Tomato Sauce, Fresh from the Garden

This gallery contains 8 photos.

When the tomatoes start turning from green to red, it’s time to go and NOT STOP. The basket fills up, friends and family don’t want anymore. Perhaps you can set up a table at the end of your driveway and … Continue reading

Pan Seared Sole, lemon caper sauce

This recipe can be used for a variety of fish or chicken.

If you are gluten-free, substitute the AP flour with tapioca, rice, or corn flour.

This should feed 4 people. Sole or flounder fillets are small so pick the largest ones you can get or select two per person.

Ingredients:

Sole, 4-8 fillets

3/4 cup flour

4 tbls canola oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 shallot, minced

2/3 cup white wine

Juice from one lemon

2 tbls capers

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

3 tbls Dijon Mustard

Method:

Set some paper towel over a bake pan or large platter.

Turn on your vent hood. Set a large saute pan over a medium to high heat.

Season the fish with salt & pepper, then dust both sides with flour.

Add the oil to the pan. Turn the pan to coat. Carefully place the fillets on the bottom of the pan.

Don’t touch them. After three minutes, the flour around the edges of the fish begins to turn brown,turn the fish over and shut the heat off. Let them continue cook from the heat of the pan for about two minutes then transfer to a paper towel lined platter.

Return pan to stove and set over a high heat. Add the shallots, lemon juice, white wine and capers.

Let the liquid reduce in half then stir in Dijon. Season with a pinch of salt.

Plate the fish and cover with sauce, garnish with fresh thyme.

Enjoy!

Pineapple Papaya Salad, lime ginger vinaigrette

I needed a fruit and lettuce combo that has some pizzazz. The presentation is up to you. Certainly you don’t have to go through the effort of using a Mandoline for slicing.

This salad could be combined in a bowl with the dressing on the side.

This shall serve 6-8.

Ingredients:

4 Heads of Belgian Endive, leaves separated and cleaned

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1 Papaya, peeled, seeded & sliced

1 Pineapple, peeled, cored & sliced

1 English Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced

1 quart micro greens or shoots

Either individually plate the above or display in a large serving bowl. Refrigerate until service.

Dressing:

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

Juice from 1 lime

1 tsp fresh ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup fresh mint, loose not packed

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, loose not packed

2 tbls honey

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp hot sauce

3/4 cup olive oil

Using a blender, combine the first 9 ingredients. While the blender is running, slowly add the oil. Blend to a slightly thick consistency.

Dress the salad and enjoy!

Cooking on an Infrared Burner, sliders

Cooking with Infrared burner is like using a grill burner on steroids.

This baby is HOT

Some restaurants have gas grills with 100,000 btu or wood grills that heat over 700˚f. If the average home cook had something this hot, the fire department would be making frequent stops at their home. Also, most of cooking would resemble the bottom of your shoe.

Grills that offer a Infrared burner, provide a heat that is close to what the professionals use without the need of that extra fire extinguisher (although it does make sense to have one in your home for safety).

I recently cooked sliders on a Lynx Grill.

Since sliders are small I could cook them start to finish over the Infrared Burner. You can cook thinner and smaller cuts over the Infrared burner.

Most items should be just ‘seared’ over the Infrared burner and then finished over a standard burner to cook through.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork

1/2 ground beef, sirloin or chuck

1 small onion, minced

3 tbls bread crumbs

3 tbls minced sun-dried tomatoes

3 tbls fresh basil, minced

3 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbls steak sauce

Salt, to taste

Cracked pepper, to taste

Method

Cooking Spray, I recommend Coconut or Canola oil

In a stainless steel bowl combine the first 10 ingredients. Form golf ball size meatballs.

Turn on your grill. Set the Infrared Burner on high and place the lid down. Let the great heat for at least 8 minutes to get the grates hot.

Raise lid and clean the grates with a grill brush.

Spray the meatballs with cooking spray. Carefully & quickly place them on the hot grate with space in between. Let them cook for 2 1/2 minutes or until they will pull away from the grates without sticking. As you turn the over, place them on a clean grate or not over the same spot that they were cooking on. This keeps them from sticking to the remnants on the grates. Turn the heat down to low.

Allow them to cook for another 4 minutes. Remove and place on a pan or platter to rest while they continue to cook. Serve on a fresh roll with your favorite condiments.

Enjoy!

Tax Free Shopping?

What is Free?

Webster defines it as:

a : relieved from or lacking something and especially something unpleasant or burdensome <free from pain>

In this fine state of Massachusetts, the powers that be reward us with a weekend celebration that is today’s version of throwing tea into the harbor, ridding us of that loathsome 6.25% tax (on purchases under $2500).

These wonderful representatives of our political system wave a magic wand to the burden of the added tax.

Oh how we celebrate. Lines form outside of stores and people fill their shopping carts with items that just can’t pass up, do to the tax they wont have to pay.

Do you really need it?

Have you really worked out the math?

So if you go to a store we will call, The Easter Tree Shop, (not that there is anything wrong with this store, I am just using them as an example 😉 and you buy let’s say $200 worth of  easter lights, paper, candles, etc you have saved $12.50

WOW!

That is definitely worth getting in your car, driving miles, waiting in line to Save $12.50. 🙂

I think we need to evaluate what our time is worth.

Figuring what you currently make at your job per hour, whether you are salaried or hourly. Are you at least saving the same amount based on the time you spent to buy the item?

Choose what we need to have as opposed to want to have. I.E. Furnace, refrigerator, hot water heater, home improvement items vs big screen tv, massage chair, back yard batting cage, new rims for the ride, etc.

Many of the items that you are shopping for might already have discounts and rebates. If some of these purchases require a service technician to install don’t forget to add that cost back into the mix.

The street definition of Free:

“you don’t get something for nothing”

What does this blog post have to do with food you may ask?

Blood Orange Mint Sorbet

Great opportunity to break out that ice cream machine that has been sitting in the box since last summer.

Or perhaps fill up some popsicle forms for a great treat on the go!

Ingredients:

1 cup loosely packed mint

2/3 cup sugar

1 -1/2 cup water

1 cup Blood Orange juice

Juice from 2 limes

Method:

In a sauce pan,combine 3/4 cup of water with sugar and place over a high heat. Boil to reduce liquid in half. Take pan from stove top and let simple syrup cool.

Light chop the mint and combine with juices & remaining water, in a stainless steel bowl. Mix in the simple syrup and place bowl, covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours. Strain the liquid and discard the mint before freezing your sorbet or pouring into popsicle molds.

Set into ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions.

Freeze it, share it or eat it.

Enjoy!

Kick up the recipe by adding 2 shots of light rum or a dash of both cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Zucchini Pasta, no flour

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Okay Vegetarians and those of the gluten free preference, break out that mandoline that is sitting in the back of the cupboard and get ready for a great dinner and no scarred knuckles. Okay admittedly I have the pro version … Continue reading

Limoncello Tiramisu

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Nice cool dessert for the summer. I used stemless martini glasses for individual servings. The recipe can also be prepared in a trifle bowl or casserole. Ingredients: 1/2 cup Limoncello 1/2 cup water 2 t sugar 3 lemons 3 eggs … Continue reading

Cooking Steaks and Chops Indoors

If you happen to live in a city condo or apartment you may not be able to use an outdoor grill.

How can you cook Chops or Steaks with nice results?

A skillet with the bottom grooves provides the grill marks, but the real benefit is that your chop or steak wont cook in the rendered grease becoming bitter. Those grate lines in the pan elevate it enough to keep it above the fat. Certainly fat is flavor, but when rendered from the steak or chop that you are cooking, it becomes grease that starts to burn and give off an undesirable flavor.

Most pans are seasoned and can withstand a high heat. They are easy to clean if you wait until it slightly cools down, then add some warm water to it. This will allow any of the burnt on bits to come off easily without heavy scrubbing.

Here is a good way of producing a good dinner.

The first step is buying a good quality Steak or Chop.

Here is a Veal Loin Chop

Here is a Veal Rib Chop

The Rib Chop is usually, ‘French Style’ in which the meat is cleaned from the bone. These can also be tied for even cooking and provide an excellent presentation. You can also pound this out with a meat mallet for quick cooking and a larger plate presentation.

If it is good quality and not frozen, you won’t need much in the area of spices. You want to get the most flavor and just enhance it with a simple sauce.

I use the following method for thicker steaks and chops. The photos are with a bone-in Rib Eye. We are using an oven as a finishing mode to speed up the cooking process and retain more juices and flavor.

Ingredients: 

Chop or Chops (depending on how many are eating)

Kosher Salt and Cracked Black pepper.

2 Tablespoons Oil, per chop (Grape Seed, Coconut , Safflower or Canola)

1 Tablespoon Butter, per chop

1 Tsp Truffle Oil, per chop

Method:

Set oven to 400˚ Convection or 425˚ Bake

Whether you are cooking veal, beef, pork or lamb chops, the method remains the same. The only difference is the smaller chops may cook all the way through on the stove top based on your preferred doneness.

Heat pan over a medium to high heat on the stove top. Season both sides of chop with a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Oil both sides of chop.

As the pan begins to smoke add the chop.

After about 2 minutes see if you can lift the chop and turn it to get the cross grill marks and continue to sear on the bottom side. If it is stuck to pan just wait a minute and it should come off easily. (this method works the same on your outdoor grill grates).

 

 

Let it cook for about a minute then flip the chop over.

 

After you flipped chop, top with butter and place into the oven on the middle rack.

After 5 minutes begin checking for temperature. When cooked to your preference, remove from oven and plate the chop.

Season with truffle oil.

Enjoy!

Pepper Frittata with Za’atar

Call it a ommlette if you will. I wanted something other than peppers, hot sauce, cumin and cilantro.

Don’t get me wrong those ingredients work, this just called to me.

If you don’t know Za’atar, it is a combination of dried oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt.

Easy to make but if you have a mediterranean market nearby, get it already mixed. Sure it’s easy to combine the ingredients but if you buy sumac and don’t have another use for it, you have wasted some $.

My first experience with this spice is from the local bakery on fresh-baked pita called Za’atar Manakeesh. Since then I have tried it rubbed into chicken for a roast, in rice and humus.

The flavor is wonderful.

Back to the recipe.

Ingredients:

4 large eggs

1/2 cup half-n-half or almond milk

1 cubanelle pepper, cut into 1/2″ slices

3 white mushrooms, diced

2 Tablespoons grated cheese (it’s up to you but Colby, cheddar gouda, manchego are good choices)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon Za’atar

1 tablespoon chopped Fresh Cilantro

2 tsp olive oil

1 tsp butter

salt and pepper to taste

Method.

Turn on your oven to 425˚Convection or 450˚ Bake

Use a non-stick pan set over a low heat. In a bowl beat eggs with half&half. Add a pinch of salt.

Turn heat up in pan, add oil & butter and turn pan to glaze. Add cut pepper and mushrooms. Cook for a minute then add garlic. After it begins to pop add Za’atar and egg mixture and turn pan to coat. Top with cilantro, cheese salt & pepper then place into oven on middle rack.

It should rise in about 6 minutes. Cooking in the oven keeps the stove top cleaner. Convection works well with this rise and presentation plus, cooks faster than in the Bake mode of your oven.

Take it out and flip onto a plate or platter to serve.

Cut into wedges.

Maybe add some hot sauce just in case.

Enjoy!