Jeweled Kale and Cabbage Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing

4 Jun

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We all know how good leafy greens are for us, but did you know how downright tasty they can be to boot? I learned the technique of cooking off the rawness of the kale and cabbage from Chef Lulu Powers who I worked for when I was out in LA a few months back. These simple ingredients come together for a wonderful balance of flavors and textures. Enjoy! 

Time: 15 minutes                         Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • Salad


  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
  • orange juice or lemonade – enough to cover dried fruit
  • 3 cups shredded kale
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan Reggiano Asiago cheeses
  • Dressing


  • 1 tbsp Creole or other grainy mustard
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper, freshly grated – to taste

How to make it


  • Salad


  • The day before you plan to make this salad, combine dried cranberries and juice in a small container. Seal and let sit overnight to reconstitute the fruit.
  • Preheat oven to 425F. Spread shredded kale and cabbage out on lined baking sheets giving room so as not to crowd.
  • Bake kale and cabbage for 6 minutes. Transfer from baking sheets to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add reconstituted cranberries, pine nuts, and cheese. Toss with dressing and serve.
  • Dressing


  • Combine mustard, lemon juice, maple syrup in a small non-reactive bowl. Whisk to incorporate. Add olive oil and whisk to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Lamb Meatballs and Napoli Sauce

30 May

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I acquired these traditional Italian recipes, passed down through generations, from a chef in LA. As per usual, I added my own touches to make this dish sing. The simplicity of the sauce highlights the succulent, herbaceous lamb and everything is in harmony – the pleasant tune of spring.

Time: 30 minutes + simmer Serves: 5

Ingredients


  • Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed bread (I used Udi’s Gluten Free White)
  • milk, enough to cover bread cubes
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only – carefully cleaned and cut into thin half moons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sauce


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 a medium-large onion)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste
  • 8 basil leaves, roughly chopped or chiffonade

How to make it


  • Meatballs


  • Combine bread cubes and milk in a small bowl to soak.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Once hot, add leeks and cook for about 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Transfer soaked bread to a large mixing bowl. Discard excess milk any remains. Add lamb, parsley, rosemary, thyme, beaten egg, salt, pepper, and cooled leeks & garlic. Mix just to incorporate.
  • Form mixture into 2-inch balls and set on a lined baking sheet.
  • At this point you can bake them in a preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Or you can braise them in the sauce by allowing them to cook for 25 minutes. Finally, you can pan fry them in batches with a bit of olive oil over medium-high until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  • I always cook my meatballs, let them cool, then put them on a baking sheet and into the freeze. Once frozen, pop them into a freezer bag or container and you’ll have homemade meatballs waiting for you anytime.
  • Sauce


  • In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, some salt & pepper and stir. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Add basil during last 30 minutes of simmer.
  • Serve meatballs tossed in sauce and spaghetti. Top with shaved Parmesan Reggiano Asiago blend and garnish with small basil leaves.

MasterChef 4 Update

29 May

Thank you everyone who supported me and my hometown of Detroit by watching the MasterChef Season 4 premiere last week! Wondering if I got an apron? Check out this peak at tonight’s episode.

 

Tune in to FOX tonight at 8/7c to see if the lamb really does steal the show. Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for a show stealing lamb recipe!

Lavender Lemonade

27 May

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Summer in a glass. Refreshing and delicious, the light floral notes compliment the sweet and tart so nicely.

Time: 10 minutes                Serves: 7

Ingredients


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried lavender buds
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon pulp
  • 5 cups cold water

How to make it


  • Combine water, sugar, and lavender buds in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisk, then reduce and simmer for two minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Strain lavender syrup into a large pitcher. Add lemon juice, pulp, and cold water. Stir and serve over ice.

Mushroom Barley Soup

23 May

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I know some of you are probably thinking, “soup?! really?!” considering it is late May. But here in my fine hometown of Detroit, MI it is currently 46F and pouring. What better time to warm up with this hearty soup that pleases vegetarians and meat-eaters alike?

Time: 15 min prep, 1hr 15min cook                   Serves: 8-10

Ingredients


  • 1 1/4 cups pearl barley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 large)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large portabella mushrooms, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp brown rice Miso paste, dissolved in a bit of warm water
  • black pepper
  • chopped parsley, chopped – for garnish
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids and Sriracha, to serve

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How to make it


  • Put barley in a 5 quart pot with bay leaves and a generous amount of sea salt. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour or until grains are soft and open.
  • Heat half the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and the garlic, and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Add the carrots and celery. Cook for a few minutes then add to the pot of barley and cooking liquid.
  • Next, heat the remaining olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. (If you don’t have a large enough skillet, you can cook them in a couple of batches). Sauté, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook until softened and starting to brown.
  • Transfer to pot. Add 2-3 cups of water, and miso paste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Add kale and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with Bragg’s and Sriracha.
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Tantalizing Turkey Burgers

20 May

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I created these mouthwatering masterpieces in honor of National Burger Month.

Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 3 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into thick slices
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I made mine fresh with gluten-free bread)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 4 slices yogurt cheese (from Trader Joe’s) or other mild white cheese
  • hamburger buns (I use Udi’s gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup bacon jam
  • 1 avocado, sliced

How to make it


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place tomato slices on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Preheat lightly oiled grill or cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat.
  • Combine ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder. Mix just to incorporate. Divide into 4 patties. Pressing an indentation into the middle of each.
  • Place patties on preheated grill and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, or until an instant read thermometer reads 165F. Add cheese for the last minute of cooking, and cover grill/pan.
  • Spread bacon jam on bottom of each bun. Place burger on bun. Top with roasted tomatoes and sliced avocado.

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Bacon Jam

19 May

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Oh yes I did!!! I whipped this up to go with the turkey burgers (recipe to follow) but the possibilities are endless! It takes some time to cook, but not long to prepare, and it is well worth it. Here are some ideas of how to enjoy this sweet, savory, and smoky delight: spread on toasted baguettes or crackers for a savory appetizer, pour some on top of brie and bake, spread on biscuits, waffles, pancakes and various sandwiches like fried egg, make a grilled cheese with it or a bacon jam BLT!

Time: 20 min prep, 1 hour+ cook                   Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients


  • 1 pound apple wood smoked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 4 large red onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup water

How to make it


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to render fat crisp a bit.
  • Add onions. Turn temperature up to high until they start caramelising slightly.
  • Add the garlic and bay leaf and fry for another minute.
  • Add the smoked paprika, salt and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Add the sugar, apple juice and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 and thickened to the consistency to be able to cover a spoon easily but not be too syrupy or thick.
  • Skim excess fat off top if needed. Then transfer to a food processor fitted with an S-blade or use an immersion blender to blend the jam until there are no big chunks of onion/bacon left.
  • Carefully transfer the jam into a sterilised jam jar and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature.

MasterChef 4 Announcement

15 May

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Tune in to see me compete on the two-hour season premiere of MASTERCHEF Wednesday, May 22 8/7c on FOX!

Creamy Spring Michigan Asparagus Soup

14 May

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I look forward to the spring for so many reasons, and Michigan asparagus is one of them! It’s fresh, subtly sweet, and oh so delicious. The simplicity of this luscious soup lets it shine through and really be the star. May be served hot or chilled.

Time: 45 minutes                            Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • 1 onion,  finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds asparagus, tough ends removed – cut into 2-inch pieces, tips reserved
  • 2 cups peeled & cubed potatoes
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

How to make it


  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a 5 qt stock pot. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
  • Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add asparagus (not the tips!). Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Place asparagus tips on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast 5-7 minutes, depending on size. Remove from oven and set aside
  • Once potatoes are tender, use an immersion blender to puree or standing blender in batches. Return to pot and add cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with roasted asparagus tips.

Spring Risotto Primavera with Crispy Lamb Sausage

9 May

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I got inspiration for this dish from last month’s Food & Wine. This dish screams Spring with every bite! While the sausage and risotto pair perfectly together, feel free to mix and match these recipes in with others. The risotto would be great with a poached egg.

Time: 1 hour                     Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • Risotto


  • 1/2 cup cherry, grape, or mini heirloom tomatoes – halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • 1 parsnip, peeled then shaved into ribbons with veggie peeler
  • olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch asparagus tops (reserve rest for another use)
  • 1 cup cubed yellow summer squash
  • 1/4 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 small leeks, cleaned well cut in half and sliced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 small bunch green onions, bottom white and light green parts only – chopped
  • 1 cup packed pea shoots
  • 1/4 cup assorted herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, mint, parsley, and tarragon – chopped
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • toasted pine nuts – for garnish
  • chive blossoms – for garnish
  • Sausage


  • 1 fennel bulb, minced – reserve fronds for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 slices bread, cubed (I used Udi’s Gluten Free Sandwich Bread)
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 pound ground lamb

How to make it


  • Risotto


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Toss tomatoes in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 25 minutes.
  • Rub parsnip and carrot ribbons with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a wire rack and bake in oven for 6-8 minutes until dry & crisp but not too brown.
  • Toss asparagus in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet and roast in oven for about 10 minutes until charred and tender.
  • Place 1 tbsp olive oil each into 2 large skillets over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini to one, and leeks to the other. Season each with salt. Cook stirring for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add garlic to mushrooms and zucchini. Cook an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  • Add risotto to leeks once tender, about 4 minutes. Cook until all risotto is coated with oil and is lightly toasted 1-3 minutes.
  • Add white wine and cook, stirring, until no liquid remains, about 2-3 minutes. Begin adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 20 minutes in total. Rice should be creamy (not mushy) and slightly firm in the center.
  • Add red pepper flakes, lemon zest, cheese, peas, and green onions.
  • Add roasted tomatoes, roasted asparagus, squash, mushrooms, garlic, and pea shoots.
  • Top with cooked crispy lamb sausage and garnish with parsnip and carrot chips, fennel fronds, chive blossoms, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Sausage


  • Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Set aside to cool
  • Combine bread cubes and milk. Allow to absorb as fennel cooks.
  • Combine cooked fennel and garlic, soaked bread cubes, seasonings, and lamb. Form into four 1″ logs.
  • Heat a cast iron grill pan rubbed with olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook lamb until browned on all sides, turning every 2 minutes – about 8 in total. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.