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Monday, November 15, 2010

Asian-Flavored Seared Tuna with Green Beans

Ok, here's disclaimer #1 - I know NOTHING about cooking tuna besides the fact that it should be seared on the outside and really pink on the inside. Disclaimer #2 - I'm not a big fan of fish or soy sauce. But did this stop me from trying's Asian-flavored seared tuna with green beans? Heck no. Since I live in a fishing community, I need to explore and understand this whole fish-thing beyond salmon and lobster - and who knows, maybe come to like it.

This recipe came very highly recommended on the Epicurious website and I liked the fact that it was an all in one, main course and veggie. I have to admit that I tweaked it to my taste (so it relied less on the soy sauce) and really liked the results but my husband was more non-committal. We might try this recipe again once we master the art of searing fish on the BBQ (perhaps heat up a pan and do it that way?) All tips are appreciated. However, for one-inch thick pieces of fish, cooking them 2 minutes per side resulted in the requisite raw-to-pink colored center.

If it's of interest, my tweaks included: grating fresh garlic, ginger and a hint of orange rind into the soy sauce/wasabi marinade. I also added a bit of sesame oil and about 1/2 tsp of brown sugar. I marinated the fish, then removed them and placed them on the grill. As they were cooking, I threw some thawed green beans with almonds into a frying pan - gave it a minute or two to heat and crisp up before then adding the reserved marinade with perhaps, another 1/2 tsp of brown sugar. It was done by the time my husband pulled the fish off the grill four minutes later.

I thought it was a really nice change from steak and pork chops. If you do choose to make this dish, I highly recommend that you read a few of the reviews and as a result, severely cut back on the amount of brown sugar. (No photo was available on Epicurious. This photo is from a similar recipe on

~ Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Braised Short Ribs

Hi there,

I'm back online and cooking after finishing the build and moving into our new home (so that's where I packed the frying pan....).

After hanging up all my clothes, my goal yesterday was to put together a nice Sunday dinner that didn't include take-out. After a quick look on the Pioneer Woman's website, I thought her Braised Short Ribs looked like a great choice for a beautiful autumn day. And it was - with enough grease to make it seem really decadent!

I like her website because she provides pictures of every step - or, if you're impatient like Shannon, zip down to the bottom of the page where she recaps the recipe. However - Shannon - the pictures saved me from throwing away the cooked pancetta (as if I would) because the recipe doesn't tell you to put it back in the pot with the ribs.

I only changed a few things that probably don't make a difference either way: 1) I coated the ribs in Montreal Steak Spice instead of just salt and pepper, 2) I added garlic to the veggie mix, 3) I combined a small can of diced tomatoes with a bullion cube and enough water to measure 2 cups of liquid - instead of using just broth, and 4) I added more red wine (I think this is why Corbet Canyon was invented) to the gravy to add a little more wine flavor and thin out the sauce.

I served it with wasabi mashed potatoes (add wasabi paste to regular mashed potatoes for an extra kick). So if you don't mind the grease - I think you're going to like this recipe. (Photo: Ree Drummond)

~ Enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pioneer Woman's Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

I love this woman - no not in that way... but there's nothing wrong with that... but I gotta say, her blog is amazing! (Who's backing it and how do I get in?) And is it wrong to send people to other people's blogs? Just saying - The Prairie Woman is a lot of fun and I really liked my first recipe from her site. (photo - Ree Drummond)
I tried her Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce when a friend backed out of dinner plans. While Ree made everything from scratch - I used what I had in the fridge: a jar of roasted red peppers, some roasted almonds (yes, I like them cold), goat's cheese, rice noodles and chili flakes (from the pantry). Her rendition is probably better, but this worked in a pinch and tasted really good on a rainy evening.
All I did was follow her directions, but blended the jarred roasted red pepper with the almond in a food processer (no need for extra salt), added chili flakes to the onions and garlic, and goats cheese (with wine and milk) instead of cream. I'm still wheat free so I used rice noodles.
Taaa dah - and it only took 15-20 minutes until dinner was served.
~ Enjoy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Guy Fieri's Coconut Rice and Peas

Whole Foods got me hooked. I tried some coconut rice at their lunch counter and there was no turning back. Lots of comfort-food love.

The question was, could I make it at home? No problem. I searched the Food Network and thought the Guy Fieri Coconut Rice and Peas presentation had a great twist - lots of different tastes (coconut, garlic and chili) that blended really well - and oh ya, it has cilantro - my favorite. It was easy to make and complimented the swordfish I marinated with the recipe I picked up from Rachael Ray's mixed Greek grill (see below) - I couldn't go wrong. My only suggestions is that I upped the coconut milk vs chicken stock ratio (and added a bit of left over coconut milk at the end for an extra punch) and added grated lime rind and juice - just a preference. I find it perks up the taste.

~ Enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rachael Ray's Greek Mixed Grill Kebabs and Pine Nut-Orzo Salad

YUMMO! DELISH, whatever you want to call it - Rachael Ray's Greek Mixed Grill Kebabs with Orzo/Pine Nut salad was so good and easy. Perfect for guests (or family) in the summer. Just be prepared to watch your leftovers leave in doggy bags.

Not much to change in this recipe - with the exception of cutting down on the amount of onion used in the salad (unless you're a big fan) and adding minced garlic to the meat marinade and the salad dressing. I'm personally trying to stay away from wheat (this month's fad) so I substituted basmati rice for the orzo and it turned out fine. I also served the salad cold so I followed the directions to the letter with the exception that I added the tomato and cucumber just before I served it. I'd also suggest you allow the meat to marinate longer than a few minutes before you grill up the kebabs - there's a lot of flavor in this recipe. (photo credit: Tina Rupp)

~ Enjoy!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Savana Cafe (Ottawa) Pad Thai

She surfs - she SCORES! I found this recipe thanks to a web post I found on : .

I love this 'global' version of Pad Thai that I enjoyed when I lived in Ottawa. It's defined as global or international - not traditional, because it includes ketchup instead of tamarind sauce (oh, I'm a peasant - I know, but who has tamarind in the pantry?)

I'm not sure if I was introduced to the dish at Sante Restaurant (where the photo is from, thanks to ), or at the Savana Cafe , where this recipe is purported to originate. It's a toss up because both are similar. Anyway - this version, which I make at home, is much better than anything I've tried on the South Shore of MA, where Asian food means some variation of oil and sugar - bleck! (And why are there bacon bits in the egg rolls????)

Anyway, on to the recipe card! This may be modified, but I think it's very close to what they serve. I will transcribe the scanned version and add my own tweaks. This is a great, "I need comfort food" dish and is non-gluten friendly.
~ Enjoy!
Thai Spicy Noodles - Savana Cafe
Serves 4
3/4 cup diced raw chicken (I add more - bite sized pieces)
8 shrimp peeled and deviened (I add more, and use cooked shrimp which I add at the end)
1 square tofu - diced and deep fried (I omit this part - I prefer more shrimp or chicken)
4 eggs,
1 pkg rice noodles - soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained. (I like the broader variety)
3/4 to 1 cup ketchup (you can always add more later if the sauce isn't to your liking)
4 small handfuls of beansprouts
1/2 cup minced green onions
3 - 4 tbsps of roasted peanuts (you can toast them like pine nuts)
4 tbsp Meme (what is that?) or soy sauce (I use vinegar to cut the sweetness of the ketchup)
2 tbsp fish sauce - VERY IMPORTANT - it ain't Pad Thai without the fish sauce. (I use more - but not until I've done the taste test and I'm tweaking)
- Lime juice and rind, and chili flakes to taste (I like my noodles more spicy so I use Asian chili/garlic sauce)
- Chopped cilantro to taste - (more is better in my opinion)
(I also include ginger and garlic to taste - real is better, but dried works as well)
Drain noodles. Heat oil in wok. Fry chicken and shrimp (unless you used the cooked version, then add at the end) until firm. Move the meat to the side and fry the eggs in the same wok - stir to scramble. Reduce heat. I mix the ketchup, vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice/rind, chili flakes and/or chili/garlic sauce together to form the base sauce. Add noodles and sauce to the wok.
Increase heat and stir until the noodles have absorbed the sauce. (This is where you may want to add more sauce - or parts of it, if your noodles have absorbed everything). Add bean sprouts, onions, (more lime juice/rind?), cilantro and peanuts. Toss and serve immediately.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Easy & Elegant Goat Cheese Appetizer from

Want to hit a 'home run' with your guests? Try this Goat Cheese with Thyme, Peppercorns and Garlic/Lemon Oil appetizer recipe from So easy and looks very 'swishy'. The color combination is wonderful: white, pink/red, green and yellow. You can even take an extra minute to mold the ball into a theme shape (ie: heart shaped for Valentine's Day, or Christmas tree, etc.) Be prepared to hand out the recipe at the end of the night.

The posted reviews for this recipe are very helpful. I like to make a little extra garlic/lemon oil and add it to the cheese (not to much because the oil will make the cheese become runny) and then pour the rest of the oil over the ball in advance of the event to allow the flavors to blend in the fridge.

To form the ball, I place a piece of plastic wrap on the inside of a cafe au lait bowl and push the cheese into it. I then lift away the bowl, place the cheese ball on a platter and peel away the wrap - very easy and you don't get your fingers messy.

~ Enjoy

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Cupcakes and Yellow Birthday Sheet Cake

Shannon is back with two more recipes from the Food Network's Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten (I think she idolizes her, but that's another story). According to Shannon, and I have tasted the results, both are excellent recipes. The cupcakes always come out extremely moist and the recipe makes 24, so beware!

The Barefoot Contessa's Chocolate Cupcakes and Peanut Butter Icing

Shannon uses her own traditional butter cream for the icing, as seen in the photos:
covers 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white shortening
4 cups confectioners sugar
A few drops of vanilla
And a little milk to help smooth it out.

She also likes the Contessa's yellow birthday sheet cake. However, since she made it in a 9 1/2 X 11 pan, she baked it for slightly longer than indicated. She also used her butter cream frosting because she was customizing the cake for an event - looks great...
~ Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Skinny Girls’ Margarita Recipe a la Real Housewives of New York

Summer's coming - time to break out the blender! I'm not a fan of the Real Housewives series (I made it through high school once... don't need to relive the drama again), but Bethenny has brought back the 'real' marg and now we can save ourselves from ingesting corn syrup, yellow dye and the hundreds of calories that come in the bottled mixes - Ole to you, girlfriend!
You can watch her prepare the recipe on Youtube (image from

Very nice on a hot day.
~ Enjoy

The Skinny Girls' Margarita

Blender drink (can be served over ice too)

What you’ll need:
* Half a blender full of slushy ice
* Clear Tequila (less chance of a hang over, according to Bethenny)
* (count 1, 2, 3, 4 while you pour, no need for measuring)
* A splash of fresh lime juice (I usually add the juice of one lime per drink)
* Bethenny cheats sometimes by using a splash of lemonade to extend the lime juice
* Micro plain the rind of one lime into the mix
* A splash of Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec (2 count per drink)

Combine all ingredients and blend and/or pour over a glass of ice.

Garnish with a lime wedge and salt/sugar combination if you’d like.

Makes one serving

Monday, May 10, 2010

Eric Ripert's Eggs Benedict

Ok, so I watch Live with Regis and Kelly - so sue me. Anyway, I find their banter very funny and every once in a while, there is something more than a celebrity interview. Eric Ripert's Eggs Benedict recipe is GREAT. It is the easiest Hollandaise sauce I've ever attempted and it works wonderfully AS LONG AS YOU FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. Stay in the lines and everything will be fine. (And one day I hope to visit his restaurant, Le Bernadin in New York).

~ Enjoy:


4 English muffins, toasted
8 Slices smoked salmon, ham or Canadian bacon, cooked

For the Hollandaise:
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
10 ounces butter, melted and hot
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
(I add Tarragon - to taste)

For the Eggs:
8 eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 cups water

Combine egg yolks and lemon juice in a blender, turn the blender on medium and drizzle the butter into the blender in a steady stream until the butter has emulsified into the eggs and is fully incorporated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and keep warm.

Fill a medium sauce pan with about 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and white vinegar to the sauce pan of water and reduce the heat to a simmer.Carefully break each egg into a small cup or bowl and gently slide the egg into the water; add more eggs, making sure not to crowd the pan.Let the eggs cook for about 2-3 minutes.Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let drain on a towel lined pan or plate.Repeat with the remaining eggs.

To serve, top each half of a toasted English muffin with a slice of ham or Canadian bacon and a poached egg. Spoon the Hollandaise sauce on top and serve immediately. Serves 4

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Emeril's Ceviche from the Food Network

I’m feeling inspired! I’m heading to Louisville KY next month and can’t wait to go back to one of my favorite restaurants, Seviche, where I had the best Ceviche, EVER. Who knew Louisville was such a hot bed for seafood, but it’s fresh and delicious.

After my first visit, I tried to find a recipe that matched my memory of the taste I enjoyed so much. Again I turn to Emeril Lagasse of the Food Network. Of course it’s not authentic Ceviche, but it is tasty.

My tastes run more tart than sweet, so I skip the orange and pineapple juices (but a lot of people like the sweetness so play around with it). I almost perfer the Simple Ceviche recipe by Ingrid Hoffmann, but I like the color combination of Emeril's version. I substitute seeded and diced red tomatoes for the red pepper to compliment the color of the fish, yellow peppers, purple onions and green cilantro. Oh, and I’m a cilantro-freak, so I usually increase the quantity. Serve it in a martini glass with corn chips (to use as scoops) for a stylish appetizer. Someone also suggested serving it in half of a pitted avocado, which sounds quite good too. Hope you like it and I can’t wait until next month’s trip. (Photo source of similar recipe:

~ Enjoy!


Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2005
Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time: 4 hr 0 min
Cook Time: --

4 appetizer portions

12 ounces very fresh (sushi-grade) white-fleshed ocean fish, such as grouper, wahoo, sea bass, or red snapper (I use swordfish or scallops)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced serrano pepper
2 tablespoons finely diced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons finely diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon good quality extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 (3-inch) plantain chips (I didn't have any so I used corn chips)
Lime wedges, for serving

Cut the fish into 1/4-inch dice. Place in a glass dish with the lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, peppers, onions, and garlic, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Add the cilantro, olive oil, and salt. Fold gently to mix. Serve ceviche in martini glasses and garnish with fried plantain chips and lime wedges.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Laura Calder's Rough Apple Galette (

(Note: I have since tried this recipe and have to note that there is a level of difficulty that I hadn't anticipated: rolling out the dough and then transferring it, with the apples, to the baking sheet. Perhaps find a sheet without edges so it can be done on the cookie sheet?)

Bonjour mes amis. This easy French dessert recipe comes from my good friend, artist, writer, photographer, and bon vivant, Dan.

According to Dan: Laura Calder's "rough apple galette" has wowed family, in-laws and friends and is now part of my repertoire of "This old recipe? - Gosh it's just something I whipped up..." 100% delicious, easy and foolproof. You can play around with the sugar and cinnamon quantities (I've tried it with more of both with decent results) - of course, depending on how thick you make your pate sucree, you may need a bit less (rarely more) apple pieces. Seriously - this thing rocks, especially when you've already made something involved for dinner.

~ Enjoy!

Yield: 6

1 cup plus 2 Tbsps flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
About 2 Tbsps ice-cold water

4 tablespoons brown sugar, more to taste
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Make the pastry: Put the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter pieces and pinch with the fingers to create a crumb texture. Make a well in the middle, and pour in the vanilla and water. Quickly work in the flour to create dough. Do not over-mix. Pat into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 15 minutes.
eat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Roll the pastry into a round and lay on a baking sheet.

Heat the oven to 450°F/230°C. Roll the pastry into a round and lay on a baking sheet. Stir together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl. Toss in the apples to coat, and dump onto the pastry. Dot with the butter. Bring the edges of the pastry up over so they lay in, rough-edged, on the apples. They won’t cover the apples completely. Bake until the crust is crisp and golden and the apples soft to a fork and caramelized, 40 to 45 minutes.

Dissing Deen - Breakfast in Bed

I love everything about Miss Paula, so I thought the baked goods featured on this episode would be great to have around for weekend guests. Yikes - not sure if it was a mistake by Food Network staffers, but it seems Paula and my grandmother have something in common - their recipes are more guesstimates rather than precise instructions. Here's what happened.

Recipe number one:
Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastry
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Doesn't it look good? In theory, I knew my vegetarian guests would like it, but look closely at the recipe. It is void of ANY seasoning, let alone common elements like onions/leeks/shallots. Huh? Looks like Paula was channelling grandma. I ended up adding Montreal Steak Spice (the 'gitty up' of spices if one was ever invented), onions, nutmeg, thyme, salt, etc. In the end it was fine, but:
~ Cook beware!

Recipe number two:
Spicy Cinnamon Cake
Courtesy Paula Deen

My bad! What made me think that a cake made with pudding and cake mix would taste homemade? Guess I was pressed for time and swayed by the many great reviews (with the exception of Diane from Miami Beach, who was so right when she called it "Awful"). Anyway, live and learn - it tastes like every processed cake you've ever eaten and it was over cooked to boot. If you do decide to try it, reduce the temperature and/or cooking time.

~ Cook beware!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Emeril's Essence

This is a stock spice for me. Keep the Essence in a plastic storage bag for when needed. I add Cumin and Chipotle Pepper to my mix. It's amazing how many things you can throw it into! Really good for an easy grill spice for chicken and pork, in Chili recipes and, one of my favorites, Martha Stewart's Easy Paella. (Photo - I'm not saying it's authentic Paella; it just has really good flavors. I use spicy sausage and add cooked chicken at the end. Last night I used Arborio rice (risotto) to satisfy a pasta craving and it worked out just as well.)

~ Enjoy

Epicurious Pork Schnitzel
This is a really easy recipe that turned out wonderfully because I followed the comments of the reviewers. The original recipe called for chicken, but I had pork in the freezer and used it instead. I added dijon mustard to the egg wash and deglazed the pan with lemon, as suggested, before adding the butter, capers and parsley for the sauce. Just be careful how much lemon you use - we liked the tartness, so it turned out well. I served it with boiled potatoes smothered with butter and dill (like my grandmother used to serve). ~ Enjoy!