Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1 small shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
¼ cups extra virgin olive oil

In a small bowl, add the vinegar, shallot, garlic, salt, and the pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to combine. Serve over any favorite salad.

Zesty Basmati Rice with Cinnamon and Cumin

Zesty Basmati Rice with Cinnamon and Cumin

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
¼ cup toasted cashew pieces
¼ cup coarsely chopped
Fresh cilantro or parsley

Place the water or stock into a sauce pan with cinnamon stick, cumin, salt and orange zest. Bring to a boil, and add the rice. Bring to another boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick and fluff with fork. Toss with sesame oil, cashews and cilantro or parsley and serve.

Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews

Spicy Thai Tempeh with Cashews

1 8 ounce package tempeh
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion diced
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
1 cup toasted cashews, chopped
1 tablespoon roasted Thai red chili paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons tamari
1/3 cup water
4 scallions finely chopped

Cut tempeh into large chunks and steam 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle.

In a large cast-iron or sauté pan over medium heat, sauté onion in the olive oil 10 minutes or until caramelized. Crumble chunks of tempeh directly into skillet. Add roasted red pepper and cashews and sauté 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together chili paste, syrup, tamari and water. Pour over tempeh, and sauté another minute to combine flavors.
Remove from heat, top with chopped scallions and serve.

Note: For those who don’t know what Tempeh is, it’s made from pressed and fermented soy beans. Comes in many varieties with ingredients like grains and vegetables.
Tamari, is a soy sauce made from soy beans, water and sea salt.

Cantaloupe, Red Onion, and Walnut Salad

Cantaloupe, Red Onion, and Walnut Salad

Orange Vinaigrette
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons raspberry vinegar
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cantaloupe, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups arugula
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

To make the vinaigrette, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, and raspberry vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly add the live oil whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the salad, combine the cantaloupe, red onion, arugula, and ½ cup of the walnuts in a large salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Garnish with the remaining walnuts.

Fusilli alla Caprese

Fusilli alla Caprese

1 pound fusilli pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1 ½ pints)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced (about 1 ¼ cups)

Bring a large pot of slated water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid, then drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. As the tomatoes cook and soften, smash them with a fork. Continue to cook until the tomatoes make a chunky sauce, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce to the bowl with the pasta and toss to combine. Stir in the basil leaves and mozzarella, then add the reserved pasta water, ¼ cup at a time, until the pasta is moist. Serve.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Emeril's Minestrone Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, split in half and rinsed well under
running water, thinly sliced
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 ½ cups
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 large celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 medium zucchini, cubed, about 1 ¼ cups
1 medium yellow squash, cubed, about 1 ¼ cups
10 cups vegetable stock
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 Parmesan cheese rinds, about 5 by 2-inches
1 teaspoon dried basil or oregano leaves
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 medium new potatoes, scrubbed and cubed (6 ounces or 1 ¼cups cubed)
2 cups packed fresh chopped kale leaves, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh black pepper
¼ cup small, dried pasta such as ditalini
½ cup Great Northern beans, soaked overnight or 1 (15-ounce) can white
beans, drained and rinsed
Garlic loaf for serving if desired, recipe follows


1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leek, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook another 3 to 4 minutes. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, cheese rinds, basil or oregano, crushed red pepper, potatoes and kale. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and beans and simmer for a final 15 minutes.

2. Remove the cheese rind with a slotted spoon and serve with slice of Garlic Loaf.

Garlic Loaf


½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of fresh black pepper
1 loaf French or Italian bread, about 22 inches long, cut in ½ lengthwise


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Combine all ingredients except for the bread in a small bowl with a whisk. Brush the mixture evenly over the cut sides of the bread. Place the bread on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden brown and just crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.

3. Cut into desired portions and serve hot.

Yield: 6 to eight servings

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oven roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables

Oven roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables

This is a great and easy side dish to make. Feel free to use whatever vegetables you have on hand.

2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
1 pound fingerling or small potatoes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), trimmed. If you can’t find French green beans, just use regular green beans and cut them diagonally into 2 inch pieces.
1 bunch thin asparagus, ends removed, cut diagonally into 3 inch pieces.
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the fennel bulbs into 6 wedges each, cutting out the core. Cut the potatoes in half length wise and place them on the pan with the fennel. Drizzle the live oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss with your hands.

Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, tossing once while cooking. Toss the string beans and asparagus with the roasted vegetables an roast for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the Parmesan if desired and roast for another minute until the cheese melts.

Check for seasoning and serve hot.



This hummus is very lemony with a little bit of spice. It’s great to serve with pita crackers or serve with endive leaves and veggies.

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
½ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
8 dashes Tabasco sauce

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed adding water as needed, making the hummus slightly thinner than desired, as it will thicken when refrigerated.

Taste for seasoning and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Aglio e olio

Aglio e olio

This is a very simple pasta but very delicious. If you don’t have a lot of time to make dinner, this is perfect. Serve with a simple salad and a baguette, you have a nice dinner in no time.

½ lb spaghetti or linguine
1/3 cup good extra virgin olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp hot pepper flakes
Handful of Italian parsley (flat leaf parsley) chopped
Freshly ground pepper

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta reserving a bit of the pasta water. If the pasta is too dry, you can add a bit of the pasta water at the end. Try to time the olio and the pasta to be done at the same time.

In a small sauce pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, salt, and hot pepper flakes and stir. Turn the heat to low and gently cook the garlic until golden but make sure you do not let the garlic get too dark. Garlic burns very easily and tastes bitter if over cooked. Cook for about 8-10 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Toss the pasta and olio adding some of the reserved pasta water if the pasta is too dry. Add the parsley and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


  • 1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
  • 3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:

  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 teaspoon capers, drained
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.

Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables


* 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
* 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
* 4 cremini mushrooms, halved
* 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon salt, divided
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
* 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
* 1 pound penne pasta
* 3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
* 1 cup grated fontina cheese
* 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
* 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
* 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Emeril's Portobello Mushroom-Blue Cheese Burgers

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Food of Love Productions, 2008

Yield: about 1 cup

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 large fresh portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed
4 thick Vidalia onion slices
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Gorgonzola, thinly sliced
Lemon Aioli, recipe follows
4 large whole-wheat hamburger buns or large kaiser rolls
1 bunch watercress, rinsed and dried, stems removed

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, and rosemary. Place the mushrooms in a large re-sealable plastic bag, or a baking dish, and cover with the marinade. Marinate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

Prepare the grill.

Drizzle onions with olive oil and place on grill. Cook until softened and slightly charred.

Remove the mushrooms from the marinade and pat dry. Season both sides with salt and pepper, and place gill sides-down on the grill.

Cook for 5 minutes, then turn. Arrange the cheese on the gills of each mushroom and continue to cook until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Open the rolls and lightly toast on the grill, insides down.

Place 1 grilled mushroom inside each bun and top with grilled onions. Garnish each, to taste, with aioli.

Divide the watercress among the 4 buns and serve immediately.

Lemon Aioli:

3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch cayenne
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

While the food processor is running, drop in garlic cloves. Add the salt, eggs and lemon juice. Pulse to incorporate. Add the cayenne. Slowly drizzle in the oil, a little at a time, until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture emulsifies. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. (Use within 24 hours.)

Sherry Vinaigrette

Sherry Vinaigrette
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the sherry vinegar, garlic, dijon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil so that the vinegar and oil do not separate. Pour over a mixed green salad.



4 Ripe Haas avadados
3 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced

Cut the avacados in half, remove the pits, and scoop the flesh out and place into a large bowl. Immediately add the lemon juice, Tabasco, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and toss well. You can break up the avocado with a fork but try to leave it a little chunky. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Check for seasoning. To store the Guacamole, make sure you place cling wrap directly on top of the Guacamole and get all the air out so that it does not turn brown and store in the fridge. Serve with pita chips or anything that you like to dip.