Posted in My Recipes

Potato Salad

Potato Salad
1.5 lb Red Potatoes
1 Pinch of Fresh Parsley Leaves, minced
1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Bring about 3 Quarts of water in a large stock pot to a boil on high heat.  In the meantime, wash potatoes in cool water then let sit in a fresh cool water bath for ten minutes while the water reaches rolling boil.

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Add a pinch of salt to the water then place potatoes gently.

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Let boil on high for 35 minutes or until the potatoes are tender enough to pierce with a knife throughout.

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Let the potatoes cool to the touch.  While they cool, wash and chop the parsley and chop the garlic.

Once the potatoes are cool enough, peel as much of the skin off as possible. My peeling trick is to wet my hands in cold water.  It helps pull off the skin much easier. Washing my hands off between each or every other potato, as the starch sticks to the hands.

In a large mixing bowl, add rustic cubed potatoes (not perfect), the parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and drizzle with the olive oil.  Mix well to combine the flavors.

potato salad

Done!

Posted in My Recipes

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup
1 pound dried split peas (2.5 cups)
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3 cups water
2 dry bay leaves
3 sprigs of dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse the peas thoroughly in a large bowl. Check for pea husks, stones or other natural items that may be in the package.

Rinse the Split Peas

Then soak washed peas for 1 hour in same bowl with cool water. The water should be at least an inch or more above the peas. This process will soften the peas and also bring other husks or items to the top of the water to remove.

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Rinse well and drain the peas again, set aside.

In a large stock pot heat up olive oil over medium heat.

Add in garlic and onions stir and let saute till translucent.  Then add in the celery and carrots. Stir together and then add in tomatoes.

Split Peas with Tomatoes

Stir completely then add in broth and water.

Split Peas with Broth

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas have fallen apart, 1 to 2 hours.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves before serving

I like to serve along side a nice piece of crunchy French bread. Yum!

 

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Posted in My Recipes

Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant

Pasta al Forno with Roasted Eggplant

1lb cooked ziti
My Marinara Sauce  (click link for recipe)
1 eggplant, washed, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cup grated Romano Cheese
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into rough pieces
16 oz skim Ricotta
1 handful fresh parsley, washed and chopped (2 tablespoons dried)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

There are many parts to this dish, so keeping track of when things are done is key. First start by making the sauce. Once the sauce is a third way cooked, start cooking the pasta and work on the eggplant.

For the Eggplant. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Wash the eggplant then cut lengthwise. Place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper that is drizzled with 1 tablespoon of oil ( via two sheets= 2 tbsp ). Let roast in the oven for 20 minutes, until fully cooked and browned around the edges.
Set aside one slice of eggplant cut into strips for the top of the pasta. Cut the rest of the eggplant into small pieces then fold into the sauce.
Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the ricotta, 3/4 cup of Romano cheese, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Incorporate fully.
Set aside.
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Set oven to 350 degrees.

In a baking pan, 13×9, ladle a spoonful of sauce on the bottom and tilt till covered. Add in half the pasta, and ladle sauce over top, slightly mixing in the pan. Then top with remaining pasta.

A tablespoon at a time, dollop the ricotta mixture and place onto the pasta, gently spreading and weighing it into the pasta with a spoon till it almost is to the bottom of the pan. Continue till a few tablespoons are used.
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On top of the ricotta, sprinkle about a quarter cup of Romano on top, then cover with more sauce.

When the top is covered with sauce, dollop more ricotta in spots spreading it through,  Then place the mozzarella on top as well, then cover with remaining Romano. Add the eggplant strips.
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Place in top rack of oven then let bake for 35 minutes until the top is crunchy and the sauce is boiling around the edges. Let stand for 10 minutes after removing it from the oven before serving.

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Posted in My Recipes

White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic

White Bean Dip with Roasted Garlic
2 heads of garlic, roasted (*roasting directions below)
2 (15oz) cans white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (reserving one can’s liquids)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
a handful of fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

*Roasting Garlic:
1 whole garlic,  with top portion of the crown cut off
.5 tablespoon olive oil
dash of salt

Heat oven to 425 F.
Snip the top of garlic, then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Cover with foil and bake 1 hour or until golden brown (soft when pierced with a knife).
To use, remove from the cloves.

Place the beans, roasted garlic, paprika and parsley into a food processor.

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Pulse twice to mix the ingredients quickly then turn machine to ON.  Start adding in reserved liquid slowly followed by the olive oil and the lemon juice.  Mix until the mixture is smooth.

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Then add in salt and pepper to taste.

Done!

I like to serve with a bit of minced parsley on top and a side of warmed pita chips for dipping.

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Horseradish Carrots from Brasserie Jo

One of my favorite appetizer dishes from Brasserie Jo in Boston has to be the carrots they kindly serve as you are seated. They are tangy, spicy and crunchy…the trifecta of yum, and definitely unforgettable for their unconventional taste. Especially, along side their crunchy French bread.
Now I am hungry.  

Since we love these appetizers a whole bunch, we wanted to be able to make them and have them anytime we wanted.  So, here we gave a crack at making the dish after some research online. They came out great, and our kids thought they came out better than at the restaurant! Yes, better! This may be our new app to make for our family get togethers, like our annual Easter egg hunt in a few.

Enjoy!

Horseradish Carrots
1 lb of carrots, washed and peeled
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare a cold water bath in a large bowl.

Cut carrots into sticks lengthwise; now, the sticks don’t have to be identical as that adds to the charm and rustic feel of this app.  Then submerge the cut carrots in the water bath.

Let them soak for roughly an hour.

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Drain the carrots then dry very well with a paper towel.

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In a bowl mix all the ingredients together; coating the carrots well.

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Cover the bowl and set aside to marinate for two hours.

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Done!

 

Posted in My Recipes

Vegetarian Lentil Soup

Hey Everyone,

Hope you are all doing fantastic.  This weekend flew! It was big time busy, but great overall. I’m ending it with making one of my all time favorite soups before getting cozy on the couch to catch tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead (I may be an addict, y’all).

Lentil soup is a wholesome and satisfying soup that is real simple to make if you haven’t ever tried before.  No matter if it is made the vegetarian way, like I am posting here, or not.  *If you prefer to make it non vegetarian, before placing the vegetables in the stock pot add in either a few cuts of bacon or pancetta. Cook it till browned, then follow the recipe along per instruction after the olive oil in line one.

Buon Appetito!

Lentil Soup

1 one pound bag of dry lentils, rinsed and drained (this will serve 8)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, washed and chopped (remember buy only organic celery!)
3 carrots, washed, peeled and chopped
2 dry bay leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cups of tepid water

In a large stockpot, over medium heat, heat up the olive oil.

Once hot, add the garlic, bay leaves, onion, carrot, celery, and cook (sweat) until the onions are translucent.

Add the lentils. Stir to combine the flavors.

Then add water and bring to a rolling boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer until the lentils are tender- about 35 to 40 minutes.

Remove bay leaves before serving.

Done!

 

If needed, add additional water to the soup until the lentils are tender.

Posted in My Recipes

Caramel Apples with Vanilla Pancakes

Perfect snowy day breakfast..pancakes with caramel apples!

Caramel Apples (4 servings)
2 apples (honeycrisp if you have them!) washed, peeled and cut into large cubes.
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp Sugar in the Raw
1 pinch of sea salt

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Heat butter on medium heat in a small nonstick pan (ceramic shown here)
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Once it starts to melt a touch, add in the Sugar in the Raw (conventional sugar works too, I just like Raw)
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The butter and sugar will start to boil, so that is when you turn the heat to low and add in the apples. Fold the apples in, add salt, and keep folding. Do not stir or flip the caramel around..for the caramel is SUPER hot and can burn you pretty badly.
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Let stew on low for 30 minutes, folding occassionally. And done! Served on top or on the side of pancakes ..yum! Breakfast of Champs! 😉 (we made valentine pancakes, but my heart kept turning into Mickey heads…so I just made Disney shapes!)…this is also a child sized plate! 

Pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Sift the flour in a large bowl.
Add in the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs then add the milk. Whisk in the canola oil.
Quickly stir in the flour mix and add in the vanilla.
Do not overwork the batter.
Heat a griddle or a large skillet, over medium-high heat.
Brush with butter or oil.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour out the batter onto the pan.
When bubbles start to break through at the top, flip and cook until they are brown on the other side.
Serve right away.