A Simple and Savory Bolognese

img_20180213_210823-011452353602.jpegWhat can you do with all those leftover celery stocks and carrots from your winter soups?  Chop a few up and throw them in with a tomato sauce and a pound of ground beef and you’ve got a Bolognese that is simple, warm, comforting and satisfying.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion chopped
2 large celery stocks finely chopped
2 large or 4 medium carrots finely chopped
3 large cloves of roasted garlic or raw
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
1 cup bone broth or red wine (or both)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon of turmeric – (not traditionally Italian but it is my new obsession to aide with inflammation)
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 handful of chopped fresh parsley (flat or curly – I combined them in this recipe)
6 or 7 large basil leaves chopped
Grana Padana cheese grated
1 pound fresh pasta

Directions:

Heat heavy deep pan on medium, with olive oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots – add salt, pepper, red pepper, and turmeric – until soft, add garlic for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomato paste until mixed in completely. Deglaze the pan with a bit of bone broth and/or wine until evaporated. Add meat and cook through, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining broth/wine and stir for about a minute. Add the tomato sauce and bay leaf. Cook on low or in the oven at about 275 F if using a Dutch Oven for about 1 hour.

Serve over your favorite pasta and top with fresh basil, parsley, and Grana Padana cheese.

Last weekend we visited the Farmer’s Market in Cold Spring, NY and picked up a delicious spinach fettuccini from the Knoll Krest Farm, Hudson Valley Farmhouse.  Here’s a little look:  I admit it may be my new favorite pasta.  It melted in my mouth like butter!

Advertisements

Honey Mustard Ginger Chicken With Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, lengthwise
3 scallions, chopped (including the dark green stock)
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 knob ( about 2 inches) of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder
Ginger powder
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp honey Dijon mustard
1 cup water or chicken stock

2 small sweet potatoes washed and cubed

Instructions:

Season both sides of chicken with salt pepper garlic powder and ginger powder.

Cover iron skillet or Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of olive oil get pan nice and hot.

Pan sear chicken for about 3 minutes on both sides. In the last-minute add your garlic and ginger slices. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside.

Mix honey, mustard, two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 – 1 cup of hot water deglaze your pan with the mixture add chicken and sweet potatoes bring to a simmer and then place in the oven for 40 minutes covered.

Serve chicken with sweet potatoes on the side drizzle with the sauce or if you’re not doing paleo go ahead and serve it over a nice dish of white rice.

Not Your Mom’s Meatloaf Recipe

img_20180107_185100-01963031742.jpeg

Meatloaf was an American staple in my home growing up.  At least twice a month my mom served it alongside a boiled vegetable, an iceberg salad and rice with butter and salt and pepper – It doesn’t get more Americana than that!

Here’s a new recipe turning a classic on its head.  I snagged this recipe from Timothy Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Chef.  More than most dishes, this is one my kids ask for time and again and its perfect if you’re diabetic because instead of using bread crumbs, Ferriss’ recipe comes with baby belle mushrooms.

While visiting my family in Washington this past January, my daughter asked me to make this for everyone.  We enjoyed cooking, laughing and gathering around the table to enjoy this meal and one another’s company; which has become a new and welcomed family tradition at my Aunt’s home whenever I visit.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. fatty ground beef
2 whole eggs
3 scallions chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
6 medium mushrooms minced
1 large handful of fresh spinach
3 – 4 oz. Chevre goat cheese
2 tbsp. tomato paste
4 shakes of cayenne pepper
3-finger pinch of oregano
2 3-finger pinches of salt
6 coarse grinds of black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric (Not in Ferriss’ recipe but I add to almost every dish now)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (1 chopped and the other whole for garnish)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 F

Mix meat with eggs. Then add chopped scallion, onions and garlic and mix well. Add minced mushrooms (I mince in a food processor to get them really small) and mix all together with hands and then add the spices.

Lay out about 18″ of plastic wrap on the counter and transfer the meat mixture on the plastic and begin to flatten out.

img_20180107_171329-01953833189.jpeg

Add the spinach and then goat cheese across one side of the loaf, reaching the ends. Then lift one end of the plastic wrap and begin to gently roll up the loaf, pulling back the plastic so it doesn’t roll into the loaf.

img_20180107_172117-011213162162.jpeg

Pull together the sides enclosing all the goodness and transfer to a baking dish. Frost the top of the loaf with the tomato paste and chopped rosemary. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the middle reaches 150 F with a thermometer.

I take all that juice that is in the bottom of my pan and make a delicious gravy.

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and serve to those you love the most!

img_20180107_185103-0181829815.jpeg

Post-Holiday Cooking: Here’s a Quick & Easy Sausage & Egg Pie Recipe

wp-1484173950945.jpgFrom stuffing, basting, patting, pricking, roasting and toasting, most of us foodies who refer to the holiday season as the “Olympics of Family Cooking,” have taken a deep sigh of gratitude for the love and joy that was shared amongst our family and friends.

All the gifts have been opened, clothes tried on (and modeled on the living room runway) and Google Home was streaming music at our demand when I noticed that I was starving! But, I was also tired and didn’t have the energy to create breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  But clearly, we all needed to eat.

So, here is a quick go-to recipe I like to use that comes loaded with the right amount of nutrition, salty savoriness, and warmth.  This pie oozes with comfort and cozy post-holiday sit-around-the-house goodness.  I like to think of it as alinner (lunch and dinner) dish or a classic brunch dish too.

– Don’t worry, you’re not required to make your own pie crust, I promise.

Ingredients:

1 Pie Crust (for the inquiring minds, yes, I used the type you buy and roll out).
1 tablespoon of butter
1 good-sized shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4-6 sun-dried tomatoes loosely chopped
8 ounces of Italian sausage or chicken sausage (remove the outer skin and crumble)
1 three-finger pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of oregano or thyme (or both)
3 – 4 handfuls of fresh spinach or kale
2 cups of freshly grated California cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup of heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute shallots and garlic until translucent. Add salt, oregano and thyme. Add the crumbled sausage, sundried tomatoes, and cook until browned. Add the spinach or kale and cook until the greens wilt and set aside.

In a pie dish roll out the pie crust and pinch the edges.   Add 1 cup of cheese on the bottom and then add the sausage mixture on top of that.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and heavy cream and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (you can also use almond milk or any other milk/cream variation).  Season with a pinch of sea salt and mix well.  Pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  I also added a little extra romano in this pie – I mean, can you blame me?  Take a brush and lightly coat the edge of the pie crust with some of your egg mixture for a crispy finish.  (not too much).

wp-1484175239033.jpg

Place your pie on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

wp-1484173950945.jpg

Special thanks to Mele Cotte for the inspiration of this recipe.  I use it in many reincarnations.

wpid-20150606_192808-01.jpeg

Here is one I made with Kale

Grilled Eggplant Preserve

SUMMER SEASON’S BEST!

Eggplant is beautiful and at it’s peak in the summer time.  I love to grill them with  extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice,  sea salt and black pepper.  But, since I’m the only one,  other than my 16-year-old,  crazy about this summer starlet,  I usually have left overs.

Grilled Eggplant

Grilled Eggplant

This weekend I did a little research on the best way to preserve them in the fridge.  Mostly I found pickling recipes. This was not what I had in mind.    So I did a little improvisation and this is what I came up with.

I took an old jar,  perfect for such a dish, and gathered a few ingredients.   More extra virgin olive oil,  (from Jason’s brother-in-law’s family farm in Greece) three cloves of garlic and five or six fresh basil leaves from my Window Herb Garden.  Here are the images.  I think we’ll item it up this week when Gigi is home.  We’ll most likely enjoy them with her nana’s roasted peppers and mozzarella on a nice Italian bread for a summer picnic.

I’d live to know how you prepare yours so please share your ideas with  me!

A little this and a little that

Layer Fresh Basil, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Garlic and Crushed Red Peper

Layer basil, olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, lemon juice and salt and black pepper

Layering the Eggplant

Top it off with two or three more leaves of basil. Fill the jar, getting into all the nooks and crannies, with olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.

IMG_7408

This also makes a great gift.

Delish Dish by Dena

I decided, last minute, to add two thin slices of lemon to give a little more acidity to the preserve.

Eggplant with Lemon