg capers (or sm if you prefer…they’re all good)
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped shallots
  • 2 cups white wine (approx. 1/2 cup for each chicken deglazing and 1/3 c. for mushrooms and approx another 1/2 cup at the end to simmer…NOTE in my video I did say 1/4 cup at each stage but oops I used a little more than that : )
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 6 lg BABY BELLA mushrooms sliced PAPER thin
  • 1 wedge of lemon for the end
  • 6 lg garlic cloves just smashed to sauté and flavor olive oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper for flavoring flour
  • 1 recipe fresh sautéed spinach (can leave out garlic in recipe)
  • 1 recipe mashed potatoes (can leave out red onion)

Directions: Approx. 30-40 minute to prep and cook

  1. Either buy chicken breasts pounded out at your local butcher or cut each breast into 3 horizontally and pound out each one gently to 1/4″ thickness
  2. Put flour into shallow dish and season with s & p
  3. Dredge pounded chicken breasts in flour and leave in flour dish ready to sauté
  4. Heat large, shallow pan on med/high
  5. Add 3 tbsp-1/4 cup olive oil to pan while heating
  6. Add 3 garlic clove to olive oil and sauté til golden to flavor pan
  7. Remove garlic cloves and begin to sauté chicken breasts filling entire pan (this will be done in 2 batches)
  8. Make sure the pan stays hot enough on med/high heat while cooking breasts
  9. Cook chicken approx. 2 1/2 minutes on each side
  10. Add 1/4 white wine and deglaze, place cover over for 1 minute
  11. Remove cover and remove first batch of chicken to baking dish using a spatula to scrap out all of the gravy and bits
  12. Put pan back on med/high heat and repeat #5-#11.
  13. Now add 1 tbsp butter, finely chopped shallots and paper thin sliced Baby Bella’s to the pan and sauté til water renders out of mushrooms and they are a light golden
  14. OPTIONAL: you can finely chop the golden sautéed garlic cloves and add them back in at this point or not
  15. Deglaze mushroom and shallots with 1/4 cup wine and cover for 30 seconds
  16. Remove cover and add all the chicken breasts back into pan
  17. Add 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup chicken broth to pan and turn down to med/low
  18. Simmer 5 minutes ONLY …don’t want too much of the sauce to evoporate
  19. Either serve immediately or put into frig until your guests arrive and then PRE-HEAT oven to 325º and warm for approx. 30 minutes with pan COVERED-if too much of the sauce evaporates you can add a splash of white wine and chicken broth
  20. Add s & p to taste
  21. Right before serving squeeze a wedge of lemon on chicken breasts ( about 1 tbsp) and serve over mashed potatoes and fresh sauteed spinach

 

Bok Choy and Cannellini Beans

Bok Choy and Cannellini Beans

Bok choy and cannellini beans are a great duo. Add in sauteed chopped garlic, sweet onion, white wine, chicken broth and Reggiano Parmesano and you have a symphany. This is such a flavorful dish with the freshness of the leafy greens and the creaminess of the cannelini beans. Not to mention, it makes top tier for healthy dishes and goes with everything like grilled Asian salmon, stuffed roulades of chicken, sauteed chicken breasts, sea bass and green goddess sauce, or as a side dish to mama Maria’s secret manicotti, or to a slow cooked pasta sauce 101 dish.

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Ingredients- Serves 6 people:

  • See reicpe for GRILLED ASIAN SALMON (optional)
  • 12 oz. fresh bok choy (I buy my amazing bok choy from Hong Kong Grocery on the corner of Whitney Ave. and Trumbull St. in New Haven)
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 lg spanish onion or Vidalia onion finely chopped
  • 6 lg garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Reiggiano Parmesan
  • 1/2 Tsp salt (1/4 Tsp when you are sauteing the onion and garlic and 1/4 Tsp when you add in the bok choy)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Dash of blk pepper

Directions: 

  1. Drain and rinse cannellini beans
  2. Cut off the end stems of Bok choy freeing up the leaves
  3. Rinse and spin bok choy in salad spinner, and pat dry with paper towel
  4. Finely chop 1/2 Spanish onion and 6 cloves of garlic
  5. Sauté onion, garlic and pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and 1/4 Tsp salt in 1 Tbsp olive oil in lg pan on medium/low for about 10 minutes til lightly golden
  6. Splash in 1/2 cup white wine to de-glaze pan turning heat up to medium/high
  7. Bring to simmer 1 minute and add in cannellini beans, simmer 2 minutes more
  8. Add in bok choy, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1/4 Tsp salt, dash of pepper and cover for 3 minutes
  9. Uncover and turn bok choy leaves with tongs every minute while sauteing for another 3-5 minutes til tender but not mushy
  10. Turn heat off Add in 1/4 cup Reggiano Parmesan and gently mix through and serve


Grilled Asian Salmon

Grilled Asian Salmon

Grilled Salmon or pan seared salmon is up there as one of my very favorite fish dishes! In the past I have been spoiled with having very fresh salmon to work with. You may ask how fresh was it…well I’ll tell you, we are talking so fresh it just was caught in the San Francisco Bay minutes before it was in my kitchen.  My rule of thumb for fish is if your fish smells and or tastes fishy you shouldn’t cook or eat it. In fact, the marinade I use here is very light and I only soak the fish for a mere 1 hour.  I want to taste the luscious meat of the salmon and only want a hint of the Asian flavors which I actually use to help caramelize the edges of the fish.

The Restaurant Depot in Milford, is where I like to buy my salmon. As shown in the photos below, they have a wonderful selection of fish. The local markets like Star Fish Market and Atlantic Seafood have a great selection of salmon. The salmon in this recipe is farm raised from Canada, so not a whole long distance to travel.  I have grown to love good farm raised salmon because it is meaty and luscious in flavor and you can’t beat the price. But you need to know that I would only make my gravlax recipe from a wild salmon like a sock eye salmon. Wild Salmon is all flash frozen to -10º for at least 36 hours by regulatory means to assure that if a possibility of parasites exists they will be killed making it safe for such delectable recipes as gravlax. Gravlax is made from raw salmon (flash frozen… unless you are fishing for it yourself!) cured in salt, sugar, dill and eau-di-vie or vodka and is heavily. I have actually had a request for my gravlax recipe so stay tuned for that recipe in the up and coming weeks.

The salmon can be grilled or pan seared the only difference being you finish the salmon off in a 325º oven for 5 minutes instead of a turned off grill. I have given you the mixture for my marinade BUT if you don’t have time you have the convenience of using one of my favorite store bought marinades called Soy Vay “Island Teriyaki” with the yellow and blue label which happens to be incredible on chicken, by the way. You can find Soy Vay products at all the markets on the marinade shelf. I like to serve the grilled Asian salmon with my cold asparagus-ginger salad and if you want something a little hardier you can add in my perfectly mashed potatoes and red onion recipe which would all be delicious together.

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Ingredients serves 4 people:

  • 1 lb. salmon filet
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 recipe cold asparagus-ginger salad
  • 1 recipe perfectly mashed potatoes and red onion
  • Marinade #1:  1/2 cup white wine + 1/2 cup pineapple juice + 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy or Tamari soy (a dark soy) + 8 slices of fresh peeled ginger + and 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • Marinade #2: 1 cup Soy Vay “Island Teriyaki” marinade + 1 cup white wine + 2 crushed garlic cloves + 8 slices of fresh peeled ginger

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry your 1 lb. salmon
  2. Slice into 4 even pieces
  3. Choose marinade #1 or #2 from above
  4. Place the salmon pieces in a large bowl with the marinade, cover with saran and pop into the frig for one hour…NO MORE
  5. Take the salmon out and place onto paper towels to blot completely dry
  6. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the salmon filets
  7. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  8. Heat the grill to medium/high
  9. Rub olive oil on grill grates carefully with a brush before you put the filets down
  10. Place the salmon filets flesh side down first (so the flesh doesn’t get covered in scales when you flip)
  11. Close grill top
  12. Cook for 5 minutes
  13. Using a spatula flip over the salmon filets and close grill again…you may need to wiggle filets gently on the grill with a thin metal spatula to loosen them …be patient
  14. Cook for another 5 minutes
  15. Turn the grill off and close grill letting them sit for another 5 minutes

For Pan Seared Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325º
  2. Place a large sauté pan on the stove and put on medium/high heat
  3. Drizzle 1 Tbsp olive oil into pan
  4. Place the salmon filets flesh side down first (so the flesh doesn’t get covered in scales when you flip)
  5. Cook for 5 minutes
  6. You don’t need to cover on your pan
  7. Using a spatula flip over the salmon filets…they will flip over easily in the pan
  8. Cook for another 5 minutes
  9. Then place pan into the oven for 5 more minutes on 325º uncovered
  10. Take out and serve with asparagus salad, mashed potatoes & red onion and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds

Roasted Garlic & Cannellini Bean Purée

Roasted Garlic & Cannellini Bean Purée

This roasted garlic and cannellini bean purée has a luscious creamy texture and makes a great side dish or even a dip served with some pita’s chips on the side not to mention the nutritional value.  The garlic turning soft and creamy becomes sweet when roasted.  It makes a great presentation as a base layer on a plate when topping with sliced chicken, pork beef, fish or vegetables.  I really like drizzling truffle oil on and around it bringing out the smokey flavors if serving with a rack of lamb or a beef tenderloin.  Try the stuffed roulades of chicken, or sautéed chicken breasts recipes to go with this delicious purée.  For such complex flavors it’s amazing how easy it is to make.  I came up with this recipe because I like sauces and I wanted something with that creamy texture feel yet healthy for you and here it is.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can cannellini beans (butter beans are great too)
  • 4 lg roasted garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc …what ever you favorite wine is just not a sweet one)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a dash of Tabasco for a kick

Directions:

  1. Rinse cannellini beans and place in a medium sauce pan with 4 roasted garlic cloves, broth and wine on medium/high heat.
  2. Bring to a simmer and turn heat to low and simmer for 7 minutes more.
  3. Add the beans to a blender and purée.
  4. You may need to stop and stir and purée again because it is a thick mixture in a blender, and if you really need to loosen it up add 1-2 Tbsp of water or milk.
  5. It’s as simple as that.