Tag Archives: fresh herbs

Orange Mango Banana Poppy Seed Bread

15 Jun

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One of my fellow MasterChef 4 competitors invited me to write a guest post for her blog. I decided to share this delicious quick bread (or muffins – your choice!). Oh, and would you believe it’s low-fat and gluten-free?! Oh, yes!!! Please visit Celebration Generation for the recipe and other interesting tidbits about our MasterChef 4 experience.

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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.

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.

Quinoa White Bean Burgers with Herbed Greek Yogurt

24 Apr

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A protein-rich “veggie burger”. You can certainly put this on your favorite bun but we enjoyed it just like this with sliced cucumber.

Time: 30 minutes                      Serves: 6

Ingredients


  • Burgers


  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked according to package instructions and cooled completely
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups Great Northern beans (I used 1/2 cup dry, soaked overnight & cooked until tender, this also equals one 15oz can, drained)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I made fresh with gluten free bread), divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste
  • Vegetable or olive oil for cooking
  • Yogurt


  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp each fresh dill and chives, roughly chopped
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste

How to make it


  • Burgers


  • Place carrots, beans, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an “S-blade”. Process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  • Add cooked quinoa, 1/4 cups bread crumbs and remaining ingredients. Mix to incorporate. Divide into 6 portions and form into patties.
  • Place remaining bread crumbs into a shallow dish and coat patties. Chill patties in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  • Yogurt


  • Combine all ingredients and mix to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Arancini

23 Apr

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I’ve had the pleasure of eating arancini several times. One memory stands out more than others, Angelina Bistro in Detroit. I had never made them before, so when my chef asked me to prepare them for a tasting for a wedding I was excited! He put me on all of the family recipes for Italian classics as according to him I am an “Italian specialist”. Family recipes, huh…Oh and did I mention the groom is a chef too and the family recipes are his?! Well, the arancini were an absolute hit. And I must admit, and I can here, that I did leave a fingerprint.

Time: 45 minutes              Serves: 12 pieces

Ingredients


  • 1 cup short grain risotto rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1-2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cubed – enough for 12 pieces
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used fresh)
  • oil for frying
  • handful basil, chiffonade

How to make it


  • Preheat oil to 375F in a deep fryer or wok.
  • Cook rice uncovered until tender, but firm – about 20 minutes. When done, remove from heat and add butter. Mix to incorporate. Spread out on a large parchment lined tray to cool.
  • Once cooled, place in a large bowl and add egg yolks and parmesan cheese Mix well.
  • Take about 1/3 cup of rice mixture and shape into a ball in the palm of your hand. Make a well in the center of the ball and place a piece of mozzarella in the center. Rework the ball to enclose the cheese.
  • Put the egg whites in a bowl, beat until stiff.
  • Put bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Coat rice balls with stiffened egg white one by one, then roll in bread crumbs, pressing around to coat evenly. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown and crispy all around. Remove and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • To serve, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade. Enjoy as is or with a delicious sauce such as my Tomato Butter Sauce.

Garlic Ginger Tuna Croquettes

19 Apr

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Today is National Garlic Day, so let’s celebrate! These croquettes are full of flavor and freshness, a great way to wake up canned tuna. Brown Rice Snaps add great flavor and texture, as well as being gluten-free to make them versatile. Also would make great appetizers, just make them smaller.

Time: 25 minutes              Serves: 3

Ingredients


  • 2 5oz. cans tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup crushed Baked Brown Rice Snaps w/Tamari and Sesame, divided
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • olive oil and sesame oil for cooking
  • green onion tops, sliced – for garnish

How to make it


  • Combine tuna, 1/4 cup crushed crackers, egg, green onion, garlic, lime juice, ginger, Sriracha, salt, pepper, mustard, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Mix to well to incorporate.
  • Divide mixture into 6 portions. Shape into patties. Dredge in remaining crushed rackers.
  • Heat oils in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side.
  • Garnish with green onions. Serve with Sesame Cucumber Salad.

Classic Homemade Chicken Soup

1 Apr

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I decided this time last year that making my own from-scratch chicken soup was long over-due. Boy am I glad I finally tackled this! It was much easier to make than I imagined and the results were beyond my expectations. I consulted a recipe by Susie Fishbein from her gorgeous book “Kosher by Design,” but put my own spin on it as I like to do 🙂

Time: 30 min prep, 90+min cook                 Serves: 8

Ingredients


  • 1 chicken, cut into 1/8ths (with skin on and bones in)
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large carrots (or equivalent in baby carrots), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 stalks of fresh dill
  • 5-7 stalks of fresh parsley (I used flat Italian)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • kosher salt, to taste – I used 1 tbsp
  • ground black pepper, to taste – I used 2 tsp

How to make it


  • Rinse chicken and place in an 8 quart stock pot, or larger. Cover with cold water, then add an additional 4-5 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil. Skim the fat and impurities off the top as it rises, using a small strainer.
  • Add parsnips, carrots, celery, onion, turnip, and garlic to pot.
  • At this point you can either tie the herbs & peppercorn into a bouquet garni (in muslin or cheesecloth), or just toss them in there freely which is what I did.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Start with less, as you can always add more but you can’t take away once it’s in there 🙂
  • Lower the heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Strain the foam & impurities off the top as needed. Taste and add seasoning if needed. Remove from heat.
  • Once the soup is at room temperature, remove veggies with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl – careful to discard any small bones or skin that might stick.
  • Place chicken into another bowl. Break up with your fingers and discard bones & skin. (I set aside 2 cups of this cooked chicken for later use.)
  • Pour broth through a strainer. THis will sift out any remaining small bones or stray skin, as well as the stalks from the herbs. Be sure to discard the bay leaves as well.
  • At this point, you may either combine the broth, veggies, and chicken in a large storage container, or split it up if you plan to freeze some. Or, you may combine the three components in a 4 quart stock pot and refrigerate or reheat to eat right away.