Sunday, December 3, 2017

Brunch Madame?

Croque Madame is the ultimate brunch food and one that is hard to pass up when deciding whether there to "benny" or not to benny". It usually wins out over Eggs Benedict although I love those too.

It's the french super sized grilled ham and cheese that is the stuff of dreams. I first had this sandwich in high school at a little French place that was a hang out at Tyson's Corner Mall in the 80's.

It's good and I now I make it home for a crowd for brunch parties. If you have Veggie friends just leave off the Ham. It's still cheesy yummy good.

Give these a try and Madame will treat you right!

Gastropub Style Croque Madame with Mornay and Raclette

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
5 ounces of shredded Gruyere cheese
salt and pepper
nutmeg to taste
12 pieces of thick 3/4 inch white toasting bread, Pullman loaf if you want.
12-16 slices of baked ham super thin slices
8 slices of raclette cheese
6 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
6 eggs
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley


For Sauce:

Heat butter in a pot till frothy then add in the flour
Whisk mixture till smooth
Cook for about one minute
Whisk Milk in slowly till all incorporated
Reduce heat and simmer till thickened and slightly reduced
Slowly add in the cheese till melted and smooth
Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg


Toast all slices of bread
Place 6 slices of the toasted bread on a baking sheet
Spread the Dijon on the bread
Top with Ham and then with Raclette cheese
Broil the sandwiches till the cheese is melted and bubbling
Top sandwiches with the remaining bread
Slather with cheese sauce until covered even let it roll down the sides
Replace baking sheet under the broiler
Broil till bubbling and a little brown
Turn off broiler and heat oven to 300 leave sandwiches to stay warm till eggs are cooked

Slowly fry the eggs in the oil till sunny side and still runny
Top Sandwiches being held in the oven each with one egg each till all are eggs are fried and all sandwiches are ready to serve.
Garnish with chives and parsley on top to serve.

Serve with a mixed greens salad with a spicy vinaigrette

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Beef Bourguignon

The first time I ever had Beef Bourguignon was when I was 19 and living in Switzerland. One family I knew invited us over for dinner and the wife who was french made Beef Bourguignon. There in that dining room in the sparkling candle light I knew why it was an amazing dish. Succulent and rich it was the embodiment of winter comfort food. Incredible.

So when I about 10 years ago decided to make Beef Bourguignon I thought about using Julia  Child's famous and recipe. The problem was two fold. I was visiting a friend's mountain house there was there a braising pot but no cookbook from Julia Child. Just a book with a recipe for burgundy beef from the 1970's. I decided to give it a try. So inspired with this recipe and cooking tool I went to the market got the ingredients and made the dish. It was really good, no really. So I was satisfied that I had made the recipe to a respectable level and made it this way for years. Then it all changed.

My friend's Ken and Rick invited me over to a dinner party one evening and Rick announced that he had made Julia's Beef Bourguignon recipe and we would be having it for dinner. Well it was revelatory. Amazing, incredible. And I felt compelled to try it. So armed with the recipe I too made Julia's recipe and again the results were amazing. But oh my God it was a process.

So I took a few ideas from Julia and kept my own version. It's pretty darn good though. So if you give it a try leave me a comment.

Forrest's Beef Bourguignon Recipe
Serves 6 to 8 really well

3 pounds of chuck stew meat cubed
oil for cooking
Flour for coating the beef heavily seasoned
1 white onion finely chopped
2 carrots finely diced
2 stalks of celery finely chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 bay leaves dried
1 small can tomato paste
4 strips of bacon chopped
1 bottle rich red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 bag frozen pearl onions
1 bag mini carrots cut in thirds and boiled until just softened
2 8 oz packs of white mushrooms quartered
1/4 cup brandy
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 325
In a large bowl toss the beef with enough seasoned flour to coat very well
In a heavy enameled baking casserole brown beef in batches till browned
Add oil each time so each batch browns.
Don't overcrowd or the beef will steam and you want some browning and caramelising
Hold browned beef to the side on a plate
Cook the bacon till just done remove from pan leave the drippings
Cook the onions, celery and carrots in the drippings till almost soft add 4 cloves of minced garlic
Add the tomato paste and combine with vegetables
Using some wine deglaze the bits from the bottom of the pan
Add the beef, the bacon, the spices the salt and pepper and stir gently
Then pour in the rest of the wine and then add enough beef broth till just covered
Bring to a boil and then turn off heat
Place in the oven for about 2 hours. At this point add the mushrooms and the pearl onions and brandy
Turn oven to 350 and cook for another 30 minutes
Add in the cooked carrots right before serving
Season to taste with salt and pepper
Place on the stove over low heat until ready to eat.
Serve with well buttered mashed potatoes

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tomato Bruschetta Dinner Al Fresco Italiano

Summer is the best time to eat tomatoes. I love them. I think that during the warm Summer months when things are a little freer and time slides by a little slower it's only fair to say the the produce makes the season. And I think that tomatoes in particular are an amazingly special gift with their sun kissed skins nearly bursting with juicy deliciousness.

So these little beauties are the star of my summer evening table. I love making bruschetta in general. But when faced with the choice of ingredients I go for the gold with these.

The other obvious part of bruschetta is of course the bread. So the choice for a base is important. I am choosing focaccia because I love it's flaky soft juicy texture and when crisped it is tremendously delicious.

So here's a quick recipe for your backyard this summer. Enjoy!


Fresh Grape or Cherry Tomatoes halved
Ricotta Cheese full fat about 8 oz
basil pesto ( you can make or buy this at your grocer)
Fresh basil about a bunch
Good quality olive oil ( a great olive oil really makes the difference, spend the money)
Sea Salt Flakes and Pepper
1 small loaf of Rosemary or plain focaccia bread


Cut bread into rectangular segments about 4 inches by 12 inches then slice bread into square slices about 1/2 in thick.
Heat oven to 375
Place bread on a baking sheet and then drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with some sea salt flakes
Bake until the bread is a little brown and toasty
Remove from the oven and let cool
Mix the ricotta cheese till smooth and creamy and season with salt and pepper to taste
Cut the basil leaves into chiffonade
Mix the tomatoes with just enough olive oil to coat nicely
Top the bread with a good smear of the pesto then a dallop of the ricotta
Top the bread slices with the tomatoes and then the fresh basil mixture
Sprinkle with a drizzle of the oilve oil and a little sea salt and pepper and serve

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Beet Salad with Buttermilk Whipped Ricotta, Pistachios, Sherry Vinaigrette and Horseradish

This salad is a cheat. What I mean by that is I hate hate hate cooking beets. Yes I hate the mess and the time involved. So I found a great product and I used it to make this salad and I'm not sorry. Not fuss, no mess, no trying to get red stains out of my kitchen. I'm not sorry.

So how do you make this salad?  And I'm telling you you should make this salad if you like beets because it's so simple and so delicious.

First you take ricotta and you put it in a bowl. You add salt and pepper and 3 tablespoons of buttermilk. Then you take a whisk and you whip it till combined. Then cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for about three hours.

When you are ready to make the salad this is what you do. You take a jar...yes a jar of Trader Joes beets in vinaigrette. This product is amazing. It's not your normal pickled beets (which you could use) but you don't even have to cut up the beets cause they have done it already. You just drain them really well. As you can tell from the picture I did not do that too well on this batch but oh well it was yummy.

Take your serving plate. This will serve 2 to 4 people depending on what else you are serving as a first course or salad. Take you ricotta and mound it in the middle of the plate. Then using a large tablespoon push the ricotta out of the center forming a barrier or wall of cheese in a circle. Then in the empty space carefully pour or spoon in your beets. Pour a little Sherry vinegar and really really good olive oil over the beets and season the top with sea salt flakes and pepper. Top with a few dallops of prepared horseradish and sprinkle with the nuts. If you want to get fancy zest some lemon over the top. Garnish with whatever green herb you have on hand. I used chives.

That's it. It's so easy and such a cheat and so so so good. I love it and you will too!

Ingredients: for a portion serving 2 to 4

1 jar Trader Joe's Beets in Vinaigrette - drained
1 8 Oz container Ricotta, (You'll use about 2/3's of this for the salad but mix the whole container with with the butter milk and use the rest later)
3 tablespoons buttermilk
Prepared Horseradish
Salt and pepper
Sherry Vinegar
Olive oil

Please feel free to comment I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Smoked Salmon and Egg Breakfast Smorebrot

Smoked Salmon is probably one of the best known and most popular smoked fishes there is. I mean you'd almost have to be living under a rock these days in the U.S. not to have had exposure to it. It's good many times of the day but truth be told breakfast is my favorite time of day to enjoy it.

I'm obsessed with opened faced sandwiches and ever since being a kid and growing up with mother and grandmother who had Scandinavian roots I have loved sandwiches like these.  They are called Smorebrot that's the original term and they are normally served at lunch or for a light supper. Not having the top piece of bread just makes the sandwich more about the filling than the bread I feel. Unless you are grilling a sandwich or making a deli classic I just enjoy a good opened faced dish.

To make a great opened face Smorebrot or you have to start with great bread. So here I started with a delicious sourdough 7 grain loaf that I got at the Oakland farmer's market and brought back to NYC with me.

To this I added a layer of scallion cream cheese mixed loaded with scallions and chives. Then I added the Salmon. Now mind you this was no ordinary smoked salmon, no this was Pastrami smoked salmon. It has an unrivaled flavor and is so herbacious it makes one's taste buds spin. Pastrami we normally think of as beef. But here the same spices used to cure pastrami are used to sure the salmon. It's delicious.

But since this is breakfast we topped this off with a fried egg and then some chives for color and taste.

So give these a try you can easily find all the ingredients at the market and frying the egg is the hardest thing.  Enjoy!

Smoked Salmon Smorebrot
Serves 4

4 slices of good bread cut 1/2 inch thick and toasted
12 ounces of pastrami smoked Salmon
Scallion cream cheese ( You can buy this from your favorite bagel place or supermarket or make it yourself by blending room temperature cream cheese with loads of chopped scallions and chives and some salt.
4 eggs cooked sunny side up.

Assemble all ingredients as shown in order and garnish with some parsley or more chives and some sea salt and pepper

Monday, July 10, 2017

Egg Salad

Eggs are probably one of the most versatile foods around and egg salad is definitely one dish that most people first encounter at home. Your Mom probably mashed up eggs, mayo, maybe onion or celery and some salt and pepper and piled it on bread or toast. It's a simple dish and one that can bring back the memory of weekend lunches or Summer picnics.

Egg salad is also a deli case favorite and here in all Deli's all over New York. It's served up traditionally on sandwiches and even for breakfast on bagels toasted and crispy. Often this egg salad is also pretty simple and often the bagels chosen as a favorite is the everything bagel which is a bagel covered with spices and seeds and is in fact just delicious.

So I found myself with some eggs I needed to use up and a bottle of "Everything Spices" from "Trader Joe's" and I thought lets try and make a really cool egg salad that takes the salad and the bagel and brings it all together.

Now let's face it. The base of any great sandwich is the bread. But these days many of us are trying to eat less bread. Having grown up in a family that was half Scandinavian I grew up eating open face sandwiches. As they are traditional in the nordic kitchen. They are also a way to cut down on the bread factor without taking away all the "carby" enjoyment that goes along with eating a sandwich.

I used a sourdough 7 grain loaf from the farmer's market that I sliced the perfect thickness and toasted. Delicious!

So here's my take on Egg Salad. I hope you enjoy!

7 eggs boiled cooled and peeled
2/3 cup mayo plus one Tablespoon
1/4 cup very finely chopped green onion white and green
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 Tablespoon dill or sweet pickle relish (depending on your taste)
1/4 cup chopped dill
2 teaspoons lemon juice
dash of curry powder
2 teaspoons "Everything Seasoning" (Contains salt)
Japanese Style Fried Onions
Dried Parsley for garnish


In a bowl mash eggs and add all ingredients mash again to combine then stir to make smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning add salt and pepper as desired.

Top toast generously with the egg salad and sprinkle with more "everything seasoning" and top with the fried onions. Enjoy!

Friday, May 12, 2017

"Ham and Eggs" Pasta with Broccolli and Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

  • 8 oz. bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup shredded or diced cooked Ham
  • 2 cups blanched brocolli florets cut up in small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 ground pepper
  • 1 cup grated monterey jack
  • 1 cup soft goat cheese
  • 3 ounce can french fried onions
  • Grated Parmesan and Fresh ground pepper for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the ham, eggs, sour cream, garlic and onion powder, cheese, brocolli, and half of the onions to the bowl and stir well to combine.
  4. Pour into prepared baking dish and top with the remaining onions.
  5. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more.
  7. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lobster Noodle Bake

Sometimes I wish I had been an adult when my parents were entertaining at our house and I was just small.

The swank and sexy nature of home entertaining in the late 1960's and early 1970's is really misunderstood. All to often we relate the spiral groovy tie-dyed visual to the period. However, when one looks at fashion and design trends the images are quite different. Drawing on a variety of influences including the 20's and the jazz era the design from the 1970's was anything but hippy dippy. I mean Halston was designing amazing things and Warhol was pushing pop art into a new place in the American consciousness.

Home decor had what appears today as a sleek shiny look. Home entertaining also was changing. Casseroles and chafing dishes, fondue pots and electric table top woks were all the rage. Meals were communal and interactive or somehow a bit of show was involved like flaming brandy on Steak Dianne or Baked Alaska. It all seemed fun and I didn't get to participate that much when I was little but it seems to me that I would have liked it a lot.

So this casserole dish is an example of a the Lux life from that time period. It's a rich carb and crustacean laden treat which really resembles what would be the best Lobster Mac and Cheese you've ever ever had. The modern day equivalent of this dish today served up during the Summer in the Hamptons to much applause.

So make this with a dinner salad and channel a little 70's on a Saturday night at a fabulous dinner party.

Lobster-Noodle Bake
( serves 8 to 10 )

10 Rock lobster tails 4 oz. each frozen cooked as directed on package ( Trader Joe's carries these )
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced onion
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
1 dried bay leaf
4 cups milk
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup sherry
1 package (12 oz)  broad egg (country style) noodles cooked to just barely done and drained
1 cup buttered breadcrumbs (panko)
1/4 cup drained capers

Remove shells from cooked lobster tails leaving meat in one piece
Cut 5 of the tails into bite sized chunks
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a pot
Stir in flour, salt, paprika pepper, garlic, onion and bitters
Slowly whisk in the milk then the cream add bay leaf
Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring with spoon contantly.
When thick add sherry and lobster chunks, remove bay leaf
Combine noodles and sauce and pour into a round 3 Quart Baking Dish
Top with buttered bread crumbs
Bake at 375 uncovered for 30 mins until hot and bubbly
Cut remaining tails into half lengthwise
Place on top of noodle mixture and brush with remaining 1/4 cuo melted butter and sprinkle with the capers.
Return to oven for 10 mins or a bit more.
Serve after letting sit for 5 mins.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Guten Appetit!! Pork Schintzel, Munich Style Sauerkraut and Mustard Mashed Potatoes

Last year my friends and I went on a fantastic vacation to Europe. We ate our way through all kinds of countries and all kinds of cuisine. We had Italian and Seafood in Italy in Florence and Venice. We had Swiss food and German food in Switzerland and Munich. And we had Greek and Turkish and Pizza and Moderne German cuisine in Berlin. We sampled all kinds of fare in between and sweets and coffee and brandy brandy brandy. Who knew I liked that.

It was however in Munich we fell in love with the German Beer hall fare. I mean like crazy tourists we really got into it. pork knuckles and spatzel and sauerkraut and bratwurst oh my! In fact after one dinner our shared plates kinda looked like this.

But it was the Schnitzel in Berlin and the Sauerkraut from Munich that my Chef friend Lauren and I figured out how to try and replicate here at home. So here is the effort. The recipes are actually very easy and the Sauerkraut starts with your favorite quality store bought brand. The potatoes are great. All in all this is a week night dinner if you have an hour to get it all together. So give it a try and Guten Appetit!

  • 12lbs pork tenderloin or 4 boneless Pork Chops
  • 1Pound  Mushrooms sliced or quartered
  • 13cup white wine
  • 12tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 -2tablespoon olive oil
  • 2tablespoons butter 
  • 12cup flour
  • 12teaspoon onion salt and garlic powder and paprika each

  1. Directions
  2. 1. Slice the pork tenderloin into ½ inch slices on a diagonal.
  3. 2. Pound thin between plastic wrap with a meat mallet.
  4. 3. Sift together the flour and onion salt garlic powder and paprika .
  5. 4. Lightly dredge the pork and shake off any excess flour.
  6. 5. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  7. 6. Cook the pork 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden and transfer to a warm plate. Then saute the mushrooms hold on the side
  8. 7. Wipe out skillet.
  9. 8. Heat a tablespoon of butter in skillet.
  10. 9. Add the capers, white wine and lemon juice.
  11. 10. Allow to reduce just a little before adding the final tablespoon of butter.
  12. 11. Mix slowly to incorporate and remove immediately from the heat.
  13. 12. Place pork and Mushrooms in skillet to reheat when warm plate the pork then spoon the mushrooms and sauce over the pork and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired for color.


1 large jar sauerkraut - drained
1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chicken or beef stock

Saute the onion in the garlic
Drain and add sauerkraut to the pot
add caraway and parsley
Cook on low for an hour.

Mustard Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs cubed and peeled yukon gold potatoes
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons Yellow or brown Mustard
1/2 cup cream warmed
1/4 cup chopped chives
Salt and Pepper to taste

Boil potatoes then drain add butter and cream and mustard and mash
Stir in chives season with salt and pepper and serve

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pastrami Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs are high on every one's list these days. Caterers, Restaurants, Gastro Pubs and bar menus are all featuring these retro tasty throwbacks to the 1950's and 60's cocktail parties.

I personally love them. They are like all the things I love to eat in one package. They immediately remind me of being 5 or 6 years old again and eating deviled eggs at a church function or at my house when company would come over. I loved them then and I love them now.

For Christmas entertaining this year I made these deviled eggs. They could not have been easier. And they could not have been more delicious. Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) first introduced smoked salmon deviled eggs to me.

But a few years ago when I was introduced to pastrami smoked salmon ( ie. Salmon cured with the spices from Pastrami curing and then smoked) by my friend Fred I thought what madness is this! It's truly beyond delicious.

So I saw it at the local supermarket over Christmas and thought lets use this to make deviled eggs. And wow are they good. So if you want to try something new for your next party, brunch or even just a family dinner or picnic. Try these. You won't be sorry! Yum Ya'll  

The Ultimate Pastrami Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs 

8 eggs hard boiled and peeled
1 heaping spoonful Dukes mayonnaise
4 heaping spoonfuls of chive and onion cream cheese in a small tub
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
6 Tablespoons finely minced pastrami smoked salmon ( or other if using)
16 small slices of salmon for garnish
4 Tablespoons chives chopped finely ( a few cut into batons and reserved for garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the eggs in half. Scoop out the yokes into a bowl you'll have 16 halves
Mix with the other ingredients except salmon
Mash until a smooth paste forms
Add the salmon and mix into the egg mixture
Place the filling in a plastic bag refrigerate for about an hour.
Cut a corner off the bag
Fill the whites
Place a sliver of the salmon on the top to garnish
Garnish further with chive batons

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Steak House Quesadillas - Mexican American at it's Finest

Nachos are some of my favorite things to eat and Quesadillas are a close second. So I had a bunch of stuff leftover from a few dinner nights and some friends were coming over to watch some movie on TV. and I said I'll make us dinner. Well I looked through the fridge and came up with left over flank steak, creamed spinach, shredded cheddar Salsa, Sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions and chives and large flour tortillas. In the cupboard I found refried beans and  Japanese fried onions you know the ones they put on Ramen. I knew I had the makings of Steak House Nachos!

These could not be simpler. Take the Sour cream and add a few dashes of hot sauce. Then you simply mix the beans ad some salsa. You heat that then take it off the heat. Also heat the creamed spinach and also let cool a bit.

Then take one tortilla at a time and start building. First you spread a little bean mixture then you spread a little spinach you add the other ingredients and fold the thing over into a flat taco. Then you cook it in a little vegetable oil till hot and melted. Let it sit a bit so it doesn't all slide out of the tortilla when you are cutting it. When cooled a bit cut it into sections. Place the sections on a baking sheet then repeat till you've used up all your ingredients. Reheat when ready to serve.

Garnish with the sour cream and the crispy onions and chopped chives. Eat!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Piri Piri Chicken - Portuguese Chicken with a Spinach Sauce and Roasted Tomaotes

Piri Piri Chicken is a Portuguese Preparation for chicken that is mostly grilled out over a hot charcoal grill and is traditionally served with roasted potatoes. I first became familiar with this dish from a show I was watching on HBO in which one of the characters opens a restaurant in San Francisco and served Piri Piri Chicken from a recipe his father had used when was a boy and his dad had had a small take away shop.

This past week when contemplating what to do with a whole roaster I had purchased and needed to use I decided to try and use this bottle of piri piri Sauce made by Wildly Co. that was a Chritmas gift from a friend. So I researched a recipe and found one on I decided to adapt it to a roasted version of this bird and boy was I glad I did. I may never go back to the old way I made Roasted Chicken. Well that's till I decide I want to try something else!

I marinated the whole bird for a day and half then roasted it basting the bird with a glaze of more sauce and butter till the bird was a lovely color and the flavor was amazing when we tried it. So here's a little recipe for you. One thing to note the Piri Piri Chile Sauce you can buy is very hot. Even the medium version has quite a bit of heat so that's something to consider when buying the sauce. Enjoy!!
Piri Piri Roasted Whole Chicken with Spinach Sauce and Roasted tomatoes


For Marinade

1/2 cup lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1 cup piri piri chile sauce
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Couple of dashes of hot sauce if you want it hotter than your Piri Piri Sauce

Mix together and rub all over chicken inside and out and place the chicken in a marinating bag and leave in the fridge overnight turning every few hours.


1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup piri piri chile sauce
1/4 cup chili sauce (Heinz style)
Dash or two of hot sauce (Tabasco or your favorite)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Mix in a pot on stove then let cool it should be thick to stick to the bird

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees

Remove chicken from the fridge and let sit out for about an hour
Remove form the marinade and discard marinade
Place chicken in a roasting pan or large skillet
Slather with some of the glaze
Roast for 50 mins till done
About 30 mins into the roast slather with more glaze till the 50 mins are up
Slather the chicken with remaining glaze and shut oven door and let sit for 10 mins
Remove from the oven and serve right way

For Spinach sauce

2 lbs. Frozen spinach (not chopped)
Thaw and squeeze out water
In a pot bring 1 cup of whole milk to a boil and then add 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Add 1 cup cream cheese at room temperature stir until melted and combined with the milk
Add the spinach and let simmer in the sauce for about 20 mins
Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed

Roasted Tomatoes

Place Roma Tomatoes into the oven topped with a little olive oil salt and pepper with the chicken when you put it in. Bake until done and juicy about 20-25 mins
Remove and cool

Serve it up in the skillet if you want as shown or you can put it on platters and bowls and serve to pass about the table. Enjoy Ya'll

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

"Farratto" Ancient Roman Grains with BCT Toppings

Farro the grain of ancient Rome, the wheat of the Caesars. It been around and used in Italy forever. It's delicious and earthy and hearty and very tasty. And it can be prepared a variety of ways. I mean you can just boil it and then mix in whatever you would like. And there is a very popular recipe move happening in the food media in the last 5 years that uses Farro in the place of rice in making risotto. And why not it's delicious. Farrotto the non rice risotto.

Here I've taken a recipe from Nigella Lawson for mushroom farrotto and added a topping of fresh tomato, Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts as well as browned mushrooms and bacon. This recipe was inspired by a photo and post made by a chef I know from Facebook. So here is my wintry dish with a bit of fresh that makes this dish a great year round food you can make for your family and friends.

Here it is:

Vegetable Farrotto
  • 1/2 cup dried porcini
  • 1/2 cup recently boiled water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large leek (washed and trimmed), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 3/4 cups pearled farro (perlato)
  • 1/4 cup Marsala
  • 5 cups broth, vegetable, chicken, or porcini
  • 8 ounces crimini mushrooms
  • sliced leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup blanched small cauliflower florets also halved
  • 4 brussels sprouts blanched and sliced thin
  • 1 pint mushrooms sliced and browned fat drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped crisped browned bacon and cooled fat drained.  
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, to serve


1. Cover the dried porcini with 1/2 cup of recently boiled water, then fill the kettle and put it on the heat again if you are making up the broth with concentrate, cube, or powder. In a wide, heavy saucepan (that comes with a lid) add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the fine jade tangle of leek, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the leeks are softened.
2. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid, then chop them and add them to the pan. Stir well, then add the farro and turn it gently but thoroughly in the pan. Tip in the Marsala and porcini-soaking water and let it bubble up.
3. Make up the broth as wished and add this to the farro pan, stir, bring to a boil, and then clamp on a lid, turn down the heat, and let it cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, until the farro is cooked and all the liquid absorbed.
4. Mix all your vegetables for your toppings except for the cooked mushrooms and bacon then right before serving mix quickly and then season with a bit of salt

5. While the farro is cooking, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium-sized frying pan and cook the sliced crimini mushrooms for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften (they will first seem alarmingly dry) at which point add the thyme, grate in (or mince and add) the garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are juicy and soft. Remove from the heat if there is still time on the clock for the farro. Once the farro is cooked, take it off the heat, too, and add the cooked mushrooms. Stir in the ricotta and Parmesan (they will melt in the heat of the farro) until the farro is creamy, then top with the vegetable topping and then sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lamb Shanks with Gremolata Winter Food with Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Lamb Shanks are a delicacy which is often forgotten about by home cooks. Not as common as other stewing meat options they are not to be missed. They were my choice this year for Christmas dinner replacing the rib roast we normally have and everyone agreed it was a good idea!

They need some time and attention and are not a really super meaty but they are very tasty and make a stunning visual impact on the table. In this recipe I paired them with simply pan fried or roasted Brussel sprouts.  Simply place the brussel sprouts cut in half and seasoning with salt pepper and garlic powder, face down in a oiled frying pan. Cook over med heat till browned and caramelized. They will still have a little crunch.

The lamb shanks are stewed then the sauce is reduced and thickened. The shanks are placed back in the pot and when ready to serve a parsley and lemon zest gremolata is sprinkled over the shanks giving some citrus and herbal freshness to the dish and cutting the rich sauce.

Make these while the weather still makes you crave some rich comforting food to fill your belly and warm up your spirits.

Lamb Shanks with Gremolata

4 to 6 shanks from your butcher
1 cup each of finely chopped onion, celery and carrots
1 cup red wine
3-4 cups of beef broth just till the shanks are almost completly covered
1 Tablespoon chopped rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon salt
10 cloves garlic whole
2 bay leaves
1 small can tomato paste
3 Tablespoons of flour
Zest of one lemon
3/4 cup coarsely chopped parley leaves
Sea Salt


Place some oil in a large heavy bottomed stew pot and bring the temperature up. Salt and pepper the shanks well and then brown all over in the oil. You might have to do this in batches.

Remove from the pot and add a bit more oil and then the vegetables. Cook them stirring constantly till soft but not browned. With the flat of your knife smash the garlic till it cracks open then add whole chunks into the pot. Cook for about 2 or 3 mins. or until the garlic blooms. Add the spices and herbs and stir a minute or so.

Add the wine and the tomato paste and stir is up till the tomato paste is disolved. Now add the shanks back to the pot and nestle in the vegetables,  then add the stock just till it almost completely covers the meat.

Cook over medium heat at a slow simmer for about 1 and half to 2 hours. When the meat is tender remove from the sauce carefully. Fish out the bay leaves and then bring to a boil till reduced by a third. Combine the flour and remaining stock or some water in a small bowl and stir till smooth. Slowly stir into the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened. Place the meat back in the pot and gently rewarm the meat till ready to serve. Place on a platter or on plates and sprinkle with the parsley and lemon rind and then season with sea salt.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

The California Dreaming Salad - Holiday Eats redone at home

I read someone recently write that they could not seem to eat a salad that did not have as many calories and as much fat as a Cheeseburger and thus salads were never really a healthy alternative for them. This seems to be my burden as well. Try as I might I have to make things taste good or I just don't like them.

Now that's not to say I haven't eaten my fair share of awfully healthy meals when trying to improve my diet or lose weight in the past. But I have come to a place in my life where life itself seems a little more fleeting in the wake of my brothers illness and all. In fact, right before this happened to him, we were having a discussion about how one really needs to enjoy one's time here. Because let's face it, we never know when we will no longer have the chance to enjoy life and the ones we love.

As such and in that vein I offer up to you a recipe to remake maybe my favorite restaurant entree salad of all time. I mean, I love a Brown Derby Cobb Salad, and to say that the Hillstone Thai Steak and Noodle Salad would not also find itself at the top of that list would be silly (See Food and Wine Magazine article online for the restaurant's own recipe printed up in an article celebrating my favorite restaurant chain and favorite go to eatery in NYC.)

But the California Dreaming Salad stands on it's own as a miracle in modern American restaurant recipes. It's beautiful and it's served with a freshly baked croissant slathered with honey butter. It's dressed with a hot sweet and sour bacon dressing and topped with everything an old fashioned chef's salad should be. It is an a word perfection. Doubt it? Visit any California Dreaming restaurant and try this salad and write me back it it isn't De#uckingliscious! Sorry about the swearing but I am that passionate about this salad.

Of course you don't have to travel from where ever you are to make this salad because I am about to give you the golden ticket to make this on your own. Now I've done my research and I have supposedly gotten all the scoop on the ingredients. If I'm wrong please let me know but don't write nasty things about my research and how I don't know what I'm talking about. Just make the salad and then shut your mouth cause, it's that good! Try this and be the hero. Feed your loved ones and friends some salad tonight. You can feel "kinda" good about it. But they will just love it. I promise.

The California Dreaming Salad- A T&T Home Version
(makes 4 servings of entree sized salads)

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce shredded
1/2 head of Romaine chopped
1/2 small red onion finely diced
3 eggs boiled and finely chopped
12 oz. of Armour 1877 Ham cubed and then chopped in the food processor to shred
12 oz Smithfield Smoked Turkey chopped into thin thin strips
8 oz of Armour Smoked Bacon cooked crisp and finely chopped (Grease held in a dish)
2 Medium tomatoes seeded and diced
6 oz of finely shredded cheddar cheese

Frozen Croissants baked and slathered with honey butter.

Hot Bacon Dressing (This is the good stuff, but it's not necessarily good for you...but's short)

1/2 cup warmed bacon drippings
1 large or two small shallots very finely minced
3/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon or brown mustard
1 tablespoon mayo
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix everything really well except the bacon drippings
The right before serving mix together and dress salads

To make the salad

Dress greens with dressing till wet. Portion out to into 4 bowls.  (Put extra dressing in a bowl on the side)

Layer on the toppings artistically starting with the cheese or mix and mound on the top leaving a few pieces to use as garnish, like tomato pieces and ham and maybe some egg.

Serve this salad with the croissants. Enjoy!!

Please feel free to comment I'd love to hear from you.